What I am Most Grateful For and My Chat with The Pink Diamond Lady, Minnie Lahongrais!

As the year winds down (can you believe it????) and Thanksgiving is just a few days away, its time to take stock of the people in your life and achievements made during the course of the year.

I am most thankful for my family who continue to support and encourage me, even when I get on their last nerve!

I am thankful for my health and for the creativity I have been blessed with that allows me to write. I’m also grateful for not wearing a straight jacket because of all the characters (aka Voices) in my head! 🙂

I am thankful to all of my readers who connect with me every day by sending messages, shout out the books, hit the ‘like’, ‘share’, and ‘tweet’ buttons on their pages and continue to ask when the next book is coming out (March 6, 2014! Whoo hoo!!!)

I am also grateful to all of the bloggers, eMagazines, television hosts, and Blog Talk Radio hosts who have invited me to participate in interviews, conferences, and phone chats. Every opportunity has allowed me to share a piece of me as an author, a mother, and wife.

(If you’d like to check out the interviews and guest post from this year, click here!)

My latest radio interview was done with author Minnie Lahongrais on her show, The Pink Diamond Inspirations Show, which is featured on All Media Radio 1 in the UK. And what fun did we have! I met Minnie several years ago via social networking on Twitter, back when I was learning the ropes of the social networking site. As an aspiring writer at the time, I was touched by her frustration from family and friends in regards to a book she published. I commented, offering my support, and since then, our friendship has grown. So when she contacted me saying she would like to interview me for her show, I was more than happy to say yes! So, sit back and listen as two girlfriends chat it up like we’ve been knowing each other for a lifetime, and get to know ME….

download (3)

Pink Diamond Inspirations on All News Radio

The Interview     The Blog Post

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

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#FreeReadFriday- Jaded (Book Two of The Butterfly Memoirs) – Chapter 3

Welcome back to another #FreeReadFriday!

As the holidays approach, life is going to be  hectic as preparations are made to celebrate  with friends and family. But book lovers know, your’s still going to squeeze in a few minutes to hide out to get your read on! To wet your appetite, I’m sharing another chapter in the The Butterfly Memoirs series.

Jaded is a story of two people who’ve been hurt by love and refuse to give in to temptation. Their attempts to be just friends evolve into a Friends with Benefits relationship.

But what happens after a couple finds their Happily Ever After and REAL LIFE sets in? 

Autumn landscape

Get to know Yasmine and Zachariah….and fall in love again….

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business.

 When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn’t expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah’s life.

  Amazon      Barnes & Noble      iTunes     Smashwords     Paperback

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Prologue and Chapter One

Chapter Two

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Chapter 3

 

Despite setting my alarm clock for four-forty-five, I overslept. At least I had taken a shower before going to bed. I selected my clothes the night before, so all that was left to do was make-up.

A horn honked behind me at the light. I finished applying eyeliner, flipped the visor up, and pushed on the gas. I fluffed my hair with one hand, glad my ear-length bob had a loose curl making it easy to style. It was easier to manage than the shoulder length hair I slaved over a few months ago.

The decision to cut my hair was about more than easy maintenance. It was about forgetting my past life and settling into reality.

No more expectations; no more games.

I drove into the Inn’s parking lot and parked, overwhelmed by the hard work of my family. The Phillips’ Family Inn I managed was larger than the original location and nestled in the rolling hills, minutes outside of Los Angeles. The hotel used to be an old Hollywood mansion until the area was re-zoned and the home remodeled to house eight regular rooms and two honeymoon suites. My parents lucked out on the property during a real estate auction.

Like others in the area, the property had beautiful landscaping. I’d recently contracted the yard maintenance to my best friend, Ebony’s fiancé, Brian Young, who owned a lawn care service. Even though he wasn’t always available to accompany his workers when they came, he’d trained them well. Over the last few months, Brian’s music career had taken off. He spent a lot of time in the studio of B&D Records.

After all, I owed them. Helping Ebony plan her dream wedding and hosting it at the Inn still didn’t feel like it was enough. I would do anything to help make their marriage possible.

Two months had passed since discovering my fiancé at the time was a bastard. After what he’d done to her…I still couldn’t fathom how she managed to pretend it never happened.

I couldn’t.

I sat in my car for a moment to gather myself, and ran a hand over my eyes, trying not to smudge my mascara. Now was not the time to think about the past. There were too many things to focus on, such as getting the hotel financial records to my mother. As predicted, she was not happy to hear she would not receive them last night. I covered myself by saying the computer crashed right before I sent them. The little white lie bought me time to get them completed today.

I seriously needed to step up my game. In order for my parents to be willing to fund my business as a fashion consultant, I needed to maintain the family business first. Now was not the time to slip up.

I exited my car and noted the time, six-thirty. I spied a car out of place in the parking lot and assumed it was the technician. I shut my door, walked around to the trunk of my cherry red Honda Accord, and retrieved my laptop bag. When I turned around, he had climbed out of his car, strapped a bag across his chest, and was unloading a large box from the trunk. I hurried up the steps of the Inn to open the door.

His smile was wide as he approached. “Good morning.”

Morning people get on my nerves.

“Sorry I’m late,” I said, trying to keep the irritation, stimulated by his cheery grin, hidden.

He adjusted the weight of the box in his arms. “Not a problem. Where are we going first?”

“My office.”

He followed me through the grand opening of the hotel living room, past the check-in counter, down the narrow hallway, and past the kitchen to a smaller room that served as my office.

The smell of burnt plastic assaulted us when I opened the door. After setting my bags on the floor, I immediately dug the Febreze air freshener from my desk drawer, sprayed, and opened a window.

“When you said your computer burned, I took that as a figurative statement.” His eyebrows furrowed as he looked for somewhere to settle the box. When done, he unhooked the bag strapped across his chest and went under my desk to access the damage. “It’s a good thing you used a surge protector or it could have been a lot worse. What happened?” He sat up from underneath the desk and adjusted the dark square frames on his wide nose.

Large, dark hazel eyes captured me. For a moment, I imagined him watching me as he explored my body.

“Ms. Phillips, did you hear me?”

I rubbed a hand over my face and blinked. “Sorry, still waking up.”

Yeah right. I was awake all right, along with other parts of my body. This man had some of the sexiest bedroom eyes.

His chuckle was deep. “Not a morning person, I remember.”

I walked over to the desk. “I saved a document and opened the accounting software when the screen went blank. I thought there was a power outage. I flipped the power switch on and then, poof,” I demonstrated with my hands. “Sparks flew.”

He smiled and a set of deep dimples appeared on both sides of his goatee. My attention went to his thick lips, imagining what they would feel like against mine.

The warm feeling taking over my body made it impossible to think. I forced my attention to the items on my desk. I hadn’t been this attracted to a man in months. Why now? Why him?

Even though he appeared to have a nice build, despite his geeky appearance, Zachariah Givens was not my type. When I was sure my thoughts were clear, I allowed myself to watch him. He’d disappeared under the desk again and proceeded to disconnect cords, leaving his firm derriere in plain view. I swallowed a groan. His butt looked good in those jeans.

I blinked. Jeans? He wasn’t wearing the geek uniform of black pants. When he emerged from beneath the desk, I realized he wore a polo shirt.

“How come you’re not in uniform?” I blurted.

“What?” He dragged the burned-out equipment from underneath my desk and glanced at his attire. “Oh, it’s my day off.”

My eyes widened. “Wait, you’re here off the clock?”

“I didn’t have anyone to send in at this time of the morning.” He dumped the cords in the trash and turned to retrieve the old computer tower. “Besides, I miss this part of the job. Being store manager keeps me inside all day. Don’t get me wrong, it has its benefits, but I’m good with my hands.” He glanced over at me. “And since you said our customer service over the phone sucks, I had to make it up to you.”

Good with his hands…God. I felt my face redden.

I forced myself to laugh. “Thank you, Mr. Givens.”

The old equipment removed, he walked over to open the new box. “Call me Zachariah, or Zack.” He smiled and those dimples popped again.

“Okay. You can call me Yasmine.” I stared at him a little too long.

He nodded in the direction of the old computer tower. “I’ll be honest…Yasmine, I don’t know if I’ll be able to salvage anything for you. I’ll get the new system up, start loading your programs, and then check it. I want to have you up and running as soon as possible.”

I sighed and glanced at the burnt shell. “I could use a miracle right now, and a cup of coffee. Would you like one?”

“No, I’m not big on caffeine. I’m a morning person by nature.” He chuckled when I rolled my eyes.

“To each his own,” I replied.

***

Several hours later, all of the computers – mine, Brandon’s, and the one at the check-in counter – were up and running and the software was nearly loaded. Mine took the most time since it was the hub for everything in the hotel. He’d even been nice enough to load the hotel business software, free of charge.

I sat on the other side of the office, working furiously on my laptop to compile the data for the business reports and receipts I kept in the filing cabinet- information that had been lost when the computer died. I promised myself to keep a backup on my laptop, USB drive, and any other digital format outside of the main office set up from now on. I did not intend to repeat this scenario.

“Yasmine, a few more minutes and I’ll be done,” Zack said. “Sorry I couldn’t save the hard drive.”

I glanced up from my screen. “No need to apologize. I should have had everything backed up. You live and learn.” I saved my work and checked the time on my laptop. “I can’t believe it’s that late already.” It was nearly eleven; I stood up and stretched. “Would you like something to eat? I don’t know about you, but I missed breakfast. It’ll be my treat. The kitchen is open and Mrs. Davenport will be making lunch.” I studied him for a moment. “I bet you’d like one of her Double Decker Monterey burgers. They are to die for.”

Zack appeared surprised by my offer. “I’d like that.”

I stopped in the doorway. “I’ll come get you when it’s done.”

Twenty minutes later, we sat in a booth in the rear of the dining room, away from the guests.

“This has got to be the best burger I’ve ever eaten. I would drive all the way back for another one.” Zack bit off a large bite. He’d finished half the thing in record time.

I smiled. “I’ll be sure to give your compliments to the chef.”

“I’ll be sure to kiss her.” He drank from his cup and pointed at my salad. “Why aren’t you eating one of these?”

I stabbed at my chicken salad with my fork and glanced at the remains of his burger. “Good question.” I laughed. “I ate one yesterday for lunch. Too many of them will mess with my figure.”

Zack’s eyebrow arched, but he remained silent.

My gaze dropped to my plate. In my past life, flirting was my way of determining if a man would be competent enough to handle my sexual needs. It was second nature.

But this was now.

Besides, trying to seduce Zack would be a waste of time; he didn’t seem interested anyway. Unlike most men I ran across, he didn’t flirt with me at all. Any other man would have taken my comment and told me how fine I was, or some other line, to find a way into my bed.

Not Zack. He was the epitome of the perfect gentleman, never uttering a suggestive comment or taking the obvious stroll over my body with his eyes. I caught him watching me once or twice, but it wasn’t lust in his gorgeous hazel orbs, it was something I had never seen before.

To be honest, it made me nervous not knowing what he was thinking. Yet at the same time, it was refreshing to be in the company of a man who was able to have an intelligent conversation without his panting tongue being in the way.

My cell phone rang. I glanced at the caller ID and excused myself. “Yes, Mrs. Langford, how are you?” I waited a beat for her reply and dug into my purse for pen and paper to write notes. “Perfect, I’ll see you then.”

A smile of satisfaction spread across my face when I hung up.

“Must be good news,” Zack said before popping the last of the burger in his mouth.

“Very. I work with this program called Dress for Success. It helps underprivileged women prepare for job interviews. We take them shopping, show them what to wear, how to apply make-up, and do their hair. Anything we can do to help them succeed.”

Zack wiped his mouth with his napkin. “Really? What made you decide to do that?”

His question startled me. I looked up and found genuine interest in his eyes. Men in my past couldn’t care less what I did when we weren’t together. The only thing that interested them was what I did in the bedroom.

“I’m starting a business of my own outside of managing this hotel,” I said slowly, deciding whether I wanted to share the details.

“What kind of business?”

Apparently I had his full attention.

“As a fashion consultant. I’ve been helping friends and family for years. I’d like to help as many people as I can. Participation in a program like this allows me to give back to the community and help people free of charge. As a bonus, I get to build my portfolio and gain experience working with a variety of clients.”

I held my breath, waiting for a laugh or sarcastic comment sure to come.

“Do you work with more than underprivileged women?”

“What do you mean?”

“Would you work with a cancer survivor?”

My curiosity peaked. “Who are you talking about?”

“My mother.”

####

Available on AMAZON, B&N, iTunes, and SMASHWORDS for $3.99! Also available on PAPERBACK!

***JADED can be read as a stand-alone or as part of The Butterfly Memoirs series. Buy your copy today!***

 Amazon      Barnes & Noble      iTunes     Smashwords     Paperback

Looking for Book 1? Follow this link to learn more about A Heart Not Easily Broken!

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 

 

And the Winners Are…..

WinnerThanks you to everyone who participated and supported the Milestones – Lonely Heart Giveaway! As promised there are TWO winners in this contests who will receive a complimentary copy of LONELY HEART, (Book 3 of The Butterfly Memoirs) the day it releases, March 6, 2014!

So congratulations are in order for:

Arlena Gorden Dean

and

Elizabeth Williams!!!!

And for those of you who may not have read Jaded (yet) and been introduced to the lead character of Lonely Heart, here’s the a quick peek at the Prologue to Kaitlyn Rodgers story…..

Prologue

 

 “Kaity, are you sure this is what you want?”

A final scan of the room showed nothing left behind. “Yes, Ebony, I’m positive. Luke made it clear; he doesn’t want this baby, which means he doesn’t want me.”

After months of failed attempts to convince my boyfriend of nearly two years keeping our family together was best, I had enough.  The moment he learned about the pregnancy, he suggested abortion. After arguing, he conceded to try and work things out. Everything went fine for a while, but the more I asked him to participate in the doctor’s appointments and for ideas about setting up the baby’s room, the more standoffish he became.

His decision to avoid the sonogram and ignore my calls and text messages was enough.

I had three months until my baby’s arrival.

My baby…Who’d have thought I’d become a single mom?

A few short months ago, my life was perfect. I worked my dream job and had a man who loved me.

Tunes out I was wrong about that.

I made some bad decisions in my life, but it was too late to change them now.

For the next three months my focus would be providing my baby with a happy home.  And regardless of what Luke thought, he would still have responsibility in providing for his child.

“That’s everythin’. Let’s get out of here before he gets home.”

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LONELY HEART (BOOK 3 of THE BUTTERFLY MEMOIRS)

Look for it March 2013 from 5 Prince Publishing!!

New to the series?

It’s never to late to catch up!

What is The Butterfly Memoirs Series?

A Heart Not Easily Broken

Jaded 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

#FreeReadFriday!- A Heart Not Easily Broken- Chapter Three

Over the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed sharing the next chapters of Ebony and Brian’s story. If you’ve read Chapter One  you’ve gotten seen when they meet. You’ve also been introduced to the different side of Brian’s life in Chapter Two which threw Ebony for a loop. Now that she’s seen the ‘other side’, how does she react?

Today I’m featuring Chapter Three which happens to be one of my favorites! Why? Let’s just say there’s something about being ‘caught’ that leaves a lot of room for some fun. 🙂

Chapter 3

“Damn it.” I pushed the door shut with my foot, nearly dropping the books balanced in my arms. A quick peek out the living room blinds showed Brian staring at the closed front door with a smug look on his face.

Of all the people in southern California who cut grass, how in the world did he end up at my home? Where did Yasmine find this guy? Did she know Brian? After Saturday night, this smelled of a set up. My roommates gave me a hard time for not accepting his VIP offer. And now this. First, Yasmine calls at the last minute, knowing I’m on the way home and tells me to expect someone to be there cutting grass, and then coincidently forgets the guy’s name. Yeah, right.

Annoyed, I pulled my phone out of my purse. Of course, Yasmine’s phone went to voicemail.  Kaitlyn’s did too. It would be a waste of time to leave a message, but when they got home, there would be hell to pay. I appreciated their interest in my love life, but it was exactly that. Mine. After Saturday night’s attempt to set me up, they agreed to stay out of it.

The sound of a lawnmower gliding past the living room window got my attention. One of the guys rolled the mower across the grass. At least the yard would receive the attention it needed. I sighed in resignation and headed for the kitchen.

It was my turn to cook dinner. Tonight’s menu would consist of frozen lasagna and salad. Thank goodness for bagged salad, because I was in no mood to cut up any vegetables. Even though school was not in session, my goal was to stay on top of my game. Dr. Jacobs, my mentor and one of the head veterinarians on staff at the Los Angeles Zoo, allowed me to borrow several books from his personal library. He appreciated my hard work and offered to give me a heads up on classes I’d be taking in the fall. I was anxious to get started.

First, I needed to take a shower and wash off the odors of the animal clinic where I worked as a veterinarian’s assistant. Juggling both jobs was a lot of work, but the rewards were well worth it.

I closed my eyes and groaned. Oh, no, I reeked. No wonder Brian grinned like an idiot when he thought I wasn’t looking. It wasn’t as if he could talk. His shirt clung to his body, saturated with sweat as though he had run through my neighbor’s sprinklers.

I sighed, grabbed my things, and headed upstairs.

Unable to resist, I stacked the books on my desk and pulled out one that caught my attention the most. It dealt with the daily care of orangutans. The topic interested me most because of the zoo’s recent addition. Baby Nala was born a few days ago, but sadly, her mother died. It was now up to the zoo’s staff to provide the care she needed to keep her healthy until she matured enough to join the zoo exhibit. As an intern, I would be one of the select few tasked with this job. It promised to be a very rewarding experience.

After a quick review, I set the book down. The lasagna had another forty-five minutes to cook. I walked over to my window to check on the guys’ progress. They were nearly finished. It wouldn’t be long before Brian would be looking for payment.

Crap. He never answered my question. If he didn’t accept checks, he would have to follow me to the ATM.

I stripped down and reached in the shower to adjust the water temperature. Body wash in hand, I stepped into the steaming water.

The stench of work swirled down the drain, replaced by the scent of melons while the water caressed my body like a summer breeze. I pulled off my ponytail holder, letting the water run down my face while washing my hair. The next time Brian smelled me, I wanted it to be something soft and sweet, not animalistic.

Hold on, why did it matter how I smelled? Irritated by the thought, I scrubbed a little harder.

Brian smelled nice at the club. His rough, callused palm felt nice too. No wonder. He did more than strum a guitar all day. I admired that.

Getting out of the shower, I toweled off. Even though Brian was five times sweatier than when we’d met, it somehow made him more attractive. When I realized it was he standing at the truck, I assumed he would demand to know why I avoided his invitation. Instead, he’d been cordial, thank God, making the surprise easier on both of us. He was definitely about his business.

Oiled up, smelling good, my damp hair in a bun, and wearing a pair of cotton shorts and tank top, I headed back down to the kitchen. The lasagna should be nearing completion and so should Brian.

The buzzing sound of yard equipment drew my attention to the bay window. Somehow, they’d gotten over the locked gate. Oops, I’d forgotten to take the chain off before hopping in the shower. He was resourceful too.

Brian stood with his weed whacker, swinging it in a controlled arch along the fence. My eyes widened; the man was shirtless. The man had an incredibly strong looking back. His shorts hung loosely from his hips, exposing the top of his underwear from the weight of the sweat-stained shirt stuffed under his belt. Hmm, boxers or briefs? Sweat ran in heavy rivulets down his shoulder blades, trickling to the already damp shorts.

None of that compared to the way he looked when he turned around to speak to one of the guys working with him. His long torso, free of body fat, sported a light sprinkling of blond hair between his pecs.  His abdomen showed every cut of muscle I’d seen in high school biology textbooks. His abs were tight, his belly button nearly nonexistent.

Brian’s bronzed skin reminded me of a Greek statue, a testament of many hours spent working outside. His backward baseball cap hid the thick blond curls I’d seen at the club. The damp ringlets hung below its rim, accentuating his square facial structure and the shape of his nose. His blue eyes seemed to glow from deep within his skin.

Brian was unbelievably sexy.

One of the younger guys stepped into my line of sight, blocking my continued admiration of his anatomy. I bit my lip in irritation until Brian extended an arm. My eyes widened at the sight of tattoos over well-defined muscle. Intricate dark rings banded both biceps. How did I miss that? Oh yeah, his abs had distracted me. Curious, I stepped closer to the blinds, parting them. Damn, I couldn’t see the entire design. What was it?

At that moment, Brian faced the window. He remained expressionless for a moment before he squinted, then smiled.

Busted.

My face felt crimson. I took a moment to clear the expression on my face before grabbing three cold bottles of water out of the refrigerator and walking outside.

I surveyed the yard while offering him a bottle. “It looks good.”

“It sure does.”

I glanced at him. He didn’t hide the fact his gaze started at my bare legs and slowly traveled back up. His expression made his thoughts apparent. I started to open my mouth and comment, until our eyes met. His gaze sent a warm tingle along my skin, reminding me of the way I felt when he held my hand.

“Thanks for the water,” he added, before whistling to get the other workers’ attention.

Try as I might, it was impossible to keep my eyes off his body when his back was to me. I took the opportunity to peek at his tattoos again. Standing this close, I could make out a little more of the intricate design. To truly see it, I would have to get close, so close I could…

I looked up to find his lips tilted in a lopsided grin. Damn, busted again.

Not wanting him to think I was impressed, I forced my face to stay blank. “How much is it going to cost?” It was impossible to ignore the laugher hidden in those gorgeous blue orbs.

Brian took long draws of water, apparently in no rush to answer my question. I forced my eyes to stay on his and ignore the fact that sweat should not look so good.

“I haven’t decided yet.”

I frowned. “What do you mean? You’ve been here for nearly an hour.”

He shrugged, pulled a rag from his pocket, wiped his face, and then dragged the thing down his chest. I automatically followed the movement before snapping my eyes back to his. A slow grin spread across his face.

“It depends.”

“On what?”

“On how honest you’re going to be with me.”

I clamped my jaw tight while crossing my arms, fighting the irritation building. Brian apparently thought he could do or say anything to get his way. He did it when buying me a drink at the club. He’d done it when assuming I’d meet him in VIP. Now this.

My lack of a sex life and unexplained physical attraction to him made my irritability worse.

“Honest about what?” I ground out.

Brian’s eyes flashed with humor as he finished off the last of his water. “Why didn’t you meet me the other night? I looked for you, waited around thinking maybe you got stuck in the bathroom.” He crossed his arms, taking a wide stance. “Nothing. Not a note, not a message left with security. You just disappeared.”

Realization hit me. “You’re going to charge me more because I didn’t hook up with you?”

“Hey, don’t put words in my mouth. I haven’t decided what to charge. That’s not the same thing.”

“Okay, so what you really mean is if you like my answer, I’ll get a discount. If you don’t, then you’re going to screw me.”

Brian’s mischievous smile caused me to suck my teeth. Bad choice of words.

“Overcharging my customers is not good for business.” He chuckled. “Besides, offering a discount would be an incentive for you to answer the question and not avoid it the same way you avoided me.” He paused to unhook the weed whacker’s strap from around his neck and set it on the ground. He rolled his neck and shoulders then crossed his arms and resumed his wide-legged stance.

I glanced down and noticed the slight bow in his muscular legs. Damn, he looked good.

“Brian.” I forced myself to stare at the men bagging lawn clippings. “I went home.”

“Obviously. Why didn’t you stick around? You could have left your number if you needed to leave.”

Brian regarded me intently while waiting for my reply. His scrutiny made me nervous.

I took a deep breath and held it for a few seconds before blowing it out. “Why do you care? There were plenty of women ready to jump at the opportunity to be with you. Why are you interested in me?”

“Why not? I’ve seen most of those women before.” He laughed at my screwed up facial expression. “That didn’t come out right. What I mean is they are all the same. None of them have caught my attention like you do.”

My mind went back to the buffet of women available at the bar, the brunette who gave me the evil eye, red heads, a few blonds, women of every size and shape.

“So you wanted me because I’m black. Or is it because you saw me wearing a tight dress and figured you’d get me in bed as a trophy. You know, sex with a black woman?” I rolled my eyes. “I’m an educated black woman with a good head on my shoulders, not some ‘ho from the hood. If that’s what you want, then I suggest you go take a ride down−”

Brian’s dimples popped as his lips pulled back in a hearty laugh. He shook his head. “I knew there was something about you I liked.”

I stared at him in confusion. Was he serious?

“You’re feisty and don’t hold back, I like that. And yes, the color of your skin did have something to do with it.”

I pointed a finger at him. “See, that’s what I thought.” I moved to march back inside, steam practically blowing from my ears.

“No, I’m pretty sure you’re thinking the wrong thing. Your skin is beautiful. And by the way, I’ve dated black women before.”

That comment put the brakes on my exit. “You’re kidding.”

“No, I’m not. But the color of your skin is not why I want to take you out.” His head cocked to the side as if remembering something. “Wait a minute, you’re avoiding my question. Why did you stand me up?”

“Stand you up? We weren’t on a date. You assumed I’d come running because you bought me a drink. Was I supposed to be impressed?”

A roguish grin appeared. “Most women would have been. Honestly, I’m glad you didn’t. It makes you more interesting.”

I smirked. “Interesting, yeah right. Would I have been this interesting if we never saw each other again?”

He shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not, I guess we’ll never know. What I do know is we’re here now. It’s a second chance to get to know you. I already know your name, where you live…” He wagged his eyebrows in an attempt to make me laugh I suppose.

It didn’t work. My internal alarm began to chime. If he didn’t like my answer, would he start stalking me?

He raised a hand to tick off fingers. “You’re educated, you have a smart mouth, and you’re not supposed to be attracted to me.” He creased his eyebrows in thought. “That’s not enough, I’ve got more questions.”

Vexed beyond belief, I threw my hands up in surrender.

“Okay, fine. If it will save money, I’ll play along. What’s the question?”

He grinned in victory while I massaged the bridge of my nose.

“Do you have a problem going out with me because I’m white?” he asked, straight to the point.

“What?”

His hands went up in defense. “Hey, you’re the one who made a big deal about it. Me? I see a sexy woman who’s got more to offer than just her looks and a body that’s…well, there’s a lot more going on, I’m curious. So what do you say?”

That was unexpected. It took several tries before I could open my mouth. “No, I don’t have a problem with you being white.”

“Somehow I find that hard to believe,” he said, matter-of-factly.

“Well, it’s true. One of my best friends and roommate is white,” I said in defense.

“Good. Since race is not a problem, go out with me tomorrow night.”

####

If you haven’t read the Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken, buy your copy today! It’s $3.99 and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! 

 AHNEB FINAL COVER

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jadedvisit this link! 

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

Milestone #10….October 15, 2013

Milestones.

I never gave deep thought to what this word means until my husband pointed it out.

In the past year of becoming a published author, I have reached more milestones than I could ever dream of.

First, being signed to 5 Prince Publishing in 2012, and not signing one book, but the entire six book Butterfly Memoirs Series! That still blows my mind…

When I started writing, I saw it as more of a hobby to keep my sanity and a much needed distraction from sitting in front of the TV playing The Sims until the kids came home. Hey, what can I say, I had fun giving my ‘characters’ lives I could control…well, control split with the computer program, that is. If you’ve ever played the game, you know what I mean. J

But with writing, there is another element of control that involves talent, creativity, and a tone of patience, perseverance, and determination. Oh yeah, and as every author knows, that so called ‘control’ over your imaginary characters gets lost from time to time when they come to ‘life’ and fight you and your Muse tooth and nail to write a story!

Other milestones reached include:

  • Earning the title of Bestselling Author in African American Literature & Romance, African American Women’s Fiction, African American Romance, and Multicultural and Interracial Romance (within hours of publication!) – debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken (September, 2012)
  • Publishing a second novel (because the first one wasn’t easy!!!) – Jaded (March, 2013)
  • Starting and hosting the Wordsmith Writers of Clayton County Writer’s Group which once meet at the Clayton County Headquarters Library, but has since moved to Barnes & Noble! (September 2012) I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with wonderful talent from various stages of publication!
  • Being nominated by members of the Building Relationships Around Books (B.R.A.B) book club as Best New Author and Breakout Author (The winners have not been announced yet, but just being chosen along with the many other talented authors is a wonderful experience!)
  • Being selected as the Featured Author at the First Annual Author Workshop held by The Virtuous Women, LLC (August, 2013)
  • Speaking at the Jonesboro Library and hosting a workshop on How to Land a Publishing Contract. (August, 2013)
  • I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in a few phone interviews; the latest was with LaSheera Lee of Read You Later Blog Talk Radio. (September, 2013)

That is by no means all of them, but those are some of the most memorable ones by far. So what’s next?

The most recent milestone happened on October 15th, when I had the opportunity to be interviewed by DeKalb County Commissioner, Stan Watson, on his local program, The Stan Watson Show, which features people in the community from various walks of life, talent, and businesses. It was my first television appearance as a published author, and by far, very memorable!

Take a few minutes and watch the link. I’m the first interview (time stamp 5:20). There were some technical issues in the beginning, but they are quickly resolved. Enjoy! Also, check out the wonderful interviews that follow! I look forward to sharing more about their projects on my blog in the next few weeks.

M.J. Kane on The Stan Watson Show! 

So, what’s up next on my ‘Milestone List?’

THE SORMAGE ONLINE CONFERENCE!!!

NOVEMBER 1-3, 2013

I’m excited to join other talented authors in two online panels on November 2nd: Social Media and Readers, and November 3rd: Marketing. Both are LIVE PHONE panels! If you haven’t registered for the conference, what are you waiting for???? REGISTER NOW!!! It’s FREE!!!!

And of course, my favorite project, LONELY HEART (BOOK 3 of THE BUTTERFLY MEMOIRS)!!!! The editing for this book is well underway. Release date is MARCH 6, 2014!!!! I love the way this story has turned out. The more I feel the characters as I edit, the more they come alive and their voices and stories are defined. I can promise you one thing; Kaitlyn’s story is NOTHING like the Ebony or Yasmine’s. Every woman has their own path in life, decisions that are made, and consequences to deal with. I look forward to sharing snippets with you as the edits are completed.

And since the contest I posted on Facebook the night of the interview did not go the way I thought it would due to the limited viewing area, I am going to hold another contest, another opportunity for TWO lucky winners to win an eBook copy of LONELY HEART the day it’s published! Entry is simple, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter link! The winner will be announced on November 1st!

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE LONELY HEART EBOOK GIVEAWAY!!!!

Good luck! And thanks to every one for your continued support! Without you guys, these MILESTONES would be unattainable dreams! ((HUGS)) and <3!!!!

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

Taking It to the Next Level…Live TV!!!!

Yes, my friends, that is correct, LIVE TV!!!

Today I have the wonderful opportunity to talk to DeKalb County Commissioner, Stan Watson, on his television show called what else, The Stan Watson Show!

154

The show airs at 7:30 PM and runs until 8:30 PM on Comcast Channel 25. If you are in the Atlanta Area you may be able to view it live. If so, you can call 770-559-2999 and chat! If not, don’t worry, the broadcast will be available on YouTube. I will share the link once I have it. I can’t wait to be able to share pictures and blog about the experience!

I’m also excited because I will be able to share some exciting news about what’s going on in my writing world! If you are able to tune in to the show, pay special attention to the announcements. Be one of the first viewers to leave me a private message on Facebook my author page (M.J. Kane Books) about the news I share and you will receive a FREE COPY of Lonely Heart (Book 3 of The Butterfly Memoirs) the day it releases!!! (Only the first two responses will win!)

Until next time, STAY TUNED!!!

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online! If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

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#SampleSunday- A Heart Not Easily Broken- Chapter Two…The Story Continues from Another Point of View

Although I shared this extended sample of A Heart Not Easily Broken earlier this week, some of you may have missed it. If you haven’t read the first novel in The Butterfly Memoirs series, but you’ve read the first chapter you’re probably wondering if Ebony decided to take Brian up on his offer to meet him in the VIP section of the club. I can guarantee what happens next is a surprise for not only Brian, but for Ebony as well.

Check out the next chapter told from Brian’s Point of View….

Chapter 2

I loved to work, but after spending the weekend playing late night gigs with my band, sleeping in on Monday would have been my preference, except my bills made it impossible.

Besides, laziness of any kind was not in my nature.

My cousin, Dylan, waved for my attention. “Hey, Brian, we’re done over here. Is there anything else?”

I cut off the weed whacker to appraise Dylan and Peter’s work, inhaling the smell of freshly cut grass. They did a good job clearing the yard of all the clippings. The decision to hire my young cousins for the summer paid off. Letting them handle the grunt work left me to handle the finer details, like trimming the edges of my clients’ professionally landscaped flowerbeds.

Sweat dripped from my brow, stinging my eyes. “No, we’re done. Take the bags to the curb.”

Dylan nodded before passing the message to his brother.

I removed the weed whacker’s carrying strap from around my neck, placed it in the bed of the truck, and then reached into the semi-melted ice in the cooler to retrieve a bottle of Gatorade. The liquid saturated my parched mouth. The bottle was empty in seconds.

“Heads up.” I tossed them both a bottle.

They murmured their thanks before leaning against the tailgate.

“Man, it’s hot,” Peter said. “How many yards have we done today?”

Dylan laughed. “This is the fifth one, bro.”

Peter turned to me for confirmation. I nodded and threw my empty bottle into the truck bed, adding to last week’s collection of bottles to be recycled.

“Man, how did I forget that?” Peter mumbled.

“Because your mind is still stuck three jobs ago,” Dylan replied.

Peter continued to have a look of awe on his face. I chuckled. If he got this flustered at the sight of three grown women lounging topless poolside, he was going to be dumbstruck when attending his first frat party in college.

I remembered my time spent in college. Somehow, I managed to discover my independence without screwing up too much along the way. Hot women always found their way into my dorm room once they learned I was in a band. A year after joining Diverse Nation, I got over the hype and focused on my craft instead. Being a member taught me discipline and kept me grounded with my eyes on the prize when it came to my career.

Music was my life. Cutting grass made it possible to pay the bills until my career took off.

I walked the yard one last time surveying our work. The hedges trimmed, grass cut evenly, and clippings set curbside. Mrs. Dillard would be pleased.

“Finish loading up,” I instructed, while walking up the long stone path that lead to a partially covered overhang, and rang the doorbell. The narrow strip of shade didn’t do much to ward off the sun’s oppressive heat. My attention went to the flowerbed kept near the front door. There were a few weeds growing among her flowers.

I smiled down at the older woman as the door opened. She was in her late sixties and believed in looking her best at all times. Mrs. Dillard lived next door to my parents. She’d been my first paying customer. She’d advertised my services at the monthly homeowner’s association meetings until nearly every neighbor became my customer. As a thank you, I offered her a lifetime of free yard maintenance. She refused, insisting she pay a discounted rate instead.

“Mrs. Dillard, you look young as ever.” I flashed the smile that used to earn me milk and cookies.

She laughed. “Brian, you are such a flirt. If I were thirty years younger…”

I shook my head. “Yeah, but then Mr. Dillard wouldn’t want me to come back around.”

“True, oh, well.” She stepped out onto her porch to survey the yard. “A great job as always, thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Unable to resist, I asked, “When are you going to let me weed your garden? It would be free of charge.”

“Never. I love to have my hands in the dirt. You handle the rest of the yard. I’ll handle my weeds.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I accepted the check. “Thank you. We’ll see you in two weeks.”

Sweaty bare feet hanging out the passenger side window greeted me when I reached the truck.

“Peter, I am not going to be held responsible by Aunt Gina if your foot gets cut by road debris.”

“Sorry,” he muttered, sliding his feet back inside. “It’s hot as h-e-double-hockey sticks out here. My feet were on fire in those boots.”

Now that his feet were inside, it made sense he’d hung them outside. Telling him to climb into the bed of my truck didn’t sound like a bad idea.

“Aunt Gina’s not around. You can drop your choirboy act, and say ‘hell’. It’ll be our secret.”

“Yeah, right. My mom probably has my boots bugged. She’d come home and slap me upside the head after listening to the recording.”

I cracked up. “Do you plan to let loose when you move into your dorm?” I concentrated on backing out of the driveway.

“Hell, yeah.”

Dylan and I both chuckled. My attention turned to my parents’ house next door. The yard would not need maintenance for another week. Unfortunately, my mother wasn’t home. What I wouldn’t give to snag a piece of homemade apple pie kept in the fridge for my dad.

From time to time, I missed home and my four obnoxious sisters. There were plenty of good times shared in my childhood home:birthdays, holidays, and just flat out fun. My father made sure that as the only boy in a household full of women, we spent a lot of time together. My mom and sisters taught me how to treat a woman while my dad taught me how to be a man. Work hard, and never, ever take no for an answer. Words I lived by on a daily basis.

We’d reached the front of the subdivision when my cell phone rang. I jotted down notes before snapping the phone shut. “It looks like we’ve got one more job.”

Groans erupted from my passengers.

“Hey, you want to get paid, right?” I glanced over my shoulder while punching the address into my GPS. “This is how it’s done. You guys want money for dates; I need money for my girl, too.”

“What girl?” Peter blurted.

Dylan cackled from the back seat.

“I have a girl. Unlike you guys, my girl isn’t high maintenance. She loves it when I hold her, and it doesn’t take much for me to make her sing.” I grinned so hard my face felt like it would split in two.

Dylan pretended to puke.

“Dude, you seriously need to find a girlfriend. I can’t stand listening to you talk about your guitar like it’s a real woman,” Peter said.

“Yeah, man, you need help,” Dylan chimed in.

“No, what I need is a new guitar. That will take my playing to a whole new level.”

Peter snickered. “Maybe, but your love life is gonna suck.”

I smirked, ignoring the ribbing. These young guys just didn’t understand. There was more to life than chasing after women.

Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the new customer’s address. There were no cars in the driveway. According to the woman who called, her roommate was on her way and would be responsible for payment. The guys waited in the truck while I surveyed the property, walking the length of the lawn, tossing small rocks to the yard’s edge. The last thing I needed was to pay for a customer’s broken windshield caused by a rock thrown by the lawnmower.

The two-story house had a decent sized yard. There were a few large shade trees in the front. A quick assessment showed the roots shouldn’t get in the way of the lawnmower blades. My height allowed me to peer over the high, wooden gate of the backyard. It was less than half the size of the front. We’d be able to knock it out in no time.

Peter and Dylan were out of the truck when I returned, so we went over the game plan. We’d just wrapped up when a car pulled into the driveway. I exhaled deeply before turning back to fill the weed whacker with gasoline. Our drive would not be a waste of time.

I heard the slam of a car door, followed by the opening of another. Light footsteps crunched on loose gravel in the driveway as my customer approached. I turned to introduce myself in full customer-service mode.

I paused; thankful my customer’s attention focused elsewhere, and quickly shut my mouth. It was Ebony, the woman from the club.

Her attention appeared to be on something in her purse as she walked my way, so she hadn’t seen me yet.

She was not dressed as she was Saturday night. Her hair wasn’t flowing over her shoulders, tempting my fingers to get lost in its waves. Her legs were not bare, nor did she wear a skin tight, short dress, showing off shapely calf muscles, as she had the other evening. Instead, she wore a baggy shirt over pants with some kind of printed design, something like standard medical wear. She wore her hair in a ponytail, and her feet were in tennis shoes. She struggled to balance an armful of books of various sizes and a book bag over her shoulder.

Ebony was still sexy as hell.

“I’m glad you haven’t got started yet. My roommate called me at the last minute and told me you were coming. I don’t have any cash on me. Do you take checks or−?” Her voice faltered when she saw me. “Brian? What are you doing here?”

I caught a hint of fire in her eyes and something else. Maybe guilt for not meeting me in VIP?

“I’m here to cut your grass.” I screwed the top back on the gas can, fighting the urge to laugh at the irony of the situation.

Play it cool. I was not about to let her know how disappointed I’d been sitting alone. What happened a few nights ago had nothing to do with the money she was about to put in my pocket.

“I thought you were a musician.”

I pulled goggles and gloves out of the driver’s side door pocket. “I am, but it doesn’t pay the bills just yet. This is my day job.”

Ebony’s eyes traveled to the truck and my cousins before settling back on me.

“This is my business,” I added, watching her thin eyebrows arch.

Since I hadn’t questioned her about the VIP incident, she seemed to relax. The sound of a lawnmower cranking up broke the awkward silence.

“Well, I’ll get out of your way.” She backed away from the truck and headed for her house.

It dawned on me I did not answer her question regarding the form of payment. At least it would give me something to talk about when we were done.

Saturday night, Ebony disappeared like Cinderella, without leaving a hint of a glass slipper. Now, barely two days later, I found where she lived. What were the chances? This was fate.

I took the opportunity to appreciate every inch of her hidden under baggy clothes. The image of her in the black form-fitting dress revealing every curvy inch of her body had haunted my dreams.

Outside the club, in natural light, Ebony did not disappoint. Her almond shaped eyes were a rich shade of brown, dark and mysterious. She wore no makeup on her caramel skin, and her lips were naked, with no hint of gloss.

I chuckled when she finally got her front door unlocked. It appeared she’d run into some trouble with her key. Flustered perhaps?

I hoped so. With a little luck, I just might have a chance to get her to talk to me about more than grass.

####

If you haven’t read the Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken, buy your copy today! It’s $3.99 and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! 

AHNEB FINAL COVER

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jadedvisit this link! 

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

Related articles

A Heart Not Easily Broken- Chapter Two- What happened next?

Today I decided to do a little bit of sharing! For those of you who have visited my site and read the first chapter of A Heart Not Easily Broken, you know Ebony was  invited to meet Brian in the VIP area of he club.  After their initial conversation, what did she decide?

Read chapter two to find out….

 

Chapter 2

I loved to work, but after spending the weekend playing late night gigs with my band, sleeping in on Monday would have been my preference, except my bills made it impossible.

Besides, laziness of any kind was not in my nature.

My cousin, Dylan, waved for my attention. “Hey, Brian, we’re done over here. Is there anything else?”

I cut off the weed whacker to appraise Dylan and Peter’s work, inhaling the smell of freshly cut grass. They did a good job clearing the yard of all the clippings. The decision to hire my young cousins for the summer paid off. Letting them handle the grunt work left me to handle the finer details, like trimming the edges of my clients’ professionally landscaped flowerbeds.

Sweat dripped from my brow, stinging my eyes. “No, we’re done. Take the bags to the curb.”

Dylan nodded before passing the message to his brother.

I removed the weed whacker’s carrying strap from around my neck, placed it in the bed of the truck, and then reached into the semi-melted ice in the cooler to retrieve a bottle of Gatorade. The liquid saturated my parched mouth. The bottle was empty in seconds.

“Heads up.” I tossed them both a bottle.

They murmured their thanks before leaning against the tailgate.

“Man, it’s hot,” Peter said. “How many yards have we done today?”

Dylan laughed. “This is the fifth one, bro.”

Peter turned to me for confirmation. I nodded and threw my empty bottle into the truck bed, adding to last week’s collection of bottles to be recycled.

“Man, how did I forget that?” Peter mumbled.

“Because your mind is still stuck three jobs ago,” Dylan replied.

Peter continued to have a look of awe on his face. I chuckled. If he got this flustered at the sight of three grown women lounging topless poolside, he was going to be dumbstruck when attending his first frat party in college.

I remembered my time spent in college. Somehow, I managed to discover my independence without screwing up too much along the way. Hot women always found their way into my dorm room once they learned I was in a band. A year after joining Diverse Nation, I got over the hype and focused on my craft instead. Being a member taught me discipline and kept me grounded with my eyes on the prize when it came to my career.

Music was my life. Cutting grass made it possible to pay the bills until my career took off.

I walked the yard one last time surveying our work. The hedges trimmed, grass cut evenly, and clippings set curbside. Mrs. Dillard would be pleased.

“Finish loading up,” I instructed, while walking up the long stone path that lead to a partially covered overhang, and rang the doorbell. The narrow strip of shade didn’t do much to ward off the sun’s oppressive heat. My attention went to the flowerbed kept near the front door. There were a few weeds growing among her flowers.

I smiled down at the older woman as the door opened. She was in her late sixties and believed in looking her best at all times. Mrs. Dillard lived next door to my parents. She’d been my first paying customer. She’d advertised my services at the monthly homeowner’s association meetings until nearly every neighbor became my customer. As a thank you, I offered her a lifetime of free yard maintenance. She refused, insisting she pay a discounted rate instead.

“Mrs. Dillard, you look young as ever.” I flashed the smile that used to earn me milk and cookies.

She laughed. “Brian, you are such a flirt. If I were thirty years younger…”

I shook my head. “Yeah, but then Mr. Dillard wouldn’t want me to come back around.”

“True, oh, well.” She stepped out onto her porch to survey the yard. “A great job as always, thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Unable to resist, I asked, “When are you going to let me weed your garden? It would be free of charge.”

“Never. I love to have my hands in the dirt. You handle the rest of the yard. I’ll handle my weeds.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I accepted the check. “Thank you. We’ll see you in two weeks.”

Sweaty bare feet hanging out the passenger side window greeted me when I reached the truck.

“Peter, I am not going to be held responsible by Aunt Gina if your foot gets cut by road debris.”

“Sorry,” he muttered, sliding his feet back inside. “It’s hot as h-e-double-hockey sticks out here. My feet were on fire in those boots.”

Now that his feet were inside, it made sense he’d hung them outside. Telling him to climb into the bed of my truck didn’t sound like a bad idea.

“Aunt Gina’s not around. You can drop your choirboy act, and say ‘hell’. It’ll be our secret.”

“Yeah, right. My mom probably has my boots bugged. She’d come home and slap me upside the head after listening to the recording.”

I cracked up. “Do you plan to let loose when you move into your dorm?” I concentrated on backing out of the driveway.

“Hell, yeah.”

Dylan and I both chuckled. My attention turned to my parents’ house next door. The yard would not need maintenance for another week. Unfortunately, my mother wasn’t home. What I wouldn’t give to snag a piece of homemade apple pie kept in the fridge for my dad.

From time to time, I missed home and my four obnoxious sisters. There were plenty of good times shared in my childhood home:birthdays, holidays, and just flat out fun. My father made sure that as the only boy in a household full of women, we spent a lot of time together. My mom and sisters taught me how to treat a woman while my dad taught me how to be a man. Work hard, and never, ever take no for an answer. Words I lived by on a daily basis.

We’d reached the front of the subdivision when my cell phone rang. I jotted down notes before snapping the phone shut. “It looks like we’ve got one more job.”

Groans erupted from my passengers.

“Hey, you want to get paid, right?” I glanced over my shoulder while punching the address into my GPS. “This is how it’s done. You guys want money for dates; I need money for my girl, too.”

“What girl?” Peter blurted.

Dylan cackled from the back seat.

“I have a girl. Unlike you guys, my girl isn’t high maintenance. She loves it when I hold her, and it doesn’t take much for me to make her sing.” I grinned so hard my face felt like it would split in two.

Dylan pretended to puke.

“Dude, you seriously need to find a girlfriend. I can’t stand listening to you talk about your guitar like it’s a real woman,” Peter said.

“Yeah, man, you need help,” Dylan chimed in.

“No, what I need is a new guitar. That will take my playing to a whole new level.”

Peter snickered. “Maybe, but your love life is gonna suck.”

I smirked, ignoring the ribbing. These young guys just didn’t understand. There was more to life than chasing after women.

Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the new customer’s address. There were no cars in the driveway. According to the woman who called, her roommate was on her way and would be responsible for payment. The guys waited in the truck while I surveyed the property, walking the length of the lawn, tossing small rocks to the yard’s edge. The last thing I needed was to pay for a customer’s broken windshield caused by a rock thrown by the lawnmower.

The two-story house had a decent sized yard. There were a few large shade trees in the front. A quick assessment showed the roots shouldn’t get in the way of the lawnmower blades. My height allowed me to peer over the high, wooden gate of the backyard. It was less than half the size of the front. We’d be able to knock it out in no time.

Peter and Dylan were out of the truck when I returned, so we went over the game plan. We’d just wrapped up when a car pulled into the driveway. I exhaled deeply before turning back to fill the weed whacker with gasoline. Our drive would not be a waste of time.

I heard the slam of a car door, followed by the opening of another. Light footsteps crunched on loose gravel in the driveway as my customer approached. I turned to introduce myself in full customer-service mode.

I paused; thankful my customer’s attention focused elsewhere, and quickly shut my mouth. It was Ebony, the woman from the club.

Her attention appeared to be on something in her purse as she walked my way, so she hadn’t seen me yet.

She was not dressed as she was Saturday night. Her hair wasn’t flowing over her shoulders, tempting my fingers to get lost in its waves. Her legs were not bare, nor did she wear a skin tight, short dress, showing off shapely calf muscles, as she had the other evening. Instead, she wore a baggy shirt over pants with some kind of printed design, something like standard medical wear. She wore her hair in a ponytail, and her feet were in tennis shoes. She struggled to balance an armful of books of various sizes and a book bag over her shoulder.

Ebony was still sexy as hell.

“I’m glad you haven’t got started yet. My roommate called me at the last minute and told me you were coming. I don’t have any cash on me. Do you take checks or−?” Her voice faltered when she saw me. “Brian? What are you doing here?”

I caught a hint of fire in her eyes and something else. Maybe guilt for not meeting me in VIP?

“I’m here to cut your grass.” I screwed the top back on the gas can, fighting the urge to laugh at the irony of the situation.

Play it cool. I was not about to let her know how disappointed I’d been sitting alone. What happened a few nights ago had nothing to do with the money she was about to put in my pocket.

“I thought you were a musician.”

I pulled goggles and gloves out of the driver’s side door pocket. “I am, but it doesn’t pay the bills just yet. This is my day job.”

Ebony’s eyes traveled to the truck and my cousins before settling back on me.

“This is my business,” I added, watching her thin eyebrows arch.

Since I hadn’t questioned her about the VIP incident, she seemed to relax. The sound of a lawnmower cranking up broke the awkward silence.

“Well, I’ll get out of your way.” She backed away from the truck and headed for her house.

It dawned on me I did not answer her question regarding the form of payment. At least it would give me something to talk about when we were done.

Saturday night, Ebony disappeared like Cinderella, without leaving a hint of a glass slipper. Now, barely two days later, I found where she lived. What were the chances? This was fate.

I took the opportunity to appreciate every inch of her hidden under baggy clothes. The image of her in the black form-fitting dress revealing every curvy inch of her body had haunted my dreams.

Outside the club, in natural light, Ebony did not disappoint. Her almond shaped eyes were a rich shade of brown, dark and mysterious. She wore no makeup on her caramel skin, and her lips were naked, with no hint of gloss.

I chuckled when she finally got her front door unlocked. It appeared she’d run into some trouble with her key. Flustered perhaps?

I hoped so. With a little luck, I just might have a chance to get her to talk to me about more than grass.

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If you haven’t read the Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken, buy your copy today! It’s $3.99 and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! 

AHNEB FINAL COVER

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jadedvisit this link! 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

And the winner is…..

Yes! We have a winner!!

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by to help celebrate Ebony and Brian’s first Book-A-Versary! I had a wonderful time chatting with some of you online, and especially chatting with two wonderful book groups, Read You Later and the Real Readers Real Words (3RW) by phone. Hopefully you were able to tune in to one of the interviews, but if not, no worries! My interview with Read You Later is available on Blog Talk Radio! Click on the link and check it out!

For those of you who have been following me online, you know that I have entered the final stretch of preparing the next  book in The Butterfly Memoirs series, Lonely Heart….otherwise known as EDITING! So, I’m digging in! The winner of this months contest will receive an eBook copy of the book on the day it releases…..MARCH 6,  2014!!!!! I am very excited and can’t wait for readers to learn what happens next!

So, with that said, the winner of the Book-A-Versary contest is…….

Sharon Blount!!!!

Be sure to stay tuned to my blog, Facebook, and Instagram sites. I’ll be sharing snippets over the next few months, as well as having a few more contests with more opportunities to win eBooks and autographed paperbacks! You’ll need to access those sites in order to answer the contest questions!

And of course, if you haven’t read A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book 1) or Jaded (Book 2), or would like to know more about the series and it’s characters, Check out The Butterfly Memoirs page. There you’ll find character bios, diary posts, and a hidden scene!

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

The Butterfly Memoirs- Contest and Book Review!

Did you read Sunday’s blog post????? If you missed it, you missed out on the ‘update’ of whats going on with Brian and Ebony of A Heart Not Easily Broken….AND….you missed the CONTEST!!!!
Follow the link to enter and you have a chance to win an ebook copy of the next book in the series, Lonely Heart, on it’s release day! (Release day will officially be announced next month!) The contest ends on September 30 and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, October the 1st!
If you haven’t read A Heart Not Easily Broken, but are curious as to what readers have to say, check out this great review from an Amazon Reader!
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, Flowing, Lyrical, Absorbing, September 22, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

I first heard about M.J. and the Butterfly Memoirs series via Twitter, where I came across several positive reviews. I ran here to read what Amazon readers were saying and ordered both “A Heart Not Easily Broken” and “Jaded” that same day. When the books arrived, I eagerly began to read “A Heart Not Easily Broken.” To say I was hooked is an understatement. I loved the books, loved M. J.’s writing style, and now have a new favorite author.

I’ve read quite a number of novels in the IR genre over the years. My interest was primarily due to my own relationship, and the desire to see African-American women portrayed as appealing, interesting, sensual, fully-formed characters – women I could recognize and relate to, and with whom I could go on a journey as I read their stories. I wasn’t always able to find novels that embraced all those elements. However, M. J. hit all those notes, and made me care deeply about the characters. I recognized Ebony. I liked her very much. She was real to me. Her struggles were real. Her dreams and goals were real. Her insecurities were real. Her self-assessment was real.

M.J.’s characterization of Brian was also quite vivid and rooted in reality. He was a good guy. He wasn’t a billionaire whose money and lifestyle could erase any and all challenges the couple might face. He wasn’t Ebony’s “savior” – she could save herself. He was “simply” a good man, with dreams and goals of his own. One who could appreciate a beautiful woman – no matter the “outer” form. He just liked what he saw. But he was also a man who could appreciate a good woman – a man who wanted a partner, someone with whom he could grow – a woman willing to share her goals, and support him in his. And he was willing to do the same.

Ebony and Brian’s relationship flowed so organically – as other readers have mentioned. It wasn’t love at first sight. It was mutual appreciation, with a bit of lust (!) at first sight. Brian pursued her, to be sure, but they got to know each other slowly – in real time, it seemed. They didn’t rush. They continued to learn about about each other, and realized that the mix of similarities and differences made the other all the more appealing.

The “serious plot point” that I won’t spoil was handled deftly and realistically. One of the marks of a great writer is being able to take the reader completely into a particular “scene” or circumstance. Suffice it to say, M. J. is a great writer.

I could wax eloquent about this book for hours. I loved it so much, and it instantly became my standard against which I will assess all other IR romances. “Jaded”, the second book in the series, was another fantastic read, with richly drawn characters and some twists and turns I didn’t expect. The story truly pulled me in.

I was so glad I bought both books at the same time. I’m anxiously awaiting the 3rd book in this trilogy. Hurry up, M.J.! 🙂

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Learn more about the characters!

Character Biography

Ebony’s Diary

Brian’s Musings

Read Chapter One

The Deleted Scene

If you haven’t read the Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken, buy your copy today! It’s $3.99 and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! 

AHNEB FINAL COVER

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jadedvisit this link! 

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email