A Letter for My Mother by Nina Foxx

A Letter for My Mother
by Nina Foxx


Whether they’re from the US, Caribbean, India, or the UK, all of the contributors to A Letter for My Mother share one thing in common: thoughts that have been left unsaid to their mothers and mother figures—until now. In this moving book, thirty-three women reveal the stories, reflections, confessions, and revelations they’ve kept to themselves for years and have finally put into words. Written through tears and pain, as well as joy and laughter, each offering presents the mother-daughter bond in a different light.

Heartfelt and deeply meaningful, A Letter for My Mother will inspire you to admire and cherish that special relationship that shapes every woman.



Excerpt from A Letter for My Mother 



My ex-husband’s mother was dying. During the time I was married to him, our relationship had been at best, tenuous. I married her oldest son and she never forgave me for that, or at least it seemed that way in my head. I couldn’t seem to understand some of her ways and she couldn’t understand mine. I was from a different place than she and my life was different than both hers and that of her daughters. At times, she seemed to resent me for that. Some days, she went from insulting me, my family, my upbringing and lifestyle in one sentence to embracing me and trying to nurture me, all in the space of a twelve-hour period. It was infuriating. I retaliated, resisted, rebelled and refused to accept. I’d already had a mother. She’d died when I was six, and no one could replace her. Various female members of my biological family had given me all the mothering I thought I would need so I saw no need to accept any from a stranger.

Over the years, our relationship changed and softened, especially after the children came, but I’ll admit I was never comfortable with her. When I divorced her son, I thought I was walking away from her family too and struggled with the link that lay between us and the desire to do the right thing. I was more compelled to stay in contact with family than my ex-husband was, but didn’t want to overstep my bounds by staying in touch with his family for my children. Divorce was a relationship quagmire I had a hard time negotiating. I wanted my children to know and love their family, all of it, but I didn’t want to be the uncomfortable bridge that made that happen. My mother-in-law didn’t care what I felt. She was always going to be here, and though my last name had changed, she still offered her opinion, advice and whatever else she felt like when we spoke, making me still more uncomfortable.

I knew she was ill, but I still felt as if I’d been knocked off my feet when I received the call that she was dying. Tears and confusion flooded my brain. At first, I couldn’t understand why I was not emotionless. My sister, the main mother figure in my life, explained my reaction to me and encouraged me to tell my mother-in-law what I had to say to her before I no longer could. She assured me that even though I was unwilling to admit it, I was close to this woman and couldn’t avoid being unnerved. We had developed a relationship over the years. My sister encouraged me to write down what I wanted to say to the woman before she died if I was unable to speak the words. The result was the letter that led to this book.

As I wrote, I realized that although she and I were very different, my mother-in-law had been mothering me all along and didn’t care whether I wanted to accept it or not. Because I had been raised to do the right thing, I started out treating her with respect, and even though my respect was peppered with defiance, it didn’t stop me from loving her. Over time, I treated her with respect not because I was supposed to, but because I had come to respect her.

I finished my letter and my mother-in-law died three hours later. I was as devastated as if she had given birth to me, but I did feel some relief that I had said to the universe the things I wanted to say but hadn’t been able to for the fifteen years our families had been linked by my marriage to her son. In writing my letter, I discovered that I had been so stressed by our relationship because I wasn’t open to mothering and mother-wisdom of the kind that we receive from the more seasoned members of the female community. I don’t know why this was. Perhaps it was because my own wound from losing my mother so young had not yet healed, some thirty-plus years later. I read my letter over and over, and as I did, it occurred to me that I was not alone.

As females, we have a way of nurturing others, usually children and men, but we are often reluctant to nurture and share with each other. As young women, we are often mean girls (or the victims of them). We might make a few close friends as young adults, but throughout our lives, many of us are very slow to let new women in. Rather than embrace each other, we push away. We argue with and resent our mothers, and more often than not, fall prey to the idea that our mothers-in-law and stepmothers, all “outside women,” are evil rather than a source of support or knowledge. As we do so, we miss our lessons until finally we only see them in hindsight.

I invited other women to write a letter to a mother in their lives, someone who guided them when they didn’t want to be guided and perhaps someone they’d never thanked. In the letter, they were to tell them what they wanted them to know. The recipient of the letter needn’t be alive or biologically related, just someone to whom they had things to say to but lacked courage or foresight to be able to say those things, a thank you. Many of the writers I asked to participate agreed to do so right away. What I hadn’t counted on though were those authors that were my friends who would refuse to participate. They had no issue with the concept.

Instead, their reluctance was based on where they were in their own personal journeys with the mother figures in their lives. Some were not able to say anything positive so chose to say nothing. Others had no idea what they would say or they hadn’t worked through their feelings about that mother-daughter relationship yet and they feared the experience would be too painful for them. There are emotional wounds that only another woman can inflict on you, and theirs had not yet begun to crust over. I received many calls and notes from those who did choose to participate, often filled with apprehension and tears.

This task I was asking of them was harder than any of us had imagined, yet those who got through it reported experiencing a catharsis they had never counted on. The relationship that was closest to us proved to be the hardest to be honest about and the hardest to resolve. Writing these letters, love letters to our mothers, forced us to let go of the anger that had hung around our necks for years and let it float away from us. We had to give the bad memories to the universe and embrace the good and how that had shaped us into adulthood.

While I read the submissions, my love and respect for these women grew exponentially. I’d asked them to participate because I respected them and where they were in their craft and professional lives. I challenged them to look beyond the ordinary and find something positive in their relationship with their mothers. This proved to be harder for some than others, but once I was given a glimpse of their journeys and the women that had helped to shape them, they were all much bigger in my eyes. This process was like therapy for many of us, and as we navigated the murkiness of our childhoods, our paths through our womanhoods became that much clearer.

Charlenne T. Greer died on a Friday in May, 2012.  Cigarettes killed her. She was not my mother or even related by blood.  Still, I am thankful for her lessons.



A Letter for My Mother by Nina Foxx

Genre: Creative Non-fiction

 
Meet the Author
Nina Foxx is an award-winning filmmaker, playwright, and novelist. She writes as both Nina Foxx and Cynnamon Foster. Her work has appeared on numerous bestseller lists around the country, and her films have won awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, Cannes, and the Rome International Film Festival. Originally from Jamaica, New York, she lives with her family near Seattle, Washington, where she works in Human-Computer interaction for a major software company. Nina is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, The Links and Jack & Jill of America. Visit her at www.ninafoxx.com or her blog at ninafoxx.blogspot.com 

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Trust In Us by AlTonya Washington

Trust In Us
by AlTonya Washington


With a successful boutique in Charlotte and plans to open another exclusive one in Aspen, Alythia Duffy feels as if she's finally arrived. Then a wild week in the Caribbean at her best friend's bachelorette celebration threatens to ruin everything, though Alythia doesn't regret her passionate idyll with a sensual stranger.

Self-made developer Gage Vincent learned long ago not to believe the words of a beautiful woman. He thought Alythia was different. Yet, how can he trust her after he finds out that she is bidding for space in his hot new skyscraper? Will Alythia be able to prove to him that she is the special woman meant to share his life?


Excerpt from Trust In Us


Alythia Duffy had hoped taking her car; as opposed to hiring a driver, might play into her excuse of bad traffic which would have resulted in her missing out on the luxurious flight.

To her dismay, she arrived at the airstrip to find the plane still waiting. A chorus of birds were chirping somewhere amidst the late morning air as if they meant to welcome her to fun and excitement. Alythia appreciated the welcome, but all the while considered circling back to the Interstate in hopes of getting caught up in a traffic jam- a tad unlikely at that time of day, but who knew? It all could work in her favor and she might get-

“Can I help you with those?”

Alythia turned, her jaw dropping while her eyes zoned out in a show of surprise.

“Lucky,” she breathed the completion of her thought.

She wasn’t sure if the man who stood within touching distance had sparked such a reaction because of his height- she stood just shy of 5”10 in her bare feet. This guy had to be 6”2 at least. Sure, it could’ve been the height or the muscular build- more lean than massive. Alythia was more inclined to wager on the man’s remaining attributes.

Whoever he was, he had the most remarkable shade of skin, an unblemished tone of black coffee. The richness was offset by a long, steady brown gaze enhanced by overt gold flecks. His hair was straight-textured and close cropped. Thanks to that morning’s powerful sunrays, Alythia could tell that his hair was of the same deep brown as his eyes.

He was smiling and the curve of a beckoning, sculpted mouth was made more attractive by the singular dimple accompanying it. Still, that stare of his was impossible to ignore and difficult to perceive as anything other than intensely observant. That gaze lent a well-blended mixture of heat and cool to the smile.

“Are you okay?”

She heard him speaking to her, his smile carrying more heat when he leaned close to ask how she was. He extended a hand as if he meant to cup her elbow but barely let his thumb graze the bend of her arm.

Snapping to, Alythia ordered no-begged the sudden and completely uncharacteristic desire to moan to cease and desist the pressure it applied to her larynx.

“I um-I’m good,” she managed and then followed up the lie with a laugh. “I was good before I got here and saw that my ride was kind enough not to leave without me.”

He roared into laughter, the sound causing Alythia to jump at the full honesty of it. Despite the contagious effect of the gesture, she winced when he looked her way.

“Sorry, I know I sound ungrateful.” She said.

Curiosity intermingled with his amusement. “Why do you think you’re ungrateful?”

“Most people dream of visiting the Caribbean,” she looked toward the jet once more. “Of those who actually have those dreams come true, few get there on a private plane.”

Clarity surged in the liquid chocolate of his stare then and Gage Vincent realized that the woman standing before him had no idea that the plane was his or who he was for that matter.

“Um, could I take that stuff for you?” He inquired of her bags again before the dumbfounded amusement on his face started to make her feel uneasy.

“Sorry um,” Alythia began to relinquish her bags. “Thanks for your help-oh wait.”

Easing the strap of a tan duffle over his shoulder, Gage watched her fumble through a plump mid-sized purse.

“I knew I had a five or ten in here…”

“Hey?” He cupped her elbow that time and waited for her eyes to meet his. “There’s no need to tip me.”

Alythia blinked toward the plane. “I’m pretty sure you guys are way behind schedule because of me.”

“We’ll get there.” Gage voiced the soft reassurance while applying a light massage to the elbow he cupped. The intention was to relax her. In turn, it was the sensation of her satiny skin beneath his thumb that was ushering him into a state of relaxation.




Trust In Us by AlTonya Washington


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One Safe Place by Alvin L.A. Horn

One Safe Place
by Alvin L.A. Horn



Friends and foes, politicians and lovers intersect in this exciting novel of love, lust, and crime in the Emerald City.



In One Safe Place, lightning strikes of dilemmas and storms of lustful deeds intertwine with the well-thought citizens, as well as the criminal-minded. Under Seattle’s cloudy skies, the morally minded kiss the sexual deviant for advancement of careers and social status. Once again Alvin L.A. Horn rains down love, lust, and crime in the pursuit of clear skies in the Emerald City.

Everyone wants and needs one safe place, and former secret service agent Psalms Black puts thoughts and actions into his social righteousness. He knows how to exact revenge by any means necessary. His sexy lover, Gabrielle Brandywine, used to be the most powerful woman in the world as the Secretary of State of the United States. She still has clout, but has personal issues that can derail Psalms’ desired purpose in life. He and his friends are stealthy and tend to interpret human nature with skillful cleverness. In the mix though, are their own lives and love, and sexual issues must be controlled to complete missions.

Life is complicated when the deviant creep out of waters and from behind snow-capped mountains and mix with politics, sex, and dark money shadows. If evil acts occur like putting hands on a woman, or threatening a child, or harming a friend, you better hope Psalms Black and his friends don’t find out or someone could come up missing, or wish they had. Whether someone is on the right side of morality or if someone steps over the line, everyone wants and needs One Safe Place.



Excerpts from One Safe Place

Excerpt 1

Maybe he thought he could read her mind with her head next to his because he sure wanted her to know his thoughts. He wanted her understand the world might be breaking apart, but no matter what, he knew in his heart and mind, she was his one safe place to lay his burdens down.



Excerpt 2
Up ten stories, I stare downward, avoiding the blinding sun and enjoying the water, watching the ferries go from Seattle over to the local islands and coming back. On the beachfront down below, I'm watching my ex-Secret Service agent, my lover man, who is sparring with the ocean air with quickness and hardly any effort in his fluent movements. He possesses the kind of power men fear. Psalms is on Alki Beach, shadow boxing in the sand.

With downtown Seattle in one corner of his world, and the Puget Sound in the other, he works out with the street behind him as if his back is against the ropes in a boxing ring. He beats the air until I'm sure the air is heated to one-hundred degrees in twenty feet in each direction surrounding him.

Since I've known him, I've had the opportunity to see him do what he is doing now, many times, and I never grow weary of watching him. I have watched him shadow box and heat up the air with his rapid-firing fists along an iced-over river in Moscow. I watched his body move along the Panama Canal with the icy quickness of a  Doberman as he seemingly cooled the hot air with the speed of his kicks. Along the Great Wall of China, I watched him attack the breathed air of past warriors, and it evoked a vision of him fighting and defeating Genghis Khan. Psalms Black has the build of Mike Tyson, yet he moves like a jaguar in the Amazon jungle.

I have felt that same power in his lovemaking, taking me and making me feel that he wants me. The responsiveness of his proficiencies in lovemaking takes the form of a ballet dancer's grace. My ex-Secret Service agent, my lover, has picked me up and floated me down in a way a man cannot be trained. He is all-natural in all he does. Psalms touches every square centimeter of my body with his strong hands, and I sweat from the softness of his caress.


Purchase One Safe Place: A Novel

Link: http://amzn.com/1593095503
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Twist by Roni Teson

Twist by Roni Teson


A Romantic Suspense full of twists and turns...


When a steamy incident in the back seat of a borrowed car plunges sixteen-year-old Beatrice Malcolm smack in the middle of a global manhunt, she discovers that the search for her fugitive father has more to do with her than she could ever imagine.

With her mother gone, Bea's life is unraveling in the worst possible way as she's thrust into a world of government conspiracy, insanity, and mind-altering experimentation that forces her to make a life or death decision on who to believe—the FBI or her father.

In Twist, Roni Teson has crafted a suspenseful tale of love, betrayal and intrigue with a cast of characters who will leap off the pages and stay in your heart long after the last page has been turned.


Excerpt Chapter 1

I’d seen him at school before, the kid who came in with Mr. Drake. I didn’t know his name was Lucas. When he brushed his blond hair away from his forehead and his blue eyes met mine, my insides liquefied. I thought I saw a flicker of recognition on his face, but how would he know me?

“Do you go to Sage Creek High?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, as I looked down at my tennis shoes and wished I’d dressed better. But I didn’t know a cute boy would be standing in front of me tonight.

“I thought so,” he said. “Aren’t you new?”

“Yes.”

We were at Aunt Charlotte and Uncle George’s house, me sitting in the living room and the boy hanging around the threshold.

Only a few seconds earlier, my uncle’s plumber, Mr. Drake, had said, “Stay here, Lucas. Talk to Beatrice for a minute while I work on George’s sink.” And then he followed my uncle into the kitchen.

“Did you hear me?” Lucas said.

“What?” I answered.

A tiny chuckle puffed off of his lips. “I didn’t think you were listening. Call me Luke.”

His voice was so smooth my belly did backflips. “Bea,” I said, because a single syllable was all I could manage under the gaze of such a magnificent creature as Luke.

“So, Bea.” His eyes wandered around the living room and stopped on me. “What’s your story? Where you been hiding?”

I stared at his perfectly straight, white teeth and froze.

“Dad makes me tag along on some of his jobs,” Luke said, as he sat down on the edge of the couch. “I’ve been to this house a lot, but I’ve never seen you here.”

“You weren’t here last week when the kitchen flooded.” I flicked a piece of lint off of my leg, acting disinterested. “I’m staying with my aunt and uncle for a while”—and then I stopped short, before the darkness of the last twelve months could creep into our conversation. I picked up the remote and channel surfed, looking for something he could grab on to instead of me.

“Where’d that frown come from?” he asked. Then when I didn’t answer, after a pause, he posed another question. “Do you have a boyfriend?”

And that was all I needed to hear. I lost interest. He was way too nosy, and far too comfortable asking me about my personal life. I kept my eyes on the TV and said, “Do you always talk so much?”

“Hey, a cute girl shows up at school and I want to know.”

“Now you’re way too flirty.”

“I like the tomboy thing you’re rocking. What can I say?”

In my peripheral vision I saw him wink at me. That was so cheesy, I thought I was being played. “Really?” I rolled my eyes.

“I’m just being friendly. Geez, Beatrice.”

And the timber of his voice, mixed with a playful tone, hit the right note—it softened me. “Call me, Bea,” I said.

“Can’t anyone be nice to you?” he asked.

When his lower lip protruded, exaggerating a pout, I must have been like a swinging mood tree because my entire being thawed. “Yeah, I’m just having a bad day,” I said.

More like a bad year.

We stared at each other and he smiled again, so I smiled, too.

“See,” Luke said. “I knew you had it in you.”

He moved closer to me on the couch and put his hand on mine. “My official name is Lucas Drake.” With that, he squeezed my fingers, lifted my hand, and kissed my knuckles.

An unfamiliar feeling of warmth ran down my spine and into my toes. I jerked my arm away and stood up in a curtsy. “Beatrice Malcolm.” I plopped down again, tucking my right leg under my butt.

Luke glided even closer and whispered, “I’m glad you moved to Cali. I think you’re cute.”

I wondered if his head had begun to swirl, the way mine had. I’d never experienced anything like this before, ever. But suddenly, Uncle George and Luke’s dad were standing at the front door, about fifteen feet from where we sat. And thank goodness Mr. Drake broke the spell with his gruff voice. “Lucas, let’s go!”

Luke seemed to become abruptly aware of his surroundings and even looked puzzled when he saw how close we were sitting. He flexed his hand and wiggled his fingers—I ran my thumb across my knuckles and glanced at him. We both blushed and quickly looked away. I was relieved to stand up and walk the few steps to the entryway with Lucas Drake behind me.




Purchase Twist by Roni Teson

 
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Something About April by Cheri Paris Edwards

Something About April
by Cheri Paris Edwards


In Something About April, Carla Jefferson meets the perfect guy, but he's not quite the man of her dreams. Will she hold on to love, or let it slip away hoping for a chance at the life she's imagined?  A rediscovered photograph and the return of old friends stir memories and a desire to reclaim the past, setting into motion events that may change the Jefferson family forever.

Something About April  is the second novel in a planned series of four books about the Midwestern Jefferson family introduced in book one, The Other Sister. In this fast-paced story focus shifts to older characters, and moves from the conversation of faith to the daily struggles of the Jefferson family and their friends as they strive to meet life's challenges.


Meet the Jeffersons: James Jefferson is a driven man, motivated by love for his family, devotion to church members and concern for the community. After centering her life around the interests of others, Lena Jefferson must readjust now that her adult daughters are living lives of their own. Older daughter Carla Jefferson juggles the responsibilities of a demanding career while hoping for love, while her younger sister Sanita strives to move through life with the same self-confidence that made her an athletic star. Get to know the Jeffersons as they navigate a season of love, laughter and heartache, wrestling with life's challenges while holding on to friends, faith and one another.

James Jefferson – is the father who is driven by his own humble beginnings by a need to give back to the community and take care of his family, so he’s a bit of a social activist with a pulpit. He defines himself as “project boy” and he is the son of single mother who struggled to raise him and a sister. A promising athlete, he grew up in the church, and his faith and the church became a respite leading him to eventually followed become a minister. Faith Community is not a mega-church but does have a thriving congregation. He also owns and sells real estate, and while not wealthy, has provided a middle-class lifestyle for his family.

Lena Jefferson – is his wife who spent much of her life shaping herself into the person she thought a minister’s wife should be. She served as part-time church secretary, and was a homemaker. Now that her daughters are adults and living on their own she’s left with a void in her life.

Carla Jefferson – is the older Jefferson daughter who’s always tried to do the right thing. She’s a bit of a perfectionist, a school administrator at a charter middle school who has felt eclipsed by her younger, athletic sister Sanita who is also more outgoing. In the first story, she had been on a few dates with ex-pro basketball player Terrence Catchings who fell head over heels for Sanita when she returned to town.

Sanita Jefferson – the younger Jefferson sister, who also is an ex-athlete. Poor decisions while she was away from home, put her both her health and freedom at risk, but with a cleared slate, she is rebounding, living on her own now and taking courses at the community college.

We learn more about James and Lena in this story and Lena’s attorney friend Nadine, Javier Quintero, and Mandy who is Carla’s good friend are introduced in this book.



Excerpt from Something About April 



CHAPTER ONE


She couldn’t sleep. All day, sleep had wooed her with heavy-lidded promises, but as soon as she got into bed, the flirtation was over. She closed her eyes and her mind reeled and lurched like an uneven film. Lifting on her elbows, she squinted. The clock’s bright digits seemed to glare at her — another hour had passed. She sank onto her pillow. Hopeful, she shut her eyes, but as soon as her lids lowered, the show spun into motion again. Flashes from yesterday melded into this day’s events before whirling into plans for tomorrow. With a sigh, she sat upright. Peeling back the covers, she glanced at her husband. His gentle breathing sang a rhythmic hum. Sliding into her slippers, she snagged her robe from the footboard post, and tied it on. She stepped into the hallway, and gently pulled the door closed behind her.

Gliding stealthily through the darkened house, she moved as though she had a plan, but she did not. She paused in the kitchen to open the refrigerator and peer at the contents before settling on a bottle of water. Resting the bottle on the counter, she scooped used glasses into the sink before dampening a cloth to sweep away evidence of a late-night sandwich he made. “How many times have I asked him to not leave crumbs?” she grumbled.

Bottled water in hand, she padded through the dining room and into the wide expanse of the family room. At the fireplace, she drew the metal curtain to prod the simmering wood with a poker, then, rubbing her chilled arms, fell into the seat of a chair in front of her desk. She lifted the lid to her laptop.

“Why do you need a password?” he had asked the other day as he watched her logging in. His eyes deepened with curiosity. “It’s not like anyone else has access. It’s your computer.”

“From the writing class I was taking,” she explained. “We had to write poems now and then, and sometimes I still journal my feelings. Guess it’s like a diary,” she continued. “Giving it a password is like it has a key. Makes me feel safer writing about my feelings if I know I’m the only one reading it,” she finished, hoping she wasn’t talking too much.

“Safer? That’s a strange word to use. I’m your husband. Why do you need to keep your feelings safe from me?” A smile lifted the corners of his lips, but his eyes searched hers.

Waiting to find the right words, she was grateful when his phone alerted him of a new message. Distracted, he turned to his own computer and began to peck away.




Something About April (The Jeffersons-Volume 2)

Read more about the series: http://www.cheriparisedwards.net/#!books/cnec

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Submissionary by Sherryle Kiser Jackson

Submissionary
by Sherryle Kiser Jackson


Damon Myers-Jones despised the awkward hyphenated name forced upon him at birth because it represented two things Damon would rather forget: his adopted father’s death and his real father’s absence. Now thirty years old, newly engaged Damon struggles with the constant tug-of-war with the women in his life.

His mother, Laverne Myers-Jones, who cloaked him with his name in the first place, wants to extend her influence to his choice of mate. Damon’s fiancée, Hope Daniels, can’t see beyond her longing to keep what she deems the perfect man and plans for her happily ever after.

In a desperate attempt to find himself, Damon impulsively sets out on a mission's trip to Haiti in search of his birth father where he experiences a shift that changes his world. Will his personal mission coincide with what God has in store for him?


Praise for Sherryle Kiser Jackson

Sherryle Kiser Jackson is to be commended for creating an emotionally authentic tale of redemption and one man's search for love. Fans of her other works will not be disappointed, and new readers prepare to discover your new favorite author.  --- Booker T. Mattison, filmmaker and author of Unsigned Hype and Snitch



Chapter 1


He boarded first at Shady Grove station. She boarded six stops later at Bethesda. They rode another six stops together. She exited before him at DuPont Circle. He held his spot until Judiciary Square. The red line of the Washington, DC Metropolitan area subway system—or Metro, as it is called—represented the vein of their relationship—a mastery of timing and schedules. A twenty-eight-minute ride, five times a week that became thirty-three minutes the midst of rush hour, was the delicate tissue that covered that vein. It provided a great quantity of quality time for their relationship.

Today was the beginning of a typical workweek for them, but it felt like anything but to Damon Myers-Jones. He glanced down at a text message summoning him and his teammates to a mandatory meeting, which would take place first thing this morning. Ever since the previous evening, when he first spotted the text, he’d tried to figure out what the meeting could be about. His preoccupation seemed to throw him off, to swirl in the nauseating abyss that immersed his life nowadays.

Damon missed the opening and closing of the doors, and his fiancée, Hope, entering the subway car, with her carefully rehabbed right leg, encumbered by a slight limp, moving toward him. He had muscled his way to a seat when he boarded, and used his bag to save the vacant seat beside him for her.

“What, no bagels?” Hope Daniels said, as she shifted his bag and plopped down beside him, wearing a waist-length leather jacket and a Wrangler satchel strewn about her body to tie together her outerwear.

“I’ve got that meeting,” Damon said.

“Yeah, that’s right, the mystery meeting,” she said. “Well, at least we both got seats.”

Staring at him with one arched eyebrow, a jutted chin and a smile begging him to smother her with his lips, a peck was the best he could do. He had too much angst for anything else. He had not always been reluctant to participate in the public displays of affection she craved. Now engaged, and although the ring had unlocked chambers and doors, a big part of his reluctance was because it didn’t get him any closer to the vault of physicality, the war chest of sex that he craved from her. A smaller portion of his reluctance was also due to the guilt he felt that he had not yet told his mom of the seriousness of his relationship with Hope, and that her little boy had taken the ultimate big-boy step. For that, he felt as if he were being watched, and the lookout would report the ring size, cut and clarity of the diamond directly to his mom before he had the chance to tell her himself. Still, a fraction of that guilt was reserved for the itch of an impulse that he kept a secret from both his ladies. So, as far as he was concerned, and with all he had going on, Hope’s engagement ring and Facebook profile would have to suffice her need to flaunt their upgraded relationship status right now.

Leaning forward, he rested his arms on his thighs amongst the butts and guts of passengers forced to stand in front of them. Once again, he checked his text message, as if it had changed in the last ten minutes.

“Damon, stop obsessing,” Hope said, stroking his back with her right hand. “Wait, look, I got something to show you.”

Damon watched her pull out a stack of papers with a section of the New York Times on top. He determined that if she started in on him about moving to New York again he would exit the train at the Van Ness station, leaving her alone, and connect with another train there.

“You know the extra credit vocabulary I like to assign from the crossword puzzle each week? Well, guess who came up with the right answer this week?” she gloated. She began shuffling through the pile of corrected papers. “A six-letter word that means spread dirt on someone crossed with a thirteen-letter word meaning the race for the highest office in a state, each starting with the letter G.”

Relieved, Damon sat up and began pointing at his fingers, as if he were counting. She punched him, and he smiled. “You got me. I’m the numbers man, remember?”

When Hope found the paper she was searching for, she bent the corner toward her so Damon couldn’t see the name. “Gossip and gubernatorial are the answers. Challenging, right? Guess who got the answer correct?”




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The Last King by A. Yamina Collins

The Last King 
by A. Yamina Collins



The Last King went #1 on the Free Amazon kindle bestsellers list in three categories:
African American literature, historical fantasy, and African-American romance.



Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in---she's six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being an Elf from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore---she just wants her shattered life to be normal again.

Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George's newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people who marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.

But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings. Indeed, God considers the Edenites' possession of immortality to be theft and for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a "Glitch" ---an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen "property" and kill them off.

When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead's Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead's vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.

Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat---they're also their greatest love.




Excerpt The Last King: Book I - Series 2

CHAPTER 8 - Her

Kill her, a voice in his head tells him.

Yes, of course, he responds. That's what I have to do.

And how should he do it? Should he follow her home when the lecture is over, come up behind her in her driveway, or wherever she lives, and snap her neck like a twig?

Whatever he does, he needs to be cruel. He needs to teach her and the One who sent her a lesson. Yes, that's it. He will do to her what his brother Micau did to his own Glitch: something so physically twisted that it would make the ears of any human who hears about it and finds her remains, shutter.

Slowly he starts to straighten up and just in time. The door to the auditorium swings open suddenly, and out it walks.

He cannot make out her whole face because her hands are covering her mouth and nose, but he can see her big eyes, and the alarm in her face.

Two other people are following it - following her, and making a commotion behind her.

"Hold your head back," one of them is saying, trying to still the bleeding woman's franticness.

But blood has already seeped onto her white dress, and Gilead can hear her saying, "Not again, not again," as she rushes past him.

Not again. So it's happened before. Gilead thinks. Of course it has It happened the other day, while Gilead was standing outside the restaurant, didn't it? She was somewhere around the vicinity that night, near the boardwalk, wasn't she?

In a moment, the woman, looking a bit disoriented no, disappears into the bathroom and Gilead closes his eyes and bites his lower lip.

Now he knows why he missed the fine print on the flier, and why he had a desire to come to this lecture in the first place.

It's Him.

Gilead curses under his breath; curses Him with everything he's got.

Her? he thinks, in disgust. Against the greatness of me? That simple-looking thing?

It's insulting.

Opening his eyes, he takes the opportunity to move toward the exit as a few more new comers enter the building. It's all Gilead can do to appear as normal as possible---he stands up straight and forces himself not to clutch his stomach.

Outside, he takes in several quick breaths of air, and doubles over again.

Why should he fear her?

"I will break her," he mutters to himself. "If I have to rip off her whole face, I will break her."

Something about him saying this brings him a feeling of relief. He is clear-eyed and focused for a moment, even self-assured, for he knows that once he makes up his mind about reaching a goal, it's as good as done.

He will kill her tonight, somehow.

But before he can contemplate how to execute his plans, he cups a hand over his mouth, rushes toward a nearby bush, and vomits onto the leaves and branches.


( Continued... )


© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, A. Yamina Collins. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


The Last King: Book I, Episode # 2 by A. Yamina Collins
Link: http://amzn.com/B00IC0M8HS 

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More Than I Can Bear by E.N. Joy

More Than I Can Bear


Always Divas Series Book Two by E.N. Joy


Paige begs to differ with the scripture that says God will not put on a person more than they can bear, because she is truly on the edge. One slight push from another one of life’s unexpected and unpleasant occurrences, and she’ll be free falling.

As if having suffered physical, mental, sexual and spiritual abuse from her husband hadn’t weighed heavily on her enough, Paige had to deal with learning that her best friend and sister in Christ had done the ultimate no-no and slept with her husband. Thank God one of Paige’s co-workers, Norman, who she now deems as a true friend, was there to catch her fall before she hit the ground. But will Norman be there when Paige receives news that may not only push her off the edge, but cause her to jump willingly?

In More Than I Can Bear, not only when it rains does it pour, but there is lightening and plenty of thunder to go along with it. Will Paige drown in the storm she finds herself in with no umbrella, or will she catch hold of the life saver God extends to her?


CHAPTER SEVEN



“Was that my boy I heard?”

The singsong voice coming from the dining room was heard prior to Norman, Paige or Miss Nettie ever even making their way into the room.

“Oh, he’s here all right, Mrs. Vanderdale,” Miss Nettie called out as she looked back over her shoulder at Paige while pushing the swinging dining room door at the same time. “My oh my is he here.” Miss Nettie hustled her way through that door with Paige in tow as if there was a three alarm fire they were trying to escape. There may not have been a fire, but Miss Nettie knew one thing for certain, there was at least about to be some smoke blown. And where there’s smoke…

“Son! My only son. Come give Mumsy some love.”

Paige watched as a pail skinned woman with blond hair and a house coat that would have given both Maud and Mrs. Roper a run for their money, brushed by her and embraced Norman.

“Mom, please,” Norman said as his mother began planting kisses all over his face as if he were a five year old child. “Come on, Mom,” he pleaded to no avail, finally just dropping his arms down to his side like dead weight and giving in. He rolled his eyes up in his head while his mother smothered him with kisses.

“You don’t come visit as often as I’d like, so I have to make up for times missed,” his mother said, planting one more smuckerroo right on his nose.

“Come on, Mother, let’s not start with the whole ‘You never come by to see me routine.’ You know I make it by as often as I can.”

“Oh, hogwash. You’re too busy at that ridiculous peasant collar job of yours.” His mother shooed her hand.

“It’s blue collar,” Norman corrected his mother, not noticing the offended look on Paige’s face, seeming she worked at the same place of employment. “And don’t say it with your nose up in the air, so. Miss Nettie here’s job is blue collar. I’m sure she might find that offensive.”

“Oh please,” she shooed her hand again, never taking her eyes off of Norman as she straightened his already straightened collar. “Nettie is family. I don’t even consider her part of the hired help anymore. It’s just like having a dog. Once it’s been around for so long, it’s like part of the family,” she chuckled, planting an unforeseen peck on her son’s lips.

“What the…” Paige started under her breath, lightweight lunging toward her mother-in-law until Miss Nettie’s grip on her hand tightened and pulled her back.

Paige’s words reminded Mrs. Vanderdale that someone other than her and her son were in the room. She turned and addressed Mrs. Nettie. That’s when, for the first time, she noticed Paige. “Why Miss Nettie, you didn’t tell me one of your kin folks was in town again.” She lowered her voice but with a stern tone and wagging finger in Miss Nettie’s face she said, “I thought we had this talk before. Now I don’t mind your people coming for a visit every now and again and sharing your quarters, but you must give Mr. Vanderdale and me a heads up. Is that understood?”

“Yes, ma’am, but I-” Miss Nettie started before Mrs. Vanderdale cut her off.

“Now I hope you saw to it that the kitchen staff made extra for your guest. You know we are already going to start having an extra mouth to feed whenever my Norman comes around now that he’s a married man.” She sharply turned to Norman. “Speaking of which, son, where is that lovely bride of yours? Why I can’t wait to welcome her to the family.” Mrs. Vanderdale began looking over Norman’s shoulder toward the swinging door leading to the living room.

“She’s right there, Mother.” Norman nodded toward Paige.

His mother turned around only to find Mrs. Nettie and her supposed kinfolk standing there. She continued looking at the doorway. “Where, Son?”

“Right here, Mother. Standing right here in your face.” Norman walked around his mother and went and stood next to Paige. “Mumsy, this is my wife, Paige. Paige, this is-”

“Mrs. Vanderdale!” Miss Nettie shouted as she quickly went to her boss’s aid.

Norman joined Nettie in keeping his mother to her feet as she appeared faint and weak, as if her knees had given out.

“Mom, are you okay?” Norman asked worriedly. “Miss Nettie, help get mother over to the chair. And please, have Stuart fetch her some water.”

Miss Nettie just stood there torn, not moving a muscle.

“Please, Miss Nettie, why are you just standing there?” Norman asked.

How could Miss Nettie tell the young lad that she didn’t want to leave that room for not even a second? She didn’t want to miss what she felt was long coming and overdue. “Oh shucks,” she said under her breath and then scurried over to the swinging door that separated the dining room from the kitchen. “Stuart, Mrs. Vanderdale needs a glass of water, quickly.” Miss Nettie hurried back to her employer’s side. Under ordinary circumstance she would have gotten the water herself. But to her this was a long awaited extraordinary circumstance.

Within seconds, Paige stood to the side and watched as a black man with salt and pepper hair dressed in a long tail tux took over a glass of water to Mrs. Vanderdale. Norman took it from his hand.

“Thank you, Stuart,” Norman said with a nod, then turned and placed the glass to his mother’s lips.

She took a few sips and after a moment or two, she seemed to regain her strength.

“Mom, what’s going on?” Norman questioned. “Have you been feeling okay? Are you sick again and haven’t told me?” He looked to Miss Nettie for an answer.

“No, no, not as far as I know. She’s been just fine,” Miss Nettie assured him.

Norman felt his mother’s forehead. “She doesn’t seem to have a fever.”

“I think it’s your fever that’s got her feeling a certain kind of way?” Miss Nettie said between her teeth with a knowing look on her face.

“Huh, what?” Norman was confused by Miss Nettie’s statement. He looked to Paige to see if perhaps she had any idea what the older woman was talking about. He always did have the hardest time deciphering what he referred to as Miss Nettie’s riddles.

Miss Nettie looked to Paige as well, whose expression told the older woman that the new Mrs. Vanderdale knew exactly what the punch line was. Paige decided to translate to her husband.

“She’s talking about you having jungle fever, Norman. Your mother is in shock that your new wife is black,” Paige said.

“Please, my mother doesn’t care about what color you are.” Norman turned to face his mother. “Do you mother?”

His mother couldn’t speak. She was still trying to catch her breath. But her dilating pupils begged her son to realize that he’d hit the nail on the head.

“Mother, is that what has you acting this way? The fact that Paige is black?”

Realizing his mother was still trying to catch her breath, Norman offered his mother another sip of water, of which she gulped down. She wiped the dripping water from her chin and was finally able to speak and the only words she could manage to force out was, “Who on earth names their African American daughter Paige?”

“Mom!” Norman said, embarrassment peeking around his tone.

“Well, I’m sorry, son, but I thought I raised you better than that?”

“What?” Paige had held her tongue long enough.

No one noticed Miss Nettie standing off to the side with a satisfied grin across her mouth and her nose in the air as if she was sniffing roses instead of smoke.

“Oh, my and I see she even has the attitude that comes along with it?” Mrs. Vanderdale said, grabbing her chest.

“That comes along with what?” Paige asked verbally while Norman asked with his eyes.

“With…” His mother motioned her index finger up and down the length of Paige’s body. “With that.”

Paige took another step toward her mother-in-law.

“Hold on just a minute.” Norman put his arm out, stopping Paige from getting any closer to his dear mother. “Mother, I’m not clear on what you’re trying to say here, but if it’s what I think it is, disappointment in you would be describing how I feel without crossing the line of respect.”

“Norman, it’s totally clear what your mother is implying,” Paige said. “But just in case you really don’t understand, let me break it down for you.”

“Oh, gosh, and there she goes ready to start breaking things,” Mrs. Vanderdale panicked. “Nettie, put away all the china and crystal. I’ve caught glimpses of those reality shows and know how they like to throw glasses and stuff at each other.”

Paige’s mouth fell to the floor. She wanted so badly to go off on her mother-in-law for stereotyping Paige, but then she realized she’d be going off on the wrong person. It’s those trifling basketball and housewives she’d need to speak her peace with. She couldn’t blame Mrs. Vanderdale for believing what her eyes showed her to be true on all these cable networks. Not only that, but Paige had to remember that she herself had lost control to the point where her hands had to be pried from another woman’s head full of weave…a couple of times. She didn’t categorize that as a ‘black’ thing though. She categorized that as a woman out of control. And from the looks of things, if his mother kept it up, Norman was about to be out of control as well.

“Enough, Mother!” Norman spat. By now Miss Nettie had an arm full of dishes after starting the task of which her employer had instructed her to do. Stuart, who had remained silent off to the side, waiting for Mrs. Vanderdale to finish her water so that he could take the glass back into the kitchen, began helping.

“Miss Nettie, Stuart, please leave the settings and excuse yourselves.” Norman looked to Paige. “Paige, can you go with them, grab a drink, appetizer or something? I’d like to have a word with my mother.” He turned and shot his mother a condemning look. “Alone.”

“But-” Paige started. No way did she want to excuse herself from the room. She wanted to give her mother-in-law a piece of her mind. Or at least bear witness to her husband giving her a piece of his mind in her defense.

“Come on, honey.” Miss Nettie took Paige by her elbow after placing the dishes back on the table. “I make the sweetest tea mixed with lemonade that you’d ever want to taste.”

Paige didn’t budge.

“Come on now,” Miss Nettie nudged. “Trust me, God’s got this.”

Paige finally gave in and allowed Miss Nettie to lead her off to the swinging door that led to the kitchen.

“Believe you me,” Miss Nettie said. “I don’t want to miss it either. But don’t worry, as long as I get to witness her finding out about that bun you got cooking in the oven, it’ll make up for whatever I miss right here.”

Paige stopped in her tracks and stared at Miss Nettie, wondering how on God’s green earth she knew she was pregnant. Because she was plus size and her dress was a little big, no way could that woman have realized she was showing.

Miss Nettie simply winked and said, “Child, you’d be surprised at what God shows me in my head before it ever manifest before my eyes. Now come on and get some of this sweet tea and lemonade. You need a break before we’s get to round two.” Miss Nettie chuckled as they disappeared into the kitchen.


( Continued... )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, E.N. Joy. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.


More Than I Can Bear: Always Divas Series Book Two by E.N. Joy
Link: http://amzn.com/160162669X 

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Catfish by Nina Foxx

Catfish by Nina Foxx



Best Friends Dana and Damika share everything about each other, because that's what best friends do, right? But when it comes to relationships, the high schoolers are keeping secrets in cyberspace. After Boy Crazy Dana meets the "perfect" guy, she figures the only way to get close is to tell little white lies. As their relationship flourishes, an inappropriate photo sent for his eyes only...ends up going viral, and threatens Dana's reputation and her future. 
Tech nerd Damika is able to reinvent herself online and she's created a cyber life that no one knows about but her.


When she meets Rosheon, she's thrilled at their budding relationship, until she discovers there's a lot more to him than meets the eye because just as she can reinvent herself....so can others. As the lies become unmanageable, can Dana and Damika dig themselves out of a web of a mess before it's too late?

In this page-turning novel, Catfish,  Nina Foxx dives into a world where nothing is as it seems and danger takes on new meaning in cyberspace.


Excerpt from Chapter One

Dana



My father was not slick. I tried not to twist my mouth as I listened to him attempting to convince me that what he talking about was a good thing. We have a pretty good relationship since he and my mother got divorced, but sometimes he was just transparent as hell.

“Dana, you’re gonna love this new church.” He looked at me all starry-eyed and he talked in that voice he used on me when he wanted something. He looked and sounded the same way my boy crazy best friend, Damika did every time she met a new hottie.

I groaned. “Church?” Since when had he found religion? Our time together was limited and we didn’t usually spend it in church. I wasn’t sure he’d even been inside one since before my mother divorced him, and even then, he’d only gone kicking and screaming.

He wanted me to say something. So, I did.

“And what’s your new girlfriend’s name?”

My dad’s mouth dropped open. That probably wasn’t what he was looking for. I might have been sixteen, but I wasn’t born yesterday. The only reason my father would be talking about new churches and religion was behind a woman. I shook my head. He was going to have to text me from hell.

I couldn’t blame him, really. My father was a hot commodity. He’s a single, good-looking black man with a good heart. He owned his own home and paid his child support like clockwork. Plus, he had it going on - for an older man. Even though he had a teenaged daughter, he was still attractive and dressed well. He might not be all swole with underwear model abs, but he was a catch. Back in the day, he was really into fitness and now that he was old, it paid off. He didn’t have a potbelly like other people’s fathers, so I was used to women chasing him. They’d done that before, even when he was married, and it had only gotten worse since.

A lot of kids get messed up when their parent’s spilt up, but me, I was okay with it. It was a relief actually, because when they were together, they’d fought all the time. My mother said they loved hard and they fought hard, too. The problem was, I remember the fighting more than anything. If there was love, I never saw it. A few times I’d have to keep myself from throwing up when I heard the noises in their bedroom, but even I knew that sex and love wasn't the same thing. Toward the end they would yell and scream way into the early hours of the morning.

“It’s okay. I’ll go if you need me to.” It almost hurt me to say that. I really didn’t feel like going to church, especially one all the way in Brooklyn, but it was easy to see how my words had made him happy. Unlike my mom, he was easy to please. His shoulders relaxed and the nervous look on his face was replaced by a smile.

“It’s not what you think. I actually used to go here with my mother when I was a kid,” he said.

I folded my arms across my chest and cocked my head to the side. “So, you’re saying that it’ll just be the two of us?” I knew the answer, but I couldn’t resist asking anyway. My father was just too easy sometimes. Clearly, I was the one running game here.

Dad fidgeted a little; similar to the way I did when I was about to tell an un-truth. “No. A friend invited me.”

“Um-huh. I knew it. You can’t put anything over on me, Dad. I’ve only been your daughter for sixteen years.”

He laughed. “You’ll like her. You’ll see.”

That remained to be seen. Lots of kids had hot moms, but having a hot father was another matter. Women threw themselves at him all the time, all kinds of women. They would hear that “boom-chicka-wawa” when he came in and it was all over. My parents fought about that often, like his swagger was something he could control. My mother would get mad and say it was my father’s fault. Now that they were apart, the women threw themselves at him and me, like they had to win me over, too. And they were right, they did.

I had to admit that I was going to miss the last one. She’d been a buyer for Macy’s, and let me tell you, that had its benefits for me. I owed the hot Baby Phat outfit I had on right now to her. She'd hooked me up with clothes regularly, but of course, the gear stopped coming as soon as they'd broken up.

“Dad, what happened to Susan? I liked her.”

“Too high maintenance. Can you go upstairs and put on a dress? If we’re going to get there on time, we gotta get going.”

I was a little upset that we'd be spending what was left of our weekend with someone that was practically a stranger to me, but it was obvious that my father really wanted me to go. I could overlook my disappointment just this once.

We picked up my father’s new girlfriend just a few blocks from the church. My dad was nervous as he introduced us. “Dana,” he said. “I’d like you to meet Wanda. My friend.”

I raised my eyes, but answered her politely as I was taught to do. “Nice to meet you, Ma’am.”

My father looked as nervous as the cat that just got caught with his paw in the fishbowl as she laughed. “You don’t have to call me Ma’am. Aunty Wanda will do.”

As if. My Mom had no sisters. I sat in the back so she could ride with my dad, and she was very polite. We’d been through a few girlfriends by now and I’d learned to watch and wait. If they made it past a few weeks, then maybe the two of us could be friends. Otherwise, there was no reason to get attached too early. One mistake, and poof, she could be gone, just like that.

If nothing else, this one was well-dressed, even if she was wearing one of those old lady knit suits. Her hair was pulled back into a tight bun, and her makeup was flawless. She looked a little uptight, but was tall and Top Model thin. Her navy suit fit her like a glove, and she smelled good. Two points for the new woman. My dad was into smell. The funny thing was, this one seemed as high-maintenance as Susan had been. Another mom-ism echoed in my head. What was that she’d say? The things that attract you also make you crazy later? It was like my father was attracted to the same woman, over and over.

I stared out the window of the car and tried to ignore her chattering as we made our way through the streets of Brooklyn. A glimpse into the rearview mirror told me what I already knew. My father had a grin plastered to his face. He liked this one, but then, they always started out good.

“Dana, I’m so glad you were able to join us. Our church has such a great youth program. You’ll be able to meet some nice young people. Young people that are doing things.”

I rolled my eyes and kept looking out the window. There was no need for all the noise. Now, did I look like I needed a “program”? She obviously had things twisted. It wasn’t like I was some kind of problem child. I went to school regularly and got mostly good grades, and I was generally respectful to my parents, wasn’t pregnant and didn’t do drugs. I’d said I would go today, but I wasn’t trying to enjoy it and I made no promises about going again. And I certainly wasn’t trying to hang out with no church kids. I had my own life, in Queens, with all the friends I needed. What could I possible have in common with any of these people? Brooklyn was just too far for anything. I didn’t drive, and taking the bus or train all the way across town was just crazy.

We pulled up in front a huge, white brick building that seemed to take up the entire block. Crowds of people walked toward it. I was speechless as my father maneuvered the car into a space and we got out. I don’t know why I’d pictured a tiny little cute church, in a storefront or something like that. This building was huge, very old on one end, but it got newer as it went down the block. The corner stone said 1902. There was nothing that old in my neighborhood. Across the street, there was a huge parking lot that took up another city block and that looked like it was filling up, too.

Both Dad and Wanda smiled and greeted people and I tagged behind them. Wanda was the only one that looked comfortable, while my father just looked embarrassed. He was about to be on display like Wanda’s new man-candy. All the church ladies were grinning at him while Wanda walked with her head held high and her huge pink bible tucked under her arm, without a care in the world as she showed off her add-water-stir family.

I felt crazy out of place. All of these folks were smiling and laughing and all seemed to know each other. Me, I felt like a vegetarian at a beef convention. The best I could do was put a fake grin on my face. I couldn’t believe I’d let my father talk me into this. Not to mention, I’d dug to the bottom of my closet to find the dress I had on. I hated it and it felt like everyone could tell I wasn’t comfortable with my outfit. I kept tugging at the bottom to keep it from rising up. To make matters worse, just as we entered the church, I bumped into someone so hard, I almost fell back down the church steps. How embarrassed would I be all sprawled out at the bottom of the steps? What a way to make an entrance. I opened my mouth to swear just as a strong hand caught my arm. It was a good thing, too, because the words I was about to say had no business in a church.

“I’m so sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

I found myself looking up into the most handsome light brown eyes I’d seen in a long time. I couldn’t say a word. Even if I wasn’t between boyfriends I would have been speechless.

“He’s the clumsy twin. You have to forgive him. Are you okay?” Another voice said.

My eyes darted back in forth, from one bag of hotness to the other. Oh. My. God. There were two of them. Two caramel-colored hotties, identical, except one had a small mole under his left eye. They wore identical blue suits, but one had on a white shirt and the other didn’t. So I wasn’t hallucinating.

I managed to smile and I suddenly regretted that I hadn’t dug deeper in my closet. “No worries.” I brushed imaginary dirt off my dress just as my father called me.

“I gotta go—“I was barely able to speak, but it didn’t matter, they were already gone, almost as if they weren’t there in the first place. They’d vanished, like a dream. It wasn’t until later that I thought to wonder if I'd flashed everybody when I fallen. I could've kicked myself as I reviewed all of the things I could have said that would have sounded so much better than “I gotta go”. Somehow, I always managed to find the wrong words.

Wanda introduced my father to every other person we met, grinning all the time and holding his arm showing him around like he was the new “it” bag she’d just bought or something. For the most part, people ignored me, and I only halfway said hello if they spoke.

After what seemed like an eternity, Wanda finally led us to our seats, up in the balcony of the almost completely filled church. I scanned the crowd. There must have been over a thousand people in the building, so there was no way I could even think of spotting the twins. I hadn’t even thought to ask their names. I would surely be kicking myself for days about that.

“Okay, I’ll see you two later.” Wanda had a wide grin on her face like she was proud of herself for getting us to our places or something.

My mouth dropped open a little. I know she didn’t bring us here to leave us in the middle of this place.

“You aren’t staying?” I asked.

“Of course I am. I have to sit with the choir, remember?” She pointed across the church where the choir was gathering. They were far enough away that I wasn’t able to make out any faces, instead, all I saw was a sea of royal blue robes, interrupted occasionally by a flash of gold.

I blushed with embarrassment. She'd probably told me that she sang in the choir while I wasn’t listening, on the ride over. I nodded.

“Break a leg.” My father still hadn't lost his silly grin.

“Okay. You two come on back to the choir room when it’s over. You remember where that is?”

My father nodded quickly. "How could I forget? I spent hours in there when I was a kid."

“I knew you sang with that sexy baritone voice of yours. Sing to me sometime?” she said.

My dad didn’t answer, but instead blushed like he’d just been caught doing something he shouldn’t. He looked at me quickly, then looked away.

Wanda flashed my dad a smile and then turned and made her way through the crowd.

At first, my dad just stood there. I had to tap him in the arm to remind him to breathe. “Dang, Dad. Do you have to be so obvious?” He might as well have drool dripping down his face. It was amazing that he could be so old and still have a woman get his nose wide open like that.

My dad blushed, but didn't answer me. For a second, I was confused by the church-going, obviously whipped man that was next to me. I could barely recognize my father, but I knew he was in there somewhere.

I daydreamed all through the service. I tried to pay attention but it seemed to go on forever. I was so lost in thought, I almost missed the ending. I perked up when the choir sang, though. They seem to have two or three [A3] choirs and every one sounded like a professional television choir, complete with a very animated choir director and words projected on the wall like we were in a karaoke spot. Between the choir director dancing and one woman who looked like she was about to twerk any minute, they put on quite a show. A very long show.




Purchase Catfish by Nina Foxx
Link: http://amzn.com/0991532228

 

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Open Door Marriage by Naleighna Kai

Open Door Marriage
by Naleighna Kai


“Open Door Marriage is a page-turner from start to finish, uniquely written to explore the emotions of three people who have bonds that seem unbreakable. That is, until they are tested in a relationship that causes their families, religious leaders, and the public to be up in arms. Naleighna Kai has written a provocative novel that is about a relationship that is as complicated as it can get.” –Valarie Prince, author of The Lair of the Python




A chance encounter lands NBA star Dallas Avery back in the arms of the woman of his dreams. A woman he hasn’t seen in years. A woman he soon discovers just so happens to be his fiancée’s aunt! But Dallas’ fiancee, Tori, isn’t ready to give up all that she’s worked for, so she makes him a shocking offer – go through with the wedding and she’ll still allow him to be with the one woman he now can’t seem to do without. Dallas will get a family, something her much older aunt, Alicia can’t give him. Tori will get the lifestyle she clamors. And Alicia will get the love she’s longed for all her life. Everyone will get a little of what they want . . . and maybe a whole lot of what they don’t.

The details of the trio’s love life play out in the tabloids and on talk shows, making Dallas the center of an NBA scandal. And eventually, the doors slam shut on this open marriage and Dallas is forced to make a choice to end the chaos. But moving on is easier than it looks and by the time all is said and done, secrets will be revealed, passions will be extinguished, and everyone’s lives will be forever changed.

“Open Door Marriage is a page-turner from start to finish, uniquely written to explore the emotions of three people who have bonds that seem unbreakable. That is, until they are tested in a relationship that causes their families, religious leaders, and the public to be up in arms. Naleighna Kai has written a provocative novel that is about a relationship that is as complicated as it can get.” –Valarie Prince, author of Lair of the Python

“While a few books have tackled this subject in different ways, the way Naleighna Kai approaches a difficult situation is sure to be fuel for heated conversations for years to come. Open Door Marriage proves many things, but mostly that the title of my novel holds true.—Janice Pernell, author of There’s No Right Way to do a Wrong Thing.


Excerpt from Chapter 1 

THANKSGIVING - CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

NOVEMBER 22—7:23 P.M.



“You slept with my aunt?”

The words still didn’t register, even though this had to be Tori’s fifth time saying them. She glared at her fiancé, still desperately trying to come to terms with the information her mother had blasted to everyone at the packed Thanksgiving dinner table.

“Seriously? How is that even humanly possible when you didn’t know the woman four hours ago?” Tori shouted.

“Tori, l-let me explain,” Dallas stammered.

Twelve pairs of eyes were now focused on the not-quite-blissful couple standing at the bottom of the stairs just off from the dining room.

“But not here. Let’s go somewhere and talk. It’s not what you think.”

“What did you do?” Tori snapped, glaring up at Dallas. “Trip over the sheets, and your penis somehow landed in a woman nearly twice my age?”

The drumstick in Uncle Bill’s hand paused in midair on its journey to his wide mouth. Cousin Tiny’s fleshy hand flew to her overexposed bosom and came to rest somewhere above her heart. Even Tori’s father’s frozen expression of alarm would have been Three Stooges comical if the situation weren’t so tragic.

Aunt Yoli was the first to recover. “Did they just say what I think they said?”

In unison, everyone nodded.

“Girl, shut the front door and run out the back!”

A few bursts of nervous laughter sprang up around the table, but they were not nearly enough to chase away the unease that had flooded the room when Tori stepped into the house. She’d gone to drop off Aunt Rose’s drunk self at home. Tori hadn’t even been in the house good when her mother, Bernice, blurted out that she’d caught Alicia and Dallas together. Alone. In bed. In the nude. Tori had picked up from there and summed it up in one sweep. “You slept with my aunt ...”

“Nothing happened, Tori,” Dallas said, his voice shaky. “I didn’t sleep with her.”

“So, my mama is lying?” Tori asked.

Dallas shifted uneasily.

“Hell naw. I know what I saw,” Bernice snapped. She had moved from the dining room table to the end of the staircase, right next to her daughter, poised as if she was ready to go to battle. “Both of you were in bed butt-ass naked.” She jabbed a finger in her sister-in-law’s direction. Alicia hadn’t moved from her spot at the top of the staircase. Probably, because she knew what was best for her. “She was butt-naked. And he was nut-naked,” Bernice yelled. “Wasn’t an inch of space between them.” She flickered a gaze a Dallas. “Look at him. You can tell he just got dressed!”

Tori closed her eyes and took deep breaths to calm the emotions that warred within her.

“See, I told you Alicia wasn’t worth a damn,” Bernice, crowed with savage satisfaction. “And looks like Mr. NBA ain’t much better. You thought he was all that and a side order of fries.”

Dallas Avery was the NBA’s most valuable player, and a man most women would give their right and left ovary to call their own. But Most Eligible Bachelor or not, he had set Tori’s bitch meter into overdrive. Even with his chiseled, handsome face, towering muscular frame and million dollar bank accounts, he was now worth next to nothing in her eyes. Too bad her aching heart didn’t get that memo.

Tori didn’t know if she was more enraged or hurt that her mother had been all too willing to drive this stake through her own daughter’s heart in order to publicly disgrace Alicia.

“Tori, we need to talk about this,” Dallas repeated before adding, “in private.”

Bernice wore a satisfied smirk as she glared openly up at Alicia, who just kept staring stoically at them from the second floor landing. “The angel of the family has fallen,” Bernice said.

“Hey, Bernice,” Bill taunted with a hearty chuckle. “Bet you won’t say that when Alicia comes downstairs. You know she’s gonna put a hurting on you.”

“You mean put another hurting on her,” Aunt Yoli added, doubling over with laughter.

Tori wanted to scream. Her life was unraveling in front of her and her family was cracking jokes.

Instinctively, Bernice inched away from the staircase and back toward the dining room table. Her hands went up to the small scar on her neck, probably remembering that a year ago on this very same holiday, Alicia had ended a vicious blow-for-blow fight with a knife at Bernice’s throat. Almost gave the woman a “Sicilian Smile”—an ear-to-ear slice across the throat.

Dallas reached for Tori’s hand. “It’s not what it seems.”

She snatched away, parted her lips to give him what was left of her mind, but Cousin Tiny chimed in first. “Alicia had every right to take Bernice to the floor last year for that foul mess she said! I would’ve pulled out my own can of whoop ass behind that one.”



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When Ice Melts by AlTonya Washington

When Ice Melts
by AlTonya Washington



Icia Graham’s love affair with Rakim Transou had the makings of a fairy tale romance with the happily ever after ending, until the night of Rakim’s college graduation gathering. For Icia, it was the night her life was forever changed. Sadly, the changes were brought about by a horrific incident causing Icia to close herself off to everyone-especially Rakim. So desperate to escape the memories of being assaulted by Rakim’s two best friends, Icia left school and the man she loved.

Years passed and; in that time, both Rakim and Icia reached goals that carried them to the heights of success. For Rakim it was a powerful advertising agency that brought him a respected and revered name in the business. Icia’s accomplishment was a bit darker, but no less revered. In addition to counseling battered women, she offered her clients a special service-the service of destroying their abusers.

For Icia, her business brought her a satisfaction that could only be topped by seeing her own attackers pay the price for what they’d put her through. At any rate, she had no desire to revisit the past and be tortured by thoughts of love lost with the only man she’d ever wanted.

A series of events however would bring Icia right back to where she swore she’d never return. Once more Rakim Transou was back in her life and Icia was simultaneously overjoyed and distraught. How could she start anew with the man who still meant everything to her, when there were so many secrets between them? When the need for vengeance on two men; who were still very much a part of Rakim’s life, still raged so viciously inside her?


BOOK EXCERPT: WHEN ICE MELTS 


“This is fantastic,” Leontynne McRae whispered, her slanting green stare focused through the magnifying glass. The contact sheet from her photo session of downtown Houston had turned out perfectly. She had been a bundle of nerves waiting on some word from The Transou Agency. The initial interview had gone so well, they called her back for a second meeting. Now, she was at her wits end waiting on a decision about the job. In an attempt to dispel some of her nervous energy, she decided to get out of the hotel and spend the day shooting the city.

A fashion photographer out of California, Leontynne was proud of the landscape shots she’d taken. It was a refreshing change, but Leontynne knew she’d never exchange it for the success and notoriety she’d acquired in fashion.

The phone rang, bringing a halt to the critique of the contact sheets. She rushed over to the maple message desk and uttered a silent prayer before answering.

“Yes?”

“Leontynne McRae?”

Leontynne smiled at the deep voice on the line. “This is she.”

Rakim could hear the anxiety tingeing the woman’s voice and chuckled softly. “Ms. McRae, this is Rakim Transou from The Transou Agency.”

Leontynne pulled the phone from her ear and pressed it against her chest. “Yes, Mr. Transou?” She replied, once she’d calmed herself.

“I’m calling about the portfolio you left. It’s very impressive.”

“Thank you,” Leontynne managed, her excitement continuing to mount.

“Ms. McRae, we've been commissioned for several high profile TV spots around the time for the Super Bowl. We’re in the process of choosing a model and lead photographer. We hope to choose them both from the portfolios. We believe this would go further to insure a rapport with the team.”

“I agree.”

Rakim chuckled. “I’m glad, because I think you’re perfect for the job.”

Leontynne let her excitement show. She uttered a piercing scream and jumped up and down with the phone clutched to her ear. “I’m sorry! Mr. Transou. I’m sorry. It’s just that this is-I just didn't think I could do this. I know the competition was something fierce.”


 
 
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Another Woman's Husband by Angel Mechelle

Another Woman's Husband 
by Angel Mechelle



Bree Michaels finally has it all: her dream career, a new fiancé, athlete Eric Newsome, and a beautiful family. Yet she is unhappy. She can’t put her finger on it, but something is not right in paradise. Still haunted by Dre, who she knows is no good for her. But still…..

When she moves back to Florida, the last thing on her mind is Dre Edwards and all of the drama that comes with him. But elsewhere across the country Dre has still never forgotten about her and when a chance encounter drops the opportunity right in Dre’s lap to connect with Bree, he doesn’t hesitate to go hard in his quest to see her and be her man again. Newly single and practically drama-free, Dre wants a new start…and another chance with Bree.

Will Bree sabotage everything she has worked so hard for to give love with Dre one last try, or will she follow her mind and maintain her comfortable life as she maneuvers through the murky waters of life and love?


Excerpt from Another Woman's Husband 2 

It wasn’t that long ago that Bree was tied up in a crazy love triangle that she couldn’t seem to get out of, no matter how hard she tried. The Dre, Neecy, Chante, and Bree saga had been over for more than one year and she was finally getting past it.

I was trying to find Trina and Nikki amongst the crowd when someone walked up behind me and grabbed my hand.

“Bree,” he asked in his deep ball player voice. I turned to face him and ask him how he knew my name and tell him about grabbing my hand, but when I turned around I was speechless.

“I’m…”

“I know who you are. You play for the…”

“Can we talk?” He interrupted.

“I hesitated and then smiled. “Sure"

Recently engaged to professional basketball player Eric Newsome, things seemed to be on the up and up. But even though Bree loved Eric, sometimes she couldn’t help but think of Dre. Sometimes it was the smallest thing Eric did or said that would send Bree flying back to the past and right into those memories of the love and connection she shared with Dre and no one else since. She remembered how she fit perfectly in Dre’s arms back then. That was her spot.

Bree had to admit that Dre’s letter had her curious, especially the part about divorcing Neecy.


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