Excerpt: Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Grant Park is a page-turning and provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blending the absurd and the poignant in a powerfully well-crafted narrative that showcases Pitts's gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories.

Grant Park begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King's final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 election, and cuts between the two eras as it unfolds. Disillusioned columnist Malcolm Toussaint, fueled by yet another report of unarmed black men killed by police, hacks into his newspaper's server to post an incendiary column that had been rejected by his editors. Toussaint then disappears, and his longtime editor, Bob Carson, is summarily fired within hours of the column's publication.

While a furious Carson tries to find Toussaint—at the same time dealing with the reappearance of a lost love from his days as a 60s activist—Toussaint is abducted by two improbable but still-dangerous white supremacists plotting to explode a bomb at Obama's planned rally in Grant Park. Toussaint and Carson are forced to remember the choices they made as idealistic, impatient young men, when both their lives were changed profoundly by their work in the civil rights movement.

Editorial Reviews From the Publisher

"A novel as significant as it is engrossing." —Booklist, starred review

"Grant Park is layered, insightful, and passionate. Pitts's subtly explosive language grips readers with the delicate subject matter and earnestly implores them to understand that '[race] has always meant something and it always will.' The scars will remain, but stunningly powerful examinations like Grant Park can be the salve that helps heal open wounds." —Shelf-Awareness, starred review

"An important book, one that honestly examines the current, tumultuous racial divide in our country and demands we not turn away from its harsh realities." —Amy Canfield, Miami Herald

"[A] high-stakes, hard-charging political thriller. . . . The sharply etched characters, careful attention to detail, and rich newspaper lore propel Pitts's socially relevant novel." —Publishers Weekly

"Leonard Pitts has written a taut thriller that weaves together a stark look at America's tortured racial past with a fast-paced tale of terrorist conspiracy and love rekindled." —Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun Times

"The book is a page-turner, but also one that commands deep reflection on history, racism, and personal choices." —Blanca Torres, The Seattle Times

"Pitts masterfully revisits [election night on November 4, 2008] and four decades of the civil rights struggle to create one of the most suspenseful and spectacular fictitious moments you'll experience this fall." —Patrik Henry Bass, Essence

"Pitts does a skillful job of building tension in the novel's historical sections as well as on Election Day. . . . He also does something not every political thriller writer does: builds believable, complex characters." — Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times

"And then there are those thrills—gasping, mouth-gaping page-turners that author Leonard Pitts Jr. weaves through another realism: truthful, brutal plot-lines about racial issues of the last five decades, mulling over exactly how far we’ve really come. That makes this will-they-live-or-won't-they nail-biter into something that also made me think, and I absolutely loved it." —Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm Sez


Martin Luther King stood at the railing, facing west. The moon was a pale crescent just rising in early twilight to share the sky with a waning sun. He leaned over, joking with the men in the parking lot below. A couple of them were wrestling playfully with James Orange, a good-natured man with a build like a brick wall.

“Now, you be careful with preachers half your size,” King teased him.

“Dr. King,” called Orange in a plaintive voice, “it’s two of them and one of me. You should be asking them not to hurt me.”

“Doc,” someone called out from below, “this is Ben Branch. You remember Ben.”

“Oh yes,” said King. “He’s my man. How are ya, Ben?”

Another voice yelled up from below. “Glad to see you, Doc.”

As Malcolm Toussaint moved toward King, it struck him that the preacher seemed somehow lighter than he had the last time Malcolm had seen him. It had been late one night a week before, by the Dumpsters out back of the Holiday Inn. The man Malcolm met that night had seemed… weighted, so much so that even Malcolm had found himself concerned and moved—Malcolm, who had long scorned the great reverend doctor, who had, in the fashion of other young men hip, impatient, and cruel, mocked him as “De Lawd.” But that was before Malcolm had met the man. That was before they had talked. Now he moved toward King, his mind roiling with the decision that had sprung from that moment, the news he had come to share. King, he knew, would be pleased. There would be a smile, perhaps a heavy hand clamping on Malcolm’s shoulder. “Good for you, Brother Malcolm,” he would say. “Good for you.”

Malcolm was vaguely amused to find himself here on this balcony, anticipating this man’s approval. If you had told him just a few days ago that he would be here, ready to go back to school, ready to embrace nonviolent protest, he would have laughed. But that, too, was before. Malcolm meant to raise his hand just then, to catch King’s attention, but a movement caught his eye. Just a reflected ray of the dying sun, really, glinting off something in a window across the street. Something that—he knew this instinctively—should not have been there. He wondered distractedly what it was.

King’s voice drew him back. “I want you to sing it like you’ve never sung it before,” he was calling to someone in the parking lot below. “Sing it real pretty.” And Malcolm realized he had missed something, because he had no idea what they were talking about. His attention had been distracted by… what was that?

“It’s getting chilly.” Yet another voice calling to King from below. “I think you’ll need a topcoat.”

“Okay, Jonesy,” King was saying. “You really know how to take good care of me.”

And here, the moment breaks, time fracturing as time sometimes will into its component parts, until an event is no longer composed of things happening in a sequence, but somehow all happens at once. And you can see and touch and live all the smaller moments inside the right now. This is how it is for Malcolm Toussaint now. King is laughing. Malcolm is taking a step toward him. King is straightening. Laughter is echoing from below. King is reaching into a pocket for his cigarettes. He is becoming aware of Malcolm on his left. His head is coming around. There are the bare beginnings of a welcoming smile. And Malcolm knows. Suddenly knows. And Malcolm is leaping, leaping across space, across time itself, becoming airborne—he was sure of it, that detail felt right, even though by this time King is barely six feet away. Malcolm grabbing two hands full of expensive silk, yanking Martin Luther King off balance, yanking him down hard in the same instant they all hear the popping sound like a firecracker, in the same instant he feels the soft-nosed 30.06 bullet whistle past his cheek like a phantom breath, in the same instant he falls awkwardly across King’s chest.

And then…

And then time seems to reel for a crazy breathless moment, as if decid¬ing what to do now. The fulcrum of history teetering, the future hanging, suspended in midair.
Until all at once and with a brutal force, time decides itself and slams back into gear.

A woman shrieked.

Someone yelled, “Somebody is shooting!”

Someone yelled, “Doc, are you OK?”

Someone yelled, “Stay down!”

Malcolm’s breath was ragged in his own ears. His heart hammered like drums. Then from beneath him, he heard a familiar baritone voice say calmly, very calmly, but yet, with a touch of breathless wonder. “Oh my God. Was that a gunshot?”

Their eyes met. Malcolm didn’t speak. Couldn’t speak. “Brother Malcolm,” said Martin Luther King, his voice still suffused with wonder and yet, also, an almost unnatural calm, “I think you just saved my life.”

Malcolm was overwhelmed by the thereness of the man. He was not myth and mist and history. He was not a posterboard image on a wall behind a child dutifully reciting in a child’s thin, sweet tenor, “I have a dream today.” No, he was there, beneath 20-year-old Malcolm Toussaint, who had fallen crosswise on top of him. Malcolm could feel the weight and heft of him, the fall and rise of his chest. He could see his very pores, could smell the tobacco on his breath, the Aramis on his collar. Martin Luther King was there, still alive, beneath him. Malcolm opened his mouth to speak.

And then, he awoke.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Leonard Pitts Jr. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
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About the Author
Leonard Pitts, Jr.
is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novels Freeman (Agate Bolden, 2012) and Before I Forget (Agate Bolden, 2009); the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities (Agate Bolden, 2009); and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (Agate Bolden, 2006). Born and raised in Southern California, Pitts now lives in suburban Washington, D.C., with his wife and children.

My Wife's Lover by RM Johnson

My Wife's Lover by RM Johnson

My Wife's Lover by RM Johnson is filled with deceit, suspense, drama and mystery. It will have you guessing and shocked at what this story brings. 

Stan’s wife Erica, told him she was pregnant by another man who wanted no part in raising the baby. Contracts were signed transferring custody and all fatherly rights to Stan. But three years later, he walks in his house to find his wife and her ex-lover in a compromising position. A horrible accident has happened and Michael, the biological father, wants his child back. Erica tells Stan she won’t let the boy be taken, but Stan finds text messages between Erica and Michael, finds proof they’ve been seeing each other, and wonders if Erica is planning on leaving him and taking the little boy to reunite him with his natural father.

Abandoned as a child by his own father, and forced years ago to surrender custody of his daughter, Stan will do whatever he must not to lose his son, including taking a life.

Purchase My Wife's Lover by RM Johnson 

Sequel to My Wife's Baby 
Link: http://amzn.com/B00ZAD8WR0

My Wife's Baby by RM Johnson

My Wife's Baby is a story of Romance, Suspense, Erotica, Family Life, Drama and Mystery. It will have you guessing and shocked at what the end brings. 

Does the love for a wife and the jealousy for an infant, warrant murder? 
My Wife's Baby is a story of Romance, Suspense, Erotica, Family Life, Drama and Mystery. It will have you guessing and shocked at what the end brings. 

Does the love for a wife and the jealousy for an infant, warrant murder? 

After ten years of bad dates and worse relationships, Stan is in heaven, for he has finally found his soul mate, Erica—a beautiful, caring woman who shares all his beliefs, to include not wanting children. They discussed this over bottles of red wine the night they met and promised, if ever they became a couple, they would remain childless and forever the other’s priority.

One year after being married, Erica tells Stan she’s pregnant: news she’s very happy about. Stan considers talking Erica out of it, but that would mean aborting her child, something he knows Erica would never do.

Two months into the pregnancy, Stan notices changes: times he and Erica enjoyed as a fun-loving childless couple are no longer; Erica’s attention is occupied with all things related to the forthcoming baby, and Stan has gone without sex for months.

The child arrives and things get even worse; Stan feels like an outsider: a stranger living among his wife and her son. Erica gives all her time, attention and love to the infant, leaving none for her husband. Stan becomes envious; he looks at the newborn as a threat, tells himself something must be done—but what? He fights his jealous thoughts, knowing horrible things would happen if he were ever to act on them. But one night while drunk, Stan attempts to make love to his wife but is once again rejected. His pride hurt and feeling disowned, Stan stumbles into the baby’s room with intentions of eliminating his problem once and for all, knowing there can only be one man in Erica’s life. That is the promise his wife had made him on the night they met, and it is the promise he intends to make her keep.

Purchase My Wife's Baby by RM Johnson 

Link: http://amzn.com/B00P3CHSWI


Hate the Air: The Abbreviated Life of Shea Kennedy by RM Johnson

Hate the Air: The Abbreviated Life of Shea Kennedy
by RM Johnson

HATE THE AIR is a combination of Sci-fi, Dystopia, Mystery, Romance, Action and Adventure. This exciting, speculative, story asks: what would you do if you could only live until your twentieth birthday?

The world’s air became toxic two decades ago. All who have breathed it over that duration have died in the last four months, leaving only those under twenty years old alive. Their parents, guardians and all other influential adults are dead. The new adults scramble to forge a new life and protect themselves against starvation, home invasion, crime, rape and murder.

Seventeen year old Jenna Sawyer, daughter of the deceased President of the United States, was recently elected the new commander in chief under the Legacy Appointment Act—a law passed before the last of the White House cabinet members died, stating: individuals twenty years old and below will be responsible for keeping order, educating our children, caring for our population, defending our nation against threat and preserving humanity. In order for her to manage that task, President Jenna Sawyer asked the remaining living population to come to D.C. to develop a plan for a new world order.

Meanwhile, Shea Kennedy, newly elected Legacy Sheriff and best friend of the president, gathers the last survivors of her small town, her police dog, Tornado, and they start the perilous journey across hundreds of miles to the capital. Even though they resent Shea's authority, the caravan hopes to arrive before any of them reaches the age of twenty and succumbs to the air. 

Excerpt from HATE THE AIR

I stepped into the open door of the house. I saw no signs of a break-in: the living room hadn’t been ransacked: no furniture upended, cushions knifed open, legs torn off end tables, or lamps broken like cracked egg shells on the carpet. It was the opposite: books lay neatly on the coffee table, burned down candles sat beside them, pocket change: pennies, dimes and a quarter were spread nearby. The kitchen was clean: no trash overflowing in the corner pail. But the cabinet doors hung open. Inside of them there was nothing.

I climbed the stairs, stopped in the second floor hallway, surrounded by four doors, all of them closed. I reached to open one, heard movement behind another, spun and with a grunt, kicked it open. The shadow of a boy rummaging through drawers whirled around, and in the splash of flashlight, I saw the gun as it was turned on me.

“Don’t do it. I’ll shoot!” I cried, my voice tense, high pitched, terrified. The
flashlight beam bounced around his body and face, the thing trembling uncontrollable in my hand. He wore dark pants, a sweater and a ski mask pulled over his head.

“Whatever you have, put it down now!” I demanded.

“Who are you?”

“Sheriff!” I said, trying to sound authoritative.

“Legacy?” He scoffed.

“Freakin sheriff!” I said, again, jabbing my gun at him. “Put it down now or I’ll—“ before I could finish, I felt an excruciating pain shoot through my skull, shudder down my spine, dropping me to the floor. Movement around me, I felt someone step over me, wrench my gun from my hand. My flashlight lay somewhere on the floor, casting a tall, oblong, light circle in the corner of the room. Within it stood the stretched shadow of the boy who had knocked me over the head from behind. He grinned, pulled his bandana down, revealing yellow crooked teeth.

“You about to say you was gonna shoot my friend?” The boy asked, pressing the side of his gun to my head.

I raised my palms, expecting to die, and thinking how disappointed Dad would’ve been if he could see me now. “Please,” I begged.

“It’s a little late for that,” he said, grinning wider, dragging the tip of the gun down my face, pressing it against my cheek so hard I cried out.

“Stop!” The boy I had snuck up on, said. “We’re not here to kill. Food is all we need. Besides, she’s the sheriff.”

The boy with the ugly grin looked harder at me. A glint of flashlight caught the point of a star on my badge. He reached down to snatch it. I grabbed his hand before he could tear it off of me, fought him for it, was ready to die before I let him take it.

“Leave it!” the boy wearing the black mask ordered.

He came up behind Yellow Grin, yanked him off of me, pointed his gun at me, while holding out his palm to his partner, gesturing for him to hand over my gun. He ejected the magazine, the bullet in the chamber and pushed both into his pocket, then threw my gun across the room. He handed the bag of stolen goods to his creepy friend and told him to take it outside.

I stared at the boy through the eyeholes in his mask, watching him, wondering if he’d kill me.

“Mother or father was a cop? Probably your hero, and you’re trying to do what they did,” he said, his gun still on me. “Right?”

My heart pounding, I couldn’t speak, could barely breath.

“Things are different. No more heroes. Just people gagging in the street, and people who gonna gag in the street. Leave this place like everybody else, before you get yourself killed.”

He shoved his gun in the waist of his pants, turned, left me on the floor, shaking, terrified of moving until I heard the downstairs door slam shut. I rolled on my belly, shimmied across the carpet, grabbed my flashlight then found my gun.

Downstairs, I stepped out on the porch, shielded my eyes against the piercing sunlight. Tornado barked frantically at me as though he knew I had acted stupidly—almost got myself killed trying to defend an empty house.

“Shhh, boy. Shhh!” I told him.

I climbed on my bike, kick-started the engine, about to pull off, when the realization that I had almost died hit me hard. Tears came to my eyes and with both gloved fists, I started hitting the bike’s dented gas tank, screaming as Tornado barked louder. “Why would you leave me with this? Why would you think I could do it? Why, Dad?” I cried.

I hammered the tank over and over until my hands ached, finally lowering them on the dented metal. I stayed like that, stretched over the bike until I could stop crying.

Tornado had gone silent, too. I looked at him. He stared back, his head tilted to a side as if to say, now that you got that out of your system, can we please go?

I smiled a little, wiped my face and sat up straight on the bike. Glancing upward, I said, “Sorry Dad, for acting like a little girl. Won’t happen again, okay.”

I pulled down my goggles, toed the Harley into gear then sped off.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, RM Johnson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

New Adult Fiction -  Hate the Air: The Abbreviated Life of Shea Kennedy
Link: http://amzn.com/B00WQ3M9AI

What You Won't Do for Love by Keleigh Crigler Hadley

What You Won't Do for Love 
by Keleigh Crigler Hadley

Unconditional Love. Unthinkable Choice. 

Eden Price, an unlucky-in-love nurse finds herself in the midst of a heated love triangle. Globe-trotting missionary, Gabe Clark ignites her soul. Who doesn't want a man with a connection to God? Hard-working, Nemo Gates speaks to her heart. His past has caused a rift between him and God and Eden wants to help him heal.

She ultimately chooses the man that makes her passions come alive, but did she make the right choice? Her husband stuns her with a desperate plea; to prove her love for him in the most unthinkable way - to help him die with dignity.

Book Review: What You Won't Do for Love

Get the tissues out! What You Won't Do for Love is a emotional roller-coaster ride. 

The story centers around, Eden Price and the two men in her life, Gabe Clark and Nehemiah Gates. The author, Keleigh Hadley creates an intriguing love triangle and I found myself cheering for one guy, then cheering for the next guy - I was torn! I connected deeply with the main character, Eden Price because she was quirky, compassionate and realistic. Ultimately the love triangle is broken and Eden chooses one of the men, but he asks her to do the unthinkable. I have to be honest, I thought one way about the subject the author tackles in this book, but after reading this and connecting with her struggle, I feel differently. I won't say how because that would spoil the plot twist. In the end, I greatly appreciated the spiritual insight and encouragement I felt after reading and look forward to reading many more books from Keleigh Hadley.  --- Reviewed by Gina Johnsond, Reading DIVAZ

Excerpt: What You Won't Do for Love 

“There goes that Price girl again.” Verdeen Washington exclaimed to her hard-of-hearing sister, Pearleen. They rocked in unison, in the twilight air on their front porch.

Eden Price noted the puzzlement in Verdeen’s booming voice as she steadily passed them by. Heck, the whole neighborhood could hear it.

“She’s a strange bird, if I ever saw one.” Pearleen looked over her thick glasses and pursed her wrinkled lips.

“Good evening, Washington sisters.”

Eden smiled, nodded and kept her legs pumping. She knew they shook their gray wigs as she passed them, but her jogging pace didn’t diminish and she kept on singing.

She knew she was a sight to see and hear.

“Wishing, and hoping and thinking and praying...
planning and dreaming each night of his charms…”

That’s it, Dionne.

Eden sang the tune to Dionne Warwick’s 1950’s classic song. The lyrics had been stuck on repeat in her head all day and the only way to get a song out, is to sing it. So in between breaths, she belted out the infectious tune.

So Dionne, is this the formula for catching a man?

The cushion in her Nike trainers flattened and rebounded as she reduced her pace from a slow jog to a brisk walk. She was two blocks from home and needed to start her cool down.

“...do the things he likes to do… wear your hair just for him… 'cause you won’t get him,
and praying,
and wishing,
and hoping...”

Her worn out sports bra allowed too much jiggle and wiggle room for her girls. She could never hope to get a good run in anymore wearing three year-old running shoes and a five year-old bra, but budget constraints did not allow for such luxuries.

Eden adjusted ‘Ben and Jerry’ again to the safe confines of her bra, before she was arrested for exposing herself. Eden hunched over for a moment to catch her breath. Just a few more feet to go. She righted herself, hit her corner, and turned at the intersection of Third ave and 33rd place.

Three threes. The number meant something to her father, God rest his soul. It was his favorite number and one of the reasons he purchased a house on this block. But today, the number three held relevance to Eden too.

This was her thirty-third year of life, she was suffering from her third night of insomnia, and on March third, in three days her life would change - “for better or worse.”

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Keleigh Crigler Hadley. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Order What You Won't Do for Love  

Link: http://amzn.to/1hhT1Q4

About the Author

Keleigh Crigler Hadley is an author, speaker, and teacher who is thankful God can use her messes for His glory.
She has always loved stories, and she believes the story of the Bible contains the biggest, the most redemptive dose of grace humankind has ever, and will ever, experience. She is the Christian Fiction author of the Preacher's Kids series,  Revenge Inc., and What You Won't Do for Love.

If she were to define herself in one sentence, she would say, "I'm a girl who loves to see God working."  Keleigh writes soul-stirring fiction, with real characters that stay with readers long after they have closed the book, (or turned the e-reader off.)  The only thing she loves more than writing is reading, so contact her on social media and let her know what you're reading!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/khadley11
Website: http://www.keleighcriglerhadley.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkeleigh
Books: http://www.amazon.com/Keleigh-Crigler-Hadley

The Reeducation of Aria Jackson by Angelia Vernon Menchan

The Reeducation of Aria Jackson
by Angelia Vernon Menchan

Aria Jackson left Greenfield in search of an MBA from Wharton and her dignity. She felt escaping the hood and her uneducated but loving mother would validate her. However, a job as the youngest Vice President at a local bank brings her home and she has to realize her hometown, her mom and nothing else was what she thought and that one can never escape who they are or where they are from and what part will local philanthropist and entrepreneur, Saul Rathbone add to her mix?

The Reeducation of Aria Jackson covers timely and sensitive issues that plague the prodigal daughters of America's inner cities.

Excerpt from The Reeducation of Aria Jackson by Angelia Vernon Menchan

Turning to grab a plate, her heart caught in her throat when she saw Saul standing inches from her.

"Are you still ashamed of us Aria or are you finally home?" His voice was low and melodious, sending a thrill up her spine.

"I'm in this town but I'm not going to live in this neighborhood. Left up to me, my mom wouldn't either." She snapped. She hadn't seen Saul in years and they were already in combat. He was a few years older than her but had always taken pleasure in teasing her. She was once good friends with his sister.

"Why not Aria? This is a great neighborhood. It's chockfull of professionals with white and blue collars and it spawned us, you and I, college educated and upwardly mobile."

"This is you Saul, not me. It also spawned crack addicts and the like and I want nothing to do with that!" A slow smile covered his face.

"It did, like my sister and your former friend but Sandra is clean and sober and working as a counselor and you know why?"

"I'm sure you're going to tell me..."

"It's because of this place and people like your mom. They were never ashamed of her. They loved on her and chastised her and never gave up on her. This neighborhood is famous for that."

"Well good for them and you but this is no longer me. If my mom weren't here..."

"You would never come this way... That's too bad Aria because it's you we need. The girl born to the single mom who worked cleaning hotel rooms and selling dinners to allow her to live in her own home instead of an apartment or the projects and to go away to get an education. Those checks she mailed you were mailed from the hood post office. So instead of being ashamed of all this, you should be thanking God, Ms. Helen and this hood... But do you. By the way, you look good but you really do need a couple of those wings."

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Angelia Vernon Menchan. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Order The Reeducation of Aria Jackson by Angelia Vernon Menchan
Link: http://amzn.com/B00UZFZZDM 

About the Author

Angelia Vernon Menchan is a publishing author and entrepreneur who respects history while embracing the future. Through her publishing company, Honorable MENCHAN Media, she and her husband have published more than thirty full length books and countless novellas and short stories of her work. Menchan has also allowed unpublished authors to realize their dreams by publishing their work. To date she has provided that opportunity to twelve authors. When not writing, Menchan is a mentor and public speaker who fearlessly address the issues of young women in today's world.

Email: acvermen@yahoo.com
Blog: http://acvermen.blogspot.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AngelMenchan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/angeliam
Website: http://angeliavernonmenchanserials.blogspot.com


Do What You Gotta Do by Christine Young-Robinson

Do What You Gotta Do 
by Christine Young-Robinson

Sequel to We Didn't See It Coming

 A compelling story about three Houston sisters, Milandra, Noelle, and Kenley who come from a family of wealth—and whose lives are shattered by tragedy, scandal, secrets, and betrayal.

In this sizzling story of family drama, money, and seduction, one woman’s desire for a luxurious lifestyle leads her to prey on a vulnerable man—until his father’s suspicions threaten to undo everything.

Aniyah Sanchez is a wild, sexy, and seductive woman—and has just been released from prison for crimes of fraud, kidnapping, and embezzlement.

Without parents to turn to, she’s surprised when her aunt Tessa comes to her rescue and sets her up in an apartment until she can find work. But Aniyah is determined to move out and start a new life her own way—by finding a wealthy man who can provide the extravagant lifestyle she longs for.

That man turns out to be Jarvis Powell, Jr., who finds Aniyah very attractive and gives her a job at one of the banks owned by his father. There’s just one problem: Jarvis’s father is suspicious of Aniyah and will do everything in his power to protect the family legacy…especially from a woman he suspects is trying to ensnare his son to get to the family fortune.

Now, with Jarvis, Sr. watching her like a hawk, Aniyah is more determined than ever to win over his son. Will the bond of a father and son undo her plan, or will she finally get her chance at a new beginning?

Excerpt: Do What You Gotta Do

Chapter 1

At last, Aniyah Sanchez would no longer be like a lion locked up in a cage. After spending four years in a South Carolina prison for fraud and kidnapping, she was being released.

As she stepped out of her cell, a male prison guard whispered in her ear, “Fruitcake, I’ll see you when you get back.”

Sniffing the fish odor that escaped from his breath, Aniyah turned up her nose. Didn’t he know after lunch to eat a peppermint?

“Goodbye, Slut,” an inmate yelled from another cell to her.

“You better get your last feel, Officer Mann,” another inmate added.
The inmates laughed throughout the ward, including the guard who sported a broken front tooth. He cupped Aniyah’s left breast with his right hand. Then he took the club he held in his other hand and placed it between her legs.

“I don’t think so!” Aniyah snapped her head, brushing him away. “Your time has expired.”
During her prison term, she had fulfilled the guard’s sexual needs in exchange for protection from conflicts that she had endured with other female inmates.

Aniyah, almost jogging, hurried ahead until she came to a point where she met up with another guard and other inmates that were being released.  Once the official documents were finalized, the guard let Aniyah out of the last door that gave her back her freedom. A chill ran through her body, but it quickly disappeared once the doors were slammed shut behind her. Turning around, she took one last look at the place of residence she had called home. The fourth inmate in line wearing loafers donated by church volunteers, her feet made contact with the concrete ground.
Aniyah adjusted her eyes to the sunlight that blinded her. She pulled down on her red spandex dress that had risen up to her hips. It was the same dress she had worn before she became a part of the prison system.  Her once slender hips stretched the dress to its limits, but Aniyah strutted as if the garment was brand-new. She faulted her excessive weight gain from her no longer being able to shake her hips in the nightclubs. In prison, she mostly sat on her rear in her cell or in ongoing therapy sessions.

Under her armpit, she carried a plastic bag of her belongings and a pair of pumps. Her hands free, she twisted her flowing black hair up in a bun. Other released inmates stopped to say farewell to each other, but Aniyah kept walking, too afraid that she might be called back by one of the guards.  Two female inmates ran past her, once they saw familiar faces of loved ones waiting to take them home. Aniyah was not looking for any family to come to her rescue. She would not know her father from any other black man on the streets. He was her mother’s one-night stand with no name.  Julia, her mother, had died two months ago in Mexico, during the time dyed eggs were given to inmates for holiday treats. Aniyah remembered the day the warden delivered the news to her. Guilt troubled her, since she had run away from home at the age of sixteen, leaving her mother behind to suffer a broken heart.  The only family she had left was her mother’s sister, Tessa Sanchez-Chavis. And she was not counting on her self-righteous aunt to come to her rescue.  Where am I going? I have no idea.  As the heat beamed down on her forehead, sweat dripped down her neck. The spandex dress felt like rubber against her body.

“Rosie Aniyah Sanchez.” She heard the name echoing in her ears.

Her eyes lit up, when she recognized the familiar voice. She locked eyes with her aunt. The solemn look on her face turned into a bright smile. “Aunt Tessa.”

She studied her aunt, noticing how much she had aged. Streaks of gray highlighted Tessa’s jet-black hair. Aniyah, elated, ran into her aunt’s arms. “I can’t believe you’re here.”

“You’re family,” her aunt said humbly in her Spanish accent and giving her niece a kiss on the cheek.

Together, they strolled to a parked black Mercedes-Benz.

Admiring her aunt’s ride, before prison life and without hesitation, if a man were driving the Benz, Aniyah would have easily flagged down the ride. She would have unraveled her bun to let her hair fall past her shoulders, propped one hand on a hip and batted her dark brown eyes. Then she would have worked her charm on the man behind the wheel, giving him her middle name instead of using her first name, Rosie. Played him for a sucker.  After all the counseling, her former lifestyle of being an escort and manipulating people, especially men, was supposed to be her past, but only time would tell. Tessa unlocked the car door, hopped in and quickly Aniyah jumped in and took a seat on the butter-colored leather seats. A free ride from her aunt would do.

“How did you know I was getting out?”

Tessa reached over and gave her niece another loving hug. Then she became emotional. “I’ve been keeping up with you. And although I can’t forget what you did to the Houstons or me, you’re still family. I have made peace with it.”

“How about your lawyer-hubby, Baron?”

“He’s Mr. Chavis to you from now on. And, he’ll never forgive you for what you did to the Houston family, nor him,” Tessa admitted with a hint of bitterness.

“It’s not like it was his money.” Reaching down between the seats, Aniyah picked up a bag of boiled peanuts. She cracked open the peanuts, tossing a few in her mouth. While chewing, she continued to speak. “The Houstons are garbage people. Mr. Houston was a male whore. How can you defend him?”

“Don’t speak of the dead in a bad way,” Tessa argued. She recalled working as a young woman in the home of Rupert Houston, owner of Houston Commercial Construction Company. He was a man who loved to have his way with his beautiful female workers.

Aniyah sucked her teeth. “Mr. Houston can rot in hell. And so can his spoiled-ass daughters.” She slouched back in the seat. In past years, Aniyah had crossed paths with her aunt’s prior boss, Rupert. Her greed for money led her to become his mistress. He had promised her a false dream on Lake Murray, South Carolina, to later do away with her. Aniyah vowed to get revenge on him. To keep her quiet, Rupert included her in his will. Aniyah took a few more peanuts, folded the bag, and placed it back where she got it. “I still say you were more loyal to his spoiled-ass daughters than you were to me.”

Staring at her aunt as she drove, Aniyah wanted to grab and shake her. Rupert’s unexpected death had left her a happy and wealthy young woman, instead of his three daughters, until Tessa discovered her wrongdoings. Instead of living the life of royalty, Aniyah had landed in prison. Tessa sensed Aniyah was still bitter. “I believe in doing what’s right. You had no right to do wrong.”

“I didn’t want to be a maid like you and mama. I could have sent plenty of money to Mama.” Aniyah lowered her voice. “Now she’s dead.”

Tessa was surprised. “I asked the warden to not tell you about Julia.”

“You should have come and told me yourself.”

“I didn’t want you to be hurt. You couldn’t go to Mexico to your mama’s funeral.”

“Did you go?” Aniyah asked sadly.

“I went to visit her in her sickbed a month before she went to her heavenly home. She wanted so much for you to come to her bedside. I simply couldn’t tell her that I found you. You were in jail for doing bad things. It would have destroyed her. I stayed by her side to the end.”

Tears flowed down Aniyah’s face. “I’m glad you didn’t tell her.”

Tessa softly patted her niece on the hand. “Your mama loved you with all her heart.”

“I know…I miss her.” Aniyah wiped away her tears.

“Let’s go shopping. You don’t need to dress like you’re a loose girl.” Tessa had witnessed her niece’s dress code. The dress had risen up on Aniyah. It resembled a tunic shirt.

“I’ll go shopping. But I’m not throwing away this dress.”

“It’s too little.”

Aniyah saw her aunt glancing at her. She tugged at her dress, trying to cover her exposed thighs. “So I gained a few pounds. No big deal.”

“After shopping, you’ll trash it.”

“This hot dress stays with me.”

Tessa concluded that it was going to be a long day for her. The sooner she took her niece shopping and got her settled, the sooner she would be rid of her. She sighed. “Aniyah, you have always been difficult.”

“I think for myself. No one tells me what to do.”


After shopping, Tessa drove Aniyah to a two-story apartment complex in nearby downtown Columbia.

Aniyah looked out at the buildings as Tessa parked. Startled, she said, “This is where you and Baron live now. What happened to his house?”

“We still have our home. This is where you’re going to rest.”

Aniyah’s voice escalated. “Are you for real? Here?”

“I’m sorry, but there’s no way Baron will let me bring you into our home.”

“I’m your niece. He can now trust me.”

“I’m afraid not.”

Aniyah marveled. She heard the nervousness in her aunt’s voice. She was flattered that her aunt thought of her as a threat. In the past, she had seduced her aunt’s husband, prior to their marriage, in order to manipulate him to get to his client’s fortune.

They got out of the vehicle, carrying shopping bags by the handles. Aniyah followed her aunt to the front door. Unlocking it, they entered the one-bedroom apartment.

She proceeded to the middle of the living room, while Tessa, clenching her handbag, stayed put near the door.

Aniyah felt her aunt’s eyes piercing on her, well-informed that she was uncomfortable being alone with her, but her attention was focused on her living arrangements. Next to a small wooden table, she tossed the bags that she held on a futon. Then she headed to see where she would sleep; leaving her aunt on edge to figure out if she would show any signs of psychotic symptoms.

Inside the bedroom, Aniyah spotted a four-drawer chest and twin-sized bed that was the bottom half of a bunk bed. Secondhanded crap.

“I hope you like it.” Tessa dropped the other bags on the linoleum floor.

Aniyah mumbled under her breath, “No bigger than a jail cell.”

Returning back into the living room, Aniyah decided not to complain. She was convinced without her aunt rescuing her, she might be sitting on a bench like a homeless person.

Aniyah grinned. “It’s good.”

“There’s food in the refrigerator. I’ve stocked it with a few things, sodas and sandwich meats. In the cabinets, there’re cans of corn, black beans and a five-pound bag of rice.”

“Any steaks, lobster tails or shrimp?”

Tessa laughed. “There’re frozen foods, and chicken for you to cook. Tonight you can heat a frozen chicken TV dinner.”

Aniyah went directly into the kitchen adjacent to the living room. She looked in the freezer to see that few products loaded the freezer, including one ice tray. She slammed the door shut. Then she opened the refrigerator section. Removing a can of orange soda, she snapped it opened and took a swallow, quenching her thirst.

Tessa entered. As she watched her niece’s every move, she noticed the spandex dress Aniyah wore had risen up her thighs. “I say you should change into something more appropriate.”

Aniyah tussled with the dress. “Stop looking at my clothes. It’ll fit fine once I lose a few pounds. I’ll get sexy-looking again.” Shaking her hips, Aniyah looked around the kitchen, noticing something was missing. “Hold up…no microwave?”

“You can use the stove to heat a TV dinner.”

“Whatever.” Aniyah rolled her eyes.

“Change your style of dressing. Start off fresh by getting yourself decent work. And, find a good man that you can start a family with,” Tessa lectured with an air of sophistication.

Aniyah stared at her aunt as though she were a hated prison guard. She had not thought about a job. She twirled around. Cheerfully, she said, “I can use a money man.”

“It’s nothing like making your own money.”

Aniyah walked past her aunt, stepping back into the living room. Tessa followed behind her while Aniyah searched for any sign of communication technology.

“No telephone in here?”

Tessa shook her index finger at her. “When you get work, you can buy one.”

“If you want me to get a job, at least get me a cell phone.”

“For now, no phone. I’ll be coming by to check on you.”

Aniyah slouched down on the futon. She shoved her fist into the cushion, feeling the steel frame underneath. “I hate being broke.”

“In due time, you’ll find work. Make your own money.”

“I have no skills. No one will hire me.”

“There has to be something you like to do or you can go to college.”

“Aunt Tessa, getting out of jail is not the same as getting out of high school. I didn’t just graduate. No college for me.”

“You know how to clean.”

Aniyah jumped to her feet. Her mind went to the days she was forced to clean the toilet in her jail cells. Enraged, she yelled, “Hell to the no. I’ll die before I scrub another toilet.”

“It’s an honest living.”

“Never!” Aniyah snapped as she sat back down. “I’ll find something else to do.”

“Start looking for some kind of work.”

Aniyah banged her fist on the table. “I need money now.”

Tessa eased her way near the door. Digging in her purse, she pulled out a few bills. “This should be enough to get you by.”

Aniyah hurried over to her, snatching the money out of her aunt’s hand. Before she shoved the bills down in her bra, she counted up to a hundred.

“The rent on this apartment is paid in full for three months. By then you should’ve found work.”

“Give me a break. That’s not enough time.”

“You must have work by then. Baron won’t allow me to give you any more money after that.”

“He rules you.”

“Nonsense. We agreed on that decision.”

“Tell him what you want…you’re his wife, Mrs. Tessa Sanchez-Chavis. Stop being too easy.”

“I’m loyal to my husband. He’s a good man. I won’t let you ruin my marriage. Three months it is.” Tessa peered at her through hooded eyes.

Aniyah heard the authority in her aunt’s voice and said no more. She was not about to let three months turn into get-out-right-now.

“In the drawer, there’s a nightgown for you to rest in.” Tessa jingled her car keys as she made her way to the door. “I must go. I must prepare dinner for my husband.”

“I need to eat, too.”

“Heat your dinner. I pray you’ll turn your life around. My sister would want that for you. I’ll see you in a few days. And for God’s sake, don’t go anywhere near Milandra, Noelle or Kenley Houston. Baron and I have agreed not to disturb them about your release. They’re in a good place in their lives.”

Aniyah chuckled. “The fake sisters are history to me. I’m going to be in a much better place then, them uppity snobs.”

“I have faith that you’ll do fine, once you find work.” Tessa noticed she still had the apartment key in her hand. “You’ll need this.” She tossed the key to Aniyah. “Don’t lose it.”

Following her aunt outside, Aniyah watched as she got into her vehicle. “Weak bitch,” she hollered, once Tessa drove away.

Back into the apartment, Aniyah slammed the door behind her. She stood in the middle of the living room, sniffing the stale odor. She screamed, “I’m still in jail. The one time my Aunt Tessa could do right by me and she put me in a hell hole.”

Aniyah went into the bedroom. She bounced on the bed. “Dead mattress,” she fussed. “Aunt Tessa is going home to her fancy bed. I’ve got to sleep on a board for a mattress. Once again she shouted, “Weak bitch. Get a job, no way. My job will only be to find me a man with money. You and anyone else that gets in my way, will pay for treating me like I’m beneath you.”

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Christine Young-Robinson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Do What You Gotta Do by Christine Young-Robinson

Genre: Fiction. Suspense
Link: http://amzn.com/1593096275 

About the Author

Christine Young-Robinson is the author of the novel, We Didn't See It Coming and the short story "Miss Amy's Last Ride," which featured in the anthology, Proverbs for the People.  A wife, mother, and grandmother, Christine resides in South Carolina. She is the co-chairperson of Eleuthera Book Club. Follow her on social media:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/christineyr
Website:  http://www.christineyoungrobinson.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/christineyr 
Instagram:  https://instagram.com/christineyoungrobinson 

Made to Love You by Sheryl Lister

Made to Love You by Sheryl Lister

Devin Simms has never forgiven the woman who walked out on him, but when he sees her again, he realizes the passion between them still burns--and even hotter than before. As they spend an unexpected two weeks together beneath the Caribbean sun he knows he wants more. Can he learn to forgive and reclaim the only woman who's claimed his heart?

Floral shop co-owner Vivian Michaels believes she has finally put her past to rest. But when a wedding in Jamaica brings her face-to-face with the man she loved and had to leave behind, she realizes that she never stopped loving Devin. Every kiss reminds her of what she's missed, and perhaps what she can still have if she would only trust him with the truth.

Excerpt: Made to Love You by Sheryl Lister

As soon as they checked in and deposited their bags, the women rushed back to the lobby for the meeting with the wedding planner. They would have had a few minutes to rest, but Vivian was trying to avoid Devin after deplaning and they got caught in the long customs line. She couldn’t help but wonder where he was staying. Seeing him again was hard because, although she had ended their relationship—she didn’t have a choice—she still loved him.

“Too bad you two have to meet with the wedding planner,” Dawn said as they waited at the front desk. “I’ve seen some fine brothers walking around here.”

Vivian laughed. “Try not to have too much fun without us.”

“Yeah,” Mariah added. “Save some fun for after Friday night. There are a couple of tours we should do. I really want to tour the Bellefield Great House and Gardens.”

Dawn rolled her eyes. “Hmph. I should’ve known you’d want to go somewhere that has to do with gardens and flowers.”

“I want to go, too,” Vivian said. “Dawn, it’s one of the oldest sugar plantations in Jamaica.”

“Ms. Irving said she’ll be down in a moment,” the front desk clerk said after hanging up the phone.

“Thank you,” Vivian and Mariah said at the same time.

“Viv and I shouldn’t be long, Dawn. An hour tops. We’re just going over the order with the hotel staff to make sure I have everything I need. We can have dinner afterwards.”

Dawn glanced down at her watch. “If y’all take too long, I’m going to ask one of these sexy men running around here to join me, like that one,” she whispered and pointed to a dark-skinned man who had obviously just left the pool or beach. His damp, muscled skin glistened in the overhead lighting.

Vivian shook her head at her outrageous friend. “Girl, I don’t know about you. Try not to get into trouble while we’re gone.”

“I’ll see what I can do, but don’t hold me to it.”

They all laughed.

“Um, Viv,” Dawn started, her laughter fading, “remember when you said this was a big island? Don’t look now, but I think it just shrunk.”

Vivian followed Dawn’s gaze and her stomach dropped. “I don’t believe it.” Out of all the hotels on the island, what were the odds that she and Devin would end up at the same one? She watched as he and Tony, who she remembered as being one of Devin’s friends, shared a one-arm hug. “This can’t be happening.”

“Oh no.” Mariah laid a hand on Vivian’s shoulder. “Sweetie, I’ve got bad news.”

She couldn’t imagine anything being worse and wasn’t sure she wanted to know, but asked the question anyway. “What is it?”

“That guy Devin was just talking to is Samantha Green’s fiancĂ©. The one time he came with her to the shop, you were out, so I didn’t get a chance to introduce you.”

Vivian was wrong. It could be worse.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sheryl Lister. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase your copy of Made to Love You

Novella, Approximately 37k Words
Link: http://amzn.com/B00YB50K7S

About the Author

Sheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Her first novel, Just To Be With You, earned her a 2015 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Debut Author of the Year. When she's not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three and pediatric occupational therapist.

Corporate Thugs by Bridgett Renay

Corporate Thugs 
by Bridgett Renay

What’s the first sign that lets you know you’re dealing with a sociopath? 

Corporate Thugs is riddled with clues.

Set in the new reigning hub of African-American drama – suburban Atlanta – it’s the scandalous saga of the ambitious and untamed Gerald Alexander that chronicles his descent into the dismal world of irrationality. From high school to college and throughout the pros – his story will have you watching your back ever so closely.

Gerald had only two dreams, to play professional football in the NFL and to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. When the former became a reality it was short-lived due to a serious injury. And just like that, all the fame, fortune, parties, and women… gone. On the contrary, his best friend since childhood, Marcus Stone, was on top of the world – a successful business, a beautiful wife, and a fat bank account…he seemed to have it all.

Being a supportive friend, Marcus offers Gerald a job hoping Gerald would have a positive impact on his company. But when jealousy and murder come between them, which one will fall? Could Gerald be so callous that he'd set his best friend up? Is Marcus even capable of unleashing his own wrath?  They solved the riddle. Can you?

Corporate Thugs Book Reviews

I never heard of Bridgette Renay, I was looking for a good book to download, read the synopsis and just had to read the book. I can honestly say that once I started reading I couldn't put my Kindle down until I finished the book. Very well written and thought-provoking, filled with an array of mystery, drama and intrigue the plot was on point and the characters were real and believable. Bridgette Renay is an author to watch for if all her books are like this one!  --Ms. Mikki, Amazon Review

Corporate Thugs is a for sure "must read"!!! This book had me on edge from start to finish. If you think you know your friends, throw money in the mix and you will find out just who has your back and who will stab you in the back! This will be a stocking stuffer this year for some of my friends. Congratulations, and Thanks Ms. Bridgett Renay for shedding some light on Corporate America. DAMN this was goood!  --Jeffrey B. Johnson, Amazon Review

Excerpt: Corporate Thugs by Bridgett Renay

Brenda and Coach Daniels hosted a Christmas party mid-December and all were invited. Terrell didn’t like hanging out with Fallon’s people, they acted too peculiar around each other for his taste, but he made an exception after Fallon told him she was pregnant.

She didn’t actually tell him she was pregnant, it was more like him noticing the changes she was going through – her behavior, eating habits and weight gain gave her secret away. She told him about the positive pregnancy test, but convinced him she was only waiting to find out for certain from her gynecologist because she didn’t want to cause any false alarms.

Terrell was excited and couldn’t wait to share their news with everyone, but at the last minute Fallon convinced him to wait until after the holidays. She knew how much the news would hurt Dionne who appeared to be in great spirits at the party.

Out of nowhere, Dionne steals the spotlight and makes an over-the-top announcement. Using a butter knife to tap on her glass of water, Dionne got everyone’s attention and spoke in one of her snottier vernaculars she saves for auspicious occasions such as this, “Everyone, everyone, can I have your attention. My husband Marcus and I have some wonderful news we would like to share with you.”

Brenda gave a look that said she didn’t appreciate Dionne taking over her Christmas party, especially without warning the hostess, but she let it go. Being around Dionne was like walking on egg shells. Everyone treated her with kid gloves for the sake of her health.

While Marcus remained seated, Dionne stood up and put one hand on his shoulder striking a distinguished pose as if they were royalty and proudly announced, “The love of my life, Marcus, has been chosen as one of this year’s prestigious Power 30 Under 30. For those of you who don’t know what that is…”

Marcus interrupts, “Baby, I think even if anybody here has never heard of the award, they can imagine from its name what it represents,” Marcus light-heartedly laughs.

Dionne proceeds to lead the crowd in applause. Terrell applauds, but isn’t too happy. Why does everyone always let Dionne steal the scene whenever she wants to throw their accomplishments in other people’s faces? They’re not the only ones living happy, successful lives.

Fallon has had Terrell’s nose wide open since the beginning of their relationship, but this time he wasn’t about to obey her commands. If Dionne can share their good news, so could he. As the applause died down, Terrell stands up and makes an announcement of his own, “Everyone, Fallon and I also bring good news. We’re expecting a baby! She’s three months pregnant!”

Most guests were genuinely happy for the couple. Dionne pretended to be thrilled. Brenda pretended to be surprised. Gerald immediately did the math in his head.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Bridgett Renay. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Order copies of Corporate Thugs by Bridgett Renay
Link: http://amzn.com/B00UTZFYIO 

Meet the Author

Never has there been a time in Bridgett Renay’s life where she’s laughed harder or played more vigorously…all thanks to writing. Everything she’s done in life has led to this moment. From both an undergraduate and graduate degrees to twenty-four years of service as a Navy Reservist tells the story of a journey that took her to faraway places, introduced her to intoxicating people, and shaped the way she views the world and her place in it. What better time to pen the tales that dances inside her head.

Bridgett: http://www.bridgettrenay.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BridgettRenay
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bridgett.renay.3
Instagram: https://instagram.com/undistractedbridgettrenay/
Books by Bridgett Renay: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UTZFYIO

Embrace My Heart by AlTonya Washington

Embrace My Heart 
by AlTonya Washington

All of the delights and none of the drama—that's what heiress and gallery owner Vectra Bauer wants from her fling with Qasim Wilder. The gorgeous financial adviser has been Vectra's platonic friend, but now, after the end of her last painful relationship, she's ready to take a small risk and open her heart.

Settling for a little of anything isn't Sim's ideal. Possessive by nature, he makes no secret of how much he wants Vectra. And he can't understand why she's hiding from their intense connection that's way more than just physical. The man who always gets what he wants is embracing his biggest challenge yet: to make the woman he adores believe in love once more…

Excerpt: Embrace My Heart 

They had been friends long enough for her to know that he hated ties. He usually discarded whichever one he wore either just before or right after lunch. The guy loved his comfort and the fact didn't diminish the stunning craftsmanship of his body or face.

Bottomless dark eyes competed with the ebony richness of heavy brows and the sleep cap of hair he wore close cut. His facial hair was tamed into an intentional five o'clock shadow that partly hid a cleft chin and the faint lines that proved he was easy with his smiles.

Vectra blinked suddenly, at once regretting and realizing how much time she'd taken to admire the man's face and form. The fact made her wonder whether she'd subjected any of her other male friends to such scrutiny. Doubtful. Her male friends were just that—just friends. Or, rather, they had been…until she met Qasim; he was a male friend she would have preferred become much more.

He opened one of the towering maple doors leading to his office. Vectra quickened her pace when she realized he was going to hold it for her as though she were an actual welcomed visitor. In spite of his polite manners, however, she could've sworn she picked up on a low yet distinctive sound of agitation. That sound rumbled through his chest when she passed him on her way into the room.

If ever there was an office that personified its owner, it's Qasim's, she thought.

The place was a testament to pretty much everything he held dear. One far, expansive corner was a hive of activity with wide-screen monitors broadcasting both financial and sports news from their perches atop a pair of pristine maple desks. Towering bookcases lined the room and were filled with pictures, plaques, awards and books spanning a range of genres. Above the cases nearest the desks was a stock ticker.

Vectra set her tote on one of the square black leather chairs that surrounded an impressive gaming area. She wondered if nice or nasty was the way to begin their conversation. She didn't have long to debate.

"Coming to invite me to another party, Vec?"

The words carried over Qasim's broad shoulder as he headed into his work area. He removed his suit coat, slung it over the back of the sofa he passed and smiled in her direction when he turned.

Okay, then… she decided, accepting that the conversation would be a tad strained. "Actually, I came to ask why I've been selected as the lucky one to get the brunt of the petty side of your personality?"

He smiled. While the gesture held a great deal of humor, the air of agitation remained.

"Qasim?" Vectra's attempt to remain steely gave way, and her curiosity got the better of her. "Why are you angry with me?" She didn't care for the pleading tone that clung to her words, but she wanted answers.

Qasim appeared taken aback, but recovered soon enough. "I'm not angry with you." He made a pretense of reviewing the folders lying open on his desk.

"Well, you're something. What'd I do?" Curiosity had given way to a smidge of self-consciousness while she stood before him. Something changed. His smile was gone, and the look that replaced it was observant in a way that made Vectra flush with heat.

Another of the agitated rumbles surged in Qasim's chest, and he pushed back the wide black leather chair behind his desk. Vectra could hear nothing over her heart beating wildly as anticipation had its way with her.

Qasim didn't take a seat in the chair; instead, he headed in Vectra's direction and then shifted toward the maple wet bar, which displayed a wide array of liquor bottles in various shapes and sizes. Quietly, Qasim went about preparing Vectra's vodka tonic, which he set firmly upon the bar top. From the full-size black fridge behind him, he retrieved his beer of choice and popped the top.

He tipped the bottle to his mouth. "I'm not angry with you."

Vectra stood in place, nervously rubbing her fingers together while she observed Qasim with a wary gaze. He motioned with his bottle for her to take the vodka. Vectra didn't care how eagerly she accepted. The drink went a long way in calming her ridiculously frazzled nerves.

The lush line of Qasim's mouth grew even lusher as a smile emerged. She rolled her eyes. "You said that already, so excuse me for not believing you." She gave him her back, keeping the drink clutched securely between her hands.

Qasim allowed his emotions greater purchase while Vectra's back faced him. He didn't realize the blackness of his stare softened as it always did when just the mere thought of her stirred.

He watched her sip from the glass but noticed that she didn't empty it. She put more distance between them, which gave him time to absorb the missed sight of her.

The more time they spent together, the more she stunted his ability to properly think or even speak. He'd masked it for as long as he could. When he could no longer do that, he latched on to his only option.

Because he didn't want to be her friend. He wanted much more.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, AlTonya Washington. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Embrace My Heart by AlTonya Washington

Link: http://amzn.com/B00OY9ZAC6

Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew

Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew

Beatrice James and Elaine Wilson work for a marketing firm in Houston, Texas. Life hasn't been easy for Elaine as she copes with her disability, and at the same time manages to function in her everyday life. The two coworkers and friends jump at the opportunity to help run a Disabled Awareness Campaign when Mrs. Stevens, from Washington D.C., calls the ladies up and pitches the idea. Elaine agrees to chair the campaign and Beatrice agrees to be second chair. Both women agree to meet with Mrs. Stevens in Washington to get the campaign set-up and running. All goes well until Thomas Paige enter the scene.

Mrs. Stevens herself is excited to meet, for the first time, the dapper and charming Thomas Paige, who is a well-known community leader. It doesn't take long for the charm to evaporate and Thomas to begin to shed his wool, revealing the wolf underneath the sheep's clothing. Elaine begins to sense that there's something more to Thomas than what he's presenting, but will it be too late when she finds out for certain?

Ungolden Silence will have you peeling off what's underneath a man's exterior, before peeling back the sheets.

Through the story Beatrice, Elaine, and their colleagues, Ungolden Silence examines rape in diverse angles; where each of the main characters discovers what they have believed about rape and violence is not entirely true. A good example is when the firm’s secretary is told what happens on the trip. She discovered that some things that she was told when she was young was a myth.

And what about the family of Mr. Paige?  William Paige, local district attorney and Thomas’ identical twin brother, finds that suddenly, he must defend himself. He becomes cognizant of the need for a public awareness campaign of the world of rape. He goes to the Calloway Firm to ask them to do the rape campaign. During the research, The Calloway Firm begins to realize that rape is not an issue that stands by itself. Rape is just a symptom of the bigger issue of violence. The project turns out to be an information guide full of articles about what the main characters find out.

A powerful read that will leave a moving message inside reader, Ungolden Silence scores a major triumph for an author on a mission.

Book Reviews for Ungolden Silence 

Must Read With Sensitive Issues
Reviewed by Misty Iputi 

Ungolden Silence is one powerful book. It may be a work of fiction, however it has some real issues. The issues are to be addressed in the book. This book does give a look at the strength of Christian faith has in dealing with the problems.  If I could give this more than 5 stars it would be well worth it.

Emotional Read
Reviewed by My Cozie Corner Book Reviews 

"Ungolden Silence" is an easy read, but hard read that is well written and very emotional with a topic that needs more recognition. A recommended read to all women.

Book Like No Other
Reviewed by Mz Tiffany Divine Reviews 

I just finished reviewing Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew and I honestly can say it’s not like no other book I have read before. In Ungolden Silence you will meet Beatrice who will take you on a world wind journey of being raped and how it not only affects her but other’s around her. Lydia brings emotions out that you may never knew existed. I was immediately drawn into the characters and could feel the pain that some of them were going through. Lydia E. Brew does an awesome job with this book and I look forward to reading more by her.

Let the Victim Be Heard
Reviewed by Teresa Beasley 

Ungolden Silence is an informative book about disability, rape with a hint of racism. Ungolden Silence brings out different emotions because it deals with a sensitive topic. Any type of abuse causes a difficult change in the victims’ lives. Rape is a violent act, mainly against women, that leaves a lasting effect on the victims. This was expressed throughout this book and needs to be read by all women young and old.

Powerful, Provoking and Inspiring
Reviewed by Beth Cutwright 

Wow. I just finished reading Ungolden Silence. Usually I take a day or two to mull a book over before I try to write my review. But this book was so compelling, I felt the need to share my thoughts immediately, while they were fresh and burning in my soul. This book was definitely enlightening, powerful, painful and emotional. My emotions were totally invested, probably because the subject of rape is so frightening. If we can learn to discuss this type of material, I think we would all be better for it.

Excerpt from Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew

As the four talked for an hour or so, Mr. Thomas Paige did not take his eyes off Beatrice. He ignored Elaine completely. He would often sit by Beatrice and, after a few minutes, she would move. Elaine could see that Mr. Paige liked Beatrice, but she didn’t return the feeling and was uncomfortable and a bit irritated with his attention. When Mrs. Stevens offered to show Elaine the baby grand piano in her music room, Mr. Paige and Beatrice were left alone. Beatrice decided she needed to get a few things straight.

“Look, you seem to be a nice guy, but I’m not interested. You’re making me very uncomfortable,” Beatrice added.

Mr. Paige did not seem to hear her. “Alone at last, Miss James,” he said in a soft, gentle voice as he stroked her face.  The second that Beatrice felt his fingers on her face, her anger turned to fear. She did not want to let Mr. Paige know that he frightened her.

“I did not give you permission to touch me! Listen, I’m not interested in you in any way. Please, just leave me alone!” Beatrice said angrily.

The pleasantness was gone and her teeth were clenched. However, before she finished her statement, Mr. Paige had his hands on her buttocks. In that instance Beatrice remembered when she was sixteen. It was a hot summer day and she was lying on the sofa half asleep. She awakened to her uncle kissing and caressing her face. He did not stop there. He unzipped his pants and began to slide his hand and was pulling down her panties when Judy came into the room. Beatrice’s mind came to the present.

“Oh now, I think that we can have a good time this week,” he said in the same manner as before.

“I said no! Now get your hands off me!” Beatrice snatched her body away from his reach, knocking his shades off. The man’s breath had a faint odor of alcohol. His eyes were glassy red. However, Beatrice did not take notice. She was so shocked from the memory of what her uncle did to her, and the fact that this man was making a move on her was overwhelming.

Mr. Paige returned to his seat and put his shades back on his face only because he heard Mrs. Stevens and Elaine returning. When Elaine walked in and sat down, she picked up on some strange vibes from Beatrice. There was a strange look in her colleague’s eyes. This troubled Elaine because she knew something was upsetting Beatrice.

This man had just made unwanted sexual advances to Beatrice, but she told Elaine and Mrs. Stevens that she had a headache.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew
Link: http://amzn.com/1425798918

Justin's Body of Work by Janice L. Dennie

Justin's Body of Work 
by Janice L. Dennie

A Woman in Denial
Ashley Jacobs relishes in providing her customers with a soothing and healing environment at her day spa in the Silverado area of Napa Valley. She maintains her even temper and peace of mind, avoiding anger at all costs. But when she faces a vicious lawsuit, from someone she least suspects, her peace of mind comes to a complete halt.

A Modern Day Knight
Justin Underwood is a successful attorney with a stellar resume and a body of work that consists of winning civil rights cases for the disenfranchised. The moment he hears Ashley’s sultry voice and feels her gentle touch, he finds comfort simply by being in her presence. He becomes hopelessly drawn to the siren with the sexy bedroom eyes.

But Ashley has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. After taking her case, he watches her coast along, with her head in the clouds, turning a blind eye to the facts of her lawsuit. Can Justin get Ashley to commit to him, and open her eyes to the facts surrounding her lawsuit? Can Ashley overcome her family’s secret that prevents her future happiness?

Order your copy today!



The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting their families. The matriarch of the family, Henrietta Underwood, has dubbed each one of her five grandchildren with a character trait.

As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.” He’s protective of his family and environment, and stays busy running his family’s winery. Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. Justin Underwood is “the strong one.” He’s the hotshot civil rights attorney who carries his family with his strength in the court of law. He fights, in court, to protect the woman he loves.

But, Ashley Jacobs, has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series takes place in a romantic setting that enhances love, passion and relationships, and changes personalities forever.

Unedited Book Excerpt: ARC version

Ashley Jacobs drove her Mazda Miata convertible in the warm morning sun humming to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. She was happy because she’d just read an online review in the Napa Register News about her spa. Ashley’s Day Spa in Napa Valley is a hidden jewel that provides its customers with a tranquil and healing environment to rest and rejuvenate.

Her day spa was a jewel because she trained her employees to create a peaceful and harmonious environment at work. She taught them to approach customers with an even-tempered attitude, at all costs.

Ashley drove up the circular driveway and listened in horror as Christina, her female masseuse, and India, her top hair stylist, argued with voices so loud that she could hear them from her car.

Ashley entered her spa through the elegant glass doors and stopped at the receptionist desk. The arguing immediately stopped.

“What’s the matter Chris?” Ashley asked her best friend in a soothing voice.

“India is calling me names.” Christina held her hands on her hips.

Ashley placed her briefcase and purse on the reception desk and walked over to Christina. Taking her by the hand, Ashley led Christina to the massage chairs in the manicure room.

“Have a seat Chris. I want to talk to you.”

Ashley and Christina met each other in middle school when both of their father’s served in Desert Storm, and a time in their lives, when they were both awkward tweens. When they turned sixteen, Ashley had developed into a beautiful young woman, but Christina developed into a unattractive young woman with bad skin, that she concealed with heavy makeup.

“India come and have a seat with me. I want to talk to you.” Ashley took India by the hand and led her to the massage chairs in the manicure room. She sat between the two women.

“This is a place of healing. Our priority here is to provide our customers with a peaceful and relaxing environment, so we cannot have any arguing.”

“But Christina is always flirting with every man that walks through the door.” India barked out.

“This wouldn’t have anything to do with the new barber I just hired, would it?”

“That’s what this is all about,” India said. “Christina is already dating the man.”

Christina gave India a cool look. “You’re just mad because he didn’t ask you out.”

“Ashley’s Spa has standards of conduct. I had gone over all of that with both of you before you started working here. I’ll remind you again that arguing in this establishment is off-limits. If you two must argue, wait until you are off work and away from these premises. Do you both understand me?”

Christina turned away and inspected her nails. India nodded and turned her face away from Christina.

Ashley’s voice had a soothing effect on them.

“Now, while both of you are at work, I expect you to respect each other. No cursing or gossiping or loud voices. Why don’t you both come into the kitchen and have a cup of chamomile tea with me? There are some positive things that I want you to know about each other.”

The two women acted cordially toward each other in front of Ashley, but Christina cut her eyes at India, giving her an evil look, indicating that this fight was not over. Ashley put the entire incident behind her. She shared her thoughts on some of their positive attributes over a cup of tea. After the discussion, both women went back to their workstations, with a better attitude.

Ashley walked into her office and sat down at her desk. She twisted in her chair thinking about the changes she wanted to make to expand her spa. She wanted to add three more workstations, two more shampoo bowls, two hair dryers and another massage room in the back of the spa near the whirlpool.

An hour later, a man delivered an envelope requiring a signature to Amara, the receptionist, and water therapist.

“I need a signature for this letter.”

Amara looked at the letter and thought it looked important. “Please wait while I get the owner.”

Ashley came out and signed the letter. After opening it, she saw that it was a personal injury lawsuit naming Ashley’s Spa as the defendant and Kimberly Lewis as the plaintiff suffering from a neck injury caused by a massage at the spa.

She and Christina were the only masseuses at the spa. Ashley’s mouth went dry. She tried to remember, but the plaintiff’s name didn’t ring a bell. She’d never met a client named Kimberly Lewis. She picked up the appointment book and took it with her to her office.

“Everything okay?” Amara’s eyes clung to Ashley when she removed the appointment book.

“I’ll bring it back. I want to check something.” Ashley walked away from Amara. “I’ll be in my office if anyone needs me.”

Ashley sat silently for a long time on her white leather sofa in her office. She had a tendency to bottle up her feelings, in an effort to remain even-tempered. Crossing her legs, she leaned back and continued to read the document. She saw that the plaintiff was claiming damages in the amount of $250,000.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Note: Unedited Book Excerpt. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Janice L. Dennie. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Justin's Body of Work by Janice L. Dennie
The Underwood's of Napa Valley Book 2

About the Author

Veteran author, JANICE L. DENNIE, has returned with a heartwarming new romance set in California’s lush Napa Valley. Kenton’s Vintage Affair, book 1 in the Underwood’s of Napa Valley series, introduces the reader to the fictitious Underwood family, owners of a successful winery in Napa Valley. Justin's Body of Work (The Underwood's of Napa Valley Book 2) will be available on May 15, 2015.

Janice began her her writing career in 1997 with her debut novel, The Lion of Judah. Her second novel, Moon Goddess Queen of Sheba, was published in August 1999.

Janice was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Northern California. After graduating from college, she began working for a federal agency. However, writing has always been her passion. Janice services her community through various charities, and non-profit organizations. She currently writes full-time and lives in Northern California with her family.

Visit Janice's website at:  www.janicedennie.com
Find her books here: www.amazon.com/Janice-L.-Dennie/e/B000APUISO