#BlackLove: Hate the Air: The Abbreviated Life of Shea Kennedy

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





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#BlackLove: Where Do We Go From Here by Andrea Clinton

Where Do We Go From Here
by Andrea Clinton


Coming April, 2016
Geeda spends most of her life growing up around the hard streets and ghetto, placing value and working toward a healthy life on the other side of the fence. However, when her husband is away on business longer than normal, Geeda loses it and surounded by the wealthy insane, finds out the hard way that life isn’t greener on the other side. Instead, it’s a different kind of madness and a life she wants nothing more to do with.


Excerpt from Where Do We Go From Here 


Looking ashamed to say where she was from, Geeda stared out and didn't say a word, but then she realized she was speaking to a bum, a woman who literally lived in the streets, "I lived on Bergen Street in Newark, Li’l City in East Orange, then around the corner near Death Valley," pausing, "but," squirming on her hospital bed with chills, "about ten years ago we moved on up like the Jefferson's to Maplewood," pausing, "a few miles from the middleclass section. Poverty is horrible living," Geeda said as she shivered.

"I'm sure it wasn't that bad. I walk the beat in that area sometimes, met a few older guys and gals my age and play chess in the park. Not so bad, at least not until the kids come around and those crack heads of course. Boy I'll tell ya, crack heads will shake anybody down to see what they have, even a bum on the streets."

Pulling her cover over her, trying to warm up, "I hate that place. Nothing but zombies and their eff'd up families there—never going back. It was awful living," Geeda said.

"Now," Paula continued, "how could it have been hard for you when it was your parents who were working to feed and clothe you?" Pauses to no response. "They don't want you to fall back to sleep, might as well talk."

"It's not just growing up there that I hate, it’s hunger, police, fighting, stabbing, shooting; and, some kids, they had a dad or step dad, I had Morris.

"Don't seem like a man with a name like Morris could be mean or as bad as you make him seem. Morris seems like a good guy," she said, noticing Geeda getting more irritated, sickly and wanting to burst her bubble. "I'm sure he had some good qualities. Birthdays?" Geeda cut her off.

'You ever tell anybody, I'll use this razor to cut your throat!' is what Morris use to say to me each time he snuck in my room from my bedroom window. Then he would reach in his pants and empty the contents of his pocket on my nightstand.

'Turn over, don't look at me. It makes me uncomfortable,' he would say. Then, he'd take out a thick piece of a short rubber rope; I always saw him start to tie it around his arm as I slowly turned around to face the other direction. I felt so uncomfortable. I didn't know what he was going to do, even when I saw the dope, needle and spoon he placed on the nightstand by my bed—I was 9, how would I know.

"With all or most of my friends being molested by their mother's boyfriend, neighbor or uncle, who knew what he was capable of? When he came in the window like that, back then, he never touched me. He was focused. I just lay there until he finished shooting his drugs and left out the window again. Those few minutes seemed like forever, and I had to wait through the nodding and waking up, beginning to leave and then nodding again. When he did go out the window, I closed and locked it, then ran in the room with my mother, locked her door and put the dresser in front of it and got in the bed with her in case he came back.

That happened off and on until I was 12-years-old. I'd sleep with my mother a few nights, then, she'd take him back and he'd just sneak in the bathroom to get off on his drugs. Then when they'd argue, because he stole from her, or slapped her for accusing him, she'd put him out and call the cops, well, vice versa. Then, I'd have to worry about him sneaking in my room again. I was smart, I'd always lock the window. But, my mother would often go in the room to vacuum or get my laundry and would leave the window open to, 'Let it air out,' she'd say. That's when he'd catch me off guard again. And just when I thought he'd moved on or heard he found a girlfriend or went back home to Brooklyn with his mom’s or to Philly with his wife, he'd be right back at my window, threatening me. The only time I was sure he wouldn't come in through my window was when he was locked up and that was never for long; a weekend, a month or two, then, he'd be right back out with me fearing his face behind the glass, rapping at my window showing me a knife or gun when it was locked to pump fear in my heart so I'd open or unlock the window."

"Why didn't you tell your mother?" Paula asked

"It never made sense to tell my mother. After he'd go to church for a month, come back holding her hand, giving her rent money and calling her pet names, she'd take him back. I never knew if she really believed in him, or was money hungry or just believed herself when she said, 'For a man to give up all that money when he could've gone and gotten high, he must want to do right. He must—' she'd say. Then, my friends, their mothers and all the women he'd con in between jail and making up with my mother, would laugh at my moms for believing in him and taking him in again.


( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Andrea Clinton. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


About the Author

Andrea Clinton is the niece of Rock and Roll Hall of fame’s George Clinton of the funk band Parliament/Funkadelic. She’s an award winning Playwright, winning the Union County, Board of Chosen Freeholders Advancement Community Theatre 2015 grant award for her play, Murphy’s Law: Group Therapy Gone Wild.

She’s also a Screenwriter/Filmmaker, Novelist and Essayist. Andrea is a Montclair State University Graduate where she achieved a Master’s degree in Theatre Studies, as well as undergraduate degrees in: English, Film and Journalism.

She’s the founder and CEO of People Helping People, Inc., a non-profit organization, whose mission is to help citizens become independent and self-sufficient.  Publisher: www.AroundTheWayPublishing.com


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#BlackLove: 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


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#BlackLove: Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life: Childless By Choice

Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life: Childless By Choice
by Marian L. Thomas 




Author Marian L. Thomas delivers a hilarious, yet candid discussion of why she made the life-long decision to remain childless. This chapbook has the perfect blend of non-fiction and fictional elements that make it the perfect recipe for a delightful read.

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, “Millennial-focused media is just beginning to recognize this emerging mindset and celebrities are popularizing and glamorizing this path, too, with powerful women like Chelsea Handler, Zooey Deschanel and Cameron Diaz leading the charge.”

Thomas said it’s a myth that she just doesn’t like children. “It’s like saying, I don’t like ice cream. I don’t want to make it, but I certainly enjoy it on occasion. Similarly, I don’t want children, but I certainly do love children...I don’t want to babysit them either (just in case any of my friends are reading this book). I’m okay with being childless!”

Another article from the Huffington Post reported the happiest couples are those without children-- at least, that's according to research out of the United Kingdom's Open University. The study titled "Enduring Love?" found that childless married and unmarried couples reported being more satisfied in life and feeling more valued by their partners than did pairs with kids. Unmarried parents were found to be slightly happier than married parents.”

Thomas was also quoted as stating: “Being childless, is not a revolution. Being childless can be a good decision for you. Your decision to remain childless doesn’t need validation from others.”

For more information on how to order the book, please visit the website:  http://www.theemptycarriagelife.com 



Order on Kindle: 
http://www.amazon.com/Living-Empty-Carriage-Way-Life-ebook/dp/B00P16OFYA

Print Edition:
http://www.amazon.com/Living-Empty-Carriage-Life-Chapbook/dp/0984896783



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#BlackLove: Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley

Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley

Shy, nearsighted caregiver, Gaia Telfair always wondered why her father treated her a little differently than her siblings. She never guessed she couldn't claim his love because of a family secret, her illicit birth. With everything she knows to be true evaporating before her spectacles, can the mulatto passing for white survive being exposed and shunned by the powerful duke who has taken an interest in her?

Ex-warrior, William St. Landon, the Duke of Cheshire, will do anything to protect his mute daughter from his late wife's scandals. With a blackmailer at large, hiding in a small village near the cliffs of Devonshire seems the best option, particularly since he can gain help from the talented Miss Telfair, who has the ability to help children learn to speak. If only he could do a better job at shielding his heart from the young lady whose honest hazel eyes see through his jests as her tender lips challenge his desire to remain a single man.

Unmasked Heart is the first Challenge of the Soul Regency novel.


Excerpt: Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley


Father moved toward the boxy pianoforte, his spindle legs drifting. "I wasn't aware, but it is of no consequence. The man doesn't look at you that way. Though he's good to his brother's household, I see him going to study in London. That's too far to watch over Timothy."

"I need a chance to convince him. If he could like me, I'm sure he will help in my brother's care."

He leaned on the instrument. "I can't be at peace if all my children are tossed to the streets. You owe this to me, to all the Telfairs."

Owe? "What do you mean, Father?"

"Don't, Mr. Telfair. She doesn't need to know. Gaia can be reasoned with without saying anything more."

The warning sent a chill down Gaia's spine, but she had to know. "Tell me why I owe my flesh and blood."

Father took her hand and pulled it to his pale face. "Do you think it's possible that fair Telfair blood could produce this?"

Her heart stopped, slamming against her ribs. "My mother's Spanish roots have browned my skin. That's what you've always said."

He dropped her palm as his head shook. "It was a lie to cover my first wife's harlotry. You're a Telfair because I claimed you."

Gaia couldn't breathe. She crumbled to the floor. Hot tears drenched her face as she wished for a hole to break open and swallow her. "A mistake. Please, say this is a mistake."

The man whom she'd called father, whom she’d worshipped, shook his head again.

She lifted a hand to grasp his shoe but stopped, missing the black leather.

Was this why she’d always felt as if she could never grasp a hold of his love? Is this why he treated her a little differently from the rest? "Then who am I? Whose am I?"

"Some traveling bard, some African poet who captivated her whilst I travelled. When you came out so close to white, with so little color, the ruse was borne; no scandal would befall my name. I'm just lucky you weren't a boy. Then, Chevron would fall to a mulatto. How would the Telfair line handle that tragedy?"

She waved her fingers, studying the light pigment coloring her skin. Mulatto. All this time she’d blamed her flesh on fate or heritage, not lust. She tugged at her elbows, feeling dirty. Glancing at him between tears, she silently begged for him to say it didn't matter, that he loved her still. "Father?"

With a grimace painting his silent mouth, he buttoned his waistcoat. "I'm going to lie down. Talk to her, Sarah; make her understand."

Desperate, Gaia's hand rose this time, but his back was to her in a blink as he plodded from the room. Her fingers felt cold and numb as they sank onto the thin rug. The breath in her lungs burned. Adultery, not a Telfair by blood – these thoughts smashed against her skull.

Sarah knelt beside her and stroked her back. "I'm so sorry. You should never have known."

Gaia shook her head and pulled away. "No more lies."

"Please, I'm not the enemy."

Rearing up, she caught the woman's beady gaze. "You want me to believe you don't want the almost-bastard to be a servant to Timothy? Would you wish one of your children be given this sentence, to become a governess to their own flesh and blood? Well, at least they can claim to be flesh and blood to Timothy."

Sarah reached again and wiped tears from Gaia's cheek then opened her arms wide. "You are his sister. You love him so. This is no failing of yours."

At first, Gaia fell into the woman's sturdy embrace, then she stiffened and pulled away. She needed to flee, to let her brain make sense of the emotions whipping inside. Her slippers started moving. "I must go."

"Sweetheart, wait!"

Gaia shook her head and backed to the threshold. "Why? Is there something else you have to disclose to steal the rest of my dreams?"

Without a thought for a bonnet or coat, she rushed down the hall and out the front door.

Wham! She slammed into a man in fancy, sky-blue livery. The servant was tall and black. Black, like some part inside of her. Her eyes fixed on his bronze skin and wouldn't let go.

"Miss? I've come from Ontredale. Are you well, miss? You look pale enough to faint."

Not pale enough; never would be. "Sorry." She ducked her eyes and sidestepped him.

"Ma'am, I bear a note—"

"You want a Telfair. They are inside." She started running and kept going until not a cobble of Chevron Manor could be seen. Salty drops stung and blurred each step. She strode forward, deeper into the welcoming woods. A hint of spring blooms stroked her nose, but the streaks lining her wet face obscured them.

A fleeting thought to go to Seren's crossed Gaia's mind, but she couldn't let her friend see her like this. She was even more pitiful than normal. Would Seren even want to be her friend if the truth of her birth became known? "God, I have no hope."

As if her slippers bore a mind of their own, they led Gaia back to her special place. Heather grasses and lousewort danced about her mighty oak, like there were something to celebrate. Her dance card was now filled with pity. Her fortunes forever changed. Nothing good ever changed for Gaia. "God, spin back time. Let me be ignorant again - ignorant and meek and unnoticed. I won't complain this time."

Anything was better than what she was, a secret bastard. If not for the covering lies of the Telfairs, she would be a by-blow. She studied her shaking hands. If she'd been dark like the servant she'd collided with, would she have been tossed away?

Making a fist, she beat against her oak. The snickers of her friends, did they know, too? How many sly remarks were actually hints at her mother's infidelity? The village was small. Gossip burned like a candle's wick, bright and fast.

Did it matter with white and black, all trapped inside her limbs? Her stomach rolled. Nausea flooded her lungs. She lunged away, dropped to her knees, and let her breakfast flow out. Maybe the ugly truth could drain away too.

Wiping her mouth, she crawled back to her oak and set her wrist against a thick tree root. Her skin was light like butter, compared to the bark. The skin was almost like the Telfairs’, just a little tan, a little darker. Not good enough.

She wasn't good enough.

Now she knew she could never be good enough.

Envy of her sisters' fair, pretty skin, had it not always wrestled in her bosom? The English world said the lighter the complexion, the more genteel and the more one would be held in esteem.

But she should have envied their blood instead. They knew with certitude who their father was. Julia, the twins, each had a future that could include love. What did Gaia have?

She stood and wiped her hands against her skirt. The grass stains and dusting of dirt left her palms, but the off-white color of her skin remained. She brushed her hands again and again against the fabric, but the truth wouldn't disappear.

A light wind whipped the boughs of her tree, as if calling her for an embrace. Tripping over the gnarled root, she fell against the rough bark. Arms stretched wide, she held onto the trunk. Moss cushioned her cheek while the rustle of crunching leaves sounded like a hush, as if the oak knew her pain and tried to stop her tears.

More crackling of leaves made her lift her chin, but the strong sun shining through the jade canopy of leaves blinded her. She clutched the scarred bark with trembling fingers, and hoped whoever was near didn't see her. No one should witness her shame.

A white handkerchief waved near her forehead.

Gaia surrendered to the fact that she'd been discovered. Slowly, she stood, smoothed her wrinkled bodice, and turned. Nothing mattered any more, not even the opinion of a stranger. Shame mingling with tears, she took the fine lawn cloth from the man who'd caught her Sunday, praying aloud about Elliott.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley
http://christianregency.com/amazon/Unmasked.php 







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#BlackLove: When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change

When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change
by Tumika Patrice Cain

The stars seemed to have been aligned for Avery and Alicia. From the outside looking in, Lady Luck passed their way and left a fortune! They had a whirlwind, fairytale romance filled with all the little things that make dreams come true, a wedding of grace and beauty, and perfectly magical careers that produced almost enough money to burn. They were the picture-perfect couple.

Unfortunately, time has a way of revealing fissures in what appears to the naked eye as impenetrable. The results send this fairytale romance spiraling out of control.

Avery, as perfect and so right as he seemed, struggles to free himself from his demons. He clings to this delicate relationship that he desperately needs as if his last breath depends on it. Alicia, on the other hand, struggles to make the necessary corrections that will release her from a prison of unexpected, agonizing turmoil.

A novel of enduring strength, undeniable empowerment, and the compelling ability to overcome incredible odds, Book one in the When a Man Loves a Woman series is a powerhouse that will impact readers long after the last words have been read.


Excerpt: When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change


That was one of the best days of my life. I'd finally gotten what I'd wanted forever. Someone who loved me. Loved me so much he wanted to tell the world. Wanted to make me his forever.

We slowly made our way out on the balcony, where all of the preparations had been made. It was all so lovely. Michael had black wrought iron patio furniture where we sat and ate the tantalizing dishes the caterers had prepared. There was fresh steamed lobster with lemon butter sauce, New England crab cakes, seafood kabobs and a wide range of other seaside resort foods that reminded me of the first weekend we’d spent out of town.

At Avery's request I'd gotten off of work early one Friday and met him at the airport. The spontaneity of the whole weekend made everything seem so fresh. Northwest Airlines took us to Massachusetts where we spent four glorious days at Martha's Vineyard. Just lying on the beach and soaking up the rays. I didn't even have a change of clothes. Ave said not to worry about it; we'd just go shopping when we got there. That's exactly what we did. A perfect weekend spent miles away from reality. In a cove on the beach is where we first made love. I'll never forget it.

Once the sun set and we were slow dancing on the verandah, Avery touched my arm and motioned for me to look out across the river. I couldn't believe my eyes. Usually the Cadillac Club in Windsor was all lit up at night in white neon. But instead of the marquee reading “Cadillac Club” it read, instead, “Alicia Will You Marry Me?” I remember being speechless for endless moments as tears welled up in my eyes, the lump in my throat rendering me incapable of speaking. The only response I gave was to gently touch his face and shake my head yes, while tears of happiness poured down my cheeks. So much for my mascara. He picked me up and swung me around for the longest time, whispering in my ear “I love you” time and time again.

It was several long minutes before I could compose myself. All remaining memories of that night are now a blur, except for us nibbling on the most succulent strawberries a mouth could feast on. And us making slow, sweet love all night under the stars while the moonlight caressed our skin.



Book Reviews: When a Man Loves a Woman

Tumika Patrice Cain has poured her abundant faith, wisdom and passion for helping others into a new book that tackles one of the toughest of family crises. Tumika’s extensive experience ministering to others through writing and counseling, as well as many years in human services, make her a voice worth hearing. 
~ Sheri Fink, Pulitzer Prize Winner & Author of War Hospital


Tumika Cain did an outstanding job on this novel and I am just still reeling from the contents. 
~ OOSA Online Book Club


This has to be the best book I have read this year. 
~ Book Referees


It is tragedy and triumph in its most raw form. 
~ Matthew Keith Reviews


Cain is a true wordsmith, and her writing has a refreshing maturity. 
~ Sweet Georgia Press


This reviewer urges you to give Tumika Cain's premiere novel, When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change, a chance today! These pages leave no stone unturned, and no heart untouched. 
~ Lindsay McDonald, Indyscribable


A powerful read with many powerful messages, When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change shows we have to be willing to move on in order to grow. 
~ Cyrus Webb, Conversations Live


Purchase When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change
Link:  http://amzn.com/B019HLV65U 




Meet the Author
Tumika Patrice Cain
is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life. She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the internet radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain, In The Spotlight, and Say What?? Author Spotlights. In addition, she is a respected book reviewer and columnist for PEN’Ashe Magazine, a contributing writer for BLOG and Belief Magazines, and editor for two smaller publishing companies.

A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but whose marketing budgets are limited. Inkscriptions, her publishing company, offers a myriad of book publishing services. Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path.

She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012), a novel that has since been picked up by Shan Presents and will be re-released as When a Man Loves a Woman – A Season of Change in December 2015. To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March 2014) and The Heart of a Woman (August 2015). Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.

 
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#BlackLove: 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

 


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#BlackLove: Stand Your Ground: A Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray

Stand Your Ground: A Novel
by Victoria Christopher Murray



From the #1 Essence bestselling and award-winning author Victoria Christopher Murray comes Stand Your Ground, a new novel about two women who are faced with the same tragedy.


A black teenage boy is dead. A white man shot him. Was he standing his ground or was it murder?


Janice Johnson is living every black mother’s nightmare. Her seventeen-year-old son was murdered and the shooter has not been arrested. Can the D.A. and the police be trusted to investigate and do the right thing? Should Janice take advantage of the public outcry and join her husband alongside the angry protestors who are out for revenge?

Meredith Spencer is married to the man accused of the killing and she sees her husband and the situation with far more clarity than anyone realizes. What she knows could blow the case wide open, but what will that mean for her life and that of her son? Will she have the courage to come forward in time so that justice can be done?


Book Reviews for Stand Your Ground


“Murray has written a tension-packed novel around the hot-buzz national topic of an unarmed black youth shot by a white male, an act then subjected to the Stand Your Ground rule as a legal defense tactic. . . . Murray’s writing admirably shows the often overlooked human emotions following racial violence. . . . The pulled-from-the headlines storyline will captivate readers." (Library Journal - Starred Review)

“With artful descriptions, Victoria put me inside their hearts and minds. I did not just enjoy this read, I lived it.” (Michelle Lindo Rice, bestselling author of the Able To Love Series)


Chapter Except: Stand Your Ground



The doorbell rang and a hard knock followed.

Tyrone and I frowned. It was a little after nine, and Marquis and his friends knew they couldn’t hang out on school nights.

Just a couple of seconds passed before the visitor knocked.

“Who can that be?” I asked, pushing myself up.

Tyrone held up his hand. “You stay here. I’ll get it.”

Before my husband could make it to the top of the staircase, I wrapped myself inside my robe and stepped into the hallway. Marquis’s bedroom door was closed, which was the only reason why I was sure he hadn’t bounced down the stairs to get to the door before his father.

By the time I made my way to the top of the stairs, Tyrone was at the bottom and opening the door.

“Mr. Johnson?”

The door was open wide enough for me to see the two policemen, one black, one white, standing shoulder to shoulder, like soldiers.

“Yes,” my husband said, his voice two octaves deeper, the way it always dropped when he stood in front of men wearing uniforms.

“May we come in?” the black one asked.

Those words made me descend the stairs even though I wasn’t properly dressed for company. Not that policemen showing up could ever be called welcomed visitors.

“What’s this about?” my husband asked.

The policemen stepped inside, though Tyrone hadn’t extended an invitation. Both men glanced at me as I stood on the second stair, gripping the lapels of my bathrobe and trying to come up with a single reason why two officers would be in our home.

“Ma’am.” It seemed the black officer had been assigned to do all the talking.

“What’s this about?” Tyrone asked again.

They stood at attention, as if this were a formal visitation. “Would you mind if we went in there?” The black officer nodded toward our living room.

If the officer had been speaking to me, I would’ve said yes because it seemed like the polite thing to do.

But Tyrone said, “That’s not necessary,” because my husband had been raised on the hard streets of Philly, where a policeman, no matter his color, was never an invited guest.

The officers exchanged glances before the black one said, “Marquis Johnson, is that your son?”

Tyrone’s eyes narrowed while mine widened.

“What’s this about?” That felt like the fiftieth time my husband asked that question.

“There’s been a shooting . . .”

“Oh, my God,” I gasped. “Did something happen to one of our son’s friends?”

The officers looked at each other again before the black one continued, “It’s your son, Marquis. He’s been shot.”

“What?” Tyrone and I said together.

“That’s impossible,” Tyrone said. “Marquis is in his room.” He yelled out, “Marquis, come down here.”

Not even a second passed before I dashed up the stairs, moving like I hadn’t in years. Not that I had any doubt. Of course Marquis was in his bedroom. He’d come home while Tyrone and I . . . had been spending personal time together. I mean, Marquis hadn’t come into our bedroom when he came home, but he never did when we had the door closed.

Tonight, he’d been home by eight, nine at the latest. I was sure of that.

I never entered Marquis's room without knocking. But tonight, I busted in. And then I stood there . . . in the dark. I stood there staring at the blackness, though there was enough light for me to see that Marquis wasn’t sitting at his desk, he wasn’t lying on his bed.

“Marquis,” I called out anyway, then rushed to the bathroom. “Marquis!” Just like with his bedroom, I busted into the bathroom and stared at the empty space.

Then, I felt my heart pounding, though I’m sure the assault on my chest began the moment the policeman had told that lie that my son had been shot.

“Marquis,” I shouted as I searched our guest bedroom.

I returned to his bedroom and swung open the door to his closet before I crouched down and searched under his bed. “Marquis,” I screamed, wondering why my son was playing this game of hide-and-seek, something we hadn’t done since he was four.

I rushed back into the hallway and bumped right into Tyrone. “He’s not up here,” I said to my husband as he grasped my arms. “He’s downstairs; did you check the kitchen or the family room?"

“Janice.”

I looked up into Tyrone’s eyes, which were glassy with tears.

“What?” I frowned. “You don’t believe those policemen?”

He nodded and I shook my head.

“They’re lying.”

“They’re not lying,” Tyrone said softly. “They showed me a picture.”

Now I whipped my head from side to side because I didn’t want to hear anything else. I couldn’t believe that Tyrone would accept the word of men in blue. Wasn’t he the one who said the police couldn't be trusted?

If he wasn’t going to look for our son, I was. “Marquis!” I screamed.

Now a single tear dripped from Tyrone's eye. “Janice, listen to me.”

I tried to remember the last time my husband cried. And I couldn’t think of a single time.

“Janice.” He repeated my name.

“No!”

“Marquis is gone.”

“No!”

“He was shot over on Avon Street.”

“No!”

“He’s dead.”

“Why would you believe them,” I cried. “Why don’t you believe me?”

My husband looked at me as if I was talking foolishness. And I looked at him and begged for him to tell me that he was wrong. Or for him to wake me from this nightmare. Either would work for me.

But Tyrone did neither of those things. He just stared into my eyes. And as I stared into his, I saw the truth.

Not many words that Tyrone had shared had made it to the understanding part of my brain. But four words did: Marquis. Gone. Shot. Dead.

“Marquis is gone?” I whispered.

Tyrone nodded.

“Someone shot my son?”

He nodded again.

“And now he’s dead?”

This time, Tyrone just pulled me close, so close that I could feel the hammering of his heart. But though I always wanted to be held by my husband, I didn’t want him to hold me now. Because if what Tyrone had said was true, then I didn’t want to be in my husband’s arms.

If what he said was true, then all I wanted was to be dead, too.

( Continued... )

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

Purchase Books by Victoria Christopher Murray

Contemporary Women Fiction >African American > Christian Fiction 

http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Christopher-Murray/e/B001IO9LP2
Meet the Author
Victoria Christopher Murray always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton University where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating, Victoria attended New York University where she received her MBA.

Victoria spent ten years in Corporate America before she tested her entrepreneurial spirit. She opened a Financial Services Agency for Aegon, USA where she managed the number one division for nine consecutive years. However, Victoria never lost the dream to write and when the “bug” hit her again in 1997, she answered the call.

Victoria originally self published her first novel, Temptation and in 2000, Time Warner published that novel. Temptation made numerous best sellers list and remained on the Essence bestsellers list for nine consecutive months. In 2001, Victoria received her first NAACP Image Award nomination for Temptation.

Since Temptation, Victoria has written over twenty other adult novels, including: JOY, Grown Folks Business, The Ex Files, The Deal, the Dance and the Devil, Never Say Never and the popular Jasmine Cox Larson Bush series.

Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being a pioneer in African American Fiction. Since 2007, Victoria has won seven African American Literary Awards for best novel, best Christian fiction and Author of the Year – Female. Her 2014 NAACP Image Award nomination for Never Say Never was her third Image Award nomination.

Several of Victoria's novels have been optioned to become movies, including The Deal, the Dance and the Devil and the Ex Files series.  With over one million books in print, Victoria is one of the country’s top African American contemporary authors.

Victoria splits her time between Los Angeles and Washington D.C. In Los Angeles, she attends Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church under the spiritual tutelage of Dr. Beverly “BAM” Crawford. She is also a very proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  Stand Your Ground available nationwide and online June 30, 2015!

Connect with Victoria Christopher Murray

#standyourgroundthenovel
Website:     http://www.victoriachristophermurray.com
Twitter:       https://twitter.com/victoriaecm
Instagram:   https://instagram.com/victoriachristophermurray 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/victoriachristophermurray 










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#BlackLove: The Sisterhood: Book One (The Sisterhood Trilogy) by Nichol Bradford

The Sisterhood: Book One 
(The Sisterhood Trilogy)
by Nichol Bradford




The Sisterhood: Exploring mental freedom through fiction!
The Sisterhood tells the story of what becomes possible when intelligence and hope are channeled into an outrageous mission. Founded by Vivian Delacroix, The Sisterhood Foundation is a non-government organization funded by MSK Incorporated, a massive multinational built over decades by an organization of black women. The women invest billions into leading edge technology, pooling their profits into communities, schools, and treatment centers in the battle against Cocanol, a new and addictive drug.

The group is overwhelmingly successful until their progress is noticed by the Raptor, a ruthless enemy with pawns in the US government and ties to the Cocanol manufacturers and international power houses intent on controlling the world. As a first step in a war on the Sisterhood, Vivian is assassinated, triggering a Homeland Security investigation, a Senate inquiry, and a series of increasingly dangerous events.

To survive, the women, led by Chief Security Officer Tonia Rawlings, must fight against unseen forces. Battling across a public stage of media coverage and Wall Street, the women rush against all odds to outwit their foes—even as they execute the final stage of Vivian’s secret plan.

As their enemies draw near, the women risk everything, testing the bonds of faith, marriage and friendship. Along the way, they discover awful truths, make strange alliances and learn why they are the most dangerous women the world has ever seen. Together, they put everything on the line—testing themselves and the limitations the world tries to place on them.


Special Message From the Author


I wrote the book I wanted to read about strong yet vulnerable and intelligent black women committed to a great and grand goal—mental freedom and empowerment for all.

The characters in the book are well-developed women, healthy but plagued at times by guilt and self-doubt even as they put on a strong face to the world –— just like many of us. Some are happily married, and some are single, but most of all their focus is not just on their men (or lack thereof) but on their friendship and common goals.

On the surface, The Sisterhood is an epic action-thriller set in the context of a vast business empire. More deeply, the book is about friendships between women as they fight to protect a dream larger than themselves. Set in the not too distant future, The Sisterhood is Afro-futurism, with high stakes conspiracies, financial battles, deadly car chases, double agents, and martial artistry.

Action-thrillers tend to address some change in the world while literary fiction often addresses the growth of the individual. I was intrigued by the degree to which the transformation of the individual transforms the world. So the book explores how these women evolve as the pressure mounts, and how their new perspectives help them to fulfill their mission.

Oprah once asked Bishop Desmond Tutu what was required for peace in the world. He answered in a single sentence… “It is time for the women to revolt.” The women in The Sisterhood challenge the status quo by doing just that.

Who is a woman of the Sisterhood? She could be you or the woman next door. From businesswomen to teachers to any profession, any smart and talented woman you admire could be a secret member of The Sisterhood.


EXCERPT: CHAPTER 1


Friday, December 5th - 2:00 am

Sisterhood Headquarters - Middleburg, VA, outside Washington D.C.


Tonia Rawlings strode down the long, empty corridor. Her urgent steps made sharp echoes on the granite floor. Outside, her security team was assembled, awaiting her command. It seemed fitting that she was the last to leave…given what she was about to do. Tonia took one last look to sear the memory in place before stepping out into the night.

“Do it,” Tonia ordered.

Flames exploded through the windows, shattering glass across the grounds. They licked the sky in swaths of bright hungry reds, violent oranges and insatiable yellows. The fire jumped from building to building, laying waste to years of effort and thousands of sacrifices. “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” Tonia whispered.

Pamela Griffin turned. The mother in her heard a strange break in Tonia’s voice. Pamela shivered, feeling the severe night chill that found its way under collars and inside gloves. An acrid cutting smell of smoke filled the air. She stole another glance at Tonia but could read nothing from the woman at her side. How awful it must be to give tonight’s order, to destroy something loved, even to preserve something valued. But, following Vivian Delacroix’s lead had always meant sacrifice. No one was exempt.

Pamela touched her lightly on the arm. “Tonia, it was planned.”

“Yes, it was,” she nodded without turning. The last thing Tonia needed right now was direct eye contact with Vivian’s first recruit. Architects had created the exterior of the Sisterhood’s headquarters, but Tonia was the one who massaged the plans to meet their unique need – a fortress, destructible from within but impregnable from without.

Was it really so long ago that she and Vivian had found the site? Tonia remembered how Vivian had jumped out of the car and sprinted, laughing, across the property. Tonia ran right behind her, eyes trained on the tree line for enemies, ever Vivian’s protector. Vivian stopped, spun around, her arms held high. Her eyes sparkled with destiny. “Here, Tonia. Can’t you see? This, this, is where we will gather our strength.”

They had laughed then, in the exact spot where Tonia now stood. Every computer system in the Sisterhood’s vast holdings updated to servers in a manmade cavern beneath her feet. Their entire history, recorded in bits and bytes, was a maze of money and covert investments. One explosion would obscure hundreds of millions of dollars in assets as well as their research, the research that had likely brought disaster to their door.

“Move out,” Tonia bellowed, her voice returning to its normal boom. The women, jolted into action, leaped into their Jeeps. They divided into pairs and raced away. Any law enforcement officer worth his badge would take one look at their expressions, unblinking eyes, bodies rippling with strength, and become suspicious. The women were not assassins or Marines, but they sure as hell looked the part. They were more than capable of protecting their own; after all, they were their Sister’s Keepers.


( Continued... )

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


Download The Sisterhood: Book One 

Amazon Link: http://amzn.com/B006IMLCRE
Afro-futurism, African American Fiction; Mystery; Thriller & Suspense




About the Author

Nichol Bradford, CEO/Founder, Willow.  Nichol Bradford is fascinated by human potential, and has always been interested in how technology can help individuals expand beyond their perceived mental limits to develop and transform themselves to the highest level. She spent the last decade exploring these ideas in the online game industry, serving as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations and marketing for major brands that include: Activision/Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi.

Most recently she managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China. Now, as the CEO of the Willow Group, Nichol is applying same skills to the realm of elevating psychological well-being. Willow is a transformative technology company focused on employing rigorous scientific research to develop training protocols, hardware and software that can produce a reliable and positive change in the human experience.

Nichol has an MBA from Wharton School of Business in Strategy, and a BBA in Marketing from the University of Houston. She is a fellow of the British American Project, currently serves on the board of the Brandon Marshall Foundation for Mental Health, and is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of The Sisterhood, and an amatuer boxer.

Website: http://www.nicholbradford.com 
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholbradford
Ebook: http://www.amazon.com/The-Sisterhood-Book-One-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B006IMLCRE




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#BlackLove: Earth’s Quiet Chaos: A Novel by Tomeekha Pitre

Earth’s Quiet Chaos: A Novel
by Tomeekha Pitre

Earth’s Quiet Chaos is set in a historically significant community in Los Angeles, California. Earth Hartley is an African American businesswoman whose life is consumed by caring for her older sister, Moon, and trying to save Moon from the consequences of her careless behavior and substance abuse.

Moon is paranoid, violent, erratic, and irrational. She thrives in her life of chaos, and has no regard for the pain it causes her family.

Ra, their brother, is the lifeline between his two sisters. He’s the glue that holds the family together until a horrible and violent act results in Moon’s arrest.

The story of Earth’s Quiet Chaos is about finding and holding onto true love while dealing with family issues that are considered to be taboo in the African American community, but are relatable to all.


Excerpt: Chapter 2

Rashidah and I giggle at ourselves as we walk from store to store in the open-air mall called The Grove. It’s a hot summer day and we duck into my favorite store to temporarily escape the blazing heat.

“I love the artistic vibe of the designs and fabrics in this store.”

Rashidah holds the tag on a cute shirt and murmurs

“Look at these high ass prices!”

We pick out some outfits to try on. I find some tops, pants and a dress to add to my wardrobe. We walk out of the store and look for a shady spot where it’s cool.

“Xavier will like me in the long summer dress, don’t you think?”

Rashidah doesn’t respond. After a short break, we continue shopping.

We hit up the computer store where she buys herself an iPad for scheduling client appointments. We grab a half veggie sandwich and salad from The Veggie Grill. We hit up every store at The Grove before heading to the Beverly Center.

“I want to treat myself to one of those small flat Louis Vuitton cross body purses.”

We find it at the Louis Vuitton store and then check out other stores that aren’t at The Grove.

Pleased with my purchases and delighted to spend time with Rashidah, the one who knows me best, I’m all shopped out.

“Rashidah, can you believe that I don’t have any plans tonight other than dinner with Ali and a dress rehearsal for the play?”

“Well, you never know. Maybe Xavier will surprise you and he’ll be the one sitting at the dinner table when Ali brings you to the restaurant.”

She has a half grin. She’s in the know of something that I’m not.

“Now that would be the surprise of a lifetime, but if something goes down, I’m ready to dress and impress. That’s for sure.”

Then it hits me to check my cell phone for the time. “Speaking of time, its 3:45. Are you ready to roll?”

“Yep, I think we’ve done enough financial damage for the day.”

“You’re right about that!”

We make our way to the parking lot, fill the trunk with our bags, and drive off.

We go to my place and, like we always do when we go shopping together, Rashidah comes in with her bags and we go through each and every item, trying them on as we help each other change. Rashidah takes down my locs and sections them into twisted bantu knots all over my head.

“Okay, here you go Earth, give it an hour and then we’ll take down the bantu knots and your locs will be slightly curly and I’ll do a quick style for your date tonight.”

“Please, dinner with Ali is not a date. We are friends and are going to catch up with each other. That’s all. Now, if Xavier is at the table that will be an entirely different story.”

“And that is what I’m talking about. We have to stay ready so we don’t have to get ready. So, you are going to pick out your dress and we are going to do your hair and makeup as if Xavier will be somewhere waiting to surprise you tonight.”

She’s in her beauty makeover mood. I’m excited about the thought Rashidah planted in my head. We begin our mission for me, Earth Hartley, to look like a million bucks for my man tonight wherever he may be and at whatever time he decides to show up.

“Besides, it is my B-Earth-Day today, I can look fabulous all day if I decide to do so.”

I need to keep myself in the moment and not get too excited and set myself up for a letdown.

This time of the year in southern California, the weather is unpredictable. But today is nice and hot so we go with it and choose the long summer lounge dress. It’s a sheer fabric so I glide into a white ankle length cotton slip to wear underneath. The dress fabric has water colored flowers of purple, yellow, orange, and green. The butterfly sleeves are elbow length and the front of the dress has a low V-neck. Since I am going out with Ali, who stands six feet, five inches, I put on my four inch gold sandals that tie up the leg.

When I turned 16, my Baba gave me one yellow gold and one white gold chain necklace, one with an Ankh pendant and the other with a Gye Nyame pendant. Both pendants have a crystal planted in the middle. I fasten the white gold chain. The end of the Ankh hangs perfectly at my cleavage. I keep on the earrings that Rashidah gave me and add white gold and yellow gold bangles, and the gold Ankh ring that Momma gave me a long time ago on my right hand and a turquoise ring that Baba gave me on my left hand.

Rashidah takes down the bantu knots, pins up the back and allows the locs to fall in the front to frame my face. She beams with the look of a proud Mother.

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Tomeekha Pitre. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.



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#BlackLove: Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young

Lawful Deception
by Pamela Samuels Young
"Pamela Samuels Young has crafted a page-turner that will keep you engrossed until the very last page. If you’re a fan of smart legal thrillers with brisk pacing, crackling dialogue and edgy, intriguing characters, Lawful Deception is for you.” --Dwayne Alexander Smith, Award-winning Author of Forty Acres.

Once again, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young delivers another captivating legal thriller full of unexpected twists and jaw-dropping moments you never see coming. The beautiful Bliss Fenton won't be winning any awards for Mother of the Year. Truth is, motherhood isn't nearly as important to Bliss as the cottage industry she's created: extorting wealthy men for the hefty child support she can collect.

But Bliss' greed goes too far when she takes on Fletcher McClain. The handsome music industry mogul refuses to accept her conniving conduct lying down. He retains high-profile attorney Vernetta Henderson to sue Bliss for fraud.

Enter Bliss’ unscrupulous attorney, Girlie Cortez, who has a personal score to settle with Vernetta. As the two lawyers once again go head-to-head, their legal battle quickly escalates from merely contentious to downright deadly.


Prologue

Bliss Fenton took a sip of champagne as she glared across the room at the obnoxiously happy couple. They indeed made a striking pair. Their slim, toned bodies draped in designer wear and expensive jewelry. So trendy. So California chic. Setting her champagne glass on the tray of a passing waiter, Bliss snaked her way through the crowd, hoping to get a better view. As she moved, her blonde curls bounced as if lifted by a cool breeze. At 5’8” and 120 pounds, her delicate frame was all slopes and curves. A body specifically designed for exhibition.

The partygoers were packed like human matchsticks inside the gaudy Hollywood Hills mansion. The home, if you could call it that, was a testament to excess. Just like the couple. Too much of everything. Too many art deco chairs, too much bronze and glass, and so much artwork the walls could barely breathe.

Only a few feet away from the couple now, Bliss found herself shoulder-to-shoulder with a too-tanned man with greasy hair. He winked at her. She sneered back at him and moved on. A devious smile fractured Bliss’ face as she returned her attention to the couple. She imagined the angst they would experience the minute they spotted her among the partygoers. Fletcher’s lips would contort into an ugly grimace, but then coolly transition to a barely perceptible smirk. He was not the kind of man who was easily rankled. That was the reason he was a millionaire several times over.

Mia, however, would not be able to hide her emotions. Fletcher’s prissy little black princess would toss Bliss a snarl that bellowed, What the hell are you doing here? It was Mia she wanted to punish most. Bliss had pleaded with God to curse her former friend with a pain ten times more intense than her own. She wanted Mia to live it. Breathe it. Curl up in bed with it. Just as she had.  Bliss refused to blame Fletcher for the poor choices he’d made. He was a man. And men, by nature, were weak. Still, he too would pay just the same.  The call of vengeance tugged hard at Bliss’ soul, urging her, daring her, to march right up to the couple and confront them. But she held back. For the moment. Patience had always been her most virtuous trait.

Fletcher hustled to the front of the room and began singing the praises of the newest songstress to be added to his stable of artists, LaReena Jarreau. Bliss remembered cuddling in bed with Fletcher and listening to him brag about creating her stage name, since Janice Harris had no pizzazz.

“The first time I heard her voice,” Fletcher said, throwing his arm around the bony twenty-something dressed in hooker gear, “I knew she was going to hit the music world by storm. You have to agree that what we heard tonight was—as the youngsters say—off the chain.”

Everyone applauded as the hip, dark-haired CEO of Karma Entertainment grinned, happy to be on show. The only thing Fletcher enjoyed more than being rich was having everyone know it.

Mia remained off to the side, perfecting the look of the coy, supportive fiancée. That had been Bliss’ mistake. Accepting her at face value. While Mia’s visual package was quite alluring—all charm and beauty—on the inside, she was pure evil. Truth be told, Mia wasn’t all that different from her.  Bliss Fenton, not Mia Richardson, should have been on the arm of the music industry mogul tonight. It had never occurred to Bliss that her long-time yoga buddy could walk into a party and take her new guy’s breath away. Literally.

At the time, Bliss had been dating Fletcher for a short six months. She’d invited Mia to the party at Fletcher’s Beverly Hills home for the sole purpose of showing off her new man to her smart, uppity faux-friend. Bliss could still remember Mia waving as she glided into the party, the crowd parting so effortlessly it almost seemed choreographed.

Seconds before, Fletcher had been talking nonstop about his label’s next release, but the sight of Mia had caused him to lose his train of thought. When Bliss had formally introduced them, the lust in Fletcher’s eyes further telegraphed the gravity of her mistake.

Only days after the party, Bliss’ time with Fletcher began to dwindle, explained away by late night meetings that couldn’t be avoided or last-minute business trips to New York. Mia, too, had started cancelling their after-yoga coffee chats and finally stopped coming to yoga class altogether.

It was a month later, when Bliss saw Fletcher and Mia pictured together in Billboard, that she first learned of their betrayal. Her subsequent rage-filled calls to both of them had been ignored. And now, Mia was at Fletcher’s side, while Bliss had been pushed right out of his life.

A burst of applause snapped Bliss back to the present. As Fletcher seemed to be wrapping up his speech, Bliss moved closer, stopping inches behind Mia. She leaned in, her lips almost grazing Mia’s right ear.

“Congratulations on your engagement.”

Mia’s head whipped around, her dark brown skin now ashen gray. “You ... you shouldn’t be here.”

Bliss spoke in a firm whisper. “Neither should you. You backstabbing bitch.”

Mia took a step back. “This is not the place to make a scene.”

“Okay, then,” Bliss said, moving into the space Mia had abandoned. “Shall we step outside?”

A second later, Fletcher wedged himself between them. “You walk yourself out of here right now,” he said through clenched teeth, “or I’ll have security carry you out.”

Although no voices had been raised, all heads turned in their direction. Mia didn’t move.

Fletcher, always cognizant of appearances, wore a stiff smile as he spat into Bliss’ face. “If you don’t leave, I swear I’ll have you arrested.”

After three long beats, Bliss winked. “You’ll both be hearing from me.”

Bliss couldn’t help smiling as she sashayed through the buzzing crowd.

Fletcher and Mia would suffer for their disloyalty. Bliss only wished she could be there to see their stunned faces when they learned what she had done and realized there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.


Chapter 1



I should have shown Fletcher McClain to the door 30 minutes ago, but the words seem to be stuck in my throat. I hate to admit it—even to myself—but I like having him in my space again.

“So will you take care of this for me, Vernetta?”

He’s been pacing the length of my office for several minutes now. When he first stormed in and slapped the Petition to Establish Parental Relationship on my desk, he was so wound up I thought he might be on the verge of a stroke.

“I’m not a family law attorney, Fletcher.”

Employment law and some occasional criminal work are more up my alley.

“I don’t need an expert in family law,” Fletcher insists. “What I need is a good negotiator. Someone who can talk some sense into this nutcase and make her go away. And I’m confident you can do the job.”

The issue isn’t whether I could handle his case, but whether I should. They say a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. Perhaps a lawyer who goes to battle on behalf of an ex-lover is just as foolish. Especially if the old flame hasn’t quite flickered out yet.

According to the petition, Fletcher’s ex-girlfriend Bliss Fenton has named him as the father of her three-month-old daughter, Harmony. Fletcher, however, claims the petition is all lies. Even though he hasn’t taken the court-ordered paternity test yet, he wants me to set up a meeting with Bliss and offer her some “chump change,” as he puts it, to go away.

“It looks like she filed that petition herself. I need this nonsense over and done with before she gets an attorney involved.”

I take another look at the petition. Bliss has indeed filed it in pro per, which is easy enough to do. The petition is a simple two-page form that requires checking a few boxes. Falling into one of the chairs in front of my desk, Fletcher fixes me with a look so intense I almost shudder.

“I really need you, Vernetta.”

His lips angle upward, just slightly, and I feel a warm tingle in a place where my happily married self definitely should not be tingling. I break his gaze and fiddle with my cuticle. Classically handsome, Fletcher has sandy hair, strong cheekbones and wide brown eyes with lashes too long and thick for Mother Nature to have wasted on a guy. He’s still the only white guy who ever stole my heart.

“Fletcher, you could find a million attorneys to handle this. Why don’t you let me recommend a friend who has expertise in family law?”

“See, that’s what I love about you, Vernetta. I don’t know many lawyers who would turn away a paying client with my kind of dough. You’re the real deal.”

“Unbelievable.” I stare across the desk at him, shaking my head. “You’re still as cocky as you were when we were know-nothing sophomores back at USC. It’s not always about money, Fletcher.”

“It’s always about money, my sweetness.”

Damn him. Hearing his pet name for me after all these years has me tingling again. A quiet chirp interrupts his subtle flirting. He pulls the phone from the inside pocket of his jacket. Glancing at the screen, he frowns and sets it on the corner of my desk.

“How can you be so sure it’s not your kid?” I ask.

“Because we broke up almost a year before that kid was born.”

“Shouldn’t you wait for the results of the paternity test?”

“Don’t need to. It’s not my kid.”

“I’m confused. If it’s not your kid, once you have the results, it’s over. Why pay her anything?”

“You don’t know Bliss Fenton. Even after the results come back, she’ll have something else up her sleeve. I need this thing buttoned up once and for all. Paying her off will accomplish that.”

My gut and years of legal experience tell me there’s more to the story. “You certainly seem awfully stressed over an allegation that has no merit. What’s the real deal?”

Fletcher repositions himself in the chair.

“I’m getting married in three months and this whole thing has my fiancée climbing the walls. Bliss timed this to embarrass Mia right before our wedding. I need it resolved as soon as possible.”

The news that Fletcher is getting married surprises me. I’ve followed his career for years and figured he was a confirmed bachelor.

“So what’s Bliss got against Mia?”

“Well ... um ... they used to be friends.”

I squint. “Oh, so we’re dealing with a woman scorned.”

It’s one thing to lose your man to another woman. It’s quite another to lose a charming, high roller like Fletcher McClain to someone you considered a friend.

He shrugs. “That’s basically the crux of it.”

“But it still doesn’t make sense. Bliss wouldn’t serve you with a paternity suit if there were no chance you could be the father.”

“You haven’t been listening. This woman is extremely conniving. She probably read that Forbes article and came up with this scheme to shake me down.” He pauses. “Did you happen to see it?”

Fletcher landed the number three spot on Forbes’ list of the top music industry moguls. He’s the only one on the list under 40. His net worth is estimated at $450 million, just behind Clive Davis and JayZ.

“Of course I saw it. Very impressive.”

He points a finger at me. “You haven’t done too bad yourself, counselor. You’ve handled some pretty high-profile cases.”

Over the years, Fletcher sent me handwritten notes, congratulating me when one of my trials hit the press. Keeping up with his achievements is the only reason I read Billboard.

“So how much do you plan to offer her?”

“A hundred grand should do it. I’m willing to go higher if I have to. Maybe two-fifty. And I want a written agreement with an ironclad confidentiality provision.”

I’m about to say he’s putting up a lot of cash to get rid of a bogus claim, but for a man with Fletcher’s bank account, we’re talking peanuts.

“We may have to play dirty to force her into a settlement. I want you to retain a private investigator to dig up some dirt on her in case we need it. And trust me, it’s out there.”

“Are you serious?”

“As a heart attack. Once you meet her, you’ll understand.”

“How’d you even end up with this woman?”

“It’s your fault,” he quips. “After you broke my heart, I was so devastated, I opened up my heart to whoever came along.”

“Yeah, right.” I scan the petition again. “It says here the child was born in January of this year and she’s three months old.” I glance skyward and do the math in my head. “Let’s see ... Assuming a nine-month pregnancy, that would place conception sometime in April of last year.”

“Exactly. The kid can’t be mine. We broke up in February, eleven months before she was born. I remember because it was two weeks before Valentine’s Day.”

“Maybe your timing is off.”

“It’s not.”

“And there were no hookups after that?”

“Nope.” He brushes the lapel of his Canali suit, then raises his right hand. “Scout’s honor.”

“I still don’t understand why you don’t want to wait for the test results before approaching her. You’d be in a much better negotiating position.”

“I’m taking the test tomorrow, but it could be a couple of weeks before I get the results. I want this thing resolved yesterday.”


His cell phone chirps again. He grunts and picks it up. “Excuse me a second.”  His long fingers awkwardly tap the screen. I assume he’s sending an email or text message. Another minute or so passes before he looks up, his face full of annoyance.

“Uh, that was Mia calling from the lobby.” He scratches his jaw. “She’s on her way up.”

“Hmmm. So it’s your fiancée who’s running this show.”

“Not really. Well, I mean—”

I’m not used to seeing the smooth-talking Fletcher McClain at a loss for words. He moves to the edge of the chair. The relaxed air we’d been basking in has been sapped from the room.

“The real deal is Mia wants me to sue Bliss for defamation. She thinks I’m meeting with you to talk about the defamation case. But I think it makes more sense to give Bliss a few dollars to disappear.”

“Okay, now I get it.”

“Let’s keep that under our hat. And, um,” he rubs his chin, “Mia’s a bit on the jealous side. Let’s not mention that we used to be an item, okay?”

Fletcher was never the type of guy who’d let his woman call the shots. This alpha dog has turned into a poodle.

“No problem. Our conversations are attorney-client privileged.”

Fletcher straightens in his chair. “Oh, so I’m your client? Great!”

I raise both hands, palms out. “I haven’t committed yet. But your fiancée can’t—”

“Just flow with me on this, okay? I’ll handle Mia. You just play along.” His confident charm reminds me of the first time we met over a decade ago.

I was walking across campus when Fletcher stopped me with a corny pick-up line.

“Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk by again?”

I’d never met a white guy—certainly not one as gorgeous as Fletcher McClain—who had the swagger of a brother. After a bit of prodding, I agreed to meet him for lunch. And here he is still charming me more than a decade later.

My assistant pokes her head in the door. “I have a lady out here who says she—”

The door flies open and a woman bustles past Deena into my office.  A perfectly coiffed, black beauty marches right up to my desk and peers down at me. I have to push my chair back to get her out of my personal space.

“You better be a barracuda,” she says, firing her words at me. “Because that’s the kind of attorney we need to show that scandalous slut Bliss Fenton that she’s playing with fire.”


( Continued... )

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


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About Pamela Samuels Young
When attorney Pamela Samuels Young, a NAACP Image Award winner, isn’t fulfilling her duties as legal counsel for a major corporation in Southern California, you can usually find her penning her next legal thriller.

Her acclaimed novel, Anybody’s Daughter, is what garnered Pamela her first NAACP Image Award win in the category of Outstanding Literary Work (Fiction).

Fed up with never seeing people of color, especially women, depicted as savvy, hot-shot attorneys in the legal thrillers she read, the Compton, CA, native decided to create her own. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, Pamela accomplished her ambitious goal by getting up at 4am to write before work, dedicated her weekends to writing and even spent a large portion of her vacations glued to her laptop. In doing so, she discovered her passion for writing.

A graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and a Master’s Degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a diehard member of Sisters in Crime-L.A., an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers.

She lives in Southern California and attends Hope in Christ Community Church. Visit her website to read excerpts from the books, to see the more than 380 bookclubs she has visited and to follow her online:

Pamela is also a frequent speaker on the topics of writing fiction, discrimination law and pursuing your passion.
Pamela loves to hear from readers, so use one of the avenues listed below to reach out to her.

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