Redesigning Happiness by Nita Brooks

Happy August!

REDESIGNING HAPPINESS BY NITA BROOKS

Real life is a work in progress… #DesignYourLife

It wasn’t easy for Yvonne Cable to get over a heartbreaking relationship and revamp her life. But now the once-broke single mom is Atlanta’s most sought-after interior designer—and one-half of the media’s hottest power couple. She and her celebrity fiancé, Nathan, are a perfect, practical match, on—and off—camera. And with their new home improvement reality show the object of a fierce network bidding war, there’s no limit to how far they can go . . .

But Yvonne is stunned when mogul Richard Barrington III unexpectedly makes an offer for their program. He’s the man she thought left her for a more successful woman. And he’s the father of her son—though he didn’t know it until now. Richard wants to get to know their boy, and Yvonne agrees, though she’s wary. Yet little by little, she’s finding it hard to resist the responsible, caring man Richard has become. But when a scandalous leak puts everything Yvonne’s worked for at risk, she’ll have to look beyond surfaces to come to terms with who she is—and discover what she truly wants.

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ABOUT NITA BROOKS

A reading addict, self-professed connoisseur of home improvement shows, and a collector of teapots, Nita Brooks resides in South Carolina with her family. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter at @AuthorNitaB.

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Reunited Series by Sharon C. Cooper

MEN WHO STOP AT NOTHING TO PROTECT THE WOMEN THEY CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT…

BLUE ROSES

Where most women would welcome love from a wealthy, good-looking man, Chicago-based investment manager, Dallas Marcel, is not one of them. She will never let a man control her life again. That includes handsome entrepreneur, Tyler Hollister. But when a Ponzi scheme ignites a SEC investigation of her firm, and her life is put in danger, she realizes the one man she’d banned from her heart, might be the only one who can save her career…and her life.

RENDEZVOUS WITH DANGER

Alandra Pargas, ex-CIA agent, plans to wreak vengeance on the people who tried to kill her. A little rendezvous with danger is not what scares her, though. It’s coming face-to-face with the tall, dark, and dangerously sexy man, Special Operative Quinn Hamilton, who she vowed to love forever, that has her running for cover.

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES

Former Navy SEAL Malik Lewis will always remember the night he spent with Hospital Chief of Staff Natasha Lockham. It was the single most amazing night of his life. So when Natasha narrowly escapes a brutal attempt on her life, Malik stops at nothing to protect her, including hunting a man whose skills match his.

OPERATION MIDNIGHT

Former SEAL, Cameron “Wiz” Miller, has loved only one woman, his ex-wife, Olivia. With plans to remarry her, there’s nothing she could ask of him that he wouldn’t do – except search for the woman who left her for dead. Olivia has made peace with what happened, Wiz hasn’t. And when sins of the past come back to haunt Wiz, placing Olivia in danger, he’ll stop at nothing to save her.

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON – FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED

BLUE ROSES | RENDEZVOUS WITH DANGER | TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES | OPERATION MIDNIGHT

SECRET RENDEZVOUS (PREQUEL TO RENDEZVOUS WITH DANGER)

Also available from the Reunited Series & free at all online retailers.

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(winners outside of the United States will receive a digital copy of Vindicated)

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ABOUT SHARON C. COOPER

Award-winning and bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, is a romance-a-holic – loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies, or real life. Sharon writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She’s been nominated for numerous awards and is the recipient of an Emma Award for Romantic Suspense of the Year 2015 (Truth or Consequences), Emma Award – Interracial Romance of the Year 2015 (All You’ll Ever Need), and BRAB (book club) Award -Breakout Author of the Year 2014. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course). To read more about Sharon and her novels, visit http://www.sharoncooper.net.

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Kill Shot by Amber Malloy

KILL SHOT BY AMBER MALLOY

The only thing standing in the way of one perfect life is her torturous past.

Invited to speak for the United Nations, International Attorney Ashe Marcille is on the fast track. However, everything changes when she finds her law partner dead. Left with no option but to abandon her hard-earned career, she goes on the run.

Walker Knight, owner of a high-tech security firm, left the spy games years ago. A former agent for J8, he had no intention of returning to that life until the agency calls in one last favor. It should have been an easy job—pick up then drop off a lawyer with no questions asked. But, best laid plans…

Attracted to the attorney from the minute he laid eyes on her, Walker sets out to solve her case. Until he can figure out who wants her dead, he’ll have to keep her close…very close.

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AMAZON | TOTALLY BOUND

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ABOUT AMBER MALLOY

Amber Malloy dreamed of being a double agent but couldn’t pass the psyche evaluation. Crushed by despair that she couldn’t legally shoot things, Amber pursued her second career choice as pastry chef. When she’s not writing or whipping up a mean Snickers Cheesecake, she occasionally spies on her sommelier. Amber is convinced he’s faking his French accent.

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Cinnamon Black’s Other Daughter? by Angelia Vernon Menchan

Cinnamon Black’s Other Daughter? by Angelia Vernon Menchan

Cinnamon faced the wall with her eyes closed. She felt rather than saw Leigh walk into the room. The scent of Estée Lauder Youth Dew perfume filled the air.

“How is she?” Leigh whispered, asking Velma, her oldest sister. Cinnamon had been with Velma six months since Leigh picked her up in Haiti and Jesse was arrested. She attended school and hadn’t phoned or reached out to Leigh. Velma shrugged, not wanting to speak. She suspected Cinnamon wasn’t sleeping. Velma beckoned for Leigh to follow her from the room.

Cinnamon heard the door closing softly as a tear slid down her cheek. She felt completely empty inside and didn’t want to return to Center City, but she knew Leigh would insist and though at almost twenty, she was technically grown, she would go home. It was time to, there was no longer a reason to stay away. As a Dubois woman, she had to suck it up, square her shoulders and face the world.

Ten days later, Cinnamon and Leigh flew back to Florida, secrets between them. There was also a lie that Leigh would take to her grave with her.

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EXCERPT

“Do you know Labyrinth Jackson?” Aura asked Muhammad. Muhammad had lived and worked in Los Angeles several years ago. They were eating lunch in her office. She was his big sister and attorney.

“Should I?” He asked.

“No, she reached out for an appointment in four weeks. She’s lives in Los Angeles. She’s a couple years older than me but you had groupies, even older groupies.” Muhammad smiled smugly. His sister was always on his shit.

“I did but the name doesn’t ring a bell. What’s her situation?”

“I’m not sure. She’s moving to or coming through and needs an attorney to read something and provide guidance. I took her on because I do know Rosetta Garcia. She was two years ahead of me in law school. It’s intriguing.”

“Sounds like it. But you need intrigue, I’m sure your professional ball players and the whole Brown and Black clan are as boring as hell.” Aura could only chuckle. That was a lie. Her practice up to and including her family was always exciting.

“You know damn well, that’s not true. Mo money, mo drama.” Muhammad shook his head.

“Mo money than drama though.” Muhammad noted. Aura held up her palm for her brother to slap it.

She had looked up Ms. Jackson and there was nothing out of the ordinary. She worked at a bank, earned a decent salary. She lived in a nice apartment she didn’t own but had almost no debt. She was an only child who inherited a house her parents bought in the 60s for ten thousand that was worth over 200 thousand even though it was on the periphery of south-central Los Angeles. She had no ex-husbands or children but had dated four well known athletes who were now married to other women. Her Facebook and Instagram profiles had photos of roses and there were no selfies are photos. Just random expressions here and there. Aura was truly intrigued. She didn’t know Labyrinth has scrubbed away all photos before contacting Aura.

ABOUT ANGELIA VERNON MENCHAN

Angelia Vernon Menchan is author, publisher and mentor. Since January 2006, she has published more than 125 books and novellas through her small publishing company, Honorable MENCHAN Media, through which she has published books for 19 authors to date. Menchan is a retired budget analyst and founder of #JUSTLOVEMinistry a mentoring program for girls and women.

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Cover Reveal: Healing Hannah’s Heart by Preslaysa Williams

HEALING HANNAH’S HEART BY PRESLAYSA WILLIAMS

Time will heal her scars, but what will heal her heart?

Hannah Hart may have been burned by the breakup of her rocky marriage, but the ambitious Afro-Filipina model has big plans for her future. Her stunning looks and flawless skin provide the opening she craves to become a celebrity in the fashion world. Then an arsonist’s match brings Hannah’s world crashing down around her.

Recovering from the burns that destroyed her skin, Hannah is forced to accept help from the last person on earth she wants, her estranged husband, Jake Hart. Jake isn’t ready to give up on their marriage. The return of Jake’s teenage son from a one-night stand had been the catalyst for their breakup. How can he help both the son who resents his abandonment and the woman he still loves? He can do nothing about the scars on her skin, but can he heal Hannah’s heart?

As she struggles to rebuild her life from the ashes of her shattered dreams, does Hannah have the courage to give Jake a second chance? And is the world ready for a differently-abled model who will redefine what it means to be beautiful?

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ABOUT PRESLAYSA WILLIAMS

Preslaysa Williams is an award-winning author who writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction with an Afro-Filipina twist. Proud of her heritage, she loves sharing her culture with her readers. She is currently earning her second graduate degree, a MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, at Seton Hill University. She holds an undergraduate degree in Spanish Language & Literature from Columbia University.

Preslaysa is also a professional actress, a planner nerd, an avid bookworm, and a homeschool mom who often wears mismatched socks. To follow along with her busy life, visit her at http://www.preslaysa.com where you can sign up for her newsletter community.

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Loving Cassie by Jacinta Howard

 

LOVING CASSIE BY JACINTA HOWARD

Cassandra James thinks she has her place in the world all figured out. But an unexpected betrayal forces her to ask if her “free black girl” vibe is a myth, or worse, a mask to hide herself from the world.

Bam Mosley, keyboardist for the alt-soul band, the Prototype, knows who he is. He just wants to make good music and see the people he cares about win.

Then he meets her.

Sure, Cassandra is gorgeous and smart, with hypnotic eyes, but his bandmate’s sister wasn’t supposed to be this…disruptive and break down all his defenses.

She sees what he hides from everyone else. He allows her to take off her mask.

But is their connection powerful enough to survive life’s low notes? Or maybe the true test of love is knowing when to let go…

AVAILABLE ON:
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Jacinta Howard is giving away signed paperback copies of The Prototype Series!
Win Happiness in Jersey, Finding Kennedy, Keeping Willow & Loving Cassie
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Excerpt:

Kennedy was shaking me awake way before I was ready to function.

“I’m up,” I croaked, to get her to stop jerking on my shoulder. I buried my head in her comforter, struggling to push myself into consciousness. It felt like my body was filled with concrete. Probably because I was operating on a little over two hours of sleep, messing around with Bam.

Bam: A sudden impact or occurrence.

His face crowded into my brain, his lips on my ear, beard scratching my skin, his skilled hands on my body. I ran a hand down my face, like that would erase the memory, or my attraction to him. I could still smell him in my clothes from last night. I heard Kennedy already rustling around and finally pushed myself to set up, blinking sand out of my eyes.

She was rummaging through her bag, and looked up at me. She smiled sleepily.

“We can crash in the van,” she informed me, yawning. “The guys never make us drive.”

Probably another southern thing I wasn’t privy to living in the Midwest. I nodded, rubbing my eyes as I swung my legs over the twin sized bed, standing and heading into the bathroom. When I came out a few minutes later, Kennedy was fully dressed, lugging her bag into the living room.

“They’re outside,” she said quietly, moving further down the darkened hallway. I saw light peering from the kitchen. Pepper was already up?

I headed back into the bedroom and dressed quickly, throwing on a pair of leggings, a t-shirt and shoving Bam’s hoodie over my head again after I brushed my teeth and washed my face. I pulled my skull cap on and rolled my carryon out of the bedroom.

“I can’t believe you’re awake,” I greeted Pepper, who was standing in the living room, wearing a lavender jogging suit, her hair hanging down the middle of her back in one long braid. She looked as if she’d been up and at it for hours.

“Had to see my grand-girls off,” she said smiling.

I released my bag, moving to hug her. Her embrace was warm and comforting when I inhaled her.

“You come back sooner. Not later. Understand?”

I nodded, hugging her tight. “Definitely.”

“I mean it, Ru.” Her voice was firm and I nodded again.

“I promise.”

“Remember what I told you. Take care of you too,” she said gently in my ear.

I felt tears welling in my eyes when I nodded again. “I will.”

Kennedy and Pepper exchanged their good-byes and then we were pushing through the front door less than two minutes later. The air was crisp, the sky still dark because even the sun couldn’t be bothered to make an appearance yet. The van was parked at the curb, engine humming quietly, billows of smoke exiting from the rear exhaust pipe because of the temperature.

My eyes immediately landed on Bam at the rear of the van, standing next to Travis as they hoisted Kennedy’s bags into the back. He was wearing a navy blue thermal and a pair of gray sweats and he looked so good, I almost tripped on the steps leading down to the sidewalk. I exhaled, catching myself, and dragged my carry-on behind me, the wheels extra loud on the concrete because it was so early and still outside. Bam looked up at me then, his gaze connecting with mine. He smiled a little, and my stomach tightened. I looked away.

“Y’all can go on and get in. The heat’s on, so it’s warm,” Travis told us, his eyes on Kennedy, who was standing at the curb shivering as they loaded the bags.

“Right on,” I said, starting toward the doors.

“Cupcake.”

It was Bam’s deep voice calling me. I hesitated for a second before turning and looking at him. A half-grin was on his face when he jerked his head, beckoning me to him. I chewed on the inside of my lip, staring at him while I debated. He chuckled.

“C’mere, Cassandra.”

Reluctantly, I made my way to the back of the van.

“I got the rest,” Bam dismissed Travis, his voice early morning gruff, which was insanely arousing.

“Aight.” Travis smiled at me before loping around to the driver’s side.

I stood there toeing the gravel and stuffed my hands into the oversized hoodie I’d decided I was stealing and taking back home with me because it was so comfortable.

“After careful thought and consideration, I’ve decided that last night was a mistake,” I declared in a rush before he could speak. Better to just get it out there so that my entire trip wouldn’t be ruined with weird awkwardness.

Bam grinned at my announcement, hoisting Kennedy’s second bag into the back, biceps flexing.

“You did, huh?”

“Yes.”

“I called you after you left.” He looked over at me as he effortlessly picked up my heavy shoulder bag.

“I turned my phone off. What were you gonna say?”

“That I hope you don’t think last night was a mistake.” He smirked and grabbed my other bag, arranging it in the back so that it fit with the others.

“I prolly shouldn’tve let things go that far.”

His eyes had turned serious when he turned to face me, shutting the back doors. I stayed quiet, mostly because it was difficult to speak when Bam was looking at me the way he was.

“Me askin’ you to come over wasn’t about that. I just wanted your company.”

His gaze was zeroed in on mine, his chocolate eyes tired but full of heat.

“But I’m not gonna front. Our chemistry is unreal, Cass. I got carried away.”

I drew in a breath at his admission. Bam didn’t talk like a boy. He tucked his hands into his sweat pockets, his eyes never leaving my face.

“It’s not just on you. I’m the one who got carried away.”

“And now you’re shook.”

His tone was matter-of-fact. I looked down at the oil stained gravel, shaking my head in denial.

“I’m not ‘shook.’ I just think we need to chill.” I looked up at him again. “Don’t you?”

“No.”

I tilted my head to the side. “So you’re sayin’ you wanna be my rebound? Because that’s what it would be.” I exhaled, staring at the ground again. “I don’t have the head space, or the emotional capacity or fortitude to deal with… anything.”

“Emotional fortitude?”

When I looked up again, he was biting on the inside of his lip, holding back a smile.

“Don’t make fun of me. I’m trying to be real here.”

“I’m sorry.” Only he didn’t look sorry at all because he was still grinning. “You’re just super cute.”

He squinted at me like he was trying to figure out how it was possible, or where I came from, and grabbed the bottom hem of my hoodie, pulling me closer slowly, like he was giving me a chance to pull away if I wanted to. I didn’t.

“You have too many women,” I accused tilting my head up to meet his eyes, ignoring the way my heart was racing standing so close to him. He smelled like soap and detergent, and man. “Not that I care. I’m not here for this anyway. I just wanted—” I stopped and shook my head, sighing, looking across the street at Pepper’s neighbor’s house, shivering a little in the cold.

“You just wanted what?”

“To breathe…”

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ABOUT JACINTA HOWARD

A longtime journalist and lifelong music lover, Jacinta Howard lives in the Atlanta area. She is the author of new adult, women’s fiction, and contemporary romance, a USA TODAY HEA Must-Read Author and a two-time RONE Award nominee.

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Know Your Place by Shelly Ellis

Success didn’t come easy for three best friends from the streets. And now dangerous choices and reckless desire will push their bond to lethal limits.

A stint at the Branch Avenue Boys’ Youth Institute taught Ricky, Derrick, and Jamal to unite when the going got tough. But fallout from their very different adult lives is making loyalty something they can’t afford–and igniting drama they never saw coming . . .


Arrested during a city-wide raid, Ricky must inform on D.C’s drug king pin, Dolla Dolla–and find the woman who loved and betrayed him. But revenge is a slippery slope that’s putting a target on his back . . .

Institute head Derrick hopes reuniting with his fiancée will keep his secret affair with a colleague in the past. Unfortunately, one of his students is hiding Dolla Dolla’s major stash–and Derrick’s attempt to do the right thing will have shattering consequences . . .


Jamal’s backroom deal with D.C.’s corrupt mayor is giving him everything he thought he wanted: money, power, and women. But murder and the unexpected return of the woman he’s always loved is getting him in way over his head. His attempts to manage the damage will put him and his friends at killer odds to be the last man standing . . .

Chapter 1

Derrick Miller stared down at the two open suitcases in front of him, closed his eyes for a few seconds, and slowly opened them again.

It was insane but, in the back of his mind, he had hoped they would disappear. Maybe the suitcases—one filled with multiple stacks of hundred-dollar bills bound neatly with multicolored rubber bands, the other stuffed with packs of white powder that was more than likely cocaine—were figments of his imagination, mini mirages right here at the Branch Avenue Boys’ Youth Institute dormitories.

But of course, they weren’t; the suitcases didn’t shimmer then disappear like a waterfall floating in the desert. They were still there with their lids yawning open, and what they contained was bared for all the world to see.

This was real, too real for Derrick’s liking.

“Come on, man! We gonna be late,” someone shouted in the hallway, shaking Derrick out of his stupor.

His eyes darted to the dormitory’s open door as two boys jogged by, probably on their way to their morning classes. Derrick’s eyes snapped back to the suitcases. He couldn’t leave them here. He certainly couldn’t let any of the boys at the Institute see them. He didn’t know whom they belonged to, but he suspected Cole, the student who was assigned to the bunk where he’d found the suitcases, knew who the owner was. He’d talk to Cole later, but his first mission was to find a place to hide these damn things.

Derrick quickly flipped both of the lids closed, zipping each of them with shaking hands. He grabbed the handles and yanked them off the bed. They landed on the linoleum floor with a thud. They had to weigh about a hundred pounds each.

Derrick gritted his teeth as he lifted the suitcases and lugged them to the door, one in each hand. He walked straight down the hall to the stairwell. A few students eyed him curiously. Several boys had a questioning look on their faces, probably wondering what the Institute’s director was doing, carrying luggage down the hall in the middle of the day like he was heading to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport fifteen miles up the road.

“Hey, Mr. Derrick!” one of the boys—dark skinned and stocky—called out as he held open the stainless steel door for him. His dark eyes dropped to the suitcases. “Damn, those look heavy! You need some h—”

“No!” Derrick barked between bursts of breath.

The boy’s ready smile disappeared.

“I mean . . . I mean, no. I-I got it. Th-thanks for asking though,” Derrick stuttered with a slight grimace.

The boy nodded just as Derrick disappeared into the stairwell and made the slow trek down the stairs to the floor below. With each step, the suitcases felt heavier and heavier. Sweat erupted on his forehead and rolled down the bridge of his nose. The short bursts of breath came out faster, making a faint whistle between his clenched teeth. The tendons and muscles in his arms started to jitter. His heart was beating fast from the stress and the strain. When he finally pushed the steel door open and reached his office, he didn’t lower the suitcases to the floor as much as hurl them.

He shut his office door behind him, locked it, and looked around frantically for a place to hide the suitcases. The office didn’t have a storage closet and the suitcases certainly wouldn’t fit in any of his cabinets or shelves. The only spot where they could possibly fit was a corner beside his file cabinet. He shoved them both into the dusty, dark space.

By now, not only was his brow sweaty, but pools of sweat had also formed under his armpits. His palms were slick with it. Sweat even dripped down his back and the crack of his ass.

When Derrick finally finished shoving the suitcases into the hiding space, he dragged across the floor a potted fiddle-leaf fig tree his fiancée, Melissa, had given him for his birthday to add a little softness to his sterile office. He set it in front of the suitcases. He then stood back and surveyed his handiwork.

It was a questionable hiding job—the plant barely provided any coverage—but it would have to do for now.

He flopped back into his rolling chair and let out a slow, long exhale. It took another ten minutes for his heart to finally return to its normal pace, for his hands to stop shaking.

How the hell did those things even get here?

How had the boys managed to smuggle something so heavy and massive into the dorms, right under the noses of the instructors and security guards? When had they done it? It must have been recently because the suitcases certainly would have been noticed during their weekly inspections of the boys’ bunks and lockers. Had someone else brought them?

Cole knows all the answers, he thought, staring at the fig tree. And that boy better tell me the damn truth!

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About Shelly Ellis

Shelly Ellis is a NAACP Image Award-nominated women’s fiction/romance author and creator of the Gibbons Gold Digger and Chesterton Scandal series. Her fiction writing career began when she became one of four finalists in a First-Time Writers Contest when she was 19 years old. The prize was a publishing contract and having her first short-story romance appear in an anthology. She has since published several novels and was a finalist for 2015 NAACP Image Award in the Literary Fiction Category, a three-time finalist for the African American Literary Award in the romance category (2012, 2016, and 2017), and a finalist for the 2015 RT Reviewers’ Choice Award in Multicultural Romance category.

She is married and lives in Prince George’s County, Maryland with her husband and their daughter. Visit her at her web site http://www.shellyellisbooks.com.

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Rhyme & Reason by Nia Forrester

“Maybe friendship is all that’s realistic for us right now.”

With those words, Zora ended their long-distance relationship, shattering Deuce’s vision of a life with the only woman he’s ever loved. But after months of silence, he thought he was over it. He’d moved on, hadn’t he? And as far as he knew, she might have done the same. Now Zora is back from California, and he’s thrown into an immediate tailspin. Nothing’s changed.

She’s the one, the only, his rhyme, and his reason …

But this ain’t no college romance. There are serious, grown-folks’ obstacles standing in the way, and the other woman in his life isn’t even the half of it.

And sometimes growing up might mean moving on …

Over a few short summer weeks, Deuce and Zora will have to decide whether the great love they shared in the past, is enough of a foundation to build a future.

EXCERPT:

“Hey. Could you FaceTime me?”

“What?” she asked, thrown by the unexpected turn of the conversation.

“FaceTime. You still have an iPhone, right?”

“Yeah …” She let the word drag.

“So, I want to see you while I talk to you.”

“That’s not safe. You’re driving,” she said.

But she was already considering it, inventorying herself. The headscarf, the puffy eyes, the ratty old tank top stretched-out and hanging low at the neck and armholes. But he had seen her at her worst, and at her best. It wouldn’t matter to him whether she was in full makeup or had none on at all; whether she was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, or had sleep-swollen, puffy eyes.

“It’s on a holder thing, on the dashboard. I’ll be hands-free.”

“But you’ll be looking away from the road,” she protested.

Still, it excited her a little, and pleased her more than a little that he wanted to see her. For the first few weeks when she was in California, if she called, he would decline the calls, and FaceTime her instead.

You’re so pushy, she’d complained half-heartedly. What if I was sitting on the toilet or something?

I’ve seen you sitting on the toilet, he’d answered, matter-of-factly. Many times.

“I promise I’ll only glance away from the road,” he said now. “I feel like I understand what you mean better when I can see your face.”

“Fine,” Zora said sighing. “I’ll call you back in a minute.”

She took her breakfast sandwich with her out to the living room and arranged her phone, propping it against some of her textbooks. Sitting opposite it, she tested the camera to make sure that when she was seated, it didn’t train itself up the leg of her shorts.

Grabbing her sandwich and taking the first bite, she initiated the video-call. Deuce picked up right away, and there he was. Wearing a white t-shirt, his face was a little scruffy, like he hadn’t cleaned up the edges of his goatee. He looked sexy as hell, like he had just rolled out of bed.

Glancing away from the road for a moment, he flashed her a grin and Zora smiled back, unable to help herself.

“Still got that same old scarf, huh?” he said.

“It’s been broken-in,” she said, laughing. “It’s irreplaceable. You wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh, I understand,” he said, shaking his head. “That scarf is like an old friend of mine.”

“More like an old nemesis,” she said remembering how he always tugged it off her head before they had sex.

“So, before I asked you to FaceTime, what were you about to say?”

“I can’t remember,” she lied.

“I think I know,” he said.

“Then tell me. What was I about to say?”

“You were about to dump me again. You were about to say that you don’t think it’s a good idea that we talk. That I shouldn’t call you.”

He glanced at the camera, and Zora looked down, because he was right. It was an impulse, understandable as far as she was concerned, to distance herself as far as possible from a source of pain. And if Deuce had a girlfriend, that was what staying in touch with him would be. Possibly more painful than not being in touch over the past several months had been.

Instead of responding, she reached for her breakfast sandwich and took another bite, chewing slowly to buy herself time.

“That’s it, right? I was about to get cut?”

Zora kept chewing. Even through a camera lens it was difficult to look directly at him.

“You don’t think that might be …”

“A good idea? No,” he said before she was finished.

He looked at her for what felt like a few moments too long, and Zora almost had to tell him to keep his eye on the road.

“How ‘bout we just talk about … law school?” he suggested.

“You want to hear about law school?” she said, skeptically.

“Yeah. If you can listen to me talk about music, I can listen to you talk about law school. You made the Dean’s List, didn’t you?”

“Actually, I didn’t,” she said.

Deuce glanced at the camera. He looked surprised.

“How come?”

Zora shrugged. “Distracted, I guess. I made good enough grades to transfer, so … that was the most important thing.”

“Why were you distracted? And why didn’t you tell me when you decided to transfer?”

“A lot was going on.”

“Like you breakin’ up with me? A lot like that?”

“Deuce.”

“Okay,” he said. “I promise I won’t talk about that. Just so long as you promise me something …”

“What’s that?” she asked, cautious.

“That you won’t cut me off again. That no matter what happens, we’ll keep talkin’. No matter what.”

***

About Nia Forrester

Nia Forrester lives and writes in Philadelphia, PA where, by day, she is an attorney working on public policy and by night, she crafts woman-centered fiction that examines the complexities of life, love and the human condition.

She welcomes feedback and email from her readers at authorniaforrester@gmail.com or tweets @NiaForrester.

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The Southern Seduction Series by S. Taylor

HONEYDEW (BOOK ONE) & I’M YOURS (BOOK TWO) BY S. TAYLOR

Stand-Alone: yes
Series: Southern Seduction
Publication Date:  February 7, 2019
Publisher: Garden Avenue Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Level: Erotic
Tropes: Insta-love (Honeydew and I’m Yours), Blackmailed into marriage (Honeydew)

Honeydew
ISBN: 978-1-940636-78-8 (Ebook edition)
ISBN: 978-1-940636-80-1 (Paperback edition)

I’m Yours
ISBN: 978-1-940636-75-7 (Ebook edition)
ISBN: 978-1-940636-79-5 (Paperback edition)

Release Blitz: February 21, 2019


Southern Seduction series by S. Taylor

Honeydew

Clarisse Jordan is a young single mother, who after the death of her fiancé, poured blood, sweat, and tears into her business, Honeydew Café, to provide for her children. A catering gig for successful and super sexy Dylan Price is the opportunity of a lifetime. But she quickly learns that Mr. Price is interested in more than her Southern cuisine. He has his sights set on her.

Dylan has been in love with Clarisse for years and would do anything to have her—even if it means forcing her into marriage. Lucky for him, the instant chemistry between them is hotter than a mid-summer day beneath the Georgia sun.

Yet Dylan is not completely honest with Clarisse, and when she learns the painful truth, will their love affair end? Or will they be able to find their way back to each other?

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It’s only been a few years since I buried the love of my life. I hear the word marriage and it pulls me from my thoughts of Frost, and I pay close attention.

“I think that’ll be enough time to plan, wouldn’t you agree?”

“To what?”

“Clarisse, were you not listening to me this whole time?”

I shake my head, not caring that I give myself away. Shit, this whole situation is new for me. It’s not every day a girl gets a blackmail or a proposal—I need time to process.

“I said, we’ll marry at the end of the month. That gives enough time to plan.”

“What?!”

“If I knew I could get away with it, I’d marry you with the hour. I think four weeks is reasonable, and I’m not pushing the date out longer,” he says with finality.

I don’t even protest, really. What would be the point? He continues, noting his mother will arrive next week—maybe sooner—to help with the planning.

“You’ve already told her?” My eyes, I know, are wide as saucers.

“Of course not, but I know Delta Price, and when I tell her we’re getting married, she’ll be on the first thing smoking.”

“Are you going to tell her I was with Frost?”

His handsome features soften, and my heartbeats start to quicken with worry of what she’ll think of me, jumping from one friend to the other. Even if they lost touch, Dylan and Frost shared a bond of friendship. He must know what I’m thinking. “She already knows of you and the twins. She was at the funeral.”

“Oh,” I whisper.

“We won’t have time right after the wedding for a honeymoon. I have some business to wrap up in New York, so we’ll go there instead, me, you, and the kids. I’ll take you on a proper honeymoon after I finish my business.”

“What if my business won’t allow me the time off to travel to New York or wherever else?” I press my lips and raise an eyebrow, challenging him.

He only smiles and continues laying out the details.

“Honeydew will be our primary residence. I’ve always loved the place and having a family to share in my joy is what I want.”

“I sure hope it stays that way, because I am building a business, let’s not forget.” I can’t hold my tongue on this matter, and have no problem reminding him at every turn. The only reason I’m allowing him to force my hand is to keep my business and my kids’ home. I’m giving up my freedom, but not my independence.

“I want to kiss the fire right off those soft lips.” He licks his and smiles at me.

I’m equal parts pissed and equal parts aroused. Pissed, because he’s smiling as if I’m an adorable child throwing a fit, and aroused because…well that’s what Dylan Price does to me. I stand, needing to get away from him, because if I don’t, I will turn into a child throwing a fit.

I don’t make it far before being spun around, and my mouth devoured by Dylan. He holds my face captive between strong hands. Dylan tastes amazing. His lips are fast becoming addictive. I soften into him against my will. I want to rage and fight, but how can I when he smells and tastes so delicious?

Soft pulls on my lips end an extremely heated exchange. “Your business will always be important. Don’t forget that.” He takes a few more pulls from my mouth. “Let me give you something else to never forget.”

I’m Yours

Peggy Jordan had long ago closed the door on her heart’s desires, accepting she would never have a loving husband and family of her own. Then a friend asks her to care for an orphaned little girl, and she meets the child’s last living relative. With him, her patience is tested, her desires are unleashed, and she gets the first taste of a life she’d always felt was out of reach.

Years ago, Trevor Duncan left Savannah and vowed never to return. He traveled to remote corners of the globe, helping people, and helping himself to countless women in emotionally-empty relationships. A phone call in the middle of the night changes his entire life. He has a niece who needs him, and when he meets the woman caring for her, he’s consumed with having her all to himself.

Their desire is strong. Their love is instant. But can they learn to trust each other and survive the road to happily-ever-after?

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Read an Excerpt

I’m passing the broom in my kitchen, attempting to clean up as much of the flour from my homemade pie crusts and pizza dough as I can. It’s another pizza and movie Saturday, and Trevor hasn’t come over with Adeline yet. I check the time again and it’s almost noon.

Clarisse’s nanny will be here around two with the twins for the play date. Adeline has been so excited for this day all week. Before they took off last night, she promised to go to sleep fast so morning could come quicker.

When Trevor wasn’t at my door bright and early with Adeline and a cup of Starbucks coffee, my first thought was to text him. Instead of, Are you still coming? I texted, Missing my morning cup of Joe. I have yet to receive a reply.

After putting away the broom and dust pan, I walk over to the work desk in the corner of my kitchen and grab my cell from the charger. I pull up Trevor’s number, ready to call, when a hard knock to the front door startles me. I power walk to the front entry and open the heavy wood door. Adeline rushes in and hugs my legs so tight, as if she didn’t just leave me last night. Her hair is all over her head, and she’s wearing rubber boots with her night clothes.

She looks a hot mess. I hold her face in my hands and lift it so I can see her expression. “Is everything okay?’

“No,” Trevor answers.

“What happened?” I ask.

“Water pipe broke sometime in the middle of the night.” He’s holding a cup of Starbucks coffee. I’m guessing he saw my text. I smile and take the cup. “We woke to water everywhere this morning. I’m thankful it only reached the top of the baseboards. Hate to think what could have happened if it touched the wall plugs in that old house.”

My blood runs cold and I feel lightheaded at the thought. I recall when I first laid eyes on that old house, I questioned Trevor’s logic. Here he is with enough money to purchase three of my houses with no discomfort, and he settles on renting a small, old house.

“‘It’s my first home. We don’t need much, and it’s temporary,’” he had told me, and I realized Trevor was no typical rich asshole.

I hold Adeline tight and move from in front the door. I’m squeezing her, repeatedly kissing her cheek, grateful to see her face. When I think I’ve composed myself, I pull back and ask her to head upstairs so she can cleanup and dress before her play date. She runs up the stairs to her room, and I rush into Trevor’s waiting arms.

I’m holding him a little awkward because of my coffee cup, but Trevor has me completely engulfed in a strong embrace. “What are you going to do?”

He takes a breath before answering. “I reserved a room at a hotel in town.”

“Why?” I give him a confused look. “You know you can stay here. Adeline has gone through so many changes. Her room is familiar, and we have a routine.” I smile before adding, “The two of you are here over ninety percent of the day anyway.”

Trevor gives me a smile and I pray he agrees. I make one more attempt at getting my way, but this next statement is equally as true as the last. “I’m so happy you and Adeline are safe. To even give the smallest of my energy to the thoughts of what could have happened… I want to lock you both away so you’re safe forever. Right now I need you to say yes, Trevor.”

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ABOUT S. TAYLOR

S. TAYLOR discovered a love of storytelling at the age of twelve. She would entertain her cousins with exciting adventures and tales of young love, which changed over the years from telling tales at sleepovers to writing several short stories. For S. Taylor writing remained a hobby until 2009 when she decide to share this love with others. She writes love at first sight romance novels full of passion, erotic moments, and emotional conflicts with a satisfying happily ever after ending. She is a Texas native, wife, and busy mother of five daughters. She spends her free time mediating sibling arguments, relaxing with yoga, and discovering new and tasty vegan dishes she enjoys cooking for her family.

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A Lesson on Love by Sharon C. Cooper

A LESSON ON LOVE BY SHARON C. COOPER

Some lessons are harder to learn than others.

Jerry Jenkins is a player. He loves women. Curvy women. Soft women. He’s unapologetically drawn to full-figured women. With all the beauties in the world, he has no intention of settling down with just one. Not until Rayne Ellison moves in next door. But the curvaceous beauty doesn’t fall for his charm. Still, she’s the only woman who has him willing to shred his bachelor’s card.

If there’s one lesson single mom Rayne learned over the years, it’s to avoid players. Been there, done that. Barely survived. No way will she fall prey to another ladies’ man. She has one focus—raising her daughter, but there’s something so magnetic about Jerry. Rayne agrees to be friends, but nothing more. At least that’s what she tells herself.

When tragedy strikes, Rayne is ready to give up, but it’s Jerry who keeps her afloat. He breaks down her defenses and, in the process, gives her a lesson on love.

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ABOUT SHARON C. COOPER

Award-winning and bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, is a romance-a-holic – loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies, or real life. Sharon writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She’s been nominated for numerous awards and is the recipient of an Emma Award for Romantic Suspense of the Year 2015 (Truth or Consequences), Emma Award – Interracial Romance of the Year 2015 (All You’ll Ever Need), and BRAB (book club) Award -Breakout Author of the Year 2014. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course). To read more about Sharon and her novels, visit http://www.sharoncooper.net.

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