Office Policy by A.C. Arthur

 

OFFICE POLICY BY A.C. ARTHUR

Ambitious and tenacious litigator, Cienna Turner has just been assigned the city’s most high-profile sexual harassment case. Despite personal misgivings, her job requires her to provide a stellar defense and she’s ready to do that when she learns her colleague, the sexy and debonair, Keith Page, will be working with her. Now, Cienna not only has to bring in a big win for the firm, but also face the demons from her past that resurface when Keith makes his desire for her known.

Keith Page has his eye set on becoming one of the city’s youngest black judges but stepping into this case involving a possible city contractor and several of the guy’s employees, might not be the way to get there. Working alongside one of the firm’s most successful attorneys is the highlight of this situation, especially when their first kiss promises more passion to come.

When the tables turn and Cienna finds herself at the center of the harassment claims and office drama comes to a fevered pitch, Cienna and Keith will rely on not only their legal acumen to stay on top, but also their love for each other to stay alive.

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ABOUT A.C. ARTHUR

AC Arthur was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where she currently resides with her husband, three children, grandson and an English bulldog named Vader. An active imagination and a love for reading encouraged her to begin writing in high school and she hasn’t stopped since.

Working in the legal field for over twenty-five years, AC has seen lots of horrific things and longs for the safe haven of a romance novel. To date, she has written in several genres: YA paranormal (w/a Artist Arthur), small town romance as Lacey Baker, and sexy contemporary and paranormal romance. With intriguing plots and sexy love scenes, AC brings a new edge to romance!

MIXED MATCH BY MIA HEINTZELMAN

MIXED MATCH BY MIA HEINTZELMAN

She was the only woman he wanted. He was the one man she couldn’t trust. Will this unsuited pair clash? Or is it a…

Sophia Kent used to be a badass knife-wielding chef. Nowadays, she’s lucky if she can remember to put on a bra. Between the move to Portland and unpacking boxes, she’s glad there’s only one name on the title. Unfortunately, at the door there’s a gorgeous messenger with a document claiming she’s not the rightful owner.

Dead-set on getting his grandmother’s house back, real estate investor Everett Monroe is determined to see the thief go down, even if he has to deliver the summons himself. Only, the beautiful mess at the door is charming, sexy—and nothing like the man whose family’s been feuding with Everett’s for generations.

He doesn’t know whether she’s a pawn or a player, and she doesn’t know he’s not just a messenger, so after a few “chance” meetings, when she enlists his help to find a location for her restaurant, he agrees. After all, in thirty days there’s going to be a hearing granting him ownership and she’ll be long gone. Except, somewhere between sunset mountain hikes, brilliantly lit musical bridges, and picturesque Japanese Gardens, a dangerous attraction weaves its way between the secrets and lies. Forced to confront the truth, Everett must ask himself what good a home is without the one you love to share it with.

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ABOUT MIA HEINTZELMAN

Mia Heintzelman is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is a Chicago native who always has a book in her purse, loves to pair sweet and spicy tea with fluffy socks, and can’t go wrong with polka dots and pearls. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and two children.

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I Can Love You by Mackenzie Joy

 

I CAN LOVE YOU BY MACKENZIE JOY

Her heart. His song.

R&B sensation Tara Russell is at the top of her game. It’s cost her nearly everything, but her hard work and sacrifice has finally paid off. All she needs now is for her new album to succeed. Too bad her best friend and music producer thinks that won’t happen unless she opens up her heart, bleeds onto a page, and creates an epic love song. But how is she supposed to write a song like that when her only experience with love ended in devastation?

Quinton “Q” Ellis is on a mission. He’s determined to be the muse Tara needs to produce the best album of her career. If he can help her overcome everything she’s been through and set her emotions to music, she’ll become a legend. And if he’s really lucky, he might even be able to convince her that love without pain is possible … and to see him as more than just a friend.

It’s not long before the lines between friendship and passion blur. They’re hitting all the right notes together, but can two people with troubled pasts and a handful of heartbreaking secrets between them find their way to happily ever after?

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EXCERPT

Mats of many colors covered the floor with little space for anyone else to join the early morning class. Music played softly as those around Tara stretched and prepared for yoga.

Tara sat with her legs folded and stretched her tight muscles, hoping to rid herself of the same thoughts that had her tossing and turning all night.

“Don’t forget to grab blocks if you need them,” their instructor announced as she moved around the room greeting attendees and welcoming the newcomers.

Tara didn’t get the same greeting as everyone. She did get slight smiles. Knowing, poised ones as if saying ‘I know who you are, but I’ll let you enjoy your space today.’ A feeling she would appreciate any other time but looking around as others spent the few minutes before class chatting with old and new friends, the isolation left her empty while alone with her thoughts.

She closed her eyes, placed a hand on her knee and the other hand flat on the mat behind her. Tara twisted her body to its side and held it for an extended period before repeating in the opposite direction.

When she opened her eyes, she saw someone joining her in the space beside her, letting out a big oomph sound as he dropped to the ground to take his place on a mat.

“Quinton?” She restrained herself from jumping up to hug him out of respect for the instructor who started speaking to the group.

He yawned into his fist and stretched his sweatpants covered legs in front of him. “I want food after this, and you’re treating.”

In a hushed whisper, Tara grinned and said, “Sure. We have to make it quick. I fly out to Arizona today.”

“That’s right. More Zen crap, but why there?”

“Sydney suggested I visit this place. It’s a resort that specializes in health and wellness. It sounds divine. The best part about it is that they ensure my privacy while I’m there. I heard great things about it. Just waking to the beauty surrounding the place is worth the trip. You ever see the red rocks of Sedona?”

“Speaking of rocks.” Their instructor Dottie’s hovering nearby silencing them. The younger woman with dark glossy hair slicked back in a ponytail glanced between Tara and Quinton while shaking a clear plastic container with polished stones. Her eyes lingered on Quinton as she held out the box of smooth, dark rocks. “For those of you who are new, I brought consent stones.” She held one of them up for all to see. “If you’re okay with me offering additional assistance, correcting your form, place a stone on the corner of your mat. It tells me you’re okay with me touching you and offer consent. If you change your mind, just move your stone out of the way or tuck it under your mat.”

Tara heard the clunky sound of rocks banging against each other and saw Quinton grabbing a handful.

“I just adore your boyfriend.” Dottie grinned and moved on to offer stones to the other students while Quinton marked the perimeter of his mat.

“She said one.”

“Taking my shot at earning some extra credit.”

“We’re not being graded.”

Class began, and a hush sound from one of their fellow students stopped the bickering. Everyone around her started to move in sync, leaving Tara’s upright body poking out above the group. Tara looked at Quinton, who was mimicking Dottie’s movement and swiped her hand toward his mat, sending Quinton’s smooth dark stones into the aisle. “Next time I ask you to join me for yoga, do me a favor and keep your ass at home.”

He smirked as he got into the tabletop position with hands and knees on the mat. “I love when you get jealous,” he said in a whisper and winked.

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ABOUT MACKENZIE JOY

I believe in…
playlists on repeat.
red lipstick and nudes.
brothers in timbs. please and thank you.
down blankets and pillows.
open windows when it rains.
dancing with no clothes on.
rum drinks with lime and sweet sugar cane.

Mackenzie Joy
Love more. Kiss more.

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She’s Got Soul by Aja

SHE’S GOT SOUL BY AJA

Zola Lewis is many things to many people. She’s a marketing extraordinaire by day, and a podcast host by night. She’s also a devoted daughter, a funny and care giving auntie to her sister’s daughter. But, the one thing she is not, is a wife to a loving husband and she’s beginning to think that could never happen because she’s entirely too opinionated for most men. One night on her live podcast, she experienced a challenging caller who seemed to aggravate her more than a little, and Zola wondered who was more opinionated. Zola or the caller?

Khalil Berry was a bit of a nerd growing up, and as a result, also a bit of a late bloomer. Time not spent with girls allowed him to stick with books. His big brain landed him many opportunities and by his mid-twenties, he’d amassed a fortune from his software apps. The latest app he’s developing requires more hands on research and he decides to do the research himself. First stop, listening to a podcast by a woman talking about women; a topic he was beginning to learn more about since his money seems attracts them all the time. The task was simple, listen and take notes. But, her voice is too melodic and her words, well, let’s just say she didn’t know what she was talking about as far as he was concerned. So he calls in to correct her.

They’re both great at giving a piece of their mind, but can they hand over their well-guarded hearts?

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ABOUT AJA

Aja is the writer of sensually erotic and passionate women’s fiction. Her stories allow readers to experience realistic, inspiring, and soulful interactions and intense passion while overcoming life’s challenges. She is inspired by soulful music and sensual art to craft her stories. Her published works include the Love & Passion series and the Love & Redemption series. Her newest release, She’s Got Soul is book 1 in the Soulmates series.

BLACKBIRDS NOVEL DUET By Lily Java

BLACKBIRDS NOVEL DUET

When Elliott Vance sees his parents, Serena and Ethan, together for the first time, holding hands; it causes a tectonic shift in his perception of reality. Answering all the questions that bubble to the surface, will not always be easy or pleasant. But, there’s always a beginning, a middle, and an end to most stories, including Serena and Ethan’s.

The reconnection between Serena and Ethan Vance will lead to explosive revelations and a thousand and one questions about their past. But will it also give them and their only son Elliott, the closure they all so desperately need?

‘Ethan’s Choice: Blank Pages I’ and ‘Serena’s Vow: Blank Pages II’ by Lily Java brings full circle the story of Elliott Vance’s parents, Serena and Ethan, first introduced in the novel ‘Blackbirds’.

ETHAN’S CHOICE: BLANK PAGES I BY LILY JAVA

He thought he planned for everything. But, what he didn’t plan for, was her.

Whether we are we born into the world a blank page has been argued since the time of Aristotle. Is it nature or nurture that makes us who we are? Do we choose our own fate, or are we chosen for the roles we play?

Serena Clay is a golden girl living in a soulful, turbulent time. Beautiful, intelligent, pragmatic, and so well cared for, one would think she’d be better prepared. But there’s no way, she could’ve known how overwhelming and passionate it would be to fall in love, until she met Ethan Vance—a fierce, charming, and enigmatic young man.

Ethan Vance lives a life filled with secrets and lies. He longs to be free of them as well as of the violent family legacy they stem from. With careful planning and avoidance, he hopes to keep the woman he dares to love and the person most precious to him, in his life forever. When things go bad as they often do, Ethan has a choice to make but now his heart won’t be the only one on the line.

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SERENA’S VOW: BLANK PAGES II BY LILY JAVA

Keeping her promises has often meant sacrifice. But is it ever too late to try and live your best dreams?

Sometimes, re-imagining your life is your only road to salvation.

Long ago left by the man she loved and trusted, with a young son to raise alone, Serena Vance is now a grown woman. The vows she and Ethan made to each other, she has had to forget. Now there is nothing more important than helping her son become the best man he can be. But will reaching that goal come at the expense of her own happiness?

Ethan Vance is a lost, broken man—angry, alone, and teetering on the brink of disaster. The people and things that meant the most to him are disappearing from his life one by one. Every day has become a nightmare, and to survive he must turn his life around.

But is it ever too late to have a second chance at living your best dreams?

In the winding journey these two former lovers take further away from each other, they both lose a significant part of themselves. To thrive again, they must re-invent their lives apart … and maybe, in doing so they will find their way back together.

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EXCERPT

Serena was lying in his bed, reading. They’d made love late that afternoon. He’d elevated the hurt wrist and told her not to move it, no matter what he did. She was obedient, though he did not make it at all easy for her. As she writhed against his treacherous mouth, tongue, and hands, he kept her in endless pursuit of an orgasm until she could barely move from the effort. The sun set over their warm, conjoined bodies.

He never seemed to have enough time with her to his liking. And now here she was— lying in hisbed, in hisshirt—and he still felt that way. He’d been studiously watching her while pretending to work on something else. It wasn’t just that she was beautiful. It was her earthiness—how full of grace she was. It made him feel like having her in his life was the only thing he needed to be sure he’d stay safe, grounded, and in touch with everything around him. That as long as she was there, as long as he could look at her every day, he wouldn’t lose himself to the dour or murky thoughts he sometimes had about his life—about the world in general.

She reached the end of a page and adjusted herself while turning it when she noticed he was staring.

Everything he’d been thinking, everything he’d been planning, Ethan blurted it all out at once.

“There’s something I want to tell you. I’ve made a decision. I’m going to leave school after this semester.”

Her brow creased ever so slightly. He got the impression she was holding her breath a little. Stabilizing herself against the conversation, she took a deep breath, and then another, before she spoke.

“Where will you go?”

“I’m thinking about going to the country for a little while.”

“The country? What do you mean?”

“I mean I’m thinking about renting that house we stayed in but for a longer time than just a weekend.”

Serena sat up in the bed, pushing the book aside.

“In Claverack?”

“Yeah.”

“Why there?”

“Good memories.”

He knew her downcast eyes and the subtle smile meant she was remembering too.

ABOUT LILY JAVA

Lily is a freelance writer, blogger, and novelist who writes fiction in numerous genres. When she isn’t writing, Lily raises money for arts and cultural organizations or plans special events in iconic landmarks throughout her beloved hometown: New York City. A resident of Brooklyn, Lily is a true ambivert, who enjoys solitude just as much as she likes meeting and talking with other passionate readers and writers.

“I think every story is a love story of some kind. The whys and wherefores are usually as interesting as who or what you love, but you only know that if you delve deep. So in life, in love, and most definitely on the page, that’s how I like to do it.” –Lily

REDEEMED THROUGH LOVE BY UNOMA NWANKWOR

REDEEMED THROUGH LOVE BY UNOMA NWANKWOR

At thirteen Halima Dajuma discovers that her father has another family. No longer is she an only child, but younger sister to three older brothers. This discovery changes everything. For a while, Halima happily settles into a safe life shaped by her family’s expectations. Now, determined to find her voice, she breaks an arranged betrothal and embarks on a journey of self-discovery. The search for truth rattles her world and the people in it, in ways she didn’t bargain for. When everything comes crashing down will she be content with what she finds or wish she’d remained in the comfort of the familiar?

The connection was electric, heart jolting even, but it came from the wrong source.
Charming, attractive and successful, Ekene Odili, is the Dajuma family lawyer. He’s also friends with Halima’s oldest brother, Rasheed. For years, religion and her fiancé stood between Halima and Ekene. He knows she’s off-limits. However, knowledge is no match for a heart which refuses to adhere to logic. When he begins to see the pain she has to endure, is he willing to sacrifice his heart and let her go?

The ultimate loss soon shatters her heart, then will Halima still have the courage to surrender to a redeeming love?

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EXCERPT

Halima said her prayers and crawled into the cool sheets of her queen-sized bed. Moments later, as expected it would, Sade’s Sweetest Taboobegan to play. She picked up her phone, smiled and accepted the call.

“Hello.” Her tone was low and tired.

“Hey yourself,” he responded with a voice that prickled her skin every time. “How are you? No need to ask if you made it home okay since you were with Kam.”

Halima let out a faint chuckle at the fight she had to put up, so Kamal would drop her in her own home instead of her staying overnight in his. He just got back from a trip and she was in no desire to see him and Ebele all over each other. Amongst all her brother, that couple couldn’t function without their hands or lips being on each other. For someone who’d been celibate for years, that wasn’t where she needed to be.

“So, you just had to go and add another reason for me to be upset with you?” The normal softness of his voice when he spoke to her was absent.

“And what’s the first?” She knew exactly what he was talking about, but she wouldn’t be the one to admit it.

His grunt caused her to smile.

“You’ve been avoiding me. We’re going to get to that, but first why didn’t you call me when those men came to your office?” He paused. “I was going crazy with worry.”

“That wasn’t my intention.”

“Are we that bad? I mean you’d rather get in trouble than see me?”

“I didn’t call anyone at the time. It wasn’t personal.” Halima rubbed her forehead. She didn’t want him running with the wrong impression. Yes, she was avoiding him, but it was nothing he did. It was all her. Be that as it may, this wasn’t the heavy conversation she wanted to have tonight. Besides, the phone worked both ways.

“Kene, you’ve always been good to me—”

“But?”

“But nothing. Can we not talk about this tonight?”

“No can do. Your brothers are like putty in your hand but that’s not me, Princess. I want to know why you would endanger yourself that way instead of calling me?” His anger laced with frustration seeped through the phone.

Halima sat up against her keyboard and creased her brows. She wished her brothers would be putty in her hands.

“That’s not true.”

“You and I know it is. But that’s not the point. We’re talking about you deliberately putting yourself in danger. You weren’t under arrest so why would you go with those people without your lawyer present?”

Two opposing emotions clashed within her. Aggravation and pleasure. The former at the fact that he was talking to her as though she were a child and he referred to himself as just her lawyer. He was acting just like her brothers. And the latter at the fact that he cared enough to be angry. She knew she sounded crazy but there was nothing she could do about her truth. She imagined the six-foot four-inch dark chocolate brown package pacing wherever he was with a scowl on his face.

“Ekene, I’m going to tell you like I tell my brothers, I’m a thirty-six-year-old woman perfectly capable of taking care of herself.” She paused for his response, got none so continued. “Abubakar was going to call you as my lawyerbut Chiaka got to Kammy first then he Rasheed and I’m sure that’s who called you.”

“If your little outburst and the use of my full name are supposed to dismiss me, it’s cute but not going to work,” he said. “Considering I broke every traffic law to get you out of where you shouldn’t have been in the first place, I want an explanation.” His chuckle irked her.

She yawned. Hopefully, he’ll get the message and get off the phone. She was done talking to him.

ABOUT UNOMA NWANKWOR

Unoma Nwankwor writes clean, multicultural romances that span Africa and the Diaspora. Unoma weaves romantic tales for readers who enjoy stories centered around faith, family and the rich culture of Africa. Through the pages, she promises you humor, tight hugs, forehead kisses and above all else, redemptive, sacrificial love.

Her readers are in love with her unique way of telling stories that capture the essence of her present home base in the USA and her Nigerian culture. Unoma wears numerous hats but the one she’s most proud of is, mother of two kids and wife to her film director husband. You can catch her writing from the comfort of her bedroom nook with a pack of pepperoni slices and a cup of java.

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A Southern Gentleman Two by Tracy Reed

A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN VOL 2 BY TRACY REED

“I never meant to fall in love. I thought Avery would be a good distraction…a way to mend my broken heart. But the moment she sat next to me, I knew she was the one. Now all I have to do is keep my celibacy vow until our wedding night. Avery said she understands my vow, but that hasn’t stopped her from trying to seduce me. God help me make it to the wedding.”

Billionaire Businessman Jeremiah Logan went to New York to buy a company and nurse a broken heart. Instead of getting a company, he gained an ally, a business partner and the heart of the most eligible socialite in Manhattan.

When it came to love, Avery Marshall assumed the best she could hope for was a marriage of convenience with a man who only wanted her money and social connections. But one night in a New York bar, with a charming southern gentleman gave her hope for a happy ending.

Before they can get the relationship they desire, they will need to deal with the ghosts of their pasts.

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ABOUT TRACY REED

A California native, novelist Tracy Reed pushes the boundaries of her Christian foundation with her sometimes racy and often fiery tales.

After years of living in the Big Apple, this self proclaimed New Yorker draws from the city’s imagination, intrigue, and inspiration to cultivate characters and plot lines who breathe life to the words on every page.

Tracy’s passion for beautiful fashion and beautiful men direct her vivid creative power towards not only novels, but short stories, poetry, and podcasts. With something for every attention span.

Tracy Reed’s ability to capture an audience is unmatched. Her body of work has been described as a host of stimulating adventures and invigorating expression.

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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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RETURN TO ME BY FARRAH ROCHON

RETURN TO ME BY FARRAH ROCHON

Three years after his bride-to-be jilted him at the altar, Jonathan Campbell is still struggling to expunge every reminder of her from his life. His new motto is to never again expose his heart to such anguish. But when she pops up uninvited on his doorstep, his life is suddenly upended all over again.

A case of cold feet sent Ivana Culpepper running the week before her wedding. She found refuge and purpose in Haiti, working with relief aid organization Operation: Heal. When a series of circumstances force her to return to her hometown of New Orleans, Ivana must face the consequences of her actions and the bitter rejection of the man she once loved.

Can Ivana convince Jonathan to give her another chance, or is her betrayal too much for their newly reawakened love to overcome?

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EXCERPT

The stiff breeze blowing off the Mississippi River whipped Ivana Culpepper’s long, natural hair around her head. She caught it up and twisted it in an attempt to tame the mass of wavy locks, to no avail. Forgetting about her hair, Ivana took another ten steps forward before stopping at the corner of Ursuline and Chartres Streets. She could make out the sloped roof of the house on the far end of the block, could tell by the fresh cornflower blue color of the dormer that it had received another coat of paint since she’d last seen it three years ago.

Three years ago.

It didn’t seem that long, yet, in a way, it seemed like a lifetime ago. When Ivana thought about the person she’d been when she left New Orleans on that balmy summer afternoon, she had a hard time reconciling her with the woman standing on this chipped French Quarter street right now. Save for a few additional wrinkles that had popped up in the corners of her eyes and a faded scratch courtesy of a run-in with a cactus during a hike in the mountains of Hispaniola, she looked the same.

It was the insidethat had changed.

“Not completely. You’re still too much of a coward to face him.”

She sucked in a deep, cleansing breath and tried to convince herself that she wasn’t a coward. But as comforting—even necessary—as it occasionally was to lie to herself, it had never done her any good in the past.

If she wasn’t a coward, she wouldn’t have spent the past two weeks avoiding the man she was supposed to marry just a week before she’d left that faithful day in July. She wouldn’t have spent an entire night in costume two weeks ago at the kickoff party for the Diane Holmes Foundation, trailing him around the room, wondering about his relationship with the gorgeous woman he’d had on his arm.

It isn’t your concern who he has on his arm.

She’d had her chance to be that person, and had thrown it away. When it came to Jonathan Campbell, she didn’t have any claim on him. Zero. He was a man from her past. A man she’d loved, but one she’d run from. And if it wasn’t for the fact that a close friend needed legal advice, Ivana would have done everything in her power to continue running from Jonathan.

She should have told Angus that she couldn’t help him. There were other channels he could have gone through to address his situation. But it went against everything in her nature not to help a person in need. Providing aid to those in trouble was at the heart of her very existence. It’s how she’d met Angus Thomson. A fellow relief worker, they’d worked alongside each other for the past three years in Haiti. So when Angus had called, frantic over an issue with his G-1 visa, Ivana couldn’t help but get involved. When she realized that they needed to talk to someone with legal expertise, Jonathan was the first person who came to mind.

A chill raced through her body, and it had nothing to do with the brisk wind still blowing off the river. She lifted the long, simple, slightly tarnished chain she kept around her neck and fiddled with the breathtaking ring that hung from it. For the past three years she’d worn the engagement ring Jonathan had given her close to her heart, treating it like a talisman, seeking strength from it when she needed courage. Ironic that she would turn to it today, when the courage she sought had to do with facing the man who’d given her the ring in the first place.

She’d envisioned the moment when she would face Jonathan again countless times, speculating about how he would react. Would he be upset? Relieved? Would he look at her as if she were a ghost? She’d tried to put herself in his position, but when she considered what herreaction would be to seeing someone who’d left only a week before their wedding, she could barely stomach it.

Regret coasted through her bloodstream. Thick, suffocating regret. She knew the taste of it well. It had been a healthy part of her diet for years now.

She needed to just get this over with. She would fulfill her promise to Angus, and then she would leave. Who knows, maybe Jonathan wouldn’t even be around. It was late. He may have already left the office.

Ivana closed her eyes, sent up a quick prayer, and crossed the street. A mixture of anxiety and anticipation traveled along her skin as she moved ever closer to the gorgeous structure. The sun had just started its descent, turning the western sky an array of warm oranges, reds and purples.

Her heart thudded within her chest when she noticed a sleek black sedan parked in the reserved parking spot next to the law office.

Well, so much for him not being here.

She’d spent the afternoon coming up with things to do in order to delay her trip, hoping by the time she arrived everyone would be gone for the day. Jonathan had always put in way too many hours at the office. She’d gotten him out of the habit, but apparently he’d reverted back to being a workaholic.

As she approached the house, Ivana couldn’t help but remember the first time she encountered Jonathan here, the very first day they met. She’d charged up the steps of the three-story creole cottage, prepared to do everything within her power to save the house from the ruin she just knew its new owner was preparing to heap upon it.

It had been determined that the house was the place where the first known voodoo healing in New Orleans had occurred, according to her sisters of the religion, which she had practiced for years. When she learned the house was slated to become a new law practice, Ivana assumed the buyer was going to gut it. Instead, he’d restored it to its former glory.

Only days after their thorny initial encounter, she’d been stunned speechless when she’d gone to dinner at the home of longtime family friend, Margo Holmes, and found herself sitting directly across the table from Jonathan Campbell. That’s when Ivana learned that he was the college basketball teammate of her now brother-in-law, Tobias Holmes, her baby sister Sienna’s husband.

It all seemed so, so long ago.

This little jaunt down memory lane isn’t helping. Speed it up.

Ivana rolled her eyes at the annoying voice in her head, which, for some reason, did not want to get with the program when it came to stalling this inevitable meeting. But it wasinevitable. She knew this. It was a miracle she’d managed to go the past two weeks without Jonathan discovering her presence in New Orleans. He was too tied to her family to expect this avoidance dance to go on much longer. It was time she ripped off the Band-Aid.

She climbed the porch steps and tried the door. It was locked.

Of course, it was locked. It was after normal work hours. She rang the doorbell, her heart’s ridiculous racing picking up even more steam as she waited. Ivana counted a full sixty seconds before ringing it again. Maybe he wasn’t here after all. It wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that he left a car parked at the law firm at all times.

Just as she made the decision to leave, the door opened and the man she’d been prepared to marry appeared on the other side.

Every drop of breath she possessed seemed to rush out of her lungs. She’d seen him at the gala a few weeks ago, but always from a distance. This was the first time she’d been this close to him in three years.

The aromatic, woodsy notes of his cologne assaulted her senses, the faint smell bringing with it powerful memories of the one time in her life when she’d felt true happiness. When she’d felt loved. The weight of it was almost enough to break her.

“Hello, Jonathan,” she managed to say, the words struggling past the knot of emotion wedged in her throat.

He stared at her for what seemed like an eternity. A silent, unbearably uncomfortable eternity. Those arresting, gorgeous eyes she’d spent hours gazing into as she lay languidly in his arms now looked at her with a mix of shock and aversion.

“I hope I’m not—” But before she could finish, the alluring lilt of a woman’s soft voice came from somewhere nearby.

“Jonathan, what time is the band supposed to start?” The woman arrived at the door, sidling up alongside him. “Oh, hello,” she said to Ivana, her eyes wide with surprise.

Ivana took in the stunning, honey-toned beauty with legs that went on for days. She looked from the woman standing next to him in a gorgeous body-hugging gown that shimmered with thousands of crystals, to Jonathan, whom she just now realized wore a sleek, black tuxedo.

He was going out. Theywere going out. On a date.

A retched sensation settled like a lead anchor in the pit of her stomach. It wasn’t as if she was surprised he was seeing someone; she’d had to put a stop to Sienna’s reports on his extremely robust dating life over the years. But hearing about it from her sister while she worked in a village thousands of miles away was different from witnessing it firsthand.

“I…” Ivana started. “I didn’t mean to disturb you. I just…I needed to speak with you.”

The discomfort in the air was palpable as he continued to stare at her with that stoic expression. After another few moments passed, he finally said, “We’re late for an event.”

The iciness in his tone caused a shock of goosebumps to pop up along her skin. They were the first words he’d spoken to her in three years. To have him address her so coldly, without an ounce of feeling, was something she probably should have anticipated, but foolishly had not.

She would be lying if she said it didn’t hurt. She would also be lying if she didn’t admit that it was nothing less than what she deserved.

“I—” Ivana said again, but she wasn’t sure how to respond. “I’m sorry for bothering you,” she finally managed. The words felt like sandpaper as the came out of her throat.

“Come by tomorrow during normal business hours,” Jonathan said. He turned to the woman next to him. “Are you ready?”

“I just need to grab my clutch.” She looked to Ivana. “Excuse me,” she said, her eyes kind, her smile even kinder. “I love your skirt, by the way.”

Ivana looked down at her bright, flowing skirt. She had a closet full of them. “Thank you,” she returned.

She looked back up to find Jonathan staring at her with an emotionless expression. She’d run dozens of scenarios in her head, anticipating how he would react when they finally saw each other again. She’d readied herself for his shock. Even for his fury. But never for such…indifference. His apathy at what she considered to be one of the most significant moments she’d faced in years made her feel hollow inside.

“I should have called before coming,” Ivana said once she and Jonathan were alone again.

His brows arched and he shook his head, huffing out a humorless grunt of laughter. “A call? Yeah, maybe you should have called after three years,” he finished with unmistakable disdain in his voice.

Ah, there it was. There was the anger she’d anticipated.

The knot in her belly tightened by several degrees.

She’d expected this, hadn’t she? Anger was an acceptable reaction when the woman who’d left you at the altar showed up on your doorstep without warning after three long years. His anger was totally justified. Still, that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt.

“Jonathan, I know—” Ivana started, but stopped when his date returned, carrying a sparkling royal blue clutch in her hand.

“I’m ready,” the woman said. She captured Jonathan’s arm and wrapped her hand around it. It wasn’t an overly possessive move, yet Ivana still had a visceral reaction to seeing the woman’s delicate fingers caressing his skin. Her head knew that she’d given up all rights to him the moment she’d boarded that plane to Haiti, but her heart didn’t care. Her throat ached and her insides clenched with proprietorial jealousy.

Jonathan and his date stepped out onto the porch. Ivana wasn’t sure why she remained standing there as he locked the door behind him. She should have left two minutes ago, after he’d so coldly told her to come back tomorrow.

Yet she remained standing there, watching as the impeccably dressed couple turned toward the stairs.

“Goodnight,” the woman on his arm said. Jonathan tipped his head in a bid of farewell before escorting his date down the stairs and to the black sedan.

Ivana walked down the porch and onto the sidewalk. She stood there watching as his car backed out of the parking spot and pulled onto the street.

Her eyes connected briefly with Jonathan’s as he stared at her in the rearview mirror seconds before turning onto St. Phillip Street.

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ABOUT FARRAH ROCHON

USA Today Bestselling author Farrah Rochon hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. She has garnered much acclaim for her Holmes Brothers, New York Sabers, Bayou Dreams and Moments in Maplesville series. The two-time RITA® Award finalist has also been nominated for an RT BOOKReviews Reviewers Choice Award, and in 2015 received the Emma Award for Author of the Year.

When she is not writing in her favorite coffee shop, Farrah spends most of her time reading, cooking, traveling the world, visiting Walt Disney World, and catching her favorite Broadway shows.

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Awakened by Moni Boyce

AWAKENED: THE ORACLE CHRONICLES BOOK ONE BY MONI BOYCE

Secret lineage, a ruthless vampire, and forbidden love.

Willow Stevens dreams of stardom are eclipsed by the real nightmares of a sinister man haunting her dreams. Unbeknownst to her, Eli Walker, her hot but snobbish co-worker, may know the reason nightmares plague her, but their history shows he is more prone to reject her, than help her.

Then Willow passes out at work only to wake in Eli’s apartment. There she has her chance to learn more about her heritage. But, knowing why the vampire king stalks her doesn’t make the nightmares disappear. If anything, they become more real as she now faces off against a slew of creatures she’d always believed were myth.

That Eli is one of those creatures is just her luck. Secret witch guild or not, his natural ways are casting spells her heart can’t escape. As a Protector his only focus should be her safety. Anything else is forbidden. He plans to stay in task, but some women break a man, or tempt him to break the rules.

Can Eli keep Willow alive and safe from the vampires long enough for her to grow her own powers or will both cast aside rules for a reckless passion that will only lead to danger?

AWAKENED is the first installment in The Oracle Chronicles series. This interracial, paranormal romance is a great mix of magic, adventure.

**This book is part of a series and ends in a cliffhanger**

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EXCERPT

Sleep was pulling and tugging at every part of her physically and mentally. The long yawn that left her mouth made her shake her head. The minute she hit the mattress she was asleep in seconds.

Where am I?

When the thought entered her mind she knew she was dreaming, but wherever she was, she’d never been there before. She looked down at her body and saw she was still wearing the bathrobe. A chill crept up her spine because this felt eerily real. In any other dream she wore a random outfit. The hallway was massive, like she was in a palace. Her bare feet made no sound as she tiptoed down the corridor, frightened she would encounter someone. This place had an ominous feeling. She shouldn’t be here.

“Wake up. Wake up. Wake up.” The whispered words did nothing, because she remained in the dream or whatever it was.

A large doorway loomed at the end of the hall. The door was slightly ajar. Against her better judgment she crept towards it.

What am I doing? Why am I going to investigate? I should head in the other direction.

Despite the screaming thoughts in her brain she proceeded to the door, frantically looking around for anyone or anything that might lurk in the shadows. The sliver of an opening was enough for her to press her eye to and attempt to look around without being caught. It was a bedroom. There were floor to ceiling windows on the far side of the room. There must have been a balcony or terrace situated outside because the flimsy, gauzy curtains billowed out from the windows, caught by a breeze. In the dimness she could barely make out a sleeping form in the cavernous bed. The room seemed devoid of anything else, save a large armoire.

Something made her crack the door open and walk inside.

What are you doing you crazy person? Go back. Get out of here.

Still she moved closer, her curiosity carrying her closer and closer. Seconds later, she stood on the stairs that led up to the bed. Her hand and arm shook as she reached out to touch the shoulder of the sleeping form that had their back to her.

“Who’s there?”

His sinister voice froze her in place. The hairs all over her body stood on end. This was Killian’s bedroom. He rolled over and sat up. The covers slipped down revealing his naked chest. His green eyes scanned the darkened chamber. She was sure his vampire sight allowed him to see just fine despite the lack of light. The crazy thing was, he seemed to look right through her like she wasn’t even there. She waved her hand in front of his face.

“You can’t see me?”

His eyes continued to search the room. While she was definitely dumbstruck that she was invisible to him, her mind chose that moment to have a stupid thought.

If he’s a vampire why isn’t he sleeping in a coffin or underground?

She wanted to kick herself.

Really? Right now is not the time for this.

“I can smell the witch on you, Willow.” His nostrils flared.

Her body went rigid with terror.

He knows I’m here.

The derision in his statement made her wonder if he knew she was staying at the Walker Coven. After the attack he already knew she traveled with witches.

“I will find you.” He sounded so sure she swallowed to keep from choking and clutched her throat feeling like he was strangling her.

Wake up!

Her eyes flew open, and she took in a deep, much needed breath before she sat up and looked around the beige and white, eighteenth century bedroom she occupied at the coven and sighed.

ALSO AVAILABLE

ENLIGHTENED (BOOK TWO)

COMING SOON – SEPTEMBER 24

EMPOWERED (BOOK THREE)

ABOUT MONI BOYCE

Moni Boyce is a writer, filmmaker, poet and author of contemporary and paranormal romance novels. She spent the last fifteen years working in the film industry and now creates characters of her own and brings them to life on the page. Moni has ghostwritten romance novellas and novels for over a year now and decided to put some of her own creations out in the world. She considers herself a bookworm, film buff, foodie, music lover and an avid world traveler having visited 32 countries and counting. She lives a bit of a nomadic life, but considers Los Angeles home. Which is the subject of her first travel book: Greater Than A Tourist – Los Angeles, California: 50 Travel Tips From A Local.