NEW RELEASE: F*CK PERFECT by DANYELL A. WALLACE

 

F*CK PERFECT BY DANYELL A. WALLACE

Ava is the sweetest, f*ckin’, most forbidden fruit that I should’ve never tasted yet the only one who seems to hear my silent cry for help. I warned her that she should turn away and run in the other f*ckin’ direction, but she stayed and decided to love me instead. Flaws and all.

I have secrets. Who doesn’t? But the ones I have are caged for a reason and if released could send me straight to hell, along with the love of my life—because I refuse to let her go.

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EXCERPT

Prologue

Bryce

Manwhore…womanizer…walking STD…These are only a few of the many insulting words that I’ve been labeled —all because of my love for pussy, more pussy, all the pussy. I love the way it smells, tastes, and looks, but most importantly, the way it wraps around my dick, all snuggly and shit, when I’m buried deep inside of it. My therapist believes I’m a sex addict. Shrug. Maybe I am, but if you ask me, I’m just misunderstood. Now, I agree that I have a fucked-up past when it comes to my sex life. Trust me, I’ve learned from it, though. That’s what life is all about, right? Making mistakes and hopefully, just maybe, you’ll learn from them. My past fuck-ups have steered me into a lifestyle of celibacy. Don’t believe me? You should meet my two new best friends, a jar of coconut oil and my right hand.

I shove my hands into the pockets of my slacks and look around the tent at the many guests that showed up for Kennedy’s graduation party. My eyes glide over familiar, and a few unfamiliar, faces, in search of my date. Yes, you heard right. Date. If it weren’t for my lovely twin sister Morgan, I would’ve come solo. Especially since the one she set me up with is Helena, a cute, petite blonde with a nice set of tits that I’ve actually titty-fucked a couple of times in my unsavory past. I guess my sister didn’t get the memo that you don’t hook your brother up with someone who gives blowjobs like it’s a fuckin’ hobby. It’s bad for a supposed sex addict like me. But my sister insisted I get out, have fun, and stop moping after a woman that I’ll probably never have again.

Never say never. 

I look down at my watch, wondering where the hell my appointed date is. She told me that she needed to use the bathroom, but that was almost—thirty minutes ago? Damn, maybe she got lost. She isn’t the brightest bulb in the box. My eyes continue searching. Morgan and her new fiancé Tyler, Kennedy, my mom, Aunt Betty, Ava, Hunter…Ava?!? My eyes rewind back to the sight of Ava standing there in a tight, black, strapless dress with a neckline that draws all of your attention to her tits. Her long, black, naturally curly hair, blended with reddish-brown highlights, is pulled up in a bun with some curly strands feathering around her face and neck. Damn, she’s a fuckin’ goddess.

Me Bryce, you Ava. I become all Tarzan, inwardly beating my chest. Like a mad man on a mission, I make several long strides across the makeshift dance floor. Ava doesn’t see me stalking toward her because her backside is facing me. My eyes journey from the top of her head down to her delectable ass. Fuck! My dick roars to life.

“Hey, Bryce,” a very out-of-breath Hunter greets me as soon as I breeze past him and his date Michael dancing the Lambada. I don’t acknowledge him or anyone else around me and let my mind and body gravitate toward Ava.

I can feel her flinch as soon as my body presses against hers from behind. I wrap my right arm around her waist then place my hand flat against her stomach, bringing her back to mold against my body. I can feel her heart beating through her back and the rapid movement of her stomach against my palm. When I bring my lips to her ear, a shiver courses through her body. Her back curves, drawing my growing erection to nestle against luscious ass. “You’re here. I thought you had to work late,” I softly moan and brush my lips alongside her earlobe.

Ava slowly pivots around to face me, and damn, she’s even more beautiful up close and personal. My eyes drop down to her plump lips painted in a deep shade of red then they glide back up to a set of hooded, hazel eyes surrounded by dark, elongated lashes.

I lick my lips then clear my throat of the dryness building in my mouth. Shit, why do I feel like an inexperienced, hormonal teenage boy all of a sudden?

Ava steps forward, closing the mere inches she created between us when she turned around to face me. “Yes, I’m here.” Her lips creep into a slow, sexy smile. “I would’ve been here earlier,” her hands reach up to fix the collar of my button-down, “but I really needed to stay and make sure I had all the files needed for court tomorrow. I still can’t believe my dad is letting me sit in on this case.” She smiles and it brightens up my whole fuckin’ world. “After I left work, I went home, got dressed, and came here to be your date.” Her hands slide down to rest on my pecs.

I gently palm her face, instantly loving the way her lips part slightly. I lower my head, inhaling the hitch of breath that escapes her mouth. I want to kiss her so fuckin’ bad that I couldn’t care less that there are watchful eyes around us or that my date could return any second now and fuck this entire moment up. My dick throws a tantrum behind the seams of my zipper, and I can’t blame him because all it wants to do is come out to play with Ava’s mouth and sweet, tight pussy. By the grace of God and pure fuckin’ patience, I tap down the feral beast inside of me that wants to devour Ava, inch by inch, and declare her mine forever and ever.

“Oh, Bryce, there you are. I must’ve gotten lost.” I hear Helena giggling behind me then she comes into view on my left, looking high as a kite and weaving side-to-side that she has to brace my arm for support. Fuck! “I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too—“

Several gasps fill the tent at the sight of my date (Thanks,Morgan) who spews chunks of God-knows-what all over the front of Ava’s dress.

“Oops,” she has the fuckin’ nerve to laugh. “I’m so sorry.” Her pale skin turns a shade of green. “Bryce, I don’t feel so good.” Helena weaves my way then projects more vomit. I hop back in time for it not to get me.

I look up to see the only woman who’s ever held the key to my heart, my saving grace, flail her arms out to shake Helena’s vomit from her skin in disgust.

Fuck, can my night get any worse?

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ABOUT DANYELL A. WALLACE

Danyell A. Wallace was born in Alaska and is currently living in Alabama. She’s a mom to three awesome kids, and a wife to an incredibly supportive husband. When shes not using her imagination to write very adult, very sexy books, shes reading, spending time with family and friends, watching football, and catching up on TV shows that she has saved on the DVR.

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Book Blitz: It’s A Work Thing by Michelle Karise

 

IT’S A WORK THING BY MICHELLE KARISE

Garrett

They call me the King of Dynex, architect of the company’s crown jewel: the world’s largest scientific website. Half the company loves me, the other can’t stand me—when you’ve got your sights set on bigger things, it comes with the territory. Bonus: My ice-cold reputation hides my broken heart.

If Dynex pulls off its upcoming public offering, my best friend and I will be swimming in corporate stock, free to launch our own company. Now more than ever, I need to be focused. I don’t need a distraction like Jasmine Carmichael, a gorgeous consultant with honey-almond skin and a killer smile.

Jasmine
Ever had any luck with dating apps? No? Girl, same. I don’t play games. One, my travel schedule as a consultant doesn’t allow it. And two, at the first hint I’m an old-fashioned girl in search of romance, I’m ghosted.

I shouldn’t be attracted to six-three of citrine-eyed, muscular, urban sophistication like Garrett Hamilton. He’s a client, and clients are definitely out of my dating pool. But something about him makes me want to ignore the rules and roll the dice.

I should have remembered corporate games never end well—especially when you gamble with your heart.

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EXCERPT

That’s when he did it. His left hand unbuttoned his right sleeve, and he carefully folded the cuff to his inner elbow. He then folded the bottom until it reached the top of his cuff, revealing the cords rippling through his muscular, tanned forearms.

My heart raced, and as much as I tried, I couldn’t look away. The small, effortless move was so sexy. A short exhalation left my chest as I stared.

Yeah. We’ll be getting a lot of work done.

Still standing, he smoothed the edges of the folds. He smirked in an annoyingly self-confident way that dampened my panties. Then he repeated the action on his right arm. This time, he met my gaze and took his time rolling the sleeve, flexing the muscles in his forearms when he did it.

He knew he was turning me on. And he enjoyed it!

I imagined that I appeared wide-eyed and breathless while I squirmed in my seat. 

My god. Could this be more embarrassing?

 

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ABOUT MICHELLE KARISE

Michelle Karise is a St. Louis-native who lives with her temperamental Shih Tzu, Rooney. The sassy, Type-A personality is a member of several professional organizations, notably the Romance Writers of America.Travel, martinis, and wit are her jam and nuance is her butter. She constructs stories featuring intelligent female leads and the confident and strong men that love them. Sometimes the hero and heroine don’t behave as she would like, but she is always optimistic that love will prevail.

 

New Release: Completely by Vee Williams

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you know I’m all about giving shine to new authors. This time is no exception. May I present: Completely: Kaine & Venus by Vee Williams.

Firstly, I gotta give some love to this cover. It’s giving me old-school, early 2000s book cover vibes. Love, love, love these original artwork covers. Moving on…

Personally, I wouldn’t classify this novel as a romance (though, the author and other readers may beg to differ) but a drama with romantic elements. Oh, there’s a lil’ steam factor, but this story focuses more on the hows and whys these characters are they way they are. They’re flawed yet relatable, insufferable, at times, but likeable.

SYNOPSIS:
When you’re Kaine Spencer, ex-NFL wide receiver, you’re used to getting what you want, when you want it. He’s had a phenomenal football career and now successfully runs his family’s construction business. Everything in his life is exactly how it should be. Until he meets Venus Richards. Venus has no intention of bending to his will and sees him as an uptight, arrogant jerk. Kaine sees her as a thorn in his side until the sharp, prickly edges soften and reveal something more delicate, more desirable. It all changes for him the night he sees her not as an adversary but as a beautiful, sexy woman. He starts to realize that Venus is not just what he wants, she’s what he needs. His sweetest drug. Is she willing to look past his transgressions to see what lies underneath? Can he penetrate the defensive walls around her heart? This workplace romance with Kaine and Venus will have you Completely in love.

***

Completely is book one in Vee Williams’ Internationals series. There’s no cliffhanger, so don’t trip. Give this new author a shot. You just may be surprised 😉

Rock the Curves by Twyla Turner

Here’s a fun, lighthearted read for all you swoonies. Gage Walker was the bullied fat kid who grew up to be a hunky rock god. He’s foine, humble, and half-Brazilian. Ok, I’m in.

Then there’s Lyris Wright. She’s got the pipes but not the look because, you know, Lizzo hasn’t broken enough ground yet for all big girls to get through. For this reason, her confidence in the industry is shot to shit—but not her confidence in herself. All she needs is that one break, and when she gets it, she doesn’t know what to do with it.

GIRL, IF YOU DON’T…

Of course, there’s a bit a drama because it wouldn’t be a swoon-worthy romance without it. There’s the bitch ex who doesn’t wanna let go and then, of course, these characters own insecurities that get in the way. All the makings and trappings of a feel-good HEA.

Rock the Curves is available on Kindle Unlimited. Click it Up.

 

New Release: The Blood Line: Redemption by Sam J.

Y’all know that being in the company of other women can sometimes get catty or downright hateful (Housewives…, anyone?). Now, imagine being one of seven sisters and having to deal with that BS on the regular. I have never in my literary life met a bunched of more fucked-up sisters than the Noble sisters of Chicago. Yeah, I said seven of them: Cass, Sheri, Zonje, Anhuea, Shaun, Bobbi, and Dotti.

Whew, chile, the GHET-TO! But you know what? I could not put it down because I loves me a good soap opera featuring a family of misfits. I mean, all of ‘em got issues, and they involve one thing: MEN. Either each other’s or somebody else’s.

You must read book one, The Blood Line, before starting this one because book two picks right up where book one leaves off. This series is heavy with a lot of moving parts, not gon lie. There are multiple arcs that all intersect at one point or another, so if you can binge-watch five seasons of your favorite show then you can curl up and read these two books because every scene will be in your head as if you are Netflixing and Chilling.

Let’s meet the ghetto fabulous Noble sisters, shall we?

Cass is the oldest and hasn’t set nare example for her sisters. She’s ghetto as hell but also funny and has a good heart. She’s assumed somewhat of a mother role but in that big sister way: always judging and criticizing like her shit don’t stink. And believe me: Smells like the elephant house at the National Zoo…

Sherri ain’t shit either. She is the “successful” one of the sisters, having worked (and fucked) her way up the corporate ladder. Too bad for her that it’s all about the come-up. Damn everybody else. She has the morals of the hoodrat from whence she came…

Zonje:  Po’ thang…She drowns her sorrows in booze with her no-good husband who takes his shit out on her and their teenage son. If she can stand up straight, it’s a good day for her.

Anhuea. Sweet, little Anhuea…all she wants is her baby daddy to do the right thing and make an honest woman of her. If she don’t wake TF up and smell the coffee, the roses, her own ass…

Shaun. I wouldn’t want nothing to do with that family either. That’s why she dipped. Always the “ugly” sister, she leaves the first opportunity she gets—and with her sister’s man.

Bobbi. She just wants a good life for herself and her twin boys and is making moves to achieve that, but family drama always sucks her into the vortex of some fuckery that puts her life and the family’s in danger.

Dotti. The baby. The beautiful one. The royal fuck-up. Can’t do right to save her life. She uses her looks and feminine charms to secure her bags, but it’s always at a premium. Will she ever learn?

So, there you have it. Have I piqued your interest? Check it out while the Rona got us all social distancing and what-not. This series is wild as hell…

 

New Release: The Ties That Bind 3 by D.A. Young

Book Three (Part I) is finally here! Y’all…

D.A. Young gone kill me for that gif, but am I lying? LMAOOOO. We been waiting, and I am jubilant and giddy and simple.

The Ties That Bind…whew…this ain’t no regular “motorcycle club” romance. I am not throwing shots at other authors. I’m just sayin’; this is a romance where the hero just happens to be in an MC. While the the MC plays a central role in the saga, it’s not the center or focus of the drama. Ransom Lawson and Willamina “Billy” Stanton are. Don’t get it twisted…

Part I of the explosive finale picks up where Book 2 of the MC series leaves off. Ransom Lawson, heir apparent to the Immortals MC throne, has defied family tradition and obligation for love—and her name is Willamina “Billy” Stanton.

Life after the MC proves not only challenging for Ransom but also for everyone else directly—or indirectly—involved in Ransom and Billy’s lives. As this new normal begins, there are still old scores to settle, and not everyone will survive the fallout.

Can Ransom truly be his authentic self without the creature comforts of a leather cut and a few bones to crush? Can Billy resume her life as a privileged collegiate and forget all the gore and near-death experience that assailed her in a short span of time?

Marcus “Rage” Glover is no longer a federal agent but a regular, ol’ citizen, which makes him even more dangerous than before. Rage’s reach is long, and his thirst for righting the wrongs done to the women in his life is strong. He has several targets in sight, and neither are prepared for what he has in store.

Claudia Lawson has had enough. She’s remained loyal to Slade Lawson, the Immortals’ prez longer than he deserved. When she learns to finally put herself and her needs first, not even her “something new” can deter the new Claudia from living life on her own terms.

Please note: This is a continuing serial and not simply book 3 in a series. This means that you must read books 1 & 2 to know wtf is goings on, or you will be like, “Dafuq?” Don’t do that to yourself. Self-care comes in all forms.

All three books are available on Kindle Unlimited, so if you’re new to the series, start HERE. Getcho life and make some time ’cause y’all know D.A. Young doesn’t just write a story. She puts her knuckles, palms, and feet in it too. In other words, issa lot. A good lot…

A TASTE OF HER OWN MEDICINE BY TASHA L. HARRISON

 

A TASTE OF HER OWN MEDICINE BY TASHA L. HARRISON

“He looks like he could plow my north field without a horse.”

Sonja Watts needs to re-enter the workforce after divorcing her husband of thirteen years. Taking the advice of her sister Birdie and her best friend Estelle, she signs up for a six-week course for entrepreneurs; hoping that she will learn everything she needs to know to build a business to support herself and her kids.

On the first night of class, Sonja is able to ignore the fact that most of the students were younger than her by ten years or more. It was what she expected. But when the instructor walks in, she debates packing up here new twelve hundred dollar laptop and walking out.

Sonja couldn’t remember the last time she looked at a man with little more interest than she give a sturdy dining room table. She was just disinterested.

But wow, did Atlas James grab her interest.

Atlas hasn’t been interested in dating since he moved back home California. Adjusting to new found success in the town where everyone sees him as that big, geeky guy who cut grass for pocket change when they were in high school has been awkward. Aside from a couple of one night stands, he hasn’t really wanted to pursue a relationship with anyone until sweet, shy Sonja signs up for his class.

Compact, curvy, and juicy in all the right places, being in the same room Sonja Watts ignites all of those giddy feelings he felt when he had his first crush. He wants to know her and he’s pretty sure she wants to know him — despite the age difference that she seems to be so fixated on.

With her future riding on the success of her new business, Sonja has no time for distraction. Will she be able to keep her eyes on her own paper or will they remain glued to Atlas’s biceps and thick thighs?

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chapter one  

Sonja

The strip of shops, eateries, and galleries in The Village of West Greenville were dark and quiet when I pulled my Subaru into the parking lot a few blocks away from The CoWorking Spot. In the last few years, this part of town had experienced some growth with the arrival of a few restaurants and specialty shops. But that was just a handful of businesses; most of which closed at or around six o’clock, leaving the streets quiet on a late summer evening. I took advantage of this moment of quiet. Closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths to settle the nervous butterflies in my stomach.

About a month ago, I allowed myself to be convinced to sign up for a six-week entrepreneurship course— something I’ve been regretting since the day the payment cleared.

What makes me think I could run my own business? 

The only thing I’d managed in the last ten years was a household, and occasionally, the front desk at my ex-husband’s real estate offices. Those skills didn’t necessarily translate into the sort of hustle one needed to be an entrepreneur. But at the time, my sisters Birdie and Agostina, as well as my friend Estelle, made it seem like a great idea to start a business with the skincare products I made from the herbs and medicinal flowers in my garden. And I agreed. Or maybe the gallon of wine I drank that night agreed because now that I was sitting in my car with my brand new laptop, in a brand new laptop bag, I wondered if I’d temporarily lost my mind.

The Bluetooth in my car announced that I had an incoming call from Estelle Murphy.

“Hello?”

“Get out of the car, Sonja,” she ordered.

“Why did I let you talk me into this?” I groaned and opened the car door, slightly annoyed that she knew me so well.

“Because you’re more than ready for it. We’ve gone through this. Get out of the car, and I’ll walk down there with you.”

“Okay. I’m coming.”

I’d arrived a good forty minutes early, mostly because I needed to stop by Ink Blue Yoga to get a pep talk from my Estelle.

Ink Blue, Estelle’s yoga studio, was one of my favorite places. The front windows went floor to ceiling, which made the interior look and feel bright and warm. The smooth, shiny hardwood floors were warm in the winter months and cool in the summer. They welcomed bare feet and I almost wanted to drop my bags, strip down and get in a few vinyasas. Estelle was good at this business thing and was brilliant at getting her studio seen. If I checked our town’s hashtag on Instagram on any given day, her yoga studio always showed up in the top nine.

“Hey, Soni,” my friend said and gave me a knowing look as I came in. “Amelia?”

The woman sweeping at the far end of the studio looked up.

“I’m going to walk Soni down to the The Coworking Spot. I’ll be right back.”

“No, problem. I’ll get everything set up for the six-thirty class.”

She grabbed two bottles of water out of the cold case near the cash wrap and handed me one. I opened it and followed her back out to the sidewalk.

“Okay,” she said. “Out with it. What are you feeling right now?”

I gnawed on my bottom lip. “I’m nervous.”

“Be specific.”

“I’m probably going to be the oldest person in the class —”

“And that matters because…?”

“It makes me feel self-conscious. It’s been years since I’ve been in a classroom. I’m not sure if I can learn everything I need to know to make this thing work.”

“Sonja, you’re one of the smartest people I know. You’ll be fine.”

“How can you say I’ll be fine? It took me six days to figure out how to use this fucking computer you made me buy.”

Estelle laughed at me, and I joined her, realizing how pathetic I sounded. Doing something new was always scary. But it had been so long since I’d done anything new that this felt huge. She grabbed my hand as we walked the remaining two blocks to the building that hosted The Entrepreneur Academy.

“There’s no need to be intimidated by anything you’re presented with today. You’re there to learn, and the instructor is there to teach you. Who’s your instructor again?”

I laughed and rolled my eyes. “You sound like you’re escorting your kid to their first day of elementary school.”

“Aren’t I?” she joked.

I pulled up the email they sent me after I registered for the class. “My instructor is someone named Atlas James. You know him?”

Estelle gasped, and her steps faltered a bit. “Yeah… yeah, I know him.”

“What was that reaction about?”

“Uh, nothing. Atlas James is … he’s an amazing teacher. I learned a lot from him.”

“Yeah, but you gasped.”

Estelle cleared her throat and smirked. “You’ll see.”

We arrived at the doors, and I turned to her with a smile. “So, I’ll meet you next door when the class is over so we can have some drinks?”

“Oh, most definitely! Relax, and have fun. It’s not nearly as hard as you think it will be. Especially not with Atlas teaching. I think you’re really going to enjoy yourself.”

I rolled my eyes. “Bye, Estelle.”

Still laughing at my friend, I went inside the coworking space that doubled as the Entrepreneur Academyclassroom on evenings and weekends. From what I read online, the two people who owned the business and ran the programs were dedicated to helping an underserved group of entrepreneurs get a foothold in the economy growing in Greenville. The businesses that students started after attending the Academy were conscientious and interested in blending into existing community. That was precisely the kind of business I wanted to build; one that felt so familiar that my customers could easily imagine the hands that made the products and feel connected to the process.

I’d entered on the street level across from the Village Journal into a small lobby and seating area.

“Hi!” a young girl sitting behind the desk said with a smile. “Welcome to The CoWorking Spot. I’m, Chloe. Can I help you?”

“Uh, yes. Hi, Chloe. I’m here for the Entrepreneur Academy Course?”

“Ah, yes. Could you just sign in for me? They’ll be meeting in the Community Classroom at the big table down there,” she said, jerking her thumb over her shoulder. “But you’re a little early, so feel free to grab a cup of coffee and look around or just hang out up here. Atlas is around here somewhere.”

“Okay, thanks,” I said as I signed in.

When I was done, I adjusted my bag on my shoulder and made my way down the steps to the Community Classroom. The big table was in an open area, with about ten or fifteen chairs around it. The group was far smaller than I anticipated it would be, and for some reason, that made me feel even more nervous. That and the fact that this Atlas person was somewhere in the building and if no one else arrived soon, I would be the first to meet him. All that tittering Estelle had done on the sidewalk made me wonder what the hell I was in for.

After choosing a seat on the far end of the table away from the big screen TV  as the place to drop my laptop bag, I went back up to the lobby to grab a cup of that free coffee the girl at the desk had offered me. I was still considering the dark, strong-smelling brew when a young man bounded up the stairs.

I swear my mouth went so dry that my tongue stuck to the roof of it.

“Hi!” he said cheerily, his lips splitting into a grin that lit up his face. And Jesus Christ was it a gorgeous face. He had smooth dark skin and the sort of distinctive features that were so unusual that it was hard to look at him without really staring. Full lips, a broad nose, and bedroom eyes with thick lashes that squinted when he smiled like he was doing now.

“Hello,” I managed to croak, unable to tear my eyes away even though he was standing next to me now, and I had to look up, up, up to meet his gaze. This man was tall and built like he could plow my north field without a horse, with shoulders that he could probably throw a woman-sized stack of potatoes over. And by woman-sized, I meant me. I would like to be that woman-sized sack of potatoes.

That thought startled me. I couldn’t remember the last time I looked at a man with little more interest than I gave a sturdy dining room table.

“Trying to get that last dose of caffeine in, huh?” he said casually as if his deep baritone wasn’t designed to disintegrate my panties the moment he opened his mouth.

“Uh, yeah. I usually try not to drink coffee this late. It tends to mess with my sleep, but I’m not usually out after this hour, so—”

What the hell was I even saying? Why was I talking about my caffeine intake like some old lady who needed to be at home before nine to make sure she took her remedies?

“I hear that,” the young man said as he tore open two sugar packets with the edge of his bright white teeth. His tongue swiped at a loose granule, and my pussy clenched like I knew how that tongue would feel between my thighs.

Look away, Sonja. Look a-damn-way. 

He gestured at the still empty cup in my hand with the carafe of coffee in his hand, offering to fill it up.

“Yes, please.” I held out the paper cup in my now trembling hand. “Thank you,” I said once it was filled and finally turned toward the coffee station to add some sugar and cream.

“No, problem. I’ll see you down there,” he said, a smirk in the corner of his full lips.

“Oh! You’re here for the Entrepreneur Academy thing?”

He pivoted around the corner to make his way back down the stairs. With his eyes on me, his smirk shifted into a smile. “I’m the instructor,” he said just before he disappeared from view.

“Holy fuck … that’s Atlas James?”

“Yes, ma’am, it is,” the girl behind the desk said with a wistful sigh.

Leaving the cup of untouched coffee on the bar, I ducked into the nearest bathroom to call my so-called friend. Her self-satisfied giggle met my ears when she finally decided to pick up the phone.

“Really, Estelle?”

“What?

“You could have warned me that my instructor was a real-life action hero, so I didn’t embarrass myself by drooling and blubbering like an idiot.”

“You drooled and blubbered like an idiot? That’s surprising. I didn’t think he would get that much of a reaction out of you.”

“And what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Sonja,” she began gently. “I’ve known you for almost nine years, and I’ve never heard you so much as sigh at the sight of a pretty man. Even men that are universally handsome never seemed to move the meter for you.”

I scoffed. “Yeah, well, Atlas James sure as hell did.”

“Mmmhmm… six weeks of class with him was not an unpleasant experience.”

“Estelle! You’re happily married!”

“I’m married, not dead, Sonja.”

“I get that, but…”

“Yes, I allowed myself to enjoy his personage, then I went home to my husband. And since you no longer have one of those, none of that should matter to you.”

“I have no intentions on—”

“I gotta go. The six-thirty power hour is about to start. I’ll meet you for drinks, and we can talk about how Atlas made you squirm in your seat for an hour and a half.” Then she hung up before I could respond.

I glared at my phone’s darkening screen for a moment and tried to figure out if there was a way that I could sneak downstairs, grab my new bag and twelve-hundred-dollar laptop, and duck out before the class started. because I couldn’t sit in the same room with that man. Hell, maybe I didn’t need to grab my stuff. Estelle could drive me home. My kids were there, so I didn’t need to worry about how I would get in. I could pick up my bag in the morning or some other time when I was sure he wouldn’t be here. Then I would quit the class because a woman my age should not be subjected to a man that young and that fine for six-long weeks without any sort of satisfaction.

Satisfaction? I mean, seriously. What satisfaction did I want from this man? And more importantly, what satisfaction would he be willing to give? Did I want to know? Goddamn, he had successfully scrambled my brain. This was not right or okay.

I glanced in the mirror and smoothed my hand over my newly cropped hair. Around the same time that I allowed myself to be convinced to sign up for this course, my sister Agostina thought it was a good idea to chop off all of my hair. “A woman who cuts her hair is about to make big changes in her life,” or some foolishness she’d parroted from a mindfulness blog she read. Initially, I thought the cut looked cute. Fun. Now I just looked like a middle-aged woman who’d lobbed off her hair and dyed it to hide the grey.

I sighed and shook my head at myself, then turned on the water to wash my hands. I was making too big a deal out of this. He probably didn’t even notice that I’d drooled over him. I wasn’t unattractive, but I’d long ago realized that I’d become invisible to a specific type of man and definitely a certain age bracket. Atlas James fit that demographic. Yeah… I was worried about the wrong thing.

By the time I made my way out of the bathroom and toward the low murmur of conversation in the Community Classroom, I’d convinced myself that I was overreacting. I’d only assumed that he had noticed me noticing him. That didn’t make it true.

And I believed that until I realized that my bag had been moved to a seat other than where I’d left it. It was now in front of a chair closer to the middle of the table…

Right across from where Atlas was setting up his laptop and unloading his backpack.

I glanced toward the place I’d left my things and saw that two girls were huddled there now. How wrong would it be if I put on my mom-voice and bullied them out of their seats?

“Decided against the coffee?” Atlas asked, pulling me out of my reverie.

“Uh… yeah. I had a couple of sips, but I’m jittery enough. It would have been a mistake.”

“I probably should have done the same, but you know…Y.O.L.O.”

I cringed inwardly. “Yeah…Y.O.L.O.,” I echoed then pulled out the chair.

My son used that horrible slang phrase when he was in middle school. Was this Atlas in the same age bracket? Now I felt a little gross about lusting over someone who was probably only a few years older than my high school-age son.

Yuck.

I laughed at myself again. Unloaded my bag.

Stay on task, Sonja.

“Okay… It looks like everyone is here!” Atlas said. “Let’s get started.” He clapped his hands together and moved toward the front of the room. “Welcome to The CoWorking Spot. I’m Atlas James, and I’m going to be your instructor for this cohort of the Entrepreneur Academy. A little bit about me…Yes, my name is really Atlas, but I don’t think my mother named me that in anticipation of me having shoulders big and strong enough to carry the world on them, but it helps that I grew into it.”

We all laughed at that, and he seemed to relax a little bit. “I’m a business coach for creative people who want to use their talents to make money. I’ve been at that for a little over six years, and before that, my best friend and I built a tiny home in a step-up panel truck and I traveled to every state in the continental US. I have two degrees, business and MBA in marketing, both of which used to build and run this business. Now…” He looked from one end of the table to the next, and then his eyes settled on me. “I’d like to get to know all of you.”

My mouth suddenly went dry, and my nipples drew up into tight little buds against the thin silken fabric of my bra. I folded my arms, leaned forward on the table, and prayed that he didn’t ask me to go first. Nothing but squawking high pitched sounds would come out of me if he did.

Atlas smiled at me then turned his attention to one of the young girls at the far end of the table.

Thank God.

“You there in the pink sweater. State your name, state your business.”

Everyone at the table was at least ten or more years younger than me. They had internet jobs that I’d never heard of before — like social media manager and content strategist — that they’d joined the Entrepreneur Academy to grow. None of them had a business that sounded anything like mine.

“And what about you, Miss…” Atlas pushed up the sleeves of his henley and pointed at me.

My brain short-circuited.

“Sonja…” I stammered. Yes, that’s my name. “Sonja Watts and I want to open an online store to sell natural soaps, essential oils, hand, and body cremes, and maybe teas using recipes created by my Gullah grandmother.”

The room fell silent.

“Excuse me…Sonja?” one of the girls at the end of the table began. She was sitting across from the girl in the pink sweater. I think her name was Ashley.

“Yes?”

“What is a Gullah exactly? You mean, like Gullah, Gullah Island? That show that used to come on Disney?” Ashley asked with a giggle that her friend in the pink sweater echoed.

Atlas turned his attentions to Ashley and regarded her for a long critical moment. “Gullah people are Coastal Carolina African Americans who have maintained most of their West African culture, to include language and traditions,” he explained finally. “They practice a lot of holistic medicine through cherished recipes passed down through generations.” He looked at me again, his eyes soft and…was that appreciation I saw there? “I imagine your business will be no different than someone starting their own beauty brand.”

“I imagine so…” I said, feeling for the first time in an hour that I was right where I was supposed to be.

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ABOUT TASHA L. HARRISON

Often accused of navigating life without a filter, Tasha L. Harrison has managed to brand herself as the author who crafts characters and stories that make you feel all of the feels. She writes African American, interracial and intercultural erotica and erotic romance with heroines just as brazen, emotionally messy, and dramatic as herself and heroes that love them anyway.

She lives in Upstate South Carolina with her handsome hubbie, two not-so-smallish men, and one super needy boxer dog. When she’s not writing filth, she’s riding around with the top down on her Jeep Wrangler, Amber, blasting Southern Rock and pretending she’s in love with the mountains when she really misses the ocean.

She also edits romance and erotica because love stories are her business.

Tasha’s work and information on her editing rates and services can be found at tashalharrison.com.

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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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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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