Sneak Peek: ‘I Am Yours’ by Aja

I Am YoursAbout the Book: Amara Harper and Noah Farrington have a history. A passionate, emotion-filled, pleasurable history. Despite how good it felt to be in his arms, being with Noah terrified Amara and because she is good for running from the things she fears, she runs from him, leaving him brokenhearted and with a newfound determination to become the man he knew he could be if she’d only given him the chance. Two years later, and in line for a promotion, Amara uses a project she’s put in charge of as a means to get in contact with the man who stole her heart. She’s afraid of what might happen but moves forward anyway and despite his resolve to deny her when she comes calling, he gives in and agrees to help her with it. Naturally when two people meant for each other come together even for work, passion ignites, and Amara is sent on a journey that forces her to beg these questions: What if? What if I allowed his passion to consume me and not run from it?

There are obstacles though; like she is practically engaged to Keith, the safe choice for Amara, and again, she doesn’t truly trust love. Can Amara overcome her fears and give into what makes her feel whole? Can she finally begin to trust the love that Noah has always had for her?

From ‘I Am Yours':

“Damn, Amara. I really don’t know what to do with you.”

“Keep doing what you’re doing, Noah. That’s all I ask.”

I collapsed against his chest and he held me there with his arms around me, slowly rubbing my back in upward, downward motions. It was calming. So calming, I must have drifted to sleep because I felt him pick me and I wrapped my legs around his waist to assist him although he acted like I was a lightweight as he moved toward his room. He carried me to bed and laid me down and I cuddled up to him to finally get that sleep we now couldn’t continue on without.

*********

“I think I want to go out on my own,” I said. We’d been up for a few minutes.

“Okay.”

“That’s it? Okay. No questions about what I mean, how I’m going to do it?”

“No. Because I know you’ve either thought it out and weighed the pros and cons before you even shared your thoughts with me.”

I smiled against his chest and continued tracing my pattern of a heart on his tummy, watching it tense and jiggle as he tried to hold back his laughter.

“I knew you were ticklish. I just had to get you in the right situation.”

“You’re delusional little girl. I am not ticklish. I haven’t chuckled from someone’s playing fingers since I was a boy.”

I kept it up and hit that secret spot in his side and he couldn’t hold it back this time, backing away and laughing so hard that it made me ridiculously happy just to watch. I said nothing as he settled back in giving me a look that dared me to say anything. I mimed, that my lips were sealed and settled back into my spot on his safe and secure chest.

“So how will you do it?”

“That’s the part that isn’t etched in stone. Part of me thinks I need some more developmental time and I’m not ashamed to say that. Laura was always a great boss and I don’t blame her for making the decision she made with the information she had. Maybe I can go back for a short while as I map a plan to start my own consulting business.”

Although I didn’t ask him for his approval of my plan I really wanted to know what he thought and hoped he’d agree. His opinion really mattered.

“I think it’s a wise plan. You avoid burning any bridges, get what you need as you grow a little, and you’ll be able to come up with a sound business plan. I’ll even help you come up with your proposal and offer advice,” he said. “When you need it,” he added quickly.

“I’ll always value anything you can offer.” I sat up, crossed my legs and faced him. I wanted him to see my sincerity when I said this. “I know I’ve not been the easiest woman to put up with. I know I have my ways about me, but I want you to know I’m not just standing still and not running for now. I’m not going anywhere. And more than that, Noah, I actually need you in my life. For now, for always. Forever. However we manage to make that be.”

“Come here,” He demanded.

“What?” I smiled.

“Come here.” I leaned down to get his sweet kiss. And then went back to my spot, lying on his chest.

Now available on Amazon!

Happy Reading!

N.

Posted in Writing | 1 Comment

Sneak Peek: ‘Chasing Moments’ by Tia Kelly

Chasing Cover

While everyone watched her live for the moment… she had to find a way to remember it.

I heard it all… I’m famous for being famous… that night was probably the best and worst thing to happen to me… I’m a fame whore… and lately the buzz is about my fifteen minutes being up.

My problem is that I don’t know if they’re right or not… I can’t remember.

What I can tell you is that my name is Chastity Ryan, but everyone insists on calling me Chase. And to my surprise, I have eight million followers. What am I doing with that many people listening to anything I have to say? The wiki facts about my life are out there and that’s all I have to tell me… that and thousands of updates, years worth of tweets and filtered images of a woman I barely even recognize, but she does look just like me. I guess I should be happy that I do have a breadcrumb trail on social media and the people around me to help me decipher its fleeting code…

Except I don’t know if I should trust them… and if that’s no one else’s fault but my own.

– Chase

Confirmed party girl Chase Ryan has it all… and she wants the world to know it. After making her way through all the hotspots and parties across town, Chase is used to waking up the morning after with no recollection of the night before. Until she wakes up one day with a thin memory about her entire life and all she can do is chase the moments she left behind hoping to figure out her own story.

Brandon Instagram

Pre-Order Today!

Amazon: http://bit.ly/1qodfUz

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1qqAKwm

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1uELr2l

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1x8yRgr

 

Posted in Authors, Books | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

You’re Invited to a Book Chat on ‘The Come Up’!

Book chat The Come UpSome of you, I know in the “real world” but sadly, others I only know in cyberspace. That makes it difficult for me to interface with folks who enjoyed my work (or didn’t) and who want to talk about it. But thank goodness for Facebook! It’s provided me the space to communicate directly with readers who not only give me feedback on my work, but great ideas about what I might write next.

After I wroteAfterwards and Afterburn, my most well-received books to date, I heard from a lot of readers who were intrigued with a secondary character, Jamal Turner. The resident Casanova from those books, who “tapped more ass than Usher.” I never planned a book on Jamal, and was frankly a little perplexed about why folks found him that interesting. But as I re-read the parts of my book where he appeared, I too became intrigued and wondered more about him. And it was from that ‘wondering’ that ‘The Come Up’ was born.

So again, I have to thank my readers, not just for liking what I write, but for inspiring what I write. Jamal Turner’s story led to the development of two other characters, Makayla and Devin. Now I’ve heard from a few folks that they’d love to talk about them and that’s amazing. So, hosted by my good friend, writer, Tia Kelly, I will be participating in an online book chat this Sunday at 5PM EST, on Facebook.

If you have the time and the will, please join us by clicking here and RSVP-ing to the event. There will be polls, games, and giveaways, and of course, just good old-fashioned conversation about books. And if you haven’t yet read ‘The Come Up’, get your copy!

On Amazon or Barnes&Noble.com

About the book:

Jamal Turner is near the top of his game. Widely-known as the trusted right-hand man to music mogul Chris Scaife, he’s poised to become chief operating officer of his friend and mentor’s international recording conglomerate. But while his career prospects have never been better, Jamal is still plagued by the memories of his humble beginnings, threatening to pull him back down just as he’s on the come up. 

Makayla Hughes knows who she is and where she comes from, and she flat out refuses to allow working in the high-powered recording industry to change her or her most closely-held friendships. But when she’s thrown into close quarters, working on a project with the notorious Jamal Turner, she begins to wonder whether her determination to ‘keep it real’ is also keeping her world very, very small. 

Jamal is drawn to Makayla, but he can’t let the man he used to be stand in the way of the man he’s becoming. There’s no doubt she fits into the life Jamal used to have, but what’s not as clear is whether she belongs in the life he wants. 

Posted in nia forrester, Popular Fiction, The Come Up, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BLOG STOP: Melissa Blue, author of ‘Kilted For Pleasure’!

 photo KFP.jpg

Blurb

Callan Baird used to laugh more than he frowned, but that was before his wife died. Now his life is duty, debts and a general apathy for anything else. And then Victoria Burke burst into his life. She’s everything he wants to corrupt. Victoria has two choices: agree to a grouchy, sexy Scotsman’s extortion or call her boss to explain why she can’t do her job. Since she’s spent the last three years rebuilding her career as antique appraiser, and this one commission could make or break it, the decision is a no-brainer. Except everything about Callan is complicated. He sees no problem turning their work relationship into a sexual one. She refuses to break her boss’ no-fraternization rule. He’s the one thing she wants and the one thing she can’t have. He’s had his one great love, and doesn’t want a replacement. His heart doesn’t agree, because she’s everything he desires. Callan will have to let go of his past if he wants Victoria to be in his future.

***

From ‘Kilted for Pleasure':

“How about drinks after we’re done here? That table over there is the last on our list. You can make amends for calling me goat-fucker.”

Booze, plus him seemed to equal a dumb-ass decision. Also, she wasn’t sorry for that particular insult. “I still have more work to do. I’m sorry but I’ll have to decline the offer.”

“The same Burke who’d have likely slept on my doorstep until I signed a contract has suddenly lost her guff?” He tutted in disappointment.

He dangled that as bait, and with him this close, she only wanted to bite into his lower lip as punishment. This was bad. “The only thing I need to know about you is whether or not you can competently repair the antiques.”

“That’s all?”

“Yes.”

“Good. I was worried there for a moment. The way you were looking at me…”

His position had forced her to hold his gaze. Heat burned in her chest, and she realized she’d been holding her breath. Letting it out, she took her time in replying—okay, she had to wait until her voice could come out cool, unaffected. “If you were the last man on earth, yada, yada.”

He laughed, and this time she was sure he’d taken her words as a challenge. She pushed him back and stood. For a fraction of a second, her palms lingered on his chest. His pecs under the shirt felt as wonderful as they looked.

Victoria snatched her hands away. Isn’t this how she’d screwed up in the first place? She’d lost sight of her goal because a man had made her swoon. She’d already gotten hoodwinked into taking care of her boss’ father. Victoria didn’t need to add sex with Callan to the situation.

“Back up.” She put a bit of steel in the words and hoped it would trickle down her spine.

He tilted his head, taking in her face. “If I misread you then I apologize about making you uncomfortable.”

Her brows shot up in surprise. She didn’t think he was the type to apologize, but nothing about him seemed consistent. He’d been a pain in her ass, gruff, impatient, thoughtful, uncaring and smart. She couldn’t catch a foothold around him, but the tension in her shoulders ebbed.

“Apology accepted.” After his nod of acknowledgment she added, “We’re at work. Let’s act like it.”

He stuffed his hands in his jacket’s pockets, his blue eyes so damn observant as he took her in. “For the record, I didn’t read you wrong.”

She huffed. They’d circled back to him being a pain in her ass. At least she’d found something consistent about him. “Tell me one thing, Callan.”

His lip twitched. “Aye?”

“Do you hit women in the head and then drag them into your cave by their hair? Because that’s the only way I can imagine you ever get laid.”

He took a moment to think about his answer. “Only the pulling hair part, but I’ve yet to get a complaint about that. So, the last thing on our list?”

Yup. That one thing was consistent. “Please, let’s get this over with.”

He laughed again. She had the distinct impression he’d taken her reply as another challenge.

***

About the Author

Melissa Blue’s writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. Eventually she upgraded to a computer. She’s still typing away on the same computer, making imaginary people fall in love.

Where to find her online:

http://www.themelissablue.com

https://www.facebook.com/themelissablue.author

Buy Links:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Kobo

ARe

Smashwords

***

Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win!

Posted in Authors, Books, Erotic, Erotica | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

SAMPLE SUNDAY: From ‘The Come Up’ — AVAILABLE NOW!

ComeUpMicCoverflat

FROM ‘THE COME UP’:

When she was gone, Jamal exhaled a deep sigh and leaned back in his seat. No one could ever accuse him of lacking self-control where women were concerned, ever again. The good news was, she seemed not to recall much of the evening beyond the fact that she had too much to drink. If she had, she would know that she wasn’t the only person who had skirted dangerously close to losing their head.

After the first couple drinks, Jamal stopped having alcohol altogether. He had to drive himself home, after all. And he had to make sure she got home okay as well. But Makayla kept right on guzzling whatever he ordered. And once she loosened up, she started talking, about school, about her love affair with the entertainment business and even about a girl group she tried to start when she was in middle school, called the Hellcats.  And she was hella-cute when she was tipsy, often leaning in close so he could hear her, and flipping a couple of those locs out of her face as she talked, the gesture fluid and sexy. Her scent was one Jamal recognized, called Clean. And that was how she smelled. Clean. If she was a date and not an employee, he would have closed the distance between them, met her halfway and buried his face in the crook of her neck, inhaling her and kissing her there …

What the hell? He was doing it again!

With each successive drink last night, Makayla’s eyes grew brighter and she got chattier, and before he knew it, he was seriously feeling her, like any other woman he might have met during a night out, sneaking peeks down the front of her romper which gapped a little in the front and offered up brief glimpses of cleavage. And it wasn’t just the occasional sightings of the swell of her breasts, either. It was her humor, her intelligence and the way she obviously studied the entertainment business, just like he studied it. Makayla Hughes was definitely a thinking man’s kind of woman. Sexy he could get any day of the week, but sexy and smart … there was no greater aphrodisiac.

The thing that almost did him in entirely was when she started talking about why groups like N-Sync got so hot.

See, she said, leaning in tantalizingly close once again. It’s the transference of feelings white teen girls have for Black teen boys. So you’ve got your Nick Carters and Justin Timberlakes, right? All blonde and All-American, but they have a little Black boy swagger in ‘em, right? And that, my friend, makes it socially-acceptable for these little white girls to lie in bed and secretly touch themselves to whatlet’s face itis essentially Black music

Jamal almost spat his drink out, he laughed so hard.

Just listening to her break things down like that—smart as a whip even when she was damn near close to drunk—made his dick hard. Jamal had to excuse himself for a minute and go give himself a pep-talk in the men’s room, reminding himself that she was off-limits for a whole host of reasons, and that he had a perfectly nice thing he was getting started with whatshername who was closer to his age-bracket, very attractive her-damn-self, and probably just as smart as Makayla. He spent almost fifteen minutes mentally talking himself down until it bordered on ill-mannered to have left her alone for so long.

But when he got back to their table, she was nowhere in sight. His head whipping around in near-panic thinking she’d wandered off in her semi-drunken state, Jamal finally spotted her. Leaning over the balcony and looking down at the dance floor, she was being chatted up by a brother in too-tight jeans and a crewneck shirt. And since he had no reason like Jamal did, to restrain himself, he was leaning real close to Makayla and she was yucking it up with him like they were old friends. Jamal watched for a few moments, taking in her smile, her posture and the way she flipped those locs out of her face. A moment’s masculine competitiveness overtook him and he was seconds away from going to get her when she turned and saw him.

When she did, Makayla touched her companion on the arm and indicated that their time together was over, making her way back over to him, still smiling and with a fresh drink in hand.

Do you know who that was? she asked in an incredulous stage-whisper. Victor Cruz from the New York Giants!

Never heard of him, Jamal lied.

Makayla giggled. She was so freaking adorable when she giggled.

Me neither. But I figured he’s a pro-football player so that has to count for something, right?

Nah. Jamal said staring down at her. It doesn’t count for shit.

And that was the moment, right then—him looking down at her, her smiling up at him, both of them standing so close, ostensibly so they could hear each other over the music. Jamal leaned in, she lifted her chin … and sneezed. Right in his face. They both laughed in surprise.

Makayla reached up and with a cool damp hand, wiped both his cheeks, giggling some more.

Oh my god, she said. Did I get you?

Nah, he said. You didn’t get me.

But almost.

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!

Posted in Afterwards, The Come Up | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

SAMPLE SUNDAY: From ‘ The Come Up’ — COMING MARCH 14.

Makaylapromo2From ‘The Come Up':

“Don’t you want to know what happened?” she asked.

“Nope.”

“Really?”

Jamal saw out of the corner of his eye that she had turned in her seat to look at him. “Really.”

“How come?”

Pulling out of traffic and onto a side-street, he hit the button above his visor that opened his building’s private garage. As they pulled down the ramp, Makayla seemed momentarily distracted, looking around the well-lit expanse in the underbelly of one of Manhattan’s most exclusive addresses. The apartment was expensive, no doubt about that, but the parking space was as well. In New York City, off-street parking was among the most prime of prime real estate.

“So how come you’re not curious about what happened when I went upstairs?” Makayla asked again.

“Because I’ve seen it a million times. I know that scenario so well, I could write the script.” He backed into the numbered parking space that was mere steps away from the elevator. Its location had been one of the main selling points, and had set him back an extra ten grand over some of the other spaces would have, but Jamal still considered it money well-spent.

“That’s kind of sad.”

“What is?”

“What these guys do to their women. Just because they can. All the cheating and lying. And y’know what the saddest part was?”

Jamal turned off the engine and gave her his complete focus. “What was the saddest part?”

“I could tell she didn’t believe me. She knew I was lying about it being my bag, but she chose to accept it. It was almost like she wanted me to tell the lie.”

Jamal shrugged. “Maybe she did. Because then it gives her the excuse she needs to stay.”

At that, Makayla said nothing, looking straight ahead.

“C’mon, let’s go up,” Jamal said, touching her arm. “Forget about all that.”

While they rode up in the elevator, Makayla remained quiet and Jamal wondered whether he’d made a mistake by exposing her so early to the seedier side of their work. This wasn’t the first time he had helped one of his artists out of a jam when they were deceiving a spouse. In fact, this was one of the tamest episodes he’d ever been involved in; and it was only because he knew the spouse in question that he was able to send Makayla up there on her own. Some women were considerably less reasonable and much more prone to violence. Once, he had personally had to talk down the knife-wielding fiancée of a top ten recording artist while she threatened to “slice his Johnson off.”

Three-Base’s domestic drama wasn’t the worst Jamal had seen by a longshot, but he was definitely a serial offender in the game of adultery; and Makayla was right, Missy wanted to be lied to. She made a lot of noise about her husband’s infidelities, but had yet to make even the slightest gesture toward separation. In fact, the few times he’d been caught red-handed, her way of coping had been to slam the other woman on social media. It was hard to maintain sympathy for a woman in a situation like that.

In the hallway leading to his apartment, Makayla walked slowly, so Jamal modulated his pace to match hers. Tonight at the book party, he wanted to spend a lot more time with her, but it was a work event, so there were about a dozen people he needed to touch base with. While he did, he couldn’t help but watch her across the room. She spent most of her time with Devin, both of them obviously thick as thieves, talking with heads together and laughing at private jokes. Occasionally, someone approached Devin and Makayla wandered away on her own, a drink in hand that she never actually took a single sip from that he could see, and an almost shy smile on her face.

She was still getting her legs under her in this world, and hadn’t yet come to realize that at events like that, she was supposed to be networking, introducing herself to people, and getting in with the right ones. Jamal would teach her all that in time.

“Here we are.”

He stopped at his door and fished out his keys while Makayla waited. Holding her clutch purse in both hands, Jamal could see the subtle lift and fall of her shoulders as she took a breath. She was nervous.

When the door opened, she paused before going in. Jamal watched her take it in. Immediately opposite the front door was the sitting area, flanked by a wall of windows, opening out to magnificent view of the Hudson. This view alone had sold Jamal on the place when he first looked at it. The price, then, had been somewhat out of his reach and the mortgage required him to forgo a lot of other stuff for a while, like furniture. For eighteen months, he’d lived in an apartment empty of furnishings except for a bed and dresser, just so he could come home to this view.

Makayla took a few steps in, and looked right and left. His living room was ultra-modern, with pieces in white and pewter. A white stacked slate fireplace was to the left, and behind it the kitchen. To the right, a long narrow hallway led to the two large bedroom suites, and an entertainment room where Jamal rarely entertained, but often sat with this laptop or tablet, or watching a solitary game. Though he had imagined his bachelor pad as teeming with people and parties, once he moved in, he found that he really wanted it to be his sanctuary. On occasion he had women over, but the parties never happened. His home was, thus far, his greatest accomplishment and he wasn’t eager to expose it to the uncertainties that came with a room full of rowdy guests.

Without waiting for his invitation, Makayla walked through the rooms, one by one, and Jamal silently followed her. She opened doors and looked in the bathrooms (all three of them), sat on his chairs and went to stare for a few moments out the living room window.

“Wow,” she said, when finally she had seen everything.

Jamal smiled.

“I never knew anyone who could afford to live like this in the middle of New York City.”

“I didn’t always live like this.” Jamal shrugged.

“I bet you’re happy you kicked your corporate law career to the curb, huh?”

“Yeah, but not because of the money. Or not just because of the money.” He headed for the kitchen, opening the refrigerator, and Makayla followed. “You want something to eat? They didn’t have much at that party.”

“What have you got?” She put a hand on his back as she leaned around him to peer into the open fridge.

Her hand on his back, exerting very slight pressure, the light scent of her perfume and just the awareness of her being here, in his space felt good. Jamal turned to face her and Makayla looked up at him, expectantly. Her eyes were wide, and large, her nostrils flared slightly and her lips fell apart a little as though she was about to speak. If that was what she intended, Jamal didn’t wait to find out. He kissed her. He couldn’t seem to stop doing that.

Sometimes their kisses were almost whimsical, like in the car earlier outside of Three-Base’s building. Sometimes they were exciting, and dangerous, like when he grabbed her in his office and stole some time before they had to go to a staff meeting. But now, this kiss, this was something else entirely. It was a prelude to something more, so Jamal took his time with it, tugging her lower lip between his, using the tip of his tongue to tease hers and letting her do the same. Both her hands were around him now, and she leaned her head to one side so they could kiss deeper, and harder.

Suddenly, a high-pitched whine broke the quiet and Makayla jerked away from him.

“It’s the fridge. It has a sensor for when the door’s left open,” he explained. Moving them away from it, he reached over to shut it but Makayla stopped him.

“I actually am hungry,” she said with a sly smile.

“Me too,” Jamal said, and she smiled wider, knowing that he wasn’t talking about food.

They made omelets with gruyere, diced tomatoes and onions, and when Jamal tried to go easy on the onions, Makayla playfully dumped more of them in. Jamal planned to take her into the entertainment room to eat but she instead wanted to go out to the balcony where they ignored the dinette and sat side by side on the same lounge chair. The chair was large but still, to accommodate them both, Makayla had to be partly reclined against his chest, which made it awkward for Jamal to eat, but he didn’t say anything because he liked having her there.

“So … about this whole thing with Three-Base,” Makayla said, while she dug into her omelet.

“Aw, man, are you still on that?”

“Yeah. I’m just curious. Don’t you ever feel … like you’re contributing to it, by being the alibi when those guys mess around on their women? Doesn’t it ever make you feel guilty?”

“Not really, no.”

“No?” Makayla turned a little so she could look at him.

The loc that he’d pulled from her bun earlier that evening had come free once again and was resting on her shoulder. Jamal reached for it, feeling its coarse thickness between his fingers. Her locs smelled like coconut.

“I don’t make them cheat. And whether I was there or not, that’s what they would be doing.”

“You sure about that?” she challenged. “If they didn’t know they had a clean-up crew, would they really be as brazen as they are?”

“I’m not the Morality Police. I’m a guy who develops artists, and does what he can to make sure nothing gets in the way of that development …”

“Or in the way of Scaife making money.”

Jamal shrugged. “That too, yeah.”

Makayla turned and leaned against him again, resuming her meal. Though she didn’t say anything, he could feel her disappointment, her judgment.

“If you’re thinking I condone what they do, that I’m cool with it, you would be wrong. If you’re thinking that because they do it, I would do it too …”

“Would you?” She turned and looked at him again.

“No.”

“I want to believe that,” she said finally.

“Look at me.”

She did.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said simply.

“You might not mean to,” Makayla said. “But …”

Jamal grinned. “How do I know you’re not going to hurt me?”

 

Posted in Afterburn, Afterwards, Books, The Come Up | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

Goodbye #30Days30Stories!

30 days 30 storiesAbout a month ago, I got this notion that I would work out my writing muscle a little by posting 30 stories over 30 days on my Facebook page. The idea was that they would be short pieces, no more than 400 words or so, and all original stuff. Today officially marks the end of the 30 Day Experiment.

Two intrepid writers joined me, Angelia Vernon Menchan who writes real-world, grown-and-sexy fiction, all of which you can check out here. And Kim Golden who writes women’s fiction that often features American expats, navigating foreign territory both geographically and emotionally. You can check out all of Kim’s work here. Thanks to them both, I hung in there, writing stories day after day, sometimes not because I felt like it, but just to keep up with them!

EmbryAngelia even got a whole story out of it, and it looks like another in the works. ‘Embry Gets Her Man?’ is available now on Amazon for 99 cents!

I think on most days, we far exceeded the word count, and on other days, the material wasn’t brand new, but had been polished for public viewing. It was a marathon during which I was grateful to have company. If you want to check out what came of it, go to my page and scroll down to read them all.

So a funny thing happened during those 30 days, my thirst to write came back. Here’s a secret, writing is always a compulsion, but it isn’t always an enjoyable one. Sometimes it’s like that uncomfortable itch that you want to scratch but can’t quite reach. Other times it’s like salve to the soul. And during these 30 days, it became that for me again.

So thanks again Kim  and Angelia! And thanks to all of you who stopped by to read our random offerings.

So what now? I’d planned to release ‘The Come Up‘ this week, but now I think I will let it marinate a couple weeks more while I get some of my #30Days characters out of my head.

But I owe you one last story don’t I? So here it is, the 30th story for #30Days30Stories, a sample from my upcoming release, ‘The Come Up’.

 


 

In this excerpt, Jamal Turner is with Madison, a woman he’s supposed to want to be with, but he hesitates. And maybe–though he doesn’t know it yet–that hesitation has something to do with his newest team member, the much-too-young for him, Makayla:

Madison was standing naked at the window, overlooking Old San Antonio. From behind, she looked like something that should be captured in a painting, recorded so that her figure could be admired for the ages, long after they had both turned to dust.

Good sex had a way of making him poetic.

“I’d better hit the shower if I want to make that flight,” she said without moving. “It was irresponsible of me to come.”

“You sorry you did?”

“No. I’m never sorry after I see you.” At that she did turn, and the sight of her from the front was no less arousing than she had been from the rear. Madison smiled and then made her way back to the immense bed, leaning over it to kiss him. “But each time we do this, I get … scared.”

“What of?”

“You know,” she said.

Yeah. He knew. They talked about it. Over and over, they’d talked about the fear Madison had, of being strung along. Of falling for a man who had no will, and maybe no ability to fall for her. And each time they had that talk, Jamal knew he should probably put a stop to this. Because while Madison was beautiful and good company, after over a month and a half since they’d first slept together, she had become precisely what she told him she didn’t want to be—a woman he was fond of, who he was just kickin’ it with.

The irony was, Madison may have become more, but for her insistence on forcing those heavy conversations prematurely and repeatedly. It was all the damn talking that was making him hold back when he wasn’t sure he would have otherwise. But for all the talking, Jamal would never know; he might have been in love with her by now.

This trip to meet him in San Antonio for the weekend had been his idea. And maybe it was a bad one, because Madison had flown out to meet him in three other cities, each times when she said she had “a little time to kill” or “nothing much planned for the weekend.” The first time she’d met him at one of their venues it was just for a night and that seemed harmless enough, but the second time she’d spent two nights, and Jamal had not only taken her to the club where Devin was performing but to dinner with the team afterwards.

And he told himself it was okay, because he wasn’t seeing anyone else at the moment and had no time to chase tail while on the road, but after all that “boyfriend behavior” Madison had now become increasingly moody, even after sex. Particularly after sex, like now.

“How many more weeks until you come back to New York?” she asked.

“Just three and a half.”

“That’s not so bad.” She kissed him and let him caress her breast and pull her back down to blanket his body with hers.

“Nah. That’s not so bad.”

“But I’ve been thinking …”

Uh oh. Here came one of those talks again.

“… maybe we shouldn’t communicate until then. Maybe …” Madison let the word stretch out for a while. “Maybe those three weeks should be time we take to think about where we want things to go with us.”

“Madison …”

“I know, I know,” she said, placing two fingers across his lips. “You like to ‘let it flow’. But I know myself, Jamal. I’m going to go crazy wondering where this is headed. And I’m going to drive you crazy as well. So I think it might be better if you just take this time and think about it.”

He said nothing. He was already sick of thinking about it.

“And when you get back in three weeks, if I don’t hear from you, I’ll know that that’s your answer. And I’ll leave you alone.”

“You’re making a job out of this. Getting to know someone, figuring out whether you fit … it shouldn’t be a project, Madison.”

Pulling back from him a little, she sat up, folding her legs beneath her. Jamal raised himself on his elbows, watching her.

“Look,” she said. “I’m not stupid. I know how this looks. How it must feel. Like I’m pushing an agenda that you haven’t even had enough time to decide whether you want. I get that. But I know myself, Jamal. And I know you …”

He gave a brief laugh. “We’ve known each other barely two and a half months.”

“Yeah. But I know you. We talk a lot too, right? You’re a good guy. You want to have a good life. And you try to do the right thing by the women you get involved with. You treat me like …”

Madison paused and looked down. For a moment Jamal thought with horror that she might start crying, but she pulled it together.

“You treat me like a queen. I could easily fall in love with you. And if I did, I would probably love you for the rest of my life. But love is a choice. Don’t you see? Just like you make choices for you career, I want you to think about whether you want to choose me.”

“I told you, I don’t know if …”

“No. That whole ‘letting it flow’ thing is a cop-out. If you want to apply yourself to making this work, it’ll work. It’s that simple. So that’s what I want you to think about. Whether you want to give it a shot and make it work. With me.”

“And if I said I did, we’d what? Get engaged, announce a date?” Jamal shook his head. “That’s crazy, Madison.”

“No, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that if you decide you choose me, then we’re deciding that we’re both on the same page, working toward that. And that one day, yes, we could—when the time is right—get … we’d plan to get … married.”

Jamal let himself fall onto his back and looked up at the ceiling.

“Is it really that crazy?” Madison asked, reaching out to stroke his chest. “To ask that you look at me, look at what we have now in the same way you would when you’re signing a new artist? Consider what you want for your life, and think about whether I’m a good bet. That’s all I’m saying.”

Her soft fingers traversed his pecs, down over his abs and Jamal reached down, putting his hand over hers. Madison turned her hand palm upward and interlaced her fingers with his.

“I know you’re not in love with me now,” she said quietly. “But think about whether I’m the kind of woman you could love. Who could be standing next to you when you head up Scaife Enterprises? And when you buy that country house you say you want … when you … have babies. The kind who would be a support and a helpmate. And if for some reason you can see me in that picture, choose me, Jamal. And then let’s start building something together.”

It was crazy, Jamal thought after he walked Madison downstairs to get her a car to the airport. He couldn’t choose his life-partner like he did an artist for one of SE’s labels. He couldn’t apply pragmatism to the process of finding his wife.

But as he walked back into the hotel lobby, Jamal couldn’t help but wonder: why the hell not?

There was no denying that on paper, Madison was pretty close to everything he would have chosen for himself. And not just on paper, in actuality she was pretty damn close to what he would choose. Beautiful, accomplished, poised, intelligent, ambitious and funny. Not to mention just enough of a freak in bed to make him keep suggesting these visits, even when his better judgment told him it might be his mouth writing a check his ass couldn’t cash in the long run.

But he had to hand it to her; she’d been forthright about her needs and her wants from the very beginning. And her reasoning was in reality not that crazy at all. How else did one pick a mate? On the basis of some unnamed, hard-to-define intuition, some warm and fuzzy feeling that they were The One? That was what was irrational, not what she was suggesting. Madison was simply asking him to look over her attributes, decide whether they fit in the life he wanted, and then if so, choose to build that life with her.

Choosing didn’t even mean he had to give her a ring right away. But unless he was mistaken, it meant that she would expect him to apply the same seriousness and focus to making that life with her as he did to making dozens of young performers into stars. In that arena, his focus had no doubt paid off. Why couldn’t it pay off here as well?

 


 

Happy Reading!

N.

 

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments