‘And Then’ — The Men Speak

Hi again. It’s just me, Tia. I’m back, but not for long. I promised myself when I woke up this morning that I would stop talking to my characters. In the meantime, I am here to update you on what happened after I met with Mya, Veronica, Shelby and Marie at the Mexican restaurant. They had a lot to say about And Then.

Turns out the men had a few words, too… and then, I will catch up on my sleep and hopefully these “conversations” will stop.

After leaving the ladies at the restaurant, I headed over to where the guys were catching up over burgers and beer. I was surprised when I walked into this quaint pub. I don’t know why I expected some flashy sports bar with loud music, a million screens and obnoxious people that just wanted to be seen. Then I remembered who I was coming to see… Donovan Sinclair, Eric West, Darius Brooks and Jackson Sinclair. These men love a good time, but they don’t have time for nonsense either.

Alls WellTheir bond goes way back. I mean wayyyyyyyy back to Boston where Donovan was the glue that brought them all together. I was actually looking forward to seeing them (yes, I got used to this odd situation where I was interacting with fictional characters), but then I remembered they weren’t exactly pleased with me when I was specifically told to come meet them.

In a smaller back room, the four of them were seated around a table and looked up at the same time when I walked in. Let me just say my feet would not move after that. I wondered if I stepped on this massive wad of glue, but no… they just looked that good and it stopped me in my tracks. After all, they were four distinct, good-looking men that catered to my selfish fantasies when I created them.

“There’s Tia,” Donovan called out. He stood with the rest of them, opening his arms to hug me. He pulled me close and whispered in my ear, “So I was a selfish fantasy, huh?”

My eyes bulged. I forgot these “people” knew what I was thinking.

Jackson winked and wrapped his arms around me. “Fair is fair. Can’t have a one-sided situation with just you up in our heads, now can we?”

I smiled and tried to relax. These guys could be angry at the world, but still keep themselves poised in front of even their biggest enemy.

“Hey beautiful.”

I looked up at Eric and lost myself in those eyes of his. “You seem to say that to all the girls.”

Eric grinned and hugged me. “Only the pretty ones.”

Damn these men are good for my ego.

“Darius,” I said nervously. I have known Darius just as long as everyone else, but we really didn’t get a chance to talk on a deeper level until recently when he opened up in And Then. “How are you?”

He nodded. “Not complaining… considering what you wrote. You?”

“Can’t say until I know why you all wanted to see me.”

They gestured toward any empty chair, but would not sit down until I was seated first. Then Donovan was the first to discuss his grievances with my latest book.

“Mya is my heart, so why would you do this to us?”

I shook my head and covered my face. “Donovan, it’s just a story.”

“A story? This is my life,” he argued. “Do you know what you did?”

I shrugged. “I told the truth.”

He looked away, clenching his jaw. I worried for a minute that he would damage that beautiful smile of his the way he appeared to testily grind his teeth. He puffed out a sigh and said, “I wasn’t that bad.”

“Yeah, bro, you were,” Jackson said. His remark did not sit well with Donovan, but the nods around Donovan prevented him from saying anything else. “Perhaps Tia should have pulled you aside and given you a heads up instead of telling all of her readers how you were slipping up, but what’s done is done. Now we just need to clean up this situation and move on.”

“What do you mean clean up this situation?” I asked.

Eric held up both hands to calm the random remarks that started flying across the table. “What JC is trying to say is, we need you to do a retraction.”

“A retraction? Who retracts a novel?”

Donovan leaned forward and stared me down. “You do.”

I felt my spine curve and I started to slide down in my chair. He gave me that Olivia Pope you will do as I say to fix this mess look… I forgot he was good with crisis management. But wait, this was not a crisis. Then his army of Gladiators, I mean friends got behind him.

“No.” I was firm and would not be shaken.

“No?” The four of them replied back in unison. They looked at each other perplexed that I was not going to give in. “This is a novel, as in fiction. You do not rescind fiction.”

“Tia, we didn’t want that part of our lives to get out,” Darius explained. “I moved on since the divorce. The fellas are doing their own things now. We just need you to keep our business out of your readers’ hands. You owe us that.”

I frowned, as I was annoyed that they would try this. “No.”

I reach for my things and put my coat on, and that’s when I felt a hand on my arm.

“Tia, wait.”

It was Jackson. Damn, I love Jackson with his fine self… Crap, he probably knows I said that.

He smiled and gave me this look. Then I remembered that look. You looked at that waitress that exact same way when she was trying to get Darius’s attention… Please don’t pull some standard pick up line out your arsenal next.

“Busted!” Donovan said, as he laughed along with Eric and Darius.

Jackson cut his eyes at his brother and friends before looking back at me. “Tia, maybe we can’t go back and change what you said about Donnie and Mya’s issues or even what Eric and Shelby had to go through, after all they did open themselves up when they spoke at the Love Sessions event. But Darius is a private guy and you really put him out there. Moving forward, can we keep our lives out of your books from now on?”

I nervously look away and four pairs of eyes turned sharply toward me.

“Tia,” Jackson said calmly. “What did you do?”

“Well it’s not exactly what I did,” I start. “More or less what else is to come.”

“And that is?” Eric asked.

I look over at Jackson and shrug a little. “Get ready for someone to steal your heart one day soon.”


Click here to read an excerpt from And Then.


About And Then

All’s well that ends well… Or is it? For Donovan, Mya, Eric, Shelby, Veronica and Darius, their guess is as good as anyone else’s. With the Love Sessions workshop behind them, life goes on for the group that reminded others the significance of marriage vows. Now, together they face another important lesson – rediscovering the meaning of love.


Donovan and Mya Sinclair’s marriage might appear intact, but something is amiss behind closed doors. Eric and Shelby West battled through their share of storms before, but Shelby refuses to let anything disturb their household again even if her husband invites it into their home. Veronica and Darius Brooks quietly divorced two years ago hoping to close a fifteen-year chapter in their lives, but it’s hard to bury the past when reminders of it pop up every day. While Mya is determined to figure out how to fix the issues in her own marriage, it just might help a few people along the way while bringing old friends back together once again.


And Then is the follow up to The Love Sessions, a novel in the Love Sessions series by Tia Kelly featuring: Love’s Rebound, Give Me You, Save Me From You and The Love Sessions.


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Woman-Centered Fiction Writer, commenting on books, culture and the human condition.

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