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Robyn Crandall thought she had the life she’d always dreamed of, with her childhood sweetheart, until he asked for a divorce. Gone with him are her hopes of a perfect home and family. Moving back in with her mother, broke and broken, Robyn has no plans to do anything besides lick her wounds and hold on to her faltering career. But then she finds herself unexpectedly drawn to a man who has everything and yet seems to have nothing at all.

Every single milestone Chris Scaife set, he’s reached and surpassed. The one place he feels out of his depth is being a father to his three kids–all them practical strangers–and dealing with their mothers who view him as a never-ending source of income. Between that, and managing his music empire he doesn’t have time for distractions, but one shows up anyway.

Robyn is a woman who deserves the kind of life he doesn’t feel equipped to give her, but walking away might not be that easy; especially since she’s also shown him glimpses of a life he didn’t think he could have.

WHERE IT BEGINS:

Chris is hosting the wedding of one of his best friends on his considerable estate, and happens across a mutual acquaintance of theirs, Robyn. She’s different than he remembered her, and something about her mood is reminiscent of his own. They talk for awhile as Chris feels the beginning of one of his increasingly frequent migraines. He feels certain he can tough it out — that’s been his M.O. in life, “toughing it out”.  But this time he’s wrong.

EXCERPT FROM ‘AFTERWARDS’:

Turning again toward the dance floor, Chris saw that Brendan and Tracy had progressed from dancing to kissing, just as Patti Labelle hit her high note. Taking a deep breath, he decided to leave them to it. Almost all the guests had begun to make their way to their cars but alone, at one of the tables, he noticed a woman he recognized as Tracy’s mother sitting , watching the couple on the dance floor, her face wistful. Nearby, Brendan’s parents stood side by side. Mrs. Cole was holding Tracy and Brendan’s four-month old daughter, smiling, watching her son and new daughter-in-law with unabashed pleasure. They were Smiling People. That’s how Chris thought of them—like their son, they seemed not to have any other way to look at the world except through smiling eyes.

Inside, his housekeeper, Mrs. Lawson and the wedding planner had begun to give instructions to the staff and crew who were discreetly beginning clean-up. Mrs. Lawson looked up as he entered and gave him a wan smile. She was dressed up for the occasion, wearing a peach colored suit that looked like something that she would have worn to a high school graduation, or a baptism at church.

“How did you make out?” she asked him, and Chris knew she was referring to his migraine from earlier.

“Not too bad,” he said, nodding at her.

But that wasn’t exactly the truth. He could still feel the tiniest of twinges at the base of his skull like a little blossom of discomfort that would in short order grow into a drill-like pain if he didn’t get to sleep soon. It had begun around the time the preacher started talking about the “inexorable optimism of the human heart.” The only thing that felt inexorable right about now was this headache.

Occasionally, sleep was the cure, and at other times, caffeine. But there were times—more frequent lately—when nothing helped except the Relpax Dr. Allen had prescribed. Chris hated the idea of resorting to the little orange pills just to live a normal life. Drugs of any kind were a thing for him: he hated them. Unless he was about to be cut open for surgery, his preference was to stay away from any controlled substance.

Mrs. Lawson was still looking at him as though searching for signs that perhaps he wasn’t being completely honest with her.

“This was supposed to be your weekend off, wasn’t it?” Chris asked her.

Mrs. Lawson hesitated before nodding. “Yes, but I had no problem staying, Mr. Scaife. I know you needed the extra help.”

“You always say it’s not a problem,” Chris told her heading towards his office. “Go on home. Give the rest of the staff instructions and then go on home.”

“Mr. Scaife . . .”

Chris stopped and turned to look at her. “Go. Home.”

She smiled at him and finally nodded. “Okay. You . . . make sure you . . .”

Chris cocked his head and raised his eyebrows, stopping her in the middle of the admonition—which he’d heard many times before—that he ‘take care of himself.’

“Goodnight,” he said pointedly.

Mrs. Lawson wiped her hands on the front of her dress like a woman removing remnants of flour from her skirt while baking a cake. That was how she probably saw him, Chris thought with amusement, as a work in progress, an unbaked cake.

 

94 thoughts on “Afterwards

  1. Ok, ok, ok….I will stop. I have only been asking for this book since forever…so the smiley face in no way suffices for the cold hard facts of the date. But because you rank in the top five for me, right up there with Beverly Jenkins, I will let you slide. I would tell you my other 3 favorite authors but only in exchange for a book release date. 🙂

  2. Well…I will be waiting, today is August 4th…27 days and counting! Would love to take Chris’ story with me on vacation!

  3. You are a great writer. I love the way your books keep up the other characters from previously stories. I can’t wait to hear Chris’ story.

  4. I don’t mind waiting until Sept. or even a little bit longer for Chris’ story because I know it will be GREAT. Just keep the creative juices flowing. LOVE your books.

  5. I cannot wait. At first, in the beginning of Commitment, I thought Chris was going to be a jerk. But when he worked on the story with Riley, I saw another side of him and really, really liked him. Your writing is GREAT, so keep it coming. And more of Riley and Shawn, please!!!

  6. Hi Nia. I am so looking forward to Chris’ story. Please say you are close to releasing this book 🙂 I have read all of your books and turned my sister and girl friends onto you. Keep doing what you do & I will keep buying them.

  7. I love all your books! Commitment is one of my all time favorites! I have just added you to one of my all time greatest Romance Author’s Brenda Jackson and Beverly Jenkins are on that list! You are truly a treat to read I really love your work! Take as long as you need on Chris story because I know it will be great!! Well don’t take that long! LOL

    1. Thank you, Jo! It’s an honor to even be mentioned in such company. I am definitely taking my time with Chris’ story because this one is important to me. I’m hoping to release before too long though.

  8. I have read every story in this series and can not wait to read Chris’s story. Do you have a release date on it yet? Can’t wait to read the second part of Mistress. I just know that there is another part to this story, you can’t leave a sista hanging like that.

  9. Nia, Nia, Nia! I need this story like now. No really take your time because I know it’s gonna be so goooooood. Btw I just re-read Unsuitable Men and Maybe Never because I’m so in love with Brennan and Tracey’s story. They are by far my favorite characters to read about and I’ve read all, and I do mean all your books. Your books are just so realistic. I just know Chris’ story is gonna be so good. Ugh, I can’t wait…Oh and Baybaaaay, that Stalemate excerpt was everythang!!

  10. Welllllllllllllll…….is it ready yet? I haven’t read anything WOW worthy in a minute (except Ms. Beverly Jenkins new one!). Let me know!!!

  11. I love love ,AFTERWARDS!!!! Saturday night I took a chance to see if it has been released and lo and behold the the book was there!! Therefore, I did not get 1 thing done on Sunday!!

  12. Nia,
    You did a phenomenal job with Chris! You made this believable because men do not change over night and his transitioning wasn’t easy. It is even harder for a real man to identify and accept love on this level. I know there is more to come from this couple. I love Shawn and Riley, I love Tracy and Brendan, now I’m in love with Chris and Robyn. I need more from these couples. I love your books. #neverdissappointed

  13. Hi Nia, I finished Afterwards in one day. You’re wrecking havoc with my sleep but as always so worth it! I loved everything about Tracy. She allowed herself to enjoy every moment with Chris and took it for what it was, never having an agenda regarding the future. Tracy was strong enough to put herself out there; to say what she wanted, when she wanted and how she wanted it, never resorting to games. I admire her tremendously. Another amazing read!

  14. Ok, I am done. Whew !!! Loved it, read it twice….thank you, as always you delivered. I am thinking of reading the trilogy again…

  15. This was another WINNER! Loved the calming effect Robyn had on Chris and the confidence and trust he had in her. I hope you will have out-takes for their story. I did a review under Marangel. YOU ROCK!!!

  16. O.K. I have thought of this – your style is to follow up with a sequel. So, having said that, when are you going to finish ‘Afterwards’?? There is more to this story – I am just saying.

  17. Nia, I left a review on Amazon dated for today under the name, “kokanut”. I will leave abbreviated comments here because I want to offer some encouragement (to you) as well. I knew Shawn and Riley would be next to impossible to surpass but Robyn and Chris’ story has accomplished that. I cannot turn off the floodgate of emotions after reading their very realistic story. I like the “realness” of your storytelling and the complexities of the characters. In short, 5 Star work! I totally see you bringing this story (or maybe one of the others but my choice is “Afterwards”) to the big screen. Find someone who can turn this into a screenplay and watch God open the doors! You have the talent and the sky is definitely the limit! Be encouraged and don’t give up!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement, Korei! I read your review on Amazon–thank you. I’m glad you liked ‘Afterwards’ and I do know some screenwriters, but honestly have never considered making a screenplay out of any of my work. It’s certainly a thought. And I definitely won’t give up on the writing, no matter what.

      1. You seriously should give it some consideration. I have been telling any and everyone about this book even envisioning who could star in it and bankroll it (TI, Nas, etc.). Not that you need ideas from me but I always think of the movie Hav Plenty (and the back story of how that made it to the big screen via Babyface/Tracy Edmonds). Anyhoo, your Midwest fan club president is spreading the word. Even my poor husband has taken interest. Best of luck! I am so excited for you!

      2. Well, anything’s possible, right? I still feel like I want to perfect my writing of novels, but heck, I wouldn’t refuse someone who might be interested in making a movie out of my work! And thank you for telling folks about my work–I don’t promote nearly as much as I should because every moment doing that feels like time I should be writing. 😉

  18. I agree with Korei and left that comment for you on Twitter. Afterwards would make a wonderful movie – think about it but only after you finish Part 2 of Afterwards – a girl can only hope!!!

  19. I just finished Afterwards. So good. I over watching Chris fall in love and the better man Robyn influenced him to be. Well done–as usual!

      1. Yes, I try to always review good books on Amazon to support author sales. I gifted “The Seduction of Dylan…” to my sister so I can get her hooked as well. Can’t wait for your next book. Keep it coming!

  20. Nia I am so in love with all your books, I have read everything you have written and looking forward to much more. Afterwards is one of my favorites and I can’t wait for part 2. Many blessing to you!!!!

    A fan of your work!!!!

  21. Nia,

    Quick question. Do you have men that you consult in developing your male characters? I find the voice of your male characters spot on. I have the same question regarding the “intimate” scenes. Just wondering how you pull that off because imo, you capture the male psyche so well. Thanks!

    1. First of all, thank you, Korei. No, I don’t consult with anyone. For me, writing is a completely solitary thing. I tried beta-readers once and it doesn’t work for me though I know other authors love them and get great results that way. I think having mostly male friends, four brothers and being an avid watcher of people probably helps though! 😉

  22. That is so true and even in Afterwards with Chris having migraines. I have those and remember thinking that is exactly how I feel and I have had some of the same shots to relieve the pain. Very good incite!!!!!!!

  23. Oh my Nia I’m so glad Afterwards is out!!!!!! Read it and loved, loved, loved, it. Glad there is a part 2 coming soon. Please tell me Riley is not falling for Chris??? I was confused when she said she could only wish as Chris was telling her Robyn thought he was in love with her?? I see so many distraction occurring with Chris and Robyn’ s relationship from Sheryl, Curtis, premature delivery, Etienne from the Paris office, Chris’s childhood issues and will he propose? I so cannot wait for 2014 and part 2. Ms Nia you are an excellent author and you always leave me in anticipation of the next installment of your great work.

    1. Tinka, I was alerted to a new post and read yours…I hope you do not mind me jumping in (I know your post is directed towards Nia) but my stomach turned when I read some of the various story plots that you listed. The possibilities are indeed endless but I hope that the story line does not become sordid and unhinged that it takes away from the character development and richness. I do not think Riley has a thing for Chris and at most Chris envies maybe even covets what she gives/brings to her relationship with Shawn but now he has Robyn.. I do agree though, the possibilities are endless but I hope the continuation of the story strengthens their dynamic not weaken it. I can only hope. Thanks for allowing me to weigh in. I hope that I have not offended or disturbed your post.

      1. Thank goodness. I knew u wouldn’t leave me hangin. I will patiently await the sequel b/c I know it will b worth it.

  24. I enjoyed reading all of your books “Afterward”, is my favorite I am so ready for sequel too this… keep up the page turner writing

  25. I keep reading all the post again and continue to get excited and anxious at the Spring 2014 date for Chris and Robyn’s story to continue. I love, love your writing style. Thanks for giving us readers something to hope for. We are patiently waiting and I truly mean “patiently” waiting. Thanks again and fabulous story telling…

  26. Nia, I am back…as any good (self appointed) fan club president would be…I was on Amazon searching for my next literary jewel and I found my way back to ‘Afterwards’. I must say that it has been impossible to read anything after this story and come even remotely close to being as enamored and completely satisfied yet ravenous for more; obviously, 114 other people agree. My question is this, with the overwhelming response via Amazon alone, do you accept this book as being your most successful to date? Just wondering and i don’t mean to make you choose but I am amazed how a supporting character in your story arc has captivated the hearts and minds of your readers and won you tons of new ones, Just wondering. I must say again, this is a story that would translate well on screen! I’m just saying…(big grin).

    1. Hi Korei. Thanks again for your kind words about ‘Afterwards’! Yes, the response to this one has been surprising and overwhelming. I think it is my most successful, but darned if I know why! I can’t choose among my books though, because its the characters I love, more than their stories, and it’s impossible to ‘love’ one more than another.

      1. You are welcome. I feel a personal attachment to this book. Regarding your reply, I figured as much. Your work is proof of how much you put into each character, so, enough said. Lol. Thanks for responding.

  27. Hi I just loved afterwards, I really am looking forward to the spring now that you say part two will be out then. I love your books, they are so well written and the characters feel like real people. Do you have an idea what month part two will be out? If not could you please give a little teaser about what it will be about.

    1. THanks Chawntae! Here’s the blurb (still a work in progress):

      Chris Scaife is not the man Robyn Crawford thought he was.

      Now that she’s shown him the possibility of a different life, she knows that Chris wants it. And he’s used to getting what he wants. But Robyn is seeing some possibilities of her own—as valued member of the legal team at Chris’ multimillion dollar corporation. Just as he’s given her the confidence to soar, will Chris try to clip her wings?

      Once an unapologetic bachelor and distant father, Chris Scaife is now a different man. Engaged to Robyn Crandall, a woman whose love he never thought he could have—or deserve—Chris wants to wedding to happen, and happen soon. But Robyn’s plans are somewhat different from that.

      And as far as release date, I’m shooting for early April.

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