BLOG STOP: a visit from Christina C. Jones, author of ‘A Crazy Thing Called Love’

When I started writing A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the first book in this series, I had no idea it would become my (own) favorite project to date. It didn’t come to me in words at first, more like rich, warm colors and a feeling I wanted to create around it. It was the first time for me that the setting came first, and I was almost — ok, absolutely ­ — jealous that I didn’t live in this fictional neighborhood myself.

serendipitousloveIt’s a place that I dream of, but have never been, and certainly never visited. A thriving community of good neighbors, plenty to see and do, and a rich, vibrant scene of brown people in various shades unexpectedly finding love — that they may or may not have been looking for — as they work, run businesses, and just… thrive.

Because you don’t have to choose one or two out of three when it comes to being brown, being successful, and being in love. It’s not that extraordinary. It’s absolutely normal, and that’s what I love to see played out in front of me, so that’s what I wrote.

I mentioned it being a favorite project, but by no means does that it make it the easiest. I’m still finding my fearlessness as an author, while trying to present the characters in this project as they came to me — kinda… not perfect. The urge really, really is to write people who fall perfectly in love, no mistakes — especially not from our hero. Even as a reader, I want to love the hero, and his ass had better not mess up, or… he just might be human, and I’ll love him anyway, just like the heroine does.

That’s actually a lesson I can pretty strongly attribute to my gracious host for todays post. It’s okay, really, to present people as they are, flaws and all. It’s part of the human experience, and isn’t that what I’m supposed to be writing about? Even with that said… it’s hard. And I’ll admit that I’ve been resistant. I don’t want to have to step away from a scene for a moment to collect myself. I don’t want to be so angry with a character that I’m being a bitch to people in real life. But… hey, what’s the point of writing if I’m holding back? I want to put forth all of the emotion the characters are pushing on to — and pulling out of — me, and put that onto the page for the reader.

And… I’m veering off course, lol. So, back to the series. Here are my (very lightly spoiler-ish) descriptions of each book.

CLwalkyouhomeIn A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, we meet Simone. She’s been living in a rut without even realizing it, because she’s been so absorbed with the opening of her business. Then she meets coffee scented, dark-roasted, Roman, and becomes acutely aware that something in her life is missing. She overthinks everything, and sleeps with Roman too soon, and he has a little not-so-secret secret. Roman means what he says, and says what he means, but he’s kinda… let’s call him naïve. But they work it out.

didntaskIn Didn’t Mean To Love You, we enter Viv’s world when she’s fresh off finding out — pretty abruptly — that her boyfriend is engaged. Fun, right? Carter thinks so too, because he’s had his eye on her for months, and now he finally has his chance… to be her friend. Only, that doesn’t last long, because does it ever? Viv is big-hearted, and emotional, and willing to fall in love with her friend. Carter is big-hearted, and emotional, and… not willing to fall in love with his friend. He has reasons. Good reasons. But in the end, they work it out.

stillrememberIn the latest release, — Fall in Love Again — Charlie is trying to move on from a rebound marriage she never should have gotten her silly self into. But, heartbreak makes you a little crazy sometimes, and ish happens. She ends up back in the neighborhood, working again in the restaurant she co-owns with the guy that broke her heart — Nixon. Their relationship has been over for a while, but the feelings are still there. Nixon is eager to insinuate himself into Charlie’s life again, in the same role he previously held, but she’s not making that easy. Because he broke her heart. Like… seriously broke her heart. But — noticing a theme here? — they work it out.

Guess it’s no secret that I love a happy ending, huh?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post about the Serendipitous Love series! If you want to check them out, the first two books are on sale for $1.99, and also available on Kindle Unlimited. Each book follows a different couple, and they don’t have to be read in order to follow the story… but you’ll encounter major spoilers for the others if you read out of sequence.

COMING DECEMBER 15th: ‘MOTHER’

The final part of the trilogy, ‘Mistress’, ‘Wife’, ‘Mother’ …

Keisha final excerpt

Excerpt:

A couple months after Jay and Keisha were married, when the Friday lunches were still a new thing, Chloe suggested they go somewhere “nice” for lunch and that Keisha should dress up. She’d found someone to babysit Gabby for the afternoon and said she was eager to get out of ‘Mommy-mode” so Keisha was happy to indulge her. But then they’d both shown up in dramatically different outfits. Comically different, in fact.

Keisha had worn high heels and very skinny jeans with a similarly close-fitting blouse. Dramatically made up with penciled-in brows and a dark lip-stain, she thought she looked pretty damn fierce when she left the house. Chloe on the other hand wore khakis and loafers; with a pink button-down and a dark brown fitted blazer, the look was tasteful, minimalist. Barely wearing lipstick and a little blush, her hair was tied back in a chaste knot and she looked like she was ready to lunch at a country club.

As she surveyed herself in the ladies room mirror later that afternoon, Keisha reflected that she on the other hand looked like someone trying to look sophisticated rather than someone who truly was. A phrase as simple as “dress up” meant completely different things to her than it had to Chloe. Keisha thought, as she looked at her reflection, that she looked like … trash.

Back home, she found Jay, reclining on their sofa having left the store early to work out and kick back for a Friday night in. When he looked up to ask how the afternoon date had gone, all Keisha could do was lift his arm, wedge herself in next to him, bury her face in his still damp chest and cry, hot and silent tears. He’d asked her over and over what was wrong, but she couldn’t even form the right words to explain, only finding the energy to reassure him that his sister hadn’t been mean to her or anything. Eventually, he’d stopped asking; and she finally stopped crying, but only once Jay had spent long minutes kissing her forehead, stroking her back and saying, “shh, baby, shh, shh.”

SAMPLE SUNDAY: From ‘Lifted’

Tyson

From ‘Lifted’:

In the dim sum restaurant, there was a table full of women. Ty thought they might be gay too. All of a sudden, he seemed to be noticing gay people more. Maybe it was because he was in San Francisco, the Gay Mecca of the United States; or maybe it was because he was with Tessa, the first gay person he’d ever wished wasn’t.

One of the women at the table couldn’t keep her eyes off Tessa. She was trying to make eye contact.

“You like Asian women?” Ty asked, thinking about Anzu and Tessa making out at the nightclub.

“They seem to like me,” Tessa said, so he knew she’d noticed the woman staring as well, though she hadn’t acknowledged her.

“Why do you think that is?”

She shrugged. “Some people like chocolate adventures.”

Ty spluttered. “Chocolate adventures?”

“You know. Testing out the rumored insatiable sexual appetite that we Black folks seem to have.”

He nodded. “Oh.”

“So?” Tessa asked, looking about the restaurant for the next passing server with a steaming tray.

“So … what?”

“Have you had any? Chocolate adventures? D’you like Black chicks?”

“Only been with one. She was a little crazy.”

Tessa laughed. “Oh that is so wrong of you.”

“Why is it wrong of me? I’ve been with plenty of crazy White chicks. It just so happens the one Black one I was with was also crazy.”

“How was she crazy?”

“She liked to … you sure you want the details?”

“Oh, please give me the details,” Tessa said. She almost looked gleeful.

Before Ty could begin his story, another tray went by and they paused to take some of the soft, pork-filled rolls, then another of rib tips in a bright red sauce that looked hot and spicy, but was really sweet.

“Okay, spill it,” Tessa spoke with her mouth full.

“Her name was Charmaine. She was a sophomore at my school. And she came onto me at a party. And I liked it because she wasn’t shy about it, she didn’t pretend she would hold out. She let me know she wanted me, and that made me want her too.”

Ty didn’t know why he was telling Tessa all this, except that she was different from other women, and wouldn’t care if he said he’d wanted another woman, because she wasn’t looking to compete in the same arena.

“So did you hook up the same night?” Tessa rested both elbows on the table and leaned in, rapt.

“Yeah. She liked the lights on, which was different from other chicks. Her body wasn’t perfect but she didn’t care. And that made her way hotter as far as I was concerned.”

“And that turned you on?”

“I feel like you’re psychoanalyzing me.”

“I kind of am. I like that too—when women aren’t all, ‘don’t look at my stomach’ or ‘dim the lights a little’. I like when they let it all hang out.”

Under the table, Ty was getting some wood. Hearing Tessa talk about what she liked was a turn-on, even though part of him wished … well, it didn’t matter what he wished.

“So tell me more about Charmaine. Wanting the lights on didn’t make her crazy, so what did?”

“She had a boyfriend,” Ty said, beginning to wish he hadn’t brought Charmaine up at all. “And she liked …”

“C’mon, spill it! What did she ..?”

“She liked to call him while we were doing it. She liked to watch me sliding in and out of her while she talked to her boyfriend on the phone and pretended she wasn’t being …”

Tessa put a hand over her mouth and muffled a laugh. “Freak. How many times did she do that?”

“Every single time we had sex except for the first time.”

“And you had to like it too, or you wouldn’t keep doing it,” Tessa accused.

Ty shrugged. “Once we were in the act, I didn’t give a shit what she did, just as long as we kept … you know.”

Tessa laughed again. “She put that ol’ Black Magic on you, huh?”

“She was pretty wild in bed,” Ty admitted.

“So what ended it?”

“The beginning of the end was when I saw her boyfriend one day when they were walking across campus together. He looked like the Incredible Hulk. I mean, this dude was a beast. After that I started avoiding Charmaine’s booty calls.”

Leaning back in her seat, Tessa nodded and folded her arms. “Now that’s what I call a good story.”

“Oh, but it’s not done. After a couple weeks thinking I made it out with my life, she corners me at a party. Told me we weren’t done till she said we were done.”

“Now you’re just making stuff up.”

“Scout’s honor.” Ty raised a hand, then reached for one of the rib tips, enjoying the expression on Tessa’s face.

“Okay, so then what?”

“I had to keep doing her until she was done.”

At that, Tessa laughed out loud–loud enough for other patrons to look over at them–and clapped her hands.

“You had to, huh?”

Her eyes were bright and she was looking at him differently, like he’d been inducted into some Cool Kids Club or something. Ty could see how it might be that Tessa seduced people—with her looking at him that way, he thought there were probably very few things he wouldn’t do just to remain in her favor.

‘And Then’ Author Tia Kelly Drops in with a Few Friends

And ThenHello Nia Forrester readers! Hi Nia! Thanks for inviting me to hang out today to share what I’ve been up to… I’m so exhausted these days from writing, family stuff and more writing. I feel like my eyes are crossing and look forward to a little break during the holidays. Regardless, I am so happy to be in this place and can’t wait to tell you about my latest book And Then.

 

Well a few weeks ago, I released my sixth story Playing for Love.  As much as I love the Wilkersons and look forward to what is ahead in the rest of the series, I knew that particular novel would take readers on an emotional roller coaster. I decided I couldn’t close out 2013 that way… I wanted to make the ride a little bit smoother as we transition into another year. So I decided to release one more novel this month – And Then. It’s not quite a holiday tale, but it is… well… calmer. Kind of. Perhaps I’ll just leave it at smoother.

 

“Smoother?” Shelby asked. “Did you even read The Love Sessions? That was a little much if you ask me and now you want to soften it up?”

Veronica raised her glass and nodded. “Agreed.”

“Excuse me?” I turned around to look at these faces and shake my head. Then I realize the “voices” I hear came from some of my characters. I really think I need to catch up on sleep… I’m hearing and seeing things. Mya Sinclair, Shelby West, Veronica Brooks and Marie Sinclair are talking to me. And I see them.

“You think you need sleep, try working with a husband with an international roster of athletes calling all hours of the day and night. No concept of time zones whatsoever,” Mya chimed in.

I dart my eyes around the table. Wait, table? How did I end up at a table in the middle of a restaurant? I nervously glanced at Shelby who was eyeing me above her salt-rimmed margarita glass.

She murmured. “You’re the one always writing about us eating when we’re together. Why are you so surprised?”

“I do not!” I snap, feeling defensive. Okay, I am not arguing with a fictional character… Am I?

“Just roll with it. You have to pick and choose your battles with these three. I do,” Marie whispered before sliding a bowl of salsa my way. She winked and I politely smile before reaching for a tortilla chip. My hand collides with Mya’s and she laughs.

“Don’t mind her. She’s always stuffing her face,” Veronica joked. “So, what’s this about a new book? I thought you said all you planned to write about in the last one.”

“I did,” I replied. Damn, these are some good chips and salsa.

Mya looked across the table at me with a smile. “I told you.”

I couldn’t help my own grin. These women reminded me of old sister-friends, the kind of friends you want to know are in your corner through good times and bad.

As if reading my mind, Veronica chimed in, “You made sure we experienced our share of both. I wasn’t crazy about how you left things for me in The Love Sessions.”

“Did you read And Then?” I asked.

Veronica nodded and pointed to her e-reader on the table. “I was just telling the girls I might give the rest of your work another chance now. I stopped reading for awhile there.”

“I hope you have some juicy stuff between me and the hubby,” Shelby said as she reached for Veronica’s reader. “May I?”

Veronica handed it to her and Shelby started tapping the screen. Shelby added, “I already one-clicked it. I plan to read it this weekend when I get some free time. Now that I’m on winter break, I can finally catch up on all of my to be reads.”

“I finished it this morning. Pretty slick of you to drop another book like that without telling anyone. I happened to see it mentioned on Facebook that you had a new one out and it was about us,” Mya remarked. “By the way, we need to talk about Carlos.”

“Why does everyone bring up Carlos Ortiz? He was in another series altogether.” I asked.

The ladies exchanged glances with each other, but no one would say anything. The one I counted on to speak up was the most tight-lipped – Veronica.

“Don’t look at me,” she said. “You know that’s not who I am anymore.”

“You’re okay with that?” I asked.

Veronica shrugged. “Did I have a choice? Life happens and we learn from our mistakes. Things could have been a lot worse for me, but I guess with children present and it being the holidays you cut me some slack.”

Slowly a sly smile flashed across her face just as Shelby interjected. “There were little ones in the last one and Tia didn’t hold back.”

“True,” Mya said quietly.

“Wait, do you all think I was that harsh in The Love Sessions?” I ask.

They exchanged looks again until Veronica finally spoke up. “No you weren’t harsh. It was just very emotional. Actually, The Love Sessions was eye opening. At least it was for me. I wish I read it before Darius and I decided to divorce each other. Maybe things would have been different for us.”

Veronica sighed and looked away. Then something made her look back at me and I saw maturity in her eyes that I never noticed before. “I did love him. You never gave me a chance to say it to him, but Darius was my first and possibly only love. I always wondered if I could go back… if you could rewrite The Love Sessions, would you let me tell him? Would it have changed anything?”

The table got quiet. Several servers appeared and placed large platters in front of everyone and the ladies went about eating. I noticed the plate in front of me loaded with one of my favorite dishes… enchiladas verdes.

Marie giggled and pointed to the cheesy, gooey loveliness I was staring at. “Just like you think you know us so well, we know you, too. Thank Shelby for ordering for you. Somehow she knew you would show up.”

I dig in trying to ignore that nagging feeling reminding me that the food could not be real, just like these women are nothing but fonts on a page.

“Really? You want to go there?” Shelby asked, arching a brow high as she looked at me. “If we aren’t real, why bring us back for another book?”

I thought about her question. I wanted to answer her, but I also wanted to sanely respond in a way that would not attract attention if anyone happened to notice me having a conversation with myself in the corner of a restaurant (that was if I really happened to be in this incredible place with delicious Mexican food).

“My last novel, Playing for Love, was a little hard for me to write and release. It picked at some old scabs. I needed that comfort afterward; you know the feeling you get when surrounded by old friends. You all have been that constant this year and there when I experienced some really big moments like the USA Today review. Shelby, you were my first character that I introduced to the world. It feels like yesterday when I imagined you and Matthew walking into Cowboys Stadium.”

Shelby smiled at me and nodded. I looked over at Mya and knew she was still hesitant to open up with me now. She endured so much and I don’t think she understood how much it hurt me to write her going through it.

“I know,” Mya whispered. She reached for my hand and squeezed it. “It’s okay.”

“Mya, you were the one everyone wanted to strangle. Remember? You made it hard for Donovan,” I said. She nodded and I continued, “But I knew that there was more to you. The funny thing is, I believe Donovan always understood you better than I could as the writer. It was the love I felt between you and Donovan that made me want to explore unconditional love. That love I feel like is missing in the media. That’s why I needed to come back home to where it all started, to be around all of you when I closed out the year. I needed you.”

Veronica reached for a tissue and dabbed her eye. And then she cleared her throat and said quietly, “I am glad you came back to us. We needed you, too. Obviously, a lot has changed since The Love Sessions. Seeing where we all ended up in And Then was a great way to bring the series to a close.”

“Who said that was the end?” I suddenly asked. “A few of you are not attached and you know how I am in love with love. Anything is possible.”

Marie groaned and held up both hands. “Someone please take Tia’s pen away.”

A ringing phone was heard above the sudden bickering and I watched Mya reach for it. She answered it and nodded while she spoke. Then she passed me her cell and said, “It’s for you.”

I take the phone and look at it, musing that there I was with imaginary people, eating pretend enchiladas and now taking *insert air quotes* a phone call.

“Hello?”

“Hey Tia! It’s Donovan Sinclair.”

Now this is getting out of hand. “Yes, Donovan?”

“The guys and I are at our favorite spot grabbing a bite and wanted to know if you’d mind swinging by. We have a few questions about this book you just put out about us.”

“Remind her we are lawyers.” I heard in the background.

Crap.

I chewed on the corner of my lip and the ladies shook their heads amusingly. “Sure Donnie. I guess I should ask Mya for the directions?”

“Why? Now you want to ask for help doing something?”

I recognized the voice and realized that either Jackson took the phone or I was on speakerphone. Finally I sighed and gave in. “Give me half an hour to get there. I’m not leaving until I finish these enchiladas.”

Then I hung up the phone, passed it back to Mya and grabbed my fork.

“I heard Donnie’s not happy with this one,” she said, after putting the phone back in her bag. “He managed to get an advanced copy of it and read it the other night.”

Shelby added, “Eric’s not pleased either. You know how he hates our business being put out there.”

I looked at Veronica and she shrugged. “Why are you looking at me? You broke Darius and me up two years ago, remember?”

I rolled my eyes and sighed.

Figures while I was busy trying to finish up my Christmas shopping my characters had a bone to pick with me about my writing.

The server stopped by to place the check on the table and the ladies all looked my way. I shook my head and stood up. “You all looked pretty cozy before you pulled me into this hallucination. I’m sure you can cover the bill.”

 

Now to figure out how to handle the men…

 

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.

 

Buy Links:

Kindle

Nook

 

Social Media Links

http://www.TiaWithAPen.com

Facebook.com/AuthorTiaKelly

Twitter.com/TiaWithAPen

SAMPLE SUNDAY: From ‘Wife’

Jay PromoA

It was dusk. All afternoon Jay and Keisha had been in bed, touching, tasting, teasing. He was pretty sure he fell asleep before she did. Reaching over next to him and feeling nothing, he sat up. Keisha was standing naked by the window, her back to him. Hearing the movement, she turned and smiled, but not before Jay detected the worry in her eyes.

Inclining his head he gestured for her to come back to him and she did. Pulling her close, Jay pressed his lips to her forehead, and Keisha leaned into him.

“What’s the matter?” she said.

“What d’you mean?” he asked.

“Before. When you picked me up, you weren’t talking. And then you were all over me and . . .”

“You didn’t like that?” Jay teased.

Keisha twisted her lips and sighed. “Jayson, you know what I mean.”

“No, seriously, you . . .”

“Okay, you need to hear me say it?” she asked. “No, I didn’t like it. I loved it. I love when you touch me. No matter how you touch me. Except . . .”

“Except what?”

“Except when you were behind me, at first,” she admitted. “I don’t like it when I feel like you don’t . . . see me.”

“Key,” Jayson turned her head, and looked her in the eye. “I always see you. What else would I see? Who else?”

At that her eyes flitted away and Keisha pulled in her lower lip.

“Now I should ask what’s on your mind,” Jay said.

“I just want . . .”

“You want . . ?” he prompted.

“To be the only one,” she said. “For once in my life, I want to be the only one.”

Jay hesitated. And not because the commitment of it frightened him. He liked women, and now that he was a man and no longer the boy he had been before prison, he realized just how much they liked him; but having played with the novelty of being physically desired over the past couple of years, Jay knew that his orientation was toward monogamy. Being with one woman didn’t scare him at all. Keisha, on the other hand, did.

She might think she was ready for him, for a relationship, but he wasn’t sure.

Whatever else Keisha had as positive attributes, she was still a little immature, a little selfish, and a lot spoiled. When they went grocery-shopping, Jay saw that she had no real sense of the value of money, and barely ever looked at prices; and when they watched TV, she was mesmerized by luxury items—cars, jewelry, ads for exotic vacations—she still had some traces of the girl who used to sleep with wealthy men just to earn access to the finer things in life. A woman like that might never be satisfied for long being with a man like him, who worked with his hands for a living and had a prison record that made it extremely unlikely he would ever have a traditional corporate career and the financial security that came with it.

Though he had no doubt that Keisha wanted him to herself, Jay just wasn’t completely sure why. It could be just natural territorialism, or it could be something more, the occasional flash of recognition in her eyes that told him they . . . knew each other on a deeper, more fundamental level. Maybe even more than anyone else knew them.

“When you were out there, on the road?” Keisha said. “Were there . . . like, women and . . ?”

“Some.”

“Like how many, some?”

There it was—her territorial nature. A woman used to sharing men with their wives shouldn’t have been this way, but it pleased Jay to know that with him, she felt differently.

“I don’t know how many.”

Keisha wrenched free of him and sat up, arms folded. “That many?”

“No. I just wasn’t counting or anything. A few, okay?”

“Are you in touch with any of them now?” she insisted. Her brow was wrinkled and her lips pursed into an angry line. Her jealousy was making him rock hard. He reached for her but she pulled back.

“No,” he said.

“And what about this chick up here? What’s her name again?”

“Key . . .”

“You don’t want to tell me?” she demanded.

“You’re not going to choke her out, are you?” he asked, referring to a run-in Keisha once had with a woman he was sleeping with.

Keisha rolled her eyes. “You’re not going to give me a reason to choke her out, are you?”

Jay laughed, in spite of himself. “C’mere. Crazy girl.”

He pulled her back down to him so that he was wedged between her butt-cheeks and reached around to touch her. She felt swollen, and Jay wondered if she was too sore, because damned if he wasn’t ready again. Keisha lifted her leg and moving it backward, hooked it around his so that she was open to him. Reaching around with his other hand, Jay cupped her breast. Keisha was ready for him within moments, and before he could, she moved slightly upward and forward then grasped him in her fist positioning him to enter her.

“If you don’t want me to be crazy, you won’t touch that bitch again,” Keisha said as he slid inside her.

“Uh huh.” Jay tried to form words, but couldn’t. She felt tighter than before, and was rolling her hips backward and forward, the motion almost hypnotic. He didn’t think he would last very long this time around.

Say it,” she insisted. “That you won’t touch her again. That you won’t touch anyone but me.”

“You want me to tell you whose dick this is, is that it?” Jay joked.

Grasping her about the waist, Jay took control of the situation and flipped Keisha over onto her back, pinning her arms high above her head and holding her in place. Using a knee, he parted her legs again and fell between them, avoiding her maneuvers as she tried to get him to enter her again, instead pressing himself upwards so he was gliding between her lips, stroking her with the underside of his erection.

Keisha squirmed and twisted beneath him, and Jay could see the combination of frustration and excitement in her features as she struggled against his firm hold.

“Stop playin’. . .

“I’m not playing.” Jay lowered his head and tongued the side of her neck, Keisha leaned into it, groaning now. “If it’s yours, don’t wait for me to give it to you, take it,” he breathed.

She tried, but still he held himself at bay, enjoying her contortions as she fought to get him inside her. Finally, pulling her knees up to her chest, managing to use his hold on her as an anchor, Keisha tilted her pelvis at the perfect angle for penetration. She opened her eyes then, and smiled her triumph. Jay had a feeling it would always be like this between them—a war between two strong, passionate natures. But just before she could bear down on him, Jay pulled back one last time.

“Look at me, Keisha,” he said.

She did right away, tilting her chin upward, her eyes meeting his, even as she continued to push against him. Jay was only just barely able to maintain his own control. But something needed to be said, and right now was the time to say it, when he had her complete attention.

“I’m yours, but you’re mine, too.”

“Yes,” she said, straining against him. Her hair was wild, her lips pink and bee-stung and her eyes frantic with need. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

“Now I want you to say it.”

“Nobody touches me but you,” Keisha said.

Blog Stop: Sharon C. Cooper, author of ‘Still the Best Woman for the Job’!

stillthebestwoman - 200x300Today, I’m joined by Sharon C. Cooper, author of popular romantic intrigue novels that make your pulse race, like ‘Secret Rendezvous‘ and it’s follow-up ‘Rendezvous with Danger‘. But to limit her to intrigue would be a mistake. Her sweet (and hot) romance novella ‘Best Woman for the Job‘ got us all revved up and now, thank goodness, she’s released the conclusion of Toni and Craig’s story, ‘Still the Best Woman for the Job‘ so we can get our fix!

Joint heir to the largest construction company in the state of Ohio, master plumber, Toni (TJ) Jenkins has been groomed to behave in a way that is befitting of the respected Jenkins’ family name. But after she breaks up with the only man she’s ever loved, to protect a secret she holds close to her heart, poor decisions lead her down a path of destruction that risks ruining the reputation of the company her family has worked hard to build.

 Cincinnati police officer, Craig Logan, knows Toni is the woman for him. They’ve been apart for months, but when they run into each other at a party, the passion between them sizzles stronger than ever. She says she can’t handle dating a cop, but he senses that something else keeps her from rushing back into his arms. Craig wants her to be his wife, and he’ll do whatever it takes to prove no matter what she’s hiding, she’s still the best woman for the job.

From ‘Still the Best Woman for the Job’:

It took everything she had not to steal another glance at Craig’s profile. She still couldn’t believe she was sitting next to him. Eight months was a long time to go without being able to stare into those sexy eyes that had unlocked her heart and soul a year and a half ago. Everything about him screamed hot dreamy hunk and the sheer essence of the man he was on the inside made him that much hotter.

Realization dawned on her. If she could barely sit next to him in a car without wanting to leap onto his lap and have buck-wild sex with him, how the heck was she going to be able to have dinner with him and not fall back into his arms?

“What in the hell were you doing with that jerk?” Craig glanced at her and then back at the road, gripping the steering wheel tight enough for Toni to notice the rippling muscles on his forearm. “Anyone who would get drunk while at an event with his woman’s family is clearly not someone you want to be hanging out with.”

Toni’s pulse sped up and she gritted her teeth. All thoughts of having sex with him flew out the window and were replaced with thoughts of ringing his neck.

“It’s bad enough I have to put up with dating speeches from my cousins,” she said, her voice getting louder with each word. “There is no way I’m going to sit here and take dating advice from you.”

“I’m not trying to tell you what to do. I just think you can do better. As a matter of fact, you have done better.” He jutted out his chin. The smug look on his face was like that of a hawk feasting on its latest conquest.

“What are you trying to say? That I’m not capable of choosing a decent date? That no one can compare to you? So what, you think you’re the only man worthy of spending time with me and my family?”

He glanced at her again and frowned. “Well…yeah. Compared to that chump, Ronald, I’m frickin Prince Charming.”

“Whatever.” Toni waved his comment off and huffed. She folded her arms across her chest and ran her hands up and down her bare arms. In her haste to leave the party, she’d left without her shawl. The temperature had plummeted into the forties, and it was hard to believe it was springtime.

Craig shot her a look, his eyes zoned in on her hands moving up and down her arms. He reached over and turned up the heat, grabbed his suit jacket from the back seat and handed it to her.

“Listen, I don’t want to argue with you. My only concern is your safety, and I don’t think going out with a guy like Ronald is a good idea.”

Character is built by the choices we make. The words that had been playing around in Toni’s head all evening traveled to the forefront of her mind as she stared out the passenger side window. She blew out a breath and dropped her head against the headrest. What was wrong with her? She wasn’t some little hoochie who had to settle for any man that came along. Successful, handsome men approached her all the time. So why was she dating losers?

She knew why. It started with trying to fix the hole in her heart and then it was more about choosing guys who were just out to have a good time, not those who wanted to get serious and settle down, like Craig.

“So,” Craig cleared his throat, “have you been dating this Ronald guy long?”

Toni could tell he tried to sound casual, but his voice was tense, almost strangled. His expression was anything but casual.

“No,” she said absently. “We weren’t dating. I’ve gone out with him a couple of times, but nothing serious.” Closing her eyes, she fell back into what they once had­—seamless conversation.

Seconds later, her eyes popped opened. Hold up, why was she answering his questions? He no longer had a right to question what she did, or whom she dated even if a small part of her wanted him to know.

“So I guess that means you’re not seeing anyone seriously.” Craig’s voice held a hint of uncertainty, so unlike his take charge personality.

“I guess it does.” She turned her back to him and fully faced the passenger window as he arrived on her grandparent’s street. It was time to put an end to the direction that the conversation was going. The last thing she wanted was for Craig to think there was a chance for them to get back together.

Toni shrugged off his jacket and returned it to the back seat with every intention of thanking him and then jumping out of the car, but then he touched her. A jolt of adrenaline whipped through her body and her heart rate kicked into double time. Damn this man. The hold he had on her arm was gentle, yet firm. She stared down at his hand and then turned to face him.

Those eyes. Eyes so beautifully intense reached down to the depths of her soul, and all the love she once felt for him came rushing back. Double damn him.

“Toni.” He swept a lock of her hair off her face and the back of his hand slid down her cheek. She leaned into his touch and her eyes fluttered closed. “I love you,” he said. “I know you don’t want to hear that, but I do. That means I care about your safety and baby I know guys like Ronald. They’re bad news.” Toni heard concern in his voice, but his words of love caressed her like a gentle summer breeze against her heated skin.

She risked a glance at him and the heart-rending tenderness of his gaze touched her from the top of her head to the soles of her feet. “I know.” She didn’t bother clarifying which statement she was agreeing to because both statements were true – Craig loved her and Ronald was bad news.

*

Find out what happens next by getting your copy of Still the Best Woman for the Job!

 

Find Sharon in Cyberpace!

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And happy reading!

N.

Blog Stop: Lillian MacKenzie Rhine, author of ‘Winter’s Island’!

FINALCOVER1kLillian MacKenzie Rhine has just released her new vampire romance, Winter’s Island. Below is a blurb about the gorgeously lethal paranormal romance.

 ***

Cay Winters is an impressionable free spirit from Los Angeles, California. Losing her mother at a very youthful age has given her a drive to live life a certain way. Her aunt Lulu and cousin Malcolm welcome her into their hearts, taking care of all of the things needed by a motherless child. Being an artist has taken her to a lot of interesting places; but when the chance to live in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands appears, she is eager to take it.

Once there, she is overwhelmed by the beauty and the mystique of the Virgin Islands. The food, the beaches, the attractions are amazing, but William Gatling is the best part. He takes on the task of teaching Cay how to love the right way. The only problem is the secret that he holds from her. A revelation that could rip her from his heart; or, worse yet, end her life.

The two lovers spend so much effort trying to fight their inner demons that they cannot see the true devils that are sitting in front of their faces. Once Cay fights her battles within, she can finally win the war outside. Once William accepts the truth, he can see the light.

***

Today this talented author will be discussing the insights for choosing the interesting location of Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands for her setting for Winter’s Island.

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The novel Winter’s Island was heavily inspired from a personal friend of mine that happened to originally reside on the beautiful island of Saint Thomas. With making this 32 square foot mecca of wildlife and beautiful beaches the location for my story, I embarked on the task of keeping the spirit of the island present at all times.

There was not a day that I did not research not only Saint Thomas itself but the Caribbean and West Indians as well. Never having the luxury of visiting such glorious environments, I had to heavily rely on personal friends who had roots in the Caribbean plus others who had visited themselves.  I was very naive to the fact that each island, even the three of Virgin Islands, all operated differently with a range of traditions and customs. YouTube became my best bet when it came to internet research. The drawbacks from researching on the internet is the abundance of information for tourists which was against what I was trying to achieve.

Given that run-of-the-mill maps of Saint Thomas did cover a good portion of the island small rural areas unseen on most maps had an importance to me as. With an abundance of beaches and locations, it was vital that I knew where all attractions were in comparison to my main characters’ residences.

Another thing that proved to be interesting is capturing the local culinary styles and soul foods. I found myself going through a history lesson of sorts just to answer the question why the foods of Saint Thomas have a Indian fusion with curries and Indian inspired dishes versus what I thought to be island specific foods like fish and fruits. Of course, no one can survive only on fish and mangos…well they could…but that would not make for a good book.

So outside of knowing the different types of foods, describing them was a different story. How to describe something you have never sampled? In the exact way a reader would experience it; through careful descriptive and wild imaginations. Being a great cook with a sensitive palate does not hurt either. Some of the dishes that I showcased were callaloo, roti, as well as rice and peas.

Lastly, the climate and building style made up for the remainder of vital island information. This also called for a brief…well extensive…history lesson as well. From the historical African slave market that presently held the produce market to Tillett Gardens, the island proved to have a lot of history within those 32 square feet. The mixture of building structures, ornate iron workings, and hillside residences made up for a lot of the overall look. The climate was perfect for the most part so I put a lot of focus into the description of daytime versus the night life. The piercing sun and rich liquid darkness of night that comes alive with lights and people.

 

Overall, I am confident that I was not only able to capture the essence of Saint Thomas from remote towns to succulent dishes and enchanting environments, but I was able to make the island itself a major character amongst Cay, William, Jeremiah, and Ivy.

***

Saint Thomas as a fifth character in the story sounds like a great read to me. To order your copy of Winter’s Island, click on the amazon links found below and be sure to leave a review on amazon and goodreads. Find book trailers, character bios, and more on Lillian MacKenzie Rhine’s blog found below.

Thank you for tuning in today.

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