SAMPLE SUNDAY: From ‘The Education of Miri Acosta’ — coming 2014.

Miri2bcoming soon

Coming from a large Dominican family that takes their gender roles very seriously, Miri Acosta has always enjoyed the protection of her three older brothers.

Until now.

Almost twenty-two, and just graduated from university she is finally supporting herself instead of living off her parents, or her baseball superstar brother, Mark. Eager to experience every bit of what she’s missed her whole life living in the most exciting city in the world, Miri decides to buck her family’s wishes and become a modern, single woman. ‘Modern’ means clubbing, dating, and … casual sex.

Just so long as her brothers don’t find out.

As she’s about to put her ‘modern woman’ plan into effect, Miri meets Eduardo Cruz, the newest player on her brother’s MLB team who is exactly what she’s running from—a bossy, overbearing, traditional Dominican walking bundle of machismo.

At first, Miri can’t stand ‘Duardo … but she can’t stay away from him, either, so she decides that he’s just the right man to get her started with the whole casual sex thing.

But ‘Duardo isn’t interested in a ‘modern’ relationship. If Miri wants him, she’s going to have to learn how to become a more traditional Dominican girl. Or at least how to pretend to be one.

EXCERPT:

She was late. Again.

Miri Acosta looked down at her outfit and cursed herself for not leaving enough time to change. Taking a deep breath, she rang the bell and waited, praying that her sister-in-law would be the one to answer the door. Hearing the steps approaching inside, making clicking noises on the terrazzo tiles, Miri exhaled in relief. Only a woman’s shoes would make that sound, so she was safe.

“Miri!”

Her sister-in-law Dylan pulled her in to a tight hug and then held her at arms’ length to look her over.

“Shh,” Miri said, putting a finger over her lips before she could say anything more. “I need to borrow a top or something before I go in and see everybody.”

It was only then that Dylan seemed to truly take in what Miri was wearing—skintight jeans and an equally snug white sequined tank with black stilettos.

“Where the heck are you coming from at this time of the afternoon looking like that?” Dylan asked. “Were you …?”

Shh!” Miri said again. Grabbing her sister-in-law’s hand she pulled her toward the staircase opposite the front door.

The entire family would be out back, everyone talking and laughing, waiting for Sunday dinner to be served in the large formal dining room. Except that the Acostas didn’t do formal, so now it was just the ‘family dining room’, or at least that’s what Miri’s eldest brother Mark liked to call it.

“Your brother would …”

“I know what he would,” Miri said as she and Dylan ascended the stairs. “That’s why I need you to loan me something to wear.”

“What have you been doing?”

“I haven’t been doing anything. Just out with friends, that’s all.”

“Do you need to take a shower or anything?”

Dylan led her into the large master suite. The home, which her brother and Dylan had purchased shortly after Mark signed with the Mets, was stunningly beautiful, and conveniently large. So Miri would have no problem showering, getting cleaned up and dressed in something more appropriate to face her three brothers, parents and whomever they’d invited over this time for the customary family Sunday dinner.

“Anyone else down there today?” Miri asked as she sat on the edge of the bed, peeling off her jeans.

“The new guy on the team. Mark invited him over because he’s got no family in the States. You know …”

“Lemme guess,” Miri said rolling her eyes. “Some nice Dominican country boy?”

Dylan laughed. “Something like that.” She stood in front of the mirror and fussed with her shoulder-length, wildly curly hair, twisting and releasing it so that it exploded in a mass about her face once again.

Miri watched her. Dylan was always fussing with her hair. Miri had a suspicion that what she really wanted was to chop the whole thing off. But she never would because Mark liked it. And what Mark liked, Dylan tried to comply with. As much as Miri loved and respected her brother, and adored her sister-in-law who was more like a best friend, their traditional man-wears-the-pants marriage was precisely what Miri didn’t want for herself. If in fact she ever decided to get married. The jury was still out on that question.

In her time at Columbia a lot had changed for Miri. Even though she was just barely a year out of university, she was determined never to lose those parts of herself she found while there—the independent, assertive and opinionated young woman she’d never dreamed she was at heart. If her family had anything to say about it, she would get a nice, not-too-challenging career, meet a nice Dominican man and settle down to pop out some babies.

Well, they wouldn’t have anything to say about it. Or that was Miri’s plan anyway.

“Where’s Jordan?” Miri asked once she was undressed. “If she isn’t downstairs, I want to kiss her before I jump in the shower.”

“Downstairs, attached to her father probably,” Dylan said shaking her head.

Dylan and Mark’s three-year old, Jordan was Miri’s only niece. Her other brother Peter had a son, Pedro, who was about to turn five. Her third brother Matt, Peter’s twin had no kids. He was the consummate bachelor and black sheep of the family. Black sheep because they had no idea what Miri had been up to, anyway. By Dominican standards, they were a small family. With four kids, all of age, Miri’s parents were beginning to yearn for a houseful of grandchildren as much as they doted on the two they already had.

“Okay, so I’ll clean up and meet you down there. Just tell them I needed to make a phone call or something. I won’t take too long.”

Dylan gave her a look, which Miri knew meant that she hated to lie to everyone. Dylan and Mark’s marriage had been through a baptism of fire in her brother’s rookie year in the league and now they were one of those sickening couples everyone hated, who had no secrets and told no lies. If coupledom were something she aspired to, Miri supposed that in that respect at least, she wouldn’t mind being like them.

“Be quick about it,” Dylan said. “Or soon your mother’s going to come looking for you.”

__________________

After she’d showered, Miri found a pair of jeans in Dylan’s closet and an appropriately chaste white blouse and grey cardigan to wear over it. Though they wore the same numerical size, Dylan’s clothing felt roomy on her slender frame and Miri wished for the millionth time that she wasn’t quite so sylphlike, and that she might wake up one morning having grown boobs and a nice round booty like Dylan’s. Men liked that, and for sure her brother couldn’t seem to keep his hands off Dylan’s.

Raking a comb through her long auburn hair, Miri found a few bobby pins to secure it at her nape, and borrowed one of Dylan’s lipsticks in a muted coral shade. Checking in the mirror once more, she grimaced at her reflection. She looked eighteen again. Like the innocent, sweet-as-pie girl from the South Bronx that she used to be. The image didn’t bother her so much, except that it wasn’t true of who she was anymore. She just wished she had the guts to apprise everyone in her family of that fact.

Look at me! I’m all grown up now! She sometimes wanted to yell the words out loud. But they were so invested in the image in the mirror that Miri doubted they would hear her even if she did.

Making her way downstairs and toward the back of the house where her family was gathered, Miri heard their voices as she went. Her father’s and Mark’s, Peter’s and Matt’s, Dylan’s and that of Xiomara, Peter’s wife. And as a backdrop, there were the squeals from her niece and nephew who loved each other like siblings.

At the door to the veranda, Miri paused and scanned the faces of the people she loved so much, recalling in an instant that no matter how she complained about them all, she loved them fiercely and knew they loved her back just the same. Why else would she eschew every single Sunday afternoon activity her friends tried to tempt her into just to come all the way up here to Westchester to be treated like an infant?

Today, following their long night of clubbing in the Village, Miri’s friends were on a quest to get cupcakes at some new bakery in Midtown that was rumored to have revolutionized ‘the art of the cupcake.’ That’s what her friend Vanessa had called it—“the art of the cupcake.” Nessa was everything Miri hoped to be, if she could just find the room to pull it off—the quintessential New York It-Girl with the beautiful hair, chic clothes and living in a hip neighborhood.

But of course, Nessa was free to reinvent herself. Her family was safely in Nebraska somewhere, and needn’t know that their sweet Vanessa had cut her hair short, pierced her navel and wore black lipstick. The third in their little crew was Marisol, a mouthy Nuyorican who like Miri had to live a double-life just to avoid friction with her family. Still, as much as Miri loved those girls she loved these people more—this maddening group of people who any minute now would notice she was there and start prying into her business, asking questions about her whereabouts that she would have to evade.

But they didn’t notice she was standing there. At least not at first. Instead someone else noticed. Sitting at the edge of the crowd, wearing a white linen short-sleeved shirt and loose khaki pants was a stranger. The country boy Miri presumed. But far from countrified and unsophisticated, he was, well, stunning—a deep, dark, brown complexion with curly, coal-black hair, his quiet and stillness stood out among the noisy Acosta brood. And yet he seemed perfectly comfortable, one leg resting on the other ankle to knee, leaning back in his chair, a slight smile on his lips as though enjoying the warmth, family and fellowship.

Or at least that was what Miri thought he was enjoying until she realized she was staring directly at him, her mouth not completely closed.

His smile widened as he took her in, and his eyebrows inched upward.

Was he amused at her expense? Miri bristled at the thought, forcing herself to clamp her mouth shut, and then slightly jutting out her chin, refusing to be intimidated by his beauty.

A voice at her ear startled her, and Miri jumped. It was Dylan. She had approached and was inches away without Miri even noticing.

“So,” she said. “I see you’ve spotted ‘Duardo.”

SAMPLE SUNDAY: ‘The Seduction of Dylan Acosta’

Mark showerThey ran in silence for awhile, the only sounds their panting and the soles of their running shoes on the trail.

“Everything I ever wanted is happening to me right now,” Mark said suddenly. “I dreamed about playing in the Majors since I was like six years old. And now it’s going to happen. You know what that’s going to mean for my family?”

Dylan said nothing.

He was getting a little breathless from talking as he ran, but continued nevertheless. “I can send my sister to college. Any college she wants to go to. My father can retire and my parents can go to DR anytime they want instead of scraping together pennies to go every three years. Hell, they can buy a house there. Or even build one.”

Dylan waited for it, but he didn’t mention a single thing he wanted for himself.

“And all I have to do is show up at a few events, a few meetings, take some pictures and play ball when the time comes. And I can’t wait to play.”

“Then what’s so frustrating?”

“I met someone I really like and . . . but I don’t have the time I wish I had. So she’s off dancing in nightclubs with other guys, and dating lawyers.”

Dylan looked at him, not knowing how to address the last part of what he said. All she knew was that she wasn’t about to make any promises not to go out, or not to dance with guys who wanted to dance with her because Mark, despite all his attention, had made no promises to her.

“Okay, let’s burn it out,” she said. “Sprint the last hundred yards back to the car?”

“No,” Mark said.

“No? Don’t tell me you’re tapped out already, Mr. Superstar Shortstop,” she teased.

“I want to know first. Are you?”

“Am I what?”

“Hanging out with any of those guys you work with. Or dating anyone.”

“No.”

Mark nodded. “Okay.” Then he smiled at her and unexpectedly broke away into a full-speed sprint.

“Cheater!”

Dylan went chasing after him.

By the time they got to the car, they were both soaking wet with perspiration. Mark draped their towels over the backs of their seats and they got in, pulling away from the curb.

“So remember I said I want to show you something?”

“Now? How about we get cleaned up first?”

“It’ll be fine. There’s no dress code involved.”

They headed back downtown and Mark pulled into an underground parking garage, leading Dylan into a building she recognized but had never given much notice to before. Like many New York buildings, it was fairly nondescript outside and offered absolutely no clue as to what awaited once you went in.

The condo was on the third floor, a beautiful, newly renovated unit near Washington Square Park. Boasting pristine dark oak floors, wonderful light and airy, modern rooms, it was fully furnished and looked like something out of Architectural Digest. There were three enormous picture windows overlooking Washington Square flanked by low-slung sand-colored sofas. On the opposite wall was a modern polished marble fireplace that would be beautiful when lit. The dining room and kitchen were separated from the living space by a solid red brick wall that stood in stark contrast to the modernism of the rest of the condo.

“I almost bought it,” Mark said. “Then I choked at the last minute. So it’s just a rental, but I wanted you to see it, see if you like it.”

“I love it,” Dylan said spinning around and taking it all in. “What’s not to like?”

“Maybe you’ll spend some time here,” Mark said, coming toward her.

“I’d like that.”

She looked up at him and he leaned in to kiss her. Then he was running his hands down her sides, and this time she was self-conscious, because she was damp and sweaty and maybe even a little ripe as well. But Mark didn’t seem to notice or care and the next thing Dylan knew, he was pulling her running tights down and over her hips and she was too excited and too surprised to object. She held her breath as he got to her feet and peeled it off one leg at a time, removing her sneakers and socks as he did. This was one hell of a turnaround for a guy who not too long ago was pulling back as he kissed her, just so she wouldn’t feel his erection.

Standing barefoot and in her underwear and t-shirt in the middle of Mark’s brand-new living room Dylan reached out to raise his shirt, over his rippled stomach, over his chest, helping as he shrugged it completely off. His chest was covered in a light layer of the same silky dark hair on his arms, and Dylan couldn’t help but reach out and touch him. And he actually quivered, as though just her touch was pleasure to him. In his face, Dylan saw a mirror-image of the wanting she felt. She slipped her fingers into the waistband of his sweatpants and pulled them down, crouching as she did.  When she was face to face with his pelvis, she stopped and blinked. Whoa. Someone was rearing to go. Mark pulled her up and kissed her as he stepped out of the clothes she’d removed. Without speaking, he led her to the rear of the condo.

The walls and the floor of the shower were sandstone and built to look like the rocks on a waterfall. Mark turned on the water and jets came alive from all directions. He adjusted the temperature then turned to Dylan again. She remained perfectly still while he stripped her naked, slowly removing her shirt, her sports bra and her underwear and tossing them aside.

For awhile he just looked at her, for so long that she was almost self-conscious. He trailed his fingers over her perfectly flat stomach, down and then up again, finally cupping her breasts in both hands and bending to kiss them, his tongue moving over her nipples and around them, tasting her. They were both breathing audibly now, almost as though they were still on the Central Park trail, just before they hit the crest of the hill. Then Mark raised his head to look at her.

“Is this moving too fast for you?” he asked. But there was a plea in his eyes, as though he was begging her to say ‘no’.

Dylan shook her head.

If anything, it wasn’t moving fast enough. She considered for a second—but only a second—that she should probably play a little harder to get; maybe he would lose interest after this if she was too easy. But in the moment, it was difficult to care. She wanted him as badly as he obviously wanted her. And there was every likelihood that he’d lose interest anyway. She would be foolish to assume that this would change anything. When all was said and done, he would still disappear into his new life, and she would become a distant memory. But for now, she would take what he was willing to give.

When they stepped into the shower, Dylan was immediately drenched from all sides. The water temperature was perfect, and she thought only fleetingly about her hair. Thankfully it was securely braided—she wasn’t sure how she would have felt about him seeing her massive, tangled ‘fro once they got out. But all thoughts of hair or anything besides him were eradicated when Mark touched her once again. His hands were slippery with soap now and he ran them all over her, bathing her the way one might bathe a child. Dylan submitted, completely transfixed by the look of utter and complete focus on his face. She took the soap from him and reciprocated, running her hands over his arms, his firm stomach, his sides, his back, his buttocks.

When she brought her hands around to stroke him, he let her for a few moments, his eyes closed, his mouth slightly open, a low guttural sound emitting from between his lips. Seeing him this excited, excited her and Dylan redoubled her efforts, but Mark pulled out of her reach.

He lowered his head, kissing her, his hands simultaneously rinsing the soap from her body and caressing her. The cool water, the warmth of his hands, and the lack of friction as their skin made contact was almost too much. Then he was kneeling in front of her, the water falling over him in sheets, and spreading her thighs once again. A girl could be forgiven if she passed out at a time like this.

SAMPLE SUNDAY: ‘The Seduction of Dylan Acosta’

From ‘The Seduction of Dylan Acosta’:

Mark again02Later when it grew hot, Mark, his brothers and cousins shed their shirts and jumped into the pool, then sat poolside, soaking wet and playing dominoes, drinking beer, talking over each other and joking around. Dylan wanted to swim but avoided going outside when they were all there in a group, finding them overwhelmingly masculine and intimidating. Mark sat among them, as loud as they were, laughing and slamming his dominoes on the table they’d pulled outside from the great room for the game.

Ava would have loved this, Dylan remembered thinking, as she peered out at them. Then Mark had spotted her and excused himself abruptly. Peter sat down to take over his hand at dominoes.

Did you want me for something? 

He’d walked up to her, his chest almost touching hers, and Dylan swallowed. The way he said that . . .

She looked up at him and he smirked at her, like he could read her mind. Raising one dark eyebrow he held her hand, pulling her along with him into his bedroom suite, shutting the door and putting his hand at her back.

With one swift motion he’d loosened the knot on her halter top and lowered his head to her breasts. Dylan’s chest heaved as she tried to catch her breath. Just as she’d begun to enjoy that, to bask in it, Mark suddenly turned her around again so her back was to him. He walked her forward and bent her over the bed, running his hand up her spine, pressing her face against a pillow as he did.
He reached around to her front and unfastened the waist of her shorts, pulling them down and spreading her legs as he did. Dylan felt his hands again, cupping her, his fingers spreading her, massaging her until she was squirming against him.
He leaned over her, arms braced on either side of her on the bed, holding up his weight.

This is going to be quick, he said. We have maybe five minutes before one of my cousins or my brothers come barging in here.

You . . . you didn’t lock the door? Dylan asked, panicked and excited at the same time.

No.

Well, let’s . . .

She made as though to pull away and Mark gripped her about the waist with a forearm which felt like solid rock against her abdomen.

Too late for that, he said.

And that was when she felt him, already hard and pressing between her legs. With his free hand he continued to rub and stroke her as he pushed into her, exhaling deeply once he did. He moved his hips back and forth and in circles, and she groaned and pushed back against him, no longer caring who might come barging in. Within moments, Mark doubled the speed of his movements, stimulating her with his fingers, moving in and out of her and gripping her tightly about the waist all at once. It didn’t take long before Dylan was crying out, and with a deep moan, Mark emptied himself inside her.

He rested against her for a minute, kissing the back of her neck then slowly pulling out. Dylan heard him close the zipper of his jeans. Crouching, he pulled her shorts back up and with unsteady hands refastened her halter top. She had barely caught her breath before he had her completely dressed again, as though nothing had happened. But when he turned her to face him again, his eyes were warm, like melted dark chocolate. He cupped her face in his hands and leaned in to kiss her, so sweetly . . .

Don’t wash up, he said against her ear. I like knowing some of me is still inside you.

And then he left. Dylan was still pulling herself together, recovering when she heard him rejoin his brothers and cousins by the pool, ordering Peter out of his seat.

Amazon

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Meet Dylan

Dylan larger

All my life, I’ve felt as though just to keep up I had to run harder than everyone else. Now, in this new life, keeping up is much more difficult than ever before.

Every single day, I wake up wondering whether I’ll make some misstep, do something that will upset the apple cart. Not the apple cart my own life—but that of the conglomerate that is my husband Mark Acosta. He doesn’t seem to notice, but practically overnight, it’s become about so much more than just the two of us and how we feel about each other.

But the other baseball wives, they understand, so if I depend on them, I’ll manage this new life just fine. They’re here to help me. After all, they’re my friends . . . aren’t they?

THE SEDUCTION OF DYLAN ACOSTA

Available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Meet Mark

Mark too

Everyone told me things would change when I signed with the Mets. They told me it would be different once I was famous.Not much changed for me.

I still only think about two things all day, every day—playing ball . . . and Dylan. Problem is, while the fame and money haven’t changed me, they’ve definitely changed her.

THE SEDUCTION OF DYLAN ACOSTA

Available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

From the ‘Seduction of Dylan Acosta’ . . .

Dylan promo1FROM ‘The Seduction of Dylan Acosta’:
The weatherman promised sunny and seventy-four degrees for their wedding day, but when Dylan awoke in the condo that morning it was raining. Ava was next to her on the bed, and sleeping in the other room were Chelsea and Karen, two of her college girlfriends who had flown in to be bridesmaids. She was surprisingly calm, even when she saw the rain. She didn’t think about how her “big day” might be ruined or any of those clichés, she instead watched the raindrops hit the glass and smiled, because by nightfall, she would be Mark’s wife.

The entire morning, as she was primped and polished by her friends, Dylan was in a happy haze, drinking the mimosas Karen kept making and staring out the window at the rain. By three o’clock, the rain had let up and by four, she and her girls were in the car heading uptown. At five, she was walking toward Mark in the perfect white dress that Mrs. Acosta and Miri had chosen for her, looking into Mark’s eyes and feeling more sure of him and of them than she had ever been of anything in her life. And by five-twenty, she was Mrs. Mark Acosta.

Instead of the stuffy speeches at weddings Dylan had been to in the past, the mike was open for anyone who wanted to, to give their best wishes to the bride and groom. Mark’s brothers each gave boozy speeches about how much they loved their brother but how grateful they were that Dylan had taken him off their hands. 
Various childhood friends followed, speaking almost entirely in Spanish, finally prompting Mark to take the mike himself and tell the guests “my wife does not speak Spanish yet, so please speak English so she can understand you.” It was the first time Dylan heard him say the words “my wife.” It had slipped off his tongue so naturally, it made her blush with pleasure.

When all the speeches seemed to be done and the evening wore on, their guests became preoccupied with their dinner and the music so Mark pulled Dylan away and into the coat room where they made out like teenagers, secreting themselves among the crowd of damp coats.

Tax Weekend Sale: Romance and Erotic Romance Authors

Taking the sting out of Tax Day! These books from some writer friends of mine (and yours truly) are discounted between $0.99 and $1.99 this weekend only.

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Theblackwriter's Blog

00-salesTaxes can be a real buzzkill, but this weekend doesn’t have to be that way for romance lovers. Myself and five other authors have come together to bring you a Tax Weekend sale to take the sting out of the tax deadline. So finish your return, go off to Amazon Friday, April 12-Monday, April 15, 1-click and enjoy some great stories from authors you love, or new to you, authors. These are all great bargains for the price!

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Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever

L. V. Lewis

Discounted from $2.99 to $.99

Amazon

Summary:

Keisha Beale and her roommate Jada Jameson have half the money they need to start their dream business. A hookup from Jada’s well-connected father gets them a meeting with the elusive venture capitalist Tristan White. The only time slot he has available is at the close of business on a Friday afternoon when Jada has a nonrefundable…

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