Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion by Nigeria Lockley

Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion: Prayers for the Creative Christian
and Entrepreneur by Nigeria Lockley

Wheatley Award Winner and entrepreneur, Nigeria Lockley explores how to use the power of prayer to strategically manage your business and keep the faith in the process. Learn how to make God the CEO of all your endeavors and connect with Him on a deeper level with, Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion.

Christians are often taught that God must be involved in all that they do. Yet there is little guidance on how to get God more involved in our business ventures in a meaningful way. In Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion, author Nigeria Lockley explores areas of struggle that creative Christians and entrepreneurs must overcome in order to excel.

Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion will address topics like:

• Alignment of Purpose—what you want must be His will.

• Finance—understand that you should not feel guilty about earning money using your gift, however money, money, money can’t be your mantra.

• Networking—who you know may be important, but God has already ordained divine connections for you.

• Discretion and Discernment—know the difference and use them both.

Through transparent testimony, biblical guidance, and a prayer strategy pulled from the book of Nehemiah, Lockley provides believers with prayers to take the pursuit of their passion out of this world.  The paperback edition includes space for readers to develop their own prayers for each issue dealt with in the book.

Book Review by Detola Amure, Founder of Super Working Mum
“I honestly believe that every creative Christian and Entrepreneur, whether man or woman should read Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion. There is an abundance of wisdom here that has the potential to transform your life should you take on board what Nigeria as outlined in this book.”

Excerpt from the Chapter on Balance

There are some who say living a balanced life while chasing your dreams is a myth. You’ve got to relentlessly throw yourself into the work, striving day and night to get things done and make it happen. Then there are those who believe you need to be balanced instead of busy. I spent three years throwing myself relentlessly into the work. I was on for twenty-six hours a day (yes, I added extra hours to the day). Every day melded into one day until I found myself in the middle of my seventh period class clutching my chest.

The next day, I was determined to prove God was able and I still made the trek from Manhattan to Brooklyn. However, before the bell for first period rang, I was out the door and on my way to the emergency room. After a battery of tests and several trips to every doctor under the sun to find out what was the catalyst of my chest pains, I discovered that my body was basically falling apart. I had low iron and a cyst.

It seemed like I needed to lock myself in a closet and say that strength prayer over and over again until I saw it fulfilled, but what I needed was balance. Every day I was trying to give one hundred percent of me to my writing, to my students, to my children, to my husband, and to God. I was trying to be everywhere at once, and that’s God job.

The order of the situation was all off. God has to be first every day and above all things. The same amount of time that we willingly devote to our passion must be allotted to God. He must be a part of all of our workings to maintain balance. Look at how He created the world—one day at a time and everything in order.

To pursue your passion in a Godly fashion means putting God first and everything else in its proper order. Does this life require long nights? Yes, especially when you’re just starting out; however, bouncing around like a balloon whose air has just been let out is not a requirement. Don’t live an unbalanced life that will have you everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Is this possible? Your gut is telling you it’s impossible to achieve balance and run a business. But it is possible. God was busy establishing the whole entire world as we know it, and He was never as frazzled as we are. We’re just trying to build brands, write books, and open new businesses. We just have to follow the blueprint He left us. The only true way to find balance is to seek God. God worked on a different aspect of creation each day. He built the whole world one day at a time.

( Continued… )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Nigeria Lockley. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion by Nigeria Lockley
Prayers for the Creative Christian and Entrepreneur
Non-Fiction by Nigeria Lockley.  Foreword by Detola Amure

About the Author
Nigeria Lockley possesses two master’s degrees, one in English secondary education, which she utilizes as an educator with the New York City Department of Education. Her second master’s degree is in creative writing. Nigeria’s debut novel, Born at Dawn received the 2015 Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction.

After the success of her novels and the launch of her own publishing company, Inheritance Books she is committed to pushing woman to pursue their passion, walk in their purpose, and live in prosperity. Nigeria serves as the deaconess and clerk for her spiritual home, King of Kings and Lord of Lords Church of God. She is a New York native who resides in Harlem with her husband and two daughters.

Readers can discover more about Nigeria Lockley by visiting her website: and they can connect with her on social media at some of her favorite hangout spots:  Instagram @NewNigeria, Facebook:, and Twitter: @NewNigeria.
Order books from Amazon
Nigeria Lockley Amazon page


Shattered Vows: Love, Lies & Consequences Series by Natasha Frazier

New Release: Shattered Vows: Love, Lies & Consequences by Natasha Frazier. Book 3  – Love, Lies & Consequences Series.  Genre: Christian Fiction

Love, Lies & Consequences (Book 1)

The only way to prove what you say you believe is to be put to the test. So was the case with Raegan who was all set to live a life free of sexual impurities until she met Rico, who challenged her character. Sex outside of marriage isn’t all that bad if you’re going to eventually marry that person, right? After all, Rico did want to marry her and she thought she wanted to marry him until Caleb, her college love, comes back into her life. Raegan lets her guard down and makes a series of choices that lead to consequences she wasn’t prepared to face. She will soon find out just how strong she is and if she can rely on her faith to see her through to the other side.

Review: Love, Lies & Consequences

This is the first book I’ve read by this author. I’ll be looking to read more. It’s an enjoyable, inspiring book. You will not want to put it down.You can relate to the relationships in this book. I love the Scriptures in the book.
I don’t want to spoil the book by telling you the plot but let’s just say you might see yourself in Reagan. – Dotty

“The true test of my commitment will come when I am actually tested, but it’s nothing I can’t handle…” So thinks Raegan, the main character of author Natasha D. Frazier’s new book LOVE, LIES & CONSEQUENCES—and it proves to be a thought that is itself tested every step of her journey.

Frazier has crafted an entertaining yet thoughtful read that allows us to see that when it comes to doing what is right versus what feels right both men and women have to put forth a lot of effort and not allow themselves to be tempted beyond what they can bear. For Raegan this seems easier said than done, especially when her heart and mind seem to be warring against each other at times. What we realize, though, is that sometimes circumstances can help us to figure out that at the end of the day we can’t direct our steps. We need to rely on the One that knows us best in order to do that.

Raegan realizes she can have what she wants, but she has to be willing to surrender to His will and not allow her own desires to get in the way.  There’s a lot to love about this book, especially since it shows that men aren’t the only one that has problems with promises. It also shows that when we decide on a path we have to be ready and willing to accept the consequences that come along with it, even if it means possibly losing all that we have. – Cyrus Webb

Through Thick & Thin: Love, Lies & Consequences (Book 2)

Engaged, pregnant, and unsure of her baby’s father, Raegan’s troubles have multiplied. In the sequel to the award-winning title, Love, Lies & Consequences, Raegan learns what it feels like to be loved completely. In turn, she must learn to forgive and return that same love that was given to her. Forgiveness and understanding won’t come easily.

Caleb has promised to stay by her side–but will her guilt push him away? When Caleb’s past catches up to him, will Raegan remain by his side as he promised to stick by hers?

Or does she hold him to a different standard? Will Raegan choose Caleb over her need to be in control of everything?

Will they stick with each other Through Thick & Thin . . . or will the consequences of their past sins be too much to bear?

Reviews: Through Thick & Thin

After reading the first novel, I could not have been happier upon hearing that the sequel was released. This one took me through a whirlwind of emotions, but it was such an enjoyable read. Can’t wait to read more books by this author! – Tasha, Amazon reviewer

This was a pretty good Christian Romance. I enjoyed the characters and their story. The first book kept my interest enough to purchase the second book. I would definitely read more books from this author. – Amazon reviewer

Five stars and two thumbs up! Congrats on a job well done!  I fell in love with all of the characters. If you’re looking for a good, clean, Christian fiction read, do not pass this series up! – Rachel B. Amazon reviewer

NEW!  Shattered Vows: Love, Lies & Consequences (Book 3)

Rico gambled with his marriage when he cheated on Chloe. Breaking his vows and risking everything for temporary pleasure, he lost his wife’s respect and trust.

Rico returns to God, searching for a quick fix to win Chloe’s heart back, but his heart is the one that is changed. He is a self-proclaimed changed man, willing to go the extra mile to restore his marriage, but he just may be too late.

Has Chloe given up on him? She has forgiven him before, but this is different. “I’m sorry” isn’t enough when vows have been shattered. With the law and the Word of the Lord on her side, she finally gathers enough courage to walk away.

But then tragedy strikes. Is it enough to make Chloe stay, or will she start a new chapter in her life?

Excerpt from Shattered Vows: Love, Lies & Consequences (Book 3)

Chloe exhaled when she heard his footsteps on the wooden stairwell. She didn’t realize that she’d been holding her breath ever since she felt his hands on her body. I have to stop doing that, she chastised herself. She knew he was feeling rejected. But how did he think he made her feel when that woman showed up at the coffee shop carrying his child?

She pulled on her dress and fidgeted with it until she slid the zipper into position. She slipped into her shoes and turned around in front of the mirror, giving her clothes, makeup and hair a once-over before meeting Rico downstairs.

Rico let out a low whistle as Chloe descended the stairs with her matching camel-colored clutch under her arm.

“I’m the luckiest man in the world to have you on my arm tonight. You look beautiful, sweetie,” Rico complimented as he took her hand when she descended to the last three steps. When she made it to the bottom, he lifted her hand and brushed her wedding band with his fingers before planting a kiss on her hand.

“Thank you.” Chloe blushed a little and returned the compliment. “You look nice, too.” She noticed that he was wearing her favorite cologne as well, but didn’t make mention of it. Rico placed her hand around his arm and escorted her to the car. Their drive to the Improv was filled with chatter from Rico about what they did on previous anniversaries. She didn’t add much to the conversation, only nodded and smiled mostly. She had to admit that those times were nice, but this one was much different. In her mind was the insurmountable obstacle in front of them.

Rico had purchased their tickets online so they walked straight past the ticket booth to the entrance, where they were greeted by a hostess and shown to their VIP table near the stage. Noting the dim lighting, soft R&B music and the newly renovated facility, Chloe remembered their first date at the Improv, where they saw the comedian Arnez J in standup. They laughed until their stomachs and throats were in pain. She was hoping she would get another whiff of that tonight, although she didn’t know who the comedian was going to be. She just knew that she could use a laugh right about now. And not just any laugh, but a magic laugh that would take away all of the pain that she was feeling and trying so hard to push aside. The type of laughter that would somehow wipe the slate clean for the two of them. She was sure there was no such thing, but she was ready for the magic she hoped the night would bring for her.

She ordered a Caesar salad and he ordered buffalo wings to enjoy before the show started. On cue, the show began when the waitress came to take away their empty plates. They were tickled a little by the warm-up acts but nothing like what she was waiting for. However, she was feeling more relaxed and her body didn’t stiffen as it did earlier when Rico pulled her chair closer to his and put his arm around her.

There were still a few residual laughs from the crowd as the host appeared onstage to announce the headliner for the night—Will the Thrill. Chloe didn’t recognize the comedian’s stage name, so she knew she hadn’t heard any of his jokes before. New material. Great.

Will the Thrill jumped straight into his routine after the round of applause subsided. His first joke was about dating and how he wasn’t ready to commit to his girlfriend by getting married.

“C’mon now men. Y’all know how much extra work it is to hide the side woman when you get married. Gotta put all these codes in your phone, use aliases and lie, lie, lie. Even when you get caught, stick to the lie. Ain’t that right my man?” he joked as he gestured toward Rico.

Her anticipation waned at those jokes. In fact, they weren’t funny at all. Bad choice in her mind. What began to tick her off was that Rico was doubled over in laughter . . . clearly, something he shouldn’t have been laughing at given the situation they were in.

“What in the hell is so funny, Rico?” she sneered, leaning to the side to look up at him wiping tears from his eyes.

“What?” Rico asked, clearly confused.

“So cheating is funny?”

“Sweetie, these are just jokes. C’mon now.”

“I’m glad you think ruining our marriage and our lives is funny. I’m getting out of here!” Chloe scooted away from the table, snatched her purse and walked away with Rico following close behind.

“Looks like someone got caught doing what I just said not to do!” the comedian joked to their retreating backs as they exited the room, causing an uproar in the crowd.

Rico grabbed her hand and she spun around. She yanked her hand back and folded her arms across her chest. The look she gave would have killed him if looks could kill. Infidelity was a sore spot with her and definitely not a laughing matter. Rico couldn’t understand why she took it so seriously. Everyone in the room, except her, knew that those were only jokes. There was no reason to get upset over nothing. But to Chloe it wasn’t nothing; it was the reason her life was turned upside down.

( Continued… )

© 2017 All rights reserved.  Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Natasha D. Frazier.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Shattered Vows: Love, Lies & Consequences Book 3
Purchase books by Natasha D. Frazier
Genre: Christian Fiction store/c1/Featured_Products.html

Meet the Author Natasha D. Frazier

Natasha accepted the call to write in 2011. Since then, Natasha has authored three devotional books. Her first book is The Life Your Spirit Craves, a 30-Day devotional and journal that encourages readers to seek, accept and pursue their God-given assignment.  Her second book, Not Without You: 365 Days in the Lord’s Presence, encourages readers to make devotion a part of their everyday life by seeking God every day. Not Without You has been nominated for the Henri Award. The Henri Award recognizes excellence in Christian literature. The Life Your Spirit Craves for Mommies is a 52 week devotional for mothers that encourages them to see God at work in their lives through their role as a mother. Both devotionals in The Life Your Spirit Craves series won the Readers’ Choice Award presented at the Christian Literary Awards. Natasha is also the author of the Love, Lies & Consequences Christian-fiction series that focuses on real and relevant issues in today’s society, such as pre-marital sex, adultery, blended families and more! Currently, the series contains three published titles:  Love, Lies & Consequences, Through Thick & Thin, and Shattered Vows.

Natasha resides in Missouri City, TX with her husband, Eddie Frazier, Jr. and their three children, Eden, Ethan, and Emilyn. Her greatest joy and commitment is to her family who she hopes to inspire above all else. One of her many mottos in life is: Faith removes limitations. Natasha and her family are members of Higher Dimension Church in Houston, TX. Natasha is also a member of the Houston Area Alumni Chapter of Jackson State University and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Connect with Natasha
Instagram: @author_natashafrazier
Twitter: @author_natashaf


And Then There Was Me by Sadeqa Johnson

by Sadeqa Johnson

Coming to stores April 11, 2017

“And Then There Was Me is a well-written, thought-provoking novel that many women will relate to.” —Kimberla Lawson Roby, New York Times best-selling author of Copycat

“A story of one woman’s journey toward the life she deserves, with plenty of satisfying and surprising twists along the way.” —Kirkus Reviews

Bea and Awilda have been best friends from the moment Awilda threw her fourteen year-old self across Bea’s twin-sized bed as if they had known each other forever. Bubbly, adventurous Awilda taught sheltered, shy Bea how to dress, wear her hair and what to do with boys. She even introduced Bea to her husband, Lonnie, in college, who pledged to take good care of her for the rest of their lives. But philanderer Lonnie breaks that promise over and over again, leaving Bea to wrestle with her self-esteem and long time secret addiction.

Recently Lonnie has plopped the family in a New Jersey upper class suburb, which lacks the diversity that Bea craves but has the school district and zip code envy that Lonnie wants. The demands of carrying a third child and fitting into this new environment while pretending that her husband is not cheating on her again, is more than she can handle. And just when she thinks things can’t get any worst, the ultimate deception snaps the little thread that was holding her life together and all comes tumbling down.

And Then There Was Me is the story of love and friendship, heartache and betrayal. It’s the journey of a woman stripped down to her lowest point and needing to find the will to press on.

Purchase And Then There Was Me adeqa-Johnson/e/B007CMM4EY

Excerpt Chapter 1

Playing Chicken

Memorial Day Weekend

Bea hated the beach.  The sun didn’t rev up her brain’s endorphins the way it did for most people.  In fact, it had the opposite effect on her.  She never enjoyed peeling down to her bathing suit.  Always feeling hideous in whatever she wore.  Most of her time at the shore was spent feeling envious of the pretty girls in the teeny, triangle-topped bikinis, with lotus tattoos on the hollow of their backs.  Bea would watch them slip and slide in the sand spiking a volleyball, feeling round where they were flat, ugly where they were cute.  It was even worst when she was pregnant.

The other half of her time was spent playing ‘find the shade.’  Bea wasn’t a woman who wanted a suntan, preferring her vitamin D in tablet form only.  All day she had constantly moved her chair in search of relief.

“What’re you doing?”  Awilda, her best friend, looked over the edge of her cat-eye glasses.

“Trying to stay cool.”

“Why in the hell you come to the beach to do all that is beyond me.”

Awilda was right.  The effort it took to keep the sun’s rays from darkening her skin was draining: slathered sunscreen, dark umbrella, floppy hat, wide sunglasses, zinc oxide strip on her nose, and her feet tucked under a dry towel.  Even with the prep, Bea still worried the ultraviolet rays were coming through the umbrella roasting her skin by the millisecond.

“The beach was Lonnie’s idea.  Not mine.”

“Well next year you need to speak up.”

She had; he just didn’t listen.  Bea preferred renting a house on a lake with a wrap around porch, where she could hide under an awning and maxi dress.  It was her husband, Lonnie, who insisted on the beach.  Spring Lake to be exact.  With two miles of white, pristine sand, boarded by the longest non-commercial boardwalk in the State of New Jersey, Spring Lake was a magnet for families of all ages.  But the price of the homes made it inaccessible to everyone, and therefore the perfect getaway as far as Lonnie was concerned.  It was sanitized and quiet except for the corner Awilda occupied.

Awilda was the contrary to Bea, lounging without the protection of an umbrella in a bright orange, high-waisted bikini.  Her hair was big and bushy, and every tune that crooned from her iPhone was her finger-snapping-sing-along-to-the-beat song.

Bea turned her seven-month baby-belly in Awilda’s direction, in time to catch her shoving a handful of cool ranch potato chips into her candy-pink painted mouth.

“You know there’s no eating on the beach, Wilde,” Bea chided.

Awilda knew this.  There were signs posted along the boardwalk reminding folks to eat in the Pavilion areas only.  In fact, coolers were forbidden and instead left on the boardwalk.
“What’re they going to do?  Arrest me?” she smacked her lips.

“Might kick you off the beach.”

“I’d like to see that,” she shoved down two more chips.  “We should be in DR instead of this snobby beach anyway.  Your mama still have family down there?”

“Mami left Santa Domingo fifty years ago and has never looked back.  I keep in touch with my cousins.”

“We need to take a girls trip down there and reconnect with your roots.  After you drop that load.  No kids, no husbands.”  Awilda tilted the bag of chips to her mouth and swallowed the crumbs.

Bea sucked her teeth.  “You could at least eat under the umbrella.”

“What’s got you so uptight?”

Bea didn’t want to give voice to what had been nagging at her, so she camouflaged with a lighthearted smile.  “Probably just hormones.”

“Well, unwrap that towel from your feet girlfriend and have a little fun.”

“I am,” Bea said.  Though fun had become foreign.  Since they moved back to New Jersey a year ago, her life had become so tied to keeping up with her husband and two children; there was no space for anything remotely connected to fun.  Though she did daydream, and carrying a healthy baby brought her some peace.

“Hold up, wait a minute.  This is my song.”  Awilda turned up her IPhone even louder than before.

Bea glanced at the older couple reading hardcover books, parked to their right.  They were covered in as much stuff as Bea was.  The wife looked up at Bea at the same time but didn’t smile.

“Pass it to me.”


“It’s too loud.”

“I can barely hear it.”

Beyoncé seemed to take front and center on their little sliver of beach.  Yonce on her knees.

“There are children around, Wilde.”

“It’s the clean version.”

“Do you always have to go against the grain?”

“You’ve known my twenty something years.  Don’t act new.”

“This place is conservative I know but…”

“Beasley, please with that mess.”  Awilda laughed out loud.  “You remember how we use to go to the skating rink on route 22 and dance until we couldn’t breathe?”

Bea’s shoulders relaxed.  “Girl, we had to catch two buses. Your mother would have had a cow if she knew we weren’t listening to music in my room.”

“But we went and it was the highlight of our week.”

“Except for you having every girl in Union wanting to fight us.”

“Not true.”

“Sis, please!  When you started dropping it like it was hot, every boy in the room wanted your number.”

“Well, that’s because I do what I feel.  Nothing matters if things don’t feel good.  Take lessons, Bea.” Awilda pulled up her shades and caught Bea’s eye.  I’m worried about you.”

Bea reached up and repined her bun.  “I’m cool.  It’s just growing pains.  Staying home in the suburbs…it’s not who I am.”

“Sounds pretty cushy to me.  I’d give up teaching those bad-ass kids in a minute to be a kept woman.”

“Stop,” she blushed shame.

“Don’t deny it.”  Awilda squirted on another layer of suntan lotion.

“You might as well be slathering yourself with cooking oil,” Bea was grateful to be able to change the subject.  “Why do you keep putting that crap on anyway?  Haven’t you heard of skin cancer?”

“When I get to work on Tuesday, people need to know that I’ve been somewhere.”

“And you’re worried about me?”  A mother with a toddler bent over to pick up a seashell in front of them.  Bea reached inside her beach bag and tossed her ear buds to Awilda.  She caught them in the air and flung them right back.

“Stop tripping, Bease, or you’ll have a nervous breakdown.  But don’t fret.  I’ll be there making sure you get your food through a tube.”

Bea crinkled her nose.  “So funny.”

Awilda pulled her sunglasses back down over her eyes.  “You like my bikini?”

“Yeah.  It’s cuter than mine.  I feel like a tub.”

“Got it online.  I wasn’t sure it would fit.  You know they don’t make bottoms for a real booty like mine.”  Awilda rose from her seat and showed Bea the panties.

“Looks good on you.  Glad to see your cheeks contained.”

“I know how to tone it down for a family beach.  But when we get to DR, I’m going to let it all hang out,” she laughed.

“Help me up, Crazy.”

Awilda pulled Bea from her beach chair.  Then she scooted her things further into the shaded corner and pulled out her sunblock.  The saleswoman at Sephora had talked her into spending extra on the European brand because it contained Indian gooseberry extracts, an ingredient that was supposed to prevent tanning.  Bea’s father’s African-American blood was enough tint to her skin.

Awilda played a pop song that Bea liked as she gazed down the beach in the direction of her children: Alana, age five, and ten-year-old Chico playing paddleball.  The kids were in a rare tender moment, with Chico holding Alana’s hand and showing her how to hit the ball.  It warmed her heart and she looked over to her husband to see if he was watching.  Lonnie lifted his chin and winked at Bea.  Warmth spread between her toes and she winked back.  She liked it when Lonnie made her feel like she was the only woman in his world.

Her husband was one of those men who didn’t have to work hard at being gorgeous.  God had given him all of the ingredients: amber eyes, buttered skin, and thick, curly hair.  It was Lonnie who took it to the next level by living in the gym and wearing clothes that looked tailored to fit.  Bea always felt that people were surprised when she introduced him as her husband.  In the looks department, she was as plain as nonfat yogurt, a little short and too pear shaped for her own liking, with nostrils that flared too wide, especially during pregnancy.  Bea knew that her saving grace was her hair.  When it wasn’t pinned up it hung heavily, well below her shoulders in tight ringlets that curled around each other, creating a thick bundle that was full of body.

Bea was still admiring the kids when Lonnie puckered his lips and blew her a kiss. “That man.”  She looked over at Awilda.  “You know the fool wanted me to have sex in the kitchen over a sink filled with dirty dishes?”

Awilda removed her glasses and pointed them at Bea.  “Your ass is stupid.  I would do it inside the sink of dishes.”

“That’s nasty.”

“It’s sexy.”  Awilda pressed her knees together.

“Still a horn dog.”

She fanned.  “It’s been too long.  Derrick better come correct tonight.  It’s our anniversary.  Amare’s staying with you.  I don’t even want to talk.  Just ram it in me.”

“A hot mess.”

“It’s been so off between us lately.  I really need this anniversary to make things better.  I’m tired, Bease.”

Awilda slipped into her rampage of what was wrong with Derrick but Bea didn’t have to listen.  She had heard it all before.  How Derrick’s sex drive had plummeted since he was diagnosed with MS.  The problems they had living in his mother’s house.

“No matter how much I spend on healthy food, the man is still reaching for the crap that activates his MS.”

Bea nodded her head like she was with Awilda but at that moment it was hard for her to concentrate on anything but the hunger that seemed to swish down on her.  It’s been like that through the whole pregnancy.  One second she was full and then next she was so hungry she could eat a seashell filled with sand.  Her mind started imagining how good a fish sandwich with extra hot sauce and mustard would be.  She could taste the grease tinged with the red spicy sauce on her tongue making her whole mouth feel alive.

“You know what I mean?” finished Awilda.

“Yeah.”  Bea replied, head in her beach bag.  Alana’s goldfish stared at her.  Bea wanted to sneak a few in her mouth but Awilda would enjoy it too much.  She pushed herself to stand.  Adjusted her hat and told Awilda to keep an eye on the kids.

“I’m in the middle of telling you something.”

“Sis, I’ve got to pee.  The baby.  Be right back.”

In every direction, the beach was packed with people; skinny teens in too small jean shorts, children wearing arm floaties, moms hiding under wide brims and dads napping beneath headphones.  It was hard waddling over the sand in her condition and Bea felt self-conscious, like everyone was looking at her.  When she reached the boardwalk she rested against the railing and looked out at the water to catch her breath.  She could hear the call of the seagulls mixed with the ebb and flow of the waves lapping the shoreline.  The vast blueness of the ocean seemed endless.  The scent of the salty water made her craving for seafood more intense.  She pulled down her beach hat and made her way to the snack shop in the South end Pavilion.

The lunch rush was over and Bea easily found a single seat at the counter.  Two stools down from her sat an older man in a tank top watching the baseball game on the television hanging from the ceiling.  Country music sounded from the speakers.  The waitress nodded her head in Bea’s direction as she wiped the Formica countertop down with a stained towel.  It seemed that her hand moved more out of nervous energy then actually trying to get the top cleaned.  Bea inhaled the smell of grease.

“What can I get you?”

“Fish sandwich.”

“Out of fish today.  Sorry.”

Bea dropped her hand over her belly to soothe the baby who was kicking on her right.

“Got any shrimp?”

“Out of those too.  We didn’t get our shipment this morning and it was a busy lunch.  We have hot dogs, burgers, pizza, chicken tenders…”

“I’ll have two hot dogs with ketchup and relish and a large ice water.”

The waitress took a pen from behind her ear.  “It comes with potato chips.”

“Hold the chips, please.”

“You can have fries instead.”

She hesitated for only a second and then nodded her head.  She would only eat a few fries, she reasoned.  Maybe wrap half up for Alana’s snack.  Bea glanced up at the game.  The Mets were playing the Braves.  Baseball was never her sport and she was glad to see the waitress return with the food.

“Thank you.”

Ketchup went on everything.  As she chewed, she looked out over the gorgeous Victorian homes and their manicured lawns that ran along the street side.  Now that she was eating hot dogs, she would have to have two greens with her dinner to balance out her intake for the day.  Her mind wandered over what she would make for dinner.  Did they need to make a stop at the grocery store or was there enough cheese and buns leftover for the burgers? What would they have for dessert?  Alana was going to ask.  They could go out for ice cream at Hoffman’s.  Maybe Lonnie would want to drive the kids to Point Pleasant for the amusement rides. Bea knew that she would be too pooped by nightfall to make the trip, but would she want to send him alone?  All of that time away from her would open up the opportunity for him to touch base.  But she had no proof.  Was she worrying herself to death for no reason, or was Lonnie cheating on her again?

She wrapped her arms around herself and tried not to dwell on the latter.  Kept reminding herself that things between them were fine now, and had been for a while, but the feeling gnawed at her.  She ate the meal but could barely taste it as she searched for that click in her brain that brought her comfort.  It didn’t come.  By the time she looked up, her plate was empty except for the remnants of ketchup.  All of the fries.  Gone.  The regret was immediate.  Bea belched in her napkin, and breathed back the need to throw it all up.  She fixed her eyes on the game, concentrating on the moves of the pitcher until the sensation past.

Bea moved down the boardwalk past the swimming pool.  The baby pressed down on her bladder and it reminded her that she needed to pee.  Damn it.  She should have peed before she ate.  It was on her list of rules to avoid the bathroom after she ate.  The bathroom had a toilet that could flush away her secrets and shame without anyone being the wiser.  But she would know.  She had gotten better at keeping food down this time.  After her last disastrous pregnancy, she had promised herself to get through this one clean.  This one was her redemption and she had to make it.

The bathroom was tiny and full with mother’s changing diapers and teens checking out themselves in the mirror.  A young woman wearing a jean jumper insisted the Bea go before her.

“I wouldn’t feel right making you wait in your condition.”

Bea thanked her, went in and did her business without looking in the toilet bowl, and came out clean.

“That was forever.”  Awilda flipped through Cosmopolitan magazine.  Pages were dog-eared and Bea knew that they were pictures of clothes Awilda wanted to make.  She was a seamstress and designer, in addition to being a 6th grade social studies teacher.

“The baby made me eat.”  Bea eased back down in her beach chair.  The trip had tired her out.  The sun felt like it was right on her shoulder and she reapplied more sunscreen.

“You know you’re only supposed to apply that every two hours, not every fifteen minutes.”

Bea readjusted her hat.

Awilda held up the page.  “Look at this mini skirt.  I’m thinking about giving it a try.  I’m doing a street festival at Rutgers next month and I need some short, sexy, clothes that will appeal to college students.  Something one size fits all.  If I take this waist and add a strip of Velcro, I think it will fit most.  What do you think?”

Bea glanced at the picture and nodded her head.

“Yes ma’am.  I’m going to work my clothing line this summer.

“How’s Derrick’s job working out?”

“Well, he’s had this assignment with Tishman for going on five months.  That’s stable in the construction business.  Said it should carry him to Christmas so I’m not working summer school this year.”


“It’s been five years straight.  I can’t wait for the break.”

Bea saw Alana running towards her and sat up.  “What’s wrong, Butterbean?”

Alana flopped into her mother’s arms crying, flinging sand all over Bea’s neck and breasts.

“Sand.  It’s in my eyes.  Get it out.”

Bea reached for her towel and wiped at Alana’s face.  Sand was clumped in her hair, on her arms and falling from her bathing suit top.

“Were you building a sandcastle?”


Bea rubbed until Alana stood satisfied.

“I’m hungry, mama.”

“Here, drink this,” Bea handed her a warm juice box from her bag.

“I thought there was no eating on the beach.”

“It’s just juice not a whole bag of chips,” Bea made her eyes big at Awilda.

“I want chips.”

“Later, baby.”

Lonnie and Derrick walked up.  Lonnie was bare-chested and his shorts hung low on hips.  Derrick wore a tank top over the bulge of his belly and yellow trunks.

“How cold was it?” Awilda looked from one man to the other.

“Pretty cold.”  Lonnie reached down and kissed Bea on the lips.

“Oh get a room you too.”  Awilda scolded.  “I wouldn’t even put my toe in before 4th of July.”

Derrick fell down in the seat next to her.  “You just have to go right in.  Don’t even think about it.”

Amare and Chico were still throwing the Nerf ball in the water.

Lonnie leaned back in his chair and tilted his face toward the sun.  “It feels so good to just relax.”

“Work been busy?” Awilda looked over.

“Yeah, crazy.”

“This is actually the longest I’ve had my eyes on him in the past two weeks,” Bea linked her fingers with Lonnie’s.  “Up before me, home after I’ve gone to bed.”

“Still coaching Chico’s baseball team?” asked Derrick.

“Yeah.  I told them upfront I wouldn’t be there for everything.  All the coaches look at the schedule and highlight the dates that might not work in advance.  Most of the dads work in the city so we’re all in the same boat.”

“It’s good that you do it, our sons need to see us on the front line doing battle for them,” Derrick passed Lonnie a coke.

“Yeah it definitely feels good.”

“I coached Amare’s basketball team until he went over to AAU.”

“And you still coach from the stands.  Shouting out plays for him, embarrassing the hell out of our son at every game.”

“That’s my boy.”

“I’m hungry, Mommy.”  Alana interrupted from her place on the sand.

Lonnie patted Bea’s thigh.  “Me too.”

She batted her eyes at his dirty double meaning, hoping no one else caught it.  “Then we should go fire up the grill for an early dinner.  The kids can play out…” Bea’s words stopped in her throat as Derrick took off toward the ocean.  She looked and saw Chico bobbing and flailing his arms.  The tide had started to come in and he’d gone out too far.

“Where’s the lifeguard?” Bea stood.

Lonnie had taken off too but before the men got to the ocean’s edge, Amare had plucked Chico from the water and dragged him to where he could stand with the waves at his waist.  Bea and Awilda made their way down to the shoreline.

“Baby, are you okay?” Bea reached for her son.

“I’m not a baby,” coughed Chico, looking from Bea to Amare.

“Shh,” Lonnie instructed and patted his son’s back.  “Let’s get you back to the house.”

“I’m fine,” he coughed.

Lonnie put his arm around Chico’s shoulders and steered him back to their things.

They had rented the same beach house for the past three Memorial weekends straight.  It was a brick red Dutch Colonial home with a backyard and swing set.  It was walking distance from the beach so Awilda and Derrick had parked their car behind Lonnie’s in the driveway.

“Thanks so much for letting Amare stay with you.  Now I can dress up as the naughty nurse and be loud as I want,” Awilda whispered and then pinched Bea on her behind.

“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

“Then I might as well stay right here,” she teased.  “Later, alligator.”

“Babe, we need gas,” Derrick reminded Awilda as she got into the car.  Lonnie and Bea waved.  Lonnie’s arm was around Bea waist.

“That was fun,” he held the screen door open for Bea to pass through.

The living room had big windows, wide planked hardwood floors and a wood-burning fireplace that they had never used.

“It was.”

He came up behind her in the kitchen, and kissed her neck.
“I want you.”

“Mmmm.  You better fire up that grill before those boys come in here hungry as hostages.”

“Just kiss me first.”

Bea stopped and let Lonnie kiss her long and deep.  “Now go,” she said pushing him toward the back patio.  Maybe her instincts were all wrong and things were okay, she thought moving around the country kitchen, pulling food to prep from the refrigerator.

“Mama, can you help me on demand Dr. McStuffin,” Alana dragged her dolls by the arm.

“Sure,” Bea wiped her hands on a towel and then followed Alana into the television room and set up her show.  The boys were on the side of the house throwing the ball.  Even though Amare was a rising senior, he took great interest in Chico and treated him like a little brother.  Bea liked that.

When she got back into the kitchen the whiff of charcoal burning down delighted her.  Barbeques always made it feel like summer.  The ground beef was seasoned and Bea rolled the meat around between her hands and then pressed out patties.  While she worked, she peaked at Lonnie on the patio.  He sat in the Adirondack chair with his shirt unbuttoned, grinning at his phone in his hand.  He read, typed and smiled.  Bea carried the burgers out to the deck.

“Who was that?”  She set the food down.

“Something for work.”  Lonnie flashed that politician charm that usually churned her into creamed butter, but it only revived her insecurity.  Lonnie was good at tuning in to Bea, and held his arms out to her.

“Come here.”

She sat down on his lap.

“Getting big, Baby,” he rubbed her belly.

“Almost time.”

“I can’t wait to have my wife back.”

“I’m right here.”

“You know what I mean.”  Lonnie leaned in and kissed her.  Bea could taste the desire on his tongue.

“Babe, can you make me a mock-tail?”

“Anything for you.”

Lonnie walked into the kitchen and pulled the screen door behind him.  Bea reached for his phone and punched in the last passcode she lifted by looking over his shoulder.  Locked.  She tried it again.  Locked.  She tried another combination.  Still locked.  Bea knew that she could only try five times before the phone was disabled so she crossed her fingers and tried twice more, but neither gave her access.  Bea placed the mobile where she had found it, slid the burgers onto the grill and told herself to stop worrying.  But she couldn’t.

( Continued… )

© 2017 All rights reserved.  Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sadeqa Johnson.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Meet the Author
Sadeqa Johnson, a former public relations manager, spent several years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debut novel, Love in a Carry-on Bag, is the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction. She is also the author of Second House From the Corner and And Then There Was Me. A native of Philadelphia she has recently relocated to a suburb of Richmond, which is a great place to raise children until it snows and schools close for a week. She is a motivational speaker, inspirational blogger, wife and mother of three incredibly busy children. For more please visit

Purchase And Then There Was Me adeqa-Johnson/e/B007CMM4EY


Giving My All To You by Sheryl Lister

Giving My All To You by Sheryl Lister
May 1, 2017 (Release)

Faith Alexander’s guardian angel has a body built for sin. Ever since she woke up in the hospital after a car crash, her rescuer, Brandon Gray, has been by her side chivalrous, caring and oh-so-fine. Faith came to Los Angeles to find her long-lost father, only to learn that he’s a partner in Brandon’s family business. How can she reveal that her inheritance stands in the way of Brandon’s career dreams?

All Brandon’s focus is on his long-coveted role as CEO until he stops to help a mysterious beauty. With chemistry this irresistible, he’s ready to share a future with Faith, but he feels beyond betrayed to discover what she’s been hiding. If desire and trust can overcome pride, he’ll realize he’s found the perfect partner in the boardroom and the bedroom.

Excerpt from GIVING MY ALL TO YOU, coming May 1, 2017. Brandon has definitely met his match…

Before she could set the phone down, it rang again. Her smile faded. Brandon. She debated whether to answer or let it go to voice mail like she had done last night. It rang twice more. She heaved a deep sigh and answered.

“I know I’m the last person you want to talk to right now,” Brandon said before she could utter a greeting. “But please don’t hang up, Faith.”

“What can I do for you Brandon?” She tried to remain unmoved by his sincere plea.

“I want to apologize for all the things I said last night. I had no right to take my frustrations out on you. I—”

“No, you did not,” she said bluntly, cutting him off. She had done nothing to deserve his tirade and she wasn’t giving him a pass.

He sighed heavily. “You’re not going to make this easy, are you?”

“Why should I?”

“Faith,” he started again.

“Look, Brandon. I know you’re used to women falling all over you, letting you get away with saying whatever you please, then accepting a half-assed apology. Well, I’m not one of them.”

“No, you’re not,” Brandon said quietly. “And if you’d let me get a word in, I’d like to try to make things right.”

“Go ahead,” she mumbled, slouching down in the chair and folding her arms.

“Thank you. I am truly sorry for my harsh words. Believe me, baby, they were never meant for you. Sometimes—well, all the time if you ask my family,” he added with a wry chuckle, “I tend to speak without thinking. I’m really trying to work on it. Faith, you are unlike any woman I have ever met and I don’t want to mess up what’s happening between us.”

Faith sat up straight. What did he mean by that? There wasn’t anything happening between them, was there? Granted, her feelings for him had been growing from the moment she woke up in the hospital and saw him sitting in the chair, but did he have feelings for her, as well?

“Please forgive me.”

How in the world was she supposed resist when he was playing dirty with that sexy voice and earnest confession? “Okay.”

“I can’t promise I won’t shove my foot in my mouth again, but I will try.” Silence rose between them. “So, does this mean we’re still on for tomorrow evening?”

She had forgotten about their date. “Yes, And that surprise better be good. Better than good.”

( Continued… )

© 2017 All rights reserved.  Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sheryl Lister.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Giving My All to You (The Grays of Los Angeles) by Sheryl Lister


Copycat by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Copycat by Kimberla Lawson Roby

From the New York Times bestselling author who “writes with high-octane levels of emotion” (USA Today).

Befriending Traci Calloway Cole is the best thing Simone Phillips has ever done. Traci is the kind of woman Simone wants to be–in every way possible. She begins copying her role model. Not because she wants to be Traci. She just wants to be exactly like Traci.

Traci doesn’t worry, though. She knows Simone doesn’t mean any harm and that her mimicry is only sincere admiration. Until she discovers how far Simone’s obsession has gone.

It is then that Simone’s entire world begins unraveling, and dreadful secrets from her past are exposed with no warning. Secrets that she’ll do almost anything to protect…

EXCERPT: Copycat by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Simone made a few more tweaks and then closed out of her Word software and went to Traci’s Facebook page. She read the five reader comments that had already been posted this morning and then pulled up Traci’s Twitter feed. The first thing she saw was Traci’s tweet from two hours ago. It quoted the scripture Philippians 4:13, and read, “‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ ~ (KJV).”

It wasn’t until now that Simone realized she hadn’t posted her own morning scripture, and she had to get better with remembering to do that. She needed to stay consistent—the same as Traci. She wasn’t sure what scripture to post, so she Googled “a great motivational scripture.” Then, when a number of web sites displayed, she clicked on the second one and saw John 6:47 from the King James Version: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” She wasn’t sure why, but there was something about that particular scripture that she liked. Maybe because it offered a certain sense of hope. But then she saw another verse that talked about strength the same as the scripture Traci’s post had mentioned, so she typed that one instead, Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Simone read what she’d typed but then went back to the site where she’d copied the scripture. She actually liked the New Living Translation interpretation better: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” But since Traci always seemed to use the King James Version, Simone would stick with using that. Actually, the more she scrolled through other scriptures, she preferred reading those via the New Living Translation, too, because when she did, the words were much clearer.

Simone browsed Twitter for a few more minutes and then typed in the URL for Traci’s web site. When her home page appeared, Simone clicked on the “Media” link and then played a YouTube video of a television interview Traci had done with a Chicago news station last year. It was during the release week for her second book. Simone watched the four-minute segment. Then she watched it again. Then she watched it again. And again. And again. But now she replayed the intro.

“Thank you so much for having me, Donna,” Traci said, smiling.  Simone paused the video. “Thank you so much for having me, Donna. Thank you so much for having me, Donna.”  Simone played Traci’s response again.  “Thank you so much for having me, Donna.”

Simone paused the video again. “Thank you so much for having me, Donna,” she said, but this time she could tell her tone and diction sounded much more like Traci’s than they had the last time. She also smiled and gave two fast nods, exactly the way Traci had.  Simone played the video many more times, all while practicing Traci’s words and facial expressions. She also clasped her hands together and rested them in her lap…the same as Traci had.  Soon Simone moved on to every individual response that Traci had given, still practicing and mimicking every aspect of what she saw and heard. Simone started and stopped the video until she had Traci’s behavior and enunciation down pat. Then she picked up her Smartphone and hit the record icon.

“Thank you so much for having me, Donna. Thank you so much for having me, Donna.”

She stopped the recording and played it back. Then she played this particular part of Traci’s YouTube video again. Then she played her phone recording. Then she played the YouTube video again. And then her phone recording. She was so happy with how close her voice sounded to Traci’s that her heart beat faster than normal. She was elated because when it came time for her to do TV interviews, she’d be well prepared. Although, there was one thing that bothered her, and that was her name. Traci Calloway Cole had a special ring to it, and sounded a million times better than Simone Phillips. This also made Simone want to forget about planning a wedding, so that she and Chris could get married right away at the courthouse. This way, she’d be able to use her maiden name and new surname as soon as possible.

“Simone Phillips McCann,” she spoke out loud. “Traci Calloway Cole. Simone Phillips McCann. Traci Calloway Cole.”  Her future married name sounded okay, she guessed, but if only Chris’s last name could start with Ph the same as hers, it would be perfect.

She played around with a few examples that would work much better than McCann. “Simone Phillips Phalen. Simone Phillips Phifer.”  She would even settle for a last name that began with F, since it would still create the precise kind of alliteration she was looking for.

“Simone Phillips Foster,” she said. “Simone Phillips Faulkner. Simone Phillips Freeman.”  Simone knew there was nothing she could do about Chris’s name, but there was a way to fix this little dilemma. She would use a pen name for her books. Writers did this all the time, so why shouldn’t she?

She spoke out loud again. “Traci Calloway Cole. Simone Phillips Freeman. Traci Calloway Cole. Simone Phillips Freeman.”  Simone smiled as she repeated Traci’s name with her new name, over and over and over. It was priceless, and she couldn’t wait to use it on her first book, social media pages, and future website.

( Continued… )

Copycat by Kimberla Lawson Roby was released January 31, 2017.  © 2017 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Kimberla Lawson Roby. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

More About Kimberla Lawson Roby


Kimberla has sold more than 2.7 Million copies of her novels, and they have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine,, Barnes and Noble,, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin Chronicle to name a few, and both BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and CASTING THE FIRST STONE were #1 Blackboard bestsellers for four consecutive months in both 1997 and 2000. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was the #1 Blackboard Best-selling book for paperback fiction in 1997.

Kimberla is the 2013 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the recipient of the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Author of the Year – Female award presented by the African-American Literary Award Show in New York, the recipient of the 2014 AAMBC Award for Female Author of the Year, the recipient of the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE, the recipient of the 1998 First-Time Author Award from Chicago’s Black History Month Book Fair and Conference, and in 2001, Kimberla was inducted into the Rock Valley College Alumni Hall of Fame (Rockford, IL).

Kimberla’s novels deal with very real issues, including corruption within the church, drug addiction, gambling addiction, infidelity, social status, single motherhood, breast cancer, infertility, sibling rivalry and jealousy, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness, care-giving of a parent, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, and overweight issues to name a few.

Kimberla resides in Illinois with her husband, Will. Her 25th title, COPYCAT, was released Tuesday, January 31, 2017.  To share your thoughts with Kimberla regarding her work, please e-mail her at:

If you would like to schedule a speaking engagement, booksigning event, or media interview with Ms. Roby, please contact her by email at:
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Lust: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray

Lust: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel
by Victoria Christopher Murray

From the NAACP Image award winner and national bestselling author Victoria Christopher Murray, a novel inspired by the seven deadly sins about a woman caught between an entertainment mogul with a shady past and his childhood friend who is out for revenge.

Tiffanie has lived a sheltered life in a very strict household with her pastor-grandfather and grandmother in Washington, DC. But when she meets Damon King, she falls for the successful entertainment business man despite his history as a drug dealer. Everyone sees nothing but the brightest future for the couple—but there’s one person who wants to destroy them.

Trey Johnson is Damon’s childhood best friend with whom he built quite a successful drug business. But when the game got hot and Damon decided to leave, Trey stayed and continued to sell drugs, until he was arrested and spent seven years in prison.

But now he’s out and able to attend the wedding. While Damon is thrilled to have Trey back and hopes to bring his best friend into his business, Trey has other plans. He blames Damon for his demise and plans to ruin him, even if that means bringing Tiffanie down as well.

Trey is sure he will succeed, but he doesn’t know that there will be deadly consequences. And at the end, there will only be one man standing…

Excerpt: Lust: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel

Chapter 1

Tiffanie Cooper

It felt like we were in the middle of an earthquake, the way the bed trembled beneath me and Damon.

This was the christening of our brand-new mahogany sleigh bed—the designer piece that I saw in a magazine and just had to have for our new house. Even though it cost almost ten grand, Damon, my boo, hadn’t even blinked when he saw the price.

Last night, the bed had been delivered and assembled, and although I had wanted to wait and share this bed for the first time on our wedding night, not even an hour had passed after the delivery men were gone before Damon and I were hitting the satin sheets.

Now, as the first rays of the new day seeped through the windows, bringing along the fragrance of the azaleas on the balcony, I was being treated to Damon’s early-morning “good good.”

“You like that, don’t you?” Damon leaned over and whispered in my ear.

“Yes,” I breathed with as much enthusiasm as I could push into my voice. A second later, he cried out, and a moment after that, I mimicked him.

Damon was breathless as he fell on top of me and all I did was glance at the clock. Thank goodness that hadn’t taken too long. Damon rolled away, still trying to steady his breathing. “Thank you, bae.”

“What are you thanking me for?” I did my best to sound as out of breath as he was.

“For everything.”

I twisted until I was on my back and glanced up at the ceiling, wanting to reach my hands to the heavens. Damon was thanking me? I was the one who needed to be thanking him . . . and God . . . for all that I’d been given.

There wasn’t room, not in time or space, for me to count all my blessings. First, I’d just made love to my fiancé, a man who’d given me love when I’d never wanted this kind of love in my life, a man whose business filled his bank accounts with money but a man who made it his business to please me always. From the fifty-year-old Victorian-style home in the center of DC’s gold coast, to the Harry Winston ring that I rocked on the second finger of my left hand, I was living a life that I’d never believed would be possible.

When I heard Damon’s soft snores, I rolled onto my side. I just wanted to watch him for a moment before I had to shake him awake.

My Damon was such a beautiful, scrumptious dark brown man with full lips and a square and strong jawline. I often teased him about having a little Indian in his family because his closely cropped beard was a soft, smooth, jet-black layer of satin. His eyes were close to being catlike, and then there were the two, yes, two dimples that deepened in his right cheek whenever he smiled. All of that, all of him made me shake my head with pleasure every time I set my eyes on him.

I never thought it could be like this. Never thought I’d know a love like this. I sighed as I thought about all the years that I’d let pass by with Damon, but then I shook that thought away. I was here now, we were engaged now, five days away from being husband and wife. No more time wasted.

Slowly, his eyelids fluttered and when they opened and he looked at me, I saw nothing but lust in his eyes.

“Oh, no.” I shook my head and giggled. “We have to get ready for church.”

“Come on, Tiff.” He pulled me close. “One last time before you cut me off,” he said, referring to the fact that I told him I was going back to my place right after church.

“Don’t be so dramatic.” I scooted out of the bed, then strutted across the Berber carpet. Not that I wanted to trouble the ­waters—no, I’d had enough sex with my fiancé to last me more than awhile. But I was still a girl and I wanted my guy to want me. “I’m not cutting you off,” I said, when I got halfway across the room. “I’m just trying to make our wedding night more special.”

He propped himself up on his elbow and drank me in with his eyes. “Every night, every morning, every noon is special when I’m with you.”

Dang! That was just another reason to love him. Because not only did he show me how much he loved me, he told me all the time.

“Why can’t we just keep this going?” Damon said with a tinge of begging in his tone. “Why can’t I make love to you every day and every night until we say ‘I do’?”

I stared into his bedroom eyes and almost wanted to run back. Because he’d done so much for me, I always wanted to satisfy him. But I wasn’t going to give in.

I’d already broken the promise I’d made when I was fourteen to remain chaste until marriage, even though, at the time, it was really my pledge to remain a virgin for life. But I’d told Damon that I was going to stay at my place because I was hoping that maybe with a few days of celibacy between now and “I do,” not only would I feel like I’d done something right, but I was praying that these few days of abstention would make our wedding night special . . . for both of us.

Eyes glazed with lust, Damon reached his hands toward me. “Please!”

Inside this moment, all of his gangster was gone. There were no important people to meet, no celebrities to impress, no paychecks to sign, no Glock on his hip.

He was just a man who loved a woman.

“Tiffanie, please,” he begged again.

My eyebrows rose just a bit hearing him call me Tiffanie. Though everyone else in the world addressed me by my full name (my grandfather demanded it, since Tiffanie meant Manifestation from God and he was the one who’d given that name to me), Damon was the only person who called me Tiff. And he only did that when my grandfather wasn’t around.

So, using my full name right now meant that Damon was in full pleading mode, and I shouldn’t have, but I laughed.

He tossed a pillow across the room, hitting me in the calf.

“Ouch!” I hopped, pretending to be wounded. Turning, I rushed back to the bed and jumped on top of him. He wrestled until he was on top, pinning my hands above my head. Then, with the gentleness of a gentle man, he kissed my forehead. Then my eyelids. Then my neck. “I love you,” he said, his tone thick with a desire that I knew was only for me.

It was an instant fever, the way his words heated my skin.

“I need you to do me a favor,” he whispered.

With the way he had me pressed beneath him, I could only imagine what Damon wanted me to do.

“Can you pick up Trey at the airport tomorrow?”

I blinked. “Trey?” I couldn’t believe that in this moment, he was talking about the man he still called his best friend. “I thought he was coming in on Thursday.”

“Change of plans. He’s coming in early to see his grandmother. This will be the first time he’s seen her in seven years, you know what I’m sayin’, and he wants to spend some time with her.”

I’d met Ms. Irene and visited with her a few times over the years whenever I went with Damon, so I didn’t want to begrudge that sweet woman a visit from her grandson. But still, I just couldn’t make myself happy about Trey coming to town. And now, he was coming days early?

It was weird ’cause I’d never met Trey; but on the real, even sight unseen, I did not like this man. Yes, he was my man’s best friend, but he was part of my man’s past, an underground past that had landed Trey in federal prison with a sentence of twenty years for possession of drugs. And I just had a feeling, because of Damon’s and his history, that he could interfere with Damon’s and my future.

But how could I fight their connection? Damon King and Trey Taylor had lots of times gone by. They were childhood friends who’d met in kindergarten in one of DC’s Southeast schools. Then two years after Damon graduated (but Trey didn’t) from high school, they’d moved to Atlanta to celebrate the new millennium and to wreak major havoc in the streets and make major money in the game.

Damon’s kiss pulled me back to his request. “So, can you do that?” It must’ve been because I didn’t give him a quick response that he added, “I’d do it, but I have that call with Jaleesa Stone and her people; she wants to make sure I have everything in place for her red-carpet event. Remember, that’ll be just a little more than a week after we get back, so I need to set it up as much as I can before we leave on Saturday.” A pause. “So, please?”

My first response: No! Why can’t you send one of your drivers or have him take Uber? My second response: I have so much to do for the wedding; I don’t have that kind of time. My actual response: “Sure,” because what else was I going to say to the man who would do anything for me?

Then he asked, “Can you do something else for me?”

Lust, once again, glazed his eyes and thickened the sound of his words. I almost wanted to do it again to see if this would be the time when Damon would finally satisfy me, but I had to shut this down.

He still had my hands pinned above my head when I said, “No, we have to get ready for church. You know how my grandfather is.”

Damon chuckled. “And, I don’t want to tangle with Reverend CJ Cooper.”

“Then, you need to get your fine . . . naked . . . behind up off of me.”

Damon leaned his face closer to mine. “What would your grandfather say if he heard you talking like that?”

“Probably the same thing he’d say to you if he found out that I won’t be a virgin on my wedding night.”

My words made Damon release me. “Hey, hey, hey! You can’t blame that on me alone; you were there, too.”

I laughed. “I’m just sayin’, my grandfather would kill you if he knew about the things that you did to his innocent granddaughter!” I paused, tilted my head, and gave Damon one of what I called my not-so-innocent glances. “So, do you still wanna . . .”

Damon didn’t even let me finish. “Nah, you ruined it; I’m good.” He pouted as he twisted completely off me, though he pulled me into his arms. “Let’s just get ready for church.”

“Great idea,” I said.

“But after church . . .”

“Mr. King, you are a mess!” I shook my head as I pushed him away. “Remember . . . our wedding night. Special.”

Damon poked his lips out even more.

“Please don’t be mad.” I leaned over and kissed him the way he’d kissed me: On his forehead, his neck, and I finally settled my lips on his. And right beneath me, I felt this man melting.

That’s when I started melting, too. How could I not? This man showed me that I, Tiffanie Cooper, had his heart and would have it forever. And for the rest of our lives, Damon King would have my heart, too.

( Continued… )

© 2017 All rights reserved.  Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Victoria Christopher Murray.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Lust: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray



Meet the Author
Victoria Christopher Murray always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton University where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating, Victoria attended New York University where she received her MBA.

Victoria spent ten years in Corporate America before she tested her entrepreneurial spirit. She opened a Financial Services Agency for Aegon, USA where she managed the number one division for nine consecutive years. However, Victoria never lost the dream to write and when the “bug” hit her again in 1997, she answered the call.

With over one million books in print, Victoria is one of the country’s top African American contemporary authors.

Victoria originally self-published her first novel, Temptation and in 2000, Time Warner published that novel. Temptation made numerous best sellers list and remained on the Essence bestsellers list for nine consecutive months. In 2001, Temptation was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Literature.

Since Temptation, Victoria has written over twenty other adult novels, including: JOY, Grown Folks Business, The Ex Files, The Deal, the Dance and the Devil and the popular Jasmine Cox Larson Bush series.

Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being a pioneer in African American Fiction. Since 2007, Victoria has won nine African American Literary Awards for best novel, best Christian fiction and Author of the Year — Female. After four nominations, Victoria finally won an NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Literary Work for her social commentary novel, Stand Your Ground.

Several of Victoria’s novels have been optioned to become movies, including The Deal, the Dance and the Devil and the Ex Files series.

Victoria splits her time between Los Angeles and Washington D.C. In Los Angeles, she attends Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church under the spiritual tutelage of Dr. Beverly “BAM” Crawford and she is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.



Shattered Innocence Trilogy by Denise Coleman

Shattered Innocence Trilogy by Denise Coleman

The Shattered Innocence Trilogy chronicles the lives of the Kyle family. The twins, Angel and Teek, and their cousins Troi and Keisha. They are four vibrant, bright, talented and dynamic young women with a wonderful future in the music industry ahead of them. However, their lives take a dramatic turn when they are forced to defend themselves against a group of bullies, which subsequently leads to the Kyles being sent away from their home.

Moving to a strange city with family they barely know, begins to alter the girls’ characters and personalities.  The absence of stability, familiarity and support manifests itself in the worse way.

Throughout the series, the Kyles face lies, secrets and betrayal which threatens to destroy the close-knit family bond they once shared.

Trying to maintain that bond while attempting to recapture their personal happiness and desires for their adult lives, proves to be more difficult than any one of them could imagine.

Shattered Innocence Trilogy by Denise Coleman
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
* Shattered Innocence (Shattered Innocence Trilogy Volume 1)
* Shattered Innocence 2: The Drama Continues (Shattered Innocence Trilogy)
* Shattered Innocence 3: Keisha’s Betrayal (Shattered Innocence Trilogy)

Purchase Denise Coleman Books

Shattered Innocence (Shattered Innocence Trilogy – Volume 1)

Teek and Angel Kyle and their cousins, Troi and Keisha are beautiful and talented girls on the verge of living exciting lives. However, they find out early in life that the beauty and talent they possess is more of a curse than a blessing.

Faced with being harassed and bullied by a group of haters, the girls defend themselves viciously and are forced to leave their home and family. They find themselves living in a strange city with family they barely know.

They each try to make the best of the situation amid homesickness, uncertainty and a secret one cousin feels she needs to keep to herself. Just when each believes she will finally live a life that will make her happy, everything changes.

Having not had the proper guidance, each girl is ill equipped to deal with the broken hearts, stalkers and unforeseen nemesis that enter their lives.

In the midst of the chaos and turmoil of their young adulthood, each tries desperately to find out who they are and who they’re meant to be before they lose everything.

Excerpt: Shattered Innocence Trilogy – Volume 1

The first half of the school year went by pretty quickly for the girls. Keisha spent every waking moment preparing herself for basketball tryouts. She ate, slept and breathed basketball. Without it she didn’t exist. Without being a basketball player, there was not one other thing she knew about her own self to be true.

Troi spent her time doing cheerleading activities and trying to convince Angel, who focused on her studies, to join. Eventually Angel gave in and tried out for the squad. Teek on the other hand, didn’t seem to be interested in anything at all, in or outside of school. She just went through the motions, trying to rush the time.

Jackie and her cohorts seemed to pull back after that first incident. They reduced their drama to minor bumping in the halls, name calling and eye rolling whenever they ran into one or more of the cousins.

This all changed during home coming week however. Although the girls weren’t allowed to run for home coming queen or her court, they were allowed to take part in the talent show.

The aunties had the girls rehearsing for weeks for the show. That was their thing! As their Aunt Hillie would say, “These girls can blow!” As much as the girls didn’t like working as hard as their mothers made them, they did enjoy performing, and they each knew how happy it made their parents to see them shine.

The night of the talent show, the school’s auditorium was packed. The girls had to sit through an hour of other kids singing, dancing, reciting poetry and playing violins and such, before it would be their turn.

They used their grand parents’ sir name – Marchon- as their stage name. When announced, they stepped out onto the stage ready to tear the house down. The girls looked like seasoned professionals. Their Aunt Hillie had designed their dresses; Two gold and two silver sequined halters which stopped at mid-thigh.

The dresses were paired with matching stilettos and they wore their hair flowing straight down their backs. The look was completed with faux diamond jewelry and their makeup, while subtle, enhanced the cousin’s young beauty.

The DJ cued the music and when the first cords of Teena Marie’s Square Biz filled the auditorium, the cousins broke out singing and dancing like stars. Angel sang the lead and together with her family, they sang the hell out of that song. By the time they’d gotten to the rap portion of the song, the crowd was going wild. When they were done, the audience erupted in thunderous applause. Hands down, the girls were the best in the bunch. They received the only standing ovation of the evening.

While the cousins were winning over the crowd, Jackie and her cronies were sitting in the front row, shooting daggers with their eyes. The girls had no idea that the next few months would completely change the course of their futures.

( Continued… )

© 2016  All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Denise Coleman.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Denise Coleman Books

Shattered Innocence 2: The Drama Continues by Denise Coleman

The Kyle women’s drama continues in this exciting sequel. Shattered Innocence 2 is the continuation of the Kyle women’s drama. In this exciting sequel, more drama, betrayal and secrets are revealed. Angel also contends with a psychotic stalker who finds out that he’s messed with the wrong woman. A secret life, hidden baby and cheating husband highlights the saga of four young women trying their best to survive their lives.

Shattered Innocence 3: Keisha’s Betrayal by Denise Coleman

Shattered Innocence is the saga of the Kyle family. Four strong, talented, beautiful women who face betrayal, secrets, destruction and murder. Happiness is always elusive for them, yet they continue to push through with the desire to finally find peace, love and joy, no matter how painful the journey.

Purchase Denise Coleman Books

Meet the Author
Denise Coleman was born and raised in Camden, NJ where she still resides. As an avid reader, her love of the written word has grown into a passionate desire to share her stories with the world.

Although she has penned four novels to date,  continues to work tirelessly at her craft, as she wants to grow as much as possible into a better writer and story teller with each work she creates.

As a former student of Woodrow Wilson High School, and the parent of four, it is her hope that the young people of Camden believe enough in themselves to dream big… And, in doing so, go after the best that this life has to offer.

Her first novel, Drama with A Capital D, is doing very well. Also, her most recent release, Keisha’s Betrayal, is the finale of her Shattered Innocence trilogy. She looks forward to putting out many more books in the near future.

Contact and comments can be sent to her website:
FB: @booksbydenise
IG: authordrcoleman
Twitter: @AuthorDColeman

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