One sexy Morgan man may have finally met his match in a talented and beautiful young widow. But will their ambitions come between them?
When artist Anise Cartier leaves Nebraska for L.A., she’s finally ready to put the past and its losses behind her. And she soon finds a welcoming committee in the form of one very handsome doctor, Gregory Morgan. Their attraction is instant. So is their animosity.
Gregory is in a fierce competition for a multimillion-dollar medical research grant. The grant will make a new research center possible. . .once the beloved artist community where Anise plans to set up shop is demolished. Soon, it’s a battle between art and science—one that neither Anise nor Gregory intend to lose. Can their red hot love survive this heated war of wills?
She couldn’t do it. After waiting two months, three weeks, four days, six hours, and a few nervous minutes, Anise Anna Cartier couldn’t find the courage to open the envelope and discover her fate. Heck, it had been an easier act to change her name from Shirley Anne Carter to the one she now bore, and that’s something that had belonged to her for twenty-five years. This dream right here, the fate of which she now held in her hands, had only been hers for a matter of months.
“Boomer, what do you think it says?”
Her best friend, a Bernese mountain dog that weighed almost as much as its owner, wagged his tail and trotted over.
“Here,” she continued, holding the envelope down near the dog’s nose. “Do you want to read it and tell me?”
Boomer sniffed the paper, then walked back over to his pillow and plopped down on it. For him, the paper obviously didn’t convey that it was something to eat.
She reached over for a pair of scissors that was on her messy worktable, amid acrylic and oil paints, brush sets, various types and scraps of paper, block pads, cold and hot press sheets, matting, frames, tissues, a soda can, and a half-eaten bag of potato chips. Her hand shook as she used the sharp edge to slit the envelope, the one showing the company name, The Creative Space, in the return address.
The Creative Space. Leaving her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, and becoming a student at the Kansas City Art Institute, she’d quickly learned that in the art world it was the place of legends. She’d known nothing about this Los Angeles treasure until she was eighteen years old. That’s when her favorite art teacher and now mentor, Jessica Price, told her all about the place where she’d fallen in love with art and with the man who was now her husband and father to their four kids. The place that was like an exclusive club—an artist couldn’t just show up there, he or she had to be recommended and/or invited. That’s how Anise had gotten the inspiration to live her dream of moving to Los Angeles and learning from the best. The invitation to move to LA had come from her aunt, Aretha Williams. The recommendation had come from Jessica.
Her phone rang and, as had often been the case with the woman Anise swore was psychic, it was Jessica.
“I got it,” Anise said by way of greeting.
“You did? Congratulations!”
“No, I’m not sure whether or not I got the internship, but I got the envelope.” Silence. “I know, I should open it, huh?”
“Uh, that’s normally how people find out they’ve been accepted into the mentorship program at The Creative Space!”
Anise’s scream caused Boomer to lift his chin off his paws and sit up on his haunches. He watched dispassionately as she tore open the correspondence, ripped out the single sheet of paper, and let the envelope fall to the ground.
Anise scanned the contents quickly. “‘It is our pleasure to inform you,'” she read, her voice rising with excitement, “‘that you have been accepted for an internship at The Creative Space for our summer season, beginning June first.’ Oh my goodness, Jessica, that’s only six weeks away!”
“Then I suggest you get off this phone and get busy packing! And if you need any help at all, Shirley, I’m just a phone call away.”
“I appreciate that. And by the way, Shirley doesn’t exist anymore.”
“I changed my name.”
“It doesn’t fit me. Never has, really. My legal name is now Anise.”
“Okay.” The way Jessica drew out the word suggested there was more she wanted to say, but didn’t.
“I don’t expect you to understand.”
“It’s not that. I’m just surprised is all. But, hey.
Whatever floats your boat sails mine.”
Anise laughed. “Thanks, Jessica.”
“Do the people at The Creative Space know about this change?”
“They will as soon as I respond.”
“What about what’s-his-name? How does he feel about your new moniker?”
“I couldn’t care less how Joey feels. What I do is no longer his business.”
“So your on-again, off-again love life with him is off, again?”
“My on-again, off-again situation is over. Finished. Kaput. I swore that the last time I was with him was the last time, period. And I mean it.”
“You’ve said those words before.”
“Yes, but this time they come with almost two-thousand miles of distance getting ready to be between us. This will undoubtedly aid my resolve. I’ve known Joey most of my life. He will always be my first love. But without a doubt I know that he’s not the one I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with. It’s time to move on.”
“Good for you. With no ties binding you to Omaha you can move to LA and truly spread your wings. And who knows? Your soul mate could be a mere plane ride away.”
“I have sent a message to Derek Luke to tell him I’m coming.”
Both women laughed at this inside joke. Upon seeing the movie Notorious, a movie based on the life of the late rapper Biggie Smalls starring Derek Luke, Anise had sent a copy to Jessica and explained that her future husband had a leading role.
“Listen, sweetie, the kids will be barging through the door any minute now. I need to run and get dinner ready. But remember, if you need me, don’t hesitate to call.”
“With everything I’ve got to do, keep your cell handy.”
“You got it. Bye, Shirley.”
“Right. Anise. Anise. Anise.” Jessica made a tune of the name as she worked to memorize it.
“Now you’re being silly. But I appreciate you. Thanks so much, Jessica. For everything.”
Anise ended the call and looked around as if the answer to prepping oneself for relocation was somewhere in the room. Just thinking about all she’d have to do in such a short time caused Anise to almost hyperventilate. There was the matter of settling her mother’s estate, which included putting her mother’s house—where she had lived for the past six months—on the market. Then there was the daunting task of handling what remained of her late mother’s legal and medical bills, distributing and/or disposing of her mother’s material possessions, looking for some type of employment in Los Angeles and, shortly after she arrived on the West Coast, finding a place to stay. Sure, her aunt had told her she could live with her as long as she wanted, but Anise knew in time she’d want her own place.
With a final look around, Anise spotted her iPad. She walked over, fired it up, and, after settling on the couch, opened a clean note page. She set up several headings and began listing all of the things needing to be done, in order of importance and time frame. The more she organized, the more she relaxed. Yes, it would be a challenge to complete all these tasks in only six weeks, but she knew the key to finishing anything was simply getting started.
( Continues… )
Copyright © 2013 by Zuri Day. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher’s written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author’s website if you really like this promotional excerpt.
About the Author
Zuri Day is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. An EMMA and African-American Literary Awards winner, two of her novels were also finalists in the Romantic Times Best Multicultural Romance category. Along with titillating the sensual senses, Zuri loves to stimulate provocative thought on timely, relevant topics that will benefit her community of readers. She believes in true love, half-full glasses and dreams coming true. Along with writing, hearing from readers is one of her favorite things to have happen, so she’d love to hear from you! Connect via her website, ZuriDay.com or on Facebook @ haveazuriday.
A Good Dose of Pleasure by Zuri Day
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