Monthly Archives: February 2016

#BlackLove: Where Do We Go From Here by Andrea Clinton

Where Do We Go From Here
by Andrea Clinton

Coming April, 2016

Geeda spends most of her life growing up around the hard streets and ghetto, placing value and working toward a healthy life on the other side of the fence. However, when her husband is away on business longer than normal, Geeda loses it and surounded by the wealthy insane, finds out the hard way that life isn’t greener on the other side. Instead, it’s a different kind of madness and a life she wants nothing more to do with.

Excerpt from Where Do We Go From Here 

Looking ashamed to say where she was from, Geeda stared out and didn’t say a word, but then she realized she was speaking to a bum, a woman who literally lived in the streets, “I lived on Bergen Street in Newark, Li’l City in East Orange, then around the corner near Death Valley,” pausing, “but,” squirming on her hospital bed with chills, “about ten years ago we moved on up like the Jefferson’s to Maplewood,” pausing, “a few miles from the middleclass section. Poverty is horrible living,” Geeda said as she shivered.

“I’m sure it wasn’t that bad. I walk the beat in that area sometimes, met a few older guys and gals my age and play chess in the park. Not so bad, at least not until the kids come around and those crack heads of course. Boy I’ll tell ya, crack heads will shake anybody down to see what they have, even a bum on the streets.”

Pulling her cover over her, trying to warm up, “I hate that place. Nothing but zombies and their eff’d up families there—never going back. It was awful living,” Geeda said.

“Now,” Paula continued, “how could it have been hard for you when it was your parents who were working to feed and clothe you?” Pauses to no response. “They don’t want you to fall back to sleep, might as well talk.”

“It’s not just growing up there that I hate, it’s hunger, police, fighting, stabbing, shooting; and, some kids, they had a dad or step dad, I had Morris.

“Don’t seem like a man with a name like Morris could be mean or as bad as you make him seem. Morris seems like a good guy,” she said, noticing Geeda getting more irritated, sickly and wanting to burst her bubble. “I’m sure he had some good qualities. Birthdays?” Geeda cut her off.

‘You ever tell anybody, I’ll use this razor to cut your throat!’ is what Morris use to say to me each time he snuck in my room from my bedroom window. Then he would reach in his pants and empty the contents of his pocket on my nightstand.

‘Turn over, don’t look at me. It makes me uncomfortable,’ he would say. Then, he’d take out a thick piece of a short rubber rope; I always saw him start to tie it around his arm as I slowly turned around to face the other direction. I felt so uncomfortable. I didn’t know what he was going to do, even when I saw the dope, needle and spoon he placed on the nightstand by my bed—I was 9, how would I know.

“With all or most of my friends being molested by their mother’s boyfriend, neighbor or uncle, who knew what he was capable of? When he came in the window like that, back then, he never touched me. He was focused. I just lay there until he finished shooting his drugs and left out the window again. Those few minutes seemed like forever, and I had to wait through the nodding and waking up, beginning to leave and then nodding again. When he did go out the window, I closed and locked it, then ran in the room with my mother, locked her door and put the dresser in front of it and got in the bed with her in case he came back.

That happened off and on until I was 12-years-old. I’d sleep with my mother a few nights, then, she’d take him back and he’d just sneak in the bathroom to get off on his drugs. Then when they’d argue, because he stole from her, or slapped her for accusing him, she’d put him out and call the cops, well, vice versa. Then, I’d have to worry about him sneaking in my room again. I was smart, I’d always lock the window. But, my mother would often go in the room to vacuum or get my laundry and would leave the window open to, ‘Let it air out,’ she’d say. That’s when he’d catch me off guard again. And just when I thought he’d moved on or heard he found a girlfriend or went back home to Brooklyn with his mom’s or to Philly with his wife, he’d be right back at my window, threatening me. The only time I was sure he wouldn’t come in through my window was when he was locked up and that was never for long; a weekend, a month or two, then, he’d be right back out with me fearing his face behind the glass, rapping at my window showing me a knife or gun when it was locked to pump fear in my heart so I’d open or unlock the window.”

“Why didn’t you tell your mother?” Paula asked

“It never made sense to tell my mother. After he’d go to church for a month, come back holding her hand, giving her rent money and calling her pet names, she’d take him back. I never knew if she really believed in him, or was money hungry or just believed herself when she said, ‘For a man to give up all that money when he could’ve gone and gotten high, he must want to do right. He must—’ she’d say. Then, my friends, their mothers and all the women he’d con in between jail and making up with my mother, would laugh at my moms for believing in him and taking him in again.

( Continued… )

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

About the Author

Andrea Clinton is the niece of Rock and Roll Hall of fame’s George Clinton of the funk band Parliament/Funkadelic. She’s an award winning Playwright, winning the Union County, Board of Chosen Freeholders Advancement Community Theatre 2015 grant award for her play, Murphy’s Law: Group Therapy Gone Wild.

She’s also a Screenwriter/Filmmaker, Novelist and Essayist. Andrea is a Montclair State University Graduate where she achieved a Master’s degree in Theatre Studies, as well as undergraduate degrees in: English, Film and Journalism.

She’s the founder and CEO of People Helping People, Inc., a non-profit organization, whose mission is to help citizens become independent and self-sufficient.  Publisher:


#BlackLove: Hate the Air: The Abbreviated Life of Shea Kennedy

Hate the Air: The Abbreviated Life of Shea Kennedy
by RM Johnson

HATE THE AIR is a combination of Sci-fi, Dystopia, Mystery, Romance, Action and Adventure. This exciting, speculative, story asks: what would you do if you could only live until your twentieth birthday?

The world’s air became toxic two decades ago. All who have breathed it over that duration have died in the last four months, leaving only those under twenty years old alive. Their parents, guardians and all other influential adults are dead. The new adults scramble to forge a new life and protect themselves against starvation, home invasion, crime, rape and murder.

Seventeen year old Jenna Sawyer, daughter of the deceased President of the United States, was recently elected the new commander in chief under the Legacy Appointment Act—a law passed before the last of the White House cabinet members died, stating: individuals twenty years old and below will be responsible for keeping order, educating our children, caring for our population, defending our nation against threat and preserving humanity. In order for her to manage that task, President Jenna Sawyer asked the remaining living population to come to D.C. to develop a plan for a new world order.

Meanwhile, Shea Kennedy, newly elected Legacy Sheriff and best friend of the president, gathers the last survivors of her small town, her police dog, Tornado, and they start the perilous journey across hundreds of miles to the capital. Even though they resent Shea’s authority, the caravan hopes to arrive before any of them reaches the age of twenty and succumbs to the air. 

Excerpt from HATE THE AIR

I stepped into the open door of the house. I saw no signs of a break-in: the living room hadn’t been ransacked: no furniture upended, cushions knifed open, legs torn off end tables, or lamps broken like cracked egg shells on the carpet. It was the opposite: books lay neatly on the coffee table, burned down candles sat beside them, pocket change: pennies, dimes and a quarter were spread nearby. The kitchen was clean: no trash overflowing in the corner pail. But the cabinet doors hung open. Inside of them there was nothing.

I climbed the stairs, stopped in the second floor hallway, surrounded by four doors, all of them closed. I reached to open one, heard movement behind another, spun and with a grunt, kicked it open. The shadow of a boy rummaging through drawers whirled around, and in the splash of flashlight, I saw the gun as it was turned on me.

“Don’t do it. I’ll shoot!” I cried, my voice tense, high pitched, terrified. The
flashlight beam bounced around his body and face, the thing trembling uncontrollable in my hand. He wore dark pants, a sweater and a ski mask pulled over his head.

“Whatever you have, put it down now!” I demanded.

“Who are you?”

“Sheriff!” I said, trying to sound authoritative.

“Legacy?” He scoffed.

“Freakin sheriff!” I said, again, jabbing my gun at him. “Put it down now or I’ll—“ before I could finish, I felt an excruciating pain shoot through my skull, shudder down my spine, dropping me to the floor. Movement around me, I felt someone step over me, wrench my gun from my hand. My flashlight lay somewhere on the floor, casting a tall, oblong, light circle in the corner of the room. Within it stood the stretched shadow of the boy who had knocked me over the head from behind. He grinned, pulled his bandana down, revealing yellow crooked teeth.

“You about to say you was gonna shoot my friend?” The boy asked, pressing the side of his gun to my head.

I raised my palms, expecting to die, and thinking how disappointed Dad would’ve been if he could see me now. “Please,” I begged.

“It’s a little late for that,” he said, grinning wider, dragging the tip of the gun down my face, pressing it against my cheek so hard I cried out.

“Stop!” The boy I had snuck up on, said. “We’re not here to kill. Food is all we need. Besides, she’s the sheriff.”

The boy with the ugly grin looked harder at me. A glint of flashlight caught the point of a star on my badge. He reached down to snatch it. I grabbed his hand before he could tear it off of me, fought him for it, was ready to die before I let him take it.

“Leave it!” the boy wearing the black mask ordered.

He came up behind Yellow Grin, yanked him off of me, pointed his gun at me, while holding out his palm to his partner, gesturing for him to hand over my gun. He ejected the magazine, the bullet in the chamber and pushed both into his pocket, then threw my gun across the room. He handed the bag of stolen goods to his creepy friend and told him to take it outside.

I stared at the boy through the eyeholes in his mask, watching him, wondering if he’d kill me.

“Mother or father was a cop? Probably your hero, and you’re trying to do what they did,” he said, his gun still on me. “Right?”

My heart pounding, I couldn’t speak, could barely breath.

“Things are different. No more heroes. Just people gagging in the street, and people who gonna gag in the street. Leave this place like everybody else, before you get yourself killed.”

He shoved his gun in the waist of his pants, turned, left me on the floor, shaking, terrified of moving until I heard the downstairs door slam shut. I rolled on my belly, shimmied across the carpet, grabbed my flashlight then found my gun.

Downstairs, I stepped out on the porch, shielded my eyes against the piercing sunlight. Tornado barked frantically at me as though he knew I had acted stupidly—almost got myself killed trying to defend an empty house.

“Shhh, boy. Shhh!” I told him.

I climbed on my bike, kick-started the engine, about to pull off, when the realization that I had almost died hit me hard. Tears came to my eyes and with both gloved fists, I started hitting the bike’s dented gas tank, screaming as Tornado barked louder. “Why would you leave me with this? Why would you think I could do it? Why, Dad?” I cried.

I hammered the tank over and over until my hands ached, finally lowering them on the dented metal. I stayed like that, stretched over the bike until I could stop crying.

Tornado had gone silent, too. I looked at him. He stared back, his head tilted to a side as if to say, now that you got that out of your system, can we please go?

I smiled a little, wiped my face and sat up straight on the bike. Glancing upward, I said, “Sorry Dad, for acting like a little girl. Won’t happen again, okay.”

I pulled down my goggles, toed the Harley into gear then sped off.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, RM Johnson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

New Adult Fiction –  Hate the Air: The Abbreviated Life of Shea Kennedy


#BlackLove: Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley

Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley

Shy, nearsighted caregiver, Gaia Telfair always wondered why her father treated her a little differently than her siblings. She never guessed she couldn’t claim his love because of a family secret, her illicit birth. With everything she knows to be true evaporating before her spectacles, can the mulatto passing for white survive being exposed and shunned by the powerful duke who has taken an interest in her?

Ex-warrior, William St. Landon, the Duke of Cheshire, will do anything to protect his mute daughter from his late wife’s scandals. With a blackmailer at large, hiding in a small village near the cliffs of Devonshire seems the best option, particularly since he can gain help from the talented Miss Telfair, who has the ability to help children learn to speak. If only he could do a better job at shielding his heart from the young lady whose honest hazel eyes see through his jests as her tender lips challenge his desire to remain a single man.

Unmasked Heart is the first Challenge of the Soul Regency novel.

Excerpt: Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley

Father moved toward the boxy pianoforte, his spindle legs drifting. “I wasn’t aware, but it is of no consequence. The man doesn’t look at you that way. Though he’s good to his brother’s household, I see him going to study in London. That’s too far to watch over Timothy.”

“I need a chance to convince him. If he could like me, I’m sure he will help in my brother’s care.”

He leaned on the instrument. “I can’t be at peace if all my children are tossed to the streets. You owe this to me, to all the Telfairs.”

Owe? “What do you mean, Father?”

“Don’t, Mr. Telfair. She doesn’t need to know. Gaia can be reasoned with without saying anything more.”

The warning sent a chill down Gaia’s spine, but she had to know. “Tell me why I owe my flesh and blood.”

Father took her hand and pulled it to his pale face. “Do you think it’s possible that fair Telfair blood could produce this?”

Her heart stopped, slamming against her ribs. “My mother’s Spanish roots have browned my skin. That’s what you’ve always said.”

He dropped her palm as his head shook. “It was a lie to cover my first wife’s harlotry. You’re a Telfair because I claimed you.”

Gaia couldn’t breathe. She crumbled to the floor. Hot tears drenched her face as she wished for a hole to break open and swallow her. “A mistake. Please, say this is a mistake.”

The man whom she’d called father, whom she’d worshipped, shook his head again.

She lifted a hand to grasp his shoe but stopped, missing the black leather.

Was this why she’d always felt as if she could never grasp a hold of his love? Is this why he treated her a little differently from the rest? “Then who am I? Whose am I?”

“Some traveling bard, some African poet who captivated her whilst I travelled. When you came out so close to white, with so little color, the ruse was borne; no scandal would befall my name. I’m just lucky you weren’t a boy. Then, Chevron would fall to a mulatto. How would the Telfair line handle that tragedy?”

She waved her fingers, studying the light pigment coloring her skin. Mulatto. All this time she’d blamed her flesh on fate or heritage, not lust. She tugged at her elbows, feeling dirty. Glancing at him between tears, she silently begged for him to say it didn’t matter, that he loved her still. “Father?”

With a grimace painting his silent mouth, he buttoned his waistcoat. “I’m going to lie down. Talk to her, Sarah; make her understand.”

Desperate, Gaia’s hand rose this time, but his back was to her in a blink as he plodded from the room. Her fingers felt cold and numb as they sank onto the thin rug. The breath in her lungs burned. Adultery, not a Telfair by blood – these thoughts smashed against her skull.

Sarah knelt beside her and stroked her back. “I’m so sorry. You should never have known.”

Gaia shook her head and pulled away. “No more lies.”

“Please, I’m not the enemy.”

Rearing up, she caught the woman’s beady gaze. “You want me to believe you don’t want the almost-bastard to be a servant to Timothy? Would you wish one of your children be given this sentence, to become a governess to their own flesh and blood? Well, at least they can claim to be flesh and blood to Timothy.”

Sarah reached again and wiped tears from Gaia’s cheek then opened her arms wide. “You are his sister. You love him so. This is no failing of yours.”

At first, Gaia fell into the woman’s sturdy embrace, then she stiffened and pulled away. She needed to flee, to let her brain make sense of the emotions whipping inside. Her slippers started moving. “I must go.”

“Sweetheart, wait!”

Gaia shook her head and backed to the threshold. “Why? Is there something else you have to disclose to steal the rest of my dreams?”

Without a thought for a bonnet or coat, she rushed down the hall and out the front door.

Wham! She slammed into a man in fancy, sky-blue livery. The servant was tall and black. Black, like some part inside of her. Her eyes fixed on his bronze skin and wouldn’t let go.

“Miss? I’ve come from Ontredale. Are you well, miss? You look pale enough to faint.”

Not pale enough; never would be. “Sorry.” She ducked her eyes and sidestepped him.

“Ma’am, I bear a note—”

“You want a Telfair. They are inside.” She started running and kept going until not a cobble of Chevron Manor could be seen. Salty drops stung and blurred each step. She strode forward, deeper into the welcoming woods. A hint of spring blooms stroked her nose, but the streaks lining her wet face obscured them.

A fleeting thought to go to Seren’s crossed Gaia’s mind, but she couldn’t let her friend see her like this. She was even more pitiful than normal. Would Seren even want to be her friend if the truth of her birth became known? “God, I have no hope.”

As if her slippers bore a mind of their own, they led Gaia back to her special place. Heather grasses and lousewort danced about her mighty oak, like there were something to celebrate. Her dance card was now filled with pity. Her fortunes forever changed. Nothing good ever changed for Gaia. “God, spin back time. Let me be ignorant again – ignorant and meek and unnoticed. I won’t complain this time.”

Anything was better than what she was, a secret bastard. If not for the covering lies of the Telfairs, she would be a by-blow. She studied her shaking hands. If she’d been dark like the servant she’d collided with, would she have been tossed away?

Making a fist, she beat against her oak. The snickers of her friends, did they know, too? How many sly remarks were actually hints at her mother’s infidelity? The village was small. Gossip burned like a candle’s wick, bright and fast.

Did it matter with white and black, all trapped inside her limbs? Her stomach rolled. Nausea flooded her lungs. She lunged away, dropped to her knees, and let her breakfast flow out. Maybe the ugly truth could drain away too.

Wiping her mouth, she crawled back to her oak and set her wrist against a thick tree root. Her skin was light like butter, compared to the bark. The skin was almost like the Telfairs’, just a little tan, a little darker. Not good enough.

She wasn’t good enough.

Now she knew she could never be good enough.

Envy of her sisters’ fair, pretty skin, had it not always wrestled in her bosom? The English world said the lighter the complexion, the more genteel and the more one would be held in esteem.

But she should have envied their blood instead. They knew with certitude who their father was. Julia, the twins, each had a future that could include love. What did Gaia have?

She stood and wiped her hands against her skirt. The grass stains and dusting of dirt left her palms, but the off-white color of her skin remained. She brushed her hands again and again against the fabric, but the truth wouldn’t disappear.

A light wind whipped the boughs of her tree, as if calling her for an embrace. Tripping over the gnarled root, she fell against the rough bark. Arms stretched wide, she held onto the trunk. Moss cushioned her cheek while the rustle of crunching leaves sounded like a hush, as if the oak knew her pain and tried to stop her tears.

More crackling of leaves made her lift her chin, but the strong sun shining through the jade canopy of leaves blinded her. She clutched the scarred bark with trembling fingers, and hoped whoever was near didn’t see her. No one should witness her shame.

A white handkerchief waved near her forehead.

Gaia surrendered to the fact that she’d been discovered. Slowly, she stood, smoothed her wrinkled bodice, and turned. Nothing mattered any more, not even the opinion of a stranger. Shame mingling with tears, she took the fine lawn cloth from the man who’d caught her Sunday, praying aloud about Elliott.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Vanessa Riley. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley 


#BlackLove: Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life: Childless By Choice

Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life: Childless By Choice
by Marian L. Thomas 

Author Marian L. Thomas delivers a hilarious, yet candid discussion of why she made the life-long decision to remain childless. This chapbook has the perfect blend of non-fiction and fictional elements that make it the perfect recipe for a delightful read.

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, “Millennial-focused media is just beginning to recognize this emerging mindset and celebrities are popularizing and glamorizing this path, too, with powerful women like Chelsea Handler, Zooey Deschanel and Cameron Diaz leading the charge.”

Thomas said it’s a myth that she just doesn’t like children. “It’s like saying, I don’t like ice cream. I don’t want to make it, but I certainly enjoy it on occasion. Similarly, I don’t want children, but I certainly do love children…I don’t want to babysit them either (just in case any of my friends are reading this book). I’m okay with being childless!”

Another article from the Huffington Post reported the happiest couples are those without children– at least, that’s according to research out of the United Kingdom’s Open University. The study titled “Enduring Love?” found that childless married and unmarried couples reported being more satisfied in life and feeling more valued by their partners than did pairs with kids. Unmarried parents were found to be slightly happier than married parents.”

Thomas was also quoted as stating: “Being childless, is not a revolution. Being childless can be a good decision for you. Your decision to remain childless doesn’t need validation from others.”

For more information on how to order the book, please visit the website: 

Order on Kindle:

Print Edition:


#BlackLove: Corporate Thugs by Bridgett Renay

Corporate Thugs
by Bridgett Renay

What’s the first sign that lets you know you’re dealing with a sociopath? 

Corporate Thugs is riddled with clues.

Set in the new reigning hub of African-American drama – suburban Atlanta – it’s the scandalous saga of the ambitious and untamed Gerald Alexander that chronicles his descent into the dismal world of irrationality. From high school to college and throughout the pros – his story will have you watching your back ever so closely.

Gerald had only two dreams, to play professional football in the NFL and to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. When the former became a reality it was short-lived due to a serious injury. And just like that, all the fame, fortune, parties, and women… gone. On the contrary, his best friend since childhood, Marcus Stone, was on top of the world – a successful business, a beautiful wife, and a fat bank account…he seemed to have it all.

Being a supportive friend, Marcus offers Gerald a job hoping Gerald would have a positive impact on his company. But when jealousy and murder come between them, which one will fall? Could Gerald be so callous that he’d set his best friend up? Is Marcus even capable of unleashing his own wrath?  They solved the riddle. Can you?

Corporate Thugs Book Reviews

I never heard of Bridgette Renay, I was looking for a good book to download, read the synopsis and just had to read the book. I can honestly say that once I started reading I couldn’t put my Kindle down until I finished the book. Very well written and thought-provoking, filled with an array of mystery, drama and intrigue the plot was on point and the characters were real and believable. Bridgette Renay is an author to watch for if all her books are like this one!  –Ms. Mikki, Amazon Review

Corporate Thugs is a for sure “must read”!!! This book had me on edge from start to finish. If you think you know your friends, throw money in the mix and you will find out just who has your back and who will stab you in the back! This will be a stocking stuffer this year for some of my friends. Congratulations, and Thanks Ms. Bridgett Renay for shedding some light on Corporate America. DAMN this was goood!  –Jeffrey B. Johnson, Amazon Review

Excerpt: Corporate Thugs by Bridgett Renay

Brenda and Coach Daniels hosted a Christmas party mid-December and all were invited. Terrell didn’t like hanging out with Fallon’s people, they acted too peculiar around each other for his taste, but he made an exception after Fallon told him she was pregnant.

She didn’t actually tell him she was pregnant, it was more like him noticing the changes she was going through – her behavior, eating habits and weight gain gave her secret away. She told him about the positive pregnancy test, but convinced him she was only waiting to find out for certain from her gynecologist because she didn’t want to cause any false alarms.

Terrell was excited and couldn’t wait to share their news with everyone, but at the last minute Fallon convinced him to wait until after the holidays. She knew how much the news would hurt Dionne who appeared to be in great spirits at the party.

Out of nowhere, Dionne steals the spotlight and makes an over-the-top announcement. Using a butter knife to tap on her glass of water, Dionne got everyone’s attention and spoke in one of her snottier vernaculars she saves for auspicious occasions such as this, “Everyone, everyone, can I have your attention. My husband Marcus and I have some wonderful news we would like to share with you.”

Brenda gave a look that said she didn’t appreciate Dionne taking over her Christmas party, especially without warning the hostess, but she let it go. Being around Dionne was like walking on egg shells. Everyone treated her with kid gloves for the sake of her health.

While Marcus remained seated, Dionne stood up and put one hand on his shoulder striking a distinguished pose as if they were royalty and proudly announced, “The love of my life, Marcus, has been chosen as one of this year’s prestigious Power 30 Under 30. For those of you who don’t know what that is…”

Marcus interrupts, “Baby, I think even if anybody here has never heard of the award, they can imagine from its name what it represents,” Marcus light-heartedly laughs.

Dionne proceeds to lead the crowd in applause. Terrell applauds, but isn’t too happy. Why does everyone always let Dionne steal the scene whenever she wants to throw their accomplishments in other people’s faces? They’re not the only ones living happy, successful lives.

Fallon has had Terrell’s nose wide open since the beginning of their relationship, but this time he wasn’t about to obey her commands. If Dionne can share their good news, so could he. As the applause died down, Terrell stands up and makes an announcement of his own, “Everyone, Fallon and I also bring good news. We’re expecting a baby! She’s three months pregnant!”

Most guests were genuinely happy for the couple. Dionne pretended to be thrilled. Brenda pretended to be surprised. Gerald immediately did the math in his head.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Bridgett Renay. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Order copies of Corporate Thugs by Bridgett Renay

Meet the Author

Never has there been a time in Bridgett Renay’s life where she’s laughed harder or played more vigorously…all thanks to writing. Everything she’s done in life has led to this moment. From both an undergraduate and graduate degrees to twenty-four years of service as a Navy Reservist tells the story of a journey that took her to faraway places, introduced her to intoxicating people, and shaped the way she views the world and her place in it. What better time to pen the tales that dances inside her head.

Books by Bridgett Renay:


#BlackLove: When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change

When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change
by Tumika Patrice Cain

The stars seemed to have been aligned for Avery and Alicia. From the outside looking in, Lady Luck passed their way and left a fortune! They had a whirlwind, fairytale romance filled with all the little things that make dreams come true, a wedding of grace and beauty, and perfectly magical careers that produced almost enough money to burn. They were the picture-perfect couple.

Unfortunately, time has a way of revealing fissures in what appears to the naked eye as impenetrable. The results send this fairytale romance spiraling out of control.

Avery, as perfect and so right as he seemed, struggles to free himself from his demons. He clings to this delicate relationship that he desperately needs as if his last breath depends on it. Alicia, on the other hand, struggles to make the necessary corrections that will release her from a prison of unexpected, agonizing turmoil.

A novel of enduring strength, undeniable empowerment, and the compelling ability to overcome incredible odds, Book one in the When a Man Loves a Woman series is a powerhouse that will impact readers long after the last words have been read.

Excerpt: When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change

That was one of the best days of my life. I’d finally gotten what I’d wanted forever. Someone who loved me. Loved me so much he wanted to tell the world. Wanted to make me his forever.

We slowly made our way out on the balcony, where all of the preparations had been made. It was all so lovely. Michael had black wrought iron patio furniture where we sat and ate the tantalizing dishes the caterers had prepared. There was fresh steamed lobster with lemon butter sauce, New England crab cakes, seafood kabobs and a wide range of other seaside resort foods that reminded me of the first weekend we’d spent out of town.

At Avery’s request I’d gotten off of work early one Friday and met him at the airport. The spontaneity of the whole weekend made everything seem so fresh. Northwest Airlines took us to Massachusetts where we spent four glorious days at Martha’s Vineyard. Just lying on the beach and soaking up the rays. I didn’t even have a change of clothes. Ave said not to worry about it; we’d just go shopping when we got there. That’s exactly what we did. A perfect weekend spent miles away from reality. In a cove on the beach is where we first made love. I’ll never forget it.

Once the sun set and we were slow dancing on the verandah, Avery touched my arm and motioned for me to look out across the river. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Usually the Cadillac Club in Windsor was all lit up at night in white neon. But instead of the marquee reading “Cadillac Club” it read, instead, “Alicia Will You Marry Me?” I remember being speechless for endless moments as tears welled up in my eyes, the lump in my throat rendering me incapable of speaking. The only response I gave was to gently touch his face and shake my head yes, while tears of happiness poured down my cheeks. So much for my mascara. He picked me up and swung me around for the longest time, whispering in my ear “I love you” time and time again.

It was several long minutes before I could compose myself. All remaining memories of that night are now a blur, except for us nibbling on the most succulent strawberries a mouth could feast on. And us making slow, sweet love all night under the stars while the moonlight caressed our skin.

Book Reviews: When a Man Loves a Woman

Tumika Patrice Cain has poured her abundant faith, wisdom and passion for helping others into a new book that tackles one of the toughest of family crises. Tumika’s extensive experience ministering to others through writing and counseling, as well as many years in human services, make her a voice worth hearing. 
~ Sheri Fink, Pulitzer Prize Winner & Author of War Hospital

Tumika Cain did an outstanding job on this novel and I am just still reeling from the contents. 
~ OOSA Online Book Club

This has to be the best book I have read this year. 
~ Book Referees

It is tragedy and triumph in its most raw form. 
~ Matthew Keith Reviews

Cain is a true wordsmith, and her writing has a refreshing maturity. 
~ Sweet Georgia Press

This reviewer urges you to give Tumika Cain’s premiere novel, When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change, a chance today! These pages leave no stone unturned, and no heart untouched. 
~ Lindsay McDonald, Indyscribable

A powerful read with many powerful messages, When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change shows we have to be willing to move on in order to grow. 
~ Cyrus Webb, Conversations Live

Purchase When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change

Meet the Author
Tumika Patrice Cain
is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life. She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the internet radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain, In The Spotlight, and Say What?? Author Spotlights. In addition, she is a respected book reviewer and columnist for PEN’Ashe Magazine, a contributing writer for BLOG and Belief Magazines, and editor for two smaller publishing companies.

A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but whose marketing budgets are limited. Inkscriptions, her publishing company, offers a myriad of book publishing services. Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path.

She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012), a novel that has since been picked up by Shan Presents and will be re-released as When a Man Loves a Woman – A Season of Change in December 2015. To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March 2014) and The Heart of a Woman (August 2015). Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.


#BlackLove: The Sisterhood: Book One (The Sisterhood Trilogy) by Nichol Bradford

The Sisterhood: Book One 
(The Sisterhood Trilogy)
by Nichol Bradford

The Sisterhood: Exploring mental freedom through fiction!

The Sisterhood tells the story of what becomes possible when intelligence and hope are channeled into an outrageous mission. Founded by Vivian Delacroix, The Sisterhood Foundation is a non-government organization funded by MSK Incorporated, a massive multinational built over decades by an organization of black women. The women invest billions into leading edge technology, pooling their profits into communities, schools, and treatment centers in the battle against Cocanol, a new and addictive drug.

The group is overwhelmingly successful until their progress is noticed by the Raptor, a ruthless enemy with pawns in the US government and ties to the Cocanol manufacturers and international power houses intent on controlling the world. As a first step in a war on the Sisterhood, Vivian is assassinated, triggering a Homeland Security investigation, a Senate inquiry, and a series of increasingly dangerous events.

To survive, the women, led by Chief Security Officer Tonia Rawlings, must fight against unseen forces. Battling across a public stage of media coverage and Wall Street, the women rush against all odds to outwit their foes—even as they execute the final stage of Vivian’s secret plan.

As their enemies draw near, the women risk everything, testing the bonds of faith, marriage and friendship. Along the way, they discover awful truths, make strange alliances and learn why they are the most dangerous women the world has ever seen. Together, they put everything on the line—testing themselves and the limitations the world tries to place on them.

Special Message From the Author

I wrote the book I wanted to read about strong yet vulnerable and intelligent black women committed to a great and grand goal—mental freedom and empowerment for all.

The characters in the book are well-developed women, healthy but plagued at times by guilt and self-doubt even as they put on a strong face to the world –— just like many of us. Some are happily married, and some are single, but most of all their focus is not just on their men (or lack thereof) but on their friendship and common goals.

On the surface, The Sisterhood is an epic action-thriller set in the context of a vast business empire. More deeply, the book is about friendships between women as they fight to protect a dream larger than themselves. Set in the not too distant future, The Sisterhood is Afro-futurism, with high stakes conspiracies, financial battles, deadly car chases, double agents, and martial artistry.

Action-thrillers tend to address some change in the world while literary fiction often addresses the growth of the individual. I was intrigued by the degree to which the transformation of the individual transforms the world. So the book explores how these women evolve as the pressure mounts, and how their new perspectives help them to fulfill their mission.

Oprah once asked Bishop Desmond Tutu what was required for peace in the world. He answered in a single sentence… “It is time for the women to revolt.” The women in The Sisterhood challenge the status quo by doing just that.

Who is a woman of the Sisterhood? She could be you or the woman next door. From businesswomen to teachers to any profession, any smart and talented woman you admire could be a secret member of The Sisterhood.


Friday, December 5th – 2:00 am

Sisterhood Headquarters – Middleburg, VA, outside Washington D.C.

Tonia Rawlings strode down the long, empty corridor. Her urgent steps made sharp echoes on the granite floor. Outside, her security team was assembled, awaiting her command. It seemed fitting that she was the last to leave…given what she was about to do. Tonia took one last look to sear the memory in place before stepping out into the night.

“Do it,” Tonia ordered.

Flames exploded through the windows, shattering glass across the grounds. They licked the sky in swaths of bright hungry reds, violent oranges and insatiable yellows. The fire jumped from building to building, laying waste to years of effort and thousands of sacrifices. “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” Tonia whispered.

Pamela Griffin turned. The mother in her heard a strange break in Tonia’s voice. Pamela shivered, feeling the severe night chill that found its way under collars and inside gloves. An acrid cutting smell of smoke filled the air. She stole another glance at Tonia but could read nothing from the woman at her side. How awful it must be to give tonight’s order, to destroy something loved, even to preserve something valued. But, following Vivian Delacroix’s lead had always meant sacrifice. No one was exempt.

Pamela touched her lightly on the arm. “Tonia, it was planned.”

“Yes, it was,” she nodded without turning. The last thing Tonia needed right now was direct eye contact with Vivian’s first recruit. Architects had created the exterior of the Sisterhood’s headquarters, but Tonia was the one who massaged the plans to meet their unique need – a fortress, destructible from within but impregnable from without.

Was it really so long ago that she and Vivian had found the site? Tonia remembered how Vivian had jumped out of the car and sprinted, laughing, across the property. Tonia ran right behind her, eyes trained on the tree line for enemies, ever Vivian’s protector. Vivian stopped, spun around, her arms held high. Her eyes sparkled with destiny. “Here, Tonia. Can’t you see? This, this, is where we will gather our strength.”

They had laughed then, in the exact spot where Tonia now stood. Every computer system in the Sisterhood’s vast holdings updated to servers in a manmade cavern beneath her feet. Their entire history, recorded in bits and bytes, was a maze of money and covert investments. One explosion would obscure hundreds of millions of dollars in assets as well as their research, the research that had likely brought disaster to their door.

“Move out,” Tonia bellowed, her voice returning to its normal boom. The women, jolted into action, leaped into their Jeeps. They divided into pairs and raced away. Any law enforcement officer worth his badge would take one look at their expressions, unblinking eyes, bodies rippling with strength, and become suspicious. The women were not assassins or Marines, but they sure as hell looked the part. They were more than capable of protecting their own; after all, they were their Sister’s Keepers.

( Continued… )

© Reprint 2015. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Nichol Bradford. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Download The Sisterhood: Book One 

Amazon Link:
Afro-futurism, African American Fiction; Mystery; Thriller & Suspense

About the Author

Nichol Bradford, CEO/Founder, Willow.  Nichol Bradford is fascinated by human potential, and has always been interested in how technology can help individuals expand beyond their perceived mental limits to develop and transform themselves to the highest level. She spent the last decade exploring these ideas in the online game industry, serving as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations and marketing for major brands that include: Activision/Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi.

Most recently she managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China. Now, as the CEO of the Willow Group, Nichol is applying same skills to the realm of elevating psychological well-being. Willow is a transformative technology company focused on employing rigorous scientific research to develop training protocols, hardware and software that can produce a reliable and positive change in the human experience.

Nichol has an MBA from Wharton School of Business in Strategy, and a BBA in Marketing from the University of Houston. She is a fellow of the British American Project, currently serves on the board of the Brandon Marshall Foundation for Mental Health, and is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of The Sisterhood, and an amatuer boxer.



#BlackLove: Stand Your Ground: A Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray

Stand Your Ground: A Novel
by Victoria Christopher Murray

From the #1 Essence bestselling and award-winning author Victoria Christopher Murray comes Stand Your Ground, a new novel about two women who are faced with the same tragedy.

A black teenage boy is dead. A white man shot him. Was he standing his ground or was it murder?

Janice Johnson is living every black mother’s nightmare. Her seventeen-year-old son was murdered and the shooter has not been arrested. Can the D.A. and the police be trusted to investigate and do the right thing? Should Janice take advantage of the public outcry and join her husband alongside the angry protestors who are out for revenge?

Meredith Spencer is married to the man accused of the killing and she sees her husband and the situation with far more clarity than anyone realizes. What she knows could blow the case wide open, but what will that mean for her life and that of her son? Will she have the courage to come forward in time so that justice can be done?

Book Reviews for Stand Your Ground

“Murray has written a tension-packed novel around the hot-buzz national topic of an unarmed black youth shot by a white male, an act then subjected to the Stand Your Ground rule as a legal defense tactic. . . . Murray’s writing admirably shows the often overlooked human emotions following racial violence. . . . The pulled-from-the headlines storyline will captivate readers.” (Library Journal – Starred Review)

“With artful descriptions, Victoria put me inside their hearts and minds. I did not just enjoy this read, I lived it.” (Michelle Lindo Rice, bestselling author of the Able To Love Series)

Chapter Except: Stand Your Ground

The doorbell rang and a hard knock followed.

Tyrone and I frowned. It was a little after nine, and Marquis and his friends knew they couldn’t hang out on school nights.

Just a couple of seconds passed before the visitor knocked.

“Who can that be?” I asked, pushing myself up.

Tyrone held up his hand. “You stay here. I’ll get it.”

Before my husband could make it to the top of the staircase, I wrapped myself inside my robe and stepped into the hallway. Marquis’s bedroom door was closed, which was the only reason why I was sure he hadn’t bounced down the stairs to get to the door before his father.

By the time I made my way to the top of the stairs, Tyrone was at the bottom and opening the door.

“Mr. Johnson?”

The door was open wide enough for me to see the two policemen, one black, one white, standing shoulder to shoulder, like soldiers.

“Yes,” my husband said, his voice two octaves deeper, the way it always dropped when he stood in front of men wearing uniforms.

“May we come in?” the black one asked.

Those words made me descend the stairs even though I wasn’t properly dressed for company. Not that policemen showing up could ever be called welcomed visitors.

“What’s this about?” my husband asked.

The policemen stepped inside, though Tyrone hadn’t extended an invitation. Both men glanced at me as I stood on the second stair, gripping the lapels of my bathrobe and trying to come up with a single reason why two officers would be in our home.

“Ma’am.” It seemed the black officer had been assigned to do all the talking.

“What’s this about?” Tyrone asked again.

They stood at attention, as if this were a formal visitation. “Would you mind if we went in there?” The black officer nodded toward our living room.

If the officer had been speaking to me, I would’ve said yes because it seemed like the polite thing to do.

But Tyrone said, “That’s not necessary,” because my husband had been raised on the hard streets of Philly, where a policeman, no matter his color, was never an invited guest.

The officers exchanged glances before the black one said, “Marquis Johnson, is that your son?”

Tyrone’s eyes narrowed while mine widened.

“What’s this about?” That felt like the fiftieth time my husband asked that question.

“There’s been a shooting . . .”

“Oh, my God,” I gasped. “Did something happen to one of our son’s friends?”

The officers looked at each other again before the black one continued, “It’s your son, Marquis. He’s been shot.”

“What?” Tyrone and I said together.

“That’s impossible,” Tyrone said. “Marquis is in his room.” He yelled out, “Marquis, come down here.”

Not even a second passed before I dashed up the stairs, moving like I hadn’t in years. Not that I had any doubt. Of course Marquis was in his bedroom. He’d come home while Tyrone and I . . . had been spending personal time together. I mean, Marquis hadn’t come into our bedroom when he came home, but he never did when we had the door closed.

Tonight, he’d been home by eight, nine at the latest. I was sure of that.

I never entered Marquis’s room without knocking. But tonight, I busted in. And then I stood there . . . in the dark. I stood there staring at the blackness, though there was enough light for me to see that Marquis wasn’t sitting at his desk, he wasn’t lying on his bed.

“Marquis,” I called out anyway, then rushed to the bathroom. “Marquis!” Just like with his bedroom, I busted into the bathroom and stared at the empty space.

Then, I felt my heart pounding, though I’m sure the assault on my chest began the moment the policeman had told that lie that my son had been shot.

“Marquis,” I shouted as I searched our guest bedroom.

I returned to his bedroom and swung open the door to his closet before I crouched down and searched under his bed. “Marquis,” I screamed, wondering why my son was playing this game of hide-and-seek, something we hadn’t done since he was four.

I rushed back into the hallway and bumped right into Tyrone. “He’s not up here,” I said to my husband as he grasped my arms. “He’s downstairs; did you check the kitchen or the family room?”


I looked up into Tyrone’s eyes, which were glassy with tears.

“What?” I frowned. “You don’t believe those policemen?”

He nodded and I shook my head.

“They’re lying.”

“They’re not lying,” Tyrone said softly. “They showed me a picture.”

Now I whipped my head from side to side because I didn’t want to hear anything else. I couldn’t believe that Tyrone would accept the word of men in blue. Wasn’t he the one who said the police couldn’t be trusted?

If he wasn’t going to look for our son, I was. “Marquis!” I screamed.

Now a single tear dripped from Tyrone’s eye. “Janice, listen to me.”

I tried to remember the last time my husband cried. And I couldn’t think of a single time.

“Janice.” He repeated my name.


“Marquis is gone.”


“He was shot over on Avon Street.”


“He’s dead.”

“Why would you believe them,” I cried. “Why don’t you believe me?”

My husband looked at me as if I was talking foolishness. And I looked at him and begged for him to tell me that he was wrong. Or for him to wake me from this nightmare. Either would work for me.

But Tyrone did neither of those things. He just stared into my eyes. And as I stared into his, I saw the truth.

Not many words that Tyrone had shared had made it to the understanding part of my brain. But four words did: Marquis. Gone. Shot. Dead.

“Marquis is gone?” I whispered.

Tyrone nodded.

“Someone shot my son?”

He nodded again.

“And now he’s dead?”

This time, Tyrone just pulled me close, so close that I could feel the hammering of his heart. But though I always wanted to be held by my husband, I didn’t want him to hold me now. Because if what Tyrone had said was true, then I didn’t want to be in my husband’s arms.

If what he said was true, then all I wanted was to be dead, too.

( Continued… )

© 2015 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 Books by Victoria Christopher Murray

Contemporary Women Fiction >African American > Christian Fiction

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.

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, Victoria received her first NAACP Image Award nomination for Temptation.

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, Never Say Never 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 seven African American Literary Awards for best novel, best Christian fiction and Author of the Year – Female. Her 2014 NAACP Image Award nomination for Never Say Never was her third Image Award nomination.

Several of Victoria’s novels have been optioned to become movies, including The Deal, the Dance and the Devil and the Ex Files series.  With over one million books in print, Victoria is one of the country’s top African American contemporary authors.

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. She is also a very proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  Stand Your Ground available nationwide and online June 30, 2015!

Connect with Victoria Christopher Murray



#BlackLove: My Wife’s Lover by RM Johnson

My Wife’s Lover by RM Johnson

My Wife’s Lover by RM Johnson is filled with deceit, suspense, drama and mystery. It will have you guessing and shocked at what this story brings. 

Stan’s wife Erica, told him she was pregnant by another man who wanted no part in raising the baby. Contracts were signed transferring custody and all fatherly rights to Stan. But three years later, he walks in his house to find his wife and her ex-lover in a compromising position. A horrible accident has happened and Michael, the biological father, wants his child back. Erica tells Stan she won’t let the boy be taken, but Stan finds text messages between Erica and Michael, finds proof they’ve been seeing each other, and wonders if Erica is planning on leaving him and taking the little boy to reunite him with his natural father.

Abandoned as a child by his own father, and forced years ago to surrender custody of his daughter, Stan will do whatever he must not to lose his son, including taking a life.

Purchase My Wife’s Lover by RM Johnson 

Sequel to My Wife’s Baby 

My Wife’s Baby by RM Johnson

My Wife’s Baby is a story of Romance, Suspense, Erotica, Family Life, Drama and Mystery. It will have you guessing and shocked at what the end brings. 

Does the love for a wife and the jealousy for an infant, warrant murder? My Wife’s Baby is a story of Romance, Suspense, Erotica, Family Life, Drama and Mystery. It will have you guessing and shocked at what the end brings. 

Does the love for a wife and the jealousy for an infant, warrant murder? 
After ten years of bad dates and worse relationships, Stan is in heaven, for he has finally found his soul mate, Erica—a beautiful, caring woman who shares all his beliefs, to include not wanting children. They discussed this over bottles of red wine the night they met and promised, if ever they became a couple, they would remain childless and forever the other’s priority.

One year after being married, Erica tells Stan she’s pregnant: news she’s very happy about. Stan considers talking Erica out of it, but that would mean aborting her child, something he knows Erica would never do.

Two months into the pregnancy, Stan notices changes: times he and Erica enjoyed as a fun-loving childless couple are no longer; Erica’s attention is occupied with all things related to the forthcoming baby, and Stan has gone without sex for months.

The child arrives and things get even worse; Stan feels like an outsider: a stranger living among his wife and her son. Erica gives all her time, attention and love to the infant, leaving none for her husband. Stan becomes envious; he looks at the newborn as a threat, tells himself something must be done—but what? He fights his jealous thoughts, knowing horrible things would happen if he were ever to act on them. But one night while drunk, Stan attempts to make love to his wife but is once again rejected. His pride hurt and feeling disowned, Stan stumbles into the baby’s room with intentions of eliminating his problem once and for all, knowing there can only be one man in Erica’s life. That is the promise his wife had made him on the night they met, and it is the promise he intends to make her keep.

Purchase My Wife’s Baby by RM Johnson 




#BlackLove: Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young

Lawful Deception
by Pamela Samuels Young
“Pamela Samuels Young has crafted a page-turner that will keep you engrossed until the very last page. If you’re a fan of smart legal thrillers with brisk pacing, crackling dialogue and edgy, intriguing characters, Lawful Deception is for you.” –Dwayne Alexander Smith, Award-winning Author of Forty Acres.

Once again, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young delivers another captivating legal thriller full of unexpected twists and jaw-dropping moments you never see coming. The beautiful Bliss Fenton won’t be winning any awards for Mother of the Year. Truth is, motherhood isn’t nearly as important to Bliss as the cottage industry she’s created: extorting wealthy men for the hefty child support she can collect.

But Bliss’ greed goes too far when she takes on Fletcher McClain. The handsome music industry mogul refuses to accept her conniving conduct lying down. He retains high-profile attorney Vernetta Henderson to sue Bliss for fraud.

Enter Bliss’ unscrupulous attorney, Girlie Cortez, who has a personal score to settle with Vernetta. As the two lawyers once again go head-to-head, their legal battle quickly escalates from merely contentious to downright deadly.


Bliss Fenton took a sip of champagne as she glared across the room at the obnoxiously happy couple. They indeed made a striking pair. Their slim, toned bodies draped in designer wear and expensive jewelry. So trendy. So California chic. Setting her champagne glass on the tray of a passing waiter, Bliss snaked her way through the crowd, hoping to get a better view. As she moved, her blonde curls bounced as if lifted by a cool breeze. At 5’8” and 120 pounds, her delicate frame was all slopes and curves. A body specifically designed for exhibition.

The partygoers were packed like human matchsticks inside the gaudy Hollywood Hills mansion. The home, if you could call it that, was a testament to excess. Just like the couple. Too much of everything. Too many art deco chairs, too much bronze and glass, and so much artwork the walls could barely breathe.

Only a few feet away from the couple now, Bliss found herself shoulder-to-shoulder with a too-tanned man with greasy hair. He winked at her. She sneered back at him and moved on. A devious smile fractured Bliss’ face as she returned her attention to the couple. She imagined the angst they would experience the minute they spotted her among the partygoers. Fletcher’s lips would contort into an ugly grimace, but then coolly transition to a barely perceptible smirk. He was not the kind of man who was easily rankled. That was the reason he was a millionaire several times over.

Mia, however, would not be able to hide her emotions. Fletcher’s prissy little black princess would toss Bliss a snarl that bellowed, What the hell are you doing here? It was Mia she wanted to punish most. Bliss had pleaded with God to curse her former friend with a pain ten times more intense than her own. She wanted Mia to live it. Breathe it. Curl up in bed with it. Just as she had.  Bliss refused to blame Fletcher for the poor choices he’d made. He was a man. And men, by nature, were weak. Still, he too would pay just the same.  The call of vengeance tugged hard at Bliss’ soul, urging her, daring her, to march right up to the couple and confront them. But she held back. For the moment. Patience had always been her most virtuous trait.

Fletcher hustled to the front of the room and began singing the praises of the newest songstress to be added to his stable of artists, LaReena Jarreau. Bliss remembered cuddling in bed with Fletcher and listening to him brag about creating her stage name, since Janice Harris had no pizzazz.

“The first time I heard her voice,” Fletcher said, throwing his arm around the bony twenty-something dressed in hooker gear, “I knew she was going to hit the music world by storm. You have to agree that what we heard tonight was—as the youngsters say—off the chain.”

Everyone applauded as the hip, dark-haired CEO of Karma Entertainment grinned, happy to be on show. The only thing Fletcher enjoyed more than being rich was having everyone know it.

Mia remained off to the side, perfecting the look of the coy, supportive fiancée. That had been Bliss’ mistake. Accepting her at face value. While Mia’s visual package was quite alluring—all charm and beauty—on the inside, she was pure evil. Truth be told, Mia wasn’t all that different from her.  Bliss Fenton, not Mia Richardson, should have been on the arm of the music industry mogul tonight. It had never occurred to Bliss that her long-time yoga buddy could walk into a party and take her new guy’s breath away. Literally.

At the time, Bliss had been dating Fletcher for a short six months. She’d invited Mia to the party at Fletcher’s Beverly Hills home for the sole purpose of showing off her new man to her smart, uppity faux-friend. Bliss could still remember Mia waving as she glided into the party, the crowd parting so effortlessly it almost seemed choreographed.

Seconds before, Fletcher had been talking nonstop about his label’s next release, but the sight of Mia had caused him to lose his train of thought. When Bliss had formally introduced them, the lust in Fletcher’s eyes further telegraphed the gravity of her mistake.

Only days after the party, Bliss’ time with Fletcher began to dwindle, explained away by late night meetings that couldn’t be avoided or last-minute business trips to New York. Mia, too, had started cancelling their after-yoga coffee chats and finally stopped coming to yoga class altogether.

It was a month later, when Bliss saw Fletcher and Mia pictured together in Billboard, that she first learned of their betrayal. Her subsequent rage-filled calls to both of them had been ignored. And now, Mia was at Fletcher’s side, while Bliss had been pushed right out of his life.

A burst of applause snapped Bliss back to the present. As Fletcher seemed to be wrapping up his speech, Bliss moved closer, stopping inches behind Mia. She leaned in, her lips almost grazing Mia’s right ear.

“Congratulations on your engagement.”

Mia’s head whipped around, her dark brown skin now ashen gray. “You … you shouldn’t be here.”

Bliss spoke in a firm whisper. “Neither should you. You backstabbing bitch.”

Mia took a step back. “This is not the place to make a scene.”

“Okay, then,” Bliss said, moving into the space Mia had abandoned. “Shall we step outside?”

A second later, Fletcher wedged himself between them. “You walk yourself out of here right now,” he said through clenched teeth, “or I’ll have security carry you out.”

Although no voices had been raised, all heads turned in their direction. Mia didn’t move.

Fletcher, always cognizant of appearances, wore a stiff smile as he spat into Bliss’ face. “If you don’t leave, I swear I’ll have you arrested.”

After three long beats, Bliss winked. “You’ll both be hearing from me.”

Bliss couldn’t help smiling as she sashayed through the buzzing crowd.

Fletcher and Mia would suffer for their disloyalty. Bliss only wished she could be there to see their stunned faces when they learned what she had done and realized there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.

Chapter 1

I should have shown Fletcher McClain to the door 30 minutes ago, but the words seem to be stuck in my throat. I hate to admit it—even to myself—but I like having him in my space again.

“So will you take care of this for me, Vernetta?”

He’s been pacing the length of my office for several minutes now. When he first stormed in and slapped the Petition to Establish Parental Relationship on my desk, he was so wound up I thought he might be on the verge of a stroke.

“I’m not a family law attorney, Fletcher.”

Employment law and some occasional criminal work are more up my alley.

“I don’t need an expert in family law,” Fletcher insists. “What I need is a good negotiator. Someone who can talk some sense into this nutcase and make her go away. And I’m confident you can do the job.”

The issue isn’t whether I could handle his case, but whether I should. They say a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. Perhaps a lawyer who goes to battle on behalf of an ex-lover is just as foolish. Especially if the old flame hasn’t quite flickered out yet.

According to the petition, Fletcher’s ex-girlfriend Bliss Fenton has named him as the father of her three-month-old daughter, Harmony. Fletcher, however, claims the petition is all lies. Even though he hasn’t taken the court-ordered paternity test yet, he wants me to set up a meeting with Bliss and offer her some “chump change,” as he puts it, to go away.

“It looks like she filed that petition herself. I need this nonsense over and done with before she gets an attorney involved.”

I take another look at the petition. Bliss has indeed filed it in pro per, which is easy enough to do. The petition is a simple two-page form that requires checking a few boxes. Falling into one of the chairs in front of my desk, Fletcher fixes me with a look so intense I almost shudder.

“I really need you, Vernetta.”

His lips angle upward, just slightly, and I feel a warm tingle in a place where my happily married self definitely should not be tingling. I break his gaze and fiddle with my cuticle. Classically handsome, Fletcher has sandy hair, strong cheekbones and wide brown eyes with lashes too long and thick for Mother Nature to have wasted on a guy. He’s still the only white guy who ever stole my heart.

“Fletcher, you could find a million attorneys to handle this. Why don’t you let me recommend a friend who has expertise in family law?”

“See, that’s what I love about you, Vernetta. I don’t know many lawyers who would turn away a paying client with my kind of dough. You’re the real deal.”

“Unbelievable.” I stare across the desk at him, shaking my head. “You’re still as cocky as you were when we were know-nothing sophomores back at USC. It’s not always about money, Fletcher.”

“It’s always about money, my sweetness.”

Damn him. Hearing his pet name for me after all these years has me tingling again. A quiet chirp interrupts his subtle flirting. He pulls the phone from the inside pocket of his jacket. Glancing at the screen, he frowns and sets it on the corner of my desk.

“How can you be so sure it’s not your kid?” I ask.

“Because we broke up almost a year before that kid was born.”

“Shouldn’t you wait for the results of the paternity test?”

“Don’t need to. It’s not my kid.”

“I’m confused. If it’s not your kid, once you have the results, it’s over. Why pay her anything?”

“You don’t know Bliss Fenton. Even after the results come back, she’ll have something else up her sleeve. I need this thing buttoned up once and for all. Paying her off will accomplish that.”

My gut and years of legal experience tell me there’s more to the story. “You certainly seem awfully stressed over an allegation that has no merit. What’s the real deal?”

Fletcher repositions himself in the chair.

“I’m getting married in three months and this whole thing has my fiancée climbing the walls. Bliss timed this to embarrass Mia right before our wedding. I need it resolved as soon as possible.”

The news that Fletcher is getting married surprises me. I’ve followed his career for years and figured he was a confirmed bachelor.

“So what’s Bliss got against Mia?”

“Well … um … they used to be friends.”

I squint. “Oh, so we’re dealing with a woman scorned.”

It’s one thing to lose your man to another woman. It’s quite another to lose a charming, high roller like Fletcher McClain to someone you considered a friend.

He shrugs. “That’s basically the crux of it.”

“But it still doesn’t make sense. Bliss wouldn’t serve you with a paternity suit if there were no chance you could be the father.”

“You haven’t been listening. This woman is extremely conniving. She probably read that Forbes article and came up with this scheme to shake me down.” He pauses. “Did you happen to see it?”

Fletcher landed the number three spot on Forbes’ list of the top music industry moguls. He’s the only one on the list under 40. His net worth is estimated at $450 million, just behind Clive Davis and JayZ.

“Of course I saw it. Very impressive.”

He points a finger at me. “You haven’t done too bad yourself, counselor. You’ve handled some pretty high-profile cases.”

Over the years, Fletcher sent me handwritten notes, congratulating me when one of my trials hit the press. Keeping up with his achievements is the only reason I read Billboard.

“So how much do you plan to offer her?”

“A hundred grand should do it. I’m willing to go higher if I have to. Maybe two-fifty. And I want a written agreement with an ironclad confidentiality provision.”

I’m about to say he’s putting up a lot of cash to get rid of a bogus claim, but for a man with Fletcher’s bank account, we’re talking peanuts.

“We may have to play dirty to force her into a settlement. I want you to retain a private investigator to dig up some dirt on her in case we need it. And trust me, it’s out there.”

“Are you serious?”

“As a heart attack. Once you meet her, you’ll understand.”

“How’d you even end up with this woman?”

“It’s your fault,” he quips. “After you broke my heart, I was so devastated, I opened up my heart to whoever came along.”

“Yeah, right.” I scan the petition again. “It says here the child was born in January of this year and she’s three months old.” I glance skyward and do the math in my head. “Let’s see … Assuming a nine-month pregnancy, that would place conception sometime in April of last year.”

“Exactly. The kid can’t be mine. We broke up in February, eleven months before she was born. I remember because it was two weeks before Valentine’s Day.”

“Maybe your timing is off.”

“It’s not.”

“And there were no hookups after that?”

“Nope.” He brushes the lapel of his Canali suit, then raises his right hand. “Scout’s honor.”

“I still don’t understand why you don’t want to wait for the test results before approaching her. You’d be in a much better negotiating position.”

“I’m taking the test tomorrow, but it could be a couple of weeks before I get the results. I want this thing resolved yesterday.”

His cell phone chirps again. He grunts and picks it up. “Excuse me a second.”  His long fingers awkwardly tap the screen. I assume he’s sending an email or text message. Another minute or so passes before he looks up, his face full of annoyance.

“Uh, that was Mia calling from the lobby.” He scratches his jaw. “She’s on her way up.”

“Hmmm. So it’s your fiancée who’s running this show.”

“Not really. Well, I mean—”

I’m not used to seeing the smooth-talking Fletcher McClain at a loss for words. He moves to the edge of the chair. The relaxed air we’d been basking in has been sapped from the room.

“The real deal is Mia wants me to sue Bliss for defamation. She thinks I’m meeting with you to talk about the defamation case. But I think it makes more sense to give Bliss a few dollars to disappear.”

“Okay, now I get it.”

“Let’s keep that under our hat. And, um,” he rubs his chin, “Mia’s a bit on the jealous side. Let’s not mention that we used to be an item, okay?”

Fletcher was never the type of guy who’d let his woman call the shots. This alpha dog has turned into a poodle.

“No problem. Our conversations are attorney-client privileged.”

Fletcher straightens in his chair. “Oh, so I’m your client? Great!”

I raise both hands, palms out. “I haven’t committed yet. But your fiancée can’t—”

“Just flow with me on this, okay? I’ll handle Mia. You just play along.” His confident charm reminds me of the first time we met over a decade ago.

I was walking across campus when Fletcher stopped me with a corny pick-up line.

“Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk by again?”

I’d never met a white guy—certainly not one as gorgeous as Fletcher McClain—who had the swagger of a brother. After a bit of prodding, I agreed to meet him for lunch. And here he is still charming me more than a decade later.

My assistant pokes her head in the door. “I have a lady out here who says she—”

The door flies open and a woman bustles past Deena into my office.  A perfectly coiffed, black beauty marches right up to my desk and peers down at me. I have to push my chair back to get her out of my personal space.

“You better be a barracuda,” she says, firing her words at me. “Because that’s the kind of attorney we need to show that scandalous slut Bliss Fenton that she’s playing with fire.”

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Pamela Samuels Young. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young
(Vernetta Henderson Series, Book 5)


About Pamela Samuels Young
When attorney Pamela Samuels Young, a NAACP Image Award winner, isn’t fulfilling her duties as legal counsel for a major corporation in Southern California, you can usually find her penning her next legal thriller.

Her acclaimed novel, Anybody’s Daughter, is what garnered Pamela her first NAACP Image Award win in the category of Outstanding Literary Work (Fiction).

Fed up with never seeing people of color, especially women, depicted as savvy, hot-shot attorneys in the legal thrillers she read, the Compton, CA, native decided to create her own. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, Pamela accomplished her ambitious goal by getting up at 4am to write before work, dedicated her weekends to writing and even spent a large portion of her vacations glued to her laptop. In doing so, she discovered her passion for writing.

A graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and a Master’s Degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a diehard member of Sisters in Crime-L.A., an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers.

She lives in Southern California and attends Hope in Christ Community Church. Visit her website to read excerpts from the books, to see the more than 380 bookclubs she has visited and to follow her online:

Pamela is also a frequent speaker on the topics of writing fiction, discrimination law and pursuing your passion.
Pamela loves to hear from readers, so use one of the avenues listed below to reach out to her.

Pamela’s website:
Follow me on Twitter at:
Follow me on Facebook at:


#BlackLove: Earth’s Quiet Chaos: A Novel by Tomeekha Pitre

Earth’s Quiet Chaos: A Novel
by Tomeekha Pitre

Earth’s Quiet Chaos is set in a historically significant community in Los Angeles, California. Earth Hartley is an African American businesswoman whose life is consumed by caring for her older sister, Moon, and trying to save Moon from the consequences of her careless behavior and substance abuse.

Moon is paranoid, violent, erratic, and irrational. She thrives in her life of chaos, and has no regard for the pain it causes her family.

Ra, their brother, is the lifeline between his two sisters. He’s the glue that holds the family together until a horrible and violent act results in Moon’s arrest.

The story of Earth’s Quiet Chaos is about finding and holding onto true love while dealing with family issues that are considered to be taboo in the African American community, but are relatable to all.

Excerpt: Chapter 2

Rashidah and I giggle at ourselves as we walk from store to store in the open-air mall called The Grove. It’s a hot summer day and we duck into my favorite store to temporarily escape the blazing heat.

“I love the artistic vibe of the designs and fabrics in this store.”

Rashidah holds the tag on a cute shirt and murmurs

“Look at these high ass prices!”

We pick out some outfits to try on. I find some tops, pants and a dress to add to my wardrobe. We walk out of the store and look for a shady spot where it’s cool.

“Xavier will like me in the long summer dress, don’t you think?”

Rashidah doesn’t respond. After a short break, we continue shopping.

We hit up the computer store where she buys herself an iPad for scheduling client appointments. We grab a half veggie sandwich and salad from The Veggie Grill. We hit up every store at The Grove before heading to the Beverly Center.

“I want to treat myself to one of those small flat Louis Vuitton cross body purses.”

We find it at the Louis Vuitton store and then check out other stores that aren’t at The Grove.

Pleased with my purchases and delighted to spend time with Rashidah, the one who knows me best, I’m all shopped out.

“Rashidah, can you believe that I don’t have any plans tonight other than dinner with Ali and a dress rehearsal for the play?”

“Well, you never know. Maybe Xavier will surprise you and he’ll be the one sitting at the dinner table when Ali brings you to the restaurant.”

She has a half grin. She’s in the know of something that I’m not.

“Now that would be the surprise of a lifetime, but if something goes down, I’m ready to dress and impress. That’s for sure.”

Then it hits me to check my cell phone for the time. “Speaking of time, its 3:45. Are you ready to roll?”

“Yep, I think we’ve done enough financial damage for the day.”

“You’re right about that!”

We make our way to the parking lot, fill the trunk with our bags, and drive off.

We go to my place and, like we always do when we go shopping together, Rashidah comes in with her bags and we go through each and every item, trying them on as we help each other change. Rashidah takes down my locs and sections them into twisted bantu knots all over my head.

“Okay, here you go Earth, give it an hour and then we’ll take down the bantu knots and your locs will be slightly curly and I’ll do a quick style for your date tonight.”

“Please, dinner with Ali is not a date. We are friends and are going to catch up with each other. That’s all. Now, if Xavier is at the table that will be an entirely different story.”

“And that is what I’m talking about. We have to stay ready so we don’t have to get ready. So, you are going to pick out your dress and we are going to do your hair and makeup as if Xavier will be somewhere waiting to surprise you tonight.”

She’s in her beauty makeover mood. I’m excited about the thought Rashidah planted in my head. We begin our mission for me, Earth Hartley, to look like a million bucks for my man tonight wherever he may be and at whatever time he decides to show up.

“Besides, it is my B-Earth-Day today, I can look fabulous all day if I decide to do so.”

I need to keep myself in the moment and not get too excited and set myself up for a letdown.

This time of the year in southern California, the weather is unpredictable. But today is nice and hot so we go with it and choose the long summer lounge dress. It’s a sheer fabric so I glide into a white ankle length cotton slip to wear underneath. The dress fabric has water colored flowers of purple, yellow, orange, and green. The butterfly sleeves are elbow length and the front of the dress has a low V-neck. Since I am going out with Ali, who stands six feet, five inches, I put on my four inch gold sandals that tie up the leg.

When I turned 16, my Baba gave me one yellow gold and one white gold chain necklace, one with an Ankh pendant and the other with a Gye Nyame pendant. Both pendants have a crystal planted in the middle. I fasten the white gold chain. The end of the Ankh hangs perfectly at my cleavage. I keep on the earrings that Rashidah gave me and add white gold and yellow gold bangles, and the gold Ankh ring that Momma gave me a long time ago on my right hand and a turquoise ring that Baba gave me on my left hand.

Rashidah takes down the bantu knots, pins up the back and allows the locs to fall in the front to frame my face. She beams with the look of a proud Mother.

( Continued… )

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


#BlackLove: Second House from the Corner: A Novel by Sadeqa Johnson

Second House from the Corner: A Novel
by Sadeqa Johnson

In the tradition of I Don’t Know How She Does ItSecond House from the Corner centers on the story of Felicia Lyons, a stay-at-home mother of three drowning in the drudgeries of play dates, lost pacifiers and potty training who occasionally wonders what it would be like to escape the demands of motherhood. But when an unexpected phone call threatens to destroy her life, Felicia is forced to return to her childhood home where she must wrestle with an ex-lover and long buried secrets to save the family and home she loves despite the daily challenges.

Felicia Lyons is a character who mothers can identify with and laugh along with. You can’t help but cheer for her in Johnson’s engaging and well-written novel.


“A captivating tale to savor…Felicia is a wonderfully flawed, compelling main character, one who has stayed with me long after I finished the book. A winning novel from a writer to watch.”
—Benilde Little, bestselling author of Welcome to My Breakdown and Good Hair

“Sadeqa Johnson is one of those authors you rarely find these days. Her gift of writing sings on every page. When reading her second novel, Second House From the Corner, you can’t help feeling like you just received a letter from an old friend…. or an old lover. It is a must read!”
—Here’s the Story Bookstore in Union, NJ

Excerpt from Second House from the Corner: A Novel


To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings— all in the same relationship. — Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The Witching Hour

That four-hour window between after-school pickup and bedtime?  It’s like walking a tightrope with groceries in both hands. The slightest hiccup will land any mother in a quagmire with her legs in the air. For me the whole afternoon was a fail. I locked myself out when I went to pick the kids up from school, but didn’t notice the missing house keys until I pulled into the driveway. The snacks had been demolished at the playground, so the hunger meltdown began on the drive to my husband’s office for the spare key (a drive that usually takes seven minutes, but ended up being twenty round-trip because of traffic). Things got even shoddier once I discovered we were out of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. My children will not eat baked chicken unless I dip the pieces in buttermilk, roll them in cornflakes, and bake until crispy. The oven was preheated, the potatoes were boiling for the mash, and I was thirty-three minutes off schedule without the magic cereal that makes my chicken finger-licking good. No time to change the dinner plan. So I swap in seasoned bread crumbs and cross my toes that they won’t notice.

“Mama, this doesn’t taste right.” My son, Rory, frowns.

“Just eat it. There are children right down the street who are starving.”

“But it’s disgusting,” whines Twyla.

How does a four-year-old know what disgusting is?

“Just eat.”

“I have to go pee pee and poo poo.”

“Stop smiling at me. Mommy, she’s smiling.”

“Can we just have dessert?”




Like a song on repeat. Like it’s the last word in the English dictionary. They call “Mommy” until my lips pucker, eyebrows knit. And it takes all my strength not to respond with that inside voice that nobody hears, that you wish would stay quiet, that tells the truth you don’t want anyone to know. That damn voice is hollering. Shut the fuck up!

At what point do I get to shout What the fuck do you want from me? I wouldn’t drop an F-bomb in front of the mommy crew at the park, and I hate to see parents on the street cursing out their kids. But here in my kitchen with everything working against me, I would like to liberate myself just once and let the profanity rip. It’s the nipping at my nerves that gets me. The feasting on my flesh like starved sea urchins. Them, fighting like thieves for their individual piece of me. Me feeling like I have nothing left to give. Any mother who says that she has never felt like her whole life was being sucked out through her nostrils is a damn liar. I feel it every day. Especially when I don’t get at least five hours of shut-eye, like last night.

Twyla (whom I call Two) walked her four-year-old self into my room every hour complaining about being scared. Scared of what? The curtain, the bed, the wall—she had an excuse for each visit. Never mind that she had to walk past her father to get to me. They never bother him. It’s always Mommy. So I upped and downed all night while he slept like a hibernating black bear. 

I hate when I feel like this. My chest rising and falling. Momentum of failure piled. Anxiety has swept through my belly and is curled against my organs like a balled fist. Just one happy pill would make it all better. But I’ve been on the happiness-comes-from within kick for a few months, so no more pills. Instead I’ve started tapping.

Tapping out my emotions so I can get back to feeling right. It’s that new technique where I say what my issue is and use my fingertips and hit my meridian points until I’m back to even. It usually takes about five minutes and several rounds before I feel centered and strong. My husband, Preston, calls it woo-woo, but he’s not at home with three children all day. I am, and I have to use what I’ve got to carry me through. I turn my back to the kids at the kitchen table, take two fingers, and tap the side of my hand while whispering my setup statement.

“Even though I feel stressed out, anxious, and tired of being alone and responsible for my kids I love and accept myself.”

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

“Calming down.” I try whispering the statement again but Tywla is out of her seat.

“My stomach hurts.”

Rory puts his fork down. “I’m full.”

My fingers stop. I haven’t made it through one minute, much less the five I need. I take a deep breath and usher everyone upstairs. Maybe Preston will surprise me and come home early. The damn voice laughs. When was the last time he did that? He never makes it home before their bedtime and I bet that’s on purpose.

Rory moans. “That’s my boat.”

“Dad gave it to me.”

“No, he didn’t.”

Breathe. “Cut it out and get undressed.”

I run their bath and sneak in a quick tap. Repeating my setup statement, I move from my hand to my forehead, to the side of my eye, under my eye, under my lip, under my chin, full hand on chest, bra strap and top of the head. Fill my lungs with air and exhale. Twyla and Rory are back. I read my body. Better.

“Can I bring this in the tub, pretty please?” Twyla clutches the mesh bag with their toys.


They climb into the bathtub and play. This should give me a few minutes alone with the baby.

“Guys, I’m going to change Liv into her pajamas. No water on the floor.”

“Can we have more bubbles?”


“Awwww, man,” Rory replies, imitating Swiper the Fox. “You only gave us a little bit.”

I cut my eyes in the direction of my six-year-old and hold his gaze for a beat longer so that he knows I mean business.

The upstairs of our house is small, and it only takes three long strides to the girls’ bedroom. Liv, the baby, squirms in my arms and I find solace burying my head in her neck. I could sit and smell this child all day. At ten months old, she still has that fresh-to-the-earth smell that forces me to slow my pace. It’s hard to look at her without feeling deep sighs of relief. She is our miracle child.

When I was twenty weeks pregnant with Liv, a routine sonogram found something suspicious. I was sent to the Robert Woods Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick to see a pediatric cardiologist. There was a pinch in her heart that could hemorrhage. Her chances of being stillborn were high. When the doctor suggested that we terminate the pregnancy, I was bilious. By then I had already heard her heart beat, felt her flutter and kick, loved her. Preston didn’t even look my way when he simply told the batch of white coats that we would take our chances.

On our way home, the traffic on the Garden State Parkway held us hostage. I slobbered and blubbered against the passenger seat window, trudging through my past, knowing which karmic act brought this down on our family. My husband kept patting my hand, but when that didn’t work, he pulled our ice-cream-truck size SUV over to the side of the road and pressed the hazard lights.

“Foxy, look at me.” He is the only person who calls me Foxy, and even with hearing my personal pet name, I couldn’t bring my eyes to his. Tilting my damp chin, he forced eye contact. “This is not your fault.”

But it is.

“You trust me?”

I shake my head, of course, because there really is no other response when your husband asks you that question.

“So the baby is healed. It’s done, no more worries.” Preston clapped his hands, as if he had just entered a contract with God.

“Now stop blaming yourself, you didn’t do anything.”

As our vehicle crawled up the Parkway, he informed me that we’d name her Liv.

“Not short for anything. Just Liv.”

I knew what I had done to deserve this even though my husband did not. I wanted it to be all right. Needed something to cling too, so I agreed to everything that Preston offered because the only hope I had for a favorable outcome was him. I had burned my bridge with God a long time ago.

( Continued… )

© 2016 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.

Purchase Second House from the Corner: A Novel
Contemporary Women Fiction

Barnes & Noble:

About the Author

SADEQA JOHNSON is a former public relations manager who spent 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 was hailed by as “this summer’s hottest read.” It was the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction and the 2012 USA Best Book award for African-American fiction. Originally from Philadelphia, she now resides in Virginia with her husband and three children. SECOND HOUSE FROM THE CORNER is her second novel.  For more visit:


#BlackLove: Bad Choices Can Be Deadly by Monica Lynne Foster

Bad Choices Can Be Deadly
by Monica Lynne Foster

A Chanelle Series Novel – Book 1

Even beautiful, professional, successful women can have relationship drama. And that’s Chanelle Slate. First she catches her boyfriend of 12 years in a compromising position. In their bed. And she makes it clear to him and his new lover how she feels about his betrayal. Then, against heavenly advice, she seeks comfort in the arms of her married colleague… until he decides to work on his marriage and moves out of state with his wife.

By the time the love she’s wanted all of her adult life is finally in front of her, the mistakes, and sins, of her past come back to haunt her. And she quickly learns that it will be impossible for everyone to make it out alive.

Bad Choices Book Review 

Monica Lynne Foster is an excellent writer. Just excellent. In her novel, Bad Choices Can Be Deadly, she had my heart racing, trying to figure out who was stalking. It was well-written, fast-paced, a true page-turner.
Victoria Christopher Murray, Author of Stand Your Ground

Chapter Excerpt from Bad Choices Can Be Deadly


I dropped the handle of my suitcase. “What are you doing?” I screamed to my boyfriend of 12 years as he scrambled to cover himself and I picked up my emergency baseball bat by the side of my bed.

“Chanelle! Chanelle! I can explain.”

I swung the bat and lucky for him he ducked, because the whack of the bat put a nice size dent in my headboard. “You can’t possibly explain this!” My eyes had to be betraying me. There was no way I’d just come home from a business trip and found the love of my life in our bed with his personal trainer. His male personal trainer.

“Honest to God, Chanelle, this isn’t what it looks like!” He held his arms out in front of him, in a futile attempt to block the inevitable future swing of my get-even tool.

“Don’t you dare bring God into your sordid mess! It’s exactly what it looks like! How could I have been so stupid to trust you and give you 12 years of my life! 12! Ugh!” I said, as I swung again, missing him, but connecting with my lamp. Then I turned my fury on Rocco. “And you! I welcomed you into my home!”

“It’s not my fault you can’t give him what I can,” the home wrecker taunted me.

“Not now, Rocco,” Michael yelled.

We’d been together long enough for Michael to know what I was capable of doing, and at this moment, I was thinking I could handle a 20-year bid at the state prison. “Get out! Both of you get out!”

They jumped out of the bed without a stitch of clothing and bent down to pick up their pants.

“No! You don’t get to put on clothes,” I continued shouting, while brandishing my bat.

“Chanelle, it’s winter and it’s freezing outside,” my now ex pleaded.

“You say that like I care! You have exactly one second to be out of my house or I swear to God, I’m gonna catch a case. Now go!”

I chased them down the steps and out my front door. Watching them run butt naked and barefoot down the snowy street of my posh subdivision was suddenly comical. And I began laughing. I sat on the porch and laughed until I cried. But the tears of humor quickly turned to tears of pain as the betrayal set in. Pain that what I thought was a solid relationship was really a sham. Pain that I’d wasted years of my life with a man who could never be committed to me. Pain that I was now… alone.

Chapter 1

One Month Later

“Michael, what are you doing here?” I said when I opened my door and saw my ex standing on my porch…with his new lover.

“We’re here to give you this,” he said, handing me a piece of paper.

I looked at it trying to make out what I was reading. “What is it?”

“You’ve been served.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me.”

“You’re suing me?”

“He’s not,” his lover chimed in, while holding Michael’s hand. “I am.”

“This must be a joke.”

“It’s no joke, missy. I’ll see you in court,” the man stealer said, whipping his neck around as though he had long hair instead of a bald head.

I turned on Michael. “And you’re just going to stand here and let him do this to me? Like I never meant anything to you?” I screamed, waving the paper that cemented his betrayal.

“Chanelle, you burned all of my stuff. Everything I owned. So yeah, I’m behind Rocco on this.”

I thought about the bonfire I’d had right after his breach of trust. He was right. I set everything he had ablaze. Even got a fine from the city because of the fire. But it was worth it when he showed up with the moving truck the following day and I handed him pictures of ashes. It would make more sense if he was suing me. But Rocco? What did I do to him?

I watched Rocco and the man I once loved with everything in me walk down my steps and get into their car. Then I groaned and shut the door on a chapter of my life that was closed forever.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Monica Lynne Foster. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Bad Choices Can Be Deadly – A Chanelle Series Novel – Book 1



#BlackLove: Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Best Friends Forever
by Kimberla Lawson Roby

In this page-turning marital saga, Roby tells the story of a woman who, only days apart, learns that she has breast cancer and that her husband is having an affair—yet this doesn’t stop him from leaving her for the other woman.

After being rejected by numerous literary agents and publishing houses in 1996, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby started her own company and self-published her debut novel. Now, Roby is releasing her 23rd family drama, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, which centers on a wife, her husband, breast cancer and infidelity. Roby has sold more than 2.6 million copies of her books and is the 2013 NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER tells the story of Celine Richardson, her husband, Keith, and their 10-year-old daughter, Kassie. But this once loving marriage and happy family unit turn devastating when, only days apart, Celine is diagnosed with breast cancer and learns that Keith is having an affair. Worse, Keith still leaves her for the other woman. Celine then wonders how she’ll navigate the difficult process of surgery and additional cancer treatment, but comfort and support come in the form of Celine’s best friend, Lauren. They’ve been attached at the hip since they were children, and it is Lauren who’s there for Celine in her darkest moments. Of course, Keith may want to come back home, forcing Celine to consider some tough decisions relating to the marriage and otherwise—and for the very first time in her life, she wants to give up. Lauren vows to help her best friend in any way she can, but will it be too late?

Roby can discuss issues covered in this thought-provoking read that many also face in real life via Skype, video chats, teleconferences and over social media chats or in person meetings:  “Regardless of what family we’re talking about, breast cancer affects all colors, nationalities, and social status in a heartbreaking fashion—and sometimes so does infidelity in a marriage,” Roby says. “So, in BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, I wanted to show what happens when, only days apart, a woman discovers she has breast cancer and learns her husband is having an affair. Additionally, I wanted to explore how the family is affected when a husband leaves his wife for the other woman, and the woman’s best friend is forced to step in.”

Roby’s novels—which address true-to-life issues—have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, ESSENCE, and Publishers Weekly magazines,, Barnes & Noble, Walmart and many others.

Chapter 1: Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby 

“Keith, do you know what time it is?” Celine Richardson asked her husband as he walked into their bedroom. She’d just turned on her lamp and was sitting against two pillows.

“Five a.m.,” he said, clearly sounding as though this was no big deal.

“And you think you can just leave the house and waltz back in here whenever you feel like it? You must be out of your mind if you think I’m going to put up with this kind of crap. I almost called the police to report you missing.”

Keith pulled his short-sleeve knit shirt over his muscular shoulders and dropped it on the chair. “Time got away from me.”

Celine folded her arms. “Where were you, Keith?”

“At a friend’s. A bunch of us guys played cards and had a little too much to drink. And I fell asleep.”

Celine laughed out loud. “And you think I believe that? You think I’m that naïve?”

“Believe whatever you want. That’s on you.”

“You have a lot of nerve staying out till the wee hours of the morning and then acting like you’re the one who’s upset. How dare you.”

“I’m upset because anytime a wife decides that her work is more important than her husband, she shouldn’t worry one bit about where he’s going…or what he’s doing.”

“Excuse me? So you’re now staying out late and sleeping with only God knows who because you feel neglected? Please.”

“I’ve been telling you this for months. More like a whole year. But nothing’s changed.

You spend all your time online doing work for your clients, and that’s basically where things end with you.”

“That’s not true, and you know it.”

“Well, actually, you’re right. You spend lots of time with Kassie, but with the exception of our daughter, everything else revolves around your business. Which means there’s no time for me.”

“Why is it that you can spend all the time you want focusing on your career, but I can’t?

It took a lot of hard work for me to build up my client list, and it’s completely unfair for you to ask me to give that up. Especially since I’ve never asked you to give up anything.”  Keith was vice president of sales for a health care insurance company, and Celine had always supported him and encouraged him to excel every step of the way. So none of his complaints about her spending hours on her social media marketing business made sense.

It was as if he now despised the fact that she was finally seeing some real success with her career. She’d started her business five years ago, and she’d worked her behind off, doing everything she could not only to get it off the ground, but also to gain as much exposure as possible with small companies and major corporations. It was the reason she now sometimes had to pass on projects or refer clients to some of her colleagues.

“Do whatever you want,” he said, pulling on his pajama bottoms. “Because that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

Celine pulled her flowing hair around to her shoulder. “And what is that supposed to mean?”

“It’s not like I stuttered. My words were very clear.”

“So who exactly are you sleeping with, Keith?” she asked, ignoring his last comment.

“Look, I’m tired, and I have to be at work in three hours. So can I at least get an hour of sleep in peace? Without all these ridiculous questions?”

“You’re the one who decided to stay out, so I’ll ask any questions I want.”

Keith sighed and got in bed, turning his back to her.

“I’m telling you now, I won’t put up with this,” Celine said. Keith didn’t respond.

“Are you listening to me?”  He still didn’t say anything.

“Keith!” she yelled, becoming angrier.

He finally turned toward her in a huff and sat up. “What? And why are you screaming at me when you know Kassie is sleeping?”

“Because I want answers, and I want them now.”

“I told you months and months ago that I was tired of going to bed at night with no one lying next to me,” he said, pointing his finger at her. “I told you how tired I was of you staying in your office until well after midnight. Work, work, and more work. That’s all you’ve cared about for more than a year, and I finally got sick of it. I complained and tried to talk to you about it several different times, but you never took me seriously. You did what you wanted, and now I’m fine with it.”

“But you know how hard it is to start your own business. Before I even decided to go forward with it, you and I talked about what it would take. We discussed all the time I’d have to spend to make it work, and you were good with that.”

“Yeah, I supported you a hundred percent, but when I started to see how you had no problem talking on the phone to your friend Lauren for sometimes as much as two hours and how you never miss any of your favorite TV shows, that’s when I realized how unimportant I was to you. Your priorities are totally in place, but they certainly don’t include me. And don’t get me started on how little we make love. Sometimes only once a month. And in case you haven’t noticed, I stopped asking you to do that a long time ago.”

Celine thought about everything Keith was saying, and she couldn’t deny that some of his statements were true. She hadn’t paid much attention to the time she spent doing other things, but now she had no choice but to acknowledge it. Nonetheless, this still didn’t give him the right to break his vows to her. He wouldn’t admit that he was having an affair, but no man stayed out as late as Keith had unless there was another woman involved.

( Continued… )


Purchase Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby


About the Author
Kimberla Lawson Roby
is the author of the bestselling works The Ultimate Betrayal, A Christmas Prayer, The Prodigal Son, A House Divided, The Perfect Marriage, The Reverend’s Wife, Secret Obsession, Love, Honor, and Betray, Be Careful What You Pray For, A Deep Dark Secret, The Best of Everything, Sin No More, One in a Million, Love and Lies, Changing Faces, The Best-Kept Secret, Too Much of a Good Thing, A Taste of Reality, It’s a Thin Line, Casting the First Stone, Here and Now and Behind Closed Doors. She lives with her husband in Illinois.  Visit her website at:


#BlackLove: Lies of Blue by Lynne Forde

Lies of Blue by Lynne Forde

What is the price for fulfilling your dreams?

Lies of Blue is the story about a young woman who tries to reach her dream by making sacrifices. Somewhere along the line, the wrong sacrifices get made. It’s Training Day meets OZ, with a twist of Set It Off.

When Forde gets tired of her dead end job in the City Courts, she embarks on a career in the belly of the beast. With a degree in hand and a little bit of street sense, she decides to try her hand working in River Edge Jail Complex. From day one at the Academy to her last day at Prison, Forde evolves from your average “rookie” into something other than just a woman. To make matters worse, if you put a sexual being in the midst of some of the city’s most conniving men and women, you are bound to come up with something a little kinky and very destructive. The more dangerous the game became, the more erotic the encounters became. She goes from dfficer, to hustler, to victim, to CEO in a matter of 8 years.

#LiesofBlue is an exposé of what goes on in the depths of prison, through the eyes of one woman. Lies of Blue teaches you that there are so many people you may come across in life, you never know who is real and who is fake, but that the journey can become a battle of life or death. Choose wisely. What is the price for fulfilling your dream?


Made Woman

From January to the end of March, Develin was completely engrossed in school. He was learning about cars and automotive technology. Can you imagine how I felt? Actually, I was so happy to see it happening before my eyes. He was becoming a productive member of society. He wasn’t really earning any money, but he was getting welfare and going to school, and after school, he was home studying and being with me. We would share our stories of what happened at work that day and just grow together. I had my boyfriend back. It was great and I proved to myself that you could help a person change their life. Develin was living proof.

I don’t want you to think that things stopped on the job. I was still bringing stuff in to my peoples and paper was steady, thousands! In fact, they were paying my rent; my bills were getting paid. Yo’ Bigs made sure I didn’t want for anything. Each time the orders would get more and more crazy. Yet I was still the girl making it happen. It was a business within my business. I had a job and once I got to work I had a million other things to take care of besides my normal eight-hour B.S. Mr. Big and I were becoming untouchable, or at least we thought so. He made simple requests and I made them happen. The little things can make a bid a little easier to deal with. He kept me laced and I kept him laced as well. He ate only food from the street now, drank Bacardi 151 with every meal. He held me down and I looked after him as if he was my lover. But he was better than a lover, he was straight business and I was making straight paper.

One night in May, I had a job to do. I went to meet Mr. Big’s peeps uptown in Hightown. I picked a spot near Dev’s family; that way I could wait at Dev’s family’s for the call from my connect. When the phone call came through it was almost 8:30 at night. They were downstairs and told me to come to the car on the corner. I told them what I had on, but they already knew all about me—who I was, what I looked like, the whole nine. When I came out of the building, the only car I saw was a brand spanking new Lincoln Town Car, limo style, with tinted windows and the whole nine. The plates weren’t livery, so somebody important owned this fly ride. I started walking towards the car and the locks popped open. A guy jumped out of the front and opened the door for me in the back.

“How you doing?” he asked.

“Fine,” I responded, as I got in the back of this Signature Series Stinkin’ Lincoln and the guy next to the driver handed me a box.

“This is what my man needs you to bring to his people. Can you get it to them? See, he wants to make his anniversary special, so he got this for his wife. Can you make sure she gets it, so that she has it on in the visit?”

Without hesitation, I said, “Yes.”

“Yo’ anything you need you just let me know and I can do it for you. You’re like family to us now. So if anybody hurts you, they hurt us, and we ain’t gonna have that, you understand?”


“This car is going to take you home or wherever you want to go from here.” He handed me a piece of paper with a phone number scribbled on it. “I’m J.D. and if you need me for anything, money, problems, whatever…get in touch with me.” Before he left the car, he told the driver to take me wherever I wanted to go. Then he gave me five, we shook and he got out of the limo.

As I sat in the car alone, I thought about what was said to me. I knew the depth of what was being put upon me and I knew that I was now a Made Woman. Death before dishonor! I will not tell! I opened the box to see what it was I needed to get to his wife tomorrow. I wasn’t ready for what I saw. I pulled out the black velvet box and opened it up in the back of the dark limo, with tinted windows. My heart stopped as I took a deep breath and held it! I swear to God I had never seen anything like this in my entire life. If there was ever a question of how much dough this boy was working with, this ceased all doubts. It was a set of teardrop pink diamond earrings over fifty carats in diamonds. OH MY FREAKING GOODNESS! I was so stuck I forgot to breathe again. “Where to, ma’am?” the driver continued asking me, but I didn’t hear him until about the fourth time he asked. I was in a totally dark car. I pushed down the window so I could get some air, the light from the streetlight above caught the earrings and they turned blue. It lit up the entire back of the car like a disco ball from back in the days at the club. I could have read the newspaper to this light. I was impressed! Oh hell yeah, I was impressed! And now I was in the family! That night Develin hung out and I wasn’t mad. Though things were all gravy between us, there was no need for him to know about this.

It was time to not tell him so much of what was going on, cause if he ever wanted to tell, he didn’t need to know everything.

( Continued… )

© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Lynne Forde. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Lies of Blue by Lynne Forde
Urban Life; Thrillers & Suspense; Crime Fiction

About the Author

Producer /Filmmaker/ Author/Screenwriter- Lynne Forde

Lynne Forde is currently producing both film and television projects. Saffyre’s debut project “Lies of Blue” is based on the debut novel from author Lynne Forde. This project is being produced as a feature film and will be marketed at the major film festivals including Toronto, Tribeca, and Cannes. She has received critical acclaim for both the screenplay and the novel Lies of Blue, which has just been created as a short film. Ms. Forde was accepted to the Producers Network in 2012 to the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes France. The short film Lies of Blue was also official selection for the AAWIC in 2012 and the San Diego Black Film Festival in 2013. Her documentary “GRINDING” – Lynne Forde’s up close and personal interview with music legends The Poindexters was accepted to San Diego Black Film Festival and won Audience Choice at the Poconos Mountain Film Festival in 2014.

Lynne is the producer and co-writer for the documentary “GRINDING” – Lynne Forde’s up close and personal interview with music legends The Poindexters. She is currently filming the episodic series “The Gray Area”.

In May 2014, Lynne became the Director of the African American Women in Cinema’s Florida Chapter. Whether writing or producing, Lynne is constantly working to move herself and films of color forward to a higher level. Lynne Forde is positioning herself to be an irresistible force in the industry.

Lynne Forde, Saffyre Entertainment Inc.


#BlackLove: Ellis and The Magic Mirror by Cerece Rennie Murphy

Ellis and The Magic Mirror

by Cerece Rennie Murphy (Author)  and  Gregory Garay (Illustrator)

Ellis Monroe has always been curious about the world. When his father brings home an ancient mirror with the power to reveal the truth about the people and things around him, Ellis begins to see the world in a whole new way. But things get more than a little strange/even more interesting when Ellis brings the mirror to school. While on the playground with the mirror and his best friend Toro, Ellis discovers that someone or something is hiding out at Harriet Tubman Elementary and trying to stop children from learning.

Determined to solve the mystery, Ellis, Toro, and his little sister, Freddye go on a secret mission to find out the truth about the mischievous Buddy Cruster and stop whatever he has planned. Join Ellis, Freddye and Toro as their quest leads them deep into the forest and on an adventure you will never forget.

Message from Cerece Rennie Murphy

Besides my immediate family, you are among the FIRST to see the official cover of the upcoming Ellis and The Magic Mirror early reader chapter book. This story has been a labor of love that began about a year ago, when my 6 year old son asked me to write a book for him.

He told me upfront that sword-fighting, a skateboard and his stuffed penguin “Chirpy” had to be in the story. With my work cut out for me, I began writing, and thanks to the exceptional artistic talents of Gregory Garay of Visual Verbosity, I finally have a story that my son not only approves of, but is excited about.

The book is intended for readers like my son, who was ready to begin reading chapter books, but was a bit intimidated by “too many words” and too few pictures. Ellis and The Magic Mirror has about as much action and suspense as I could throw into a children’s book and still keep it “kid-friendly”.  My target reading audience is between 6-10 years old.

Would you like to read Ellis and The Magic Mirror to a little person who is near and dear to your heart?
Preview the book Ellis and The Magic Mirror, click here.   This is truly a special moment for me, as a writer and a Mom.  To learn more about the story click here.

You can also order your copy on Amazon here:

Ellis and The Magic Mirror by Cerece Rennie Murphy
Order Link: 

About the Author

Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with science fiction at the age of seven, watching “Empire Strikes Back” at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., with her sister and mom. It’s a love affair that has grown ever since. As an ardent fan of John Donne, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut and Alexander Pope from an early age, Cerece began exploring her own creative writing through poetry.

She earned her master’s degrees in social work and international relations at Boston College and Johns Hopkins School for Advance International Studies, respectively, and built a rewarding 15-year career in program development, management and fundraising in the community and international development arenas – all while appreciating the stories of human connection told in science fiction through works like Octavia Butler’s “Wild Seed,” Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and “The X-Files.” In 2011, Cerece experienced her own supernatural event – a vision of her first science fiction story. Shortly after, she began developing and writing what would become the “Order of the Seers” trilogy.

Cerece lives just outside of her hometown of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda.


#BlackLove: Real Street Kidz: Good Ideas by Quentin Holmes

Real Street Kidz: Good Ideas
by Quentin Holmes

Q, Jazz, Chase, Ginger, Los, Kawena, and Lucky, are the adventure seeking Real Street Kidz. An extraordinary group of kids who live life in a big way and prove that you’re never too young to make a difference. During the summer the Real Street Kidz Chased Action and mastered the Art of Authenticity, but with the arrival of a new school semester the RSK are in serious need of Good Ideas. The kids are immediately faced with frustrating challenges from a rigid new school’s “Pilot Program,” that includes excessive pop-quizzes, strict dress codes, and a disgusting “healthy choice” menu.

Things really get worse when their old rival Junior puts the entire school in jeopardy with his “Me First” re-election campaign for school president. Q and Jazz decide to run against him to stop Junior’s reckless campaign from ruining the student body, but that’s when things become even worse! The entire school becomes divided and everyone is desperate for an infusion of Good Ideas to help put things back together again.

Whose side will the friends choose? Which side would you choose? Making the wrong choice could cost everyone a lot more than just a school election; it could cost everyone a better world!

Select the Real Street Kidz series for your book club meeting and Quentin will join you in person, via webcam or via speaker phone. To schedule Quentin’s visit, email him at  Read more about the Multicultural Children’s Book Series:

Purchase Real Street Kidz: Good Ideas by Quentin Holmes
Series: Real Street Kidz Multicultural Children’s Books

About the Author
Author, entrepreneur and brand creator, Quentin “Q” Holmes has dedicated his life to empowering the world’s youth through trendsetting literature, media, and fashion. The son of a hard-working father whose career advancement moved the family to nearly every region of the country, Quentin gained exposure to people from all walks of life. Quentin earned his bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Michigan, further enriching his perspective on social diversity.

The Real Street Kidz book series, created in 2009, promotes positive life messages to modern day youth. Examples of multiculturalism, along with heightening positive individual differences to achieve success, are a continuous theme across the books of this exceptional series. This type of awareness builds reading patterns of success for kids everywhere. Through reading Chasing Action, Art of Authenticity, and Good Ideas, Quentin hopes that kids will begin thinking “outside the box” and realize that teamwork and individuality are the greatest formula for success.


#BlackLove: American Pool Player by Calvin W. Maxwell

American Pool Player
by Calvin W. Maxwell

Set in 1984, just as hip-hop culture was beginning to takeover the world, Grice “G-Man” Grafton is a teenager about to enter high school. He loves playing pool but is naive. His friendship with a streetwise kid causes Grice to accept a challenge from a ruthless thug called “Dragon” who is a notorious pool hustler. The days leading up to the match test not just Grice’s confidence as a pool player, but his very soul.

American Pool Player Chapter 1: The Game

My parents didn’t mind me playing pool every afternoon as long as my homework was always done and my grades didn’t meager. I think my parents were proud of the fact that I took such an effortless interest in a sport that didn’t have any remote possibility of concussions or broken bones. Besides, I really didn’t have much of an appetite for boxing gloves or shoulder pads. 

From the time I was 9 to 14 years-old, I would play 8-ball, 9-ball, or straight pool almost every day with Mr. Evans or his youngest son Roy or even sometimes my Dad would play when he didn’t have to work overtime. I studied the legends of the game, like Willie Mosconi, Minnesota Fats, Ralph Greenleaf, Jimmy Moore, Luther Lassiter, Steve Mizerak, and Mike Sigel. I wanted to absorb all I could about those who achieved prominence in the cue arts. I was particularly interested in any great black players. Were there any? Yes. 
His name was Cisero Murphy and he stood toe-to-toe with the best pool players of his era. He was a champion who played the game with intelligence, class and he never forgot where he came from. Other than my father and Mr. Evans, Cisero Murphy became one of my early boyhood heroes.

Amazon Customer Book Reviews

Reviewed by Heidi -American Pool Player is amazing and the writing style is fun and easy to follow. When you start reading it, you just want to continue in order to find out what happen next. The story reflects our everyday life and it shows the reader that learning one lesson does not mean that we actually learn everything in life. I recommend reading it.

Reviewed by Vera Dow -American Pool Player really made me reflect on my childhood and what it was like growing up in the 80s. And this book take a serious hard look at the issues then that mode many of us into who we are today. Very funny parts in the book too 🙂 GREAT READ!!!

Reviewed by SCP -Mr. Maxwell it’s a pleasure to endorse your book thank you for inspiring our youth, as you well know anything that will capture the attention of young minds is a true blessing and it appears you have an absolute WINNER here!

Reviewed by Book Lover -Calvin W. Maxwell is an inspiring author and paints a joyous picture of hope through his book “American Pool Player” I would reccommend this as a must read for any Christian today!

Reviewed by Jessica Miller-Greene -Awesome! Creatively written. Thank Mr.Maxwell for creating a character who is so realistic, and a story of faith and love.

Purchase American Pool Player  by Jr. Calvin W. Maxwell
Printe  and  eBook Download Link:
Christian Hip Hop.  No profanity, drug use or sexual content. Mild violence.

About the Author

Calvin W. Maxwell, Jr. is a teacher and sports fan that lives in the Greater New York area. He writes to encourage and inspire young people.


#BlackLove: The Bargain IV by Vanessa Riley

The Bargain IV by Vanessa Riley

Time is running out for Port Elizabeth. A missing chief and his daughter, tensions among frightened colonists, and the trembling of a difficult labor, threaten to break the fragile bonds of its survival.

Precious Jewell will do what is right to protect those she cares for, even for the man she won’t admit to needing.

For Gareth Conroy, death doesn’t matter anymore, and he purposes that his spilt blood will bring salvation for the colony, but will he realize too late that no single man of flesh and blood can bring redemption?

Will the burgeoning hope of two stubborn, wounded souls fray or smolder in this exciting conclusion of The Bargain?

About The Bargain Series: 

Coming to London has given Precious Jewell a taste of freedom, and she will do anything, bear anything, to keep it. Defying her master is at the top of her mind, and she won’t let his unnerving charm sway her. Yet, will her restored courage lead her to forsake a debt owed to the grave and a child who is as dear to her as her own flesh?

Gareth Conroy, the third Baron Welling, can neither abandon his upcoming duty to lead the fledgling colony of Port Elizabeth, South Africa nor find the strength to be a good father to his heir. Every look at the boy reminds him of the loss of his wife. Guilt over her death plagues his sleep, particularly when he returns to London. Perhaps the spirit and fine eyes of her lady’s maid, Precious Jewell, might offer the beleaguered baron a new reason to dream.

The Bargain is a serialized story or soap opera told in episodes. Each episode averages from three to eight chapters, about 15,000 to 30,000 words. Each episode resolves one issue. Emotional cliffhangers may be offered, but the plot, the action of the episode, will be complete in resolving the main issue. 

My promise to you is that the action will be compelling, and I will tell you in the forward the length of the episode. This episode, Episode III, is eleven chapters long, 30,000 words. There are 4 episodes total for Season 1. Enjoy these Regency Tales set in South Africa.  –Vanessa Riley

Excerpt: The Bargain IV by Vanessa Riley

Twisting stairs leading to her small chamber below sat in front of her. Forty-five steps and she’d be inside her closet-sized quarters, one shared with a scullery maid. In Charleston, the slave quarters were big but shared by four or five. Maybe the small cellar room was what the lowest of servants of the house could have. Once the master left, how much longer would Mr. Palmers let her stay in it? He didn’t think she deserved anything but a hay bale, to be stabled like an animal.

If he tossed her out, would she become a Blackamoor at a brothel or worse, sold again and returned to South Carolina or Jamaica? Her fingers latched onto the waxed rail for strength. The smooth wood felt good beneath her thumb, cooling the fever of thoughts running rampant.

A memory of Eliza pushing her, encouraging her to slide down the big one at her pa’s manor in Charleston, fluttered in her mind’s eye. Precious had held her breath, put her bottom on the banister and slipped the length of it. For a few seconds, it felt like flying. It was reckless and heady and would’ve earned Precious such a beating if Mr. Marsdale had caught her, but sailing free was worth it. Wasn’t freedom worth every risk?

Thunder erupted, and the storm pelted the roof in a steady punching manner. Her breath came in spurts as she remembered a backhand to the jaw, the stings of a whip, all endured protecting herself. The freedom to refuse sweaty advances was worth the beating, so complete freedom had to be, too.

Precious unglued her hand, pivoted, and headed for the study. Pausing, she counted the dents in the fretwork trim surrounding the threshold. At ten, she leveled her shoulders and knocked on Lord Welling’s study door.

Nothing. No grunt. No deep voice, full of command, answered.

But no turning back either.

She pried open the heavy double doors and slunk inside. The heat of the room stung her cheeks. The stench of liquor and cigar smoke hung in the air, adding a sheen to the measly candlelight in the corner.

A few more steps and she spied her master.

Lord Wellings slumped at the fireplace. His tall formed hunched over the white wood mantle as the huge portrait of Eliza hung over him. The fastidious man had his shirttails exposed beneath a rumpled waistcoat. A cranberry coat lay dumped on the floor. His head, crowned with thick brown hair, sat tucked in one arm. A clear goblet hung from the other.

How drunk was he? Could she reason with him cast to the winds? The first day she saw him, his lean face held a hardy laugh. His wit, Mr. Marsdale said, could dice up a hard turnip. Maybe liquor slowed his brainbox down enough to agree to anything.

“Aw, Eliza’s Precious Jewell. My Precious Jewell.”

His voice with the stiff accent would be perfect for sermon-making. The authority in the deep tones prickled her skin, made her feel as if she’d been caught being naughty. She nodded. “Yes, sir.”

He downed the amber contents of his drink then pounded the mantle. “Isn’t—” A hiccup left his pursed lips. “Isn’t your job to see that the child sleeps? Madame, aren’t you missing a moment to mother him?”

Was he taunting her? Why? It was her responsibility to see about the child. His harsh tone almost sounded jealous. That couldn’t be right. Alcohol was an evil thing.

“What does the mouse want?”

She should just say it. Give me papers to keep me free, off slave ships, and out of brothels. Then no man could have the right to touch her. Looking into the baron’s red-rimmed eyes, the words stuck in her craw. Courage dropping away, she turned. “Good night.”

“So the mouse is running away? Fine. Leave me, too.”

She weren’t a rat, nothing that low. She fiddled with the pocket of her apron then rotated to face him. “You drink too much drink. There’s no reasoning with a bottle.”

Like a foaming wave at the ocean, laughter poured out of him. “Tell me something that’s not so obvious.” He straightened and waved her forward. “You should drink with me too. You know what tonight is?”

Of course she did. Everyone in Firelynn Hall knew. Precious just stared at him.

He grunted hard and eyed her too. “It’s the day I let your Miss Eliza die.”

Thunder crashed outside, and his hand closed tight about the glass, breaking it. Red poured from his palm. “Augh. Bloody thing.”

Precious dashed to his side and drew his hand up in her apron. “Foolhardy man.”

He winced, snatched his hand away. “I chose to go to my uncle, to do his bidding. Who knew they’d both die that night?”

She felt for him, remembering the arguments Eliza had had with the master about who he loved more. Sympathy ate at her gut, but it disappeared when Precious spied her pristine apron darkening with growing red spots. “You fool. You’re bleeding to death.”

Charging him, she seized his palm, and plucked out two shards of glass. The fire spit at her as she tossed them to the hearth. “You think dying will bring her back? Nothin’ will do that.”

His deep blue eyes beaded as he yanked his back arm. “That hurts, woman. Leave me. Let me drink to my lady gone.”

Droplets trickled onto his waistcoat as he gazed at Eliza’s portrait. The eyes formed of paint seemed focused on him, probably disgusted at his drinking.

The proud man would bleed to death and, with the smears on her apron, she’d be blamed. Precious came in here for freedom, not a heap more trouble. She grabbed his hand again and bound it tightly, wrapping it around and around in her poor apron. “You got a boy. Eliza’s son needs you.”

Lord Welling stopped fidgeting and let her tie a knot. His bloodshot eyes widened and seemed to settle on her face. “Well, as I leave to go defend my uncle’s work, it will be you who cares for him.”

“He’s a good boy, but he’ll need his pa to make him a good man.”

“How can I show him that? I scarcely remember what that is.”

A final knot secured the makeshift bandage. The cuts of the glass had gone deep. “Start by not going to Africa. It’s a bad place.” She bit her lip, but the words burned too much to be silent. “My grammy talked of how it changed when y’all came.”

“Y’all?” His stiff accent, sort of questioning, sort of condescending, grated on her ear. He wiggled his fingers within the wrapping of her ruined apron. “You mean the slave traders, those y’all? The house of Welling never participated in such transactions.”

No, they just inherited slaves by marriage. The baron’s hands weren’t clean. They were wet in the stains of it, like now with his own spilt blood. She swallowed the irksome thoughts and focused on Jonas. That would be a reason for the man to stay. “Your son needs you here. There’s nothin’ worse than not seeing your pa. Even just a notion or whisper of him in passing, day to day is better than never.”

His face scrunched and then tilted up toward Eliza’s picture. “She hated it here. Thought the weather too foul. I should’ve listened and made her last years more pleasant.”

That didn’t make sense, but that’s how guilt worked. She eyed his very lean cheeks, ones missing his laugh dimples, through the lace of her floppy mobcap. He was tall, too tall. “She was very pleased to be a baron’s wife.”

“Pleased? Was she pleased, waiting for my return from tending to my uncle’s affairs? Was she happy waiting for the accoucheur to deliver the babe alone? Was she pleased she never got her title, dying before my uncle? Only a few hours separated them from Heaven’s gate. Well, at least she made it in.”

Men were dumb about birthin’. “That baby didn’t wait. Some women weaken in the process. It takes all they have to give life. The Lord just—” She snapped her mouth shut as a belly full of laughs rolled out of his lips.

“Stop, Jewell.” He wobbled over to his sideboard and pried at the glass top of bottled spirits. The makeshift bandage must’ve prevented him from getting a good grip and popping it open.

She plodded across the thick carpet, coming again within a few feet of him. “You can’t need more.”

“I surely don’t want less.” His eyes widened and he drew himself up as if her boldness had suddenly penetrated his drunken brain. “I didn’t ask you to be my keeper.”

“But you’re mine.

A lazy smirk appeared, making his eyes a darker shade of blue.

Such a turbulent river stirred within him, and sometimes it pulled her like undertow, but Precious didn’t like swimming or drowning. With a shake of her head, she looked away to the floor. “That’s what I came to discuss before you are off to who knows where.”

He set down the bottle and rubbed at his neck, shoving his loosed hair to the side. He wore it longer than most, giving him more of a pirate look like in the stories Eliza read. “I was wondering when the mouse would say her piece.”

With a tug, he whipped off his rumpled cravat. “You’ve been skulking about ever since I returned to Firelynn Hall. Something tells me you have an ask. Say it.”

He’d noticed her. Had he seen the many times she let her courage slide away? Not again. She planted a hand on her hip. “I need my papers, sir.”

His eyes blinked, his forehead riddling with lines. “What papers?”

“My freedom.” Her voice sounded horrible, hollow and low. A quick cough and a short breath allowed her to strengthen her tone and appear strong. “I need papers to show, to get my next employment.”

“You need no other possibilities. You work for me.” He pulled his massive arms together, almost missing the elbows he now cupped. “Why should you work elsewhere?”

“The missus. She gave me my freedom that horrid night. Mr. Palmers was there. He heard it.”

The baron took a step backward, planting his foot close to the sideboard, almost falling. “You sly thing. You use the anniversary of her death to coerce me.”

“I speak truth.” She picked up his brandy container and shook it. “The only things you listen to are these spirits.”

He reached for it and, as if swimming in a mud hole, he stumbled forward with arms flying.

She put her hand on his chest to steady him.

He seized her arms, drawing her to his side. One massive arm pinned her against him. The buttons of his onyx waistcoat smashed into her cheek.

His breath was soaked in liquor, blended with the hint of vanilla of his skin, the scent of ash and soot from the roaring fire. “Mouse, give it back.”

His words heated the crown of her head and his arms tightened about her. Shocked and shaking, she twisted and pushed to get free, but there was no budging from the baron’s death grip. “Let me go.”

“Shhh. You’re talking too much.” With his free hand, he slid his fingers down the length of her back. She could feel his pinkie tracing the eyelets of her corset. Squirming, she tried to shift to keep him from picking at the ribbons of her undergarment. Being fully clothed didn’t stop her panic, and she rocked and pressed against his iron-like embrace to be free. Never, ever did it settle into her head that Lord Welling was like the rest; a man who took what he wanted.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Vanessa Riley. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase The Bargain IV by Vanessa Riley

The First Episode is Free:

Books by Vanessa Riley

* Unmasked Heart
* The Bargain Series
* Swept Away
* Madeline’s Protector


#BlackLove: Jacob’s Eyes by Anita Ballard-Jones

Jacob’s Eyes by Anita Ballard-Jones

In this dark time in our history, two brothers, Jacob and Jackson shared the same loving father, the same mansion home, but were separated by age and the circumstances of life; Jacob, a mulatto slave and Jackson, the sole heir to their father’s plantation. They were mirror images of each other, both tall and having golden hair, blue eyes and creamy white complexion. Jacob had the soul of a black man and Jackson’s soul was only fed by cruelty, possessions and hatred. Once Jacob was free it wasn’t long before he realized that passing for white was a powerful weapon to be used to free his enslaved family and friends, specially his black pearl, Sula who was pregnant with his child.

Nothing could stop him in his quest to reach the safety of Canada before the start of the Civil War, not even murder, assault, thievery or arson. He found great pleasure standing his ground against other white people.

Throughout Jacob’s triumphs, Brother Jackson was in hot pursuit of him, but little did Jackson know revenge was not in his favor. Jackson’s attempt to kill Jacob would end up causing him more inescapable pain than he could ever have imagined; pain that was a thousand times worse than the pain he allowed his overseers to inflicted on his slaves; pain that could not be undone.

Intimate Conversation with Anita Ballard-Jones

Anita Ballard-Jones is the acclaimed author of the novels, Rehoboth Road, The Dancing Willow Tree and Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down  and Jacob’s Eyes. She is a native of Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of C.W. Post, at Long Island University. She is retired from New York State’s Long Island Developmental Disabilities Service Office where she worked as a Treatment Team Leader. She is a long time resident of Long Island, New York and enjoys spending time in North Carolina and Florida. She loves hearing from her individual fans, as well as book clubs.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? 
I was in my early fifties, not like most writers who say they had been writing for as long as they could remember. My unpublished manuscript, Broken Bond, is a memoir about my young life and relationship with my brother who had special needs. It was completed twenty years ago and it was not written for publication. I just needed a vessel to pour out my soul and to come to terms with the issue of the purpose of life for those individual having serious developmental disabilities. I had lived and worked with special needs children and adults almost all of my life and I was searching for their purpose. By the time I completed this manuscript I was at peace; I felt blessed and had my answers. A few months later, I believed the Lord handed me my gift of writing and I wrote the first one hundred pages of the acclaimed Rehoboth Road in just fourteen hours.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
I love to write, but I don’t have a writing routine. I am retired and I am not looking for a career. My greatest joy is pleasing my readers. Sometimes I’ll write a very short story, and other times that short story could be as long as 7,000 words. I don’t push my writing or write outlines; I wait. I guess you could say I wait on the Lord; He sends me pictures and somehow I know it’s going to be another novel. I only create when I’m inspired by my pictures.
If I don’t have the inspiration to create, and I want to work, I use the time for refinement and editing.

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish? 
Yes, after I completed Rehoboth Road, I sent out fifty query letters just to locate an agent and I received fifty rejections. Then, I self-published and sold over three thousand copies. Within that year I signed with a publishing company that never paid my royalties on time, if at all. The one great thing they did was sell my book to Black Expressions Book Club, and I knew I had arrived, even after being contractually cheated on this sale. I found a loophole in the contract and was released from my second book deal and vowed to remain a self-publish author. I told myself that my joy comes from writing and pleasing my fans, and with the proper branding agent and publicist, I could do a very good job marketing myself.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
Yes, all of my books stewed with the exception of The Dancing Willow Tree. This book is the sequel to Rehoboth Road. I received hundreds of emails from my readers requesting a sequel; many people made suggestions of what they thought should happen. I was inspired, I had my visual images, my fans suggestions, and a few twist in mind; The Dancing Willow Tree was completed in three months.

BPM: Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change? 
Without questioning the Lord, I wish I had received my gift when I was younger, but the Lord knows best. I wonder if I would have appreciated it, would I have earn my lifetime experience badge or if I would have had the time to dedicate to the craft? Sometimes I think, if I could have accomplish writing success back in my earlier life I might have been another Alice Walker or Toni Morrison, not for the fortune, but for the pleasure of knowing something I created bought pleasure to so many people.

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner? 
I believe the real hurdle is the process of editing. I have hired a professional editor and have used my edit team and there were still problems. Other than the editing process, researching self-publishing and learning all of the aspects of the process are the hardest.

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
Be able to respond positively to constructive criticism. A writer should never believe they are so great that they have nothing to learn about their craft.

BPM: Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on many levels. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
Growing up, I always wanted to be a registered nurse. There were two professions I didn’t want any part of, a medical doctor or a writer. The novels, Little Women, Clarence Darrow and Return of the Native, and the likes, really turned me off during my high school literature classes. I cried through them; I am a pre-baby-boomer who attended George Wingate High School in Brooklyn, New York when the African American student enrollment was only two percent. No one told me about Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, James Baldwin and the others. If you didn’t know about the Harlem Renaissance, you didn’t know to ask and seek it out. I remember standing outside a theater on Manhattan’s Broadway, staring at the marquee and large posters of the play, Porgy and Bess.

 It was hard to believe these were black people like me, doing what white people did. It seems so funny now, but today’s young people believe they have been robbed of opportunity and I wish I could take them back to my early time and shake them. I discovered my worth as an individual early in life, having a very successful career and lifetime experiences. I said I didn’t want to be a doctor, but I became a Treatment Team Leader, whereas I managed an interdisciplinary treatment team which included medical doctors and twenty years of report writing was the precursor to my writing profession in retirement. And now I write.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us?  Introduce us to your characters.
In this dark time in our history, two brothers, Jacob and Jackson shared the same loving father, the same mansion home, but were separated by age and the circumstances of life; Jacob, a mulatto slave and Jackson, the sole heir to their father’s plantation. They were mirror images of each other, both tall and having golden hair, blue eyes and creamy white complexion. Jacob had the soul of a black man and Jackson’s soul was only fed by cruelty, possessions and hatred. Once Jacob was free it wasn’t long before he realized that passing for white was a powerful weapon to be used to free his enslaved family and friends, specially his black pearl, Sula who was pregnant with his child. Nothing could stop him in his quest to reach the safety of Canada before the start of the Civil War, not even murder, assault, thievery or arson. He found great pleasure standing his ground against other white people. 

Throughout Jacob’s triumphs, Brother Jackson was in hot pursuit of him, but little did Jackson know revenge was not in his favor. Jackson’s attempt to kill Jacob would end up causing him more inescapable pain than he could ever have imagined; pain that was a thousand times worse than the pain he allowed his overseers to inflicted on his slaves; pain that could not be undone.

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? 
This is a book of historical fiction, pre-Civil War (1860). With the exception of my memoir, most of the time I write fiction, but I tend to write in different eras from 1950 through 1990. As mentioned earlier, my inspiration comes in the form of pictures. I have my ideas of what I want to write about, but after a few paragraphs my story will take on its own life. Very often this dictates the era, storyline, characters and location. For example, someone once told me my grandfather walked from northern North Carolina to south central Virginia. I was thinking what it must have been like for a black man to walk alone on a country road around 1900. The next thing I knew I was writing Jacobs Eyes. My grandfather was a short, small framed man, with ebony colored skin and nappy hair, and Jacob was tall, well built, blue eyes, golden hair and a white complexion. The only thing they had in common was that they walked on the road.

BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject? 
I don’t necessary set out to educate, but my goal is to keep my stories socially clean, historically accurate, entertaining and inspiring. I research even the smallest issue. In my book, Rehoboth Road, I wanted one of my characters to purchase a specific type of car. When I researched the car I found out it had not come out for another five years. In Jacob’ Eyes, I had to learn about growing cotton, the railroad lines that were running in 1860, what shipping lines were sailing. How Lincoln was placed on the ballot, and most of all, documents related to the sale and release of slaves and many other issues. To say the least, I was educated and inspired during the writing of this novel and I hope and pray others will learn from it too.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing this book?
Yes, first of all I received a history lesson, and then I learned about herbal tea, juju bags secondary railroad cars, Southern myths and much more. Most of all I learn about myself and to appreciate my gift. I had not worked at writing a novel in some time. My pictures were there for me, but I allowed life and circumstances to pull me away from what I really love doing. I have to say thank you to Jacob’s Eyes for reminding me of my gift and to be grateful to my Lord for it.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book? Why now?
I did give mainstream publishing serious thought, then I remembered my previous experience and I was not willing to lose my literary rights to my work forever. But I am like an abused woman, time will tell.

BPM: What would you like to accomplish after this book is released?
I just want to keep writing and promoting my work. I love public speaking and traveling, so with the release of this book I will be destination bound.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
Just enjoy this book for its historical quality and storyline. This is not just another slave book; this is a book where the slaves win. This is a feel good book that will leave the reader saying, “Yes!” Spread the word: ask their local libraries to order it, ask their school board to place it in their high school libraries, introduce it to historically black colleges and universities, suggest it to book clubs, share the book with a young adult and don’t forget to write me and share their thoughts and feeling.

BPM: What are your career goals as a writer? Have you accomplished most of them?
I am retired and I write to please my readers. My goal is to continue writing and sell, sell, sell my work. Nothing makes me happier than to have my fans love my work. My goal is to have a well known name in the industry and I have no accomplished that.

BPM: What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?
There are people, other than my family, who appreciate what I have to offer. My family loves me unconditionally. My fans love me and my work; that’s why I always want to give them my very best.

BPM: What are some of the benefits of being an author that makes it all worthwhile?
Being an author, actor, singer or whatever, it really does not matter. We are all people first. Even if I were a filthy rich author it wouldn’t make a different to me; being a good person is more important. For me, the only benefits of being an author are my personal satisfaction and knowing I have made other people happy. This is my gift, but Dear Lord, I always prayed to be a great singer, but I guess You know what’s best for me, so thank you Lord.

BPM: What are you the most thankful for now?
I am most thankful for my Lord and Savior, life and good health, family, friends, my gift, fans and a good life. I am truly blessed; I have it all.

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Study and do your research before you decide, and then learn to do as much as you can for yourself.

BPM: Finish this sentence – “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors…”
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors because I try to write unforgettable novels that provide teachable moments without an expiration date.”

BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what’s next? 
My long term goal for the next year is to produce my first manuscript, Broken Bond, my memoir, as well as a book of short stories and to continue as a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel monthly news magazine, A Better You,

BPM: How may our readers follow you online?
All of my novels can be purchased at or, or your favorite online bookstore!
* Rehoboth Road
* The Dancing Willow Tree
* Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down
* Jupiter’s Corner
* Jacob’s Eyes



Barnes & Noble

Facebook Fanpage



Justin’s Body of Work
by Janice L. Dennie

A Woman in Denial
Ashley Jacobs relishes in providing her customers with a soothing and healing environment at her day spa in the Silverado area of Napa Valley. She maintains her even temper and peace of mind, avoiding anger at all costs. But when she faces a vicious lawsuit, from someone she least suspects, her peace of mind comes to a complete halt.

A Modern Day Knight
Justin Underwood is a successful attorney with a stellar resume and a body of work that consists of winning civil rights cases for the disenfranchised. The moment he hears Ashley’s sultry voice and feels her gentle touch, he finds comfort simply by being in her presence. He becomes hopelessly drawn to the siren with the sexy bedroom eyes.

But Ashley has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. After taking her case, he watches her coast along, with her head in the clouds, turning a blind eye to the facts of her lawsuit. Can Justin get Ashley to commit to him, and open her eyes to the facts surrounding her lawsuit? Can Ashley overcome her family’s secret that prevents her future happiness?

Order your copy today! 


The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting their families. The matriarch of the family, Henrietta Underwood, has dubbed each one of her five grandchildren with a character trait.

As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.” He’s protective of his family and environment, and stays busy running his family’s winery. Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. Justin Underwood is “the strong one.” He’s the hotshot civil rights attorney who carries his family with his strength in the court of law. He fights, in court, to protect the woman he loves.

But, Ashley Jacobs, has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series takes place in a romantic setting that enhances love, passion and relationships, and changes personalities forever.

Unedited Book Excerpt: ARC version

Ashley Jacobs drove her Mazda Miata convertible in the warm morning sun humming to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. She was happy because she’d just read an online review in the Napa Register News about her spa. Ashley’s Day Spa in Napa Valley is a hidden jewel that provides its customers with a tranquil and healing environment to rest and rejuvenate.

Her day spa was a jewel because she trained her employees to create a peaceful and harmonious environment at work. She taught them to approach customers with an even-tempered attitude, at all costs.

Ashley drove up the circular driveway and listened in horror as Christina, her female masseuse, and India, her top hair stylist, argued with voices so loud that she could hear them from her car.

Ashley entered her spa through the elegant glass doors and stopped at the receptionist desk. The arguing immediately stopped.

“What’s the matter Chris?” Ashley asked her best friend in a soothing voice.

“India is calling me names.” Christina held her hands on her hips.

Ashley placed her briefcase and purse on the reception desk and walked over to Christina. Taking her by the hand, Ashley led Christina to the massage chairs in the manicure room.

“Have a seat Chris. I want to talk to you.”

Ashley and Christina met each other in middle school when both of their father’s served in Desert Storm, and a time in their lives, when they were both awkward tweens. When they turned sixteen, Ashley had developed into a beautiful young woman, but Christina developed into a unattractive young woman with bad skin, that she concealed with heavy makeup.

“India come and have a seat with me. I want to talk to you.” Ashley took India by the hand and led her to the massage chairs in the manicure room. She sat between the two women.

“This is a place of healing. Our priority here is to provide our customers with a peaceful and relaxing environment, so we cannot have any arguing.”

“But Christina is always flirting with every man that walks through the door.” India barked out.

“This wouldn’t have anything to do with the new barber I just hired, would it?”

“That’s what this is all about,” India said. “Christina is already dating the man.”

Christina gave India a cool look. “You’re just mad because he didn’t ask you out.”

“Ashley’s Spa has standards of conduct. I had gone over all of that with both of you before you started working here. I’ll remind you again that arguing in this establishment is off-limits. If you two must argue, wait until you are off work and away from these premises. Do you both understand me?”

Christina turned away and inspected her nails. India nodded and turned her face away from Christina.

Ashley’s voice had a soothing effect on them.

“Now, while both of you are at work, I expect you to respect each other. No cursing or gossiping or loud voices. Why don’t you both come into the kitchen and have a cup of chamomile tea with me? There are some positive things that I want you to know about each other.”

The two women acted cordially toward each other in front of Ashley, but Christina cut her eyes at India, giving her an evil look, indicating that this fight was not over. Ashley put the entire incident behind her. She shared her thoughts on some of their positive attributes over a cup of tea. After the discussion, both women went back to their workstations, with a better attitude.

Ashley walked into her office and sat down at her desk. She twisted in her chair thinking about the changes she wanted to make to expand her spa. She wanted to add three more workstations, two more shampoo bowls, two hair dryers and another massage room in the back of the spa near the whirlpool.

An hour later, a man delivered an envelope requiring a signature to Amara, the receptionist, and water therapist.

“I need a signature for this letter.”

Amara looked at the letter and thought it looked important. “Please wait while I get the owner.”

Ashley came out and signed the letter. After opening it, she saw that it was a personal injury lawsuit naming Ashley’s Spa as the defendant and Kimberly Lewis as the plaintiff suffering from a neck injury caused by a massage at the spa.

She and Christina were the only masseuses at the spa. Ashley’s mouth went dry. She tried to remember, but the plaintiff’s name didn’t ring a bell. She’d never met a client named Kimberly Lewis. She picked up the appointment book and took it with her to her office.

“Everything okay?” Amara’s eyes clung to Ashley when she removed the appointment book.

“I’ll bring it back. I want to check something.” Ashley walked away from Amara. “I’ll be in my office if anyone needs me.”

Ashley sat silently for a long time on her white leather sofa in her office. She had a tendency to bottle up her feelings, in an effort to remain even-tempered. Crossing her legs, she leaned back and continued to read the document. She saw that the plaintiff was claiming damages in the amount of $250,000.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Note: Unedited Book Excerpt. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Janice L. Dennie. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Justin’s Body of Work by Janice L. Dennie
The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Book 2

About the Author
Veteran author, JANICE L. DENNIE, has returned with a heartwarming new romance set in California’s lush Napa Valley. Kenton’s Vintage Affair, book 1 in the Underwood’s of Napa Valley series, introduces the reader to the fictitious Underwood family, owners of a successful winery in Napa Valley. Justin’s Body of Work (The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Book 2)will be available on May 15, 2015.

Janice began her her writing career in 1997 with her debut novel, The Lion of Judah. Her second novel, Moon Goddess Queen of Sheba, was published in August 1999.

Janice was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Northern California. After graduating from college, she began working for a federal agency. However, writing has always been her passion. Janice services her community through various charities, and non-profit organizations. She currently writes full-time and lives in Northern California with her family.

Visit Janice’s website at:
Find her books here: 


By Janice L. Dennie

JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK, Book 2,  in The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series  was released on May 15, 2015.   I decided to describe the wine country for those who have never heard of Napa Valley. It is a region in Northern California filled with vineyards, wineries, fine restaurants, quaint bed and breakfasts, spas, boutiques and art galleries.

The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting their families. The matriarch of the family, Henrietta Underwood, wants to marry off all five of her adult grandchildren to loving spouses. She has dubbed each one with a character trait. As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.” He’s protective of his family and environment, and stays busy running his family’s winery. Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart.

The next brother, Justin Underwood is “the strong one.” He’s the passionate civil rights attorney, a modern day knight in shining armor, who fights to protect the woman he loves in the court of law. But, Ashley Jacobs, has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. There are three more siblings in the series who have their stories to tell.

The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series takes a look at a family that enhances love and relationships in the wine country, and changes personalities forever. Author Page: 

Kenton’s Vintage Affair
by Janice L. Dennie

Unemployed chef, Briana Rutledge, inherits a cottage on one thousand acres of land in California’s Napa Valley, making her a millionaire. She sets out to turn the cottage into her dream restaurant. But others have agendas to destroy Briana and her plans.

The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting women and children. As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood has been betrayed and no longer believes women need his protection. He has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. But Briana harbors a deep seated fear that prevents their future happiness. Kenton has also been scarred by an obsession that fuels his competitive behavior. Can their relationship survive Kenton’s obsession and Briana’s fear?

Excerpt from Kenton’s Vintage Affair by Janice L. Dennie
Listen to the author reading from the book: 

“Want some wine?”

“Sure, I’ll have a glass.”

Kenton walked over to the butler’s pantry to select a bottle of wine. He grabbed two red wine glasses, a corkscrew and walked back to the sofa. After leaving the wine bottle on the coffee table, he walked over to his Bose docking station and selected the John Legend song, Best You Ever Had from his iPod. As the music began to play, and the base thumped, Kenton sang along with the song. Baby tonight’s the night….

The excitement of hearing Kenton’s melodic voice singing along with the music added shine to Briana’s eyes. She watched Kenton hold out his hands beckoning her to dance with him. He pulled her up from the sofa. “Come on baby let’s dance.” A faint light twinkled in the depths of his eyes when he pulled her up, holding her around her waist. He pressed her body to his, spinning, swaying and dipping her. Briana realized he was stepping Chicago style. Determined to keep up with his pace, Briana felt dizzy following his lead. She hadn’t stepped in a long time, but the movements came back, like riding a bike. Briana felt alive dancing, spinning, swaying, dipping and twirling in Kenton’s arms.

Kenton complimented her. “You’re a good dancer,” he said, holding her in his embrace. He continued to sing along with the song. I don’t wanna brag…. Briana grinned and leaned her head back in delight. He slowed down, and sang into her hair I’ll be the best you’ve ever had….

“You remembered my favorite artist.” Briana closed her eyes as she laughed. The sound of the music, the smoothness of Kenton’s dancing and singing fascinated Briana. Kenton was the best man she’d ever known.

“How could I forget?” Kenton said in between words to the song.

Briana began to sing along with Kenton. They sang her favorite part simultaneously with loud voices, the best you ever had…. They both paused for a few seconds which felt like an eternity. Within seconds, Briana snapped back into real time, although she felt as if she’d been hanging in space for hours. Looking into Kenton’s eyes, she melted in the tenderness of his gaze.

Kenton twirled her around and then pulled her close. Staring into her eyes, he gave Briana a smoldering look. “How did you like that?”

( Continues… )

Copyright © 2014 by Janice L. Dennie. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Janice L. Dennie. 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 like this promotional excerpt.

Purchase Kenton’s Vintage Affair by Janice L. Dennie
The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Book 1
Contemporary African American Romance
Print or eBook: 


#BlackLove: Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir by Benilde Little

Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir
by Benilde Little

The nationally bestselling author of Good Hair and The Itch pens her first book of nonfiction book about her own journey caring for aging parents, raising children, being married, plunging to the depths of depression, and climbing her way out.

A major bestselling novelist and former magazine editor, long married to a handsome and successful stockbroker with whom she has a beautiful daughter and son, Benilde Little once had every reason to feel on top of the world. But as illness, the aging of her parents, and other hurdles interrupted her seemingly perfect life, she took a tailspin into a pit of clinical depression.

Told in her own fearless and wise voice, Welcome to My Breakdown chronicles a cavern of depression so dark that Benilde didn’t know if she’d ever recover from what David Foster Wallace called “a nausea of the soul.” She discusses everything from her Newark upbringing, once-frequent visits to a Muslim mosque, and how it felt to date a married man, to her doubts about marriage, being caught between elder care and childcare, and ultimately how she treated her depression and found a way out.

Writing in the courageous tradition of great female storytellers such as Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, and Pearl Cleage, Benilde doesn’t hold back as she shares insights, inspiration, and intimate details of her life. Powerful, relatable, and ultimately redemptive, Welcome to My Breakdown is a remarkable memoir about the power within us all to rise from despair and to feel hope and joy again.


Welcome To My Breakdown will put you face-to-face with the realities of personal pain. What Benilde shares is a heroic demonstration of how to turn depression and loss into a path back to self. Her willingness to be open and authentic creates a healing prescription for us all. What a blessing!”
(Iyanla Vanzant, author of In the Meantime and Every Day I Pray on Welcome to My Breakdown)

“Benilde Little takes the fabric of suffering and weaves it into a raw, honest, and wonderful story of love and loss. Readers who have felt the depth of enduring sadness will see themselves in this deeply moving memoir.”
(Janet Taylor, MD, MPH on Welcome to My Breakdown)

“When we face the fire and come out on the other side, we learn what it is we are called to do. Benilde has written so beautifully and eloquently about the soul-crushing experience of depression — whether it is named or not. Throughout this defining journey, we see, hear, and feel deeply the signs of a despair that longs for light and relief. The healing is in us sharing our stories with one another… and knowing we are not alone.”
(Terrie M. Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting)

Order Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir by Benilde Little

About the Author
Benilde Little
is the bestselling author of the novels Good Hair, The Itch, Acting Out and Who Does She Think She Is? She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Jet, People Magazine, Heart and Soul, More magazine, among many others. She has had numerous media appearances including NPR, the Today Show, and Tavis Smiley.

The Go On Girl Book Club selected Good Hair as the best book of the year. Natalie Cole bought the film rights. Benilde’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Honey Hush and About Face. She was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

A former reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Star Ledger, People and senior editor at Essence, she has been a creative writing professor at Ramapo College. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, two children and dog.


#BlackLove: How to Get Out of Debt: Get an a Credit Rating for Free

How to Get Out of Debt
Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free Revised
by Harrine Freeman

Do you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck, stop harassing creditor calls, get out of debt or increase your credit score? Do you have a financial advisor or financial coach? Well now, you can be your own financial advisor. The fastest way to your financial success is getting advice from someone who has experienced the same financial issues you are going through – losing a job, considering filing for bankruptcy, working two jobs, bad credit, debt, repossession, and more.

I was once $19,000 in debt only making $21,000 a year and was successfully able to get myself out of debt without filing for bankruptcy. Each day you procrastinate is one more day you go deeper into debt and one more day closer to legal action being taken against you.

My book, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free will give you new insight, a plan for managing your finances and provide clarity on how to improve your financial situation. Credit affects several aspects of your life and is used for employment so it is critical that you maintain good credit. Credit should be used as a secondary not a primary form of payment.

You will learn how to repair your credit for free and get out of debt without filing for bankruptcy or going to a credit counseling agency. The book includes: strategies to increase your credit score, methods to get out of debt, practical ways to manage your money, sample letters to fix errors on your credit report, sample letters to negotiate with creditors, financial worksheets, financial tools and much more!

Book Reviews for How to Get Out of Debt

“Like many Americans, Harrine Freeman, has been through credit difficulties. But not only has she turned her situation around, she has gone on to help others do the same with her straightforward guide to better credit, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating For Free. Her book is here at a time when so many people need this kind of help.”
–Gerri Detweiler, consumer advocate and author of The Ultimate Credit Handbook

“How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating For Free by Harrine Freeman is full of practical advice on where to file complaints, sample letters, spending plan spreadsheets, statute of limitations time periods, and much more. For the past five years, Ms. Freeman has been the CEO of a credit repair and money management company, so she knows what she is talking about”.
– Alan Caruba, Editor,

“This is a must read…that will empower readers to reevaluate their spending habits and become focused on securing their financial future”.
— Books2Mention Magazine

“When I first opened it, I sighed, wondering how it could be any different from the advertisements that come on after hours, promising all the information in the world for just $19.95, and offering you no more than what you already knew and never implemented. As you can tell from the review, I have struggled from undergraduate debt; I know this merry go round well. Three hours later, I had devoured Ms. Freeman’s guide, tucking it on my shelf of “very necessary day-to-day living” reading. No doubt, folks, this one is a keeper”.
— Read Zone Book Reviewers

I have read several books on this subject, and this is the first one that actually offers a reasonable and achievable solution. Harrine Freeman talks about the ‘grand scheme’ but actually uses small and attainable goals. Essentially you can ‘Nickel and dime’ your way out of debt.
— Simon Barrett, Author Blogger News Network

Chapter Excerpt: How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free Revised

The country experienced another financial crisis in October 2013 – the government shutdown which lasted for 2 ½ weeks causing approximately 800,000 employees to be furloughed. The shutdown also affected small business owners, contractors, consultants, social service companies or nonprofits that receive federal funding, social service programs, and state governments.

We can no longer depend on the government for assistance. As individuals we must take accountability for our actions. We spend the most money per person/family than all the others countries in the world. We have become so obsessed with things and using credit that we have become addicted to shopping. No one would ever admit to it but we have.

What happened to the days when you only purchased items that you could afford? These are the things our parents and grand-parents are familiar with. If you wanted to buy a home you had to save your money for a down payment and have a really good credit score otherwise you would be quickly escorted out the doors of the bank for wasting their time.

Money can make people do crazy things. A major factor of the mortgage industry failure was due to greed. I would like to ask Wall Street and the mortgage and banking industry professionals, was it worth it, was the greed and fraud used to make millions of dollars’ worth it. No, it was not. The saying “an honest day’s work for an honest pay” no longer applies to America. Other countries now look down on us and laugh. Our country is the butt of many jokes.

It is disappointing that a catastrophic event like the recession and government shutdown had to occur to bring the country back to reality. Unfortunately, some Americans are still in denial about their financial situation and are holding on for dear life to their “things”. If you own a home, car, boat or investment property and can’t bear the thought of losing it because you can’t afford to make the payments. Stop, take a deep breath and just let it go – let go and rid yourself of the stress, headache, heartache, worry and anxiety of trying to figure out how to make the payments or catch up on payments you have missed. Losing “things” should not make you feel sad, depressed or angry. Losing “things” should teach you a valuable lesson – things have no value, but your life does so live your life to the fullest.

Do things that have value such as community service, spending time with you family, getting an education, learning a new skill or hobby, starting a business that provides a desperately needed service, and focusing on what’s really important – knowing yourself and loving yourself. No matter what method you choose to change your lifestyle and spending habits you must make a permanent lifestyle change.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Harrine Freeman. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase How to Get Out of Debt: Get an a Credit Rating for Free 

Meet the Author
Harrine Freeman
is an authority on personal finance. She is a financial counselor, CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises and Author of “How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free,” a self-help book that provides a step-by-step plan on how to get out of debt, increase credit scores and plan for the future.

She has impacted the lives of thousands through speaking engagements and counseling. She helps client’s prepare for financial freedom, by providing useful advice to steer clients in the right direction. 

She is a member of Credit Professionals International, American Association of Daily Money Managers, American Association of Individual Investors and National Speakers Association.

Harrine has been featured in: Featured in Market Watch, Wall Street Journal, Forbes,The Washington Post, NASDAQ, Huffington Post, MSN Money, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Ebony, Woman’s Day magazines.


#BlackLove: What You Won’t Do for Love by Keleigh Crigler Hadley

What You Won’t Do for Love 
by Keleigh Crigler Hadley

Unconditional Love. Unthinkable Choice.

Eden Price, an unlucky-in-love nurse finds herself in the midst of a heated love triangle. Globe-trotting missionary, Gabe Clark ignites her soul. Who doesn’t want a man with a connection to God? Hard-working, Nemo Gates speaks to her heart. His past has caused a rift between him and God and Eden wants to help him heal.

She ultimately chooses the man that makes her passions come alive, but did she make the right choice? Her husband stuns her with a desperate plea; to prove her love for him in the most unthinkable way – to help him die with dignity.

Book Review: What You Won’t Do for Love

Get the tissues out! What You Won’t Do for Love is a emotional roller-coaster ride. 

The story centers around, Eden Price and the two men in her life, Gabe Clark and Nehemiah Gates. The author, Keleigh Hadley creates an intriguing love triangle and I found myself cheering for one guy, then cheering for the next guy – I was torn! I connected deeply with the main character, Eden Price because she was quirky, compassionate and realistic. Ultimately the love triangle is broken and Eden chooses one of the men, but he asks her to do the unthinkable. I have to be honest, I thought one way about the subject the author tackles in this book, but after reading this and connecting with her struggle, I feel differently. I won’t say how because that would spoil the plot twist. In the end, I greatly appreciated the spiritual insight and encouragement I felt after reading and look forward to reading many more books from Keleigh Hadley. — Reviewed by Gina Johnsond, Reading DIVAZ

Excerpt: What You Won’t Do for Love 

“There goes that Price girl again.” Verdeen Washington exclaimed to her hard-of-hearing sister, Pearleen. They rocked in unison, in the twilight air on their front porch.

Eden Price noted the puzzlement in Verdeen’s booming voice as she steadily passed them by. Heck, the whole neighborhood could hear it.

“She’s a strange bird, if I ever saw one.” Pearleen looked over her thick glasses and pursed her wrinkled lips.

“Good evening, Washington sisters.”

Eden smiled, nodded and kept her legs pumping. She knew they shook their gray wigs as she passed them, but her jogging pace didn’t diminish and she kept on singing.

She knew she was a sight to see and hear.

“Wishing, and hoping and thinking and praying…
planning and dreaming each night of his charms…”

That’s it, Dionne.

Eden sang the tune to Dionne Warwick’s 1950’s classic song. The lyrics had been stuck on repeat in her head all day and the only way to get a song out, is to sing it. So in between breaths, she belted out the infectious tune.

So Dionne, is this the formula for catching a man?

The cushion in her Nike trainers flattened and rebounded as she reduced her pace from a slow jog to a brisk walk. She was two blocks from home and needed to start her cool down.

“…do the things he likes to do… wear your hair just for him… ’cause you won’t get him,
and praying,
and wishing,
and hoping…”

Her worn out sports bra allowed too much jiggle and wiggle room for her girls. She could never hope to get a good run in anymore wearing three year-old running shoes and a five year-old bra, but budget constraints did not allow for such luxuries.

Eden adjusted ‘Ben and Jerry’ again to the safe confines of her bra, before she was arrested for exposing herself. Eden hunched over for a moment to catch her breath. Just a few more feet to go. She righted herself, hit her corner, and turned at the intersection of Third ave and 33rd place.

Three threes. The number meant something to her father, God rest his soul. It was his favorite number and one of the reasons he purchased a house on this block. But today, the number three held relevance to Eden too.

This was her thirty-third year of life, she was suffering from her third night of insomnia, and on March third, in three days her life would change – “for better or worse.”

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Keleigh Crigler Hadley. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Order What You Won’t Do for Love  


About the Author

Keleigh Crigler Hadley is an author, speaker, and teacher who is thankful God can use her messes for His glory.
She has always loved stories, and she believes the story of the Bible contains the biggest, the most redemptive dose of grace humankind has ever, and will ever, experience. She is the Christian Fiction author of the Preacher’s Kids series,  Revenge Inc., and What You Won’t Do for Love.

If she were to define herself in one sentence, she would say, “I’m a girl who loves to see God working.”  Keleigh writes soul-stirring fiction, with real characters that stay with readers long after they have closed the book, (or turned the e-reader off.)  The only thing she loves more than writing is reading, so contact her on social media and let her know what you’re reading!



#BlackLove: Embrace My Heart by AlTonya Washington

Embrace My Heart
by AlTonya Washington 
All of the delights and none of the drama—that’s what heiress and gallery owner Vectra Bauer wants from her fling with Qasim Wilder. The gorgeous financial adviser has been Vectra’s platonic friend, but now, after the end of her last painful relationship, she’s ready to take a small risk and open her heart.

Settling for a little of anything isn’t Sim’s ideal. Possessive by nature, he makes no secret of how much he wants Vectra. And he can’t understand why she’s hiding from their intense connection that’s way more than just physical. The man who always gets what he wants is embracing his biggest challenge yet: to make the woman he adores believe in love once more…

Excerpt: Embrace My Heart 

They had been friends long enough for her to know that he hated ties. He usually discarded whichever one he wore either just before or right after lunch. The guy loved his comfort and the fact didn’t diminish the stunning craftsmanship of his body or face.

Bottomless dark eyes competed with the ebony richness of heavy brows and the sleep cap of hair he wore close cut. His facial hair was tamed into an intentional five o’clock shadow that partly hid a cleft chin and the faint lines that proved he was easy with his smiles.

Vectra blinked suddenly, at once regretting and realizing how much time she’d taken to admire the man’s face and form. The fact made her wonder whether she’d subjected any of her other male friends to such scrutiny. Doubtful. Her male friends were just that—just friends. Or, rather, they had been…until she met Qasim; he was a male friend she would have preferred become much more.

He opened one of the towering maple doors leading to his office. Vectra quickened her pace when she realized he was going to hold it for her as though she were an actual welcomed visitor. In spite of his polite manners, however, she could’ve sworn she picked up on a low yet distinctive sound of agitation. That sound rumbled through his chest when she passed him on her way into the room.

If ever there was an office that personified its owner, it’s Qasim’s, she thought.

The place was a testament to pretty much everything he held dear. One far, expansive corner was a hive of activity with wide-screen monitors broadcasting both financial and sports news from their perches atop a pair of pristine maple desks. Towering bookcases lined the room and were filled with pictures, plaques, awards and books spanning a range of genres. Above the cases nearest the desks was a stock ticker.

Vectra set her tote on one of the square black leather chairs that surrounded an impressive gaming area. She wondered if nice or nasty was the way to begin their conversation. She didn’t have long to debate.

“Coming to invite me to another party, Vec?”

The words carried over Qasim’s broad shoulder as he headed into his work area. He removed his suit coat, slung it over the back of the sofa he passed and smiled in her direction when he turned.

Okay, then… she decided, accepting that the conversation would be a tad strained. “Actually, I came to ask why I’ve been selected as the lucky one to get the brunt of the petty side of your personality?”

He smiled. While the gesture held a great deal of humor, the air of agitation remained.

“Qasim?” Vectra’s attempt to remain steely gave way, and her curiosity got the better of her. “Why are you angry with me?” She didn’t care for the pleading tone that clung to her words, but she wanted answers.

Qasim appeared taken aback, but recovered soon enough. “I’m not angry with you.” He made a pretense of reviewing the folders lying open on his desk.

“Well, you’re something. What’d I do?” Curiosity had given way to a smidge of self-consciousness while she stood before him. Something changed. His smile was gone, and the look that replaced it was observant in a way that made Vectra flush with heat.

Another of the agitated rumbles surged in Qasim’s chest, and he pushed back the wide black leather chair behind his desk. Vectra could hear nothing over her heart beating wildly as anticipation had its way with her.

Qasim didn’t take a seat in the chair; instead, he headed in Vectra’s direction and then shifted toward the maple wet bar, which displayed a wide array of liquor bottles in various shapes and sizes. Quietly, Qasim went about preparing Vectra’s vodka tonic, which he set firmly upon the bar top. From the full-size black fridge behind him, he retrieved his beer of choice and popped the top.

He tipped the bottle to his mouth. “I’m not angry with you.”

Vectra stood in place, nervously rubbing her fingers together while she observed Qasim with a wary gaze. He motioned with his bottle for her to take the vodka. Vectra didn’t care how eagerly she accepted. The drink went a long way in calming her ridiculously frazzled nerves.

The lush line of Qasim’s mouth grew even lusher as a smile emerged. She rolled her eyes. “You said that already, so excuse me for not believing you.” She gave him her back, keeping the drink clutched securely between her hands.

Qasim allowed his emotions greater purchase while Vectra’s back faced him. He didn’t realize the blackness of his stare softened as it always did when just the mere thought of her stirred.

He watched her sip from the glass but noticed that she didn’t empty it. She put more distance between them, which gave him time to absorb the missed sight of her.

The more time they spent together, the more she stunted his ability to properly think or even speak. He’d masked it for as long as he could. When he could no longer do that, he latched on to his only option.

Because he didn’t want to be her friend. He wanted much more.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, AlTonya Washington. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Embrace My Heart by AlTonya Washington


#BlackLove: The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby

The Ultimate Betrayal
by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Announcing the 12th novel in the Reverend Curtis Black Series!

It’s been four years since twenty-eight-year old Alicia Black, daughter of Reverend Curtis Black, divorced her second husband, the most womanizing and corrupt man she has ever known. Since then, Alicia has been dating her first husband, Phillip Sullivan, a wonderfully kind and true man of God whom she’d hurt terribly by cheating on him. Alicia has worked hard to prove herself worthy of his trust once more, and when he asks her to marry him again, she couldn’t be happier.

But Levi Cunningham, the drug dealer Alicia had an extramarital affair with, has just been released from prison, and he has completely turned his life around for the better. Still head-over-heels in love with Alicia, he will do whatever is necessary to win her back.

Remarrying Phillip is the one thing Alicia has wanted for years, but she can’t get Levi out of her mind. Alicia and Phillip aren’t the only ones in the middle of a crisis. Their best friends, husband and wife Brad and Melanie Richardson, are struggling to keep their marriage together.

Workaholic Brad is never home and has begun losing thousands on bad investments. Or so he says. Melanie, who is certain there’s more to the story, is determined to get at the truth. At the same time, her frustration and stress cause her to eat a lot less, and she behaves in an extreme fashion. Alicia worries that she could be suffering from anorexia, but Melanie steadfastly denies it. Their friendship begins to suffer, and it isn’t long before they’re talking to each other like enemies.

Fresh betrayal leads to consequences no one saw coming, and Alicia’s relationship with Phillip might not be the only thing that needs saving. But is it already too late?

Excerpt from Chapters 1 & 2: The Ultimate Betrayal

Chapter 1

Alicia’s prayers had been answered. She and Phillip were finally going to be married—again. It had been six years since their first wedding, but in two months, she would walk down the aisle of her father’s church and live happily ever after. She was fully committed to Phillip this time around, and unlike before, she wouldn’t betray him. She wouldn’t sleep with another man behind his back. Just thinking about how selfish she’d been and how terribly she’d treated Phillip still upset her, but thankfully, he finally trusted her again. There had been moments when Alicia hadn’t been sure he ever would. Still, she’d gone out of her way doing all she could to show him just how much she loved and adored him and wanted to be his wife. From this point on, they would be together until death do us part, no matter what.

Phillip stood at the bedroom window of Alicia’s condo, looking as handsome as ever, and Alicia smiled at him. He winked at her but continued his phone conversation. He’d driven over last night and was now on the phone with her dad, discussing church business. Phillip had returned to his assistant pastor position at Deliverance Outreach in Mitchell, Illinois, which was the reason he and Alicia had purchased a home there. With all his church responsibilities, it was better for him to reside in the same city as his job so he would have quick access to the church and to any members who needed him. Phillip had moved in a month ago, but it wouldn’t be long before Alicia joined him, as she now had a buyer for her Chicago-area condo and would be closing on the sale in six weeks. She’d even begun moving some of her belongings out to the house in Mitchell. She would certainly miss Covington Park, along with much of the culture and excitement that the Chicago area provided, but she also couldn’t wait for her and Phillip to live as husband and wife again.

Things were going to be good between them. They would have a great life, and she thanked God for second chances. As a matter of fact, God had blessed her in such a tremendous way that she sometimes shed tears uncontrollably. Here she’d committed adultery against Phillip—hurting him to the core—yet he’d found it in his heart to forgive her. And he’d never once stopped loving her.

Then, there was that awful second marriage she’d entered into with the likes of Pastor JT Valentine. The man had slept around with more women than Alicia could count, and the whole experience had been a nightmare. Still, God had delivered her from JT and his madness and allowed her to move on and forget about him.

And if those blessings hadn’t been enough, she was a successful novelist who would be releasing her fourth book in a few months. She had such a wonderfully kind and loyal audience of readers; some of whom read her work because of her father’s worldwide status, but the majority seemed to genuinely love her stories and she was grateful for that.

Phillip ended his call. “I’m gonna get ready so I can head back home. Your dad and I and some of the other officers are meeting for lunch today.”

“I need to get ready myself. I’m meeting Melanie at noon so we can pick out our jewelry for the wedding.” Melanie Richardson was Alicia’s best friend, and she and her husband, Brad, who was Phillip’s best friend, were going to be their attendants. Alicia and Phillip had considered having bridesmaids and groomsmen, too, but then decided they wanted to keep their ceremony as intimate and as meaningful as possible. That way their day would be about them and the love they shared, versus some massive, impersonal affair.

“Oh yeah, that’s right,” he said, strolling over to Alicia and hugging her. “But more important, have I told you how beautiful you are today?”

“As a matter of fact, you have,” she said, kissing him. “You’re so good to me, and you make me so very happy.”

He squeezed her tighter. “Not as happy as you make me.”

“My life is finally complete.”

“I’m glad to hear that. And although it took a while for me to propose to you again, I hope you know that I never stopped loving you. Not once.”

“I know you didn’t, and I never stopped loving you, either. And I’m also sorry for…well, everything. I destroyed our marriage, and I will always be indebted to you for forgiving me the way you did.”

“God forgives us all, and we have to do the same thing with others. Sometimes though, just because you’ve forgiven someone it doesn’t mean you can still be as close with them. You can still love them and be there for them if they need you, but forgiving someone and trusting them again are two different things. So I thank God that in our case, I was able to do both.”

“You’re a good person with a huge heart, and I love you with everything in me,” she said.

“I love you, too,” he said, kissing her.

Alicia’s yearning for Phillip was strong and intense—it was the kind of yearning she couldn’t act on or ask him to satisfy. He talked a lot about how he couldn’t wait to make love to her again, except Alicia wasn’t handling this celibacy thing nearly as well as he was. She knew Phillip was a minister and that he was serious about his faith, but Alicia had certain needs and desires. For her, kissing and cuddling only meant tons of torture, and she longed for their wedding day. It couldn’t come fast enough, and she’d gone without for so many years that it was almost funny. Especially since the sole reason she’d done so was because Phillip had made it clear that he wouldn’t have it any other way. He’d insisted that the only way things could work between them was if her love and respect for God were sincere. This, of course, meant living by the Word and not having sex until they were remarried. Still, she’d be lying if she said she was okay with it, because she wasn’t. She was twenty-eight, and she couldn’t help the way she felt. Phillip was only ten years older, so she couldn’t see how he was able to deal with this either. But he was, and he seemed to do it with ease.

After Phillip left, Alicia finished getting dressed and grabbed her large black leather tote from her bed. She disconnected her phone from its charger and saw that she had new emails. When she opened her mailbox, she scrolled through three department store sale reminders and a couple of other unimportant messages. But she swallowed hard when she saw the next one. The subject line said, “Hey Beautiful,” and the sender’s name was listed as Levi Cunningham.

She covered her mouth with her hand, whispering out loud, “No, this just can’t be.”

She took a deep breath and sat down on the leather chaise in shock. Her heart beat faster with every few seconds, and although she was curious about the contents of the email, she was afraid to open it. What could Levi possibly want? She hadn’t heard from him in five years, not since he’d called her from prison. She’d wondered then how he was able to contact her and talk for as long as he wanted, until she’d learned that he’d gotten in pretty good with one of the correctional officers. He’d called her twice. Once to let her know how much he still loved her, and the second time to tell her that her husband at the time, JT, was sleeping around on her and committing other unimaginable sins.

Although, now that Alicia thought about it, she had spoken to Levi a third time, and that was when she’d told him she was going to do everything she could to get back with Phillip. Levi had been disappointed, but it wasn’t like he could offer her something better, not with him still serving time for drug-related felony charges. Back then, he’d been sure he’d be out within a few months, since his attorney had discovered new evidence to help exonerate him. Levi had also cooperated with the authorities, which likely meant he’d told on the right people. Still, as far as she knew, nothing had ever panned out in terms of his getting a new trial.

Alicia stared at her phone, debating whether she should open the email. Her common sense begged her to delete it, but her heart pleaded for something different. And she knew why: after all these years, she’d never fully gotten over him. She’d buried her feelings and gone on with her life, but she’d never forgotten their genuine chemistry. Their hearts had bonded naturally, and their deep emotional connection had been indescribable. It was the kind that only true soul mates could share—the kind she had never experienced with another man, not even Phillip. Although, what harm could Levi do from a prison cell?

Alicia debated no further. She opened the message and read it.

Hey Beautiful,
I’m sure I’m the last person you ever expected to hear from, right? I’m a little surprised myself, but I’m happy to say I finally got my new trial, and I was released yesterday. I’m a free man, and although it hasn’t even been a full 24 hours yet, I’ve never felt better. I wanted to contact you as soon as my mom and my boy Darrell picked me up, but I decided I would spend some quality time with my mom last night first. She has been my rock through all of this, so I owed her that. But this morning, I woke up thinking about you and how much I missed you. So can you please email me back? I really want to see you. Oh, and I’m not sure whether you noticed or not, but after being locked down for all this time, I went back to school and learned a lot about commas and when to include them. ? Even better, I now have a bachelor’s degree in business. Amazing what you can do online these days, and I can’t thank God enough for it. I’m a totally different man. Anyway, I hope you respond. I can’t wait to hear your voice.

Talk to you soon.

P.S. I never stopped loving you, sweetheart. Not for a second.
Alicia didn’t move. She couldn’t have if she’d wanted to. Was it really true? Was Levi out of prison and living back in Mitchell? The same city she was returning to as well—the city where she and Phillip were making their permanent home? This was all too much for Alicia to digest, but as she sat thinking, she realized something. Levi’s email wasn’t going to change anything. She loved Phillip, she was marrying him in two months, and that was that. This was her reality. This was all of their reality. End of story.

Chapter 2

“Brad, what is this?” Melanie exclaimed, holding her husband’s latest credit union statement.

Brad frowned. “What is what?”

Melanie passed him the document. “Here, see for yourself.”

“Where did you get this? Were you rummaging through my desk?”

“No, I was looking for a black marker, and I just so happened to see it.”

“Do I search through your things?”

“I wouldn’t care if you did. I don’t have anything to hide.”

“Neither do I, but I also don’t like stuff moved around in my office.”

“Normally, you lay your mail on top of your desk. But not this, though.”

Brad ignored her. “What would make you rummage through my stuff like this?”

“You know what, that’s neither here nor there. I just wanna know what you needed ten thousand dollars for.”

Brad sighed. “I can’t believe you went through my desk and opened my mail.”

“We’ve been married for, what? Three years? So as your wife, I have a right to see everything. And until now, you’ve never had a problem with that.”

“Whatever, Mel.”

“Why aren’t you answering my question? Are you doing something I need to know about?”

“No, I made a bad investment, and I lost some money.”

“How?” she said, folding her arms. “Playing around with the stock market again?”

“I wasn’t playing around with it. I read about a couple of hot items, and they didn’t pan out.”

“But ten thousand dollars? You lost ten thousand dollars, and you’re acting like it’s no big deal?”

“I never said it wasn’t a big deal.”

“But you’re sounding like you lost ten pennies. Not to mention, it’s bad enough that you lost more than thirty thousand a year ago for the same reason.”

Brad rolled his eyes. “Oh, here we go. Bringin’ up the past again.”

“I’m simply making a point. It’s not like we’re getting any younger.”

“Are you serious? Mel, you’re only twenty-eight years old.”

“But you know how careful I’ve always been when it comes to money. I was cautious and saving as much as I could before you ever asked me to marry you. And since you’ll be forty in a couple of years, I would think you’d start being a lot more cautious, too. Especially when it comes to your savings account.”

“Look, baby,” he said, calming his voice. “I’m sorry. I hear you, and I promise it won’t happen again.”

“You said the same thing last year.”

“I know, but I mean it this time,” he said, leaning against his desk. “I traded some pretty high-risk stocks online, and it was only because I thought I could make a lot of money from it. But I’ve learned my lesson.”

“So this wasn’t even done through a broker? You did this on your own?”

“Yeah, but I’m done. I know you don’t believe me, but losing all this in a matter of days really opened my eyes.”

Melanie spoke in a softer tone. “You can’t keep doing this.”

Brad’s cell phone rang, and he pulled it from his blazer. “Baby, it’s the office. Just give me a second, okay?”

Melanie sat down in the supple brown leather wing-back chair and waited for him to finish his call. She was trying not to be angry, but she couldn’t understand why Brad did this kind of thing. She was just the opposite, so it didn’t made sense to her. She could never blow that kind of money unnecessarily, not from her individual savings, checking, retirement, or any other account. They had two joint money market accounts as well, and for the most part, she pretended those didn’t exist. She just couldn’t see spending money so frivolously like there would be no tomorrow. There were times when she knew she might have gone to a bit of an extreme with her vigilant money-management philosophy, but who knew what the future held? Anything at all could happen. Loss of employment, illness, or even death.

Then, to think how hard they’d worked to get where they were professionally. Brad was the newest senior partner at the firm he’d been practicing at since graduating law school—a firm that was known statewide—and Melanie was a nurse practitioner at the most highly recommended internal medicine office in Mitchell. Also, last year they’d built a six-thousand-square-foot home and furnished every room with all new furniture and accessories. Melanie had thought they were spending way too much money, but once Brad had convinced her that they could afford it and that he wasn’t working all his life for nothing, she’d gone along with it. Of course, that had been well before she’d known he was going to throw away thirty thousand dollars only three months after breaking ground. She certainly hadn’t known he was going to lose ten thousand more last month. It was common for the stocks and bonds that made up their retirement portfolios to fluctuate, but the idea of buying risky items for no reason was uncalled for.

Brad ended his call and reached out his hand to Melanie. “Baby, come here.”


“Just come here. Please.”

She got up and walked over to him.

Brad sat back onto the top of his desk, drew her closer, and wrapped his arms around her waist. “I’m really sorry. I got a little carried away, and I messed up. Can you forgive me?”

Melanie looked at him but didn’t say anything.

He caressed the side of her face. “You know you can’t stay mad at me forever, right?”

“I just wish you wouldn’t do things like this. I mean, if you’re just dying to give away money, I’d rather see you give it to families or organizations in need. Because to me, when you throw away money that God has blessed you with, you’re being ungrateful.”

“I agree. But do you forgive me?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Not really,” he said, wrapping Melanie’s arms around his neck and kissing her.

Melanie hated arguing with him, and it felt good holding him and trying to get past what had happened.

“I was planning to wait to bring this up, but now is just as good a time as any,” he said.

Melanie wondered why he looked so serious. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. But I do want us to think more about starting a family. I want you to stop taking your birth control pills.”

“I don’t know,” she said, and although she wanted a child, too, she wasn’t sure this was the right time anymore. Not with Brad’s latest financial move. She wanted to believe him when he said this would never happen again, but she needed to see it. Another thing that had started to concern her quite a bit was the fact that he worked a lot of hours. She clearly understood what his job entailed, but for the last few months they’d sometimes barely seen each other except on Sundays. They’d had words about that very thing a couple of weeks ago, and she didn’t want to be the kind of mother who raised her child alone.

But then there was her other reason, the one she didn’t have the courage to tell Brad about. She was terrified of gaining a huge amount of weight from being pregnant. As it was, she was already struggling to lose the same ten pounds she’d been trying to get rid of for more than a year. She was sure ten pounds didn’t seem like a lot to most people, but the last thing she wanted was for her mother to start harassing her again—spewing some of the same hurtful comments she’d dished out for years. Melanie had been a chubby child, and her mother had been repulsed by it.

“Why aren’t you saying anything?” he asked.

“No reason. I just wanna make sure we’re ready.”

“Baby, how much more ready do we need to be? We have more than enough room, and we can definitely afford it. Plus, you know it’s still my dream to be able to give our children what my parents weren’t able to give me. When they were alive, they took care of me the best they could, but they barely made ends meet, and I went without a lot. Even in college.”

“I know. Why don’t we talk about it more tonight?”

“Fine. And hey—are you losing weight?”

“I wish.”

“Why? Because it’s not like you need to. You look perfect.”

“I’m glad you feel that way,” she said, wondering how he could possibly think she’d lost even a few ounces, let alone enough weight that was noticeable enough to see. Especially since she weighed herself every single day, and not much had changed. Although maybe working out six days a week without fail was helping her lose inches.

Brad kissed her again, this time with more passion. “Make love to me.”

Melanie gently pressed both her hands against his chest. “Baby, I can’t. I have to get dressed so I can drive over to Schaumburg. I’m meeting Alicia, remember?”

“Oh yeah. Well, I guess I’ll let you off the hook this one time. I expect you to make this up to me tonight, though,” he said, smiling.

Melanie was relieved, because her plans to drive over and meet Alicia weren’t the only reason she was putting him off. Truth was, she had long stopped wanting to make love to him in broad daylight because of how pathetic she looked when she was naked. At five foot nine and 165 pounds, she wore a size ten and looked like Miss Piggy, which was one of the many names her father had called her when she was a child. She wasn’t nearly as heavy now as she’d been back then, but she was still a size ten for heaven’s sake. Just the thought of it made her want to burst into tears. Brad deserved so much better. A wife he could be proud to have on his arm—just like her mother regularly told her. And if it was the last thing she did, she would make that happen. She would do whatever was necessary to drop those ten horrible pounds she was parading around with. That way, she could fit back into her size eights the way she was supposed to. She wouldn’t be happy—and neither would her mother—until she did.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Kimberla Lawson Roby. Ella D. Curry has permission as her online publicist to promote this excerpt. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby

About the Author
Kimberla Lawson Roby
is the New York Times bestselling author of the highly acclaimed Reverend Curtis Black Series. She lives with her husband in Rockford, Illinois.  Website:


#BlackLove: Her Chance At Love by Nicki Night

Her Chance At Love by Nicki Night

The Barrington Brothers are here! Meet Blake… 

Trust doesn’t come easily to senator’s daughter Cadence Payne—especially after her disastrous engagement. Dating is no longer at the top of her to-do list, no matter how persistent fellow attorney Blake Barrington may be. Yet the sexy, notorious lawyer makes a very convincing argument. Cadence is almost tempted to give in…until Blake’s implicated in a scandal and hires her to defend him!

Little by little, Blake is getting past Cadence’s defenses and giving a whole new meaning to attorney-client privilege. But days and nights spent in close proximity prove dangerously distracting. If Blake loses this case, his career, Cadence’s reputation and their romance will all be in jeopardy. Can he convince her to believe in him despite her fears—or is he gambling with his future and her heart?

Praise for Her Chance at Love by Nicki Night 

Reviewed By Amazon Customer 
Her Chance At Love by Nicki Night is an enjoyable read. Cadence and Blake are perfect for each other. Cadence Payne gives arrogant, charismatic, confident lawyer Blake Barrington a run for his money.She finally gives in to her emotions and succumbs to the romantic advances of Mr. Blake Barrington. In the blink of an eye life circumstances happens and Cadence and Blake stand the chance at losing it all. Blake’s refusal to give up on Cadence and what they were beginning to have, begins to wear her down. It takes everything in Cadence to keep up that wall to protect her heart. Nicki Night did a wonderful job on her debut novel.  Can’t wait to see what else Nicki Night has in store for us with the other Barrington brothers

Reviewed By Shavonna Futrell 

Her Chance At Love By Nicki Night is her debut novel introducing us to the first of the three Barrington Brothers. Night introduces us to Hunter, Blake and Drew, Her Chance At Love focuses on the very handsome middle Barrington brother, Blake who is a lawyer and has no problems getting what he wants when it comes to the ladies, until he meets Cadence Payne who is also an attorney and recently engaged but not married and has decided to put dating on the back burner and focus solely on her career. Blake is determined to get what he wants.

I met this author at a literary event and decided to support this author on her new book, I am glad I picked this up because I would have missed out on a great romance, I really enjoyed Blake and Cadence’s love story, the thing I enjoyed most was the dates Blake took Cadence on there was nothing traditional about them and I appreciated that and it gave me some ideas, if you want to read a great romance I highly recommend this book. I really hope Drew Barrington’s story is next.

Excerpt: Her Chance At Love by Nicki Night 

“You haven’t had sex in how long?” Alana Tate shrieked.

Cadence Payne recoiled as her eyes darted around the bustling coffeehouse and then landed on the shocked wide-eyed expression on her closest friend’s face. She couldn’t believe how loud she had just said that. “Alana! ” she chided, embarrassed for both of them.

“Don’t Alana me!” she said, still speaking at the same volume that she had just used to let everyone in proximity know that Cadence hadn’t had any in a while. “What are you waiting for? Please don’t tell me you’re still pining over that loser Kenny. I thought you were over him!” she said, referring to Cadence’s ex-fiancé, Kenneth Dalton. “I still can’t believe he married that woman so soon after you two broke off the engagement. Jerk.”

“Shh!” Cadence waved her hand at Alana, urging her to lower her voice before the entire coffeehouse ended up knowing all her business. “It has nothing to do with Kenny,” she found herself whispering, then rolled her eyes and sighed. She knew Alana meant well, but she needed to reel her in before she went too far. Shaking her head, she took a sip of her chai latte. “I just haven’t found anyone that I’m interested in dating, let alone sleeping with.”

“That’s because for the past six months you’ve dated your job. With the time you’ve put into working, there’s no room for anything else.” Alana gave her a pitiful look. “You need to get out more.”

“Well, once I make senior counsel, then maybe I’ll have time for a date or two.” Yeah, right. She hoped her statement would be enough to get Alana off her back—even if she didn’t believe it herself. Cadence was hurt when Kenny abruptly ended their engagement. Not only did the breakup severely bruise her ego, but also she didn’t know love could hurt so badly. Then Kenny poured salt into her already wounded heart when he married another woman a few short weeks after. Cadence stood, indicating that it was time to go. Grabbing her empty cup, she started for the trash can, and then headed for the door. Cadence wanted to get out of that place and away from their topic as quickly as possible, adding distance between her and the notion of dating anyone. Alana was fast on her heels.

“You’re coming with me tonight!” Alana declared.

Cadence suddenly stopped walking, causing Alana to crash into her from behind. Clucking her teeth, she shook her head and started walking again. “Where are you going now?” she asked, digging in her oversize purse in search of her car keys.

“The NYAA mixer.”

Cadence spun around with her hands up in protest,


Alana took in a breath and exhaled. “I know you don’t like those kinds of gatherings, but you need to get out and meet some new people.”

Ignoring Alana, Cadence clicked the car alarm and slid into the driver’s seat. Alana sat next to her, on the passenger’s side. The last place she wanted to meet someone was at a mixer full of pretentious lawyers. They reminded her of high-profile cattle calls where arrogant men waltzed around in their tailored suits trying to one-up each other with their dossier of accomplishments, while the women shamelessly put their pedigrees and other things on display for all to see. Her last ill-fated relationship was with a lawyer. Needless to say, that was not a match made in anybody’s heaven.

Cadence never did fare well at these types of events. A self-proclaimed horrible networker, she shied away from them as much as she could, which is why she never joined the New York Association of Attorneys. She didn’t feel comfortable in the presence of these groups. Besides being somewhat of a loner, she was also the daughter of a senator and had experienced more than her share of inauthentic relationships. Now she just tried to avoid them at all costs.

Without another word, Cadence pulled off and headed back toward her home in Garden City.

“Cadence!” Alana yelled, turning toward her in the passenger seat. “I know you hear me talking to you. It will be fun. We don’t have to stay long. Besides, I’m on the board of the local chapter, so I have to at least show my face.”

“No, Alana! I’m not going.”

Alana grunted. “You really should give it a try. I’ve made so many great connections.”

“I have all the connections I need. My dad is a senator, remember?”

“Your own connections…” Frustrated, Alana shook her head. “Besides, it will be good for you to meet some of the members and see how we do things. You really should consider joining. You’d be a great addition.”

“I’m doing fine on my own. You know social groups aren’t my thing.”

“It’s a professional organization, not some social club.” Alana blew out an irritated breath. “Well, you owe me anyway! Come tonight and we can call it even.”

Cadence nearly slammed on the brakes. “Owe you for what?”

“Dragging me to your annoying cousin’s party.”

“Oh…that.” Cadence sighed, casting her eyes sideways. She had to admit, that event was a disaster. She’d felt obligated to attend because it was family but didn’t want to go alone, so she’d lugged Alana along with her promising that she’d make it up to her.

“So, yeah. You owe me.” Alana smiled, sitting up in her seat as if she’d just won a prize.

Cadence cut her eyes. “I still didn’t say I was going.” Alana turned toward Cadence and stared.

Cadence’s resolve collapsed as she pulled the car to a park in front of Alana’s condominium. “Okay. I’ll go.”

“Yay—” Cadence cut Alana’s celebration off with a narrowed eye and a pointed finger. “What?” Alana drew the inquiry out.

“I’m not staying more than an hour. So when I’ve had enough, you have to leave with me.”

“Trust me. You’ll have a blast.” Alana leaned over and hugged her friend. “I’m driving, so I’ll pick you up at six. We have to get to midtown before seven and I want to be sure to get a close parking spot.”

Cadence looked at the green digital numbers illuminating the dashboard. “It’s five thirty now! I have to get home, shower and find something to wear.”

“See you at six,” Alana reiterated with a huge smile, ignoring Cadence’s alarmed expression as she exited the car. “I have to get there early. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.” She slammed the door and then leaned over, gesturing for Cadence to roll down the window. Sticking her head in, she said, “Now that I’m getting you out, the next thing we need to do is get you a man so you can get laid.” Alana howled at Cadence’s twisted lips. Cadence rolled the window up on her and pulled off, watching Alana continue to laugh through her rearview mirror.

Chapter 2

Blake Barrington looked at his brothers and shook his head. Both Hunter’s and Drew’s backs were bent as they held their stomachs, roaring at Blake’s expense. At first, Blake tried not to be taken in by their antics, but couldn’t help himself and eventually folded and let loose his own contained laughter.

That was the third woman in the past fifteen minutes that had practically thrown herself at Blake’s feet. He wondered if his brothers were trying to prank him and actually ran his hand across his back as high as he could to make sure they hadn’t posted any crazy signs. The last woman was the weirdest of all, approaching him by taking his hand in hers and kissing the back side. When she lifted her eyes to meet his, Blake wasn’t sure if the dark shading over her lip was moisture from a drink or a real-life mustache. However, when he looked down at the spirally coils springing from her ample cleavage, he realized his vision wasn’t failing him. From the looks of it, this woman had a robust supply of testosterone. Instinctively, his hand went to his chest and he thought about the fact that she had more hair on hers that he did on his.

“Enough already,” he chided his brothers, who continued to laugh uncontrollably. Drew’s eyes glistened and he fell into a coughing fit. Hunter had to pound him on the back a few times. Blake shook his head and called the waitress over and ordered another round.

When Drew was able to regain his composure, he straightened his back, wiped his tears and breathed deep. “Sorry, bro. I couldn’t help myself. Your Sasquatch radar is obviously on the blink. I wish you could have seen your own eyes when they landed on her mustache.” Drew fell into another fit of laughter.

“Don’t worry, man—” Hunter placed a reassuring hand on Blake’s shoulder “—big brother will show you how it’s done,” he said, picking up the snifter of whiskey the voluptuous barmaid had just placed on the counter. Passing one glass to each brother, he said, “Cheers,” and lifted the blend in the air for a toast before throwing back a healthy sip.

They had met at the trendy lounge early enough to share a drink together before the NYAA mixer started. Hunter and Blake had followed their father’s example of becoming attorneys. At twenty-nine, Hunter was the oldest with Blake trailing him by eleven months. Drew, the baby of the crew, was two years Blake’s junior and the rebel of the family. Despite acquiring his JD, he opted to pursue his passion in the world of motorcycles instead of practicing law. His championship races and award-winning designs graced the pages of the most popular motorcyclingenthusiast magazines.

Taking notice of the growing crowd, Blake looked at his watch. Throwing back his last sip of whiskey, he winced at the favorable burn and placed the glass back down on the bar. “We should get going.” Blake led the brothers through the dimly lit lounge down to the lower level, where the mixer was actually taking place.

Nodding at a few familiar faces along the way, Blake narrowed his eyes in search of other members of the board. He had recently been elected as a director on the executive board to replace his predecessor, who had just resigned due to relocating. Their father had always told them to be sure to rub elbows with the right people. It certainly helped him become a judge. After taking in the scene and surveying the women, Blake took a seat next to his brothers at the bar.

“Who’s that?” Drew’s eyes were stretched wide. Blake’s and Hunter’s eyes followed his line of sight. When they noticed whom Drew was inquiring about, simultaneously they reared their heads back.

“Stay away from her. Ask Blake,” Hunter said.

“Her name is Mandy, and it took me six months to get her to stop randomly showing up at my door with lingerie on under an overcoat.”

Drew raised his brow. “You must have really put it on her,” he said, smiling and resting his back against the bar.

“Actually, no. I was dating her friend and she had obviously shared a few details with her about our…eh…encounters. Once we stopped dating, that’s when Mandy started showing up talking about how much she’d heard about me and wanted to experience a few things for herself.” Blake angled his back toward Mandy, who seemed to be walking in their direction.

“Is she a lawyer, too?” Drew asked.

“Yeah, but she just joined the organization,” Hunter added.

“Wow. All those brains and she’s still crazy. Ha!” Drew slapped his leg at his own remark.

“Yeah. That’s why I’ve sworn off dating other lawyers.

It’s not cool sleeping with a woman and the next morning you find yourself sitting on the opposite side of the negotiation table and your clients are at war with each other,” Blake said, thinking of a similar encounter with the last attorney he dated.

“That’s just awkward,” Drew said, raising a brow.

“Yeah. And it’s happened more than once,” Hunter added.

“Whoa!” Drew raised his fist to his mouth as the brothers joined together in laughter once again.

“Hey, Blake.” Alana rose on her toes to give Hunter a friendly hug before turning to his brother. “Hey, Hunter, Drew,” she acknowledged, and hugged them, too.

After Alana’s greeting, Blake zoned out. Well, it wasn’t entirely his fault. It was the goddess who stood immediately behind Alana that had captured his attention and momentarily rendered him deaf and mute.

Alana reached behind herself and pulled the woman to her side. If she hadn’t looked so disinterested, Blake would have made his intentions clear right then and there, but, sensing her attitude, he decided he’d let things play out before making his move.

Shaking his head, Blake jumped back into the conversation. He was almost annoyed with himself at how he’d let a single look at this beautiful woman throw him off guard.

“What did you say your name was?” he asked the woman, holding his hand out to shake hers. A bland smile spread across her beautiful heart-shaped lips—one that told him she really wasn’t interested in being here. Despite the lack of enthusiasm, she managed to spark a rise in him that he hadn’t expected.

“Cadence Payne.”

Her soft voice caressed Blake’s ear ever so slightly, giving rise to several parts of him, as if she’d teased him with an actual touch. Blake was caught in the sheer femininity of it. It actually took him a moment to respond. “Beautiful name. Pleasure to meet you, Cadence.” Blake brought the back of her hand to his lips and kissed it gently and then flashed what he hoped was a winning sexy smile potent enough to put a dent in that attitude of hers.

“Pleasure,” she said dryly, and pulled her hand back.

This one had a hard exterior, Blake concluded. He wasn’t worried about that. He’d never had a problem breaking through women’s exteriors before, no matter how tough they tried to be. Women often melted under the Barrington brothers’ influence. The brothers were hot commodities, and had even been featured in a special issue of one of the local magazines as some of the most eligible bachelors in the greater metropolitan area.

“So, how has it been going so far? Has our speaker arrived?” Alana asked, rising to her toes to look over the crowd.

“Not that I know of,” Blake responded, still looking at Cadence, who had been trying to avoid his stare.

“Okay. I’ll check it out. Be right back.” Before Blake or Hunter could reply, Alana was off through the crowd, mingling, smiling and waving at familiar faces in the distance.

Instead of following her, Cadence took a seat at the far end of the bar. Blake took her aloof demeanor as a sign to let her be for just a while, but there was no way he was going to let her leave there without getting her number.

“Are you done?” Drew said as he and Hunter grinned.

“Huh?” Blake said, realizing their eyes were on him awaiting a response. “What?”

“He asked, ‘are you done?'” Hunter yelled over the noise of the growing crowd.

“What do you mean?”

“Are you done lapping her up with your eyes, man?” Drew laughed. “She doesn’t seem interested.”

“What?” Blake grunted. “Not interested in me!” He feigned surprise as if Drew’s assessment was completely ridiculous. “Dude, do you know who I am?” he asked, touching his chest in disbelief. “I’m Blake Barrington! You better ask around,” he teased. Hunter and Drew dismissed him with waves of their hands.

“Well, she doesn’t seem to care,” Drew responded. “Seems like she’s got a bit of an attitude anyway. Do you know if she’s an attorney also?”

“I know she is,” Hunter answered.

Blake’s head spun in his brother’s direction based on his response. “You know her?” He wondered what he may have missed during the introductions when he had been arrested by her pouty lips, nice hips, caramel skin, perfect breasts and long legs.

“You know her, too,” Hunter said, holding his finger up at the bartender for another round. He nodded, confirming her acknowledgment before turning his attention back to Blake. “That’s Senator Payne’s daughter. I’ve never actually met her up close and personal, but I know that face.”

Blake’s shoulders slumped in disappointment upon finding out that she was also an attorney. He’d been serious when he’d vowed to stop dating women in the same profession. It never worked out for him. He even wondered how he’d never run into her before. New York City was a crowded metropolis, but many of its circles ran small.

“Hey!” The high-pitched shriek snatched his attention away from his thoughts about Cadence.

Before he could fully turn himself around, he felt the softness of a woman’s body pressed up against the back of him. The familiar, sweet essence of lilies wafted from Jasmine Lee’s almond skin. He found himself smothered in her arms as she closed them tightly around him.

“What’s up, baby?” Jasmine said, turning him around, grabbing him by his cheeks and then pulling him down to her—right into her full, indulgent baby-pink lips.

( Continued… )

© 2015 Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Nicki Night. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Her Chance at Love by Nicki Night
Romance Series: The Barrington Brothers

His Love Lesson by Nicki Night


#BlackLove: Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Comparing the real-life police shootings of African-American men to the fictional shooting in his novel that propels the plot forward, Pitts says that he “knew that Grant Park was timely, but I could not be coming out at a better time.”  Pitts is hoping to “fire up some dialogue” about race with his third novel, Grant Park (Agate Bolden, Sept.), which features an African-American journalist and his white editor, both veterans of the 1960s civil rights movement, who collide on the eve of Obama’s election as president. Malcolm Toussaint, the journalist, is “sick and tired of being sick and tired” of how Americans deal with race after hearing of an unarmed African-American being shot by Chicago police even as people are celebrating Obama’s historic presidential campaign and certain victory over John McCain.

Grant Park is a page-turning and provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blending the absurd and the poignant in a powerfully well-crafted narrative that showcases Pitts’s gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories.

Grant Park begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King’s final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 election, and cuts between the two eras as it unfolds. Disillusioned columnist Malcolm Toussaint, fueled by yet another report of unarmed black men killed by police, hacks into his newspaper’s server to post an incendiary column that had been rejected by his editors. Toussaint then disappears, and his longtime editor, Bob Carson, is summarily fired within hours of the column’s publication.

While a furious Carson tries to find Toussaint—at the same time dealing with the reappearance of a lost love from his days as a 60s activist—Toussaint is abducted by two improbable but still-dangerous white supremacists plotting to explode a bomb at Obama’s planned rally in Grant Park. Toussaint and Carson are forced to remember the choices they made as idealistic, impatient young men, when both their lives were changed profoundly by their work in the civil rights movement.

Praise for Leonard Pitts, Jr.’s novel Grant Park

“The state of US race relations in 1968 and 2008 is seen through the eyes of two veteran Chicago newsmen, one black and one white, in this opportune novel. . . . Pitts adroitly blends history with fiction and actual figures (King, Obama) with characters in a plot that builds suspense around the supremacists’ plans as anger between the races gives way to understanding. A novel as significant as it is engrossing.” —Booklist, starred review

“In the aftermath of this summer’s racially motivated mass murder in Charleston, South Carolina, by an avowed white supremacist, there’s near-eerie prescience in Pitts’ historical novel. . .[Grant Park], with urgency and passion, makes readers aware that the mistakes of the past are neglected at the future’s peril.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This high-stakes, hard-charging political thriller from Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Pitts (Freeman) tells the saga of two journalists, switching between the time periods of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 assassination and election day 2008. Sixty-year-old Malcolm Toussaint is a popular black syndicated news columnist writing for the Chicago Post who has two Pulitzer Prizes and resides in a “trophy” mansion.

However, he has grown “tired” if not embittered over the frustrating lack of progress in race relations between whites and blacks. After receiving one too many racist emails from his readers, he responds by composing a blunt, scathing column, but his white editor, Bob Carson, kiboshes it. After Malcolm hacks into Bob’s computer and publishes the controversial column anyway, both men are deemed culpable and fired.

Following this, a pair of white supremacists kidnap Malcolm; they also reveal their heinous plan to detonate a “McVeigh bomb” in Grant Park when Barack Obama appears there, as the clock begins ticking to stop them. Pitts effectively builds the backstory in which young Malcolm witnesses King’s fatal shooting in Memphis, and young Bob falls in love with the political black activist Janeka Lattimore, who now resurfaces in his life.

The sharply etched characters, careful attention to detail, and rich newspaper lore propel Pitts’s socially relevant novel.” —Publishers Weekly Review for Grant Park


Martin Luther King stood at the railing, facing west. The moon was a pale crescent just rising in early twilight to share the sky with a waning sun. He leaned over, joking with the men in the parking lot below. A couple of them were wrestling playfully with James Orange, a good-natured man with a build like a brick wall.

“Now, you be careful with preachers half your size,” King teased him.

“Dr. King,” called Orange in a plaintive voice, “it’s two of them and one of me. You should be asking them not to hurt me.”

“Doc,” someone called out from below, “this is Ben Branch. You remember Ben.”

“Oh yes,” said King. “He’s my man. How are ya, Ben?”

Another voice yelled up from below. “Glad to see you, Doc.”

As Malcolm Toussaint moved toward King, it struck him that the preacher seemed somehow lighter than he had the last time Malcolm had seen him. It had been late one night a week before, by the Dumpsters out back of the Holiday Inn. The man Malcolm met that night had seemed… weighted, so much so that even Malcolm had found himself concerned and moved—Malcolm, who had long scorned the great reverend doctor, who had, in the fashion of other young men hip, impatient, and cruel, mocked him as “De Lawd.” But that was before Malcolm had met the man. That was before they had talked. Now he moved toward King, his mind roiling with the decision that had sprung from that moment, the news he had come to share. King, he knew, would be pleased. There would be a smile, perhaps a heavy hand clamping on Malcolm’s shoulder. “Good for you, Brother Malcolm,” he would say. “Good for you.”

Malcolm was vaguely amused to find himself here on this balcony, anticipating this man’s approval. If you had told him just a few days ago that he would be here, ready to go back to school, ready to embrace nonviolent protest, he would have laughed. But that, too, was before. Malcolm meant to raise his hand just then, to catch King’s attention, but a movement caught his eye. Just a reflected ray of the dying sun, really, glinting off something in a window across the street. Something that—he knew this instinctively—should not have been there. He wondered distractedly what it was.

King’s voice drew him back. “I want you to sing it like you’ve never sung it before,” he was calling to someone in the parking lot below. “Sing it real pretty.” And Malcolm realized he had missed something, because he had no idea what they were talking about. His attention had been distracted by… what was that?

“It’s getting chilly.” Yet another voice calling to King from below. “I think you’ll need a topcoat.”

“Okay, Jonesy,” King was saying. “You really know how to take good care of me.”

And here, the moment breaks, time fracturing as time sometimes will into its component parts, until an event is no longer composed of things happening in a sequence, but somehow all happens at once. And you can see and touch and live all the smaller moments inside the right now. This is how it is for Malcolm Toussaint now. King is laughing. Malcolm is taking a step toward him. King is straightening. Laughter is echoing from below. King is reaching into a pocket for his cigarettes. He is becoming aware of Malcolm on his left. His head is coming around. There are the bare beginnings of a welcoming smile. And Malcolm knows. Suddenly knows. And Malcolm is leaping, leaping across space, across time itself, becoming airborne—he was sure of it, that detail felt right, even though by this time King is barely six feet away. Malcolm grabbing two hands full of expensive silk, yanking Martin Luther King off balance, yanking him down hard in the same instant they all hear the popping sound like a firecracker, in the same instant he feels the soft-nosed 30.06 bullet whistle past his cheek like a phantom breath, in the same instant he falls awkwardly across King’s chest.

And then…

And then time seems to reel for a crazy breathless moment, as if decid¬ing what to do now. The fulcrum of history teetering, the future hanging, suspended in midair.
Until all at once and with a brutal force, time decides itself and slams back into gear.

A woman shrieked.

Someone yelled, “Somebody is shooting!”

Someone yelled, “Doc, are you OK?”

Someone yelled, “Stay down!”

Malcolm’s breath was ragged in his own ears. His heart hammered like drums. Then from beneath him, he heard a familiar baritone voice say calmly, very calmly, but yet, with a touch of breathless wonder. “Oh my God. Was that a gunshot?”

Their eyes met. Malcolm didn’t speak. Couldn’t speak. “Brother Malcolm,” said Martin Luther King, his voice still suffused with wonder and yet, also, an almost unnatural calm, “I think you just saved my life.”

Malcolm was overwhelmed by the thereness of the man. He was not myth and mist and history. He was not a posterboard image on a wall behind a child dutifully reciting in a child’s thin, sweet tenor, “I have a dream today.” No, he was there, beneath 20-year-old Malcolm Toussaint, who had fallen crosswise on top of him. Malcolm could feel the weight and heft of him, the fall and rise of his chest. He could see his very pores, could smell the tobacco on his breath, the Aramis on his collar. Martin Luther King was there, still alive, beneath him. Malcolm opened his mouth to speak.

And then, he awoke.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Leonard Pitts Jr. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
Barnes & Noble:
Agate Publishing:
Books a Million:

About the Author

Leonard Pitts, Jr
. is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novels Grant Park (2015) Freeman (Agate Bolden, 2012) and Before I Forget (Agate Bolden, 2009); the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities (Agate Bolden, 2009); and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (Agate Bolden, 2006).

Pitts’ work has made him an in-demand lecturer. He maintains a rigorous speaking schedule that has taken him to colleges, civic groups and professional associations all over the country. He has also been invited to teach at a number of prestigious institutions of higher learning, including Hampton University, Ohio University, the University of Maryland and Virginia Commonwealth University. In the fall of 2011, he was a visiting professor at Princeton University, teaching a course in writing about race.

Twice each week, millions of Miami Herald newspaper readers around the country seek out his rich and uncommonly resonant voice. In a word, he connects with them. Nowhere was this demonstrated more forcefully than in the response to his initial column on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Pitts’ column, “We’ll Go Forward From This Moment,” an angry and defiant open letter to the terrorists, circulated the globe via the Internet. It generated upwards of 30,000 emails, and has since been set to music, reprinted in poster form, read on television by Regis Philbin and quoted by Congressman Richard Gephardt as part of the Democratic Party’s weekly radio address.

Born and raised in Southern California, Pitts now lives in suburban Washington, D.C., with his wife and children.

Facebook: LeonardPittsJr
Twitter: @LeonardPittsJr1


#BlackLove: Thrive!…Affordably by Jennifer Streaks

Thrive!…Affordably by Jennifer Streaks
Life is meant to be enjoyed, but let’s be honest: It’s almost impossible to live a life of abundance when you are drowning in a sea of debt and suffering under the strain of financial struggle. So many people are not free to enjoy life simply because they don’t have control over their finances. As a result, they go through life surviving and not truly living.

Thrive!…Affordably, takes the headache and the guesswork out of financial management. It is a monthly “how-to” designed to help the reader meet financial goals one step at a time. The book offers tips, advice, and basic financial management lessons geared towards helping the reader highlight strengths, identify missteps, and take control over finances. If you are looking for a way to permanently free yourself from debt, this book is for you. Jennifer Streaks takes the mystery out of management, making financial freedom attainable for anyone willing to do the work.

You deserve to live your best life. Don’t just survive…Thrive!

Purchase Thrive! … Affordably: Your month-to-month guide to living your
BEST life without breaking the bank by Jennifer Streaks

About the Author

Jennifer Streaks
, an Affordable Lifestyle Expert, started her career working in financial compliance for major banking institutions. In 2005, when the economy started a downward spiral and the housing bubble burst, Jennifer, armed with an MBA, found herself at the center of the storm helping individuals save their homes and pay off their credit card debt.

Jennifer has been on every major TV and radio network (MSNBC, FOX, Fox Business, AlJazeera, CCTV, MarketWatch) and has been published in several national magazines providing practical financial advice that everyone and anyone can immediately put to use to see a change in their financial picture. She has also been called on to report on major financial changes and disruptions such as the foreclosure mess, changes in credit card rules, the increase in prepaid debit card usage and the continued shortage of jobs and the impact on the economy.

Consistently, described as “highly intelligent, witty & easy to work with, Jennifer has earned a law degree from Howard University School of Law and an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business.

Follow Jennifer Streaks, MBA, Financial & Affordable Lifestyle Expert 


#BlackLove: You Get What You Pray For by E.N. Joy

You Get What You Pray For 
by E.N. Joy

Lorain has been a prisoner of secrets almost all of her life. At the age of thirteen, she’d managed to keep her pregnancy a secret, discarding the infant she’d given birth to and leaving it for dead. She also never revealed the fact that the baby’s father was her middle school guidance counselor. Years later, Lorain’s mother had finally met the love of her life, and Lorain couldn’t find the courage to tell her mother that her new beau was the man who molested Lorain. To complicate matters, Lorain discovered that the baby she’d abandoned all those years ago had survived, and God had placed Lorain in the now adult child’s life. It seemed like the legacy of secrets had been passed on, too, as Lorain helped her daughter conceal the true details behind her own pregnancy.

Lorain has managed to maneuver the secrets and lies like a strategic game of chess, and is now living the lavish fairytale life of a doctor’s wife. But even that is a lie. With the rug about to be pulled from underneath Lorain by the woman who raised her abandoned child, all Lorain prays for is that everything will end well. In this cycle of lies, secrets, shame, and guilt, will Lorain get what she prays for?

Praise for You Get What You Pray For

“It was a very good book from the beginning to the end. I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys a good Christian love story.”  – Michael Dothard

“In true E. N. Joy fashion, this book presented characters who were crazy, funny, and off the chain enjoyable. This story was filled with enough ups and downs, lies and truths to keep the reader’s attention. I loved it!  FIVE STARS!!”  – Tanishia Pearson-Jones

Excerpt: You Get What You Pray For

Lorain closed the door to her last guest, walked into her great room and flopped down on the couch. She took off her shoes and flung them across the room, simultaneously closing her eyes.

“Whoa. I’m glad to see you too.”

Her eyes opened to the medium height, dark skin man. Her sparkling stilettos were at his feet. He stepped over them and walked toward her.

Lorain smiled. “You are exactly what I need right now.”

“Leon is always right on time,” he said, speaking in the third person. “Where’s everybody?”

“The staff is in the kitchen.”

“Your mother and the girls?”

“Next door.” Lorain nodded in the direction of her mother’s house.

“Then it sounds like Leon can take you in his arms.” He walked over to Lorain. “And do things to you that your husband could never dream of doing.”

“Oh, Nicholas can dream, but what Leon does to me is every woman’s fantasy come true.”

“Then why are we wasting time talking, when we—”

“Are all them stuck-up hussies gone?”

Eleanor’s voice came booming from the dining room.

“Looks like Leon will have to take a rain check,” Nicholas said, putting away his alter ego.

Lorain loved it when her husband role-played as Leon. Leave it to Eleanor to spoil the moment.

“Hello, Mother,” Lorain said as Eleanor entered the great room. She looked behind her mother, certain she would have seen two mini figures trailing behind her, but she didn’t. “Where are the girls?”

“In the kitchen eating up those desserts,” Eleanor replied.

“Mom, you can’t let them eat all that sweet stuff,” Lorain said. “You know diabetes runs on my father’s side of the family.”

“It ain’t running that fast,” Eleanor said, “seeing that it ain’t caught up with him and killed him dead. Besides, I don’t see you depriving your size fourteen self of any cupcakes.”

“Twelve,” Lorain said, correcting her.

“Your clothes might be a twelve. That little black thing you wear up under them that cuts off your blood circulation might make you look like a ten, but them hips scream fourteen.”

Lorain was offended. “Well, I never.”

“You never what? Been black before? Because that’s sure how you acting.” Eleanor shook her hand at Lorain. “We black folks . . . that’s what we do . . . eat.”

“And we get high blood pressure and sugar diabetes,” Lorain argued. “I don’t want my girls having to stick a needle in their stomach and prick their fingers all the time.”

“Heck, you married a doctor.” Eleanor rolled her eyes. “Let him do it.” She shooed Lorain. “You worry too much. Let them kids be.” Eleanor pushed Lorain out of the way and headed for the couch. “Now, move before you make me cuss.” She sat down in a huff. “And I ain’t like them ole fake Christians, talking about the cussword slipped out. I cuss on purpose, and you know I know how to string my words together to cut you up so tough, it’ll make ya heart bleed.” She looked up, for the first time acknowledging her son-in-law. “Hey, Nick. How you doing, sweet baby?” Her tone was now as sweet as could be.

“I’m good, Ma.” He walked over and kissed Eleanor on the forehead.

“I don’t know how you stay good.” She pointed at Lorain. “With that one acting like Diahann Carroll, a black woman trapped in a white woman’s body.”

“That is not who Diahann Carroll is,” Lorain said. “That’s just a role she played.”

“My point exactly. You been pretending to be somebody you’re not ever since you got involved with those doctors’ wives.” She shook her head at Nicholas, as if he’d fibbed. “And you good. Tell me anything.” She looked back at her daughter. “But I know you good . . . good at pretending. I watched how you were around them women at that last party thing y’all had here at the house. The all of you fake as a two-dollar bill.”

“Two-dollar bills are real,” Lorain said.

“Then a two-dollar bill’s got one up on you,” Eleanor snapped back.

Nicholas let a chuckle slip out.

Lorain snapped her neck toward Nicholas. “Nick, really?” You’re going to let her talk to your wife like that?”

Nicholas shrugged. “She’s yo’ mama. Besides, if I don’t take her side, she might not make me her famous neck bones and black-eyed peas.”

“Hmm,” Lorain said to Nicholas. “You need to be worried about what you might not get from me.”

“Child, you are forty plus,” Eleanor said. “He ain’t studdin’ none of that vintage vagina.”

“Ahem.” Nicholas cleared his throat. “I’m going to leave you two alone.” He headed off.

“Coward,” Lorrain shot at him, then looked at her mother. “I can’t believe you waste your time going to church Sunday mornings and use that mouth to praise the Lord, when all week long nothing but junk comes out of it. Just sickening.”

“Ain’t church for sick people to go and get better?”

Lorain threw her hands up. “Why do I bother? I can’t beat you.”

“And I thought by now you would’ve stopped trying. But I’m glad you haven’t. Keeps my mind sharp.”

“You mean your tongue?”

As crazy as the stuff that came out of Eleanor’s mouth was, it tended to be on point. Lorain had been trying to cover up her old life because there was too much guilt and shame in acknowledging it. She only needed enough time to pass where she felt comfortable enough to be real . . . with everybody. But time needed to hurry along. If not, one of two things was going to happen. Everyone was going to eventually see right through her phony, plastic self. Or she was going to suffocate underneath it all.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, E.N. Joy. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase You Get What You Pray For 

Always Divas Series Book Three
Genre: Christian Fiction

About the Author

BLESSEDselling Author E.N. Joy is the writer behind the “New Day Divas,” “Still Divas,” “Always Divas,” and “Forever Divas” series, coined soap operas in print. And just like real televised soap operas, these stories are filled with drama, romance, chances, coincidences and fate. But more importantly, they are filled with characters that will make you feel young and restless, bold and beautiful; all as the world turns upside down. These divas will be your guiding light to a literary feast. Don’t miss out on the series of a lifetime, because remember, you’ve only got one life to live. Start living it with the New Day Divas.


#BlackLove: Tell the Truth The Devil Won’t by Colette R. Harrell

Tell the Truth The Devil Won’t
by Colette R. Harrell

Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t 
is the sequel to The Devil Made Me Do It.  Second stand alone book in the Heaven Over Hell Trilogy. The Love Zion members are in the middle of a spiritual tsunami. The flood has them up to their necks, deep in muck and mire, and treading water looking for a life raft.

The full-figured Esther Redding doesn’t realize it, but she desperately needs a change. Her Cinderella tiara is tarnished, and her glass slippers are cracked.

Briggs Stokes has always had a soft spot for Esther. She was in his blood, and he didn’t want a transfusion. When he returns to Detroit, he decides that nothing will keep him from her door. Well, nothing but once reformed bad girl Monica Stokes Custer. She’s Briggs’s ex, and she wants to be his “give me one more chance again” wife. The tug of war that ensues may be the catalyst that destroys the person they both love the most.

Don’t blink—pray. These shenanigans are too juicy to miss.

Excerpt: Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t

Chapter One

It was dead cold. The air crackled with the sound of ice-covered tree branches crashing onto cement sidewalks; it was an unnatural arctic day, even for Harlem. There were motorists stranded on every major highway as an epic ice storm settled over the length of New York City. And while the air over those highways was filled with road rage, explicit language, and hunger pains, the contrasting hush of the opulent brownstones on 132nd Street was shattered by an eerie scream that filled the bitter air.

Monica Hawthorne, the ex-Mrs. Briggs Stokes, stood shaking uncontrollably. Her beloved, risked-everything she-had-to-have-him husband of one month, Randall, lay in a pool of blood on their imported Brazilian cherry kitchen floor. If Randall could, he would have stood up and told her for the tenth time that ten thousand dollars for a floor was too much, and just because she could buy it didn’t mean she had to. But Randall couldn’t utter a word. She watched horrified as his blood seeped into the natural grooves of the wood, giving credence to the fact that maybe the cost was too much.

Monica blinked, but he wasn’t getting up or giving her advice about her newly acquired wealth, because standing over him was his newly divorced wife, the ex-Mrs. Meredith Hawthorne. This She-Spawn-from-the-Pits, with her six hundred-dollar hairdo mussed, her designer clothes askew, and her chest heaving in spastic breaths, clutched the knife that once protruded from Randall’s chest. Words of explanation weren’t necessary; the vivid picture painted its own morbid story.

Monica was spellbound. She was in her own home. The ordeal of leaving one husband to claim another’s was behind her. The guilt had been laid aside. The shame stamped down, at least temporarily. It was Randall and her against the world. But it had all just changed—drastically. Snapping to, Monica shrieked, “Oh sweet Jesus! What have you done? You crazy—!” Her cries were halted by the demented gleam in the ex-Mrs. Hawthorne’s eyes. The maniac’s focus switched from Randall to her, then back to Randall.

Mrs. Hawthorne had gone mad, crazy, bonkers, cray cray. Monica’s head hurt at the thought that she was still addressing this woman by what was rightfully her new name. It bore psychological study that she could only think of the witch as Mrs. Hawthorne. For over three years the woman had railed it at her, negating Monica’s right to ever wear the title. She’d stood in haughty arrogance and promised in divorce court that she would never relinquish it. At the time, Monica didn’t care; she felt Mrs. Hawthorne could keep the last name, as long as she had the man. Now she felt she had been short-sighted. If in the middle of a bloody rampage, she thought of her that way, then who was she?

The murderous interloper looked on in glee as blood bubbled out of Randall’s mouth. Monica observed her spiteful approval as Randall’s hand feebly stretched over his wound, but failed in mustering the strength to staunch the flow of his river of life. His eyelids fluttered—pausing, fighting to focus as he scanned beyond Mrs. Hawthorne’s face. His eyes settled on Monica’s outstretched hands.

“Randall,” Monica whispered. She swayed in agony. Time was grinding to a stop, like an old-fashioned watch discarded in a moth-eaten hope chest, it would soon end, and Randall would be done. She needed a way to get close to him, but Mrs. Hawthorne stood as she had for the last three years, directly in her path.

Always . . . in my way.

Rage bubbled into a go-for-broke moment. Monica launched forward and charged Mrs. Hawthorne with a Joan of Arc warrior’s roar. The sound of the impact and responding grunt was dulled by the body that crumpled to the floor. Monica gambled . . . and lost. Her body fell inches from Randall’s.  Her hands bloodied, Mrs. Hawthorne rocked in despair. She had meant to take her time with the slut, but her offensive attack had taken her by surprise.

Then . . . Monica moved.

What she was witnessing had Mrs. Hawthorne’s keening wail ricochet throughout the spacious brownstone. She glowered in anguish, howling as Monica’s fingers inched toward Randall’s, and they entwined even in their near-death status. She watched in ghoulish repulsion as the almost loving tableau played out before her. Her eyebrows arched as she made out Monica’s pleading words, “Jesus, help us.”

A rattle of air descended from Randall . . . and then stillness.  In slow motion, Mrs. Hawthorne turned in robotic movements away from the scene. Her steps faltered when she heard Monica’s fading voice, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The prophetic words washed over her as she stood in cold resolution. Shaking it off, she strutted away from the two people who had humiliated her in public and had caused her heart to bleed dry for three unbearable years. Randall had won his freedom, imprisoning her in her own madness in the process.

She had sworn to Randall’s dying mother, there would be no divorce. Tears gathered at the end of her hawkish nose, dribbling onto her twice-a-week, spa-waxed upper lip, then streamed down her cosmetic-tightened neck. She was Mrs. Meredith Hawthorne, of the Hawthornes, and failure was foreign to her.

In agony, she backtracked, and stumbled, tumbling over the bodies. Blindly, Meredith wiped her eyes, reared back, and spit in Monica’s face. Still feeling empty and unfulfilled, she stared, craving the ability to wake Monica and kill her again.  Rising, she noted Randall’s discarded, prized Civil War-era, matching pearl- and jewel-handled knives. She blew a kiss at him, and left the knives there. It was only fitting Randall have ownership of what he demanded in the divorce decree. What better way to deliver his bounty, then to use it as the method of obliteration for both he and his tramp?

Mrs. Hawthorne reached into her purse and pulled out her derringer. Acting as a lover whose desire is close to fulfillment, she caressed it.

Her insides churning, she panted, taking one last glance at the coconspirators to her destruction. She could answer Monica’s final question. God had forsaken Monica because she was a Delilah home wrecker. What Mrs. Hawthorne wanted to know, was why He had forsaken her.

She lay the letters for her children—who never called—on the solid mahogany credenza, then her purse. All she’d had was the facade of a happy life. She’d paid for it in an avalanche of tears as she played dumb blonde to Randall’s neglect and numerous indiscretions over the years, anything to keep him home.

And how had he repaid her? By falling for a nasty, ashy-prone, ghetto rat. The slut’s resulting pregnancy, and his request for a divorce, “so he could be happy” was the Joker’s wild card. How many wrongs was she expected to endure?

She looked around and hiccupped laughter—a great-granddaughter of the Confederacy ending up in a brownstone in Harlem?  Well, rise up every long-buried plantation owner and move over. I’m coming in, and from this gaudy, overpriced slum.  In the middle of her cynical chuckle, she bit her lip. She was stalling and knew it. The gun shook in her hands as she placed the barrel to her temple; lips pressed together, she focused on the brightness of the moon, brilliant against the frigid dark sky.

The trigger was pulled, and the gun clattered to the ground. Once again blood seeped into the Brazilian cherry hardwood floor. It should now have been quiet in the apartment. Instead, after the booming sound of the gunshot, you could hear through the intercom three things: the startled cries of a newborn, a phone ringing, and a feeble whimper. The air was clear and sweet with the aroma of citrus floral and the essence of myrrh. Large winged inhabitants fluttered about on missions of supreme purpose. Above, two hovered in midflight, one apparently holding the other from takeoff.

“Why do you hold me, Zadkiel? I must go. Did you not hear Monica scream? I am hers, and she is mine. Monica thinks that God has forsaken her. I am here,” he bemoaned. What the guardian saw split him in two. He could not linger.

Zadkiel pulled the guardian angel back, his wings clutched, and held him firm through the struggle. “Stand down. She cries out in fear, not faith. We are not charged to react to tears, but we are rewarders of faith. What is occurring is heartbreaking, but you have not been given leave to interfere.”

The guardian wanted to push at Zadkiel’s wings, but that would have been disrespectful. “Oh, why do the humans act this way? Must they torment and cause such pain to each other? They have left a child and though Monica has not been innocent for many years, her screams of pain bring too many hurtful emotions to the forefront. How can you float above it all?”

“I am not above anything, but we must be obedient to our Lord of Hosts. He has not given us permission to intervene; a greater good must be coming.” Zadkiel then telepathically shared with him how he kept the sounds of Randall’s and Monica’s pain in the background of his thoughts. “I am empathetic to your feelings. I have learned that our God knows all and His will is the only way. He did not create this mess, but He will make a way out for the innocent babe. Go sing a song of praise. It will ease your soul.”

Large expansive wings flapped in decisive strokes as a voice of power and beauty soared over majestic heads. As other voices joined in song, the angelic choir trumpeted the holiness and sovereignty of God. Contrary to the chaos, He continued to reign. In another realm, the gates of hell rattled in anticipation of the eventual capture and consumption of the new souls. It was a two-course meal: adulterer and murderer, their favorites.

Purchase Tell the Truth The Devil Won’t by Colette R. Harrell
Sequel to topselling novel The Devil Made Me Do It

About the Author
Colette R. Harrell
, wants you to know that she’s like you, God’s chosen vessel. She has come to be a gift, to be an encourager and a light that reflects God’s goodness.

She’s a wife, mother, author and playwright. A Detroit native, she currently calls Ohio home. She holds a master’s and is a Director of Social Services. Writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”

Her latest novel, Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t will thrill October, 2015. It is filled with wisdom and humor. This adventurous love story goes where Ms. Harrell loves to tread, down an unbeaten path. No millionaires rescuing damsels in distress—although she enjoys these reads herself—but every day people, falling and getting back up.

The Devil Made Me Do It was her debut novel. It was nominated for The 2015 Phillis Wheatley Book Awards in First Fiction. It has been held as one of Black Pearl Magazine’s, top ten Christian fiction books for 2014. In addition, Read Between The Lines radio show, named it as one of its overall top ten books for 2014.

Make no mistake, her sophomore novel, Tell The Truth, The Devil Won’t will cement her as an author to watch.

Follow Colette R. Harrell, Author

Book 1:  The Devil Made Me Do It
Book 2:  Tell The Truth, The Devil Won’t
Reach her at:
Facebook Fans:
Colette R. Harrell FB: 


#BlackLove: Life On Fire by Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley

Life On Fire
by Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley

Brooklyn Saunders’ life is set ablaze when her ex, Dante Nines, and a newly single friend, Hunter Torres, vie for the number one spot in her heart. Unknowingly, Dante brings trouble to her door causing their personal and professional lives to collide in the worst way. The entanglement unleashes a danger that will have both of the men she loves fighting to keep her safe. Will Brooklyn survive the chaos threatening to destroy her very existence? And if she does, who will she choose?

Excerpt: Life On Fire

Hunter cleared his throat. Brooklyn and Dante broke apart and she looked up sheepishly at Hunter. “I think it’s time for you to call that cab for me.”

Dante sat with a smug look, as though he was waiting for her to introduce him. When she didn’t, he stated, “Hey, I’m Dante, her ex.” He sized Hunter up with his eyes.

“Nice meeting you.” Hunter nodded as Brooklyn gave him her S.O.S. signal by pulling her earlobe twice.

“Come on, BK, I need you to sign off on your check before you go. I’ll get Carlos to call you a cab.” Hunter nodded his head for her to follow him.

Brooklyn nudged Dante to move out of her way and gave an impatient, “Excuse me,” when he stayed put.

He turned to her, giving her a big grin. “This conversation’s not over,” he promised, standing at the edge of the booth to let her out.

Brooklyn had finally reached her drink limit. Downing that last pitcher that fast was probably a bad idea. She didn’t know if it was the gin or seeing Dante again that had her legs all wobbly as she eased herself up. Not wanting her unsteadiness to make her look weak and vulnerable, she jutted her chin out and proclaimed in a defiant voice, “I would say it was nice seeing you again, but that would be a lie. Take care of yourself.”

As she sashayed over to Hunter, she heard Dante call out, “We’re not done by a long shot. I’ll see you later.”

Hunter slid his arm around her waist and led her through the crowd to his office. Once behind closed doors, he rounded his desk and picked up the phone to have Carlos get her a cab. “I guess we won’t be enjoying each other’s company tonight, or shall I say this morning,” he commented.

“It never seems to be the right time for us,” Brooklyn replied. “It’s a rare occasion that we’re both single at the same time. Now we are, and …”

“And your ex pops up, wanting to reconnect. By the lip lock I found you two engaged in, you’re clearly not over him.” Hunter leaned onto his desk and pulled her to him.

“As if you’re over Sophia,” Brooklyn whispered, resting her hands on his chest as he wrapped his arm around her back.

He pulled her closer to him. “I should have pulled you back here and swept the desk when you first came through that door tonight. I don’t know how we remained friends so long without crossing the line.”

Brooklyn linked her arms around his neck. “I’ve been waiting for your fine behind to be single, but the line to get to you is always too long.”

“Hell, I was planning to spend more time with you tonight, but you were rarely without company. Look what happened when I left to wrap up for the evening so I could.” Hunter’s cell phone buzzed. He took a quick glance at it. “It looks like your cab has arrived.”

Brooklyn tipped forward, kissing him on the cheek. “You’re too good to me. You know that?”

“I’m surprised Sophia never spilled a drink on you,” Hunter teased as he released her.

“It’s only because when you met her, I was with Max. I was absolutely no threat to her.” Brooklyn stood straight.

“If you haven’t gotten back with your ex by tomorrow, roll through the club and we can decide if the time is right for us to find out if there’s any real magic behind our attraction.” Hunter stood, walking with her out of the office and to the exit.

“That’s if I’m not dead to the world tomorrow night from being out until two-thirty in the morning then trying to make it to work by seven a.m.” She yawned as she followed him to the coat check. Hunter helped her put on her coat then walked her out to the waiting cab.

“Hey, make sure you text me and let me know you made it safely home.” He pulled her into a quick hug before opening the cab door.

“Yes, sir.” Brooklyn slid into the cab. Hunter shut the door and waved as the cab pulled off.

A flash of Dante’s face saying they were not done entered Brooklyn’s mind. She knew that devious expression too well. As she leaned forward to give the cabbie her address, she thought, Dante Nines. What are you up to?

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Life On Fire by Jenetta M. Bradley and Karen D. Bradley 

Meet the Author

Karen D. Bradley
while being a creative mind, English and Grammar were never her strongest subjects. As life would have it, her weakest link would become her saving grace. It was during college she penned her first suspenseful drama to help her cope with the death of her father, the upheaval of emotions, and her changing family dynamics. Writing fiction soon became one of her favorite pastimes. She has since published a total of five novels. What she enjoys most about being an author are the lively real talk sessions with readers about topics from her books.


#BlackLove: Hands Off My Man by Monica Lynne Foster

Hands Off My Man by Monica Lynne Foster
A Chanelle Series Novel – Book 2
Chanelle Slate believes she has it all. Beauty, a six-figure career, love of family, and a ride or die best friend. But the best part of her life is that she’s in love with a man she’d only dreamed about. She knows her marriage proposal is around the corner and she can’t wait to be Mrs. Chanelle Faust. Then she meets her man’s ex, and discovers his ex suffers from a mental illness. Will Chanelle find a way to keep her man without crossing the line and driving his ex over the edge?

Twyla Logan-Faust is used to being a kept woman. But when her boyfriend is sentenced to life without parole and her accountant takes off with her money, her world falls apart. She turns to her ex-husband, Rick, hoping to resume her position as his wife. Rick is the only man who knows about her bipolar condition and he’s the only one she can trust. Even when she discovers he’s moved on, she remains confident that no other woman can replace her. With a little coaxing, she’s positive she’ll be Mrs. Twyla Faust again.

Rick Faust is caught in the middle. His love for Chanelle is undeniable, but he was married to Twyla for years. He knows Twyla’s condition is real and he’s worried about what she might do if he rejects her. It’s impossible to make both women happy and he realizes his decision will change all of their lives forever.

The battle is on! With both women determined to be the new Mrs., who will be able to say… Hands Off My Man!

Hands Off My Man Book Reviews 

I’m telling you, within a year, this is a writer everyone will know.
– Victoria Christopher Murray, award-winning author of Stand Your Ground

Monica Lynne Foster is an extraordinary new voice in African American fiction whose writing captivates you from beginning to end. The novel is intriguing, loving, suspenseful and well written.
– Maria D. Williams, Film/TV Producer 

Reading Monica’s story was a pleasure. She has created characters that leap off the page, and she has captured the secret formula to crafting a great novel.
– Richelle Denise, Co-Author of Pay Day

Hands Off My Man captured my attention at page one. This is sign of a great read when you care about the characters! Monica Lynne Foster does that well.
– Carolyn Barry-Ginyard

This is the first piece of literature I have read by Mrs. Foster and it will not be the last. She keeps her readers on the edge of their seat from page one. It is a must read.
– Kanika N Payne, Greensboro NC

Using the precision of an expert weaver, Monica has crafted a tale of mystery and intrigue, while also calling attention to the issue of mental illness. This book is definitely a must read!
– Arnitris L. Strong, Creator of 

Monica has done it again! Reading this book was very enjoyable. I could not tear myself away. This book contains all of the good stuff. It is juicy, has action, emotions, thrills, and chills.
– Debbie Greggs

I read this book without reading the first book in the series, but I wasn’t disappointed! Monica’s writing style is easy to read and straight to the point, which made it easy to follow the storyline. Great read!
– Rochelle Prestage

Excerpt from Hands Off My Man


Chapter 1 – Chanelle Slate

Did my boyfriend’s ex-wife really call and say she was taking him back from me? I looked over at him, sitting on the couch watching television, and my spirit filled with more love than I ever thought was possible. He was everything I’d asked God to bring me. Strong arms that held me when I needed it. Hazel eyes that looked at me with passion, love, and the right amount of lust. Broad shoulders designed just for me to lean on. And deep pockets that allowed him to spoil me. But the best part of my man, was his big heart. A heart that had enough room to love me unconditionally. I could feel my marriage proposal coming and I was excited about starting our life together as one. And then I got that call from that heifer.

Well, actually, it wasn’t me she called. It was him. A week ago today, Rick received a call from Twyla, but I was the one who answered his phone. I thought back to that day…

“Hey, sweetie,” Rick said, meeting me out on the deck where I was grilling salmon and asparagus.

“Hey, babe.” I greeted him with a peck on the lips. “Dinner is almost ready so go wash your hands.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he joked, and set his sunglasses and phone on the table before heading inside.

As he walked out of the sunroom, his phone rang. “Babe, would you grab that?”

Still smiling, I said, “I got it.” I glanced at the caller ID and it said, “Unknown.”


“Who is this?” a female voice asked.

“Who is this?” I responded with my own question.

“This is Rick’s wife. Twyla.”

I was taken aback. “Excuse me, but don’t you mean his ex-wife?” I corrected her.

“Once a wife, always a wife. Now is Rick there?” she demanded. “Because I want to speak with my husband.”

Was she serious? “My man is unavailable at the moment, but I’ll tell him you called. Would you like to leave a message?”

In a tone drenched with sex, she replied, “Humph. Yeah, as a matter of fact I do. You tell him that we’re not over. I’m comin’ back to take what’s mine. He knows the number. Have him call me.” Then she hung up before I had a chance to respond.

“Babe, who was on the phone?” Rick asked, coming up behind me and nuzzling my neck.

I turned to face him. “That was your ex-wife. She said to call her. She wants you back.” I pushed the cell phone into his chest and stormed out of the room.

He was speechless and in an instant, I saw the peace of my life shatter. I had a feeling I would be calling Michele later that evening because I had a problem and she was the only one I trusted to help me fix it.

And I did call Michele, who was my best friend since childhood, and my ride or die when necessary. She’d been married for years and told me that it wasn’t unusual for a woman to occasionally reach out to her ex to test the water. She said I handled it appropriately and not to worry. I was reminded that Rick was in love with me and wasn’t going back to Twyla. But I’d wasted the better part of my twenties and the beginning of my thirties with a man who I discovered was on the down low. Now that I had Rick and the love I wanted, I wasn’t going to let anything steal my future. A future that I’d waited far too long to become my present.

Rick reassured me that he hadn’t loved her in years and I had nothing to fear. But still, I didn’t like the fact that she’d resurfaced after so much time had passed. There was no way any good would come of her return and I was going to nip this, whatever ‘this’ was, in the bud.

( Continued… )

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

Order Hands Off My Man by Monica Lynne Foster
A Chanelle Series Novel – Book 2
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit


#BlackLove: Introducing the Black Bird Detective Series by Sage

Introducing the Black Bird Detective Series by Sage

When you begin to read Assumptions Abound you step inside of the book and journey along with the characters. Assumptions Abound will keep you on the edge of your seat as you ride every twist and turn.

Assumptions Abound is a murder mystery, thriller and thought-provoking novel combined into one. This novel is told through the words of Monét Worthington.  Monét is a naïve girl with a tumultuous past and a troublesome childhood. Subjected to rape, mental and physical abuse, Monét is terrified to think about her future. Her terror continues as she finds herself running for her life! Lucky for Monét she has Victoria to protect her. Victoria loves Monét and she is willing to do anything for her, including commit murder. Only Monét has no idea that Victoria exists.

Monét tells her life story as her loved ones and those around her are brutally murdered. The plot twists and turns as the murder investigations ensue. This psychological thriller has all of the key ingredients to create an explosive literary masterpiece.

Detective Nina Kelsey is also introduced in this series. Detective Kelsey is not who she appears to be. A complex person with her own dark past, Detective Kelsey is always searching for more. She is determined to solve the Cold Creek murders before another life is lost.

Fireworks will ignite when Detective Kelsey and Monét Worthington meet and someone ends up dead.

Through this story, the Black Bird Detective Series is born. Assumptions Abound is the first book in the Black Bird Detective Trilogy. This series features characters from Assumptions Abound, including Raven Carter. Raven is a young African-American detective determined to solve murders in the small town of Cold Creek.  As she solves mysteries, she also works to uncover the truth about her past. The trilogy continues with Seeking Truth and Sweet Revenge.

Assumptions Abound by Sage

Assumptions Abound is a murder mystery, thriller and thought-provoking novel combined into one. This novel is told through the words of Monét Worthington. Raised by her father and stepmother during a difficult part of their marriage, Monét is on a mission to find true love and answers. Monét is a naïve girl with a tumultuous past and a troublesome childhood. Subjected to rape, mental and physical abuse, Monét is terrified to think about her future. Her terror continues as she finds herself running for her life!

Lucky for Monét she has Victoria to protect her. Victoria loves Monét and she is willing to do anything for her, including commit murder. Only Monét has no idea that Victoria exists.  Monét tells her life story as her loved ones and those around her are brutally murdered. The plot twists and turns as the murder investigations ensue.

Enter Detective Kelsey. Someone is murdering the citizens of Cold Creek County and Detective Nina Kelsey is determined to find out whom. Lonely and running from a haunting past, she finds solace in her work. She has pledged to solve this mystery at all costs.

Will her life be the ultimate price?


The darkness enveloped my room as I lay in bed with my eyes shut tightly and my arms wrapped across my chest. My heart beat steadily and rapidly against my chest. I said a silent prayer that tonight would be different, but I knew in my heart that tonight would be like so many other nights before it.

When I heard his footsteps in the distance I closed my eyes tightly and prayed that he would walk by my room. He quietly opened the door and pried the covers away from me. He lay in the bed next to me and I cried as another night passed by without an answer to my prayer. I decided that if I wanted to get away from him, I would have to take matters into my own hands.

He kissed my cheek and whispered “good night” in my ear. I didn’t respond. I was hoping that he would die right there. He didn’t care about me. My thoughts were swirling around in my head. I realized that nobody could save me from this monster. Then suddenly I heard a voice.

The voice whispered in the darkness, “You must do it. Who else will protect you, but you?” I listened to the voice. “Have you ever killed anyone?” said the voice. “No!” I responded. I was only seven years old. I knew nothing about death. I thought to myself. The voice heard my thoughts. “True you are only seven, but we can show them that it doesn’t matter how old you are. You can still make a difference.” The voice calmly replied.

And so it began…

Have you ever killed anyone? I have and I must say it is the most exhilarating experience in the world. If I had to quantify it I would say that committing a murder is more exhilarating than sky diving, surfing or skiing down a hill at top speed. There is something powerful about watching the life leave a person’s body and hearing them take their last breath.

The first person I killed was my mother’s boyfriend Luciano. He was a handsome Italian man with dark hair and dark brown eyes. I remember everything about him. He would touch me in my special place, even after I told him that he shouldn’t. He took advantage of me and I promised myself that I would never let another person take advantage of me again.

I took a knife out of the drawer in the kitchen and hid it under my pillow. I knew that once my mother fell asleep, he would creep into my room and that particular night I was ready for him. I pretended like I was sleeping when he slowly opened the door and walked into my room. I felt him climb into the bed behind me and snuggle close to my back. I felt his breath on my neck. When he reached around to take my nightgown off of me, I grabbed the knife. Before he could react, I shoved the kitchen knife into his throat.

I still remember the look on his face. His eyes bulged out of his head and he grasped at his throat trying to stop the blood. My heart was beating so fast and I felt a rush of pure adrenaline. I watched him closely as he struggled to breathe. I put my ear close to his face; smelling the metallic scent of his blood and listening to him mumble inaudible words.

I watched intently as his chest rose and fell for the last time. As I watched the life leave his body, I knew that this could not be the end.

Luciano died that cold rainy night, he was the first person to meet the real me. Luciano met Victoria as his life slowly crept away from his body.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sage. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Order Book 1: Assumptions Abound (Black Bird Detective Series) 


Seeking Truth by Sage

The characters from Assumptions Abound are all grown up and searching for answers. Detective Raven Carter is on a quest. For years her mother lied to her about her past and now that her mother is dead, Raven wants to know the truth.

Joel knows that his past is riddled with secrets, whispers and lies, but wait until he finds out that it also involves murder. Joel and Raven are engaged and planning their future together. Little do they neither past will be the ultimate deciding factor for their future.

Meet Raymond Thomas, the Superintendent of Cold Creek Public Schools. As the Superintendent of a large school district, Raymond has alot to prove. When his employees are systemically murdered, Raymond may have more to prove than he could ever imagine.

Order Book 2: Seeking Truth by Sage


Sweet Revenge by Sage
A high profile murder sets Raven on a wild goose chase to find the killer. Her boss is pressuring her to handle the case and he is personally involving himself. Raven must be careful; as she chases the next criminal, someone is chasing her. She hasn’t forgotten about her estranged husband. He is the love of her life, only problem…he wants her dead, or does he?

The wealthy son of a local socialite and businessman are adding to Raven’s headache. He is demanding answers that Raven does not have. When the case heats up, Raven may end up burned.  Raymond is back with an ax to grind. He has enacted a plan to take down those who damaged his reputation, stole his money and ruined his life. Will he succeed?

Everyone is out for revenge….but as the saying goes, Revenge is a dish best served fast and cold!

Order Book 3: Final Book – Sweet Revenge 


#BlackLove: From the Florist to the Forest: Think Deep Before You Leap by Charlie Marcol

Compelling, Real, Essential, Riveting are just a few words to describe From the Florist to the Forest. Invitations, themes, cakes, floral design and bridal fashions have transcended the objective of the institution of marriage. While marriage rates are declining, divorce rates are escalating. This is a cause for concern not only for the institution of marriage itself, but also the stability of families. Marriages are failing because people fail to prepare for matrimony. Everyone has their own vision of love, but there must be a willingness to communicate that vision.

A lack of communication leads to unrealistic expectations, which can cause the demise of a relationship. Discover what you need to know and forget about superficial trappings. In the end, the flowers on your wedding day won’t matter when happiness is but a dream deferred.

Book Reviews

From the Florist to the Forest is a beautifully transcribed testimony of growth and triumph over uncertainty and disappointment. Charlie’s bravery to share her relationship journey will bless you! Her insight originates from an honest place that many women won’t dare to venture. Her inward self-reflection causes you to assess your own relationship needs, wants, and intentions. This isn’t your momma’s relationship guide! I highly recommend this book for women and men, young and old.”
-Dr. Pamela Price

As a single woman, “From the Florist to the Forest” helped me recognize the part I play in relationship mistakes of the past and has helped me develop a better and introspective attitude about love.
-Melody Kym, Houston

As a woman who has journeyed from the florist to the forest and barely survived it, I wish this impactful and honest account of the reality of matrimony existed for me to learn from while in a daze at the florist. The journey is real, and Ms. Marcol has done an exceptional job highlighting the struggle of two becoming one. Marriage should not be taken lightly and is not for the faint at heart. I recommend this to every woman who “thinks” they are ready for the ministry we call marriage!
-Dr. Quincy Miller, Houston 

Hi beautiful! I just had to let you know I absolutely LOVED your book! From the personal message (thank you) to the last sentence (I don’t want to be like Lott’s wife either!) It truly blessed me, it made me laugh, cry, shake my head, but more importantly it reminded me that God knows what’s best for me! And while I’m waiting I should be working for HIM, as well as on me, so I can be ready for him. The one God made for me. Your book is anointed and I know it will bless many ladies’ lives, because it certainly blessed mine so keep doing what you’re doing. I love you! I want to know how I can buy copies of the book for my friends 🙂
-Nakia Williams, California, Houston

Excerpt: From the Florist to the Forest Chapter One

“The Season of Singleness and the Pressure”

Seasons, people, and trends all change and eventually your season of singleness will change if that is God’s will for your life. The season of singleness can be tough on any woman that has everything her heart desires. I mean, she has it all . . . the car, house, decent career, designer clothes, supportive friends, great family, active in the community and she may even have children. What she does not have is a husband to complete her happily ever after. She’s missing a mate that will display Christ-like love and sweep her off of her feet.

It seems as if a single woman over the age of 30 should walk around with a scarlet “S” on her chest. The “S” is not because she is a super person, but because she is super single and everybody knows it. Society has painted the picture that by the age of 30, a woman should be married, with 2.5 kids, a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, dogs running in yard, and a SUV sitting in the driveway. This ideology is so deeply woven into society’s tapestry that if a woman has not met these objectives in life, then “something must be wrong with her!”

The irony is that society has drastically changed its view on marriage within the last decade, but the view for heterosexual women has remained the same. This new-age view of marriage reminds me of a fast food restaurant where you can have it your way: quick and made to order. Everything goes from reserved, open, gay, with or without children, pets as children, and some couples don’t even live in the same house. It is complicated, unequally yoked, arranged and deranged, and maybe even common law. Everything else is the new normal, except when it comes to heterosexual women.

For that single woman over 30, the number one question at social functions and family gatherings is “When are you going to get married?” Inquiring minds want to know and people begin to pry and probe. Happy thoughts turn to “Oh no, here it comes . . . the pressure,” followed by doubt, with mixed emotions. Even the overtly confident single woman may begin to question herself and ask “What is wrong with me?” or “Why I am not engaged?” Listening to naysayer’s opinions about your singlehood creates obsessive thoughts about being married. I know it’s hard not to consider others’ judgments, but you must stop over-analyzing “the whys” and the “what ifs” and know that God is working on your behalf. Instead, praise God for his divine protection for preserving you for the right someone. God has a blessing in store for you, but you must wait and be of good courage.

1 Corinthians 7:7 tells us that God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of married life to others. Right now may not be your time but I promise you, it’s not the end of the world. While others are focusing on what is wrong with you, ask yourself, “What is right with me?” No, you don’t need to cut your hair, go natural, get Botox, add extensions, get braces, enhance your breast, whiten your teeth, or lose a few extra pounds to make him come or have an infinite attraction to you. If you want to partake in those things to make you feel better, then by all means go ahead, but if you are doing all that for the sake of a man and a relationship, then stop it! Just continue to be you, the way God made you. When you do some self- reflection, you will learn that everything you thought was wrong is perfect. There is someone that will love your imperfect self, perfectly.

Sure, you probably could be married, with kids, a mansion in the hills, and a nice luxury car; but would you be completely happy with your life and your mate? Alexander Pope once said, “Fools rush in” and some of the fools end up in miserable marriages. Thank your lucky stars that is not you! You are single for a reason . I am certain there have been suitors in your life but you did not settle because you are waiting on him. Hopefully your him is God. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being single when it is a part of God’s plan. In Jeremiah 29:11, the Lord tells “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” There is still hope for your future. God ordained marriage and He made time. Everything that we do is on God’s watch and with his infinite wisdom He will pour out a blessing that you don’t have room to receive when the time is right.

Real Talk

Okay, so you are single. To be single is a blessing from God in disguise. Ask the Apostle Paul. He believed being single was a gift and an opportunity to develop a relationship with the Heavenly Father. You may not think so, but God has you in a particular place and space for a reason. For example, how is your emotional landfill? You know that place . . . that ugly, nasty, stinky section of our minds where we burry the truths of our lives. Piling trauma, hurt, calamity, and drama in our emotional landfill should only be temporary, but sometimes we hold on to these memories longer than we should. We learn how to compartmentalize so we can “survive” for the moment. Sadly, too often those moments end up lingering and affecting our relationships. When our emotional landfill starts to overflow, it is because it is too painful to go back to process the situation. Healing only comes when we can fully process the hurt and the pain. Is your landfill spilling over because you refuse to heal and forgive?

It is impossible to be in a healthy relationship when your emotional landfill is filled to capacity. Ask yourself, would you marry you if you were carrying all that junk around?

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Charlie Marcol. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Order From the Florist to the Forest: Think Deep Before You Leap 
Non-fiction; Self-discovery and Self-help

Meet the Author

Charlie Marcol, was born and raised in the great state of Texas. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of Houston, where she became a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. She also earned a Master of Education Degree in Counseling from Texas Southern University. From the Florist to the Forest is her debut novel. Although she is new to the publishing world, her book is spreading like wild fire. She was featured on the Day Break morning show in Dallas instilling her motto to “Think Deep Before You Leap” into marriage. Charlie seeks to empower women through awareness, discussions and self-love. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending quality time with family. Charlie currently lives in Houston with her adorable 10 year old son Gavin.

Twitter: @CharlieMarcol
Instagram: #charliemarcol

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 13, 2016 in #PowerReads


#BlackLove: Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper

Tempting the Artist
by Sharon C. Cooper

Award-winning and bestselling author Sharon C. Cooper brings you another exciting romance!

Christina “CJ” Jenkins, a free-spirited painter by trade is juggling her obligation to the family construction business, with the demands of her secret passion. A secret life she has successfully hidden until recently. When sexy, bad-boy attorney, Luke Hayden, enters the picture, he steals her heart. But the truth of Christina’s double life buried under lies, threatens to destroy them both.

Luke is leaving New York to escape the drama, which is his life. Starting over in Cincinnati with Christina appeals to him more than he will admit. Although her secret jeopardizes their steamy affair, it’s not until someone threatens to destroy the Jenkins family empire, and uses Luke to carry out their plan, that their relationship is truly tested. Luke will do what he can to help the Jenkins family, but he will stop at nothing to tempt the woman who has captured his heart.

Book Reviews for Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper

Amazon Customer
“The Jenkins family series gets better and better. Christina needed to trust herself and her achievements. Luke was stubborn and prideful. Once those two got past there own issues, there love over flowed!”

Barnes & Noble Customer
“You will LOVE THE JENKINS SERIES…Awesome Books to Read…Great plot and story lines.
The characters are some one we can relate to or with…HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO TRUE READERS!”

Excerpt from Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper

“I think your family is cool, but I’m just not into the lovey-dovey, let’s get together every week scene. I get this is what you guys do, but you have to understand. That’s not who I am.”

“That’s nonsense. We both know why you don’t want to get close to others. But let me explain something to—”

“Christina, baby, let’s not do this.” He stood abruptly with his coffee mug, his chair scraping across the travertine floor. His hasty retreat to the coffee pot across the kitchen confirmed what she suspected.

“Let’s not do what, Lucas? You don’t want me to call you out on your fear of letting anyone get close to you? Or is it that you don’t want to get close to anyone for fear of one day losing them? Which is it?”

He refilled his mug without responding. She didn’t miss the way his jaw clenched or the death grip he had on the handle of the coffee pot. Maybe she needed to try a different approach.

“I can’t even imagine what it’s like to not have a family to call on in the time of trouble. Or a family that doesn’t butt in when you don’t want them to. But I do know what it feels like to laugh and joke with people who love you. Or how it feels to have someone be there to hold you up when your heart breaks or your knees go weak.” She thought of Jada and the way she and Zack rallied to get her and Luke back together.

Luke turned and faced her, his back leaning against the counter. “Can’t you accept that I just might not want to be around a lot of people tomorrow?”

“No.” She stood and approached him. “There will be times when we don’t want to do something that the other wants to do or go someplace the other wants to go. But if you asked me to go anywhere with you. Do you know what I’d do?” When he didn’t respond, she continued. “I’d go. Do you know why?” Still no response. “Because I love you. That’s what people who love each other do. And I love you so much at times if feels as if my heart is going to explode.”


“I’m inviting you because I want you there with me.” She felt herself getting choked up but refused to let any tears fall. “No, I don’t expect you to be all lovey-dovey with my family. Or automatically fall in love with them. What I want is for you to try to get to know them because they’re important to me. I know they can be intimidating, but …”

“Stop.” Luke set his mug on the counter and grabbed hold of her hand, pulling her against his body. “Just stop. There is nothing I won’t do for you. Understand? If attending the brunch means this much to you, consider it done. You’re right. Letting others into my world doesn’t come easy, but I understand how important your family is to you. I will try to be more … social. Just don’t cry. I can’t handle seeing you cry.”

Christina wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head against his chest. Hearing his heart beat wildly against her ear, she should have felt guilty for forcing him to go with her, but she didn’t. No way would she let him close himself off because of fear of getting too close to others. He deserved to experience what it was like to have a close family love on him. And the Jenkins’ were just the people to show him what that was like.

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sharon C. Cooper. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Jenkins Family Series (Book 3)

Tempting the Artist available at these retailers 


About the Author
Award-winning and bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, spent 10 years as a sheet metal worker. And while enjoying that unique line of work, she attended college in the evening and obtained her B.A. from Concordia University in Business Management with an emphasis in Communication. Sharon is a romance-a-holic, loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies or real life. She writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course). To read more about Sharon and her novels, visit 


#BlackLove: Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom

Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom 
by Alysia Burton Steele

GLORIA STEINEM – This window into the Mississippi Delta is a labor of love by Alysia Steele — to bring us the lives of the warrior queens and rescuers known as grandmothers. To meet them is to be rescued and inspired. If they did so much, who are we not to do whatever we can? Buy the book!

Feeling the emotional pull to reconnect to her grandmother’s wisdom and her African-American heritage, award winning photojournalist, Alysia Burton Steele, embarked on a personal mission to interview, photograph, and document Mississippi Delta women of her grandmother’s generation. Their stories and portraits are beautifully captured in Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom.

Mrs. Tennie S. Self shares her experience of buying a new Cadillac and her right to have “Mrs.” by her name in the telephone book: “I just speak and if I have to die for what I believe in, then so be it.”

Mrs. Lillie B. Jackson, whose husband prepared Emmett Till’s body for his funeral, shares family stories and how she does the best that she can as a mother.

Mrs. Myrlie Evers, widow of Civil Rights leader, Medgar Evers discusses her grandmother and the power of prayer.

Mrs. Lillis M. Roberts expresses pride in her activity in the NAACP, as the first Black citizen in Coffeeville, MS to register to vote.

Each experience is as different as the woman who lived it, yet all of their experiences have a common landscape, the Mississippi Delta. Alysia Burton Steele complements the rich narrative with her poignant photographs illuminating her appreciation of each of the precious Jewels, who have endured inequality, injustice and heart-wrenching tragedy.

These inspiring portraits reflect the faces of love and triumph that will inspire readers to hold on to their faith and exhibit courage in the most challenging or ordinary circumstances.


LEONARD PITTS, JR. – Delta is a place in memory–a repository of the cotton we picked, the “Whites Only” signs we obeyed, the strange fruit found hanging in the trees and bobbing in the rivers during the long, strange night of Jim Crow’s America. Veteran photojournalist Alysia Burton Steele plumbs that place in memory through the words and images of over 50 ordinary mothers who made it through and emerged with tales to tell. 
—Leonard Pitts, Jr., nationally syndicated columnist and author of Freeman

RACHEL ELIZA GRIFFITHS – Alysia Burton Steele’s Delta Jewels presents to us a visual landscape of immeasurable wealth, wisdom, and dignity. We witness truth, history, memory, and the unforgettable legacy of fifty extraordinary women who share their stories and lives with us. Steele’s photographs are hymns, diamonds, work songs, and enduring fields of the South’s strongest flowers. Their faces and voices speak clearly in the bright gospel of Steele’s intimate and spiritual testimony. Here, you will find in the honor of Steele’s portraits, again and again, the triumph of joy and survival in the church of elder women’s eyes that shine back at you.
—Rachel Eliza Griffiths, photographer, author of Mule & Pear, and recipient of the 2012 Inaugural Poetry Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association

SUSAN GLISSON – “It has been said that when an old person dies, a library burns to the ground. Alysia Steele’s Delta Jewels prevents the tragedy of such a monumental loss by lovingly documenting and curating the powerful stories of these amazing Mississippi women. They are the stories that our culture most often overlooks, underestimates, or denies, but exactly the ones we most need to hear in our troubled times, if we are to learn of grace and dignity and resilience and liberation.”
—Susan M. Glisson, Executive Director, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

Excerpt – Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom

My paternal grandmother, Mrs. Althenia Aiken Burton, died in 1994. Although I’ve taken photos since I was 15 years old, I never thought about taking Gram’s photograph or recording her voice when she was alive. When we’re young, we think we’re going to live forever and just assume our family will, too.

I missed her increasingly over the years. Time didn’t stop my brain from trying to remember, having regrets, wondering what I could have done to preserve every single thing about her, before her ways, her tone, the color of her nail polish, her mannerisms, her looks at me became a shadow of a memory.

Gram was originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina, not too far from Aiken. My great grandma Marie Aiken never talked about her upbringing, but their name, “ Aiken,” and roots made me think they were enslaved. As a Northerner, when I ventured to Mississippi to accept a teaching position in 2012, I saw cotton for the first time and began to wonder about my black family. Gram Larson, my white grandmother, is amazing at family history. That side of my family knows our history from County Meath, Ireland. This photographic journey began because I wanted to connect with my black side, the black women of my grandmother’s generation. How many picked cotton, were treated poorly, and took beatings?

That’s what I wondered when I saw the rows of cotton growing in the Mississippi Delta and took my first photo of it in 2013. I have severe asthma and allergies, which worsened in Mississippi because all this greenery doesn’t agree with me, but even with allergies, it’s beautiful. It feels just like the cotton balls that I buy in a plastic bag at a drugstore. When I drove past the cotton fields, darn it if I didn’t start thinking about my grandmother and how much I missed her. I wondered what she would think if she saw the cotton.

I had a successful career as a newspaper photojournalist and picture editor for 12 years. I was on the Dallas Morning News photo staff that won a Pulitzer Prize for its Hurricane Katrina photographic coverage. I was a picture editor on staff and called my supervisor before the storm touched down.

“The storm sounds worse than expected,” I told him.

“I think we should send more staff.”

“You make a decision,” he told me, and so I started calling the staff to see who would start the trek to New Orleans.

As I photographed vast fields of snowy flowers, I wondered if Gram would be proud of my accomplishments, what she’d think of me living in the South, if Gram would be proud of me teaching at a university. She never wanted me to be a photographer. She worried I would not find employment and make a decent living.

“How many black girls from Harrisburg made a living in photography?” she’d ask me.

I would do anything to hear her voice one more time. How I wish I’d captured her image and voice.

“I could honor her memory by recording stories from other grandmothers of her generation,” I said to myself.

I began to interview and photograph grandmothers in Mississippi, my new home state. These Delta grandmothers are matriarchs to their families, like my grandmother. They are ordinary women, like Gram, who have lived extraordinary lives under the harshest conditions of the Jim Crow era and were on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. They are church women. I needed help finding the women who would help me find memories of my grandmother and honor her.

“Would you help me find black pastors who might introduce me to their ‘mothers of the church’?”

I asked Clarksdale mayor Bill Luckett, a white man. Bill e-mailed me five names and churches and told me that Rev. Juan Self pastors the first church where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke outside Atlanta. Going to the church where King spoke gave me chills. Rev. Self is also the architect who renovated the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. (The museum celebrated its reopening in April 2014.)

Rev. Self sounded young when we talked on the phone, and he asked, “What is this project you are doing? How can I help you?” His youthful voice surprised me and I asked myself if he might be too young to help me find elder women.

“I’m doing a book to honor my grandmother, the woman who raised me. She passed away 20 years ago, but I want to honor her by interviewing other people’s grandmothers.”

( Continued… )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Alysia Burton Steele. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom

About the Author

Alysia Burton Steele
is a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi and author of Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom. In 2006, she was a picture editor for The Dallas Morning News photo team that won the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for their Hurricane Katrina coverage. She designed the National Urban League’s 100th commemorative poem booklet written by Maya Angelou. Prior to teaching, Steele was a photojournalist, who later became a photo editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Articles about her book have appeared in The New York Times,, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times and Southern Living.


Photo credits:  Jacqueline Dace (left), project manager of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, which opens in 2017, Alysia Burton Steele (middle) and Reena Evers-Everette, executive director of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute (right).


#BlackLove: Jasper’s Cafe On The Boulevard by Tracey Fagan Danzey

Jasper’s Cafe On The Boulevard 
by Tracey Fagan Danzey

Although the world hasn’t carved out a proper identity for Torie Lynn Harper, she is about to present one that will keep them all talking. Torie is an elite cultural “mutt” and social hybrid raised in an affluent suburban community in Connecticut. Following a move to the nearby city, she would learn that being Black, educated and gorgeous would prove insufficient to being heralded into this urban community that doesn’t embrace her. While she would find many that may look like her, undoubtedly, none that speak or share like mannerisms.

Desperate to fit in, Torie quickly becomes a member of a grassroots movement determined to thwart the closing of the iconic “Jasper’s Café” on the boulevard. Torie would soon become the envy of many and enemy to one following a swift climb up the corporate ladder. Millie becomes unable to ignore her concerns as threats to her friend increase. The next 18 months would strip Torie of her family, a fiancé and her identity as she’d known it. Torie must search for herself amid deception, workplace improprieties and a weathered romance.

For the first time, both old and new friendships will be confronted with cultural differences, opening doors to humorous exchanges, tempered debates and social explorations. It’s an unraveling suspense that’s moving the story forward amid a group of friends that are sharing the most authentic and underexposed relationships.

Excerpt: Jasper’s Cafe On The Boulevard

“Just look at my baby girl!” She blots her ageless cinnamon face that nearly matches her bronze dress, her thin youthful body always made it difficult to pass as anything other than a sister or friend of Simone’s, but certainly not her mother.

“Mommy, please don’t come in here making me cry . . . I’ve just gotten my makeup done.”

“I knew from the first day that I saw those slanted eyes stealing their first peek of me and this world that you were finding your way.”

“Oh, Mom,” Simone sniffled after seeing her mother’s eyes well up.

“Oh, no you don’t, Simone Renee Jackson. Don’t you take this moment away from me; I’ve been waiting too long! I certainly knew that you didn’t have a problem in taking the lead and that you were not going to let any man or anyone else stop you when you had your mind made up.”

“It was very telling that you came on out fast and with little notice while Sinclair stayed put for nearly another two hours even with the doctors prompting his little behind.”

We laughed at the idea of Sinclair ever being little.

“He’s always chosen to approach life the hard way, taking me along with him, always making sure that he’s alright. I often remind him that I sport a permanent scar on my belly for a C-section that didn’t have to be, messing up this temple!”

Mrs. Jackson walked over to the ottoman and picked up her purse and removed a small manila envelope from inside and walked back over to Simone.

“Now I want you to take this and buy as many pieces of furniture that you can for that big house on the Cove. My baby is moving to the Cove!” She proudly hands the unsealed envelope to Simone.

I couldn’t have been happier when both Simone and I revealed a bank check in the amount of $25,000.

“Where did you get this from?”

“What do you mean, where did I get this from? Baby, haven’t I always had to work more than one job at a time?”

“I know, but why haven’t you used it on you?”

“I have everything that I need. As I said, I knew that my baby girl was smart as a whip and that I had to start saving for school early on, but your little smart behind and Torie knowing all about those grants and scholarships paid your way right on through that school.”

“Oh. My. God!” Simone says in disbelief.

“Oh yes, he sure did have a lot to do with it too,” her mother replied and then smiled and winked.

“I figured that I would save it for your wedding, but you and that brilliant soon-to-be son of mine had taken care of everything already. So I thought I’d give you a down payment and you all could find a home. I was too late for that too.”

“Mommy, stop playing!!”

“Oh, I don’t have time to play. I have a wedding to attend and the bride just happens to be my baby.”

Simone no longer cared about her hair or make up in that moment as she grabbed her mother from behind squeezing her shoulders so tightly nearly pulling them both to the floor. Mrs. Jackson prepares to go and find Tessa so that she could refresh Simone’s face with the few remaining minutes.

Simone turned to me and said, “I still can’t get over the fact that you and Quinn still haven’t seen each other.”

“Sim, you’re the one who had me running around and having me miss the rehearsal. By the time I got to dinner that night, he’d already left.”

“Listen, don’t say anything about this to your brother; I’m going to hang on to his a little while longer. God only knows what I’ll end up letting him use his for,” she mumbled while walking out the door.

“Bail.” Simone thought she’d whispered it, but to our surprise, her mother obviously heard her and responded, “Don’t talk that way about my baby boy; you know I don’t play that!!”

Simone whispered, “Aren’t you glad you stopped creeping with my brother?” I was caught so off guard that I was delayed in responding. “Oh yeah, I knew. We all did. Sinclair can’t keep secrets! Besides, every time Maxwell’s The Hush would play, he’d unknowingly ask, ‘Hey Sim, where’s your girl at?’”

“Whatever,” we continued to laugh until Mrs. Jackson returned with Tessa.

As we entered the candlelit ballroom, each calla lily appears subdued and muted in tone. This was of course a complete contrast to the 200 black-eyed beauty calla lilies gathered in bunches at the end of each row. I remember when Simone first described these flowers. She went on and on about how extraordinary they were! A description I’d never heard her use outside of designer clothing and shoes. “Their stems are the darkest jungle green, and the calla lily itself has this luscious crème yellowish tone with ivory pearl cloaks inside and outside of a classic champagne flute. It opens as a heart shape, but reveals a ruby-black center.” Even with that description, it absolutely paled to what I’m seeing today.

As we enter the tent for the ceremony, the wooden teak floor is completely infused with an azure glow bouncing off the lighter-colored linens and skipping across the vamps of each of the bridesmaid’s black satin sandals. No longer a rehearsal, it’s the real thing as the vocalist belts out At Last. All the chatter in the majestic tent immediately transforms into “oooohs” as attention is directed onto Simone. She appears at the undisturbed petal-filled aisle escorted by Sinclair, and has finally given us all our first vision of her stunning gown.

( Continued… )

Excerpt ©2015. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Tracey Fagan Danzey. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Jasper’s Cafe On The Boulevard by Tracey Fagan Danzey

Meet the Author 
Tracey Fagan Danzey
is an author and occasional blogger who has been described more than once as a natural storyteller. It is her passion for writing that allows her to create an experience, conjure emotions and share vivid views for her readers through her pictorial descriptions. To further pursue her craft and aspirations of becoming a published author, Tracey elevated her commitment by becoming a member of the Westport Writers’ Workshop, critique groups and book clubs.

“Where Is The Box For Someone Like Me?” is a project that advanced in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and has since developed into Tracey’s debut novel, “Jasper’s Cafe On The Boulevard.”


Black Women Finding & Falling in Love -Historically Speaking by Lena Hart

Black Women Finding & Falling in Love -Historically Speaking
by Lena Hart


It’s not a great marvel that black women have always managed to find and fall in love, despite a moment in history that would prove otherwise—or the statistics today that would have us believe only a handful of us ever will.
I started my career writing contemporary romance. In fact, my first completed romance story was BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME, a modern romance set in Chicago about broken promises and second chances. But as a romance reader, I first fell in love with the genre through historical romances—though it wasn’t until late into my reader-life that I discovered the best-selling, award-winning pioneer of African American historical romance, Ms. Beverly Jenkins.
Growing up, I knew it was no secret that black men and women fell in love all the time. I had seen it in enough contemporary romances and movies to know this. But there was something unique about seeing that kind of love written in a historical setting. For black women, our history was usually whittled down to pain, violence, and heartache. But finally, I was exposed to a history where we were so much more than the pains of our past.
So, full of inspiration and an innate love for history, I set out to write my first historical romance. In June 2014, I released A SWEET SURRENDER, in the anthology For Love & Liberty, about an Afro-Native American healer who falls in love with a wounded British soldier during the Revolutionary War. The anthology also featured BE NOT AFRAID by Alyssa Cole about an African woman who joins the British army in order to gain her freedom from slavery, yet finds both love and freedom along the way.
In June 2015, I again collaborated with Alyssa and two other very talented authors to celebrate 150 years of emancipation and freedom. In The Brightest Day, we commemorate Juneteenth—a time that celebrates the emancipation of all slaves in America—and the wonderful Ms. Beverly Jenkins provides a foreword explaining the inception and importance of the 150-year-old holiday.
For the anthology, we each wrote a story over four different eras of American history (post-slavery) that featured a strong black woman. In my novella, Amazing Grace, my heroine Gracie is torn between fulfilling her promise or following her heart; in Drifting to You by Kianna Alexander, Rosie finds love and healing in the arms of her sexy suitor; in A Sweet Way to Freedom by Piper Huguley, Missy teaches her former lover—and the father of her unborn child—just what it means to love and be loved; and in Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole, Sofie sets out to make a difference and find love and redemption along the way.
In each story, we wanted to celebrate the fact that despite the pain and suffering of our past, black women have a history rich with love, light, and hope. Long before slavery—and even after it—black women were finding and falling in love wherever and whenever it came. That is something that should be shared, experienced, and celebrated always. As a writer, I’m so honored I get to do that alongside so many talented authors.♥

To see more of Lena’s work along with other diverse romances check out the When Black Women Fall promo tour at

Lena Hart is a multi-published author of sensual to steamy contemporary and historical romances. Her stories are known to include incredible love and unforgettable passion with a flare of suspense and mystery. When Lena is not busy writing, she’s reading, researching, or conferring with her muse. To learn more about her work, visit


Maybe…Love: Love in Translation by Kim Golden

 Maybe…Love: Love in Translation by Kim Golden
When I first wrote about Laney in Maybe Baby, I had no idea that she would demand more stories. I never intended for Maybe Baby to become a series. I only knew I wanted to tell the story of a black woman from the States who–like me–happened to live in Scandinavia and who happened to fall in love. But, unlike me, Laney wasn’t in love with the man she was with.  Laney wanted something more. She thought she wanted a baby. What she really wanted was to find the person who was meant to complete her. And this journey is the story I tell in Maybe Baby. How she meets and falls in love with Mads, who is also searching and feeling just as lost as Laney.
Over the course of three books (Maybe Baby, Maybe Tonight and Maybe Forever), I’ve charted their love story. Not everyone appreciates it. Some people are put off by the infidelity angle and it prevents them from seeing what is the heart of the story: two people searching for and finding love, just maybe not in the best of ways. Infidelity ends up figuring into a lot of my writing. Not because I condone it. It’s more that I am interested in what makes people cheat. And how they deal with the consequences of it.
Once I’d finished tweaking Maybe Baby, I received advice that it would be easier to sell if Laney were white or if I changed the setting from Scandinavia to somewhere more palatable for American tastes like Paris or London or even New York. But that wasn’t what I wanted. And really, when I began writing Maybe Baby, I wrote it more for me than anyone else. I didn’t want to read another story set in New York or London or Paris. I wanted to write about looking for love in Scandinavia–especially since I live here and know Stockholm, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark much better than I do Paris or New York. Someone even suggested I change Laney to a white woman because–“you’ll sell more books that way.”  But I didn’t want to tell a random white woman’s story. And Laney came to me as a black woman, not a white woman.  I wanted to tell her story—the story of a black woman living in Europe and trying to find that someone who would make her feel like she’d come home. 
So…I won’t change the sort of characters I write about just to please people who don’t want to read about black women falling in love. And I won’t change the settings just because some people have no clue where Scandinavia is or think that the only thing capable of being set there is a murder mystery. I found love in Scandinavia…I found my guy who made me feel like I’d come home. And I think there are more love stories to come that have a connection with my Nordic home…a few more stories about Laney, her feisty cousin Eddy…maybe even Laney’s daughters once they’re old enough. And I think I’ll keep writing about black women in love.
At the end of the day…it’s what we all want—love.

If you’d like to read love stories outside of your comfort zones, check out the selection of books, including Maybe Baby, on the When Black Women Fall promo tour at!

%d bloggers like this: