Truth or Consequences

Look what’s coming April 30, 2014!  Truth or Consequences, book 3 of the Reunited Series

Here’s a little preview:

 

Truth or Consequences - 300x200

 

About the Book:

Hospital Chief of Staff Natasha Lockham’s life has been all about work and no play. That is until a one-night stand with a man who lives his life on the edge, turns her sexual fantasies into reality. She never expects to see him again, but their paths cross when Natasha suspects an esteemed doctor of committing an unspeakable crime against his patients and danger lands at her doorstep. The closer she gets to the truth, the more she realizes she’s not prepared for the truth – or the consequences.

Former Navy SEAL, Malik Lewis, will always remember the night he spent with Natasha. It was the single most amazing night of his life. So when Natasha narrowly escapes a brutal attempt on her life, Malik stops at nothing to protect her, including hunting a man whose skills match his. Can Malik and Natasha outsmart a vicious assassin who has nothing to lose? And will they ever get to explore the sizzling passion between them that neither can deny?

Excerpt of Truth or Consequences

Malik glanced up from reviewing the documents Wiz had just dropped off, surprised to see Natasha. He hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her. His anger had lingered, but seeing her curvy figure near the door began to slowly thaw the ice running through his veins.

“Hi,” she said shyly, keeping her distance.

Malik, though still pissed, had never been happier to see anyone in all of his life. Stan told him about the reporters at the hospital and how shaken she was when more media people showed up at her house. Malik almost went to her. Almost.

He stood, but didn’t move from behind his desk. His gaze traveled over her body from her hair loosely piled on top of her head, down to the short-sleeved wrap dress that hugged her hourglass shape. He didn’t stop his perusal until he got to her slender feet, which were encased in high-heeled orange strappy sandals that matched her dress. Her favorite color was orange and it was quickly becoming his favorite, too.

Damn she looks good.

Seeing her now, dressed as she was, he couldn’t help but think about something he once heard someone say. The first step in getting what you want is looking like you mean business. And damn if she wasn’t dressed to get whatever the hell she wanted from him.

“Hey,” he finally said. He wasn’t going to make this easy for her, yet it was taking everything in him not to bolt across the room and pull her into his arms. What helped him stay put was the fact that she’d kicked him out of her house. Never had a woman dismissed him, especially twice, and it was about time she understood exactly what he wouldn’t accept.

“I’m surprised to see you here. What can I do for you?” he asked coldly.

She didn’t move from where she stood and her nervousness showed with the death grip she had on the strap of her handbag.

“Thank you for having the house alarm installed. I just wanted to stop by and pay for the system and the services.”

He studied her for a long time. He didn’t want her money. He wanted her.

“The bill has been taken care of. Anything else?”

“Uh,” she glanced around the room, still standing near the door, “I’d like for you to call off the bodyguard.”

“That’s not going to happen,” he said. The media had backed off, but he still wasn’t comfortable with her roaming around the city alone.

“Why not?”

“Because it’s not.”

He wasn’t convinced that she wasn’t in danger, and the more she knew, the more she might share with the wrong person. And now that he knew that Sheldon and his men still didn’t have much on Halsey’s death, Malik had decided to start his own covert investigation.

“Malik, I’m sorry, all right?” Natasha said, taking a step toward him. He looked up just as she captured her lower lip between her teeth. “I know you’re mad, and you have every right to be. I was wrong asking you to leave.”

Malik said nothing. The only reason he could come up with of why she asked him to leave instead of Martin was because she was still in love with her ex. And there was no way in hell he was sharing her with anyone else.

“You scare me.”

Malik drew his eyebrows together. “Excuse me?” Her voice was so low he wasn’t sure he’d heard her correctly.

“You make me nervous. We come from two different worlds. You’re like the star basketball player being pursued by a hundred colleges to play for their school, and I’m the geeky nerd who always gets looked over by the popular kids.”

Malik frowned, not knowing what she was talking about, but he had to admit she was damn cute.

“I don’t understand.”

She sighed and narrowed her eyes at him as if he was the one who’d done something wrong.

“Why are you making this so hard?” She raised her voice and put her hands on her hips. “I like you, all right? I really like you and I can’t stand the thought of you being angry with me.”

The jerk in Malik wanted to let her stew, but Malik the man wanted to pull her into his arms and taste those sweet, pouty lips. There was something about this woman that stirred things within him that had never been touched, and he wasn’t sure how he felt about that.

Her shoulders dropped. “Malik, don’t look at me like that. Say something.”

He laid down the file and walked around the desk, one hand stuffed into his pants pocket and the other rubbing his forehead. It was no wonder he didn’t do relationships, because whatever was transpiring between him and Natasha was frustrating as hell. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be seriously involved, or even married for that matter.

“Let’s get something straight. I don’t play games,” he said, staring into her beautiful brown eyes. “I mean what I say and I say what I mean. So whatever the hell type of game you and your ex are playing, count me out. I like you,” he eased up on her, “but I will not come second to some punk-ass professor, who doesn’t know how to move on when it’s over. Do we understand each other?”

Her jerky nod came without words so he continued, “I want you. Baby, I want you in every way a man wants a woman. If you’re not ready for what you know I can offer, then you need to tell me now. Otherwise, I’m going to pursue you to no end.”

Copyright © by Sharon C. Cooper

If you haven’t read Blue Roses (book 1) or Rendezvous with Danger (book 2), get your copies today!

Truth or Consequences, Available April 30, 2014!

Stay in Balance

BalanceFor the last two days, I’ve taken a much-needed break – short – but a break nonetheless. So as I prepared for my busy day today, I started it the way I usually do, with a morning devotion. My devotion this morning came from RUMC – The Word for You Today. Here’s the part that really caught my attention:

“If you are an ‘all-or-nothing’ person, the word for you today is, ‘stay in balance.’ Serve God fervently, but don’t forget to love your family and spend time with them. Work hard, but don’t forget to play, relax and ‘smell the roses.’ Think regularly about heaven, your permanent residence, but maximize every moment you have here on earth for God’s glory.”

Or as Joyce Meyer says: “I believe one of the major reasons why many people are stressed and burned out is because they’re going their own way instead of following God’s plan.”

As an entrepreneur, it’s real easy for my life to become unbalanced or stressed. I’m often trying to squeeze in that one more thing, or pull an all-nighter to get everything done. So I appreciate reminders such as this devotion, to reel me back in when I’m going a hundred miles per hour, or lose sight of what’s most important.

So how’s your life? Is it balanced?

New Release – Love Redeemed by Love Belvin

Congratulations to Love Belvin on her new release: Love Redeemed! In celebration, Love is doing a giveaway (see details below on how you can enter to win).

Redeemed - love belvin

 

Life’s complicated…
Life’s not fair…
All is fair in love and war…

You ever wonder what events led up to an individual’s inability to trust? Love Lost starts off by peeling back layers of a young girl who experienced the loss of essential, reliable and nurturing love.

Rayna Brimm, hailing from an inner-city in New Jersey, survives a series of betrayal and loss only to forge forward in self-preservation and obtain an education in North Carolina. After receiving her degree, vowing never return home, she finds herself in California where she tries to build a self-contained life. She made a personal declaration to get through life without further dependence on others in order to avoid yet another heartbreak. Only, fate said otherwise.

Enter Azmir Jacobs, a tall, dark, handsome and very wealthy man, who has street credibility and executive power in the corporate world. Azmir has money, power and beautiful women at his beck and call, but only one woman has caught his eye. The resilient Rayna Brimm, a woman whose dysfunctional upbringing contributes towards her tough skin, issues with trust and a deep-seated fear to love, turns out to be more than he bargained for when he discovered her in his boardroom presenting a leasing proposal.

Rayna isn’t the only one with a checkered past. Can Azmir conceal his convoluted life long enough to prove that he can provide Rayna the stable and reliable love that she clearly needs and deserves? Or will his lofty lifestyle and endless resources scare her away?

Find out in this riveting conclusion how Rayna reconciles her inability to trust and willingness to explore love in ways she thought she wasn’t worthy of. See love redeemed for someone who thought it was not in the cards. Also, experience Azmir’s lessons on love, forgiveness, and acceptance as his world is transformed to include a life partner.

Get your copy today! Amazon

Giveaway: Love is giving away 4 gift cards.  Click here for your chance to win

Taste for Love

It is with great pleasure that I welcome back author Tia Kelly to my blog! Tia is on a virtual book tour to promote her latest release Taste for Love. Remember heartthrob Carlos Ortiz (whew!) from Playing for Love? Well he’s back with his own story in Taste for Love! Check it out!

Taste for Love

Rochelle “Shelly” Gauthier is no stranger to loss. Hurricane Katrina taught her that in the blink of an eye, you can lose everything and everyone who matters most to you. So being cast out of the Wilkerson clan for betraying her cousin Kenneth, his fiancée Paige and their best friend Carlos only resulted in her being exactly how she always knew she would wind up anyway: alone.

Carlos Ortiz, on the other hand is alone by choice. Or so he tells himself. When Shelly makes an unexpected request for help from the Wilkersons, Carlos recalls a time when fate put him in a position where he had no choice but to accept Shelly’s assistance.

Now he must decide whether what he feels for her is a sense of obligation, or something else.

Taste for Love is the third novel from the Wilkersons in Love series.

Tia Kelly invites you to come meet the Wilkersons and get ready to fall in love.

 

Excerpt from - ‘Taste for Love’

Shelly stood from the table and smiled when her aunt walked toward their table in the middle of the restaurant. The January snowy forecast had almost caused the two to reschedule, but Shelly was glad they didn’t. Lourdes Wilkerson slipped out of her coat and draped it over a chair back before opening her arms.

Shelly hugged her a little longer than usual, wanting to admit she missed seeing her since their last lunch date.

“What have you been up to in the past month, cariño?” Lourdes asked, once they sat down. “You keeping busy now that school is behind you?”

“I have. The owner called me last week to offer me a permanent position as a baker, but I declined.”

Lourdes arched a dark, perfectly arched brow and questioned her. “Really? From what I’ve heard about the place, it’s would be a great starting point for a culinary career.”

Shelly shook her head and nervously balled her fists under the table. “But that’s not what I want to do, Aunt Lori.”

Lourdes nodded. The conversation paused briefly when they ordered lunch.

“Still want to open your own place?” Lourdes asked.

Shelly nodded, holding her breath as she wondered what her aunt was going to say next. Her Aunt Lori never held back from sharing her opinion, but she always waited until she knew it was going to be well received when she chose the right time to express.

“Publicity and a candy store are two different operations to run and it wouldn’t hurt to learn more about it before committing to your own business.”

“I know what I want to do and I’m not going to let anything get in the way of doing it. Of course, I don’t want to be stupid and jump in with my eyes closed, but I feel like this is the direction I need to go in now.”

She saw the corners of her aunt’s mouth curve into a smile. Lourdes winked and leaned back in her seat. “That’s my girl.”

“I’m happy to see you, but there’s another reason I needed to talk to you,” Shelly said. “I’ve had my eye on a place that would be the perfect location, but if I don’t act now I could lose it.”

Lourdes shrugged. “If it goes, perhaps it’s not meant to be.”

“No, I know this is the spot. There’s just one small problem,” Shelly explained. “With my lack of experience in the industry, I am having a hard time finding investors or to qualify for a loan. My savings can help cover the lease, but I won’t have enough for the renovation and other expenses. Is there any way I can have early access to the money from my parents?”

Ever since her parents died, Shelly never cared to use the money they left her, or the life insurance disbursements that came after their death. She couldn’t touch the bulk of it even if she wanted to prior to her thirtieth birthday, unless James and Lourdes Wilkerson allowed it. In the meantime, a living expense allotment was given to her and her college tuition had been paid from it. Otherwise she still had another four years to go before she could touch the funds without their permission.

Lourdes appeared surprised, but she didn’t say much after Shelly’s request. “Sounds serious.”

“I really want this, but I need to let them know soon.”

“I have to think about it and discuss this with James,” Lourdes replied, placing her napkin in her lap and giving the server time to set their plates in front of them before she continued. “But I need more than just words right now.”

Shelly nodded and reached for a binder she had placed on the chair beside her. “I have this for you to review to help you make your decision. It outlines everything you would probably want to know.”

Lourdes took it from Shelly and glanced down at the cover. She nodded subtly. “I’ll look it over and let you know. Now, what else is new with you?”

Shelly considered telling her that her roommate decided to move out last weekend after the lease she had with her expired, but chose not to. “Nothing much. How is everyone?”

Lourdes looked up and smiled. Shelly did not miss the tenderness in her eyes and knew her aunt couldn’t wait to share something about the family, but also avoided the topic to spare Shelly’s feelings. “I have pictures from the wedding with me this time.”

“I’d love to see them. I only saw the one they allowed to go public.” Shelly leaned forward, eager to catch a glimpse of her family. “If you don’t mind.”

“Of course, I don’t.” Lourdes pulled out her tablet and showed her the electronic gallery taken six months before. “My favorite is this one of all the flower girls throwing petals at Kenneth after the ceremony.”

Shelly smiled. It was a precious moment the photographer happened to catch on film. She slid her finger across the screen to get to the next image and saw one of Melody with her arms wrapped around Carlos’s neck. He was holding his daughter close and kissing the top of her head. They appeared to be surrounded by couples on the dance floor.

“Poor baby was a trooper that day. She didn’t complain once about her leg bothering her,” Lourdes explained, catching which photo Shelly was looking at. “Melody fell the day before the wedding and needed stitches. Carlos doted on her the entire time. Melody was so cute. She ate up every second of his attention.”

Shelly didn’t have to try too hard to imagine it. The way Carlos reacted during the whole ordeal still touched her. She never expected him to have a softer side.

“The next is one of all three boys,” Lourdes commented, bringing Shelly’s attention back to the photo gallery. “My sons are so handsome.”

Shelly swiped and an image of her three surrogate cousins smiled back at her. Jeremy, Kenneth and Andrew were caught in a candid moment laughing together. “They are.”

But what Shelly really wanted to do was return to the picture before it where Carlos held onto his little girl as if he never wanted to let her go. There was a time when her own father treated her the same way, but in the blink of an eye that changed.

*

 Find out what happens next! Get your copy today! 

kindle: http://amzn.to/1kGBcWy

nook: http://bit.ly/1it2bn8

 

Taste for Love Blog Tour Visits:

April 8 – Nia Forrester (www.niaforrester.com)

April 9 – Love Belvin (www.lovebelvin.com)

April 10 – MJ Kane (www.authormjkanebooks.wordpress.com)

April 11 – Christopher Bynum (www.theblackwriter.wordpress.com)

April 14 – Delaney Diamond (www.delaneydiamond.com)

April 15 – Sharon C. Cooper (www.sharoncooper.net)

April 16 – Candace Shaw (www.candaceshaw.net)

April 18 – Christina Jones (www.beingmrsjones.com)

 

About Tia Kelly

Tia Kelly may be witty and feisty on the outside, but she is a die hard romantic at heart. She likes to bring ‘life moments… one character at a time’ in the contemporary fiction and is the author of nine books.

In addition to her love for writing, reading, playing chef in her own kitchen and traveling, Tia loves to kick back with a glass of wine and a good game on her television screen. And if it’s baseball season, you will probably hear Tia shouting the loudest (or checking out the cuties in the dugout)!

Find Tia Kelly Online:

tiawithapen.com

facebook.com/AuthorTiaKelly

twitter.com/TiaWithAPen

pinterest.com/TiaWithAPen

instagram.com/TiaWithAPen

When Ice Melts

Here’s a Book Blast and Giveaway by author AlTonya Washington.

Tour - AlTonya

The author is giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card, one signed autograph copy and one ebook copy of When Ice Melts. See details about the giveaway below, but first, check out When Ice Melts.

When Ice melts

Icia Graham’s love affair with Rakim Transou had the makings of a fairy tale romance with the happily ever after ending, until the night of Rakim’s college graduation party. For Icia, it was the night her life was forever changed. So desperate to escape the horrific memories she’d suddenly been saddled with, Icia left school and the man she loved. The years passed and; in that time, both Rakim and Icia reached goals that carried them to the heights of success. For Rakim it was a powerful advertising agency that brought him a respected and revered name in the business. Icia’s accomplishment was a bit darker, but no less revered and she had no desire to revisit the past and be tortured by thoughts of love lost with the only man she’d ever wanted. A series of events however, would bring Icia right back to where she swore she’d never return. Once more Rakim Transou was back in her life and she was simultaneously overjoyed and distraught. How could she start anew with the man who still meant everything to her, when there were so many secrets between them? When the need for vengeance on those; who were still very much a part of Rakim’s life, still raged so viciously inside her?

Excerpt:

Houston, Texas~

“Here you go, Val,” Rakim Transou was saying to his assistant as he signed the last of the three contracts on his desk. “I don’t have time, man,” he grumbled to his Vice President.

Charles ‘Cory” Henderson shook his head at his boss and best friend, before perching his lean body on the edge of the desk. “You need to think about this, Kimm.”

“Is that it, Valerie?” Rakim sighed, pleased to see his mound of work slowly dissolving.

Val scanned the documents and smiled. “That’s it,” she sang and headed out of the office.

“Kimm, what’s the point of owning this place if you’re not gonna have fun runnin’ it?” Cory asked, once Val was gone.

Rakim ran both hands over his soft, close-cut hair. “The last thing I need to do is waste my day looking at pictures.”

“Of models,” Cory pointed out, smiling devilishly. “Do you know how stress-relieving that can be?”

Rakim groaned. “Here we go,” he said, leaning back in his leather swivel chair. “You know I get tired of you telling me how sad my life is. If I hadn’t been focused on business all these years, you wouldn’t be working for one of the most successful ad agencies in the country.”

Cory nodded, familiar with the speech. He cleared his throat and braced his hands on top of the polished cherry wood desk. “And given that you own one of the most successful agencies in the country, why can’t you have some fun?”

Rakim leaned forward to pin Cory with his deep, obsidian stare. “I don’t want one of the most successful agencies. I want the most successful agency, period.”

Cory slapped a hand against his bald head. “Man, thinking like that’ll never get you a steady woman.”

“I can live with that,” Rakim easily replied, focusing his attention on the appointment book lying open on the desk.

“I give up,” Cory mumbled and walked out of the plush, twentieth floor office.

Alone, Rakim allowed the facade to fade. He massaged the bridge of his nose, then opened the bottom desk drawer and pulled a tattered envelope from the back. The expression was fixed, intense on his handsome, dark-chocolate face. His midnight gaze was riveted on the contents of the note he knew by heart.

Rakim,

I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there today. Something’s happened and I have to leave. I’ll be changing schools. Don’t try to find me. My parents won’t tell you anything. I hate doing this to you, but I can’t see you again.  I just can’t. I do love you-so much. It’s really better like this. I love you, but if you hate me now, I understand.  Coco.

As usual, once Rakim finished reading the letter, he pressed the page to his nose. He swore he could still smell her perfume clinging to it.

The relationship they shared had been so right. She was everything to him and he trusted her with his life. When he walked into his bedroom the afternoon of the graduation, his entire world changed. He found the note lying in the center of the bed. Icia Graham had taken anything else that would have reminded him of her-including all the pictures. The brief letter provided no answers. It was most effective; however, in helping him lose his temper. Rakim grunted as he remembered the way he demolished the house. Cory and Fred had been so spooked by his mood that they left him alone for a week.

Just then, Cory’s earlier comments filtered his mind. He had completely buried himself in work after Icia left. He took the job he’d been offered in Richmond and worked there while obtaining his Masters degree. Afterwards, he went back home to Houston and put everything he had into building his company. Now, The Transou Agency was respected by its competitors and clients alike.

Of course, Rakim acknowledged that his private life may have suffered. Not that there weren’t women. There had been several. Unfortunately, he only had to be in the relationship for a matter of months, before he began to compare his companion to Icia. Not even that flaw could keep the women away, though. Rakim Transou’s good looks seem to intensify with age. He stood well over six feet and had been blessed with a flawless deep chocolate complexion and the type of lean, muscular frame that flattered everything he wore. The thick, curly afro he used to sport had been trimmed to a close-cut fade. The style only enhanced his pitch, deep-set eyes and sleek brows. His wide mouth was made more enticing by the set of double dimples which appeared whenever he spoke or smiled.

*

Buy your copy today!  Amazon (ebook)  |  Amazon (paperback)  | Barnes & Noble

Enter for your chance to win: a $10 Amazon gift card, one signed autograph copy and one ebook copy of When Ice Melts! Enter here – Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

About the author:

Altonya

AlTonya Washington has been a published romance novelist for 10 years. In 2013, her Harlequin Kimani novel “His Texas Touch” won the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Series Romance of 2012. In addition to being an author, AlTonya also works as a college Reference Librarian. Writing as T. Onyx, AlTonya released her latest erotica “Ravenous: Ruler of Perfection II” in 2013.

Her newest title with Harlequin Kimani is “Provocative Passion” nominated for an AMB Ovation Award for Outstanding Interracial Romance and the sequel to the January 2013 release “Provocative Territory”. In November she will release “A Lover’s Debt”, the 17th title in the Ramsey Tesano saga.

Find AlTonya online:

Website | Second Website | Facebook | Twitter 

Tour Hosted by WNL Book Tour www.wnlbooktours.com

Author Tour Schedule: http://wnlbooktours.com/altonya-washington-when-ice-melts/

Literary Nook Celebration and Giveaway

If you LOVE books, gift cards and swag by authors, today is your lucky day! Literary Nook is celebrating 3000 “Likes” and is doing a huge giveaway.  The multi-author giveaway starts Friday, April 4, 2014 to Friday, April 11, 2014.

Make sure you enter for a chance to win ebooks, gift cards and swag!! Here’s how to enter: Rafflecopter

Pull Me Closer by Lauren H. Kelley

It is with great pleasure that I welcome fellow author, Lauren H. Kelley to my blog today!  Lauren is introducing us to her novel, Pull Me Closer. Check it out!

Pull Me Closer_Lauren_H_Kelley_THUMB

Following the advice of a spastic inspirational speaker, jet-setting advertising executive Kerrigan Mulls decides its time to trade in her chaotic lifestyle for the one she really wants. Relocation to Atlanta is just the opportunity she needs.

Axel Christensen, the ad agency owner of an Atlanta firm, is looking for talent who can help his business expand. When Kerrigan interviews with the insanely hot agency owner, her underactive libido goes into overdrive and the feeling is mutual.

A year and kidnapping later, Axel learns that catching Kerrigan isn’t easy, but keeping her next to impossible. His controversial past and trust issues create the perfect storm, leading to betrayal and heartbreak.

Excerpt

He was already seated when Kerrigan strolled in and found him at the rear of the restaurant. Lunch with her was fun. He always enjoyed the time they spent together, and she seemed to enjoy his company too, although she kept her guard up.

She picked up her fork and poked at her salad. “Exactly why do I need to cancel my plans next Saturday? What’s going on?” she asked.

He thought for a minute before responding. In that instant, he could have lain out his heart and told her how he had been feeling and how much he liked her. How for months, he watched and yearned to be close to her—how much more he liked her now that he was getting to know her better—how much he admired her intelligence and delighted in her beauty. Instead …

“I’ll be out of town all next week for business. I leave this Sunday, and I get back late Friday evening. We’ll need to catch up immediately.”

“Oh? And we can’t catch up the following week?” she asked.

He shook his head. “No. I’m not available that week until Friday.”

Clearing her throat, she brought the glass of water to her lips and sipped. “So this is related to business?

He leaned in close, glancing around at the restaurant’s patrons as his eyes steadied and met hers. “Yes. Well, no.” Everything around them faded away, including baldy, a businessman who was sitting alone at the next table eavesdropping and ogling at Kerrigan.

Her glass dropped to the clothed table with a loud thud, and she swallowed hard. Kerrigan’s eyes shifted around the room. A waiter, whose mullet was straight out of a 1980’s rock video, stood at the back of the restaurant gawking at them. Kerrigan jerked her hand away and sent the glass into a teeter. Axel’s quick aim landed his hand on hers, and their entwined fingers held the glass steady. Her fingers struggled to break away from the slick, wet cylinder, but his firm grasp held her hand in place. Slowly, she lifted wide nervous eyes to his, and he released her hand.

“Kerrigan, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a personal angle. I enjoy spending time with you. You’re good company, and we have fun together. Isn’t that what friends do?” The desperation in his voice spoke loudly.

“You’re going to miss me.” She teased boldly.

The dim light from the pendant hanging overhead danced off her angelic face and highlighted the brown and golden tones in Kerrigan’s wavy hair that flowed over her shoulder, gently caressing her right cheek.

His pulse quickened. “Yes, I’m going to miss you, very much.” Her darting eyes stilled, fixed to his, and she froze. “And I know you’re going to miss me too.” A hard lump formed in his throat and his chest tightened, waiting for her reply.

He held her gaze. Beauty radiated from her frigid face. Melting the ice, the corners of her mouth curled into a warm smile. “Then I suppose I can make an exception just this once. May I ask about your trip? Where are you going?”

Tense shoulders relaxing, he swallowed hard and then exhaled. “Yes, of course. I’m going to meet some clients in Denver. They want to discuss a new national campaign for their ski resort.” Wiping his mouth with his napkin as he glanced around, the background came into view again. “I thought I’d invite you along, but I know the kind of rumors that would stir.”

“I think you’re right about the rumors. I wouldn’t have gone anyway,” she said.

If she had gone with him, he would have made sure that the rumors held merit.

When lunch ended, they walked to the restaurant’s waiting area. He guided them to a private corner, surrounded by greenery, to finish their conversation.

Standing close, “While I’m gone, can you gather research on McBride’s markets?” he asked softly.

“Sure. I’ll have the data ready in time for our next meeting.”

“Great. Thank you.” He paused and glimpsed around, discovering they were isolated. “I think we should say our goodbyes here. I know how nervous you are about rumors.”

She extended her arm for a handshake.

Forehead wrinkling, a glint of a smile crossed his lips. He stepped forward, no more than an inch between them. She didn’t move. “I think we can do better than that,” he said.

Intensely focused on nothing but her, for a brief moment, he and Kerrigan were the only two people in the room. With a quick motion, he wrapped his arms around her tiny waist, pulled her close to him until her tender breasts pressed into his chest.

Kerrigan’s small hands landed on his biceps, her fingers digging into his arms through his shirtsleeves.

“What are you doing?” She whispered into his chest, her head hung down forestalling his gaze.

“Saying goodbye.” Leaning down, he nuzzled his head in the crook of her neck, inhaling the sweet fragrance that was uniquely hers.

“Umm.” He released a low guttural groan and closed his eyes, succumbing to the serenity that settled over him with her nestled in his arms. Her head tilted to the side, giving him greater access. Softly, his lips brushed the throbbing vein in her neck.

A small gasp escaped her.

*

Find out what happens next! Buy your copy today! Amazon.com | Barnes and Noble

About Lauren H. Kelley
Lauren began writing short stories in high school, but abandoned her first love to pursue a business degree and career in corporate America. A late bloomer to her true calling and craft, she finally figured out what she wanted to do with her life—write! Growing up in a multicultural family, she was exposed to diversity from an early age. She has always had an appreciation and respect for multicultural romance and aims to bridge the racial divide through her novels and short stories. She currently resides in the Southeast.

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Tequila Sunrise – Breaking the Rules

Isn’t this a COOL book cover!? I’m honored to have fellow author Terry Poca stop by my blog today! Terry is telling us about her novel -Tequila Sunrise: Breaking the Rules. Check it out!

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Learning the Rules

Becca Sanders hasn’t dated since her ex-fiancée dumped her the night before their wedding.  In fact, she’s spent an entire year ignoring her libido quite nicely. When her three best friends challenge her to indulge in a one-night stand, Becca goes for it. But she regrets following the one-night stand rules when she can’t forget the hot sizzling night she spent with the handsome, sweet stranger.

Until the day she comes face to face with the biggest dare of her life …

Breaking the Rules

Marcus Blake spent the last ten years as a New York advertising executive and is ready for a change of pace.  After a memorable evening with an enchanting blonde, he awakens alone with only her first name to track her down.

When he resigns himself he’ll never see her again, he runs into the woman who haunts his dreams.

Feisty best friends, an advertising executive’s dream account, and the quest for true love, all collide to fashion a sassy, roller-coaster romance.

Excerpt

“The time has come for you to get laid.” Trudi took a sip of her frozen margarita. “And soon.”

“What?” Becca fidgeted in her seat and glanced around the crowded bar to make sure no one had overheard. The proclamation caused her ears to burn. She wasn’t particularly comfortable discussing her nonexistent sex life with her three best friends, much less in a packed pub full of strangers revving up for the infamous Georgia-Florida game weekend.

“Trudi’s right.” Celeste nodded her agreement, pushed a wayward brown curl behind her ear, and waved down the passing waiter. “We’ll take a round of tequila shooters please.” She flashed her megawatt smile, the same one she used when reporting the six o’clock breaking news from the side of the road for Atlanta AM.

He acknowledged the order with a wink and a nod of his head. He scooped up an empty beer mug and weaved his way through the Friday afternoon crowd. All four of them watched his retreating butt. Trudi took a deep breath causing her ample cleavage to swell and then surrender in a sigh, her earlier declaration forgotten in a shared moment of male admiration. Patrice broke their trance.

“The time has come to end the drought,” she said in her soft voice. Patrice downed her beer, a feat for someone so petite, and lowered the mug on the table with a thud. “What better way to get geared up for the big game tomorrow? That’s why we chose tonight.” She stared at Becca with doe eyes, her pixie-like innocence a sharp contrast to her words.

“Tonight?” Becca scrunched her face and cringed. She was so not ready to troll, but they were right. With her thirtieth birthday looming around the corner, fourteen months was a long time to go without one date. All work and no play made for a boring existence, which Becca knew firsthand.

“Yes, tonight. Harold Houdini dumped you over a year ago,” Trudi said, her features drawn into a stern, no-nonsense expression. Her pit-bull, defense attorney personality matched her fiery hair. She didn’t sugarcoat things. Ever. Becca respected her honesty most of the time, but she sometimes wished Trudi would go by the rule “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

“Don’t use dumped,” Patrice said. “The word seems so…harsh.”

“Okay then.” Trudi softened her tone. “The night he disappeared at the altar.” She squinted her eyes and glared from Patrice to Celeste to Becca. “Better?”

“You’re not being fair. He called off our engagement the day before the wedding. He didn’t actually leave me standing at the altar,” Becca said. Her defense of Harold sounded lame even to her. No excuse existed; he was an asshole.

“Like I said, dumped,” Trudi repeated.

“Don’t be insensitive.” Patrice reached over and patted Becca on the hand. “Harold wasn’t the guy for you anyway. Isn’t that right?”

No truer statement had ever been spoken, and no one, not even Becca, argued with her.

“We love you,” Celeste said.

“Yes, we do love you, and we don’t want you to put your life on hold. Harold was a good-for‑nothing jerk who didn’t deserve you to begin with.” Patrice smiled.

Becca knew the girls wanted the best for her. They’d been friends since middle school and were more like sisters than girlfriends. They stood by each other through the good times and the bad ones, and they were all by her side when Harold decided at the last minute marriage wasn’t for him. And Patrice was right. Harold hadn’t been her knight in shining armor.

*

Get Your Copy Today!  Amazon

About the Author:

Terry Poca

Terry Poca graduated from Kennesaw State University with a degree in Education, Secondary English. When not writing and brainstorming the remainder of The Tequila Series, she reads her favorite authors, watches movies and her favorite television series, and hangs out enjoying life with her one true hero a.k.a. her husband. Terry is currently contemplating cross-bow lessons in preparation of the zombie apocalypse.

She lives in metro Atlanta with her husband and two spoiled Plott hounds and one bossy, alpha Pomeranian.

Find Terry online:  Website   Facebook

Cover Reveal and Giveaway – Love Redeemed by Love Belvin

Look what’s coming soon (and there’s a giveaway – see below):

Redeemed - love belvin

Love Redeemed – the conclusion of the of the Love’s Improbable Possibility series:

Life’s complicated…

Life’s not fair…

All is fair in love and war…

You ever wonder what events led up to an individual’s inability to trust? Love Lost starts off by peeling back layers of a young girl who experienced the loss of essential, reliable and nurturing love.

Rayna Brimm, hailing from an inner-city in New Jersey, survives a series of betrayal and loss only to forge forward in self-preservation and obtain an education in North Carolina. After receiving her degree, vowing never return home, she finds herself in California where she tries to build a self-contained life. She made a personal declaration to get through life without further dependence on others in order to avoid yet another heartbreak. Only, fate said otherwise.

Enter Azmir Jacobs, a tall, dark, handsome and very wealthy man, who has street credibility and executive power in the corporate world. Azmir has money, power and beautiful women at his beck and call, but only one woman has caught his eye. The resilient Rayna Brimm, a woman whose dysfunctional upbringing contributes towards her tough skin, issues with trust and a deep-seated fear to love, turns out to be more than he bargained for when he discovered her in his boardroom presenting a leasing proposal.

Rayna isn’t the only one with a checkered past. Can Azmir conceal his convoluted life long enough to prove that he can provide Rayna the stable and reliable love that she clearly needs and deserves? Or will his lofty lifestyle and endless resources scare her away?

Find out in this riveting conclusion how Rayna reconciles her inability to trust and willingness to explore love in ways she thought she wasn’t worthy of. See love redeemed for someone who thought it was not in the cards. Also, experience Azmir’s lessons on love, forgiveness, and acceptance as his world is transformed to include a life partner.

Love Redeemed coming in April…

In the meantime, enter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon giftcard! NOTE: Four winners will be chosen!   Rafflecopter

Romance Slam Jam

Have you heard about Romance Slam Jam?

Last year was the first year that I heard about the reader’s conference and had no idea that this year makes 19 years that it’s been going on. Well, I’m pleased to announce – this year it will be in New Orleans AND I’ll be attending! YAY!!

Guess who else will be there –  some of my favorite authors including: Beverly Jenkins, Phyllis Bourne, A.C. Arthur, Sienna Mynx, Farrah Rochon, Zuri Day, Candace Shaw, Angeline M. Bishop, Regina Hart (Patricia Sargeant) and the list goes on..and on…and on!!! I can’t wait! I’m going to try not to act like a … groupie!

There’s still time to sign up for the conference! Hope to see you there!

Click on the photo below for more conference details or click here.

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