Color of Love Blog Hop 2016 #coloroflovehop

Color of Love Blog Hop 2016

Welcome! To my U.S. readers, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. To all the new faces, I’m Delaney Diamond and I write sweet, sensual, passionate romance.

The authors and bloggers on the Color of Love blog hop are celebrating multicultural and interracial love, so if you enjoy romance novels featuring people of color, you’ll love this blog hop.

There are some great prizes available. 1) Make sure you enter using the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a grand prize. 2) Visit each blog for a chance to win the individual prizes offered.

After you’re finished hopping to the other blogs, come back and take a look at my contributions, which include interracial and African-American romance. You can read the blurb and first chapter excerpts after clicking on the covers on my Books page. There are also free short stories available for you to read here.

Book Spotlight

The book I’m spotlighting today is Unforgettable, part of the Johnson Family series about a billionaire beer and restaurant dynasty based in Seattle. The ebook is FREE from most of the online retailers (links below). The last book in the series, Good Behavior, will release on November 29th.

She offered everything he never knew he needed…

Ivy Johnson is stunned when Lucas Baylor makes an appearance at her family’s event in Seattle. She hasn’t seen him in nine years and never expected to again. Avoiding him is a must. She can’t let him uncover her secret, but Lucas won’t be denied. When her deception is revealed, it throws his life into a tailspin and forces them to face the truth of their feelings for each other—feelings they’ve both tried in vain to forget.

Chapter One | Buy it now:   Amazon | Barnes & Noble All Romance Ebooks | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Google Play | Audible | iTunes

Powell’s Books | Createspace | | | |



I’m giving away three (3) audiobooks! To enter: 1) Visit my list of audiobooks. 2) In the comments, tell me which book you’d like to receive.


Enter the Rafflecopter

1st prize $50 GC + 7 ebooks

2nd prize $25 GC + 7 ebooks

3rd prize $15 GC + 7 ebooks

4th prize $10  GC + 7 ebooks

5th prize $5 GC + 7 ebooks

book-covers-1  book-covers-2-amended

 Hop to the next blog on the list

1. Kiru Taye 15. Ines Johnson 29. Rina Gray
2. Nana Prah 16. Sharon C. Cooper 30. Joyfully Reviewed
3. Empi Baryeh 17. Candace Shaw 31. Synithia Williams
4. RWOWA 18. Natasha Blackthorne 32. L. Loren
5. Sexy Romance Novels 19. Sydney Aaliyah Michelle 33. LaQuette
6. Kai Tyler 20. Kenya Wright 34. Jamie Wesley
7. Love Bites and Silk 21. Delaney Diamond 35. A.J. Locke
8. Felicia Denise 22. LaVerne Thompson 36. A.C. Melody
9. Guinevere & Libertad 23. Tia Kelly 37. Kay Blake
10. G.L. Tomas 24. Patience Saduwa 38. Sheena Binkley
11. Georgia Lyn Hunter 25. Paulette Harper 39. M.J. Kane
12. Lea’s Crazy Nights 26. LENA HART 40. The Reading Addict
13. Lily Harlem 27. S.W.Frank 41. Reviews by Crystal
14. Kim Golden 28. Reana Malori 42. Dionne Grace


Meet Cameron Bennett and Simone Brooks…

It’s release day!

Bennett Triplets booksCameron Bennett and Simone Brooks’ story is now available. I’m excited for a couple of reasons. First, I worked on this trilogy with my good friends, Candace Shaw and Sharon C. Cooper. Each of us has written a novella about the three siblings, two men and one woman–Cameron, Harper, and Mason. For the next few days, each book is only $1.99 before going to the regular price of $2.99.

Keep reading to learn more about the novella I wrote.

The idea for the A Passionate Love storyline came about after conversations with two of my friends–one female, one male.My girlfriend is going through a divorce. Why? She believes it’s because she earns significantly more money than her husband, and her job and higher salary have always been a bone of contention between them. I wish I could write a happy ending for them.

My male friend has had to swallow his pride and accept that since his wife earned her masters, her salary is now double that of his. Talking to him gave me a good feel for the male perspective in this type of situation which, nowadays, is happening more frequently.

Because of both those conversations, I decided that one of the conflicts in the story would center around the fact that Simone Brooks is much wealthier than Cameron Bennett.

I’m not a plotter. I free write my stories, so details about the characters are revealed to me during the process of writing. Cameron revealed himself as a 33-year-old “old soul.” At least, that’s the way Simone described him. He has a huge vinyl record collection and is conservative when it comes to spending money.

Then there’s Simone, 30 years old and the complete opposite. She comes from a wealthy family. She’s a cousin to the Johnsons of Seattle. They don’t make an appearance, but those of you familiar with the series will recognize some of the references.

As you can well imagine, Simone is used to the finer things in life and has no trouble spending a lot of money. Either on herself or on her man. Cameron makes an excellent living as a nightclub owner, but his income pales in comparison to the wealth Simone is accustomed to. Toss in a meddling mother, and you have a recipe for disaster.

But this is a romance, so of course there’s a happy ending. The relationship is a little rocky at first, but I hope you’ll be rooting for this couple. I think they’re great together, and hope you do, too.

Happy reading!


A Passionate Love_200X300Simone Brooks and Cameron Bennett should not be together. She’s a wealthy socialite looking for a suitable husband. A man with the right pedigree and an economic status that matches her own. He’s part owner of the hottest nightclub in Atlanta with his siblings. Someone who loves cooking, the outdoors, and women, not necessarily in that order. 

After one night together, their sizzling chemistry makes it difficult to stay away. Then comes the hard part—navigating their differences to salvage a relationship that, while it may be imperfect, overflows with love and passion. 


She didn’t really have to use the bathroom. She just wanted to get away from the loud music and laughter for a few minutes.

It was darker inside the club, and with the dance floor a couple of floors below, the music was not as loud. Only the distant beat of a hip hop song could be heard as blue, purple, and red strobe lights flashed across the ceiling.

A wave of dizziness hit and Simone placed a steadying hand to the wall. Groaning inwardly, she reluctantly admitted her sister was right. She shouldn’t have been drinking on an empty stomach. Maybe she should find the bathroom. Moving along the carpeted hall with slow, careful steps, she dragged her hand along the wall, eyes searching for the restroom sign.

Up ahead a man stood near one of the pillars, wearing a dark brown suit, forearms on the balustrade, head bouncing to the music as he surveyed the action below.

Simone paused.

She couldn’t see his face. Craning her neck to get a better look in the dimly lit interior, she only saw the back of his closely shorn head and the height and shape of his body. He was a big guy, with a wide neck and broad shoulders.

Inexplicably, her heart began to race. She blinked a few times and quietly circled behind him.

Now she could see his profile, and had a good look at a strong jaw. Her heartbeat quadrupled, pounding so fast she placed a restraining hand against her chest. What the heck was wrong with her?

She continued to move, silently cursing when she staggered. She shook her head briskly to clear the dizziness, but doing so only worsened the disorienting feeling and she flailed her hands to regain balance.

The movement caught the stranger’s eye, and he turned suddenly. Simone managed to face him, legs spread apart to keep her balance. She placed a hand to her queasy stomach.

He left the railing and came toward her, his face furrowed in concern. “Ma’am, are you okay?”

“I…” She couldn’t even talk, and he remained silent, giving her ample opportunity to fully examine him.

He looked like an African god dropped into modern society, wearing a chocolate suit and matching tie. Even under the conservative attire, she could tell he had a firm body. All man, he was easily six foot three. He had a dark brown complexion, as if he’d been dipped in maple syrup, a beautifully broad nose, and lips so thick and luscious-looking they were downright indecent.

Dark brown eyes scoured her frame, dragging down the length of her body with the same intense inspection she gave him. His right eyebrow lifted a fraction higher over his eyes, and her nerve endings heightened at the attention, the hairs on her arms standing on end.

“Ma’am, are you okay?”

The sound of his voice again—deep and decadent as the finest chocolate—made her insides tremble.

Opening her mouth to speak, Simone flayed her hands in a flustered, inane movement that affirmed how rattled she was by him. Finally, she regained control of her limbs and pointed up. “I-I’m at the rooftop party.”

He nodded his understanding. “Oh, you’re a guest at the divorce party?”

“I’m throwing the party for one of my friends.” 

“Oh.” He came forward, his smile friendly, its brilliance rivaling the colorful strobe lights that crisscrossed the ceiling. “I’m one of the owners of Club Masquerade. I hope you’ve been enjoying yourself.”

Simone wanted to say what a good time they were having, and how pleased she was with the service they’d received so far. She opened her mouth to speak those very words, but they didn’t come.

The building nausea chose that very moment to make its presence known in a horribly embarrassing way. Instead of words issuing from her mouth, the liquid contents of her stomach bubbled up and spewed from her lips—all over his black shoes.

Buy it nowAmazon | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | All Romance Ebooks | Smashwords

Print copies go on sale September 23, 2016.


I have a couple of giveaways for you. Goodreads members, visit the giveaways page and enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book. It’s open to U.S. and Canada entrants.

You also have a chance to win by entering a scavenger hunt I and my co-authors have set up. Open to U.S. entrants only.
PRIZE 1: One entrant will win
– $75 in gift cards
– an autographed copy of For the Love of You by Candace Shaw, book 1 of the Precious Moments series
– an autographed copy of Blue Roses by Sharon C. Cooper, book 1 of the Reunited series
– an autographed copy of Unforgettable by Delaney Diamond, book 1 of the Johnson Family series
PRIZE 2: The authors will each select one winner from the scavenger hunt participants to receive an autographed copy of one of their books.
HOW TO ENTER: Click the link and follow the instructions on the form.
DEADLINE TO ENTER: 11:59 pm EST on September 24, 2016.
ELIGIBILITY: Open to U.S. entrants only. Winners will be contacted via email.




For those of you who like to see the visuals, visit the Pinterest page for the novel to see the images that helped me write the story.

What’s new from special guests Nia Forrester, Jacinta Howard, Lily Java and Rae Lamar

Four Authors. Four Stories. For Love.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve had a special guest on my blog, but I was super excited to have the following authors visit and share their new release.

If you follow me on Goodreads, you already know I’m a fan of Nia Forrester and Jacinta Howard, and now I have the pleasure of checking out the work of two more amazing authors. Please welcome Nia Forrester, Jacinta Howard, Lily Java and Rae Lamar to the blog!

They’re here to promote they’re friends-to-lovers collection, Because My Heart Said So.

Acceptable Losses by Nia Forrester

Quentin is in the middle of a separation from his wife that seems to have no conclusive end in sight, while Lena is stuck in Single Girl Hell. The only respite either of them have is their regular coffee dates, while working on shared projects at a very demanding job. Sick of hearing about Lena’s semidisastrous attempts to couple-up, Quentin decides to fix her up. With his brother. Seems like a perfect solution; after all, his brother is a decent enough guy and Lena deserves that. Perfect… until it appears that the fix-up might actually work.

“So …” he began, “this is …”
“Awkward,” Lena finished for him. “I know. I’m sorry. I had no idea that …” She stopped and sighed. “Just … I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Quentin said, wondering why it was that he wasn’t angry at her.
She at least knew on Friday when he leaned in and kissed her that there was one very good reason that they shouldn’t. And yet, he wasn’t mad.
Lena gave a small, derisive laugh. “No. It is definitely not okay, Quentin. I mean, I’m here with your brother. And on Friday night …”
“Let’s not talk about Friday night,” he interrupted her.
A look crossed her face then that was unmistakable. It was hurt.
“Of course,” she said. “We should just forget it ever happened. It was wrong, and it shouldn’t have …”
“No, Lena, I didn’t mean … What I mean is …”
He took two steps toward her, and then stopped. He didn’t know what he meant. But he did know that what happened on Friday, he didn’t like hearing described as ‘wrong.’ Shit, it was complicated, no doubt about that. But it didn’t feel wrong. Kissing her, being that close to her actually felt very, very right.

Nia Forrester is the author of the Commitment series. Nia lives and writes in Washington DC where, by day, she works on public policy and by night, she crafts women-centered fiction that examines the complexities of life, love and the human condition. Visit her at

Blind Expectations by Jacinta Howard

Aristotle once said the only thing constant in life is change. Or was that Confucius? Whatever. People are fluid—they come into your life for a while, and when it’s time for them to float on, Leah has no qualms waving goodbye. The only exception is her neighbor and best friend, Trevor. When all else fails in her crazy world, Trevor is always there, reliable, steady… real. But then one night a heated argument leads to a revelation that shakes Leah to the core. Suddenly, Leah is forced to make a choice. But will her heart survive her decision?

“I’m sitting on your lap,” she breathed, eyes still closed. “And we keep kissing.”
“Yes, you are. And yes, we do.”
She heard the smile in his voice and opened her eyes.
“Seems like you enjoy it,” he grinned, biting the corner of his lip. “I know I do. You taste good as hell, Leah. Even better than I knew you would.”

Jacinta Howard is the author of women’s and new adult fiction. Since 2014, she’s released four novels, including the well-received Love Always Series. She also released the USA TODAY Must-Read Romance, Happiness in Jersey, as well as the emotional new adult novel, Finding Kennedy. Visit her at

Blackbirds by Lily Java

Once upon a time Sydney Tarr and Elliott Vance were friends: fast friends, ride or die, pledge of allegiance, take it to the mat, “friends.” And the fact that Sydney loved her friend more than she should didn’t matter until finally… one unusual and spectacular night, it did. It mattered very much. Still, not every story is a fairy tale is it? Friends do part—sometimes forever—but, not always.

Elliott had the smoothest skin she’d ever seen on a man. Dark and brown, it looked like it had been painted onto him with oil and a thick brush. Sydney had the urge to photograph him, but that was an urge she had about a thousand times a day with a lot of people. What was different about this was her urge to see more of him. The shirtless Elliott. The sleeping Elliott. Elliott at play.

Lily Java is a freelance writer and novelist who writes women’s fiction in many genres. Her debut suspense novel, Sticky Moon, was released in 2014. When she isn’t writing, Lily raises money for the arts planning events in iconic landmarks throughout her beloved hometown: New York City. Lily is a true ambivert, who enjoys solitude as much as she likes meeting or talking with other passionate readers and writers. Visit her at

Blur by Rae Lamar

Jade Warner is back home. The bad part? Starting over. The best part? Reconnecting with Kyle Malone. Picking up where they left off years ago, it feels just like old times…except for the mutual attraction and questionable feelings, which are all brand new. For Jade and Kyle, it’s unthinkable to hook up given the history of their fail-safe friendship, but anything can happen when you live under the same roof…

“Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever find the right guy.”
Kyle watched as Jade stabbed a shrimp with her fork and stuck it in her mouth. “Your first mistake is labeling him ‘right’ because what the hell does that even mean? There is no right or wrong, Jade…it’s about finding the one who makes you feel most alive.”

Rae Lamar is a mild-mannered consultant by day and fiction writer by night who calls Atlanta home. She is the author of Dawn of Aris and The Aris Effect along with other works of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. On a perfect day, she can be found on the top floor of a swanky beach resort, sitting on the balcony of an ocean-front suite with a book in her hands and food at her fingertips. SN: She rarely has perfect days. Visit her at


Visit the 4 Writers 4 Love at their book landing page and check out the book trailer. Also visit their Pinterest page to see images of characters and places mentioned in Because My Heart Said So!

Purchase Because My Heart Said So at Amazon

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Introducing…Ronnie and Diego #FridayReads

Book 5 of the Love Unexpected series, One of the Guys, is about Ronnie Taylor and Diego Molina. But before I dive into an update, I have a few things to share with you. 

Just Friends and The Rules made Romance in Color’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards for the top books in 2015! Of course I was very flattered and excited to get the news. I’m in good company among some great authors. Visit Romance in Color for the entire list of winners. 

The Hawthorne Family series was my first African-American family series. Just like the Hot Latin Men series, I’m working on a box set that will include all four books and will put it on sale for a limited time.

The set will go on sale for 99 cents on July 1st. Mark your calendars!

Goodreads members, visit the giveaways page and enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of One of the Guys. It’s open to U.S. and international entrants.

You also have a chance to win by entering my contest. Open to U.S. and international entrants.
Prize: two entrants will receive a $25 gift card and autographed copy of One of the Guys
Deadline to enter: June 30, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST
Eligibility: You must be a newsletter subscriber. You can subscribe to my newsletter here =>  SUBSCRIBEPlease make sure that you enter the email address you use to subscribe to my newsletter
How to enter: Click the link and fill in the form. Winners will be contacted via email.



Introducing…Ronnie and Diego

I have a little bit of a girl crush on Ronnie Taylor because she’s so different from my other heroines. She’s a smart-mouthed mechanic who loves sports and hangs out in barbershops. But despite the tomboyish exterior, she’s still a woman. Like the rest of us, she wants to feel desired just the way she is, and although she can take care of herself, doesn’t mind if a man is willing to look out for her. That’s where Diego Molina comes in.

Diego owns the towing company located on the same lot as Ronnie’s mechanic shop. He’s a terrible flirt and no matter how many times Ronnie shoots him down, he comes right back at her with a smart remark or inappropriate comment. He also sees Ronnie in a different way than other men. He appreciates all facets of her appearance and personality and loves the fact that she can go from a T-shirt and jeans to a figure-hugging jersey dress. After pursuing her for over a year, he finally gets a chance with her.

Along the way, you’ll meet Ronnie’s father, Ezekiel. He’s old-fashioned and a bit overprotective, but he and Ronnie have a great rapport, and she wants him to find love again. Tomas and Talia from The Wrong Man make an appearance, along with brief appearances by Ryan and Shawna from The Blind Date and Sophie from The Right Time.

Overall, I think you’ll like this couple. They’re a perfect match. They both carry baggage that creates trust issues in their new relationship, but of course, they work through it eventually and get to their happily ever after…

He makes her feel like a woman…

Mechanic Ronnie Taylor spends most of her time with men. As such, she’s always been tough, but Diego Molina makes her feel the opposite of tough. The big Cuban is brash, bold, and gets under her skin. She finally has to admit the reason he annoys her isn’t because she dislikes him. It’s because she likes him a little too much.

When Diego turns the tables on Ronnie, he uncovers the sensual woman hiding underneath. But past regrets threaten to derail their new relationship. Before they can get to forever, they must trust that they’ve found what they’ve been looking for all along.


“I need to talk to you.”

He groaned and let his head fall back. “What do you want to complain about today, Veronica Pain-In-My-Ass Taylor?” He stuck a toothpick in his mouth and folded his arms over his chest.

She dragged her eyes from the way his muscles bulged into more prominence.
“Haha, very funny.” Pressing her hands onto her narrow hips, Ronnie glared at him. “Why do you always have to park your truck like that and take up the limited parking available for customers?”

“Is that what I did?” He scanned the almost empty parking lot they shared, chewing on the toothpick so it bobbed up and down between his full lips.

“You know good and well that’s what you did. I’ve told you plenty of times before. Since you bought this place, you’ve created a mess. You take up extra parking spaces, you block my garage bays—”

“Only when they’re empty,” he pointed out.

“You have no right to do that! Your guys leave trash in the back lot, and when are you going to move all those abandoned cars?”

At least ten cars sat in the fenced lot at the back of the buildings that hadn’t been picked up by their owners, and he appeared in no hurry to get rid of them.

“Let me handle my business, and you handle yours.”

“I try to handle mine, but as you can see”—she made a broad, sweeping gesture to showcase the lot—“someone doesn’t understand how to be a good neighbor.”

He tossed the toothpick to the ground and narrowed his eyes on her. “Are you the one leaving bad reviews for my business online?”

“Of course not!” The accusation stung. Not only was it unethical, her business and his were intertwined. She benefited if he did well.

Diego didn’t only bring her customers. He used Taylor Automotive to fix up cars he’d towed that were abandoned by their owners, and he in turn sold them for a profit. From what she could tell, that was a nice side business in addition to the towing company.

“I would be disappointed in you if you did.” Diego came closer and she held her breath. Dropping his voice, he said, “However, your whining and bitching is getting out of hand.”

“Under the circumstances, I’m very calm.”

“I’ve seen calm, and you’re not it. I’ve told you before I could fix you up and knock that bad attitude right out of you.”

“First of all, I don’t have a bad attitude.” Except with him. He provoked the worst in her. “Second of all, I thought I made myself clear that you’re not my type.”

“You’ve never tried my type.”

“How do you know what I’ve tried?” Ronnie asked, knowing she entered dangerous waters with the direction of the conversation, but unable to stop the slide into the unknown.

He sucked air between his teeth. “Ay no, you’ve never been with a Cuban man, mami. That much I know. It will change your whole life. You know what they say, once you go Cuban, you never go back.” He chuckled to himself, rubbing a hand over his shirt, and she couldn’t help but notice his massive hands and broad chest.

“That’s not the saying.”

“It is now.” His voice was low when he spoke next. “I keep telling you, a little horizontal salsa will do you some good.”

The air squeezed from her lungs and Ronnie’s chest tightened. She took a quivering breath. “I promise you, that will never happen,” she said, in her coolest voice possible.

The lids of his eyes lowered over his pupils as he did a lazy scan of her body. The brazen inspection made her feel uncomfortable in her own skin. A sensation, light and airy like a shadow, crept over her, compelling the hairs on her neck to stand on end.

“Oh, mami, you don’t know what you’re missing.”

“Not even if pigs fly and hell freezes over.” Icicles dripped from her voice.

“So that’s a maybe?”

She laughed a little. If there was one thing she could say about Diego, he was consistent. For over a year she’d had to deal with his lascivious smile and cavalier attitude. No matter how many times she shot him down, he came right back with a new line.

“That’s a never.” She moved closer to him and stood on tiptoe to get in his face, their heads mere inches apart. She made her face into a mask of sweetness and lowered her voice to a seductive purr. “Stop parking your damn truck in the customer parking spaces or I’m calling the landlord.” She often threatened to sic the landlord on him but never actually had.

He moaned and shivered, like a man who’d experienced something so exquisite he could barely stand it. “Oh Veronica, I love it when you talk dirty to me.”

Diego dropped his eyes to her chest, but this time the brazen inspection didn’t only fill her with unease. Heat burned her cheeks, and her traitorous breasts tightened in excitement at the attention. Fortunately, he couldn’t see their reaction under the loose-fitting gray overalls.

Ronnie curled her fingers into fists. There was no getting through to him. “Ugh!”

She swung around and stormed away. Yanking open the door, she hurried inside her shop. The sound of his amused laughter only disappeared when the door finally closed behind her.


Pop on over to Pinterest so you can see my inspirations for the story and a few pics that demonstrate my personal obsession with short hair. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Buy it now: Amazon | Print version (preorder) | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | All Romance Ebooks iBooks | Google Play | Smashwords | Kobo

Read the other books in the series, for heroes and heroines who find love…when they least expect it.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…The Right Time is now available! #FridayReads

Book 4 of the Love Unexpected series is about Sophie Bradshaw and Ransom Stewart. Sophie is Brenda and Jay’s friend from An Unexpected Attraction, so you’ll get to catch up with them, and Ransom is Ryan’s brother from The Blind Date, so you’ll get to catch up with him and Shawna. Pop on over to Pinterest to see my inspirations for the story. 

I have a couple of giveaways for you. GoodReads members, visit the giveaways page and enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book. It’s open to U.S. and international entrants. 

You also have a chance to win by entering my contest. Open to U.S. and international entrants.

Prize: two entrants will receive a $25 gift card and autographed copy of The Right Time

Deadline to enter: March 19, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST

Eligibility: You must be a newsletter subscriber. You can subscribe to my newsletter here =>  SUBSCRIBEPlease make sure that you enter the email address you use to subscribe to my newsletter

How to enter: Click the link and fill in the form. Winners will be contacted via email.


I’m already hard at work on the next book in the series, One of the Guys. Until then, I hope you enjoy Ransom and Sophie’s story. Have a great day!


She’s just what he needs…

What happens in the Bahamas should stay in the Bahamas. That was the plan, until the woman Ransom Stewart hooked up with made an appearance at his law firm. He knows he should stay away from her. He knows he should leave her alone. But for some reason, he can’t.

Revenge sex. That’s what Sophie Bradshaw told herself the night with Ransom was all about. One night, to punish her boyfriend for years of neglect that culminated in a painful betrayal. She knows she should stay away from Ransom. She knows she should leave him alone. But for some reason…she can’t.

Chapter 1 Excerpt

Days like this made it hard for Sophie Bradshaw to remember why she enjoyed being a flight attendant, for nine years, despite meeting crappy passengers like the man in 2B.

Matthias Ditka thought the entire crew was there to do his bidding. Each time he asked for a refill of vodka, he yelled the request and rudely yanked the small bottle from their hands with an ungracious utterance of “About time.” The obnoxious behavior only increased with the length of the flight.

Sophie groaned when the call light came on again. “What does he want now?” she grumbled.

He’d managed to spoil her anticipation of the trip to the Bahamas, an arrangement she’d maneuvered by calling in a favor to swap routes with another flight attendant.

“Probably wants us to rub his feet.” Jalinda, one of the other flight attendants, rolled her eyes.

This was Sophie’s first time working with Jalinda, but she liked her a lot. Their similar temperament and the other woman’s sense of humor made the trip much more enjoyable.

“You take him this time, or I may end up punching him in the face,” Jalinda added.

Sophie laughed out loud and slammed a hand over her mouth. “I would love to see that.”

Taking a deep breath, she squared her shoulders and walked down the first-class aisle. She stopped at the seat where a burly bearded man sat holding an empty mini vodka bottle.

“I need another one of these, pronto,” he said, way too loud.

Sophie leaned forward and spoke quietly. “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m going to have to cut you off.”

“Cut me off?” he bellowed, causing heads to turn and Sophie to wince. “This is first class.”

“I understand. However, we can’t simply—”

He grabbed her hand and yanked her forward. The fingers around her wrist tightened so much, pain shot up her arm. “Listen here, missy. Either you or the other waitress can bring me something else to drink. I don’t care who does it. Do it now, or I’ll go back there and get the drink myself.”

His breath reeked of the liquor he’d consumed since takeoff, and she suspected he’d been drinking before then.

“You’re hurting me. Let go.” Sophie fisted her right hand, prepared to land a solid punch across the side of the man’s face if he didn’t release her by the time she counted to five in her head.


“Are you going to do as I ask? I am a customer and paid a small fortune for this damn seat.”

“Please let go of my arm.”


“I’ll let go when you give me the answer I want.”


“Let her go.”

The low tenor came from a few feet in front of her. Sophie had been completely oblivious to anyone moving toward them, and her gaze collided with that of a tall male, the hottie from a few rows back. His large frame dominated the aisle.

He smelled inviting. She detected a fresh, almost minty fragrance coming from him, and he looked liked he’d just stepped out of the pages of GQ, with a clean-shaven face, thick, dark hair neatly combed back from his face, and a powder-blue shirt that clung to his trim physique. A navy tie with black trousers, and black oxfords completed the look.

Despite his civilized appearance, he exuded an underlying roughness as he glared down at the grip the passenger had on her wrist, his body obviously tensed, jaw set in an inflexible line.

“Who’s going to make me let her go?” Matthias stared up at the younger man.

Thick, dark eyebrows snapped together. “I am. Believe me, I’m itching to let off some steam, and it would give me great pleasure to use you to do it.”

Matthias quickly dropped Sophie’s hand, and she gladly stepped back from him, rubbing her wrist.

“Are you okay?” The man searched her face.

He had nice lips. She seldom noticed a man’s lips, but his were thin with an appealing curve. Then there were his striking blue eyes, bright and clear, almost see-through, like glass. An empty hole in his right earlobe suggested he wore an earring, which was interestingly incongruous with his otherwise preppy appearance.

She nodded. “I’m fine, thank you.”

“I just want another drink. Is that so wrong?” the irate passenger hollered.

“She said she was cutting you off, and from the looks of it, you definitely don’t need anything else to drink.”

“Who are you, her daddy?” the wider man growled.

Her savior bent at the waist, getting right in the face of the burly passenger, and said, “I’m the guy who’s going to stuff that empty bottle up your ass.”

“Thank you so much, sir,” Sophie interrupted quickly. While she appreciated the assistance, the last thing she wanted was an incident on the plane. Despite her desire to punch the prick in the face herself, flight attendants must maintain their cool at all times.

She placed a restraining hand on her savior’s shoulder. His hard, muscular shoulder. Tempted to rub her palm up and down his arm, she snatched away her hand. “I can take it from here.”

He straightened, and the way his gaze traveled over her face sent her pulse beating faster and out of control. This man rattled her.

“Thank you,” she said, settling into a cool, professional voice. She fixed a smile on her face. “Please have a seat.”

He didn’t move, his body still taut, as if ready to spring into action at her command. His gaze lingered on her a little longer, dragging from her eyes down the vest and skirt of her cranberry uniform. She straightened her back, skin tingling under the blatant inspection.

Then she saw it—a softening of his features. Interest. He blinked. Mutual attraction shimmered on the air between them. Then he leaned closer, and her body tensed, tightening like the string pulled taut on a bow.

“He shouldn’t have put his hands on you.”

His breath hit the corner of her mouth, and he held her gaze to punctuate the statement. Neither moved. Time halted.

Then, as if none of that had happened, he turned and walked the few rows back to his seat. Sophie let the trapped air out of her lungs, releasing the tension from her shoulders and back.

A round of applause went up through the cabin, and Matthias’s face flushed a bright shade of crimson. Sophie smiled reassuringly to the applauding passengers and then walked briskly toward the galley.

“What happened?” Jalinda asked, filling a glass with ice to complete another drink request.

Sophie rubbed her red wrist. “Mr. Dickhead grabbed me.”

Jalinda’s eyes widened. “What? You need to write that up.”

Protocol dictated that any disturbance had to be written up and reported.

“I will.”

“Are you all right?”

“I’m fine. 5A came over and stopped him.”

Jalinda shot a look around the dividing wall and then wiggled her brows at Sophie. “Oh yes, I remember him when he came on board. He is hot.”

“I guess,” Sophie said, pretending to be uninterested.

“What are you, blind?”

“He’s all right.”

“Oh, come on. He is H-O-T.”

“Don’t you have a passenger to take care of?” Sophie asked.

Jalinda rolled her eyes and went to deliver the drink.

As soon as her back was turned, Sophie checked the passenger manifest and saw the name of the passenger who’d come to her aid.

Ransom Stewart.

An unusual, but strong name. Brash. Commanding. Just like him.

Peeking around the dividing wall, she took another look at Ransom. He seemed absorbed in whatever he was writing, head bent over a spiral-bound notebook, brow furrowed as he concentrated. He’d been writing since he came on the flight.

Idly, she wondered what he did for a living. Something corporate, like banking. Of that she was certain.

Jalinda started down the aisle and Sophie hurriedly replaced the manifest and began prepping for the lunch service.

She had work to do. Enough drooling over a man she’d never see again.


Introductory sale price, $2.99 for a limited time!

The Right Time_2000X3000

Chapter One | Buy it now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance Ebooks  | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Google Play | |  |

Read the other books in the series, for heroes and heroines who find love…when they least expect it.

Hot Latin Men boxed set and a giveaway!

Before I share the details of the Hot Latin Men box set and giveaway, I just want to express a HUGE Thank you to all of you for making The Rules such a success! Many of you have said that it’s your favorite of the Johnson Family series, and the 90 four-star and five-star reviews have proven how much you enjoyed Gavin and Terri’s story. I am very, very happy. 😀

Congratulations to the six newsletter subscribers who each won an autographed copy of the book. They’ve already been contacted. If you didn’t win and would like another shot, visit Goodreads for a chance to win a copy until November 19th.

The Rules_1600X2400

Terri Slade learned the hard way to play by her own set of rules. Rule number one, maintain control. Rule number two, never fall in love. Then she met Gavin Johnson and broke both her rules.

Gavin Johnson has lived a charmed life full of adventure. In Terri he thinks he’s found a kindred spirit and even considers settling down. But when the truth about her past is revealed, their perfect relationship falls apart, and Gavin’s left to wonder if he ever really knew her at all.

Chapter One | Buy it now:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance Ebooks | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks  |  | | |


Five years ago on November 12th, the first book in the Hot Latin Men series was published – The Arrangement. Today there are four books and one short story in the set. Purchasing each book separately would cost $15.95, but starting today you can get them all in a limited edition boxed set for only 99 cents!

I’m doing a book blitz to promote the box set’s release and having a couple of giveaways.

Giveaway #1 is to celebrate the release of the set, open to U.S. and international entrants, and coordinated by Indie Sage PR. Giveaway #2 is a celebration of my five-year anniversary as a writer and open to U.S. entrants only.

Keep reading for the details.

Hot Latin Men Blitz Banner

THE ARRANGEMENT (Hot Latin Men, #1)

An indecent proposal leads to a short term arrangement…
Brazilian millionaire, Leonardo da Silva, is still seething from when his wife, Alexa, walked out on him four months ago. Now she’s in his office asking for a business loan to help her brother. Instead of a loan, he’s willing to give her the money, but only if she resumes her role as his wife for the next two months. She reluctantly agrees, and she soon finds herself wishing their arrangement was permanent. But when she finds out about Leonardo’s betrayal, there may be no way for them to mend their broken marriage.

FIGHT FOR LOVE (Hot Latin Men, #2)

A former pro wrestler fights to hold onto the woman he lost, but still loves, and the son he never knew existed. Science teacher Rebekah Jamison lives a quiet life in the suburbs of Atlanta. Devastated by a tabloid scandal nine years ago, she ended her marriage to the man her parents never approved of.

Rafael Lopez, former professional wrestler and “Sexiest Athlete Alive,” regrets the lapse in judgment that caused him to lose his wife. He shows up unannounced one day with some startling news, but he gets a surprise of his own. He finds out he’s a father. To get to know his son, he whisks him and Rebekah off to his home in the Hollywood Hills for the summer.

PRIVATE ACTS (Hot Latin Men, #3)

This story contains a chef whose sassy mouth and swaying hips catch the eye of a sexy Latin artist determined to tame her. Miguel Delgado fell hard the first time he saw a beautiful woman on stage during a karaoke competition at a bar in Ecuador. Interested in a short, casual affair, he turns on the charm. But she won’t give him the time of day.

Samirah Jamison has met her match—in the form of a tall, hard-bodied sculptor who won’t leave her alone. She’s not running scared. She’s just trying to keep a level head and stay out of trouble for once. But it’s really, really hard to be good…when you’re used to being bad.

THE ULTIMATE MERGER (a short story) (Hot Latin Men, #3.5)

Two workaholics slow down long enough to find love when they least expect it.

Renaldo da Silva is on the verge of entering the U.S. market with the purchase of a hotel in downtown Chicago. After working hard for several days straight, he heads to a local bar and sees a woman who instantly makes him reconsider how to spend his evening.

When another one of her male counterparts unfairly becomes the lead on a project, Sabrina Porter leaves work intent on drowning her sorrows in wine and loud music at a local bar. Instead, she meets a sexy Brazilian who’s intent on showing her a different way to unwind.

SECOND CHANCES (Hot Latin Men, #4)

Renaldo da Silva’s near-perfect life in Brazil comes to a halt when he finds out about his wife’s betrayal. Now he doesn’t want to have anything to do with her. But because he needs her help finalizing the biggest deal of his career, he’s forced to make her a multi-million dollar offer and delay their divorce.

Sabrina da Silva can’t forgive herself after a reckless night destroys her marriage. She agrees to help her husband and then disappear from his life for good. But with passion still smoldering between them, it’s not easy for either to walk away. Will passion be enough to overcome the ultimate test of their love?


Her gaze traveled over his face, and she could see the pain in his eyes—the source of his fury. Any number of women would have been happy to be in her position, but she’d thrown it all away with a reckless act.

She’d hurt the only man she’d ever loved, wounded his pride, and tossed everything he’d ever given her back in his face. If only she could take it back. She wanted to ease his pain, and selfishly, she wanted to stop her own, too.

She lifted a tentative hand to touch the smooth skin of his face. “Renny…”

His nostrils expanded, and a tremor shook his body at her touch.

Deus,” he said, his voice a thickened groan.

His face contorted, and she sensed the internal struggle within him. He didn’t want to want her, but he did. They were both helpless to the pulse and beat of the intensity between them.

“Renny, honey,” she whispered, “forgive me. I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”

Hesitantly, she edged closer, and when he didn’t withdraw, she pressed a light kiss to his neck. He still didn’t move, so she pressed another one, and another to his Adam’s apple, traveling to the other side of his throat with tender kisses across his skin.

Desire blossomed inside of her as another tremor, stronger this time, wracked his body. Then, with a guttural groan, he wrapped his strong arms around her waist and his mouth landed on hers—not soft and tender like hers, but hot and demanding.

She leaned into him, her heart soaring. He wanted her and she wanted him. She’d never had any desire to cheat; that night had been an anomaly. Renaldo was all she needed, all she wanted.

With no resistance from her, he pulled her into the doorway of one of the buildings and drew her closer, sandwiching her between him and the wall, making her breasts swell against the press of his hard chest.

Sabrina let her purse fall to the ground to freely lock her arms around his neck. She opened her mouth, swaying under the force of sexual desire that claimed her body. Renaldo groaned, smoothing his hands up the back of her thighs, dragging the hem of her dress with them. His hands roamed possessively over her hips and the bare cheeks of her buttocks, exposed because of the thin piece of fabric nestled between them.

How she’d missed him, missed his touch.

He buried his face in the curve of her neck, his heavy breaths heating her skin as his hand skimmed across the damp material between her legs. Sabrina angled her hips toward him, opening her thighs wider to make it easier for him to caress her there, where her wet body pleaded for more.

She found his mouth again and initiated another kiss, but he took control by darting his tongue between her lips, scraping past her teeth to make masterful, erotic strokes. His mouth moved over hers with fluid control, yet it was a demanding, all-consuming kiss. She shivered in his arms as their tongues tangled and their moist lips devoured each other.

It had been so long since she’d felt this rush, this heat. His taste and scent were intoxicating.

His hand went to the back of her knee and lifted her leg so that it hooked around his waist, and she could feel the pressure of his hard length on her abdomen.

What rushed through her was indescribable, dizzying, and a tiny sound left her throat. Her need for him was unprecedented, and she rocked her hips against his, gasping into his mouth, moaning and aching for relief. She wanted him here, now, against this wall, with a desire so explosive she no longer cared what he thought of her.

“I need you…need you, Renny.”

The admission was a breathless whisper that bared the truth to him. She feverishly kissed his lips, his chin, and dragged his lower lip between her teeth. She caressed his head, ruffling the short, silky strands with her fingers.

His breathing was shaky as he directed his mouth to her jaw line, down to the erratic pulse at her throat, his kisses moist and hot. He dragged his hand to the front and slid it between her legs, moving it slow, sliding backward, then forward, before his finger flicked her clit again. She trembled, clutching his shoulders, and he made circles on the damp crotch of her panties, drawing out the torture. The oppressive ache in her loins was too much. She needed him, as much as she needed the blood in her veins.

Sabrina reached between them and covered his raging hard-on with her palm, the heavy weight of it filling her hand. She was reaching for the zipper on his pants, when all of a sudden he pulled back.

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(open to U.S. and international entrants)



(open to U.S. entrants only)


one (1) lucky entrant will win

  • a $50 Visa gift card
  • a signed copy of the Hot Latin Men series, in hard cover with a dust jacket; only 5 will be printed
  • a signed copy of The Wrong Man, part of the Love Unexpected series
  • a signed copy of Still in Love 
  • Delaney Diamond tote bag
  • a spa gift basket containing the following: moisturizing bath and body gel, soothing bath salts, creamy body butter, refreshing body spray, an aromatherapy pillar candle, soft terrycloth slippers, an aromatherapy drawer sachet and a relaxing bath pillow.

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four (4) lucky entrants will win

  • a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card
  • a signed copy of the Hot Latin Men series, in hard cover with a dust jacket; only 5 will be printed

ELIGIBILITY: You must be a subscriber to my newsletter. Subscribe here => NEWSLETTER

HOW TO ENTER: Use the form below.

DEADLINE TO ENTER: November 19, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST.

If you already have the Hot Latin Men series, make sure you tell a friend about the box set or gift them a copy so they can enjoy the books as one complete set. Thanks in advance for helping me spread the word!

New Release – THE RULES!

Hello blog followers, your weekend read is here. Book 4 of the Johnson Family series has arrived! In this installment you’ll learn more about Gavin Johnson, the so-called prodigal son who has been globetrotting for years, indulging in extreme sports like B.A.S.E. jumping, free diving, and race car driving. You’ll also meet Terri Slade, Alannah’s friend, who has a secret and painful past.

The Rules according to Terri are 1) Maintain control and 2) Never fall in love. But Gavin has a rule of his own. He never takes no for an answer. This leads to an interesting cat and mouse chase in the beginning of their relationship. Haha.

Both Gavin and Terri are strong-willed and neither thinksthey’re looking for a serious relationship. But as you read the story, you’ll see that they don’t need just any relationship, they need each other. Gavin offers Terri the security and love she’s craves, and she provides realness and the escape from his life that he’s been searching for.

And did I mention the strong chemistry? Their involvement stems from their strong attraction to each other, but there’s so much more beneath the surface than a physical attraction. You get to see this couple fall in love.

Below is the blurb and an excerpt from Chapter one. Gavin is at Trenton’s penthouse, where he meets Terri for the first time. I hope you enjoy this latest installment of The Johnson Family series.  

Terri Slade learned the hard way to play by her own set of rules. Rule number one, maintain control. Rule number two, never fall in love. Then she met Gavin Johnson and broke both her rules.

Gavin Johnson has lived a charmed life full of adventure. In Terri he thinks he’s found a kindred spirit and even considers settling down. But when the truth about her past is revealed, their perfect relationship falls apart, and Gavin’s left to wonder if he ever really knew her at all.


Gavin tossed a can of their family’s Full Moon brew to his brother and grabbed one for himself.

The music came on again, indicating someone had entered the condo. The dog jumped up and started dancing around, and Trenton’s face transformed into a big grin when Alannah appeared.

Yep, nauseating.

Gavin couldn’t deny Alannah was a cutie, though, with her freckles and sweet smile. But recently she’d transformed from a quiet, conservative woman into a confident hottie. Today she wore her long hair in a high ponytail, had a yoga mat tucked under an arm, and wore pale pink yoga gear that hugged her slender curves.

Right behind her, another woman, dressed similarly, followed. This woman practically burst out of her exercise clothes with a video-vixen body—a veritable gift from the gods to his eyeballs. Her breasts strained against the top, large and hefty enough to overflow in his hands if he cupped them. Her legs, which looked as sturdy as columns, were clad in black yoga pants.

Not too tall, not too short, she moved with effortless grace, hips swinging from side to side in a way that made his loins heavy and his mouth water. An eye-catching woman. Her brand of sex appeal inspired the average man to make bad decisions—like hand over his heart and empty his wallet. Fortunately, he was not average.

“Hey Gavin, how are you?”

Alannah’s bright smile rivaled Trenton’s as she sidled over to his brother.

“Hey, Alannah,” Gavin muttered. He watched as Trenton enfolded her in his arms and they kissed, loud and long, as if no one else was in the room and they hadn’t seen each other this morning.

“Don’t mind me. I’m just here for the food.”

“Sorry.” Alannah giggled, blushing. “I’m being rude. This is my friend, Terri Slade. Terri, this is—”
“Gavin Johnson.” Terri extended her hand. “Nice to meet you.”

A smooth, cool voice slipped into his ears, containing a hint of sultriness that sent a shiver down his neck.

“The pleasure is all mine.” He took her hand. Slender fingers touched his, and a tingling sensation suffused his palm.

Terri looked him directly in the eyes, as though challenging him. She had a firm handshake, but extremely soft hands and white-tipped, manicured nails. Everything about her seemed well put together. Ebony hair pulled back into a short French braid, arched brows above dark brown eyes, full lips, and a honey-brown complexion with a fine dusting of makeup.

And her body…Gavin stifled a groan, unable to resist making another sweep of her build, and bit into the sandwich. Chewing slowly. He tried not to stare, but it was nigh on impossible when she had curves galore, just the way he liked his women, with hips, breasts, and meat on her bones.

“You staying for dinner?” he asked.

“No. Hanging out for a bit, then I’m heading home.”

“Make sure you guys are out of my kitchen when I come back out so I have room to work,” Alannah said, picking up her dog. “Come on, Terri.” Both women headed down the hall.

Gavin watched them disappear, Terri pulling up the rear and her heart-shaped backside swinging like a clock’s pendulum in the most provocative way. What a beautiful view.

Trenton chuckled. “Come on, man.” He dropped onto the black sofa in the living room and propped his feet on the ottoman.

Gavin sat in the matching chair and glared at his brother. “You no good…you’ve been holding out on me.”

“What do you mean?” Trenton asked innocently.

“Terri!” Gavin said in a fierce whisper. He took a sip of beer and then set the can on the table beside him. “Whatin the hell is wrong with you? I’ve been here for months and you never introduced me to all that fineness?”

Trenton shrugged. “I didn’t think—”

“No, you didn’t think. At all. Your head is so full of Alannah, you forgot about me.”

“She doesn’t run in our circles, and I already hooked you up with several women since you’ve been here. What happened to Sharon?”

“She’s crazy.” Gavin stuffed the last bite of the sandwich into his mouth and dusted crumbs from his hands. “She’s ready for marriage and kept dropping hints. When a bridal magazine ‘accidentally’ fell out of her shoulder bag, I knew it was time to move on.”

Trenton chuckled. “She always did have a thing for you.”

“Lucky me.”

The women came back with the Yorkie scampering behind them. The three of them entered the kitchen, and he leaned toward Trenton.

“What’s the deal with Terri?”

“She and Alannah are good friends. They’ve known each other a couple of years.”

“You ever…?”

“Hell no!”

“Don’t act like you’ve never slept with two friends.”

We’re talking about Alannah.”

“Right, right, Mother Theresa. I forgot.” Gavin sipped his beer.

“I’m not talking about her personality. I’m saying I wouldn’t sleep with one of her friends.” Trenton shot him a glare like he couldn’t believe Gavin suggested such a thing.

“If it’s that serious, why don’t you just marry her then?”

“Maybe I will.”

Gavin’s gaze jetted to his brother’s unsmiling face. “Are you serious?” he whispered.

“Thinking about the future, that’s all.” Trenton shrugged and his eyes gravitated to the kitchen where Alannah was removing pots and pans in preparation to cook.

“Listen, I love Alannah, okay. She’s a great woman, but don’t rush into anything. You’re still young, and there’s plenty of ass out there.”

At almost thirty-three, Gavin didn’t feel anywhere near ready for marriage, and he was two years older than Trenton.

“I’ve had plenty of ass,” Trenton said drily. He swigged his beer.

Gavin stared at his brother. “So you’re saying you’re done?”

“I told you that already.”

“I thought you were just saying that. You know, basically she’d be your main woman, but on the side you’d still have…” His voice trailed off at Trenton’s vehement head shaking.

“She’s not the main one. Alannah is the only one.”

Stunned, Gavin didn’t know what to say at first. “Okay, then,” he finally managed. Trenton had clearly lost his mind, but he doubted the monogamy decision would last. “So what’s the deal with Terri?”

“There’s no deal. She’s a friend of Alannah’s.”

“What does she do?”

“Works at a salon doing nails or something.”

“She got a man?”

“I think so.”

“I sense you’re holding out on me,” Gavin said. “What’s the problem? Is she a nice girl or something? Cause I don’t like the nice—”

“No, she’s not nice.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

Trenton sighed and rubbed a hand back and forth across his head. “She’s Alannah’s friend. Don’t cause problems for me.”

“Don’t worry, little brother. I won’t.”

Trenton glanced at the kitchen to ensure the women weren’t paying attention and they weren’t, busy talking and laughing as Alannah prepared to cook. “You better not,” Trenton said in a low voice. “Cause when you’re gone on your next adventure, I’ll be the one stuck here in the dog house.”

Gavin laughed and shook his head. “Everything will be fine. I won’t mess up your perfect little relationship. You and Alannah can remain blissfully living in sin, all right?”

Trenton shot him a dark look but didn’t respond, and Gavin’s eyes strayed to Terri, the kind of woman not easily overlooked, no matter the setting.

He had to get to know her better.

Ebook sale price of $2.99.
Regular retail price of $4.99.
Preorder print sale price of $7.99.
Regular retail price of $9.99.

Buy it now:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance Ebooks | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Google Play

Have a great weekend!!!

Special Guest: M. J. Kane and Nobody’s Business

Please welcome M.J. Kane to my blog as she discusses one of her favorite scenes from her latest release, Nobody’s Business.

My Favorite Scene

As an author, the joy of writing comes from listening to my characters as they not only introduce themselves to me, but also to each other. Every now and then a funny quirk, dumb decision, or comment leads to a scene that makes me laugh every time….and okay, maybe a little bit of real life experiences from myself or others around me has something to do with it to. J

In NOBODY’S BUSINESS, one of my favorite scenes comes when Trevon Campbell is invited to stay as Kai Malone is making dinner. While he is on his way to becoming the General Manager of an Applebee’s restaurant and has years of experience in the food industry, that doesn’t mean he is an experienced cook!



“Hey, it’s about time you got here. Justin and I were going to start without you.” Kai stepped aside and let me enter her apartment.

“Daddy!” Justin ran up to me, arms raised, fingers grasping the air.

“Hey, little man.” I picked him up and kissed his cheek. “Start what?” I peered around Justin’s head as he hugged my neck.

“Peeza!” Justin yelled in my ear.

“Whoa there,” I pulled back and tickled his belly. “Peeza? What’s that?”

Kai laughed as she walked by and rubbed Justin’s head. “He means pizza. We were about to make one.”

“Oh.” I followed her to the kitchen. “So I take it I have to say for dinner?”

She shot me a look over her shoulder. “Unless you’ve got other plans?”

“No, not at all.” I studied the spread on the table. Onions, bell peppers, shredded cheese, a can of spaghetti sauce, pepperoni slices, and pizza crust. I glanced around the kitchen. “Where’s the box?”

“Of what?”


Kai looked at me as if I was an idiot. “I’m making homemade pizza.”

“Homemade pizza? Wow.”

Kai laughed, then sat down at the table and pulled the cutting board and the nearest ingredient to be chopped before her.

I sat down across from her with Justin in my lap.

She placed a bell pepper on the cutting board and began to chop it into circular pieces. “I take it your mother didn’t make it this way?”

“My mom cooked big, extravagant meals, you know, down home Southern cooking. I was at the dinner table, not in the kitchen. I left my sisters to have that fun.”

Kai stopped chopping and pointed the knife in my direction. “Hold on, you mean you manage a major eating establishment, but don’t cook?”

“Manage; operative word in the sentence.” I grinned.

Kai cracked up. Justin, who had no idea what the big fuss was about, laughed too.

I joined in. “Hey, somebody’s got to make sure the line cooks, chef, and wait staff stay on the ball. Plus, I cut the checks.”

“But still, what do you eat?” She wiped the corners of her eyes.

It was a pleasure to see her laugh that hard.


“From where?”

“Applebee’s and other places.”

Her expression went from laughter to serious. “What do you feed Justin? You said he has certain dietary needs. He can’t just eat Applebee’s every night.”

“He doesn’t. I didn’t say I can’t cook…I’m just not that good at it.”

Kai shook her head. “You need more help than I thought. Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. Justin,” she sat the knife down and stood. “Do you want to watch another movie?”

“Yes!” He jumped from my lap and went straight for Kai’s outstretched hand.

“Traitor,” I mumbled, then laughed.

I watched as they walked out of the kitchen, hand-in-hand, and tried my best not to feel like the world’s worst dad.

I knew what Justin’s dietary needs were. My workplace wasn’t the only place I purchased fast food from. There were several soul food restaurants on my speed dial. I made sure he had the best mixture of fruits and vegetables, along with protein.

But, Kai had a point. I couldn’t keep doing this.

Times like this made me contemplate packing up everything and moving back to Charlotte. I needed my mother. She would make sure Justin had everything he needed.

The problem was his doctors were here. My job was here.

Trina’s family he’d known since birth was here.

I was on my own.

Kai returned. “Come on. Cooking Lesson 101; how to make homemade pizza.” She grabbed the cutting board, knife, and the bell pepper she’d been cutting. “Grab the rest of it, will you?”

I did as instructed and found myself standing beside her at the counter.

“I feel stupid for asking this, but do you know how to chop?” She looked up at me.

It had been a long time since we stood this close together. I forgot how tall she was. Her head stopped just short of my shoulder.

“You take a knife and you slice stuff up. Simple. Who doesn’t know that?”

A smile spread on her face as she shook her head. “Show me.” She handed me the knife, handle first.

I felt like an idiot, but did it anyway. When I was done, Kai had laughter in her eyes, but not so much in her voice.

“Trevon, you just massacred an innocent vegetable. That was horrible.”

I looked down at my handiwork. “Okay, I don’t know how to chop like the chefs on TV, but it’s cut up, right?”

Kai shook her head and let the laugh she’d been holding out. “Thank God you don’t make love the way you use a knife.”

My attention went directly to her face, which grew crimson after her comment.

“Sorry. My point is, you need to approach food preparation the same way you’d approach sex; with passion. Understand?”

I scratched my head and tried to ignore the visual that came to mind. Kai on top of me, my hands on her hips as I pushed up inside of her. Long silky strands of jet black hair brushing my chest as she leaned down and our mouths met…

That same silky hair now rested in a neat bun on top of her head.

I gripped the edge of the counter top to keep from reaching out to touch it.

“Trevon?” Kai looked at me with a puzzled expression.

I blinked. “Huh? Oh, yeah, right. Cook with passion. Got it.”

She removed the outer layers of an onion and placed in on the cutting board. “Try again.”

I grasped the onion. The thing was large and filled my fingers completely. I held it in place. Kai took my hand that held the knife and lined it up over the onion. The contact sent an image of her hand on mine when her breast had been in my hand. The soft, yet firm weight of it. The texture. The taste.


I sliced through it, cutting it in half, then looked at Kai. A smile was on her face, so I assumed I did well. I repeated the process over and over until there was nothing but small chunks left.


“Much better.” She was genuinely pleased.

Satisfied, I ran a hand over my brow. “Oh, shit!”

“What’s wrong?” Kai’s hand was on my arm.

“I got onion juice in my eye!” I blinked rapidly, trying to aid the natural tears raining down to clear out my tear ducts.

“Here, sit down.” She guided me to the nearest chair. “I’ve got saline drops in my purse. Hold on.” She disappeared, and was back in a flash.

Could I make myself look more inadequate?

“Hold still.” Kai leaned over, spreading my eyelid open, then dropping the solution in the affected eye.

I shut my eyes and hung my head down, trying my best to resist the urge to rub it again with my onion infected hands. “Damn, that hurts.”

“Why on earth would you wipe your face when you haven’t washed your hands yet?” She laughed her disbelief.

I blinked, then blinked again. The burning sensation in my eye took a second seat to the awareness of Kai’s body between my legs.

She wore shorts, while I had on a pair of dress slacks, yet I could feel the heat from her body as it radiated against my leg. For a moment I was transported back to my bed and the way our bodies had rocked and bucked against one another. The mindless need to feel her again begged for me to pull her into my lap.

Kai cleared her throat and stepped back breaking the connection. “Better?”

“Yeah.” I leaned forward and started to rub my eye again, but she grabbed my arm and led me to the sink.

She squirted dish liquid in my hand; I scrubbed furiously. When done, I turned to see she’d returned to chopping the remaining toppings for the pizza.


To celebrate the release of the fourth novel in The Butterfly Memoirs series, I am giving away a basket filled with Butterfly Memoirs goodies, including autographed paperback copies of ALL FOUR BOOKS!!!! All you have to do is follow the month long blog tour and Tweet, Like, and Share!

Click here to enter the contest => Enter The Contest!

Trevon Campbell’s world changed the moment his ex-girlfriend announced he was a father. Determined to make up for his past mistakes, he gives Trina what she wanted before their breakup, what feels like his soul, which means forgetting the woman he had a one-night stand with, the woman who stole his heart.

Kai Malone doesn’t want to play by her family’s rules. Instead of working for the family business, she became a firefighter. Being a female of multicultural descent, working in a field dominated by men, Kai focuses on her job to ignore the infidelity of her fiancé. Tired of his deceit, she gave in to a one-night stand with a complete stranger, someone she’d never have to see again…or so she thought.

When tragedy strikes, their worlds collide, leaving them no choice but to deal with each other again. It doesn’t take long for them to realize the attraction that brought them together the first time is stronger than ever, forcing Trevon to make the biggest decision of his life.

Buy it now:  Amazon | B&N | iTunes

About the Author:

M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this once stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free. Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.

No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and four pit bulls. During the day, MJ is a librarian, in her spare time she is director of a local writer’s group, or online connecting with readers and other authors. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.

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Still in Love: Episode 2

Here is the next episode of Still in Love, a serial novel that will run on my blog through the summer. I’ll have a new blog post of one or two chapters every Friday. Subscribe to my newsletter to get an email alert for each episode. => SUBSCRIBE


Still in Love_a novella_200X300Three years ago, Nadine Alesini divorced her husband and left Buenos Aires with her daughter in tow. Now she’s back and forced to spend time with the man she left behind.

Cortez Alesini long ago accepted that his music career aided in the demise of his marriage. So he didn’t expect that he and Nadine would spend passionate nights together while she’s back in his country, causing them to question if they gave up too soon. But the reappearance of someone from his past immediately causes friction, and may destroy any chance they have at a true reconciliation.

Episode 1

Chapter Two

Cortez slipped back on his sunglasses. While he carried on a conversation with his daughter, he kept an eye on his wife—ex-wife. After all this time, one would think his brain would have grown accustomed to the fact that she was no longer his spouse, but every now and again he slipped up. She had been his first wife—should have been his only wife—but anger and mutual pain had caused irreparable damage in their marriage and torn them apart.

She hardly looked her forty years, wearing a loose-fitting shirt with billowing long sleeves, a pair of jeans that molded to round hips—meant for a man’s hands to hold onto—and thick thighs to lose himself between. Then there was her incredible ass, which he hadn’t been able to resist ogling as she moved past him to enter the car.

His fingers folded tightly into his palm, and he resolved not to be distracted by her appearance, no matter how unbearable it was to be this close and not able to touch.

He’d almost declined his sister’s request to have Nadine stay at the house, but Elsa had pleaded with him because she’d promised Nadine she wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of lodging if she came for the wedding. Yet in the midst of all the preparations, she had clearly forgotten to pass on the message to Nadine about the change of plans.

The limo paused at the security gate of Nortada, located on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, and one of the first communities of its kind in Argentina. They rolled through the entrance, past the first of nine neighborhoods that occupied the affluent enclave filled mostly with upper-middle-class families, but also wealthy businesspeople and celebrities.

A family of ducks waddled across the street—not an unusual sight in this peaceful environment—to get to the man-made lake on the other side. The purple blooms of jacaranda trees lined the road and fought to wrestle attention from the bright yellow of the lemon trees, whose fragrance could be detected even through the car’s barrier of glass and steel.

They’d chosen this place as their home because of the numerous amenities which ensured residents could have all their needs satisfied within the gates. Not only did they have their own medical center, the sports center offered rugby, soccer, American football, and tennis. A mall offered a below-ground supermarket, with clothing and small restaurants occupying the upper two floors. Then there were four private schools, one of which was the bilingual Catholic school Antonella had attended before she and her mother moved to the States. Over the years, he and his former bandmates from Los Tigres had put on shows at the performing arts center to raise funds used to preserve and maintain the community’s green space.

Life at Nortada was truly utopian living, which many on the outside complained was elitist and provided an unrealistic view of the world for the children raised within its borders. But during the height of his performing career, he’d seen it as the perfect place to raise a family and the privacy and security put his mind at ease when he traveled, except now he had to endure the tranquil landscape alone. His carefully constructed paradise was nothing more than a glamorous cell.

The black iron gates of his own abode eased open and the limo came to a stop in the circular driveway of the two-story mansion. An elegant structure of cream-colored stone, the house stood out even among the many jewels in the development. For him and Nadine, it didn’t just say We made it, it was a place they’d envisioned living for many years and raising a large family.

Joachim preceded them into the house with the bags, and as soon as they entered, Philippa, the housekeeper, came shuffling into the large foyer. Her rotund face exploded into a big smile when she saw Antonella and Nadine.

“¿Cómo estás, la chiquita?” Philippa spread her arms wide, and Antonella ran into them, pressing her face into the woman’s large bosom.

After their effusive greeting, she sent a more cautious smile in Nadine’s direction. “Hola, señora. I have prepared the room next to Antonella for you.”

“Thank you, Philippa.” Nadine took the housekeeper’s hand. They had a special bond because Nadine had hired her, and when he’d go on the road for months, the two had become very close. “I’m a little tired, so I think I’d like to take a nap, if that’s okay.” She turned to face Cortez.

Her eyes were so dark they appeared as shiny and luxurious as black onyx, and he was struck again by her effortless beauty. The brick-red top showed off the sepia-brown tone of her skin, and the straight bob cut framed her features perfectly—a round face, full nose, and a tasty mouth that could set his blood afire with the lightest brush.

He mentally shook himself when he realized they all awaited a response from him. “I think you both should probably get some rest after such a long flight.” He looked pointedly at Antonella.

“We’ve been up since the crack of dawn,” Antonella announced.

They all chuckled.

“On that note, we’ll head on up,” Nadine said.

Antonella raced up the stairs, and Nadine followed behind at a more reasonable pace.

Philippa watched them go, hands clasped together in front of her. “It’s good to have Mrs. Alesini back.” She looked very pleased, smiling much more than the occasion warranted, as if Nadine was back for good.

“She’s only here for a week,” Cortez reminded her. Antonella’s winter break ended next week.

“Yes, but it’s a good way to start the New Year, isn’t it?” Expectant brown eyes sought out his.

“It is,” Cortez agreed in a measured voice. He dared not get too excited.

By the pleased expression on Philippa’s face, his answer sufficed. “I’ll prepare dinner so that everyone can eat together.”

“I won’t be here for dinner.” Cortez fished in his pocket for the keys to one of his cars. “I have an unplanned dinner meeting tonight—some business I need to wrap up before the wedding.”

“Yes, sir.” Philippa took off toward the kitchen.

She had been devastated when he and Nadine divorced. Not only for the dissolution of the marriage, but because she had come to love Antonella as one of her own. While she was accustomed to seeing his siblings and their families around, he lived alone in this house—a house she’d stated only a few months ago should be shared with a wife and children. Perhaps she felt sorry for him, but he had to dispel any wishful thoughts she had.


“Yes, Mr. Alesini.”

“Don’t get your hopes up.”

Her face shifted into a neutral expression. With a curt nod, she said, “Yes, sir.”

Deep in thought, Cortez went into the garage. He climbed into the black Mercedes-Benz and drove through the gate. A quick glance at the clock on the dashboard let him know he had plenty of time before his dinner meeting at nine. Perfect, since he had to stop at the office to pick up and review several documents beforehand.

Tonight’s meeting had been one he’d tried to avoid, but he was knee-deep in contract negotiations with the management team of a hot new boy band one of his scouts had seen playing at a riverside cafe in the Puerto Madero neighborhood. His record label, Musica Fuerte, wanted to sign them, but the boys’ team of three—made up of two of the boys’ parents, who happened to be attorneys—was playing hardball because they knew the bankability of the young men. They were at the right age, ranging from fifteen to seventeen, good-looking, all played instruments, and sang in both Spanish and English.

The potential to make them into megastars was evident. He envisioned them becoming very popular in Latin America and even having crossover success in the United States, something he himself had only achieved on a small scale. If he could get their parents to adjust their unrealistic demands.

Cortez cruised to a stop behind several cars at the traffic light.

The outdoor cafés were filled with patrons sipping coffees, tea, reading, and chatting with friends. It reminded him of another time—the day he’d met Nadine. After their initial meeting, they’d had a whirlwind romance. Her family had warned her about her unemployed foreign boyfriend and his seductive conversation, but she’d ignored them all, as completely enamored with him as he had been with her.

Cortez gripped the steering wheel and accelerated behind the advancing traffic. Sentimentality threatened to overtake him, and much as he tried, he couldn’t shake off the memories.

Her bottom may be a little fuller, her hips a little wider, but in essence, Nadine was the same woman he’d met fifteen years ago at that café—long before his singing career catapulted him to international stardom. At that first meeting, she’d made more than a great first impression on him.

He’d fallen in love with her.

(For Chapter Three, Click –> NEXT PAGE)

Still in Love: Episode 1

Welcome! Today begins the latest serial book on my blog, Still in Love. If you’ve followed me over the past few years, you already know what to expect. For the newbies, every Friday morning you’ll get a new episode from Still in Love – usually one or two chapters – right to your inbox. Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter to get those email alerts => SUBSCRIBE. Then pop in on the blog  to leave your comments. I’ll be here to chat right along with you.

Now, let me introduce you to the characters.

Cortez Alesini

Age: 43

Nationality: Argentine

Profession: former musician, currently owns a record label

Cortez is from Argentina and has a big family that includes two brothers, three sisters, and lots of nieces and nephews. He’s the kind of man who knows what he wants and goes after it. After some hesitation, he eventually approached Nadine in a cafe, and within a year he convinced her to remain in Buenos Aires and they were married. Yeah, he didn’t waste any time.

Nadine Alesini

Age: 40

Nationality: American

Profession: import/export consultant

Nadine is from the southern United States and comes from a big family as well, but she abandoned all of that to marry Cortez. She has a playful, fun-loving side, but she’s also very protective of their daughter, Antonella. About five years ago, their marriage started to fall apart, eventually ending in divorce. They still love each other, but it’s going to take a little bit of time for them to figure it out. Hopefully, you’ll be rooting for them as you watch their romance unfold every week through the summer.

By the way, this was supposed to be a short story, right around 12,000-15,000 words. But I ended up doubling that word count because there was more that I wanted to share about this couple, so you’ll notice the book cover no longer says “a short story.” It now says “a novella.” Enjoy!


Still in Love_a novella_200X300Three years ago, Nadine Alesini divorced her husband and left Buenos Aires with her daughter in tow. Now she’s back and forced to spend time with the man she left behind.

Cortez Alesini long ago accepted that his music career aided in the demise of his marriage. So he didn’t expect that he and Nadine would spend passionate nights together while she’s back in his country, causing them to question if they gave up too soon. But the reappearance of someone from his past immediately causes friction, and may destroy any chance they have at a true reconciliation.


Coming back to Argentina had not been anywhere near on Nadine Alesini’s list of things to do, but when her former sister-in-law followed up a wedding invitation with a personal plea, she hadn’t been able to say no. Now, at least for the moment, she was glad she hadn’t.

She’d missed Buenos Aires.

The “Paris of South America” had been her home for twelve years, eleven of those while married. Her marriage had ended, but the product of their union sat close to her side outside the Ezeiza International Airport terminal. Antonella, her twelve-year-old daughter, whose voluminous black curls were piled on top of her head in a high ponytail, sat with feet swinging as her eyes searched the cars pulling up to the curb.

The eleven-hour flight hadn’t diminished her daughter’s excitement one iota. The annual flights south were not enough for Antonella, and this bonus trip for the wedding had made her ecstatic she’d get to see her father and the rest of her family twice in one year.

Nadine tucked her chin-length hair behind an ear and like her daughter, searched the cars for her ex-husband. Where her daughter practically bounced with excited energy, a knot of anxiety lay heavy in her stomach.

“What time is it?” Antonella asked.

Nadine checked the face of her phone. “A few minutes after six. He’s not that late.”

Antonella sighed. “He’s usually on time.”

Behind a red sports car, a black limo approached, and Nadine knew it was Cortez even before the door opened. Not only because it was a limo, but because of the way her skin prickled, as if someone had dusted wool fabric along her arms and created static electricity, causing the hairs to stand on end, a clear indication of his presence.

The car cruised to a stop, and the back door opened before the driver could come around to it. Cortez Alesini emerged, looking quite relaxed in a pair of dark shades and dressed casually in black slacks and a plain white shirt, which looked anything but plain the way it lay against his tanned skin and hugged his muscular chest and arms.


Antonella raced forward and jumped into his outstretched arms.

Nadine stood, gaze pinned on Cortez’s bent head as he lifted their daughter from the ground and crushed her to him. Their tight, affectionate embrace caused a tightness of guilt in her chest, and she looked away, reaching for the luggage. Before she could even touch her suitcase, the driver, Joachim, grabbed the handle.

“I have it, señora.” Joachim was in his early fifties but appeared fifteen years younger. Along with his uniform of a tan shirt and dark trousers, he wore an ever-present smile and had a self-effacing manner, often bowing his head to demonstrate his respect.

He took off with the bags, leaving Nadine to stand awkwardly, waiting, as Cortez and Antonella finished their greeting. When he finally released her, Antonella held onto his hand, behaving more like a two-year-old than a twelve-year-old. The way she clung to her father once again created a pain in Nadine’s chest, reminding her that she was the reason they had to live apart.

Cortez removed his sunglasses, almost as if in slow motion, and Nadine felt the full strength of his gaze like a blow to the chest. Her breath held for a beat, rendering her motionless, tightening every muscle in her body as if she’d been caught in a seizure. In that moment, she was very much like one of his millions of adoring fans. Transfixed. Thrilled, that of all the people hurrying by, he’d chosen to lavish her with his attention.

Finally she found her voice. “Hello, Cortez. It’s been a long time.”

Three years, in fact, since they’d last seen each other in person. Their split had been less than amicable, and in all that time she’d only seen the odd photo of him online, but mostly the photos she did see were pictures Antonella shared after each trip. By silent, mutual agreement, their only contact was by phone or email. Elsa, her former sister-in-law, had been the one to escort Antonella south every year on a chartered flight.

“Nadine.” Nah-deen. He and his entire family said her name the same way, using a lyrical, almost poetic pronunciation. But it was his voice…God his voice was like the gentle strum of a guitar—deep and enticing, and made her want to lean into the sound.

His eyes roamed over her, gaze lingering on her breasts and skimming her hips, before dropping lower to her denim-clad thighs. The thorough examination left her tingling all over.

“You have not changed much,” he murmured, almost to himself.

The warm-sounding compliment made her heart ache. This is what she’d been dreading ever since her decision to come—the face to face with Cortez and having to endure the emotions he’d evoke.

“Neither have you, so we’re even.”

He’d been a gorgeous young man, in every sense of the word, and as an older, mature-looking man, he could clearly still turn heads. His eyes, gray with hints of blue, showed signs of wrinkles at the corners, but age had simply ripened his looks, giving him a more distinguished appearance.

Tall and very broad, Cortez was half-Italian and half-Argentine, and exemplified what could happen when two equally attractive people fell in love and procreated. His father had come to the country as part of a wave of Italian and Spanish immigrants from Europe and fallen in love with Cortez’s mother. They married and proceeded to have a large family of three boys and three girls.

“I think you must be blind.” A sexy smile lifted one side of his mouth. During the height of his popularity as a recording artist, that same expression had been duplicated on posters and advertisements around the continent, plastered on the walls of teenaged girls, and made the hearts of women of every ethnicity go pitter patter. “I have many more gray hairs since the last time I saw you.” He touched a hand to his silky hair.

Now that he was no longer in the public eye and hounded by adoring fans, he’d allowed his hair to grow a little longer, the curling mass dusting his collar and ears. Silver around the temples indicated middle age had caught up with him, but by his fit body and trim waist, he might have been caught, but not yet conquered.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about it,” Nadine said. “You look fine.”

They stared at each other, the moment a little awkward, and the air becoming thick and soupy with the burden of unspoken thoughts. Right as Cortez opened his mouth to talk, Antonella tugged his hand, drawing their attention and slamming the door on whatever was transpiring between them.

“Let’s go, Papá. I’m ready to see everybody.”

One would think Antonella hadn’t been here just six months before, but she’d lived in Argentina the first nine years of her life, and though she’d become acclimated to the United States very quickly, she loved her home country and her family one hundred times more.

Cortez’s face softened, filling with affection as he looked at his daughter. “After you, mi amor.”

Antonella hurried into the back of the vehicle, and Cortez extended an arm toward the open door. “After you,” he said to Nadine.

“Thank you.”

She slid past him and climbed into the plush interior. She settled onto the leather seat beside Antonella, and Cortez joined them, sitting with his back to the front.

“Are you taking me to Elsa’s first?” Nadine asked, setting her purse on the seat next to her.

Her sister-in-law had offered to let Nadine stay in one of the bedrooms of her three-bedroom condo.

“Didn’t she tell you?” Cortez frowned at her.

“Tell me what?”

“You’re staying at the house.”

Nadine’s heart jolted at the news. “I-I don’t understand. Elsa said I’d be staying at her place.”

Cortez crossed his legs and extended a hand across the back of the leather seat. “Change of plans. Two of her close college girlfriends who originally couldn’t make it were able to come and they’re staying at her condo. She asked me if you could stay at the house, and I told her that was fine. That’s not a problem, is it?”

“No, of course not.” Unless one considered a week in the same house as her ex-husband a problem.

Nadine was very aware of Antonella’s presence, and she didn’t want to give the impression that they couldn’t get along.

“Gustavo and his family will be coming to stay for the wedding,” Cortez said, referring to his older brother, “but there’s plenty of room at the house.”

“I know. I used to live there.” Nadine wished she could pull back the words. She’d meant to only state a fact but had sounded bitchy instead.

A muscle in his cheek twitched. “Yes, you did.” The words sounded like an indictment of wrongdoing rather than a simple statement.

Abruptly, he shifted his attention to Antonella. “How was the trip, mi amor?”

They lapsed into Spanish to continue the conversation.

As the vehicle rolled toward the gated community where Cortez lived, impending dread rode along in Nadine’s stomach. She wondered how she’d make it through the next seven days without falling apart, in a house she used to live in, with the man she used to love.


Question: Does Nadine’s reactions to her ex’s appearance fit those of a woman who USED to be in love?