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I am a very quiet person that dabbles in many hobbies.  I have found writing to be my passion to take me away from my stress and help me relax.  Very family oriented, I enjoy spending time with family and friends doing a big cookout or just having a good round of sister talk with the girls. I take each and blessing as a gift and never question why things happen.  We have to take the good with the bad to complete ourselves as a person.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ebook Sale

Back to school sale! Only this for the Parents! 

Now that school is back in session and running the kids around to the local swimming pool or spending all day at the amusement park has ended, how about doing a little relaxing and reading.

Until the end of August, I have lowered two of my best selling ebooks to $0.99. You can grab "When The Music Stops" and "Law and Disorder: Partners Undercover" for only $0.99 on Amazon, BN, and allromanceebooks.com. 

If you can't chose which to read, you can bundle and get four in a one ebook download for the low price of $6.00 on amazon.com and BN.








Friday, August 10, 2012

More from "Let Me Serve You" coming soon

“I will try my hardest to make it routine business as normal. You, Nate, and even Leslie can continue to do things after work and I’ll go do what I do on my own.”


“That won’t make me happy.”

“Oh well. Life is like a box of chocolates. You take a chance on what’s covered under that pretty gold wrapped piece. Will it be a sweet, chewy nugget or will it be bitter and hard.”

“You’ll always be that sweet, chewy nugget, piece, to me.”

“Stop it, Charlie. I’m not playing with you; just back off!”

“Leighton, I can’t believe you’ll never want me to do this again?”

With her back against the refrigerator, Charlie tipped her head to pull her into a kiss. She pressed her lips tightly to stop the penetration of his tongue from entering her mouth. Breaking through her barricade he was in and it felt like home.

Taking the kiss deeper, her loins started to stir. Their deep breathing was the only sounds in the room other than the humming of the deep freezer. Charlie’s hands found her breasts. He began to massage her slowly through the thin material of her blouse.

Falling prey to his seduction, Leighton placed her hands on his shoulders giving him a hard shove. Engorged with anger, instinct had her raising her hand to slap him; he caught her wrist. “You know you don’t want to do that,” he said kissing her wrist gently. “You’re angry with me and I understand. But you can’t deny there is something between us. I will back off to give you space, so you can see it for yourself, but don’t think for a minute I’m going to let you get away too far.”

Stunned and dumbfound by his actions, Leighton couldn’t do anything but storm past him to return to her office, slamming the door.

Charlie slid the heavy backpack over his shoulder. He wondered if he should wait on her so they could leave together as usual. When she didn’t emerge he tapped on the door. “Leighton, I’m leaving. I’ll see you in the morning.”

Safely hearing the service door close, Leighton removed her cellphone from her purse. Dialing the number she waited for the other party to answer. “Dr. Roake, can you squeeze me in; I screwed up big time.”



Saturday, August 4, 2012

Excerpt from Let Me Serve You

LET ME SERVE YOU
INTRODUCTION

Leighton Hall maintained her life and high-powered career as a private wealth investor in New York City. Leaving her family and Chicago behind was her way of leaving her youth where it belonged and opening a new door to a brighter adulthood. Leighton wanted nothing more than to replace the pain and suffering she’d endured sixteen years earlier with a successful career in finance.

After graduating high school, Leighton, fresh off the plane and onto the doorstep of her aunt’s Brownstone in Brooklyn, New York, she was filled with ambition of getting her career started.  At the time, at the tender age of eighteen she prayed starting over in a city full of possibilities would uplift her sagging spirit.

All worked to her advantage.  During her second year of college, the few students she interacted with weren’t interested in getting to know her past.  Most were too absorbed in their own selves to entertain any curiosity about what her past held.  The oft-asked questions were general, non-intrusive questions, but just enough to hold enlightening conversations.  She didn’t have a problem boasting making the Dean’s list or any immodesty concerning her career choice; she only refused to speak of her life in Chicago.

After being nagged by her best friend Adele, she garnered enough nerve to join a sorority.  Adele suggested they do so because it didn’t hurt to have a sorority listed on her resume for potential employers.  There was always a chance that a potential employer might be fellow a sorority member, that could help move her up a few notches on the hiring ladder.

After graduating college with honors and obtaining a job, those close friends became family; temporarily replacing her real family in Chicago.  Adele’s boyfriend, Evodio, had now become her best friend also, and they were the only two to know the whole truth behind her leaving Chicago. 

Evodio graduated with a degree in political science. He constantly encouraged her to step outside the box and use common sense to learn to trust people. He overly-stressed she was being her own worst enemy by locking her past in a closet and erasing the memories instead of dealing with them head on. 

One morning Evodio, Adele, and Leighton were meeting for coffee to discuss wedding plans.  Evodio arrived before Adele.  “So sorry I’m running late, Leighton,” he said leaning down to kiss her on the cheek.

She removed the sunglasses covering her eyes from the early morning sun. “Don’t worry about it, I haven’t been waiting long.  Where is Adele?  You would think the bride would be on time.”

He rolled his eyes. “She’s having mother issues again.  Adele has to be forceful and let her mother know this is HER wedding.”

Leighton chuckled. “Mom and Dad are footing the bill so she’s not going to fuss too much.  Evodio, you’re going to make a great politician one day.”

“What has you saying that?”

“Have you noticed your statements come across as campaign speeches? You pound your fists together to make what you’re saying standout.”

“I’m that kind of person, Leighton.  I want people to hear what I’m saying and not ignore me.  So, if being louder than any opponent, or pounding on a table will get that attention then….”  He stopped, shaking his head.  “I see what you mean; I’ll work on that.”

“Don’t change now; you’ll need that aggression once campaign season begins.  You’re running for Alderman and when you win that spot, you’ll keep going upward until you reach your final destination of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Hey, hey…the first Mexican to occupy the White House.  The naysayers had bad racist jokes for Obama; I can only imagine what will be said about me.”

“Bigots are entitled to their opinions.  Keep doing what you’re doing and ignore them; you know what you stand for.”

“Uh, care to turn that around so it applies to you?”

“No,” she said staunchly.

Ordering coffee for himself and Leighton, he relaxed to bask in the early morning warmth of the sun.  “This two wedding thing is stupid.  Adele’s mother insists we get married in Ontario and then have another wedding in New York.  How can Ontario compete with New York City,” he asked.  “It’s eight o’clock on a Saturday morning and people are out enjoying what New York has to offer already.”

“Man, you do not want to upset that applecart.  You’re a native New Yorker and this is home for you.  Adele’s family is in Canada.  Go along with whatever she wants in order to keep the peace for your special day.”

“I’m going through with it regardless of how I feel about the matter.  Adele better be glad I love her, or I’d walk away from this fiasco.”

“No you wouldn’t.”

 “Leighton, none of my ideas were included in this wedding.  You’d better believe the second wedding will have all the Mexican elements that overbearing shrew of a mother of hers, cut me out of.”

Leighton shook her head. “I feel you on that, but I commend you for keeping your temper and your mouth in 
check.”

He pushed back in his chair amazed.  Normally, a more entertaining response or speech would come from her. “That’s it?  No other snappy comebacks? Leighton, what’s wrong?”

“Nope I have nothing and why are you asking me that?” She moved her hands from the table as the waitress set the two mugs of coffee down.

“I know you, plus, you have that look in your eye.  What have I told you about holding in your emotions?”
She sighed uneasily. “Stop trying to read my mind, Evodio.”

“I wouldn’t have to do that if you would tell me what’s on your mind.”

She sipped the hot coffee letting her eyes lift to meet his seriously-dark eyes staring back at her. “I was thinking this is the end of an era.  You two will be married and will want to do activities with other married couples.”

“Well, get married to continue the era, Leighton.  For sure I have a cousin that wants to get with you and a few other friends that can’t wait to meet you.”

She flipped her wrist. “Warn them now that I am not interested.  I’ll send for Cocoa to keep me company.”

“Damn, you prefer the company of a cat rather than a man?  Leighton, I will keep drilling in your head to open your eyes until you finally do. All men aren’t dogs.  My cousin, José’s a little hairy but he has a good job, and, is in the country legally; he’ll treat you with respect.” 

She frowned. “You know I don’t like stereotyping and I have nothing against José—I don’t want to start a relationship that I know is destined to fail.”

“How do you know if you don’t try?  He keeps calling me about you.  Go out to dinner or a movie with him.  

You know José, so talking to him shouldn’t be a problem.”

“That’s the problem, Evodio.  I would like to keep José as a friend and the best way for me to do that is not to date him.”

“Good God you are so stubborn—“

She put her finger to her lips.  “Shush…end of discussion. Adele is coming down the street; I don’t want her to hear us arguing about José.” 

He mouthed lowly. “This isn’t over.”

She returned a smart-aleck yes it is, before standing to hug Adele.

“Good morning, Leighton,” Adele said squeezing in a hug.  “I have your plane ticket before I forget.”

“Your family should not be responsible for paying for my ticket, Adele.  I can afford to pay my own way.”

Adele placed her hand on her forehead, saying “Not you, too.  Can I get through this wedding without everyone hating me because of the decisions my mother is making?  I swear, once this wedding is over, I’m taking a break from her.”

Leighton shoved her playfully on the shoulder. “Girl, I’m kidding.  Why should I pay for a first-class ticket when someone else is willing to buy it for me?”

Laughing, the three went on to discuss the wedding as planned.  Two months later Adele and Evodio were married in Ontario with a second wedding in New York to follow a week later.

*****

After both weddings took place, Leighton returned to work.  She kept in touch with her newly married friends, but did not see them as often.  Sitting at her desk, she was concentrating on her work when her assistant buzzed her phone, a smile crossed her face.  Malcolm, her younger brother, was waiting to see her.

Malcolm’s unannounced visit to New York was to proposition her to invest twenty-thousand dollars in a restaurant.  While her list contained fewer pros than cons, she hesitated agreeing to invest until she read the business proposal he prepared.  It included a well-known Chicago chef who was investing his own money and talent in the business; that sealed the deal for her to join.

“Malcolm, are you sure you want to get involved with this type of business with your heavy schedule?  Restaurants require a lot of attention.”

“I got it all under control, Leighton.  I’ll hire a business manager that has skills in the business to run the place for me.  Basically, all I’ll have to do is make an appearance to promote the place every now and then and…boom…we’re rolling in the dough.”

“Malcolm, make sure you handle everything before you return to Utah.  Twenty-thousand dollars is a lot of money to lose.”

“Lay-Lay, your investment will triple in a year.  You know me; I wouldn’t take your hard-earned cash if I didn’t have it all together before coming to you.”

“Of course, you wouldn’t.  I’m curious why you didn’t ask Mom and Dad to invest.  They do just about anything you want.”

“This is my baby, Lay-Lay.  Mom would have Martha Stewart coming in to take over my restaurant and Dad would let it happen.  This is my venture that they have nothing do with. I want you to have whatever success I have coming from this restaurant.”

Closing the binder, she folded her hands together over the top of it.  “Success in your business is not necessary for me, Malcolm; getting my money back will be good enough.”

Malcolm played with his close-shaved goatee before asking, “So, Sis, what’s new?”

She crossed her legs, relaxing in the oversized leather chair that matched the mahogany desk covered with paperwork.  Her spacious corner office told of her success.  The large glass windows gave a scenic aerial view of New York. Several framed awards and pictures she’d taken with celebrities and powerful individuals graced the walls and tables.   “Not much has changed since the last time we spoke.”

“You definitely got it going on the employment front, but you’re living in the best city on earth.  Do you need me to give you a few lessons on how to live it up in New York? You’re a millionaire, act like one and throw some weight around.”

“Correction—YOU are the millionaire thanks to the millions of dollars your contract pays and all those endorsements you have.  I only handle millionaire’s portfolios.” 

“You know what I’m saying.  You’re not a bottom feeder and you’re pulling in a hefty paycheck.  But, as long as I got a dollar, you got a dollar so in namesake you are a millionaire.”

“Malcolm, I love you but listen to me, you’re smart and level headed.  Don’t let your basketball career change you.  Hold onto your money and keep your nose clean.”

“I’m way ahead of you, Sis.  My accountant will be contacting you to take over my future investments.  I want the best wealth investment manager handling my dollars and you are the best,” he said glancing at his Rolex.  “I gotta get moving.  I promised a few friends we’d meet up tonight; you wanna hang out?”

She shook her head. “No thanks, I’m kinda busy.  Call me in a few days.  I have to move a few of my accounts around but I should have the money available to wire to you by the time the deal goes to closing.”

He hugged his sister as she stood to show him to the door.  He towered over her in height. “Leighton, thank you for trusting me with your money; I won’t let you down.”

“Hey, I know that.  Get that restaurant in business and make me some money,” she joked slapping him on the back.   “I expect my first meal to be free.”

“If you ever come home, all your meals would be free.  I love you, Leighton,” he said opening her office door to a crowd of people waiting for autographs.

She smiled settling in her chair.  Malcolm was the total opposite of her, his outgoing personality made him easily likeable; people took to him like bees to honey.  He’d always been athletic as a child.  Their parents made sure he played every sport available and had tutors on speed-dial in case his grades began to suffer.

Because of their persistence, Malcolm excelled in all sports. He received a full athletic scholarship to attend Loyola University graduating with a degree in business management.  A talent scout attending a charity event where Malcolm was playing basketball offered him a tryout with the Utah Jazz.  To Malcolm’s surprise, he made the cut and went on to become a fan favorite making the celebrity A-list in the NBA world quickly.

Leighton never envied Malcolm’s superstardom or that their parents favored to develop his athletic talents.  Their only insistence of her was to excel in school and not worry about playing a sport or engaging in any outside activities other than playing the violin.  According to their goals set for her, she was going to be a doctor and female doctors did not need to pad their resumes with unnecessary sport activities but with curriculum necessary to get into the best medical schools. 

********
Six months after investing in Malcolm’s restaurant, Leighton had nothing to do with the operation of the business.  She’d advanced up the corporate ladder accepting the promotion of Vice President in charge of the Private Wealth Division of the New York office of TransContinental Investments.  This kept her busy and her mind off almost everything else.

Leighton waded her way through a throng of reporters on the steps of the office building where she worked.  Going through the lobby a new security guard stopped her as she headed to the bank of elevators.  “Ma’am, what is your purpose here this morning?” The burly man in the neatly press uniform asked dryly.  He had probably asked a hundred people that same question and it was only 9:30am.

Leighton dug her identification card from under her suit jacket showing it to him.  “I’m a Vice President at TransContinental Investments.  What’s going on this morning…where is Stuart our regular security guard?  And why are there reporters camped outside?”

 “Please come with me,” he said waiting for her to follow.

“Why?”

“I’m not at liberty to say.  If you’ll come with me, your questions will be addressed.”

“Fine, whatever,” she said following behind him brooding.

Three hours later she unlocked the door to her stylish two-bedroom Manhattan apartment, throwing her empty briefcase on the sofa.  She had been so busy with her work, that she had not paid much attention to the rumors the company was being investigated by the Federal Reserve due to recent complaints by a number of disgruntled clients.  The rumors didn’t strike her as unusual since investors were always criticized and blamed when clients lost large sums of money on bad investments, especially in wake of the collapse of Wall Street.

TransContinental Investments had always been a solid business. Never in its fifty-year history had it been scrutinized for any wrong doing.  To ensure the company protected its clients from possible illegal activities that befell other investments companies, changes in upper and lower management were in the process of being set-forth.  Unfortunately, those changes weren’t implemented soon enough; an embezzlement scam involving several key members of the private wealth division had been uncovered by the Federal Reserve.

Appalled with the FRB grouping the innocent investors with the guilty parties, Leighton blasted the investigators for having documentation of her financial history placed on display for everyone to see.  Personal credit card information, how much rent she paid or owed on utilities and even the amount of money she donated to charities lay out in the open.  After combing through her history, the FRB was only able to locate one large money wire. That wire was to Malcolm, and from an old Certificate of Deposit she’d cashed in.

Six month after investing twenty-thousand dollars in Malcolm’s business, Leighton was out of a job.  The ringleader of the scam to siphon billions of dollars from unclaimed accounts; happened to be her boss.  The selfish greed to take money not yet claimed by the families of deceased clients caused the New York office to be dismantled and all remaining accounts to be spread among other offices until the investigation was completed. A final decision would be made on which employees would be staying with the company later.

After devoting years of hard work and dedication to TransContinenal Investments, this was how she was leaving her stellar financial career—three boxes containing her personal items and a personal escort to the front steps of the building. 

********

A week later, Leighton attended her regular therapy session with new and deeper issues to unleash on her therapist.  No longer wanting the responsibility of handling money for wealthy individuals, she refused the offer to move forward with the company in another city after passing clearance with the FRB. 

After explaining to the therapist her reasoning for being unemployed, the therapist suggested she wait before jumping back into the job market and use the time off to work on regaining control of her private her life.  Sixteen years had passed, and she had to find a way to go home for an occasional visit with family and not hide away forever. 

At 30 years of age, Leighton lived the life of a hermit. Although she didn’t see it when she looked in a mirror, she was extremely attractive.  She kept in shape by watching what she ate and working out with Adele who worked as a personal trainer in her spare time while waiting for a full-time position in journalism to open at the New York Times.  

She stood 5’6” tall, weighed one-hundred thirty-five pounds with shoulder length black hair and brown oval eyes; Leighton was above-average in looks.  On the norm, she was very soft-spoken and quiet.  Her intelligence expanded outside that of the financial world and would take people by surprise once they were able to draw her into conversation.

Women found her polite and well-mannered and not a threat to them.  Men wanted to know her on a more personal level but she refused to mix business with pleasure.  Going out with Adele and Evodio was the extent of her social life other than when she entertained clients in group settings.  She was satisfied with her life until 
Martin Sanders came along. 

Martin Sanders a financial planner she’d met during a campaign event for Evodio’s election to Alderman.  Leighton prematurely let her walls down in anticipation of obtaining that healthy male-female bond her therapist hammered into her every chance she got.  Their relationship lasted nearly three months before Martin revealed his true self.

Martin, so far, had been the only man she trusted enough to get close to her and tell of her past.  He was patient and understood what she was going through.  Entering their third month of dating, he suggested they take their relationship a step further.  He was falling in love with her and wanted to consummate that love with the promise of being together forever.  

Leighton dreaded the day this would happen but was thrilled at the same time.  In her mind she knew Martin would tire of kissing and petting like two underage teenagers living in the 1950s.   Martin was every woman’s dream.  Tall, sexy, handsome and rich, he could have any woman he chose.  He would say he chose her because she was different.  She wasn’t after a man to take care of her nor did she play the diva role.  She was sensible, hardworking and honest….that’s what drew him to her.

Falling hopelessly under his spell and believing his every word, Leighton did not want to lose Martin to another woman; she was falling in love with him also.  Her therapist was right; she could be normal if she stopped finding fault with every man.  Finally, she had a happiness to match that of Evodio and Adele.  Agreeing to go away with him for a week of fun and pleasure, it was time for her to complete her inner fantasy.

Martin planned the romantic get-away for two at his private beach house in the Hamptons.  Leighton enjoyed the long walks along the beach in the morning and dinner with dancing under the stars at night.  

The monkey was slowly crawling off her back.  She was ready to commit to her first love since nearly being gang raped sixteen years ago.  A sordid act committed by a group of boys and, arranged by the one she had a serious crush on.  

The memory of that night has haunted her for sixteen years and left her both mentally and emotionally scarred when it came to men.  She didn’t trust them as far as she could see them. As far as she was concerned, men only pursued her for sex and if she didn’t consent to giving it up, he felt he had the right to take it since he paid for their date.

Candlelight and music set the scene for the romantic evening.  Leighton bought a silky white negligee; sheer from the abdomen down to her ankles; a white matching thong prevented her from being completely nude underneath.  Changing into the sexy lingerie, she gazed her reflection in the mirror as she misted her body with the scent of White Diamonds….no ghosts circled her and no voices were screaming in her head to run.

Standing in the doorway separating the bathroom from the bedroom, she admired Martin lying on the bed.  His full frame stretched out on the canopy bed talking on his cellphone.  Leighton ran the tip of her tongue across her lips, moistening them; her heart pounding with anticipation.  She stepped from the doorway hoping to distract his attention away from the phone call.

Martin didn’t see her until she posed provocatively against the tall post at the end of the bed.  Ending his phone call, he turned to her. “Leighton, you look stunning.  Don’t make me wait any longer,” he said holding his hand out for her. 

Joining Martin on the bed, he recited romantic phrases to get her mood juices flowing.  Closing her eyes when his hands began hypnotizing her body skillfully, she relaxed, waiting for the moment to come.  His phone rang again.  He released her to sit on the side of the bed.  “I have to take this call.”

“Martin, I thought we said no business during our vacation.  Turn the phone off and come back to bed.”

“I can’t ignore this one,” he said leaving the bed and disappearing into the bathroom.

Adjusting herself to rest against the oversized pillows on the bed, she waited for his return.  She could hear Martin’s voice through the thick bathroom door; he sounded angered.  Getting off the bed she tiptoed to the door.   Her blood ran warm while her skin shivered from the chills.  What she heard, she did not expect to hear coming from Martin Sanders.  At least not her Martin Sanders.

The longer she eavesdropped on the conversation the more her stomach revolted.  Pulling her clothes from the closet, she changed and sloppily stuffed the rest of her belongings in the suitcase.  She left the Hamptons the very same night she made up her mind to give a man another chance.  Two strikes was her limit.  She was done with men screwing her over with lies and deceit.

All right reserved and copyrighted by BooksbyToye

Any reprint of this excerpt without the written permission of Toye Lawson-Brown will be punishable by a court of law.

copyrighted@2012

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