Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ebook Sale on Amazon

Fill those brand new kindles with love, romance, and suspense.  Readers who love interracial, multicultural or African-American romance will enjoy reading any one or all of these books.  And for $0.99 the wallet will not be broken in the process.  Check Amazon for this hot Christmas deal!

Sale ends December 31, 2013.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Love. Betrayal. Deceit.

How far will the obsession go before it becomes dangerous?
Will two childhood friends remain friends once the finger-pointing begins?
Dillon Stevenson and Taylor James separated to be united again at the prestigious law firm of Cartwright & Associates LLP.  Will Dillon’s envious girlfriend or the new partner hire upset the long-term friendship these two share or will Taylor or Dillon self-destruct and upset the applecart themselves.

Available on Amazon



Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Girl On The Bus by Raven McAllan

The Girl On The Bus by Raven McAllan


Julia ran out on Tay five years ago, so she can't be the woman he sees on the bus. However, when she ends up being the one taking notes at his meeting, he knows he will move heaven and earth to make her his once more.
Will she agree, or will she run again?

Be Warned: BDSM, public exhibition, spanking

Buy Links
Evernight Publishing | Amazon US | Amazon UK | All Romance eBooks | Bookstrand

PG Excerpt

That profile ... oh, that profile. Silver. It couldn't be, surely he kidded himself? One night, five years ago. How on earth would he know for sure? But the hair, like silver silk shot with diamonds glittering and sparkling in the light. It was her hair, her profile ... wasn't it?

Get a grip, man. That was the other side of the country

However, Tay was as certain as he could be. He'd been looking unconsciously for her all that time. So often he'd almost walked up to someone and called out her name, only to stop at the last moment before some unknown woman thought him a crazy stalker.

Once, he'd almost lost his manhood when a guy objected to Tay calling a woman that name. A woman Tay hadn't even realized accompanied the guy. He'd made his apologies and retreated as the smug bastard bragged about how big and tough he was, and that no one messed with him ever. The guy hadn’t even been a Dom, just a half drunk Glasgow Ned. Tay had been sorry, but no way could he give much credulence to a guy with a tattoo of Hello Kitty on his neck. In full color at that. Even so, Tay was a lot more wary of approaching anyone now. A writhing, crying, so-called macho man wouldn't go down well. He imagined the headlines...
No, don't imagine them, just carry on and see if yet again your memory is playing games. And don't flipping crash. He slammed on his brakes as the bus stopped, and wrenched his mind back to the present.

This time he overtook the vehicle to let the rest of the traffic move on. Once passed, he sent a mental apology to a mini driver who hovered, waiting for the occupant of a parking bay to drive away. With a mental shrug, Tay slotted into the newly vacant space the mini driver intended on taking, and sat there, his car engine idling as he waited for the bus to catch up. The other driver gave him the v sign. Tay waved and grinned.
Yep, he was being an idiot, but needs must. He just hoped with his aviator sunglasses and baseball cap on he wasn't easily identifiable. Not a good move if the driver recognizes me.

How many times had he been reminded he was a public figure and any, any misdemeanor would be spotted and filmed? An actor misbehaving became a sure fire investment for some person's five minutes of fame and the star's everlasting shame.

Tay gave a mental shrug as he remembered his meeting. Really, a baseball cap and shades shouted look at me, look at me. With one eye open for anyone who might see through his pitiful disguise, tell him off or capture him in a photo breaking the law, he sent a quick text.

Delayed, will phone, re schedule for three pm please.
Laura would be furious, but Tay reckoned if the people waiting to meet him wanted him—really wanted him—they'd grit their teeth, mutter about male divas, and wait for him. His sister loved him, whatever anyone else thought.
Raven Bio

Raven lives in Scotland, along with her husband and their two cats—their children having flown the nest—surrounded by beautiful scenery, which inspires a lot of the settings in her books.

She is used to sharing her life with the occasional deer, red squirrel, and lost tourist, to say nothing of the scourge of Scotland—the midge.

Her very understanding, and long-suffering DH, is used to his questions unanswered, the dust bunnies greeting him as he walks through the door, and rescuing burned offerings from the Aga. (And passing her a glass of wine as she types furiously.)
Find her here:

COLOR OF LOVE Hip Hop Blog Is Giving Away Prizes! Enter To Win

Welcome to the COLOR OF LOVE Hip Hop Blog. Enter to win free books!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Special Thank You

I always like to acknowledge the people who help me with my journey when writing a book. From those that graciously pose for covers and the organizations that sit and talk with me when I'm researching a story. For my upcoming book Obsessed With Taylor James, I'm giving a special thanks to Alfonso J Rivera for patiently translating my English to Spanish. I wanted to make sure what my character Mario Infante was saying in Spanish was correct, and Google or any dictionary translators will not do that.

Thank you so much, Alfonso J Rivera. I truly appreciate it and also appreciate you translating the Spanish back to English after I lost the paper with all the translations on it.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Outcast by Kiru Taye

Book Release Blitz
Sacred Amulet, part one
Kiru Taye

Tags: Paranormal
/ Fantasy / Romance

November 1, 2013
from Amazon

FREE Kindle Download from November 2 to 6
Available for $0.99 / £0.77 afterwards until 30 November 2013.

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:


is an outcast, an untouchable. She lives on the fringe of society as the lowest
of the low, a living sacrifice to the gods. The only person she interacts with
is her aged grandmother Nne who nurtures her powerful gift of healing. Until
the day she meets Ebube a strange warrior to their lands. He  ignites a yearning within her she's unable to
is drawn to the young maiden with the emerald green eyes who possesses the body
of a goddess and the healing touch of an angel. But he is forbidden from mating
with a human and the consequence is the wrath of the gods.
he is on a mission. If he fails, the gates of hell will be opened and the earth
plunged into darkness. He cannot stay and she cannot go with him.


Help me...Do whatever it takes...Keep the gates of
Alammuo sealed.
Darkness tugged
at him and threatened to pull him into its murky depths. With a jerk, Ebube sat
up on his pallet. The creaking wood and thumping of his heart echoed in his acutely
responsive ears.
Danger seeped
from the nightmare he couldn’t remember into the air, leaden and oppressive.
His breath heaved as he choked, his throat clogged with the fetid stench of death.
On reflex, he
extended his right arm, grabbing the scabbard he always kept within reach, the
pitch shadow no hindrance for his sharp eyesight. As a leopard-shifter, his
vision was excellent, night and day. He didn't need to look at his hands to see
the extended claws. Sharp tips dug into his palm. He ignored the sting and his
awkward grip on the carved wooden hilt of the single edge sword.
His beast came
to the fore, clawing to take over, an instinctive response to potential
threats. Muscles tensed, Ebube fought the shift. Sweat streaked down his body
in rivulets. He swiped his face with his left palm, stopping the liquid from
dripping into his eyes.
Sweeping his
gaze across the large, airy chamber of his sparsely-decorated home, he sought
the source of danger setting off his internal alarm.
Apart from the
raised bamboo sleeping platform covered in padded deer hide and the wooden
trunk that stored his personal belongings, the only other items were his tools
of warfare – his spears, shields, machetes and scabbards. They hung on the
single-rung mantel against the burnt-umber rock wall, gleaming with polish and
sharpness, ready for use.  Undisturbed.
A tingle ran up
his spinal column, the way it always did when he sensed something out of place.
Something terribly wrong. He swung his legs around. Cool unglazed stone flooring
met his bare feet. The muscles on his back tensed, primed for action. Slowly,
he stood to his full height and walked through the room.
His home
consisted of two chambers, one for sleeping and the other for entertaining
guests. Though as a guardian, a special warrior of the gods, he could live as
luxuriously as the gods did, they had agreed communally to live as simply as
humans of the era so as not to draw attention to themselves as supernatural
Nothing was out
of place in his rooms, no stray, malevolent being in the vicinity. Yet the tingling
in his bones didn't dissipate. When he found nothing inside, he grabbed the
wooden knob, opened the door and walked onto the corridor linking his residence
to the rest of his family's. Their homes were hewn out of Amauwa rocks, a hill
range in the middle of the rain forest.
He stopped in
front of the last house, the tension on his shoulders increasing. Nothing
lurked inside it, living or inanimate. Yet the memory of the previous occupant
flooded his mind, hitting him low in the abdomen, spreading pain through his
body. Gritting his teeth, he shook his head and turned his back to the building
and its unwelcome memories.


lover of books, as a teenager Kiru Taye used to read novels under the blanket
during lights-outs in boarding school. These days, with a young family to take
care of, she's still sacrificing sleep for the pleasures of a good book.
the day though, she transforms her wildly vivid imagination into sensual,
atmospheric romance stories with passionate characters.
she’s not writing or reading, she'd hanging out with family and friends or
travelling. Born in Nigeria, she currently lives in the UK with husband and
reach her via her
blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest
Follow her blog
for latest news and giveaways:
book excerpts and free short stories on her website:


Kiru is giving away 2x $5 Amazon gift cards or
paypal cash and 5x ebooks of the follow-up story Sacrifice. Complete the rafflecopter to enter the prize draw.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Beautiful Music is Now Available

Courtney Hammond is a successful business owner, musical prodigy and a bona-fide loner. Born into a wealthy dysfunctional family, where she is the youngest of the three girls. She and the one best friend she has belong to an R&B band they created called the Ultimate Connection.

Jeff Gold’s life as a rock star has ended, and he is transitioning back into society as the owner of a record store. A self-proclaimed loner, he too has deeply-rooted issues with family and the reason he exiled himself to Cleveland to live a low-key lifestyle.

All was going well with the two working in close proximity and never speaking to another, until a blizzard hits Cleveland leaving Courtney stranded and no one to call for help. Jeff is the only person around to offer her any help in her time of need, but their defiant personalities automatically clash. Is it possible that music, the one thing they have in common, will be what brings these two lonely souls together?

Beautiful Music is strictly a romance novel about two beautiful people locked in their own tormented worlds, living a lonely existence.

Available at and in other formats.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Win A Free Kindle Copy Of Beautiful Music

Can music bring two lonely souls together? Coming in a few days readers will be able to find out. Beautiful Music is strictly a romance novel about two beautiful people locked in their own worlds living a lonely existence. If readers would like a chance to receive a free Kindle copy when released, all you have to do is like my fan page and leave a comment or comment on my blog at I will contact the winner by inbox. Good luck!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Coming in SIX DAYS! Calling For Rayne


Russell Grant is educated, well versed, and unlucky in love. The former high school math teacher turned college professor lost his first love, Lauren Bennett to Marcus Winters. He rebounded and found love with Crystal Sparks. Then out of nowhere Crystal confesses she has found love with another and is moving on with her life without him.

Russell decides he has had enough of having the rug pulled from under him when it comes to women. He uses his newly single status to throw himself into his work and a bodybuilding contest he has entered, and leaves his love life on the back burner for the time being.

Rayne Monroe is a hardworking single mother with a seven-year old daughter and new to Cleveland. She is also Lauren’s good friend from Washington, DC. Working a full-time day job and an evening part-time job cleaning classrooms at Cleveland State University, she accidently runs into Russell as he is leaving school late one evening.

After Rayne tells Lauren about the handsome man she had a brief encounter with, Lauren puts the wheels in motion to bring them together without letting them know she is friends with the both of them. Will Lauren’s meddling ignite a possible love affair or rip her friendship with the both of them apart. Calling For Rayne is a romantic and funny story with a little drama thrown in to mix it up.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Lofton Series Returns Soon!

The Lofton Series is back! Belle and Duane are teaming up with Lauren and Marcus to help fellow friend Russell Grant deal with difficulties arising in his personal life. Will he be able to build a relationship with Rayne Monroe, the beautiful Barbadian woman he wants in his life or, will a jilted Crystal stomp on his parade. Calling For Rayne is coming soon.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Free Read From The First Chapter of "Calling For Rayne"

Calling for Rayne

Chapter _____
Russell Grant awoke dreading what this day would bring.  He and Crystal were constantly at each other’s throats, but last night they shared a passionate evening without exchanging harsh words towards one another. 
He rolled over in bed wrapping his arms around her soft shoulders.  His first class did not start until noon, but Crystal would be getting up soon to go to work, and he wanted to embrace the memories from the night before.  He nuzzled the nape of her neck, causing her to stir. “Good morning beautiful,” he said in a low husky voice.
She used her hands warding off his advances and scooted over on the bed. “Not now, Russell.  I have a couple of minutes before the alarm goes off.”
“All I said was good morning.  I guess me saying that bothers you now.”  He whipped the cover off his body and got out of the bed.
Crystal groaned sitting on the side of the bed.  Removing the scarf from around her hair letting the false locks fall around her shoulders. “This isn’t working for me,” she said nonchalantly.
“What isn’t working for you?”
“This relationship, isn’t working anymore.  I’m moving out, Russell.”
The shock stopped him from entering the bathroom. “Are you serious? Crystal, I know I have not been around much.  I thought you understood when I took on more work, I would be home late because of the tutoring, and on Saturday’s I have training classes at the gym.”
“Yeah well I thought I could handle it until your sessions at the gym began to last all day.  You never have time for us to do anything on Saturday nights anymore.  Those out-of-shape slobs see more of you than I do.”
“Come on, give me a break.  Those people pay good money for my services; I’m obligated to help them get healthy.”
“Those people aren’t going to look like you, Russell.  They should accept being fat and get over dreaming of looking like you.  Good grief, a miracle of Godly proportion couldn’t help them achieve your body.”
He put his hands on his hips.  Russell kept fit and his body showed it. Thick muscular arms, a flat stomach ripping six-pack abs led down to a trim waist, firm buttocks, and long legs that ended in size twelve feet to support his six-foot frame. His hair was low cut and he kept his facial hair to a minimum sporting only a goatee.   He’d worn the bald look for the longest but decided to let his hair grow on Crystal’s suggestion. 
Russell Grant not only possessed intelligence. He was articulate, handsome, athletic, and a magnet for women on the prowl. Unfortunately, he had to turn down the aggressive women because of Crystal.  His devotion to building a life with her was his priority after Lauren defined their relationship as best friends.
He yearned for Lauren Bennett the day she moved into his apartment building, but her heart lay with one man—Marcus Winters.  When she married Marcus, he had no choice but to move on.  He and Crystal dated on and off before, they decided to be exclusive, and move in together.
When he grew tired of teaching high school math, he quit to fill a position offered to him by a former professor of his at Cleveland State University, teaching advanced math.  Although he loved his job it along with other activities that consumed his time, had caused a major strain on their relationship. He’d met Crystal through Lauren two years ago, and what started out as a “dream come true” flip-flopped more than what he cared to admit into a “Nightmare on Elm Street”.
He shook his head staring at the woman, whose sweet and gentle nature first drew him to her.  He could not recall when she turned into the prima donna and selfish woman she was now.  Lately, her attitude made his stomach turn.  His two best friends had been trying to persuade him to drop the diva and get a woman who appreciated him; he was beginning to agree with them.
 “I’m not even going to dignify that with a response.  I’m going to take my shower.”
“This is why we are done, Russell.  You never want to talk about why we are falling away from each other.”
“You remind me every day my work is the cause of our problems.”
“Your work is dragging me down and the main reason I’ve decided to leave your boring butt!”
He flung around to face her. “This apartment cost money, Crystal! Those clothes in the closet didn’t grow there, and the expensive dinners you like, aren’t free! I have to work to keep you in the lifestyle you’ve suddenly chosen for yourself.”
She rolled her neck bucking her eyes.  “You make it seem like I don’t work! I do contribute to this household, but I shouldn’t give you a dime.  You asked me to move in.  I was perfectly happy living with my mother who didn’t charge me a cent.”
“You’re thirty-three! When were you planning on leaving your mother’s house?”
“I don’t have to explain anything to you.  You begged me to move in; it’s your responsibility to take care of my needs….plain and simple.”
Incensed, his nostrils flared. “Hell, I practically do! By the time you buy your fake hair, fake nails, and everything else that ain’t real on your body, you only had a dime left to pay towards living expenses!  But, Crystal, did I complain?”
She did not answer but glared at him as he ranted.  “Most women would appreciate a hardworking man who provides for his woman. I work my ass off and you’re making it obvious you don’t appreciate it.”
“So you’re saying you work those extra jobs because of me? Well you won’t have to do that anymore.”  Crystal walked over to him lowering her tone.  She patted his smooth creamy caramel-colored cheek.   “I need a man to fulfill my desires on a routine basis, not whenever you get a day off to get around to it.”
His brain screamed to snatch her wrist from his face and twist it off.  He refrained by moving his head away from her. “Be gone by the time I get home from work. Make sure all your shit goes with you.  I don’t need you making excuses to come back to the apartment; especially when your delusional world comes crumbling down and you need a place to stay.”
“I’m delusional? Russell, I am in this relationship alone! I come home, you aren’t here.  I prepare a romantic evening for us, you call saying you will be late.  Did you forget we were supposed to go to Vegas at the end of the month?  I bet you did and can’t make the trip.”
“I asked you not to book that trip because finals were coming around.  You knew I would be busy with study groups and not be able to get away.”
She stomped across the room getting her purse.  Digging for her checkbook, she began to write hastily.  “Here is a check for your portion of the trip.  I’ve already invited another friend and it would not be fair for you to pay for their vacation.”
His anger hit the boiling degree and his ears were hot enough to shoot steam.  He had to fight to keep it together.  Pointing a finger in her direction, he narrowed his eyes spewing, “Make sure I get every damn cent of my money!”  He stormed into the bathroom slamming the door behind him.
This was how most of their mornings or evenings began or ended.  Since they had made love last night, he thought this morning would be different. His arms spread across the sink balancing his upper weight.  Contemplating on what to do about his current situation, he closed his eyes. Maybe she is right about calling it quits. 
Russell took his shaver from the cabinet and began to trim his goatee when she began banging on the bathroom door.  “I’ll be out in minute,” he yelled clicking off the shaver.
“Come out now!”
Here we again. He opened the door.  “What!”
She stood in a daze shaking his cellphone in his face—he repeated, again. “What? Was it ringing?”
Her dark brown eyes glared balls of fire. “You’re still talking to her!”
“Talking to her—who?”
“Don’t play dumb with me,” she said scrolling through the phone.  “You have more than ten calls to Lauren Bennett.  Excuse me, Lauren Winters.”
He snatched the phone from her.  With a scowl on his face, he said meanly, “So what.  You know I talk to Lauren—why are you trippin’.”
“She’s married Russell.  They have kids.  Why can’t you let her go?”
“Marcus doesn’t have a problem with us being friends, why do you?”
“Marcus doesn’t know you’re in love with his wife.”
Tapping the phone against the palm of his hand, he felt the burning rage gurgling in the pit of his stomach.  “You’ve been sniffing too much nail polish. I don’t talk to you about Lauren for this very reason.”
“Deny it, Russell.  Tell me you don’t have lingering feelings for that woman?”
He clamped his hands over his head gritting his teeth. “I’m not in love with Lauren.  She’s happy with her life and I’m happy for her.”
Rudely Crystal replied. “Yeah sure you are.”
“You’re crazy.”
“I worked for her. I would overhear the conversations you two had in her office.”
“Then you know it was all platonic.”
“Russell, how do you make time to see her?” She asked with a mock on her face.
Frustrated he shook his head.  “You need to take this bullshit to the other side of the room and outta of my face.”
“Answer me or I will assume you have been with her in ways not platonic.”
He threw up his arms.  “Assume what you gotta assume but I’m done arguing.”  Before he could turn to enter the bathroom, he caught out the corner of his eye, Crystal reaching over to the dresser.  He wasn’t quick enough to duck and avoid her aim.
Crystal grabbed a handful of decorative stones surrounding a scented candle throwing them in his direction.  As he turned around, the small stones hit him in the face and chest. “Ouch! Dammit, Crystal! What the fuck is wrong with you?”
She paced the bedroom.  Anger lines filled her makeup-free face. “I can’t believe you’ve been cheating on me and with her of all people.  She wrecked Marcus’ first marriage so I don’t know why I’m surprised.”
He rubbed his face where the stones pelted him. “Jealousy is an ugly color on you.  How can you talk about her and call yourself her friend at the same time?”
“Her lip did a downward turn. “Some friend; I got stuck with you while she waltz away with a freaking millionaire.” 
“You ain’t stuck anymore, get your shit, and go before I do something I’ll regret.”  He said slamming the bathroom door.

Copyrighted by BooksbyToye

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Official Cover! Calling For Rayne Will Be Coming Soon!

Russell Grant was a hardworking man.  Recently breaking all ties with his long-time girlfriend, he decided to play it cool and concentrate on his upcoming bodybuilding competition.  Will he be able to keep his concentration centered or will he be "Calling For Rayne?"  A romance novel coming to kindle and paperback this Fall.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Calling For Rayne

Calling For Rayne is months away from being completed but along with developing the story, I did an outline for the cover.  This is only a mock and most likely will be tweaked before the final cover is released.  Anyhow, Calling For Rayne is part of the Lofton Family Series and will feature characters from A Love Delayed.  If you remember any of the characters from A Love Delayed, Lauren Bennett had a male best friend named Russell Grant.  Well this is Russell Grant's story.

I hope readers will enjoy catching up with some of the characters from A Love Delayed while learning more about Russell Grant.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Perfect Combination

The Perfect Combination received it's first Bestseller badge from  Thank you readers for picking Eric Severide and Samantha Charleston to be part of your reading list.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Work in Progress

An author is always thinking ahead to the next project.  When I put a book to bed, I feel like I've let go another child from the nest and ready to take on the next birdie.  Well here is the next story I want to tell.  Russell Grant from A Love Delayed is determined to tell his story.  I haven't chosen a title or date when this book will be published but I have chosen Russell Grant.  I'd like to introduce Jones (aka Russell Grant).  Jones is not a stock photo or male model, but a gentleman gracious enough to lend me his likeness for use in my book.  If it weren't for people like him, I wouldn't be totally original.  Thank you Mr. Jones.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Perfect Combination Has Arrived!

The Perfect Combination is coming to Amazon in ebook and paperback.  If you can't wait for the paperback or ebook version to arrive on Amazon, pick up a copy on in a format to meet your eReader needs.

Samantha Charleston has the worst luck when it comes to men and love. Giving herself at the tender age of 22 to a man 14 years her senior is a mistake she soon regrets when he walks out on her while she is down and out. Her best friend Kim suggest she release her mind from her problems for one night and meet another friend of hers going through the same struggles. Reluctantly she agrees but is surprised her blind date is not what she expected.

Eric Severide had his fair share of bad luck when it came to love. Determined not to give his heart to another woman, he’s on the path to become the biggest womanizer he can be. All he wants to do is have a good with women and leave with no emotional ties. That is until he meets Samantha Charleston on a blind date. The two have too much in common not to be a match made in heaven, but both are too similar in personality to get along.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Polygirl Publishing

I have the pleasure of being on Deneice Tarbox's website Polygirl Publishing. Please support Deneice and check it out. is also the author of great novels. While you are there check out her books. Especially her current novel Luca's Dilemma (The Moriatti Men)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Perfect Combination is Coming!

The Perfect Combination, an interracial romance novel is coming.  I haven't set a release date for Eric Severide and Samantha Charleston yet, but it won't be long.  In the meantime I have put together a mock cover.  The actual cover will be revealed before the release of the book.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Possible New Story for The Interracial Romance Line

I've been playing around with this story for a while and keep putting it on the back burner to do other projects.  I wanted to post a chapter to see if readers would be interested in me finishing it.  Please tell me what you think of this very rough unedited chapter.  The title will possibly change if I continue writing the story.



“We’re doing this so stop pouting like a two-year old,” Kim said taking the waxed paper from around her sandwich.

Samantha arrived in the break-room first and was eating her lunch by the time Kim joined her. “Kim, I really don’t want go to a club tonight. Can’t you get another girlfriend to go with y’all tonight?”

“No! Besides, it’s all set. This will be fun, Sam. It’s been a year since you called it quits with Jacoby; it’s time to get back in the game.”

“I don’t want to be set-up with a stranger. Blind dates can be fatal in this day and age.”

Kim tossed her long dreadlocks across her shoulder. Taking a bite of her sandwich, she eyed her co-worker and friend. “You’ll be perfectly safe with all of us there. Emily agreed to go on the date but changed her mind at the last minute. She probably has some plants to care for or something. I swear that girl is weird.”

“She isn’t weird, she’s just lives a different lifestyle than us. Anyhow, you give her the opportunity to change her mind. I want the same deal.”

“No deal—you’re going and that final. He works with Collin and he hasn’t had a date in a long time either. Whatever happened to that saying when you fall off a horse you get back on again to ride it?”

Sam sighed heavily, giving in to her current boss. She had been working at the high-end boutique since losing her job and friends with Kim since the first day of elementary school. Kim was a free spirit who loved romance and believed every woman should have that special man in their life. “I really don’t think that’s the way it goes, but I guess it will be okay since it will be a group of us. What was his name again?”

Kim twisted the paper napkin around her finger. “His name evades me at the moment.”

Sam raised her hands off the table astound. “You don’t know the man’s name? Kim, forget it; I’m not going.”

“I know his name, it just slipped my mind.” She reached for her phone. “Let me text Collin and ask him.”

“No, forget it. You told me you met him before.”

“I have. I met him at Collin’s company picnic. C’mon, you know I have a bad memory. That’s why I’m glad we work together. You keep me focused.”

Sam gathered her trash in a neat pile. “This job is only temporary. Once I get my degree, I’m looking for another job in marketing.”

“Yuck, you want another marketing job after getting laid off from the last one; why go that way again? Stay and become a partner with me.”

“I was only an assistant in the marketing department. With a degree in hand, I will obtain job security and hopefully my dream job working for the Indians.”

Kim twitched her lip. “I know. If you get that job, maybe in your travels, you’ll run into Jacoby. What organization is he working for now?”

“Our thirty-minute lunch is too short to talk about him. So, how did you get Collin to go along with this?”

Kim sat up excited. “He does whatever I say for the most part.”

“Be real, Kim, he likes how you reward him, if he goes along with what you say.”

Kim’s iPhone vibrated on the table. “His name is Eric,” she said with a devilish smile.

“What’s with the face? Tell me or I swear I will not show up tonight.”

“Okay. Eric is definitely handsome, but I’m not going to say anything more.”

Sam shrugged her shoulders. “Okay, I can deal with the handsome part for now.”

Kim propped her elbows on the table folding her hands under her chin. “If I remember correctly, he turned a lot of heads at the picnic and a few of them were men,” she laughed.

Sam got up from the table. “Alright, you can stop teasing me; I’m coming tonight. Well, we better get back to the store so Emily can take her break.”

“Won’t you miss this place once you obtain your dream job?”

“As much as I love lingerie, I want to be on the buying end of it, not the selling end. Are you ready?”

She wiggled her shoulders. “After tonight, you will be using a paycheck to purchase sexy numbers to model for Eric.”

“He will have to impress me a lot in order for that to happen.”

“Whatever. Make sure to wear the sexiest dress you have to show off that curvy little figure.” Sam laughed. “I’ll make sure to pick the sexiest outfit in my Garaminals collection.”

The Meeting
\Sam finished applying her makeup and admired her reflection in the mirror. Damn you look good! I hope this guy appreciates the effort for a one-time date. She backed away from the mirror to survey her outfit. The figure-fitting, short black sleeveless party dress clung to every curve, giving little room to overeat and not cause an unsightly tummy bulge.

Opening a box, she dug out a pair of black pumps and slipped her feet inside. She’d gotten an early start on packing the apartment she called home for nearly four years. Since losing her assistant marketing position at a small Ad agency and Jacoby moving out, her saving had bottomed out and she couldn’t afford the downtown luxury apartment on a boutique store budget. She would soon be moving to a small one-bedroom apartment where the low rent would allow her to eat and live indoors.

Anger crept inside her as she threw a few personal items in a black handbag, reminiscing. Jacoby had always been flirty, but for the majority of their relationship he’d been faithful. The one time he did cheat, she broke off the relationship and all ties with him promising herself it was for good.

Three months after their split, Jacoby arrived at her office with two dozen red long-stem roses, a bended-knee proposal, and dangled the keys to a new apartment he’d rented for the two of them to share. With co-workers watching, she found it hard to deny his pitiful look of remorse and decided to give him another chance.

Despise for Jacoby reflected off her face in the mirror. She exhaled fluffing the natural curls of her medium length brown hair streaked with golden highlights. The final touch was a light spray of perfume and one last attempt to adjust her attitude before leaving the house. Taking the car keys from the dresser, she locked the door dreading the pre-arranged evening.

Entering the elevator, the cellphone chimed the familiar ringtone she’d assigned to Kim. “Hey, Kim, are you calling to cancel the disaster this evening will become?” She faked a chuckle saying it, but prayed it was the reason for the call.

“Funny, Sam. I’m outside your building. Collin and I decided you should ride with us instead of driving by yourself.”

“I’m not far from the Flats and can make it there on my own. I prefer to drive, anyway.”

“Nope, you’re riding with us; this way we know for sure you get home safely and you won’t be able to slip out the back door unnoticed if you decided you don’t like Eric. I’ll see you in a minute.”

With a slow burn brewing in her stomach, Sam exited the elevator to the lobby doors and outside to be greeted by Collin holding open the rear car door. “Wow, you look stunning, Sam.”

She smiled weakly, replying, “Thanks, Collin. I hope this person you are fixing me up with likes it. Since Kim won’t part with any information about him, I don’t know what his taste in women is like.”

“Eric is cool. When he sees you, he’ll be kissing my ass for weeks,” he laughed closing the car door.

Kim twisted her body around in the front seat to talk. “You do look fantastic. I almost didn’t recognize you dressed like that.  Is it new? I don't think I've ever seen you wear it before.”

Sam wiggled her shoulders adjusting the seat belt to rest comfortably between her breasts. “I do have clothes you've never seen. I might have only been an assistant at my last job, but my bosses invited me to events other than picnics. Plus, the pink aprons we wear at the boutique aren’t exactly flattering to our figures.”

“Either way, you look beautiful and Eric is going to drool when he lays eyes on you.”

“Thank you for the compliment. Anyhow, Collin, can you give me a description of this man? Kim is being evasive when I ask questions about him.”

Collin shrugged his shoulders keeping his eyes on the road. ‘He’s tall, got a good job and like you, he’s getting back in the dating game after a bad breakup with his fiancée.”

“So I will be compared to the ex.—wonderful,” she huffed loudly from the backseat of the car.

He eyed her from the rearview mirror. “Nah, I don’t think you will be compared to his ex. You are definitely different.”

Collin dropped the two women off at the front door of the club while he parked the car. Kim commented on Sam’s stiff disposition. “Sam, will you relax. You’re pulled so tight I could bounce rocks off you.”

“I’m sorry. I’m not feeling this the way you are. This Eric person could be looking for a one-night stand to sooth his broken heart; that is not going to be me.”

Kim posted a hand on her narrow hip. “I’m hurt, Sam. I would never do that to you. Jacoby really did a number on your head. He’s living with another woman and you’re willing to be unhappy for the rest of your life. Girl, take back your life. Show him he didn’t break you.”

“I’m not stopping my life because of that. I don’t know if I’m ready to deal with the liars, cheats and imposters who call themselves men.”

“That’s why we chose Eric. He’s dealing with the same thing. His girlfriend cheated on him a week before the wedding. You can sympathize with him about that.”

Sam nodded. “I see the connection. We can commiserate together.”

“You have a choice, Sam. Instead of commiserating together, try having a little fun tonight. The music is great, you look beautiful; girl, make Eric forget Sybil once and for all.”

Rolling her eyes, Sam laughed. “Her name is Sybil? Is he sure he wants to mess with her.”

Collin jogged up to where they were standing. “Eric is going to be a few minutes late. We’ll get a table and he can find us when he arrives.”


The three sat together chatting and waiting for Eric. He appeared to be a no-show as the first hour and thirty minutes passed with Collin receiving no word about his whereabouts. Sam checked her watch and stretched. “Ya know, I think I’m going to grab a cab and go home,” she said pulling the phone from her purse. “I don’t want the both of you babysitting me when you could be enjoying the night.”

Kim placed her hand over the top of the phone to prevent her from dialing. “It’s only been an hour. If he doesn’t arrive in the next fifteen minutes, we’ll leave. Tomorrow I’ll have Collin beat his ass at work tomorrow!”

“That won’t be necessary. I’m sorry I’m late; an appointment held me longer than I expected.” He set directly across the table from Sam. Extending his large hand with an apologetic greeting, he said, “I’m Eric Severide. Please forgive me for making you wait.”

Sam’s eyes drifted in the direction of the deep baritone voice coming from across the table. Her throat dried instantly not allowing her to talk after eyeing the tall muscular white man, wearing a dark blue suit jacket left open to reveal a white crisp button down shirt underneath. The first few buttons of the shirt were undone revealing a Herringbone chain circling around a sexy thick neck. The table hid the rest of his features from her view. She reached her hand across the table to shake his. “I’m Samantha Charleston. Most people call me Sam.”

He smiled sitting back in the chair and crossing one-leg over the other. “It’s finally nice to meet you, Sam. Collin has been talking about you for days.”

His piercing stare caused a shiver to close around her spine. “I wish I could say the same, Eric. Kim has been very closed-mouthed about you.”

Kim scooted her chair away from the table dragging Collin to his feet. “Excuse us, but this is our song and I want to dance.”

Collin tugged his arm away. “Not now, Kim. I want to talk to Eric about something.” She narrowed her brow causing him to stand immediately. “What do you know; I changed my mind and do want to dance. You two get acquainted but not too acquainted,” he joked as Kim dragged him away from the table.

Left dealing with an awkward situation, Sam fiddled with her glass. Taking a sip of the colorful drink she looked up to catch him looking again. Nervously she sat the glass on the table clearing her throat. “How long have you known Collin and Kim?”

He motioned for a waitress who was passing the table. “What are you drinking?”

“Long Island Ice Tea, but I’m good,” she stuttered.

He noticed her drink had hardly been touched but ordered her another anyway. “Bring the lady another drink, and I’ll have a shot of tequila and a Heineken,” he politely said giving the scantly-dressed waitress a wink. He returned his attention to Sam. “To answer your question, I’ve known Collin for few years and met Kim through him not too long ago. I understand you work at Kim’s boutique.”

She nodded. “Yes but only temporarily. I’m done with college next year. Once I get my degree in marketing, I hope to land a job with the Cleveland Indians or some other major league team.”

Eric leaned over folding his arms across the table. “Are you a baseball fan?”

“I love baseball. My boy—my ex-boyfriend played for the Indians. He retired after receiving a career-ending injury.”

The waitress returned placing the drinks on the table causing him to move. “I see, is that why you’re no longer together?”

She shook her head. “His injury is not the reason we aren’t together any longer. Enough about me, tell me about you?”

He took down the shot of tequila following it with a long swig of beer. “I don’t know why Collin thought we would hit it off. I’m a construction worker. My job is to build and develop overpriced structures for the rich and sometimes famous to dwell.”

She grinned. “That’s great. If I get a job with the Indians’ I will make sure to keep you in mind if I want a house built one day.”

“Why are we talking business? This is supposed to be a date and I’m sure Collin and Kim are somewhere watching in the crowd.”

Sam nodded. “I know Kim; she’s definitely somewhere watching and aiming Cupid’s arrow directly at my butt.”

“That was funny, but the woman is a hopeless romantic.” He stood up from the table. “Should we give them a reason to gawk?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“How about a dance since the music has slowed more to my liking.”

“Okay, sure,” she answered taking his hand.

The dance floor had cleared some, but remained crowded with couples dancing to the soft tones of Brian McKnight. Sam wasn’t sure how much distance to place between them. Although he was good looking, he was a stranger and slow dancing with a stranger violated her comfort zone.

Going with her natural instinct, she placed an elbow’s distance between them. If she had to classify it, they were dancing together like two middle school pre-teens at a junior dance with chaperone's keeping a strict eye on them.

Eric whispered in her ear. “Am I making you uncomfortable? You seem a little stiff.” He placed his arm around her waist drawing her closer to his body until her head was touching his shoulder.

He was definitely tall and smelled deliciously fresh. The light cologne wasn’t offensive but pleasant to her senses. She’d never been on an actual date with a white man, and the only white males she interacted with, were former co-workers and the few in her study group.

She inhaled deeply to relax the tenseness gripping her body. The feel of his lips next to her ear returned the shivers. “I’m not uncomfortable. I haven’t been dancing in a long time. I’m a little rusty and don’t want to step on your toes.”

“Don’t worry about my toes; I doubt you would do any harm if you did step on them.” He moved her way to twirl her in a slow spin. The dress showed off her sexy legs and thighs and the high-heels put her at a height where he could look into her eyes. He pulled her back against him. “I hope I’m not being too forward by saying you look absolutely gorgeous.”

Heat rose from her neck to warm her cheeks. “I never take an honest compliment as offensive.”

“You have a sense of humor—I like that. You will learn I never give out compliments that aren’t warranted.”

“Is that right? I admit I’m a quick study, but one night isn’t enough to learn a lot about you.”

“Who says this is will be the only date? Did my tardiness, ruin any chances of a second date?”

The song ended and they returned to the table. She sat down in her seat and instead of him returning to his original seat, he sat next to her placing his arm around the back of her chair. “Are you going to answer me?”

“It won’t be held against you, but we’ve had minor conversation and one dance; how do you know you want a second date?”

“I’m a man that doesn’t let barriers stop me. If I see something I like, I go after it. So far, I like what I see.”

She took a big sip of her drink after his comment. The sting from the various liquors hit the back of her throat making her want to gag. “Well geez, you don’t hold anything back, do you?”

He shrugged his shoulders. “When you hold back you lose chances at opportunities.”

“Oh okay, I’m an opportunity. Eric, I can be a complicated person. A lot of men can’t deal with that.”

With him sitting extremely close, she could see his features more clearly. The dark lighting of the club couldn’t hide the grayish-blue of his eyes or the light scruffy beard lining his face. His prominent nose and sexy lips fit his face perfectly. The thin mustache rested evenly on his upper lip. When he smiled to reply to her remark, his teeth were straight and white.

“Like I stated before, I go after what I want. Can you deal with that?”

Sam didn’t answer but let a breath escape between her lips. “Huh, wonder where Kim and Collin are.”

“They must have taken off.”

“They are my ride home; they’d better not have left me.”

He put his hand over hers covering it completely. “Sam, don’t worry, you’re safe with me. I’m a little hungry; would you join me for a late dinner?”

She moved her hand from under his. “Eric, I’m not trying to be impolite. It has been a long time since I’ve dated. You seem like a very nice man, but you also hear a lot of horror stories that happen to women that wander off with men they don’t know.”

“I get it. I’m a stranger and you aren’t comfortable being alone with me. I totally understand your cautiousness.”

“I don’t want what I said to be taken the wrong way. I’m not saying you’re a masher or anything like that.”

“How can I take it the wrong way? If my fiancée had been cautious like you, I might be married. Instead she met a guy and the next thing I know, they’re sleeping together and I’m stuck paying thousands of dollars for a lavish wedding I didn’t want to begin with.”

“Wow; that had to hurt big time.”

“Yeah my ego and wallet was bruised for a while. It would have helped had she she’d done it a month before the wedding; I could have canceled the caterer instead of paying for a meal I never got to taste.”

“How long ago did it happen?” She asked. The effects of the alcohol eased her nerves and loosened her tongue.

“Two years ago.” He shook his head. “I see why women are pissed to the point of murder when men leave them standing at the altar. I had to return all the gifts, cancel all the plans, and explain why a wedding with over three hundred guests invited, didn’t happen. Never again,” he said drinking more of the warm beer.

She looked at him raising her eyebrow. “Wait, you said you’re a man that goes after what he wants. What if you meet another woman and fall in love; you won’t want marriage with her?”

“Nope, we can shack up or live separately but, I will not do the marriage thing. I can love a woman and not have the paper that legally binds us together.”

“How will she know you truly love her if you aren’t willing to take the matrimonial plunge?”

“Good point. I guess my next love will have to have my way of thinking when it comes to marriage.”

“Eric, I thought I was complicated but you got me beat by a mile,” she chuckled.

“How do you figure?”

“Well for starters, your heart was broken, but you really aren’t ready to give up on love. You want to find a partner for life, but you don’t want marriage. Honey, I think you are just confused. I bet if the right woman came along, all that jabber would fall apart like wet cardboard.”

“Ms. Charlston, you seem to have me pegged. I thought one night wouldn’t be enough to do that?”

“I guess men are easier to decode than I thought.”

“I bet I can decode you too. I’ve learned a few things about you.”

“What have you learned about me?” She asked giving his a sassy look.

“Your man left you a year ago. You still refer to him as your boyfriend even though it came out as a slip of the tongue. And, in a year since your split, you haven’t dated which proves you aren’t over him.”

Her eyes narrowed. Picking up her glass, she held it up. “We are commiserating and that does not make good company. Why don’t we toast to starting this conversation over?”

“I’m all for that,” he said clinking his nearly empty beer bottle against hers. “I want to toast to a new friendship, also.”

“Of course; I’m always open to a new friendship,” she said draining the last of the liquid in the glass.

“Okay, friend, let’s go grab a greasy cheeseburger.”

Sam felt relieved when Kim and Collin returned to the table. Eric had gained a few notches on her comfort meter, but not enough for her to go off alone with him. She frowned as Kim sat down. “Where have you been? I thought you abandoned me.”

Kim nudged Sam’s shoulder. “We wouldn’t have done that, but you’re in good hands with Eric.”

Eric winked. “I tried to tell her that. Anyway, I suggested a late dinner and she isn’t comfortable going with me alone; you guys want to grab a bite to eat?” Collin dug his keys from the pocket of his pants. “I’m ready.”

Text 'Yes' If You Love Me Has Been Nominated for Cover of The Month for May. I Need Your Votes Please

If you liked the cover of my book, Text 'Yes' If You Love Me, please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on