Thursday, December 24, 2015


Santa Baby, hello!

I’ll make this short and sweet since you have your hands full right now. As I write this, Santa Tracker puts you somewhere in the vicinity of Frankfurt, Germany. You really have to love technology! With all eyes on you, there’s no hiding, so don’t think you can sneak off for a quick coffee break and we not know about it!

Personally, I haven’t been feeling the magic this season, Santa. But I know it’s coming. At least I hope it kicks in when I get in that kitchen to knock out the pies I have to make for Christmas dinner tomorrow! If that fails, then I’ll just have to wait until I can see all my little munchkins tomorrow. Watching them open their presents will surely have me singing and swinging and getting merry!

I actually don’t want anything for myself this year, Santa. It’s been a very good year and I have been abundantly blessed. I even got that “pony” you didn’t get me those many years ago. Named him Titus and he’s the prettiest, slickest ride you’ll ever see!
Big Daddy has been my rock this year. Talk about a girl feeling loved! Sending him my way was probably one of the best things you’ve ever done for me, Santa Baby! It’ll be hard for you to top that!
My only request this year Santa is that you please drop a little joy and happiness on the families who are dealing with loss and hardship this year. Those who’ve had to bury loved ones, others displaced from their homes, anyone enduring tragedy this holiday season. Wrap everyone in the spirit of the season and let them know how much love you have for them and theirs.
I’m tossing a ton of cyber hugs and kisses into your bag and I hope you’ll share a nuzzle and cuddle with anyone who might benefit from a kind word and a helping hand. Despite all our wishes and dreams, Santa, there’s too much happening in the world today that a pretty box with a bow can’t fix. So throw in a smile with the gifts you do give, my friend. It might be the best thing any of us receives this year.
Keep your head down and an eye on those reindeer! I hear Rudolph might have gotten into the egg nog a little earlier than usual and Dancer and Prancer have taken the Whip/Nae Nae to a whole other level.
Much love to you, big guy!
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 12, 2015


You are cordially invited to join award-winning, national best-selling author, Deborah Fletcher Mello and Deborah's Diamonds for a Literary Tea Party to celebrate a season of romance, literature, writing, and books!

Deborah is excited to announce and welcome the following participating authors:

Morgan Billingsley
ReShonda Tate Billingsley
Iris Bolling
Cassandra Durham
Renee Daniel Flagler
Cheris Hodges
Denise Jeffries
Jackie Lee
Lutishia Lovely
Dana Sanders
Railyn Stone
Jacquelin Thomas
Lisa Watson

And our event MC is the indomitable, Lasheera Lee!

Impress in your Sunday best, show off that magnificent Kentucky Derby hat and join us for an afternoon of great story-telling, delightful conversation, and tons of laughter!

Books will be available for sale and participating authors will be available for signing.

Tickets: $25 includes lunch, participant gift bag and one-on-one interaction with participating authors. 

Tickets are available from the Eventbrite and must be purchased in advance. 

There will be no ticket sales at the door!

Monday, November 02, 2015


I was recently reminded that every experience is, or can be, a life lesson. In a recent conversation with another author it quickly became apparent that our ideologies were at different ends of the spectrum. So much so that I found myself retreating away from the talk, knowing that if I said what was on my heart to say, it would surely have been a spectacle. I can just imagine the Twitter feeds about how I showed up and showed out!

After ranting to Big Daddy I had to sit down and think about what I took away from the conversation. This person and I are at different levels in our careers. I don’t think she sees me as a peer because I don’t have the big movie deal and my books are only printed in paperback. And she clearly has issues with authors who are still finding their way in this business. Goodness knows you better not ask her for advice if you aren’t interested in being fodder for what she hates about aspiring writers!

I found her jaded, her position regarding supporting and promoting others so vastly different from my own that it wasn't funny. If her level of success breeds that kind of contempt I neither need nor want it. I thrive on being a positive influence in the lives of people who cross my path. I strive to write stories that inspire and encourage. I can’t be my best if I’m not encouraging and supporting others and emulating the wonderful women who did, and continue to do, the same for me.

She is entitled to her opinion and I don’t write this to indict her for feeling how she feels. But I can’t sit idly by and have anyone think that I endorse or support that kind of attitude. I bit back what I wanted to say. I second-guessed what I should have said. But what I learned from this experience is that not saying anything at all didn’t serve either one of us well. Had I spoke up and said what was on my heart to say, maybe she could have taken her own lesson away from the conversation. And I wouldn't be feeling some kind of way.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Halloween use to be one of my favorite holidays. I loved creating costumes for my children. We use to take the art of dress up to new heights. But those days are long gone! I'm tempted to get dressed myself but it's only a very mild maybe, not an intense got to do it kind of thing. I am however enjoying the neighbors and their children and may take a trip to the mall later to see the kiddies do their trick or treat thing. So to everyone who sees the craft, and art, and simple joy in the holiday, have fun with it. There is so much negative in the world these days that to take a moment for the frivolous and nonsensical just makes all kinds of sense!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Wanna play for KEEPS?
 Click the link and order your copy of PLAYING FOR KEEPS today.
Then tell TWO (2) friends to order their copies.
Tell those friends to tell TWO (2) more friends!
How far and wide does your friend list go?
How many friends can you get to come play?
I say the sky's the limit!
So, let's PLAY!

Monday, October 19, 2015


So, I’m watching one of my favorite ratchet reality TV shows. One of the story lines this season involves a young gay male who has just told his high school sweetheart that there is no future for the two of them because...well...he likes men more than he likes her. Of course, she is devastated, throwing herself to the ground and crying for her mommy.

Now the mental health expert who was supposed to be facilitating this conversation lost complete control as cutie-patootie stormed into the bathroom to avoid the conflict and baby girl hurled herself out the front door. Later, Ms. Psych 101 told him that his best female friend was hurt but that his disclosure HAD NOT RUINED her. This has led to an interesting conversation in my home.

I didn’t agree. I think Ms. Psych 101 might be wrong. How a woman handles heartbreak depends on the woman. And this woman may very well be ruined. Who’s to say she won’t be embittered for years to come? And clearly, she may have a multitude of trust issues that will hinder her future relationships. The baggage this devastation has left her with might carry over into her next relationship and the one after that and the one after that. Baby girl might walk away from this completely unscathed and then again, maybe she won't. I surely don't know and neither does the expert.

My beloved grandmother was a woman who was ruined by heartbreak. At the tender of age of sixteen she fell in love with a man who loved her and a few other young women at the same time. Discovering she was pregnant before her eighteenth birthday had her intent on a happily ever after. Then it hit the fan. Granddaddy was forced into a shotgun wedding but grandmother wasn’t the bride. It seems she wasn’t the only eighteen-year old about to mother granddad's offspring. But she was the eighteen-year old whose father found out way too late to make gramps do right by her!

Granny took a lifetime of resentment to her grave. The hurt she experienced was so magnanimous that it impacted every decision she would later make for herself and her son. It also kept her from opening herself to love later in life, unable to approach new relationships with an open mind and hopeful heart. As a young girl I would often think about the advice she’d offer, always warning me to be cautious with my own heart because no man could be trusted. She was never able to let what grandpa did to her go. It made her bitter and angry and calculating when it came to men and matters of the heart. Heartbreak ruined her and unlike the stories I love to tell, her happy ending was never the stuff of a good romance novel.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

SOULMATE by Deatri King-Bey

It's my pleasure to welcome Deatri King-Bey to the house with her newest addition to her Precious Jewels series. Enjoy a little tease from Soulmate!

The heart of the Precious Jewels Security Agency, Pearl Nicolas’s life has become one undercover assignment after the next. Happy, yet jealous, that her sisters are finding their soulmates, Pearl reluctantly accepts there is no soulmate out there for her… Or is there?

Tariq Suárez Anzar’s life changed when he became a single father of a teen. When a possible drug ring is suspected on his daughter’s prep school campus, the Precious Jewels are called in to find out exactly what is going on. But Tariq discovers so much more—Pearl. From the first moment they met, everything within him screamed, “She is your soulmate!”

Timing would be perfect for Tariq to go after his soulmate except one tiny thing—his daughter is Pearl’s only lead in the case. Patient as much as he is determined, he will not let this once in a lifetime chance slip by to have the family he wants.

Available in:
Print: Coming soon


Amber had never been more right in her life! Pearl continued staring at the headshot of Tariq Suárez Aznar in the Newton Academy’s staff gallery on the school’s website via her iPad. Teachers were not supposed to look like this. Had Professor Suárez been her math instructor, she wouldn’t have learned a thing from dreaming about him all day.

Sincere hazel eyes to gaze into, strong facial features to admire, lips plump enough for kissing, short wavy hair to run her fingers over—if his body were half as nice, she’d never solve the case from drooling over the man.

Resisting the urge to conduct a background check on him, she turned off her tablet and put it away. He’d hired them and deserved his privacy. This was business. Plus a man like him had to be married. Then again, what would she do with a boring teacher anyway? Good looks be damned, she needed a man who could keep up with her. One whose lifestyle matched hers enough that they wanted to share their lives together. She wanted someone who didn’t exist—her soulmate.

Disheartened, she walked from the bench in the main office over to the bulletin board. Pep rally, fundraiser, Halloween party, volleyball game schedule, football game schedule, math club meetings, science club meeting… nothing out of the ordinary.

“Excuse me, Ms. Nicholas?”

That soft, sexy voice had to belong to the new star of her fantasies. Much calmer than she felt, she turned and smiled politely. “Yes. Oh, Mr. Suárez.” Following Spanish tradition, she said his middle name, which was his father’s family name.

Appreciation burned in his bright eyes as he took her in from head to toe. She knew when a man was attracted to her, and Mr. Suárez definitely was.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Sometimes I need to weed out crazy. Friend requests on social media tend to come fast and furious and truth be told because I’m opening myself and my life up to perfect strangers I tend to be overly cautious. There’s a lot of crazy out in this world. I read every request. I read the About Me page, scan posts, and gaze at pictures before clicking the accept button. I like to see where perspective new friends are from and what they like or dislike.
A recent request seemed normal enough. There were photos of family members, posts and comments from other friends (although the list was short) but overall nothing that raised any red flags. Okay, so maybe that’s not all together true. My radar went off but when I found myself questioning if I was being overly concerned I ignored it. First, he was male, and white, and allegedly in the military. I should have followed my first instinct but I have a number of really great white, male friends and in that moment he seemed to be on the up and up.
The messages started almost a month later. It was a simple hello and how are you and then they became more persistent. So I asked the cut it off quick question and our last exchange exposed the crazy.
Me: What’s your end game?
Master Chief Petty Officer Micheal Scoot Williams with the United States Navy from South Heart, North Dakota responded, “Marriage.”
Me: Well, I already have a husband and I’m not in the market for another. But I wish you good luck with that.
Scoot: Huh, Deborah, you have pretty name. I mean no arm. I respect woman. I want we just get to know each you.
BIG RED FLAG – One of the highest ranking officers in the United States Navy does not have command of the English language.
Me: Again, I’m not interested.
Scoot: I nice man. We would be good. I like how you sound. You seem nice.
Me: Look, Skippy, Scooter, whatever your name is I said I’m not interested and I’m definitely not interested in being friends with a man who clearly has no respect for another man and his wife.
Scoot: What you say? You make no sense. I am good person. I love woman and good to them. You are being goofy! I am honorable military man.
Me: What ship are you on?
Scoot: Military war vessel.
Me: Let me try this again. US military ships all have names. What’s your ship’s name or are you on the good ship lollipop that's special and it doesn’t have one?
Scoot: No, it’s not special.
Me: This is ridiculous. I’m done. Good luck with your life.
Scoot: What? You are being…I am going home. You are crazy!
Me: You’re correct. I am crazy. Crazy for entertaining this BS for as long as I have. Get a life. You have been unfriended and will soon be blocked. Enjoy your life.
It’s doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that Scooter was up to no good. Scoot is taking his catfishing to a whole other level. And revisiting his posts, a few women have actually fallen for the sad lines. I wouldn’t be surprised if Scoot is sitting in some rubber room in some far off country, hoping against all odds, that he can smooth talk some desperate soul out of her life savings.
And that’s why it’s important to weed out the crazy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Although I fancy myself to be a procurer of fine art, I am, in actuality, only a woman who is fond of very pretty things. I was gifted the very first piece of artwork that adorned the walls of my first apartment.  It was a print by Norman Rockwell, his classic The Problem We All Live With, an image of 6-year old Ruby Bridges being escorted into a New Orleans elementary school by US Marshalls in the 1960’s.  It was a wonderful accent piece in the corner where it hung and provoked much thought and conversation in my home.  But it was an image that I saw so many times, in so many places, that many years later it influenced my decision to only buy original pieces of artwork.

Because the purchase of original artwork proved to be a very expensive venture I began to seek out up and coming artists whose talents had yet to be discovered and whose price points were more budget friendly.  Fast forward and I am still buying, sometimes blessed with a bigger budget and sometimes not, but still only buying originals and frequently from artists who are just beginning to make their mark in the art industry.  In the last thirty-odd years I’ve amassed quite a collection and have even had to acquire wall space to showcase some of it.

Despite the multitude of advice I’ve received over the years about how and what to purchase, the admonishments that I should now be buying for investment sake only, I have yet to be convinced.  What I’ve discovered over the years is that I am very particular about the work that will hang on my walls.  My tastes have evolved with maturity and the artwork must now speak to my spirit and tell me a story.

These days I find myself buying less abstract art and more folk art.  I was once partial to oil paintings but my last few purchases have all been watercolors.  My purchases have been determined by my mood of the moment and I am known to barter services for a piece that has captured my attention.  I discovered my last acquisition, a watercolor by the late Gail Henderson Weinerth, two years ago, hanging in an antique shop, clearly out of place.  At the time, there was no budget for artwork and I had to leave the incredible piece behind.  It was a work of art that haunted me for months. Fast forward and I was amazed to rediscover that painting propped in a dusty corner while strolling through a country store.  After some serious haggling, I brought The Violinist home, delighted by the imagery that gave me reason to pause.

When asked, the only advice I have ever given about collecting is to make sure any piece you are considering is a piece that you love.  If there is an art to collecting art, I imagine that I have yet to master it.  Because for me, collecting art, has always
been about my affinity for pretty things. 

Wednesday, August 05, 2015


Beverly’s relationship has come to an end, finally having run its course. She doesn’t see it, nor is she trying to. The bad times outweigh the good times. She spends more time being unhappy, than she does being happy. And still, she insists that she can change things around, because she can change him, if only he would truly listen when she complains. Arguments are now full-fledged battles. There’s a push and a shove, a slap, even punches thrown that no one is supposed to know about. And the screaming is epic, voices raised more times than anyone would care to count.

What everyone has tried to make her understand is that he is still a boy, despite his age. They were both babies when they fell in love and there has been little maturity since. He has no responsibilities, still sucking on his mama’s titties as family and friends take care of all his needs. Right now he’s rolling that program because he can, yet to have a reason to do things differently.

What she fails to realize is that despite the love they claim to have for each other, she is nothing more than a part of his growth process. Once day he will be an exceptional man, but for some other woman. And he will have her to thank for some of the lessons he is now learning. It’s just the cycle of life, and love, in play and we have all lived her experience. We kiss frogs before we find that prince; a man who has sowed all his wild oats and come into his own.

What she refuses to hear is that one day there is a man who will come into her life and be the one. Who will honor and respect the woman she herself will eventually become. A man who won’t need to be changed into the man she wants him to be.

Monday, August 03, 2015


Another book has been put to rest. I dotted the last i and although I’m not quite sure whether or not I crossed all the t’s, I was glad to push the send button and put it in my editor’s hands. It was only two months late.

I have not had a book work me quite so hard. But this one was a challenge. And then just like that it wasn’t and I have a dead Asian woman to thank.

For weeks I found myself unable to connect with the characters. I knew who they were, knew their story, could tell you what they liked and didn’t but no matter how I tried to twist and bend the fantasy that was their romance I could not find anything loving about the words. Then the Asian woman began to haunt me.

I knew her many years ago. She was kind and good natured with a gentle disposition. She and her son owned a restaurant that I frequented at least once weekly. The woman was a phenomenal cook! I had a favorite meal that wasn’t on her menu but that she gladly made special whenever I wanted. I was craving that meal as I agonized over not being able to pull together the story I needed to tell. Three restaurants later and I found the perfect little Thai bistro that satisfied my craving. And that same night she walked into my dreams.

For two nights straight she came to talk. About my story. Interjecting her opinion about the direction I was trying to move it in. It quickly became apparent that she didn’t agree with how I saw my tale playing out. For two nights I listened, then I’d wake up and try to go back to doing what clearly hadn’t been working for me. I found myself frustrated and scared because the words simply were not there and the ones that were weren’t working. I actually called my agent in tears, feeling like all was lost.

The Asian woman came back a week later. For days she was just there, saying nothing, just watching me agonize over what I was trying so desperately to control. Then late one night as I drifted off to sleep she admonished me for wasting her time. Then she asked me why I was finding it so hard to let go and let God. I woke in a panic, drenched in sweat.

That next day, I sat in seclusion for hours, the memory of our time together playing over and over again in my head and then, just like that, I let go. I finished that book one week later, loving everything about the story that I was finally able to tell. And just like that the Asian woman was gone. She's been dead for a few years. Breast cancer. I hear that her son continues to run that little restaurant.

Sometimes I need to be reminded that what I do and how I do it is never about me. I write because I love it but I know that being able to write is a blessing. It’s a gift I don’t take lightly. And my best writing comes when I let go and let God.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Author Rooms is excited to welcome renowned author Alice Wootson! 

Alice Greenhowe Wootson grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended Cheyney University and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. She later earned a Masters Degree in Education, and Reading Specialist Certification.

Alice is the award-winning author of eleven romance novels. She is also an award-winning poet and a member of the Philadelphia Writers Conference and The Mad Poets Society. Alice has taught writing workshops for several chapters of RWA and other groups.

Active in several ministries in her church, she also spends any spare time she can find reading, writing, traveling and enjoying her grandchildren. 

Coming soon from Alice is her next release BORDER DANGER, to be published by Prism Book Group. It is an inspirational romantic suspense and deals with the dangers of border patrol agents assigned to the Texas-Mexican border in Brownsville, Texas. 

In BORDER DANGER border patrol agents Brooke Hudson and Darien McKee experience different situations while on assignment that shake their faith. She considers resigning from the agency, but will try reassignment instead. Darien is forced to transfer from the Yuma Sector after an incident in the desert. They are assigned as partners. A personal relationship develops between them. An incident occurs that makes it necessary for them to be assigned different partners, but they continue to see each other socially. Brooke’s new partner makes a rash decision that puts her in jeopardy. Will her faith help her out of the dangerous situation? Darien realizes he loves her. When she disappears, he finds his faith returning as he searches for Brooke. Will he find her in time?

What does your writing process look like?
 Messy. Like my workspace! I get an idea from wherever. Often it's something I read or hear or something that comes up in a discussion. What comes to me is just a general idea. Then my  mnd starts a 'what if'  journey.  My first novel, 'Snowbound with Love' was triggered when a weatherman stating that it was early February and we had already had seventeen snowstorms. My last novel, 'Border Love' and the next, 'Border Danger' were triggered when we spent several winters in Brownsville, Texas and I saw how close the border fence was to Mexico. The Rio Grande River is narrow and shallow there and you can see Mexico through the chainlink fence. Students commute to Texas Southernmost University by walking across a bridge.
What makes your writing space special to you?
Even though I had a bedroom on our third floor converted to an office, I use the dining room table. Everything I might need is there. I guess it's special to me because nobody else could find anything there. 

What book do you wish you could have written?
I can't think of any.
Is there any subject you could never write about?
Abuse or cruelty of any kind.
Do you have any special writing habits?
Of course not.  All of my writing habits are perfectly normal. After all, they're mine! Unless you count that I need my cup of tea as I write. Flavored. (I prefer Constant Comment or Earl Grey.) Or that I have to play Microsofts' Solitaire & Mahjong games of the day before I start working. (This used to be my reward for after. I don't know when it changed.) When I'm revising or editing, I have gospel or country or old school music in the background. When I'm writing from scratch, though, I need it to be quiet. Other than those, I'm just a regular author.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


It's going to be a BLISSFUL SUMMER as I welcome fellow Kimani authors Cheris Hodges and Lisa Marie Perry with their latest summer blockbuster! They're bringing us two exotic locations and two couples who discover the thrill of rekindled passion in this hot summer read!

MAKE YOU MINE AGAIN by Cheris Hodges
Supermodel Jansen Douglas is living her dream. Now a wedding in Paris is about to reunite her with the high school sweetheart she left behind. But Atlanta CEO Bradley Stephens won't let their stormy past stand in the way of reclaiming his first and only love.

UNRAVELED by Lisa Marie Perry
Ona Tracy's plans to seduce her high school crush unravel when the reunion trip she books turns out to be an erotic-themed cruise to the Bahamas! Rather than abandon ship, she recruits blond-haired, silver eyed Riker Ewan to be her hookup, unaware that the hot-bodied ex-marine isn't who he seems to be...

The authors were both kind enough to dish on what the inspiration was for each of their stories.

Lisa Marie, how did you come up with your main couple?
I knew from the start that I wanted to write an interracial couple who experience an instant attraction and connection. Ona is African American and Riker is Caucasian. In the past I've written interracial couples whose conflict has zero to do with racial and cultural details, but I wanted to give Ona and Riker a different journey. Ona is a quirky multitalented performer--and a liar. Riker is a Boston-bred ex-Marine and current blue-collar bartender--and also a liar. They end up aboard an erotic-themed cruise, each harboring secret agendas, and when they meet, lust binds them both and doesn't let go until their every vulnerability is exposed and every inhibition released.
 What was the best part about writing your story?
Writing Ona and Riker's lust-at-first-sight romance was by far the best and most fun part of this experience. They are so sexy and dirty together and they do--and say--things that I absolutely would not.
Please, pick a favorite scene from your story and give the readers some background on what you did to create it.
Easy--Ona and Riker's first kiss! It's sensual and dramatic and exhilarating--at least to me. ;-) Enjoy.
Lisa Marie, how can readers get in contact with you?
I love hearing from readers. Visit me at and also on Twitter (@PerryOrdinary).

Cheris! So how did you come up with your main couple?
I love to see people who used to be in love discover that they still love each other. So, with Jansen and Bradley, I wanted to bring them together with each one of them thinking they didn’t have a chance. And a hero who thinks he has a chance to steal his one true love from another man is so much fun to create.
What was the best part about writing your story?
I love Paris. I haven’t been yet, but I’ve done enough research on the city to feel as if I belong there. And Paris was the perfect setting to rekindle romance. So, aside from the romance between Jansen and Bradley, researching Paris was SO MUCH FUN!
Would you pick a favorite scene from your story and give the readers some background on what you did to create it?
One of my favorite scenes in Make You Mine Again, has to be when Bradley tries to pretend seeing a picture of Jansen with her “fiance” doesn’t bother him. I tried to think of a certain ex of mine and I hope this would be his reaction when I showed up in a major publication on the arms of a fine famous man. I actually asked him how he would feel about it. That clown laughed.
 And, how can readers get in contact with you, Cheris?
I’m all over the Internet. Readers can visit my website:, follow me on Twitter @cherishodges, follow my blog: and they can also get insight on Blissful Summer at

Thank you, ladies! I can't wait to get my Blissful Summer read on and since I love a good tease both authors were kind enough to leave us with a taste of what we can expect!

An excerpt from UNRAVELED by Lisa Marie Perry

Exchanging the glasses for contact lenses, and trading the sweats for a black mesh bikini top with a bow and matching bottoms, Ona swept up her swim tote and joined Regan.
            “That is not a bikini,” Regan accused. “It’s sheer.”
            “Not completely. The bow hides the nipples and the bottoms are solid at the crotch and booty crack.”
            Scoffing, Regan insisted, “I’m only considering your welfare.”
            “You said that before.”
          “Last night you were on Nicholas’s lap and now you’re going to be lounging around a pool wearing that in front of him? It’s an attention-getter.”
            An attention-getter …  Perfect.
          They’d gotten no farther than halfway down the hall before Cole Stanwyck nudged between them, securing his arms around their waists. “The two hottest women onboard. I would’ve been the king of PAAC if I had the pair of you keeping my arms full. Where are you headed?”
            Ever the composed, cool one, Regan gave her deep gold curls a toss. “Cole, juvenile come-ons don’t affect me.”
            “That hurts, Regan. Stilts, make it up to me.”
            Hesitant to linger in his company, Ona at last said, “We’re going to the lower deck.”
            The walk was uneventful, meaning Cole didn’t try to stick his hand between her legs, as he’d tried to when they were seniors at PAAC. Ona hadn’t realized she was sweating until the three of them arrived at the deck. What further concerned her was that she might’ve panicked had Regan Waltz not been there to protect her in a strange, accidental way.
            “If you’re going to be sitting on anybody’s lap, let it be mine,” Cole said as he escorted Ona and Regan to the doors where two crewmembers stood by to offer assistance. “Nicholas didn’t book you for the entire trip, did he?”
            Regan snapped, “Ona has someone, Cole, and it’s not Nicholas. She has someone else and they’re having plenty of sex. So can you please stop the bullshit?”
            Ona and Cole froze as Regan untangled herself from his hold and started to stalk out on the pool deck ahead of them.
            “Regan, wait,” Ona tried, craning her neck to see the woman through the people cutting across her line of vision.
            Regan paused to accept a rolled cool towel and a bowl of fruit from a row of pool refreshment staff. “The only reason I’m not going to a champagne pool right now is because Rajon asked everyone to show up here,” she hollered to the pair. “I’m only doing this because I respect that man more than I’ll ever respect you, Cole.”
            “Repressed bitch,” he sneered at Regan’s back.
            Ona pushed against him. “Let me go. I will not listen to you call her that.”
            “You don’t like her, and she sure as hell doesn’t like you.”
            “That’s true. I’m not going to deny it. But I didn’t come to this deck to make alliances. I came to catch up with the group. Some of us want this to be a positive experience.”
            Cole snatched his arm from her waist, and because she’d been struggling against him, she stumbled at the abrupt freedom. He made no move to steady her—not that she would’ve let him, anyway. “I’m positive you’ve been experiencing Nicholas Callaghan.”
            “Think what you want,” she said, scanning the deck and finding roughly half of the group.
            “If you’re with somebody, where is he?” Cole persisted.
            Ona felt sweaty again, uncomfortably hot, but a cool towel or fruit or concoctions from the pool deck’s snazzy bar wouldn’t be of any relief. Stress sawed at her nerves, and she wanted to get away. “He’s …”
            “Where, Ona?”
            “He’s—” Ona’s gaze swung across the deck, and he was there. Not a made-up sex man or a man she could have a genuine relationship with, but Riker Ewan. One hand gripped a safety railing, the other held his phone, and taut muscles bulged across his arms and back. A gray T-shirt and athletic shorts today, and his dog tags were out, dangling from a simple silver chain. Sunglasses concealed his eyes, but she recognized him clearly. Her body had sensed his. “He’s there, on the phone.”
            “I don’t believe you.” Cole said it calmly, as though he almost enjoyed cornering her and forcing her to face her own lies. “Admit you lied and I won’t have you embarrass yourself in front of the club.”
            “Not that I owe you any explanation, Cole,” she served back, “but I’m not available and my marine probably won’t appreciate that I’ve had to tell you so many times. You need to leave me alone.”
            For effect, she crossed the deck to Riker and took his phone from his hand. Disconnecting the call, she whispered solemnly, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Riker, but I need your help.”
            A frown immediately creased his face. “It’s yours. What’s wrong?”
            “You told me you’re at my service. If you meant what you said yesterday about pretending to be with me, kiss me.” Ona wrapped an arm around his shoulders, because she would start trembling if she didn’t hold on to something solid. So many men in her life had assumed that just because she was tall, seemed strong, she never needed support. Would Riker give her that?
            “Are you sure about this, Ona?”
            “Kiss me,” she said again. “Make it good. Make it so nothing and no one else on this deck exists.”
            “Put my phone in my pocket,” he said calmly in her ear, his lip moving over the shell. “My hands are going to be on you and I’m not gonna take them off until we’re done here. And he’s going to envy me. He’s going to want to have this chance with you.”
            Ona nodded because it was true, technically. To be further technical, it was Cole who’d envy Riker and who’d want this chance with her. She didn’t know what Nicholas wanted.
            Riker took her in stages. Large hands grasped her hips, preparing her. Eyes that were simultaneously blue as ice and gray as smoke perused her. Beautiful, warm, hungry mouth claimed hers with a sudden force that had her head snapping back and her legs collapsing.
            His teeth captured her lips one at a time, and his tongue tasted her. To have his strength wrapped around her … To have his firm mouth open to hers …
            No one had ever said a kiss could void all sensation but arousal. It was a lesson she had to learn for herself as he held her and grinded. Moving against her like this, he spoke to her, admitted his desire and coaxed her to admit hers.
            It didn’t feel like a first kiss. It was absent of expectation and curiosity and nervousness. There was just addictive pleasure.

An excerpt from MAKE YOU MINE AGAIN by Cheris Hodges

  “I messed that up. I guess you’re going to get your happily ever after with that guy. Congratulations, Jansen. But how does he feel knowing you ditched him to find me?”
   “I didn’t come to find you. I see you still think the sun doesn’t rise until it hits your ass. You haven’t changed at all, have you?”
   “Oh. I’ve changed. And so have you.”
   “What’s that supposed to mean?”
   “You’re even more beautiful than I remember.”
   A heated blush filled her cheeks, crept down her neck and finally settled between her thighs. “It’s the make up and…”
   “No, Jansen, it’s you. You’ve always been gorgeous. Maybe I wasn’t ready to share you with the world. I should’ve been more supportive of what you wanted rather than thinking you should have hidden your light.”
   She shot him a blank look. “You wanted everything your way, how did that work out for you?”
   “I should probably thank you,” he said.
   “Thank me?”
   He nodded and took a sip of his drink, trying and failing not to look at her cleavage. “I realized that day that I can’t expect my woman to do everything I want her do. And though I thought the center meant as much to you as it did to me, I shouldn’t have made that assumption for you. I still believe with your brain, you could’ve done something more with your life. You could’ve been on the front line teaching these young girls the value of their lives.”
  She wondered if he even realized how saying that three years ago would’ve changed their lives. But right now, he sounded like a pompous jerk. Jansen rolled her eyes. “A little too late,” she said.
   “Better late than never. I’m also thankful for your generosity,” he said. “The donations that you make every year help us further our cause of helping families and victims of domestic violence.”
   “I loved your parents and what they stood for, I’m glad that I can help their legacy continue.”
   “You could’ve done a lot more if you stayed on the staff…”
   “You’re really going to start that again?”
   “No,” he said as he eased closer to her chair. “I’m going to start this.” He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her slow, deliberate and passionate. He slipped his hands between her thighs and a soft moan escaped her throat. Jansen trembled with anticipation, with longing. Inside, Bradley beamed knowing she still belonged to him. Still clamored for his touch as much as he yearned for her.
    Breaking the kiss, he looked into Jansen’s eyes.
   “Do you love him?”
   “What?” she asked, blinking rapidly.
   “Well, do you?”
   “Are you serious? You’re jealous of tabloid headlines?”
   “No, I’m just wondering what kind of man allows the woman he’s supposed to marry to walk the streets of Paris alone.  If you were my woman, I would never allow that to happen.”
   Jansen rose to her feet and glared at him. “Yeah, you’re the same as you’ve always been. Still want to be in control of everything. All men don’t think like you, thank God. Why don’t we just call it a life? There’s nothing else we need to say to one another.”
   Bradley stood up and closed the space between them. “There’s plenty to say,” he said. “I’ve never stopped loving you and—” He stroked her arm. “I can feel how much you want me, Jansen. So, forgive me if I don’t celebrate your engagement. And I’m not going to watch you marry a man that you may like, but don’t love.”
      “I am…” Bradley silenced her with a kiss that made her knees quiver. His tongue filled her mouth, reminding her that no one could kiss like Bradley, no one could find the way to her soul with a kiss. No one but Bradley. And when he pulled her against his hard body, she felt the throbbing of all of his muscles and melted against him. She wanted to peel her dress off and let him have his way with her. She wanted to go back to the days when she and Bradley woke up entwined in each other’s arms and the previous night’s passion became that morning’s desire.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Today, AUTHOR ROOMS welcomes author SHERYL LISTER. An avid reader who's been writing for as long as she can remember, Sheryl writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Her first novel, Just To Be With You, earned her a 2015 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Debut Author of the Year. 

In Sheryl's next novel, Made To Love You, Devin Simms is a man who has never forgiven the woman who walked out on him but when he sees her again, he realizes the passion between them still burns. Vivian Michaels has to face her past and trust her heart when Devin's kisses reawaken memories of the love she still feels for him. Made To Love You is a tale of love lost and rediscovered beneath a Caribbean sun. It's available on July 14, 2015.

Sheryl resides in California and is a wife and mother of three. 

What does your writing process look like?   
I try to write at least five days a week, though not always at the same time. When I'm not writing, I'm usually thinking about writing or 'writing in my head' as my husband calls it. 

What is your least favorite part about the writing / publishing process?
My least favorite part is writing the middle of the book. The characters are falling in love at the beginning and finding their happily ever after at the end, and I often want to hurry and get to that part.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I tend to write phrases and thoughts on colored post-its. Each color represents a different kind of thought (i.e. green - songs, pink - phrases the hero/heroine will say, blue - things I need to go back and add, etc.)

If you weren't a writer what would be your next career choice and why?
If I weren't writing, I would most likely be back working as a pediatric occupational therapist. I spent over twenty years playing for a living. How cool is that?

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play the leads?

Devin Simms would be played by Lance Gross and Vivian Michaels, would be played by Nicole Beharie.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


Welcome to AUTHOR ROOMS!

AUTHOR ROOMS is a new series here on my blog that allows us all a peek into the spaces where new and favorite authors create their magic. Ever wonder where a writer actually writes? Have you ever had questions about how an author does what they do? AUTHOR ROOMS will give us all a little more insight as select authors answer five random questions and show us those places where they wrangle their mojo!

I’m excited to kick off the series with renowned historical author PIPER HUGULEY. In 2015 Publisher’s Weekly named her a top ten historical romance novelist. The Preacher’s Promise, book one in her “Home To Milford College” series was a semi-finalist in Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write contest, and a quarter-finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.

Most recently, Piper won the 2015 Breakout Author of the Year award from the AAMBC Literary Awards. She was also the recipient of two Romance Slam Jam 2015 Emma awards for Debut Author of the Year and Cover of the Year for her book The Preacher’s Promise.

Coming this month from Piper is A Virtuous Ruby, book one in her Migrations of the Heart series. Published by Samhain, Virtuous Ruby is already an award winner, having won the Golden Rose contest in Historical Romance and being a Golden Heart finalist. The official release date is July 14, 2015 and it will be available wherever books are sold.

An award-winning author on the rise, Piper is a masterful storyteller. Rich descriptions, plot twists, and engaging characters make her writing something special, so don’t miss out on her literary treats! Piper blogs about the history behind her novels at She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.


What does your writing process look like?
Tina McElroy Ansa said, "Thinking time is writing time."  I don't write every day.  I write four days and then think/plot the other three days of the week. It doesn't always work when I have a deadline, but that's my intention.

Do you have any strange writing habits?
I have certain things I like to wear when I write, so I stay warm. I have a sleeveless fleecy writing jacket I like to have on.  As far as any particular place or anything like that, no.  I've had to learn to adapt.

If you were a dessert, what would you be?
A ginger cookie. Spicy but sweet.

What literary character is most like you? And why?
Edana from Octavia Butler's Kindred. For a long time, Edana did not know her heritage.  Through that wonderful story, Butler showed, through Edana, that not knowing your history has a very high cost. Such truth in that book.

What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?

I took a class from the wonderful Dee Stewart in the last few months before she died. She told me that everything that you write has to have a piece of your heart in it.  She said if the writing lacks that emotional connection, it won't sell.  She was right.