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THE LAST KING
by A. Yamina Collins
Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in---she's six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore---she just wants her shattered life to be normal again.
Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George's newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people whose Great Ancestor marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.
But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings because God considers the Edenites' possession of immortality to be theft. And for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a "Glitch" ---an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen "property" of immortality and kill them off.
When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead's Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead's vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.
Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat---they're also their greatest love.
EXCERPT – The Last King, upcoming episode #5
Stepping quietly into the greenroom, he can tell, before he fully enters, that Emmy is in a deep sleep, just by the rhythm of her breathing.
Good, he thinks. She’ll be out for a long while yet.
At first, he moves towards the window, looking out into the night sky. It’s going to rain soon, yes even in the middle of July.Then he turns a lamp on and inspects the bed and rug. Clean as a whistle. Matilda has done a marvelous job, and even Emmy’s clothes are back on, looking good as new.
Standing over to the bed, he studies Emmy for a while.
It could be done so easily; he could kill her in the flick of an eye —split her body apart like he was splitting hairs.
Matilda has leaned the Sword of Jarden up against the dresser, and it sits there now, sparkling and bright.
Picking it up, Gilead wields the sword in his hand with such speed and dexterity that it makes a sound as he cuts it through the air.
It’s tempting isn’t it, he tells himself? To use it on her.
Very tempting. And it really would be less of a hassle if ended this thing tonight, just as his mother wants him to do. But…but…
The sword is heating up in his grip. In a couple of minutes it will be so hot that fire will leap from around the edges of the blade.
Quickly, he lays the sword down on the window sill, then meanders back to the bed, and watches Emmy again.
Now is as good a time as any, he decides.
Carefully, he turns Emmy over on her stomach, and placing a hand in his pocket, he takes out a small syringe whose needle point he positions against the skin of his own forearm. It’s the radial vein he wants, and the tip slides in so easily, so smoothly, that seconds later, the syringe is being filled with the gold-colored, hot fluid that is his blood.
The fluid pulsates, some would say like lava, and when he is done filling up the syringe, he stabs the needle through the back of Emmy’s t-shirt, allowing the needle point to settle against her skin.
Any location will do, he knows. As long as it’s in the general vicinity, his blood will seek out what is broken in a person, what is not perfection, and instantly fix it.
But to be sure, Gilead gives her three injections instead of one – in the mid-section of her back, at the base of her spine, and finally at the nape of her neck.
A faint snapping sound can be heard. It is not the snap of bone or of disks being broken, but that of shattered parts of the body being sealed back into place.
When he finishes, he puts the syringe back in his pocket, moves to the edge of the bed, and just sits there, deep in thought for a while.
Outside, the rain has started, but only a drizzle it seems.
Looking down at Emmy, his eyes fall on the rounded smoothness of one of her shoulder’s, which is half exposed
Scratching his chin, Gilead hesitates, then moves back toward the center of the bed, peering all the more closely at her.
Skin is a funny thing. It’s a fascinating material. It can be ugly and withered, or smooth and alluring. Hers is the type of skin that will never see veins popping through it, nor will age touch it too quickly.
Gilead looks towards the door, then back again at Emmy. How still she is – as still as the grave.
Uneasily—why am I doing this, he asks himself?—he lies down on the bed beside her, facing the ceiling, and he crosses his arms over his chest.
No one will enter the room, he figures. Or at least, no one should.
Matilda has done her job and won’t come back, and as for Markus – Gilead swears to himself that if Markus comes nosying around here, he’ll beat him through and through.
Markus, he snarls. The little brat!
Isn’t Gilead free to do as pleases? Can’t he lie here for a few seconds, undisturbed? There is no harm in this, and he is only curious, that’s all.
Closing his eyes, he leans his head closer to Emmy, and with trepidation, he slowly presses his cheek against her shoulder. A clean, soapy scent rises from her skin.
What was that scent on her earlier, he ponders? Was it cinnamon or sugar or peaches or….?
He inhales, pauses, then looks again towards the door. Is someone on the other side, out in the hallway? No.
Finally he rests his head more fully upon her. There is something about her darkness that is elegant, mysterious and delightful.
Men are fools when they succumb to the flesh of women, but for Gilead this is only a single, innocent moment. After this, he will go back to his wisdom, and his strength of mind, and never will he think about her again.
It’s only for this brief instant in time that he wants to lay here, in the quiet space of this room. Can he not just close his eyes? He’s been alive so long, and never does he feel like he has truly rested.
( Continued... )
© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, A. Yamina Collins. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.
Purchase THE LAST KING by A. Yamina Collins
Serial Novel. Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Intimate Conversation with Bonnie Taylor-Williams
Bonnie Taylor-Williams, a twenty-plus years cancer survivor, a professional third generation Hair Weev* technician, designer and instructor credits her mother for igniting her love for reading. Bonnie’s mother began sitting Bonnie and her brothers at the kitchen table and walking them to the neighborhood Chicago public library instilling the importance of reading at a very early age. Unwilling to completely rely on her children’s school teachers and they had great teachers, Bonnie’s mother taught them how to sound out the words, breaking them into syllables, teaching them spelling, how to look them up either in the back of their spelling books or the dictionary and how to create sentences.
As a child Bonnie loved listening to the history of her family through the stories shared and told by her mother Juanita, her grandmother Selena and her great grandmother Mary. Bonnie’s love of reading books and listening to the family storytelling was soon escalated into desires of writing books herself but wondered how it could be possible when she had never seen any books with people or characters on them that looked like her. Neither had she seen any writers of any books she had read that looked like her as a child until that one day her mother surprised her with a brand new book. The book was “I Know Why the Caged Bird sings” by Maya Angelou.
Maya Angelou was one of the people who came on TV along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, President Kennedy, Barbara Jordan and Muhammad Ali that everyone in the house had to be real quiet and listen, so that the adults could hear. Therefore Bonnie knew who she was. After reading “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” it was like the lighting of the Christmas tree, an electrifying spirit of hope and excitement filled her heart, mind and body.
Bonnie stated, “It has taken me several years to complete this dream/ book due to everyday life which translates to a lack of dedication. Now, I am loving this writing thing, I knew I would! It takes dedication like anything else you really desire.” *Weev: patented spelling
BPM: How did you get where you are in life today? Who motivated you?
Through prayer, perseverance, great guidance, awesome examples to follow, hard work and obedience. Although I had awesome, inspiring examples to follow through my family, especially my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother leading the way I was always a good listener. I didn’t want to learn the hard way, if they told me “this is good or this is bad” I listened. Not all of the time but most of time I took heed and followed. My family motivated me for the most part and I was exposed to many others in my grandmother’s business that played significant parts in my life as well. Intelligence over ignorance (if you don’t know or are unsure keep your mouth closed) is something my mother was adamant about along with respect, honesty, fairness, treating others the way you want to be treated and she always instilled in me that I could do anything I put my mind to.
My grandmother taught me the importance of work ethics and people skills. She believed in hard work “Get up early and stay up late! Nothing comes to a sleeper but a dream” she’d say. If you want anything you have to work for it. If you don’t work you will steal because you will get hungry. My great grandmother would give you her advice but when she really wanted you to understand the consequences she would say “You gone have a hard row to hoe”. I didn’t want anything to be hard or difficult in my life if I could help it. Of course that’s not real life, there will be challenges and there have been but not because I didn’t listen to my elders or was blatantly disobedient. Obedience is better than sacrifice.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book about your family? Why now?
I’ve actually been working on books about my family for years but never completed them. As a child I always loved listening to my family share stories whether we were home with our mother on a cold snowy day listening and learning about her childhood, sitting at the counter in the kitchen as my great grandmother cooked and told stories of her life growing up in Friars Point Mississippi or listening and laughing about the many characters of my grandmother’s salons before I was even born…I LOVED IT! I wasn’t the only one; my brothers loved them as well we often wished that we were back there in those times.
Also many others including clients and employees would often tell my grandmother she should write a book. Although my grandmother has done many things including co-writing a Hair Weev text book with Natalie Haskell of New York she never had time to write a book on herself so I decided I would. It’s time to show my appreciation while we’re both still here. She has influenced and motivated many others, this book “WITH THESE HANDS; A COUNTRY GIRL CAME TO TOWN” is giving her her flowers while she can smell them. They say write what you know, I know her and I know the story. I am paying tribute to her because I like so many others believe she’s extraordinary.
BPM: Could you tell us something about your childhood watching this legacy unfold?
I always felt Blessed. It was exciting, educational and fun. It seemed like there was plenty…of everything; work, food, money, excitement, hair, hustling, pretty cars & clothes and above all respect. Never having to stand in line anywhere we went, especially at Gladys’s Luncheonette because Selena was well known, if they didn’t know her they knew of her, admired and respected her. Watching my mother, uncle and aunt working for and with my grandmother and what it meant to the clients was very impressive, truly exceptional. As soon as my brothers, my cousin and I could read, write and count we were learning the business, Hair Looming (making up hair), tagging and bagging hair and on Saturday mornings delivering dinners that our great grandmother sold in the neighborhood.
Although my mother Juanita took us on vacations when we were small my grandmother Selena began increasing her territory which meant increasing her entourage which included us her grandchildren. We traveled together as a family doing various tradeshows in many cities and states. We already knew how to behave, greet the people etc. now we were learning how to show and sell. The Bronner Brothers show, The NBCL and the Allied Cosmetology Association were yearly staples that we would attend.
The most important lesson I learned as a child…Keep God First. Aside from attending church every Sunday, choir rehearsal every week we were taught to begin everything with prayer. Whether we were having a business meeting, hosting one of our annual Hair Weev conventions which were held nationally or just teaching a class which we taught internationally as well and still to this day in my mother’s school bus transportation business we begin with prayer.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Reminiscing! I really enjoyed remembering the stories and reliving the feeling of the spirit in which they were shared.
BPM: Did your family help write the book? Did your grandmother have any input?
No one else worked on writing the book except me. However, my brothers Bryant and Scotty equally share the love of our family stories. When I would get to certain story that I know we all loved I would let them know and we would have a good laugh and or they would critique me as well as bring up another significant story or person. My mother Juanita would join in too. I am sooo grateful for her having one of my favorite publicity photos of my grandmother which is used for the cover of “WITH THESE HANDS”.
My grandmother is the reason for the story, although she didn’t help write the book she was happily surprised when I presented it to her on my IPad. She began reading the story I asked her to read and to her amazement it was about her! She screamed as she looked up at me “WHO WROTE THIS?” “THEY GOT IT, THEY GOT IT DOWN”! I responded “Me”! She laughed before shedding tears of pride and joy. “It’s going to help somebody, it’s going to sell!” She approved!
BPM: Are there business tips or hair care tips featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
There are no specific tips featured in the book but a few people who have read the book including my editor Dr. Maxine Thompson have stated that they have learned some business tips from reading the book.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present spiritual practice or journey?
It has confirmed yet again that I can do all things through Christ. Also time and health are the most precious commodities we have. I am grateful to be a survivor, a cancer survivor who comes from a legacy of survivors and I don’t want to waste any time.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Yes, I learned that actually sitting down dedicating your mind and your time to writing and completing a book can be challenging with everything else in one’s world constantly revolving and evolving but when you do it’s quite rewarding.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My first goal has always been to share the story for so that others can know about the history of hairdressers. Another reason I wrote the book was to give someone hope; to let them know you can always begin again, as long as you’re alive because every day we get another chance. An unplanned pregnancy, a divorce, a mistake, any act or decision that caused a detour in the path of your dream destiny cannot cause the death of your dream only you can by not pursuing it. If you’re above ground you’re already on top! I hope to bring laughter and perhaps some familiarity to people. Of course I would love for it to be an award winning, phenomenal success but if it helps some, inspires some and make some laugh then it will have served it’s purpose.
BPM: What projects are you working on after this one is released?
I'm working on the second part to this book and a book about my great grandmother, her hardworking entrepreneurial spirit even as she sharecropped in the south, yet leading her children and descendants in the spirit faith and hope through prayer, focusing on possibilities instead of the lack thereof.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Through my website: bonnietaylorwilliams.com
Facebook: Bonnie Taylor-Williams
Twitter: Bonnie Taylor Williams @BonnieTaylorWil
Pinterest: Bonnie Taylor-Williams bonnietaylorwil
Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bonnie.taylorwilliams
With These Hands by Bonnie Taylor-Williams
Between Love and Hate
by AlTonya Washington
Cahlir Decker and Bizay Donneeter had an extraordinary involvement that resulted in more than either of them ever intended. Their connection went deeper than the sexual chemistry that sizzled to life between the powerful corporate consultant and the lingerie entrepreneur. At least, that was what Biz thought until their enjoyable time together ended when she woke one morning to an empty bed and no sign of Cahlir. Biz refused to acknowledge how deeply the man had wounded her-how deeply her feelings for him had grown in the short span of time they had known each other. She was angry and hurt and leaned on a fair amount of hate to survive. Not a bad plan until she received word that her family’s advertising firm was in trouble and that Cahlir was its new owner.
Biz didn’t have time to let fear register over the unexpected turn of events. Fear however, did eventually find its way to the forefront of her mind as did a healthy dose of suspicion. Did Cahlir know that she’d left San Diego pregnant with their child? What would he do when he realized she’d had their daughter and had kept her from him for four years?
Excerpt: Between Love and Hate by AlTonya Washington
Biz had never considered herself a short person, but even in the stylish strappy heels, she felt exceptionally small next to Cahlir. He had placed both arms around her waist and held her close to his muscular frame. Biz rested her hands on his chest and enjoyed the scent of his cologne.
"I wonder how I missed you all night." She said, without realizing she had spoken aloud.
"Excuse me?" Cahlir dipped his head lower.
Biz leaned away from him, so she could look directly into his eyes. "I was just wondering how I missed you all night." She admitted.
A one-dimpled smirk crossed Cahlir's face. "Were you looking for me?"
"Well, not exactly, but handsome men interest me. Especially, when there's a brain to match. I make an extra effort to get to know them."
Cahlir's sleek, dark brows rose slightly. "You don't bite your words, do you?"
"Never," Was her simple reply.
If possible, he pulled her even closer. "Well, I'd appreciate the chance to show off my braininess by talking to you some more."
Biz nodded slowly. She took the arm he offered and they walked towards the balcony.
"So, besides being a good friend of my sister's, who are you?" Cahlir asked, once they stopped in the far corner of the balcony and leaned against the railing.
"Well, I've been in San Diego opening my second lingerie store. It's right next to one of Carla's nail salons. On a whim, I stopped inside one day and had my nails done. Carla was there at the time, we just started talking and here I am." She told him.
"You aren't from California, are you?"
A small frown clouded Biz's lovely face. "What? Could you detect my Southern drawl?" She asked, deliberately drawing out the last word.
Cahlir smiled in spite of himself. "Faintly."
"Mmm...well is there anything else you want to know?" She asked, tossing her head slightly.
Cahlir bent over the railing and looked up at her. "You seem pretty young to have opened two stores." He detected.
Biz nodded, acknowledging his statement. "Well, actually I'm in grad school for my MBA. During college, I worked in my family's company. Then, I decided I wanted something for myself, so I opened my first store. I've done pretty well with it."
"I'm impressed." Cahlir complimented. "So you’re a woman who knows what she wants."
Biz pinned him with a steady gaze. "I know what I want and I go after it."
The two of them stared at each other for a long while. Biz took a deep breath, and then shook her head as if to clear it.
"Well, now you know my life's story and then some. So? What about you?" She asked, her brown eyes narrowing slightly.
Cahlir turned and leaned back against the railing. "What would you like to know?" He asked.
Biz's slender shoulder rose in a lazy shrug. "Well, besides being Carla's little brother, who are you?"
"Well, I've already got my MBA." He playfully boasted. "Like you, I started my business before I got out of grad school. It's a consulting firm and my accountant says I should be proud."
Biz was intrigued. "Well, if you can retain an accountant, you should be proud." She agreed, clearing her throat. "So, uh-is there anyone to share your success?" She asked, hoping she had not overstepped.
Cahlir did tense a bit over the last question. His daughter and the divorce were two things he couldn’t bring himself to discuss, though he found Biz very easy to talk to. "There's no one right now." He finally told her.
"I find that very hard to believe." She noted.
Cahlir shrugged. "It's true. I think I'm involved with my business more than anything else."
"That can't be any fun." Biz told him, her voice very low.
"It's not." Cahlir admitted, his silvery eyes narrowing.
Strangely, Biz found herself sensing sadness in the man. He seemed to be fighting against something, and was failing miserably. She thought she could see shades of regret in the striking silver depths of his eyes. Deciding that it was not her place to question his mood, she fixed him with a bright smile and nudged his arm with her shoulder.
"How about we go check on that soup?" She suggested.
Cahlir offered her his hand and they went back inside.
The caterers had just set out a piping hot tureen of the creamy creation. Cahlir and Biz were like two starving people as they filled their soup bowls to the rim.
"Would you feel comfortable taking this up to Carla's den?" He suggested.
Biz smiled at the way he phrased the question. She saw that behind his incredible face and body, his manner had a thoughtful, mellow quality. It was a trait she found very appealing. Very appealing indeed.
"Just show me the way." She said.
( Continued... )
© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, AlTonya Washington. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
Purchase: Between Love and Hate by AlTonya Washington
Intimate Conversation with Sharon C. Cooper
Award-winning and bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, spent 10 years as a sheet metal worker. And while enjoying that unique line of work, she attended college in the evening and obtained her B.A. from Concordia University in Business Management with an emphasis in Communication. Sharon is a romance-a-holic, loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies or real life.
Sharon writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course).
BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I think my literary work is for those who enjoy romance and women’s fiction with a happily-ever-after. This book will also speak to those who enjoy the dynamics of a strong, loving family who not only work together, but who are also supportive. For me, there are definitely authors who I would consider role models (Farrah Rochon, Delaney Diamond, Phyllis Bourne, Candace Shaw, and a host of others). Not only do they lead wonderfully by example, but they are always willing to share information, support and encourage me.
BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
My current work, TEMPTING THE ARTIST is about a woman from a very large family who has a secret. She feels that if her well-known family discovers her other life, they might be disappointed and disown her. She’s not willing to take that chance. When she meets and fall in love with a bad-boy defense attorney, she wants to share her secret, but feels that it might jeopardize their relationship. The story is centered around trust, forgiveness and family. This story is available on Nook and Kindle.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
My main characters, Christina and Luke are in their late twenties and early thirties respectively. Christina works in construction and enjoys her job, but has a side hustle –a secret - that she has kept to herself for years. She fears that her family and friends will judge her. When it comes time to share her other life with the man she loves, she clams up. Not trusting him enough, she risks losing him instead of being honest with him.
Luke is one of the most sought after lawyers in New York. Due to personal loss and a need to take his life in a different direction, he quits his job and relocates to Cincinnati. He’s looking forward to the move, not only because Christina, his love interest, lives there, but also because the city offers a slower pace than New York. He and Christina come from two very different backgrounds, but they are perfect together. Yet, Christina has secrets and what Luke can’t handle are secrets and lies. With Christina, he’s dealing with both. But Luke quickly finds out that despite what she’s keeping from him, he’s madly & passionately in love with her and will do whatever necessary to have her in his life.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
TEMPTING THE ARTIST is part 3 of one of my most popular series - the Jenkins Family Series. It was time to tell Christina Jenkins (CJ) story. She is a painter by trade and works for her family’s large construction company. She has a secret that she’s held close to her heart for years, but now that she’s in a serious relationship, she has to decide whether or not she’s ready to share another part of her life with the man she loves.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I love books that are a part of a series, especially when they are a family series. What I enjoyed most about writing this story was watching this couple learn to trust each other, grow together, and then get to their happily-ever-after. I also enjoyed the family dynamics that take place in the story and think most readers will be able to relate to some of the situations.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
My ideas come from: my over active imagination, television, newspapers, and sometimes magazine articles. This particular story has elements around art – which was inspired by my painting hobby. My contemporary romances are more character driven, whereas my romantic suspense tend to be more plot driven. I enjoy writing both character and plot driven.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goal for this book was to continue the Jenkins Family Series while telling a light, entertaining story that anyone can read and relate to. And yes, I think I achieved that goal. Besides watching the ups and downs of relationships, the reader will also get to experience the love of a close family.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I have a number of projects in the works. I’m currently working on book 4 of my Reunited Series (romantic suspense) – OPERATION MIDNIGHT. I’m also working on two Harlequin Kimani books (A Dose of Passion & the other is untitled).
Tempting the Artist
by Sharon C. Cooper
Award-winning and bestselling author Sharon C. Cooper brings you another exciting romance!
Christina “CJ” Jenkins, a free-spirited painter by trade is juggling her obligation to the family construction business, with the demands of her secret passion. A secret life she has successfully hidden until recently. When sexy, bad-boy attorney, Luke Hayden, enters the picture, he steals her heart. But the truth of Christina’s double life buried under lies, threatens to destroy them both.
Luke is leaving New York to escape the drama, which is his life. Starting over in Cincinnati with Christina appeals to him more than he will admit. Although her secret jeopardizes their steamy affair, it’s not until someone threatens to destroy the Jenkins family empire, and uses Luke to carry out their plan, that their relationship is truly tested. Luke will do what he can to help the Jenkins family, but he will stop at nothing to tempt the woman who has captured his heart.
Book Reviews for Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper
“The Jenkins family series gets better and better. Christina needed to trust herself and her achievements. Luke was stubborn and prideful. Once those two got past there own issues, there love over flowed!”
Barnes & Noble Customer
“You will LOVE THE JENKINS SERIES...Awesome Books to Read...Great plot and story lines.
The characters are some one we can relate to or with...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO TRUE READERS!”
Excerpt from Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper
“I think your family is cool, but I’m just not into the lovey-dovey, let’s get together every week scene. I get this is what you guys do, but you have to understand. That’s not who I am.”
“That’s nonsense. We both know why you don’t want to get close to others. But let me explain something to—”
“Christina, baby, let’s not do this.” He stood abruptly with his coffee mug, his chair scraping across the travertine floor. His hasty retreat to the coffee pot across the kitchen confirmed what she suspected.
“Let’s not do what, Lucas? You don’t want me to call you out on your fear of letting anyone get close to you? Or is it that you don’t want to get close to anyone for fear of one day losing them? Which is it?”
He refilled his mug without responding. She didn’t miss the way his jaw clenched or the death grip he had on the handle of the coffee pot. Maybe she needed to try a different approach.
“I can’t even imagine what it’s like to not have a family to call on in the time of trouble. Or a family that doesn’t butt in when you don’t want them to. But I do know what it feels like to laugh and joke with people who love you. Or how it feels to have someone be there to hold you up when your heart breaks or your knees go weak.” She thought of Jada and the way she and Zack rallied to get her and Luke back together.
Luke turned and faced her, his back leaning against the counter. “Can’t you accept that I just might not want to be around a lot of people tomorrow?”
“No.” She stood and approached him. “There will be times when we don’t want to do something that the other wants to do or go someplace the other wants to go. But if you asked me to go anywhere with you. Do you know what I’d do?” When he didn’t respond, she continued. “I’d go. Do you know why?” Still no response. “Because I love you. That’s what people who love each other do. And I love you so much at times if feels as if my heart is going to explode.”
“I’m inviting you because I want you there with me.” She felt herself getting choked up but refused to let any tears fall. “No, I don’t expect you to be all lovey-dovey with my family. Or automatically fall in love with them. What I want is for you to try to get to know them because they’re important to me. I know they can be intimidating, but …”
“Stop.” Luke set his mug on the counter and grabbed hold of her hand, pulling her against his body. “Just stop. There is nothing I won’t do for you. Understand? If attending the brunch means this much to you, consider it done. You’re right. Letting others into my world doesn’t come easy, but I understand how important your family is to you. I will try to be more … social. Just don’t cry. I can’t handle seeing you cry.”
Christina wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head against his chest. Hearing his heart beat wildly against her ear, she should have felt guilty for forcing him to go with her, but she didn’t. No way would she let him close himself off because of fear of getting too close to others. He deserved to experience what it was like to have a close family love on him. And the Jenkins’ were just the people to show him what that was like.
( Continued... )
© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sharon C. Cooper. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
Purchase Tempting the Artist by Sharon C. Cooper
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Jenkins Family Series (Book 3)
Tempting the Artist available at these retailers
About the Author
Award-winning and bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, spent 10 years as a sheet metal worker. And while enjoying that unique line of work, she attended college in the evening and obtained her B.A. from Concordia University in Business Management with an emphasis in Communication. Sharon is a romance-a-holic, loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies or real life. She writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course). To read more about Sharon and her novels, visit www.sharoncooper.net