Eric’s Inferno now available on Amazon. Click link here to purchase.
While I’m waiting on the edits for Eric’s Inferno to come back, I decided to catch up on one of my couples. I was inspired by a recent news article about an NFL player taking a knee and thought, “Landon would totally kneel.” So, here’s a little bit of a follow up from Landon and Melody. Hope you enjoy! <3
(If you haven’t read Landon and Melody’s story, check them out here)
“Landon, tell us why you did it?” Andy, the top sportswriter at The Philadelphian thrusts his phone with the recorder turned on into my face after asking his question.
I’m so not in the mood for this shit, I think as I sit on a wooden stool in front of my team locker, surrounded by reporters asking the same question. Why did I kneel? I knew my actions would lead to this, the night of our team’s home opener. Of course, I knew, but right now I just want to go home and see my two favorite people in the world. The edges of my lips curl upward at the thought of home. Let’s get this shit over with, I surmise, at the same time, I continue packing up my duffel bag.
“The answer isn’t obvious, Andy?” I ask, looking up at the hunched over reporter from my stool.
“Well, we want to hear your side of the story,” he retorts.
I grunt at his answer and roll my shoulders back starting to feel the ache of the two tackles I received out on the field. Our home opener was a “W” for us, but it hadn’t come easy.
“You want to know why I took a knee during the National Anthem?”
“Yes, what made you kneel?”
I look from Andy to the reporters surrounding me, and then to the guys on my team still mingling around the locker room. Some are sitting on their stools surrounded by reporters just like I am. I peek over my left shoulder at my best friend and my number one defender on the field, Tank. He’s been my best friend since our college days, more than a decade ago.
Slowly, I turned back to the reporters in front of me. “I did it for the guys on my team. Look around,” I gesture my head around the locker room. “I’m the minority in this room, and often out on the field. But I never thought much about that. As long as I performed no one cared about my race. Unfortunately, that’s not how the outside world works.” I look Andy square in the eye as I rise from the stool, now towering over him. “Did you know Tank was once almost arrested just walking across campus?” I see Tank’s head pop up from the reporters surrounding him. “We were sophomores walking back to the dorm after a party and someone called the police. They came up on us, guns out, demanding to know who we were, but they focused on Tank. Those cops pretty much ignored me until I told them my name and then his. It wasn’t until they recognized who he was and that he was a member of the team, that they settled down, put their guns away. Later, one of the officers even asked us both for an autograph,” I added that last part through gritted teeth, pissed at the memory.
That was the first time I’d ever seen police be so hostile without provocation. It was the first time I saw with my own eyes how different someone could be treated based on their race. I tried to convince Tank to make a complaint after the incident with the campus police department, but he just shrugged and told me to forget about it. Unfortunately, I did.
“I’ve heard stories but that was the first time I saw, up close, the disparity injustice when it comes to race. I used to think football was the best thing that ever happened to me. But I was disavowed of that notion almost two years ago when I met my wife. And three months ago she gave me the greatest gift anyone could ever give. She made me a father. I am now the father of a little boy whose skin is darker than mine, and as much as it makes my stomach turn the reality is, people will see him differently because of it.” I pause, taking time to swallow down the revulsion and anger that knowledge causes me. “I made a promise to do everything in my power to protect my son the day that he was born. So today, on the home opener of our season I did what I needed to, to live up to that promise. I took a knee to acknowledge the fact racial injustice is alive and well in our world, and it’s up to every one of us to stamp it out. I’ll continue to take a knee for the foreseeable future. And whoever has an issue with that, can come see me about it.”
“Now, if you’ll excuse me,” I glance around at the reporters, “I have somewhere I need to be.”
I grab my belongings and head to the showers to wash off the sweat, dirt, and grit of the last few hours, all the while, rushing to get the hell out of this stadium.
“Hell of a speech,” Tank grunts, clapping me on the back as we head towards the doors that lead to the parking lot. We drove into the stadium together since we live in the same gated community–a community our real estate company built. I moved Melody and I into our new home when she was six months pregnant.
“Get the hell outta here,” I shrug him off.
“Pretty boy takes a knee. I can see the headlines already,” he laughs.
“Yeah, what about you? I wasn’t the only one kneeling out there.”
“True, but I’m not the franchise player.”
I open my mouth to respond when I hear someone call my name from behind us.
“Landon, I know you weren’t trying to sneak out. I’m fielding calls left and right,” My assistant, John huffs.
I frown. “I wasn’t sneaking any damn where. I’m going home,” I tell him, sternly. “I suggest you do the same.” Before I can fully turn he starts up again.
“You can’t. The owners are in an uproar! Of course they won-” his words are cut off by my raised hand.
“We’ll deal with it tomorrow. I just played a tough game and the last thing I want is to look at your ugly mug, or this guy’s,” I gesture to Tank. “I’d much rather be looking into my wife’s face, so I’ll make this the last thing I say to you tonight. Take. Your. Ass. Home.”
With that, I turn from John and head towards the parking lot where I’ve parked. It takes about forty minutes to get from the stadium to the suburbs we now live in. The ride is mostly silent and I drop Tank off, before pulling up to my home only a few doors down. I look up from my driver’s seat and a warm feeling spread throughout my chest when I see the dim light of the master bedroom.
“Home sweet home.”
It’s after eleven o’clock when I step foot over the threshold from the garage into the mudroom of our 6,000 square foot home. I toe off my shoes, grinning as I remember the fuss Melody put up over the size of our house. She insisted we didn’t need such a huge home, but I informed her, I planned on filling this space with our babies. Of course, I got my way.
I pad my way through the mud room, down the hall, past the kitchen and up the stairs that lead to the master bedroom. I don’t even bother to glance at the nursery across from our bedroom. Our son, Landon Jr., rarely sleeps in his crib. At three months, Melody swears he’s too little to sleep that far from us. I push the door of our master bedroom open and my breath hitches, per usual.
In our sprawling California King Bed lays my wife, skin the color of cinnamon, thick thighs that I adore and curves galore. My mouth waters and my fingers ache to feel the smoothness of her skin under their tips. She doesn’t even stir as I move in closer, standing at the foot of the bed. She’s asleep, our little bundle of joy perched in her lap. My eyes move higher up her body and my cock stiffens at the sight of her bare breast exposed, the other one covered by her pink silk robe. She’s fallen asleep while breastfeeding.
I move to the side of the bed and lean down, brushing my lips across her warm forehead, and then reach for our son. Melody stirs at the cooing sounds our baby makes. Her eyes flutter open, first landing on her lap and I see the panic in them when she sees the baby is no longer there. The panic subsides when she looks up to see me holding him. When her lips spread into the smile she reserves just for the two of us, my cock jerks again, my eyes once again, going down to her exposed breast. I lick my lips on instinct.
Melody notices my look and looks down, and to my chagrin, covers herself. “Good game tonight,” she whispers.
“You watched?” I smirk and begin rocking Landon Jr. to keep him from waking.
Sheepishly, Melody looks down at her lap before looking back at me. “I tried, for Junior,” she smirks. My wife still isn’t much of a football fan.
“You watched daddy win tonight?” I coo to Junior and press a kiss to his cheek.
“He did and to celebrate, he had a poop explosion all over mommy,” Melody says, rising up on her knees to come closer to us.
“Yeah, next time, I’m saving it for you to clean up,” she teases.
“Fine by me. Come here,” I lean down, beckoning her to give me a kiss. She obliges and I securely hold Junior against me while I capture my wife’s lips. The wave of energy that always occurs when we kiss is there and my jeans begin feeling even tighter. Before we can take this any further, Junior needs to go to his room.
“Hold that thought, babe. Junior’s going to spend some time in his nursery.”
“Landon he can-” her protest is silenced by my kiss. “I’ll be right back,” I say with finality.”
I briskly exit our bedroom and enter Landon Jr’s nursery, and strut over to his crib. I hold him in my arms and just stare at him, memorizing every inch of his face. His skin is the color of honey, darker than mine, but lighter than Melody’s–the perfect mix of us. Other than skin tone, he’s totally and utterly my kid. Looks just like me. He’ll be tall like me and has the makings of a football player already. And even though they’re shut right now, I picture his hazel-golden eyes. I hold him up to me, inhaling his scent. His smell reminds me of his mother. And just like last night, and the night before that, and nights before that since he was in his mother’s womb, I tell him.
“Sleep tight, buddy. Dad’s got your back.”
I swear he understands because he stirs a little and sighs, relaxing back into his comfortable sleeping state.
“Right now I need some of your mama,” I add, placing him in the crib and cover him with the baby blanket. I click on the baby monitor that allows us to see everything in the nursery. There’s no way Mel would let him out of her sight even for a little while without this thing.
I make my way back to our bedroom and see Mel’s attention is on our television. I frown when I see that space between her eyebrows knitted. I turn to the television and see the replay of me kneeling during the Anthem and then my post-game interview. I strut over to the t.v. and hit the power button, bringin Melody’s attention back to me. She sits up on her knees, eyeing me as I approach her.
“You made quite a stir tonight.”
I raise an eyebrow. “Did I?” I run my finger along her jawline, down the column of her neck and push her robe off her shoulder. I bend down to kiss it and be bite it. I feel her shudder. Her body’s reaction to my touch always turns me on.
“L-Landon, you didn’t tell me you were g-going to do that,” she stutters.
“Didn’t I?” I ask distractedly, now kissing up her neck and taking her earlobe into my mouth to suck on it.
I cover her mouth with mine. I can tell she still wants to talk but I’ve said all I needed to say. I’m done talking for the night. Right now, I need in between my wife’s thighs.
I savor the taste of her, my lips hungrily devour hers, at the same time my hands move to cover and squeeze her breasts through her robe.
“Hsss. Landon, my breasts are sore,” she moans.
“Let me make it better, baby.” I push down the sides of her robe and her full breasts and erect nipples stand at attention. They’re bigger since she birthed Junior. I lean down and circle one nipple with my tongue and then the other, before using both my hands to push them together, sucking on both breasts. I’m spurred on by the mewling sounds Melody makes. I pull back slightly, attempting to pull her robe completely off, but I’m stopped by her hands.
I look up to see the look of uncertainty she’s giving me. My eyes narrow and my temper begins to flare at the insecurity I see in her eyes. I immediately step back and go over to the light switch on the wall, flicking it on. Melody’s light brown eyes bulge.
“Landon, turn off-”
“No,” I say sternly, cutting her off. “Take off the damn robe,” I demand.
She hesitates and I have to inhale deeply to control my temper. “Melody, unless you want me to rip the damn thing to shreds, you’ll take it off. Now!” I growl, pacing towards her.
That uncertain look remains, but she complies and lets the robe fall completely away from her body, leaving her in just a pair of panties.
“Move your hands.” My voice is low, firm.
Her hands lower from her belly, exposing the soft flesh, lined with a number of stretch marks. I grip her waist and lean down. Melody intakes a sharp breath as I kiss each one of her stretch marks, loving on the place where my son grew and developed for nine months.
“Don’t ever try to hide from me,” I say, now looking her in the eye.
“I wasn’t hiding.”
“Liar.” I run my hand down her belly and into the boy short panties she’s wearing, cupping her sex. I place my other hand lightly around her neck, forcing her to look at me.
“Every inch of this delectable body belongs to me. You’re mine. All of you. Understood?” I stare at her.
“Understood,” she finally answers.
I plunge my tongue into her mouth, licking and tasting everywhere I can reach. My fingers curl and I insert two digits into her wet canal. Melody cries out into my mouth. This isn’t the first time we’ve been intimate since Junior was born, but with me being away for camp and the new season, it’s only been the second or third time. I hate that my wife is insecure about her body after having a baby. I’m not about to let that happen.
“Fuck,” she whispers lowering her head into my neck and gripping my shoulders with her hands.
“Are you gonna come for me?” I ask before licking the side of her neck.
“Y-yes,” she purrs.
I insert a third finger inside her and piston in and out. “So fucking tight. I don’t think you’re ready for my cock.”
“Landon,” she moans, almost whining. The sound of my name filled with her hunger for me, sends my cock pressing painfully against the zipper of my jeans.
“Now, Melody. Come for me now!” I growl in her ear at the same time I press my thumb against her clit.
“Shit!” she yells, her body trembling as she comes for me, just as I ordered.
“Lay down,” I say at the same time I press her shoulders to make her lie on the bed, and strip her of the underwear.
“L-Landon we should talk about tonight,” she pants.
“Fuck talking,” I say tossing my t-shirt over my head and unbuttoning my jeans.
“I’m serious,” she slurs, still intoxicated from her first orgasm.
“So am I. The only thing I wanna discuss is how good my dick feels while inside you.” I push down my pants and boxers, my cock springing outward, aimed at my wife. “Spread your legs. Let me see what’s mine,” I order, placing my knee on the bed and moving towards her.
Just as I knew she would, Melody, obliges, planting her feet and spreading her legs allowing me to see the pink paradise between her legs. For a moment, my brain short-circuits and I can’t decide what I want to do first. Use my mouth or my cock?
“Landon, the owners, and fans are all going to have something to say,” she says, breaking my concentration on her pussy.
“Let ‘em,” I grunt.
I move quickly to cover her, my mouth on hers as I hover above her. “Fuck them,” I say once I pull back.
She eyes me, concerned. “I’m worried.”
I hate the twinge of fear I hear in her voice.
“Don’t be,” I whisper against her lips at the same time, my cock breeches her entrance. “You’re mine. You and Landon Jr. are the only things that matter to me. My life doesn’t mean shit if I don’t protect you two. I will kneel, sit, stand and honor the both of you in any way I can until my last breath,” I grit the last part out, pushing all the way inside her. Her gasp and the tears in her eyes are my undoings.
“I love you,” I said as I proceeded to move in and out of her.
“I love you,” she responds and aside from my son’s coos that were the best thing I’d heard all day.
“Say it again,” I command, pulling all the way out until just the tip of my cock was inside her, and then pushed back inside her so forcefully the headboard pushed against the wall.
“Oh God!” Melody moaned her hips rising to meet mine, arms locked around my back.
“Say it again, baby.” Another press of my hips into hers.
“I love you.”
“Good girl.” I take both her wrists in my hand, pushing her hands against the pillow and capture her mouth, at the same time I pump into her hot channel. “Fuck!” I yell.
“Fuck me, Landon!” Melody urges.
“Goddammit, I love it when you talk like that, baby.” I move both her wrists in one hand and used my other arm to raise her leg over my shoulder, rutting into her core.
“That feel good?” I grunt, my hips taking on a mind of their own. Melody’s hips rise against me, her head lifting, silently begging to feel my lips on hers. With such plump lips like that, who am I to turn down such an invitation?
Our mouths fuse together, grunting and moaning in each other’s mouths we both race to reach our climax.
We yell each other’s names as our orgasms slam into us. I flex my hips, wringing out every last second of my orgasm, before collapsing onto Melody. Her arms and legs wrap around me even tighter, taking all of my bodyweight. I brace her hips and turn us so she’s now laying on top of me. I use my hand to push her tangled curls out of her face.
“I meant everything I said.”
She grins down at me. “I know.” Her head dips and she presses a kiss to my lips.
Any response I have is cut off by the sharp wail that comes through the baby monitor. Melody starts to move, but I stop her.
I give her a look. “Don’t move. Stay right in that position for when I get back,” I say smacking her ass. I smirk at her giggle, and get up to put on my boxer briefs and tend to my son. I turn to look over my shoulder as I step outside the room to see Melody now laying on her back.
“You’re going to pay for moving,” I growl.
“I’m counting on it,” she answers, saucily, winking at me.
I growl turning to go back and put her over my knee, but Landon Jr. will not be ignored. Another loud wail reminds me that my little guy was upset about something.
I would go tend to my son first, put him to sleep and then remind my wife of what happens when she fails to follow my directions before putting her to sleep as well. It was going to be a long, fun night.
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Well, just know, in that time I’ve been working on my next series. Up next is The Men of Rescue Four!
Firefighters are known for their mental and physical toughness, their roudyness, and just as well known for their philandering ways. The fact is, these men work hard and love to play just as hard. It takes a special woman to make these guys slow down and think twice about settling down. But that’s exactly what will happen to the men of Rescue Four. One by one, each man will find himself not just fighting the fires of the calls they go on at work, but also fanning the flames of attraction, lust and if they’re lucky…love.
First up in this series is Eric “Harvard” Kim’s story of finding romance and love, with a lot of steaminess thrown in. Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for a release date. For now, here’s a sneak peek. Oh, and the book cover.
Eric’s Inferno Sneak Peek ***Unedited. Subject to Change***
“Heads up. Rescue 4 just walked in.”
I looked up from behind the bar just as the men of Rescue Four entered. Individually, these guys could stop traffic, but altogether they were enough to give a normally healthy woman a heart attack. The first to enter was Corey with warm brown skin that held gold undertones he stood at about six-feet and the way the black t-shirt he wore clung to his body, he was in the gym at least five days a week. Next to enter was Don, who was about an inch taller, just as muscular with olive skin and dark hair with a scruffy beard. The first two were enough to make any girl swoon, but I felt the blood rush to my ears when the third and final Rescue Four man came into my line of sight. The one they called Harvard, although his real name was Eric. He stood the tallest of the three with creamy tan skin and dark hair that looked smooth as silk thanks to his Asian heritage. I’d overheard one of the guys say that he was Korean. With his chiseled jaw, full lips that were almost pouty, and dark hooded eyes, he screamed sex appeal. He looked like he held the secrets of the world behind those eyes. His mysteriousness was coupled with the fact that out of all the firemen that frequented the bar, he spoke the least. Firefighters were a loud, proud lot. I knew them well. My father had been one for more than thirty years, and my older brother was one of them. I’d grown up around them. But Eric had a steely calm to him like he didn’t have to announce who or what he was to the world. He knew who he was.
A trail of goosebumps rose along my arms when those dark eyes circled the room, finally landing on me. I was behind the bar, far from the door, but it almost appeared as if his eyes darkened when they slowly scanned down my body. His facial expression remained neutral and I forced myself to look away, moving to help another customer.
“What’s up, Sugar?” Corey greeted a few minutes later.
“How’re you doing tonight, Corey?” I smiled.
“Much better now that I’ve seen your beautiful face,” he replied smoothly, perfect teeth appearing when he grinned.
Did I mention how much these men flirted? All except one, at least.
“Talking like that is going to get you in trouble.”
“Trouble’s my middle name.”
I laughed. “The usual?” I questioned, pulling the rag out of the back pocket of my jeans to clean up a spill on the bar.
“Yup, make it five. We’re meeting two more from Rescue Four.”
“I thought you guys were traveling a little light tonight.”
“Us three just got off. Thanks, sugar,” Corey winked once I handed him the first of the three Coronas with lime he’d requested. He sauntered over to pass off the first two beers and again my eyes collided with Eric’s, almost as if he’d been staring at me. A shiver ran through me when he took the proferred beer from Corey, his gaze still planted on me. His eyes narrowed and I almost go the sense I was in the crosshairs of a predator. Instead of fear, I felt my lower belly quiver as thoughts of the intentions behind those dark eyes ran through my mind. I finally managed to blink and when I looked back, he’d turned, facing the rest of the men at his table. I sighed. Even his profile was beautiful. I licked my lips as I watched Eric’s Adam’s apple bob up and down after he took a swig of his beer.
“You might want to clean up that drool you left on the bar,” Stephanie mumbled in my ear.
I snapped her hip with the towel in my hand. “I’m not above replacing you,” I scolded Stephanie.
“You wouldn’t fire me. Who else do you have to run this place while you’re fantasizing about the hot firefighter,” she wiggled her eyebrows, and I tossed my head back, laughing.
“Get back to work,” I ordered. It was a Friday night, and Charlie’s was hopping as usual. Being conveniently located between two fire stations meant that during evening shift changes we were inundated with burly firefighters and the many female patrons who swooned after them. That coupled with the regular foot traffic we received and at times having two bartenders behind the bar wasn’t always enough. I was grateful for it all. It’d been eighteen months since I bought Charlie’s out from its previous owner, did some construction work on the place to give patrons more room, added a Bluetooth jukebox, and a few craft beers that were so loved by us millennials, and business was booming.
“What can I do for you, sir?” I asked the man who’d just walked up to the bar. He ordered a rum and coke. Once that order was done, I moved on to the next customer. It went on like this probably for close to an hour with Stephanie and I so busy we barely got a good look at who we were serving before we were pouring another drink.
“What can I get for ya?” I asked the patron, barely making eye contact.
A warm sensation moved through my belly at the sound of that voice. I locked eyes with Eric.
“F-five coronas with lime?” I stumbled over my words, internally kicking myself for sounding so lame.
A half-smile formed on those lips and he nodded, leaning down on the bar. I had to keep myself from watching his biceps bulge and strain again the t-shirt he wore.
“Coming up!” I infused my voice with the cheerfulness I gave all my customers. I felt his gaze on me just as if he were touching me, while I uncapped the bottles and inserted the sliced limes.
“Thanks, sugar,” I heard Corey’s voice sound off from behind Eric. I looked up just as he put an arm around a now frowning Eric. “You know, this guy should drink free tonight.”
I raised my eyebrows looking at Corey. “Oh yeah, and why is that?” I uncapped the final bottle.
“Harvard you didn’t tell Angela here you’re a hero?” Corey teased.
Eric just gave him a shut the hell up look.
But Corey kept on going. “Harvard here, saved a little girl today. Climbed a four-story building and brought her down.”
My eyes ballooned. “Seriously?”
“No, he’s messing around,” Eric tossed a deadly look in Corey’s direction.
“Fuck no he ain’t,” I heard Don’s booming voice come up behind both men and insert himself at Eric’s left side.
“Corey’s telling the truth. Rescue Four had to save Rescue Two’s asses again today.” Don and Corey both guffawed at that. Eric gave a light chuckle, and I had to look away. Something about not looking directly into the sun, unless you want your retinas to burn up. That’s what it was like looking at this man for too long, especially when he laughed.
“Well, in that case, this round’s on the house. Just don’t tell Rescue Two about it.”
Don and Corey grabbed all but one of the beers headed back to their table.
“I’m good at keeping secrets,” Eric’s gaze lingered on me for a heartbeat, then he grabbed the beer I still held in my hand, his fingers grazing mine. My eyelids fluttered at the current of energy that ran through me at his touch. I looked up into Eric’s handsome face to see his eyes widen ever so slightly. He felt it too. He inclined his head towards me before turning to head back to the rest of his squad.
I picked up a stack of napkins and began fanning myself with them. “Geesh.”
I grabbed a bottle of water from under the bar, hoping to douse my internal flames before I returned to serving my customers.
“Talk about hot!” Stephanie said behind me. I turned to see her biting her finger as she longingly looked over at the men who’d just departed from the bar.
“If you like that sort of thing,” I shrugged.
“Oh please. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t leave this bar right now to go home with one of them. Especially, Harvard. I’ve seen the way you look at him. And how he looks at you.” She wagged her finger at me, shaking her shoulders seductively, her blond locks flowing around her shoulders.
“The man barely talks.”
“Even better! The strong, silent type.”
“Get outta here. There’s nothing there. Plus, I’m trying to see where things go with Marshall.”
“Boring,” Stephanie rolled her eyes. “You’ve been on what three dates with Marshall? That’s not enough time to see where things are going?”
“Some of us like the slow build. You know, creating a solid foundation. Not everything’s passion and hot sex.”
“If you say so.”
Christmas decided to come a little early this year. So…Available Now on Amazon
Time is ticking along and Safe Space II is currently being edited. Trust me, I am JUST as anxious for you all to read it as you are. Once I get my manuscript back from my editor I should have a better idea as to a release date. In the mean time and in between time, here is the cover reveal for Safe Space II: The Finale
How’s everyone? First, thank you to all who have supported and sent me messages, left reviews, and just generally enjoyed Safe Space. Xavier and Chanel’s story has been a labor of love. Safe Space 2 is currently in its revision/editing stages, and I am hoping for an early Agust release. I will definitely keep you all updated when I have a release date. As for now, here is a sample of what’s to come in Safe Space 2. Enjoy!
****Unedited. Subject to Change****
“You think you know her that well?” I heard the challenge in his voice.
“I do,” I answered with confidence.
“What makes you think that?”
I rubbed the back of my neck, growing irritated at this line of questioning. I knew Chanel. Maybe not everything, obviously. But we’d spent too much time getting under one another’s skin for me not to know her. But I didn’t feel like sharing that with Jason. I wanted to keep the intimacy I felt with Chanel just between us.
“The real question is why don’t you know her that well?”
Jay’s expression morphed into a shocked look. “The hell is that supposed to mean?” He stood up from the bench at the same time I did.
“It means exactly what I said. She’s your sister. Why the fuck didn’t you know what the hell was going on in her life? Why the hell did you find out about the shit that went down with her fiance at the same time I did? Five years after the fact?” Those were questions I’d been wondering for weeks now. Another reason I’d kept my distance from Jay, aside from my traveling. He was her older brother, supposed to protect her, no matter what. And he failed. So, I was pissed at him too.
“Man, I tried to look out for her. You should know that better than anyone else. What the hell did you think I was doing those times I asked you to stop in and check in on her while you were in D.C?”
My head shot back in surprise. I thought back to the times Jay would ask me to pop in on Chanel while I was out in D.C. handling business. She was still in law school at the time and living with Ethan.
“I never liked that dude. Something about him always seemed off to me. Well, not even him but the way Chanel seemed to close up in herself when he was around.” Jay shook his head as if remembering the signs of what was going on in their relationship right in front of him and being completely oblivious to it at the time. “You never picked up on anything when you saw her out there?”
I closed my eyes, thinking about one of the times I visited Chanel’s D.C. apartment.
Six years earlier…
“Xavier, what’re you doing here?” Chanel asked through the intercom of her apartment building.
“I was in town and remembered you didn’t live far from one of the spots I’m opening. Let me up. I bought some pumpkin scones from the deli down the block.”
“Oh! I love that place. Hang on.”
A second later I heard the buzzer sound signaling I’d been granted access to the building. I opted to take the stairs to her third-floor apartment instead of the elevator.
“Hey,” she answered the door with a warm smile on her face.
I let my eyes glide down the length of her body. Her hair was pulled back in a poofy ponytail at the back of her head. She wore a simple gray sleeveless tank top and black stretch pants. I grinned at the pink polish on her toe nails. I briefly wondered why I even noted the color of her toe nails but pushed that thought aside.
“Hey. Can I come in?” I asked when I realized I was still on the outside of her door as we stared at one another.
“Oh,” she blinked. “Sure, come in. Is it cold out?”
“Nah, not too bad.” I pulled off the leather jacket I’d been wearing and placed it on the back of one of the wooden chairs in the kitchen. “What’re you up to?”
“I’m just studying. Finals start next week.”
“Then only one more semester of law school left. You ready for working as a lawyer?”
She gave a half-hearted shrug. “I’m scared as hell, to be honest. You want something to drink?” She asked over her shoulder as she pulled out two plates from an overhead cupboard.
I had to tear my eyes away from her round ass in those leggings. “Here, let me help.” I stepped behind her, placing my hand on the small of her back and easily reaching up grabbing two saucers.
“Thank you.” Her voice was breathless. “I don’t know why Ethan insists on putting the dishes on the second shelf where I can barely reach them.”
The mention of her live-in boyfriend reminded me that she was taken. For some reason, my stomach twisted at the reminder that she shared this place with another man. I stepped back, placing my hands on the counter, instead of on her. “You didn’t need a plate for me. I just wanted to drop these off.” That was a partial lie. Jason had asked me to check on Chanel and make sure she was straight. I did that from time to time when I was in D.C.
“No, please stay for a little while.”
When she turned those big brown eyes on me, pleading my knees felt a little weak.
“Ethan’s working late, as usual, and I’ve just been studying. It’s so quiet here.” She stared at me, waiting for my response. I dropped my coat, which I had grabbed from around the chair. That move instantly brought a smile to her face.
“A’ight. I’ve got some time before I have to be anywhere. But I’m not eating one of those pumpkin scones.” I pointed at the box with a look of disgust on my face.
“Oh, c’mon they’re not that bad,” she teased, pushing the opened box in my face so I could smell them.
I turned my head. “Nah.”
“If you don’t like pumpkin scones why did you buy them?”
“I told you, they’re for you. I remembered you liked the pumpkin scones sold at my coffee shop back home.”
Her grinned. “You remembered that?”
I nodded shocking us both. She’d devoured those things from the little coffee shop I owned just off the campus of the University of Houston, where we’d both attended, though at different times.
“They were so delicious. Do you still sell them?” she asked, placing a scone on one of the saucers and pouring a glass of the almond milk she’d pulled from the ‘fridge.
I shrugged. “I don’t know. I sold that place a couple of years ago.”
Her forehead creased in concern “Why?”
“I wasn’t interested in the cafe business.”
“On to bigger and better?”
“Um, well we have some brownies I bought earlier this week. You do like brownies right?”
“Almond milk? It’s vanilla flavored.”
“I was used to regular milk, but my best friend Gabby is vegan, and she’s got me hooked on almond milk now,” she stated, as she took a seat across from me at the wooden circular dining table. We enjoyed our snacks for a few minutes in silence. I had to force myself to keep it together when Chanel closed her eyes and moaned a little bit after the first bite of her scone.
“I’ve been trying to be good and stay away from that deli for weeks now.”
“Why?” I took a sip of my milk.
“Because between that place and the stress of finals I could gain ten pounds, easy. Ethan’s already been making comments about my gaining weight.” She frowned and my fist tightened at the thought of her thinking she could be anything less than desirable.
“He’s a fucking fool.” My bluntness caught her off guard, and she gasped. I hadn’t said anything I didn’t mean, so I simply stared at her as I took another bite of my brownie. “Why aren’t you out on the town on a Friday night? I know you said you’ve got finals, but that’s not until next week.”
Sheee made an unreadable face. “Ethan’s at work.”
“And? Why can’t you go out with friends?”
“Most of my friends are also busy studying. But my best friend is packing to move across the country in a few days.”
“That sucks. Why aren’t you helping her?”
A pout formed on her lips. “We’re not speaking right now.”
Her eyes shot up to my face before she peered at something over my shoulder. A far off look appeared on her face.
I lowered the glass of milk I’d been ready to take a sip of, alarm bells went off in my gut.
“No reason. Just girl stuff,” she waved a hand as if it was no big deal.
Something told me differently, though. Before I could question Chanel about it, noise at the door drew both of our attentions. A few seconds later the door opened, and a man strode through. He stopped short when his eyes landed on me. His face turned into a scowl.
“E-Ethan,” Chanel started, jumping from her seat and scurrying over to her boyfriend. “You’re home. I thought you’d be in a little later.” I could’ve been imaginging things but her voice sounded strange. Almost guilty.
I frowned, not liking the tone her voice now held. His scowl moved from me to Chanel.
“Yeah, I finished the brief I was working on earlier than expected. I thought I’d come home and surprise my favorite girl by taking her out to dinner. But I see you’ve already eaten.” He eyed the plates on the table, then turned his gaze on me again.
I picked up my glass taking the last sip of milk before slowly standing. I didn’t like the vibe I was getting from this dude.
“Ethan, this is Xavier. Jason’s best friend. He’s in D.C. on business and stopped by to drop off some scones. We were just catching up.” She stopped talking shortly, biting her lower lip and now standing in between me and Ethan.
“Yeah, that’s right. You’ve told me about him.” His face seemed to soften just a little when he looked at me.
“What’s up?” I greeted, sticking my hand out.
“Not much, man,” he shook my hand. We stood about the same height. At six foot one, I may have been an inch or two taller than him. “Thanks for keeping my girl company while I was at work.” He pulled Chanel into his side.
“Thanks for the scones, Xavier.” Chanel gave me a half-smile.
“Anytime,” I responded, and I swear Ethan’s face tightened at that. Before I could give him another look, my phone buzzed. I pulled it out seeing the name of the woman I’d intended to take out later that evening. That reminded me that I needed to get going if I was going to make my date with Genene. I hit ignore but shot her a quick text letting her know I’d call her back in a few minutes.
“I gotta head out. Chanel, it was good catching up. Ethan.” I gave him a head nod as I stepped around him and moved towards the door.
“Thanks again,” Chanel added as she escorted me to the door.
There was a look in her eyes I wanted to ask about, but my phone buzzed again. This time it was my assistant, telling me some information about a building I’d been looking to purchase.
“You take care. Enjoy those scones.”
“I will.” She closed the door rather abruptly, but I didn’t think too much of it as I strolled down the hall, reading over the email I’d just received.
As you can see from the title Safe Space is available today! Woot Woot! You can pick up your copy here.
And while reading, go ahead and get into this playlist. Xavier and Chanel’s story is better absorbed while listening to music. Happy reading!
(And if you enjoyed the book, please head over to Amazon to leave a review. Thank you in advance).
Have you ever felt the type of safety in a relationship that made you want to open up and expose all of yourself to one person? If you have, then you know what the term “safe space” is all about. My goal in this story was to write a relationship about that safe space. The heroine in this story has been through some negative experiences in her past which makes her reluctant to the idea of love or relationship, despite the incredible chemistry she feels with Xavier. And Mr. Grant being the quintessential alpha male is not going to let that stop him. These two share an undeniable spark that even past hurts can’t get in the way of. However, as with every couple, they will go through their ups and downs, and hopefully make it out on the other side. I’m so ready to share this story with you all, and hope you enjoy the development of Chanel and Xavier’s love as much as I enjoyed writing it. (Available for preorder here)
Now, I’m off to go write more of their second installment, so you won’t being waiting too long for the conclusion of their story 🙂
But first, another sneak peek:
Okay, I know I do this A LOT, but I am truly sorry for neglecting this blog for soooo long. Please blame my head and hectic life and not my heart. If you follow me on FaceBook or even Twitter, you’ll know by now that My Storm has dropped. If you haven’t gotten your copy, you can find it on Amazon here. The release was rather short notice for me, and I simply forgot to post it here on the blog, considering I posted it everywhere else. My apologies.
One of the main reasons I neglected to keep up on my blog is that at the time I was editing My Storm, I was also in the middle of writing my first African-American Romance (among other things). This one is being self-published and is now available for preorder on Amazon. The release date will be June 1st. This one will actually be a two-parts as these characters just had a lot to say. With that said, let me introduce you to Chanel and Xavier in Safe Space.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing more sneak peeks on this couple 😉
My Storm Synopsis
****Warning: This is a BDSM romance. ****
Writing has always been Tasha Edwards’ means of escape. When the world around her was falling apart, and the adults she was supposed to depend on turned on her, it was her vivid imagination and storytelling that got her through the rough times. As an adult, it is this very passion for writing that has made her a New York Times’ bestselling author. She couldn’t ask for much more, with a thriving career and now being reunited with the older sister who always looked out for her. Tasha’s on the cusp of writing the fourth book in her highly popular series. But what happens when the words stop coming? After months of writers’ block, Tasha looks to somewhat unconventional means to distract her from her inability to write; a distraction by the name of Jeremy Bennett, the very sexy cousin of her new brother-in-law.
Jeremy noticed Tasha the first time he laid eyes on her. He also told himself she was off limits. That look of sadness that always hid deep in those golden-colored orbs warned him that she had an ugly past. It takes one to know one. After one dance with Tasha at his cousin’s wedding, Jeremy promises himself he’ll keep away from the beautiful woman with skin the color of dark chocolate, killer curves, but a dark past. Now, if he can only keep her out of his dreams at night. He manages for a while, but when Tasha initiates the first move, can he turn her away? Is Tasha ready for everything that comes with being Jeremy Bennett; floggers, ball gags and nipple clamps included?
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