Tag Archives: contemporary

Book Excerpt from Phoenix Rising


Book Excerpt

“Phoenix, don’t drink, love!” Nick said taking the decanter that she had just picked up from her and sitting it down. Nick hated that she depended on alcohol to help her with her anxiety. It was not good for her. Turning and picking up the decanter, Phoenix poured herself a shot of brandy. “The only people that can tell me what to do, Nick, are my daddy and my man and YOU are neither; so cheers,” she said before downing the entire shot. ‘Jesus that shit burns! That will show him, brainiac!’ she was thinking. Walking over to her window, Nick put one hand in his pocket and the other on the back of his neck. “Don’t start this again, P. Why does it have to be anything? Why can’t we just enjoy each other?” Nick said to her turning around to face her.

“Nick, do you see Vixen and Daniel? Shit, even Nya and Sal? I want a relationship; a bond with someone that I can count on and that can count on me. Not just a regular dick to service me. Not that your dick is not fabulous, but damn,” Phoenix yelled at him.

‘DAMN IT,’ Nick was thinking. ‘Not you, Phoenix. I thought you understood.’

Putting his head back and looking at the ceiling, Nick decided to stop the bleeding before it got worse.

“I am sorry, love, but you are not the type of woman that I would marry,” he said looking at her and putting his hands in his pockets.

“Ha,” Phoenix said taking a moment so that she would not let him see that he had just broken her heart. “That’s fine, Nick, I am more than enough for a man that is man enough for me. That obviously is not you,” she said walking over to her chair and sitting down. “Now, please get the hell out of my office before I have you removed,” she finished. Phoenix started typing a memo like she was not devastated.

Nick started to walk toward her. He knew that he had pushed her too far but he did not want her hoping she would get something he couldn’t give. “Phoenix, love, I just…” he started to say but was cut off by Phoenix.

“I am sorry. Did you forget where the door was?” she said angrily without yelling. The James women had a way of telling you to ‘kiss their ass and go to hell’ with just a look. Vixen was A LOT better at it than Phoenix but she was doing a hell of a job right now. “Let me help you; it’s right over there,” she finished pointing at the door.

“P, I am not leaving until we talk,” Nick said to her.

“Ha! Really?” Phoenix said smirking as she pressed the emergency button on her desk. Within two minutes, members of her executive security team were walking into her office.

“Yes, ma’am?” one of them said.

Phoenix stood up and said as she was walking to the bathroom, “Mr. Crown seems to be having trouble getting the fuck out. Help him out, won’t you?” she said before slamming the bathroom door. She waited until she heard her office door close and slid to the floor and cried.

About The Book

23287678Title: Phoenix Rising

Author: Leila Lacey

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Phoenix James is plus sized dynamo, she is tall and light skinned, very earthy and eclectic in the way she dresses.

Phoenix is funny and fun loving; she has the personality that can make friends in the desert. Outgoing and charismatic, easy to talk to. She is the girl that all the girls want to have as a friend and the girl that all the fellas think is cool. She is loyal to her friends and family to a point of sometimes hurting herself if they are not being true to her.

She is single and has no kids, she has been married once and that relationship ended in divorce after he cheated on her. Although on the outside she seems totally confident and comfortable in her own skin to the public; she is sad and insecure about her weight and finding true love, Because of her insecurities her choices in men have been bad and most times disastrous.

Nick Crowne is 6’2” with broad shoulders and chocolate brown skin and brown eyes. He was born and raised in Britain so has and accent. His dimple on his right cheek gets him out of a whole lot of trouble with the ladies. Always being a slender man he is not much of a gym rat but still has an amazingly toned body with a deep sensual voice; he was married to the love of his life who died in a car accident 6 years ago, with their two year old daughter. He is not looking for nor does he have a desire to be in a relationship. He has decided that he will never let that pain touch him again. Besides the fact that being married to him was dangerous because of his family.

Nick is a man with culture and pride in being a black man. He donates extensively to scholarships for under privileges black children to go to college. He is a shark in business and a teddy bear in private.

He does not lie or sugar coat things he feels that, is just a way to cause more heart ache in the end. Being that he is so blunt and honest many people feel he is cruel and do not understand him. Born to a…. what American’s would call mafia family, he once worked 3 jobs and went to school full time to create a good life for himself and his family outside of a life of crime. He has worked hard for all he has and will fight dirty to keep it.

Author Bio

Leila Lacey is a romance author living in Michigan. With 3 Amazon Best Selling Books. Her unique, yet titillating, genre blurs the lines between romance, interracial love and erotica. Now in her late 30’s, Leila has been passionate about writing since age 10. She can often be found traveling the world, enjoying water sports, listening to jazz music or volunteering at Vista Maria, a local youth program for young women. Leila, above all else, loves her friends and family. It is with their support that she is able to create magical scenes of true human intimacy on every page. Follow Leila Lacey on her endeavor to be America’s next New York Time’s Bestselling Author!





US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MXSLACY

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Phoenix-Rising-Goddess-Leila-Lacey-ebook/dp/B00MXSLACY/ref=la_B00K82W080_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411990238&sr=1-3


Book Excerpt from Ruby’s Letters


Book Excerpt

September 2006


                Three large men glared at Emma Hopkins, their beefy arms crossed over equally massive chests. Her gloved hands tightened around the handle of a sledgehammer.

                Her employees. Fearless. Manly.

Pouting like a bunch of four-year-olds.

“Oh, stop sulking. You guys always get to do the demolition. It’s my turn.”

“We are no sulking. We are waiting,” Carlos quipped in a thick Cuban accent. “Swing the hammer.”

“Yeah, just pretend the wall is the head of that meter maid who gave you a ticket while you were stopped at a red light,” Bart said.

Relaxing her hold, she scrutinized the laborer. “You know, Bart, you really scare me sometimes.”

“He scares all of us.” Mike, her head mason, flicked a contractor bag until it opened.

“Gee, I can’t imagine why.” Emma returned to her task. A gentle late-summer breeze came in through the open window, bringing with it the pleasing fragrance of damp earth. “Hush, all of you. I need to focus.”

She studied the five-foot-high brick structure jutting out from the wall that imprisoned the enormous kitchen fireplace, looking for the perfect place to land her blow. The bottom half appeared solid, with pin-straight mortar joints, but the top was sloppy and uneven. Either two different people had built this thing, or someone had imbibed a few cocktails while on the job. In any case, behind the wall was a huge fireplace she was itching to get her hands on.

She’d earned this privilege.

With a deep breath, Emma swung the hammer through the air.

As soon as the heavy metal head made contact, the top portion of the barrier gave way. She gasped in surprise, stumbling as the hammer dropped from her hands. Bricks and mortar collapsed into the firebox as a blast of cold, stale air swept through her, sending chills down her spine. No, not chills. More like an electric shock that froze her body for a millisecond before it warmed again.

Emma steadied herself. What the hell?

Estás bien, Boss Lady?”

She focused on Carlos’s concerned face, trying to shake off the odd feeling. “Yeah. I was just startled at how easily it fell.”

He smirked. “Even the wall knows not to mess with you before you’ve had your café.”

Emma removed her safety glasses and slapped them against his chest. “You’ve just been reduced to bag holder.”

While she mindlessly tossed debris into the contractor bag Carlos grudgingly held open for her, her sense of pride grew.

She always loved the first day at a new job, but this one—this one—would put her fireplace and chimney company on the map. Working in a historic brownstone practically at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge was going to be a delight, even if it was a bitch to find a parking space. She loved this part of Brooklyn Heights, and with ten fireplaces to restore, they were going to have one hell of a job to brag about.

As long as everything went smoothly.

Her gloved hand wrapped around something long, thin, and hard. What the hell? She gave a good tug and withdrew a bone. Great, another dead animal. She’d better get it out of the firebox before Bart saw it. With his sick sense of humor, God only knew what perverse ideas he’d come up with just to get a laugh.

Grabbing a droplight, she brought it over to the opening and aimed it down into the pit, peering over the half-wall.

Empty eye sockets stared back at her.

Shock waves rocketed through her body, unleashing a guttural scream. She jerked back, dropping the light and whacking her head against the opening of the firebox.

Her butt hit the ground hard. She cradled the back of her skull, more from reflex than from actual pain. Her mind was too numb for that.

No, it can’t be.

Emma stared at the bone still gripped in her hand. “Ew!” She flung it aside.

                In seconds, her men surrounded her.

                “Emma, what’s wrong?” Bart’s normally pink-hued face appeared white even against his reddish blond hair.

She opened her mouth to speak but instead released a high-pitched squeak. Carlos offered a hand.

She grabbed it, hoping to draw strength from him before he pulled her up. The guys stared at her, waiting for some direction.

With her heart attempting to punch a hole through her chest, she inched toward the fireplace and picked up the lamp again. Hesitating, she braced herself before glancing over what remained of the brick wall.


Grotesque. Surreal. Contorted into the form of what was once a human being. The skull looked dingy brown in the bright light of the drop lamp. Arm bones, pinned behind the rib cage, were visible beneath the debris.

“There’s a body in here,” she whispered.

About The Book

Ruby's Letters CoverTitle: Ruby’s Letters

Author: Maggie van Well

Genre: Contemporary / Paranormal Romance

You never know what you’ll find behind the wall of a closed up fireplace.

Emma Hopkins is a recently divorced chimney sweep trying to make it in a man’s world. When she wins a huge job in Brooklyn Heights , she finds more than she bargains for; a sexy general contractor who makes her blood boil and an evil spirit who wants her dead.

Ryan Atkinson struggles to keep his once-successful general contracting business alive, but horrors in his past have made him a shell of the man he once was. Now he has to face those fears to save Emma from a murderous ghost hell-bent on revenge.

Together, Ryan and Emma become ghost hunting partners, hoping to solve the mystery behind Ruby’s letters. What they uncover is a one-hundred year old murder and a budding love that can’t be denied.

Author Bio

Maggie lives on Long Island with her husband, four insane children (no idea where they get that from) and three entertaining Italian greyhounds; Rosie, Stripe and Santa’s Little Helper (yes, that’s his real name). She also has two ringed-neck doves, because, ya know, who doesn’t like getting woken up at 2 in the morning by cooing?

She loves the ocean, and feels blessed to be able to go to the beach whenever she wants. She is addicted to café mochas, Godiva chocolate, and hidden object games. Seriously, there’s an intervention in her future.



Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaggieVanWell

Release Days His Paris Affair


Author Bio

ETNA PLUSChristina OW writes suspense, thrillers, erotica, interracial and multicultural romance books. She is the author of Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Regency Romance books and a poet of currently 3 titles. She loves reading novels that take her on a ride of wild emotions. Books have always been an escape for her, for a few hours she gets to live the lives of characters she grows to cherish and admire. She’s always had an active imagination and because of it has lived in her head more than she has been in the outside world. She always imagined scenarios and wondered how they would turn out in the end, and what kind of emotions they would invoke. Thus began her writing career.

Author Contacts



Facebook page- Christina OW

Twitter- @Christina_OW

Google +

Blog- Read Me

Book Blurb

Row of columns (Italy, Vatican)Ruiz Albury went to the Bahamas for one reason, to get back what was his as the rightful heir of his father with rage and resentment that has been festering for years.  But once he gets there, he’s treated as part of a family, shown love and care he’d only dreamed about and all his carefully laid plans are forgotten. In fact, they are buried deep in his mind when he meets Melody Sinclair.

Melody Sinclair thought she’d found one of the good ones.  She loved Ruiz and trusted him enough to make him a part of her life, only to have it shuttered when she finds out his secret. Heart broken and distraught, she gets drunk and decides to get over him by getting under someone else, only for it to turn out to be the worst mistake of her life.  Trapped, with nowhere to turn, Ruiz sweeps in like a knight in shining armor ready to battle her dragon.

This is the last instalment of The Albury Affairs Series.

Book #1 Her Venice Affair

Book #2 His Bahamas Affair

Book #3 His Paris Affair

Book Excerpt

Ruiz slouched in the lawn chair, a bottle of beer in one hand and his cell phone in the other, watching and listening to the sounds of a happy family as the knife of jealousy repeatedly stabbed him in the chest.

He watched as his sister Riana blew her husband a kiss to where he stood at the grill with his best friend Matthew and with a broad smile Allan caught it and pressed it to his chest over his heart. She smiled lovingly at him as she strolled rocking the new addition to her family, Allan Patrick Sinclair III, to sleep. Ruiz knew his nine month old nephew would wake almost immediately after, once the laughter and other happy noises grew louder, penetrating his haze of sleep. He didn’t like to be left out. Ruiz could relate.

And just a few feet away from him, Reno and Loraine were having one of their famous rows that usually ended with them sneaking off together and emerging an hour later with the biggest grins on their faces. Loraine was now four months pregnant so there was no sneaking away this time. They all had their fingers crossed—Reno especially—that she would carry this baby to term with no complications. After the attack over a year ago that resulted in Loraine losing their first baby together they had fingers and toes crossed. Sure they were all worried, treating her like a fragile egg but Reno was a little extreme. From Loraine’s complaints they barely had sex which apparently was like torture to a horny hormonal pregnant woman—who knew? Ruiz was sure one day his brother would lose it and wrap his wife in bubble wrap. The attention was driving Loraine nuts considering she was barely showing. At the beginning of her pregnancy, she had been very understanding but now she really looked ready to punch Reno when she stood up mere seconds after he settled her down on the cushioned chair. Amy, Matthew’s wife watched, quietly laughing as she cradled her second son, seven months old Ethan in her arms.

Why couldn’t he have his happily ever after? Did he not deserve it? Wasn’t his entire life difficult enough to earn one?



Preorder your copy from Secret Cravings Publishing.

Promo Post The Age of Amy: The Thumper Amendment


amy2_coverTitle: The Age of Amy: The Thumper Amendment

Author: Bruce Edwards

Genre: YA Contemporary

Congress has lowered the voting age to 14! Not one to refuse political involvement, 16-year-old Amy patriotically joins a campaign to elect the next President of the United States. Her real reason for participating, however, is much more personal: the opposing candidate’s son bullied her when she was a 3rd grader. Thwarting his father’s bid for the presidency would be the perfect way to get even with him!

Campaign reform laws now require presidential contenders to face off on a TV reality show. The “race” for the White House has become just that! Absurd challenges await the candidates as they speed cross-country toward Washington. But the campaign trail turns bumpy, when their buses take an unexpected detour into fantasy world! There they are confronted by half-human creatures, haunted by dead presidents, and rocketed into an economic dystopia of the future—all while being viewed by a worldwide television audience.

Amy is on board for the journey, as her grade school nemesis rides on the competition’s campaign bus. But along the way she develops second thoughts about avenging the boy. Her brutal offender has changed in the last seven years, becoming thoughtful and compassionate. (And cute!) Amy’s contempt for him surprisingly turns to affection. Is she falling in love?

Author Bio

amy2_bruce_edwardsAward-winning author Bruce Edwards is a former Hollywood film animator, and brings the whimsy of a character artist to his stories. A music major in college, he is also an accomplished musician and composer. His other creative endeavors include a stint as a puppeteer and performing magic at Disneyland. Bruce’s thought-provoking books for young adults are never short on fun, fantasy, and imagination.



Book Trailer


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Book Excerpt from A Life Less Ordinary


We’re hosting a snippet from “A Life Less Ordinary”, a chicklit novel by author Victoria Bernadine. Enjoy!

You can win a $25 gift card of your choice (Amazon, B&N, Book Depository) by commenting on one of the tour stops participating.

Book Excerpt

“All I ever wanted was a life less ordinary.”

Manny lay flat on her back, eyes wide, staring at the ceiling while she waited for her clock to hit 6:00. Another day of work, she thought. Another day older and deeper in debt.

She had the alarm timed to the millisecond. The jarring noise had barely begun when she clicked it off. She sighed then threw back the covers and got out of bed.

She padded into the bathroom, glanced without interest in the full-length mirror that doubled as her shower doors and took her morning inventory.

Plain face? Check.

Looking tired? Check.

Thirty pounds overweight? Check.

Dark circles under deer-caught-in-headlights eyes? Check and check.

She shook her head at her limp, mousy hair and wondered when she’d gotten so old.

She sighed in resignation then conjured up her Perfect Fantasy Man–or Harvey, as she liked to call him–to give her a morning lift. She cocked her head to one side as she stared into the mirror and imagined him standing behind her. She smiled at the handsome man, and he smiled back, putting his hands on her shoulders. Everything about him was warm, in stark contrast to the cold shades of grey in which she lived her life. He had warm brown eyes, warm brown skin, and a warm smooth voice that always reminded her of golden honey. Today his hair was black with greying temples, and yes, even that seemed warm to her.

He was perfect, everything she considered ideal in a man–and extra-perfect, of course, because he was a fantasy. Just the thought of trying to establish a relationship with an actual man felt too much like work.

She sighed and Harvey disappeared.

“Instead I ended up in a rut–everything planned and executed to the minute.”

She finished her shower and padded out to the kitchen wrapped in a worn terrycloth robe just as the coffee pot finished perking her morning coffee. She pulled a white cup out of the cupboard, filled it and took it with her to the bedroom, where she drank her coffee while she dressed and pulled her hair into its habitual bun high on the back of her head. At 6:45 sharp, she was back in the kitchen where she rinsed out the cup and put it on the rack next to the other three cups from earlier in the week; they marked the passage of time like scratches on a prison wall.

She walked out the door at 6:55 as usual, called good morning to Mr. Abinash from next door, as usual, got into her car and drove to work. As usual. She walked in at 7:37, called good morning to those of her staff already at their desks, and settled herself in her office.

As usual.

She sighed silently as she logged on to her computer and realized she couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a sick day or had come in late. Even her car and traffic and the sometimes-harsh Edmonton winters had given up trying to throw off her schedule.

She sighed again as she rifled through her stacks of paper, searching for the information she needed to review before the staff meeting at nine. The last staff meeting before their new boss arrived at ten, and Manny went back to her old position. She’d enjoyed being the boss and thought she’d had a good chance to win the promotion. If she was honest with herself, though, she hadn’t really been surprised with the decision to offer the job to Steph. If she had the energy, she’d almost wonder why she didn’t even care that much.

“I told myself it was security. But all I was doing was sleeping with my eyes open.”

Manny glanced up as her assistant energetically bounced in.

“Morning, Manny.”

“Morning, Roxie. How was your evening?”

“Great–went to that new Robert Downey Jr. movie–rrrooowwwrrrr! Phil wasn’t too impressed with my drooling though.”

Manny laughed. “I’d expect not. I guess I need to go see it then.”

“Yeah, sure. When was the last time you actually went to a movie in the theatre?”

Manny paused, considering the question then shrugged carelessly. “Can’t remember, actually.”

Roxie shook her head in exasperated fondness and sat down in front of Manny’s desk. She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “So, the new boss starts today?”

“Yep,” Manny replied absently, reviewing the e-mails in her inbox.

“Are you going to be okay with this? I mean, you–”

“Of course I’m okay with it. Steph’s a nice person, bright, energetic, competent, levelheaded, full of new ideas. She may have a bit of a learning curve ahead of her, but she’ll do just fine. She may be just what we need around here. Perk us up a bit.”

“Yeah, but you–”

Manny took her hands off the keyboard and turned to face Roxie directly. She gave her a reassuring smile and calmly held her gaze.

“I’m okay with it,” she said. “Really. I didn’t want to be the boss anyway.” She paused then continued. “Everything’s going to be fine. You’ll see. A new boss will be fun!”

Roxie grimaced cynically and Manny shook her head in mock disapproval.

“We should get to work,” she urged gently.

Roxie nodded and stood. “Yeah, that at least never changes. But Manny…”

Manny raised a quizzical eyebrow.

“It should’ve been you.”

About A Life Less Ordinary

Updated cover patricia feb 28 13Title: A Life Less Ordinary

Author: Victoria Bernadine

Genre: Chicklit, Contemporary Fiction

For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. She turned her back on her youthful fancies and focused on her career. But now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.

After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time. Leaving it all behind for six months is just an added bonus.

Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.

Author Bio

Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a “woman of a certain age”. After twenty-something years of writer’s block, she began writing again in 2008.

Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody’s guess.

She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). A Life Less Ordinary is the first novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.


Twitter: @vicbernadine

Blog:  victoriabernadine.wordpress.com

E-mail:  loveofwords@shaw.ca

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AMJBOSQ

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-life-less-ordinary-victoria-bernadine/1114941600?ean=9780991810215


CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/4164575

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/299257

Chapters/Indigo:  http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/a-life-less-ordinary/9780991810222-item.html?ikwid=victoria+bernadine&ikwsec=Home&gcs_requestid=0CPD4utrH3LcCFY355wodCn4AAA


Win a $25 gift card of your choice by commenting on one of the tour blogs. All you have to do to participate is leave a comment, and you’re in the draw!

Go here to participate in the giveaway!

Book Excerpt Simon’s Choice


We’re happy to share an excerpt today from “Simon’s Choice”, a contemporary drama novel. Enjoy reading the excerpt!

Book Excerpt

When Simon was eight, his pet terrapin, George, died. An inhabitant of 31 Primrose Close for only months, George had succumbed (despite Simon’s care and attention) to a respiratory infection. No amount of tank cleaning or freshly dug earth worms could save the little amphibian.

On day, Simon returned from school lugging with him a beach bucket full of worms, pilfered from his father’s compost heap. He peered through the glass, noting with interest that the dandelion greens he had provided the day before were untouched. Simon pushed his NHS spectacles back up his nose, and tapped the side of the glass. George lay on the raised, dry area of his tank. Simon stared at the tiny turtle, willing it to respond. Still, George remained motionless, his flippers ominously facing upwards.

Simon bit the inside of his mouth, a tic he habitually performed when concentrating or concerned. He thought methodically through the available options.

One, his pet was dead.

Two, George had got even poorlier than yesterday and was having a very long nap.

Three, George was better and was having a very long nap.

About Simon’s Choice

8600510“But, Daddy? Who will live with me in Heaven?”

Doctor Simon Bailey has everything a man could ever want. Then his beautiful daughter is diagnosed with Leukemia.

He can almost accept her impending death. He can almost accept the fact that he will have to live without her. But he cannot stand the thought of his little girl having to face death alone.

He answers her innocent question in a moment of desperation, testing his marriage, his professional judgment and his sanity to the limit. As cracks form in Simon’s previously perfect family, we wonder, as do his loved ones … will he really make the ultimate sacrifice?

Combining poignant moments of both humour and pain, ‘Simon’s Choice’ is a penetrating account of parenthood at the sharp-end.

Author Bio

charlieCharlotte Castle lives in the North Yorkshire countryside in a ‘madhouse’ full of children, dogs and cats. Simon’s Choice was her first novel – her second, ‘When I Was a Wife’ is due out in November.




Book Excerpt from Born of Greed


We’re hosting an excerpt from “Born of Greed”, a contemporary romance novel tourin from May 1st to June 1st.

This tour is sponsored by Enchanted Book Promotions.

Book Excerpt

She glanced at those women. Neither of them could keep their eyes off Trotter, and then a tear streamed down her cheek.

“Amber, it’s all right,” Trotter attempted to console her. Although he had no idea why she just went from laughter to tears. “I would be content having you just as a friend. Nothing more. Please don’t cry. I was only teasing about Johnny Law putting you in the slammer.”

Her tears stopped and she coughed out a laugh. “Oh Jack. You big, good-looking dummy. I’m not crying about that. I’m crying because…because…I’m crying because I could never give you what you want…or expect…from a woman. I can’t be an exotic and desirable woman, like Raquel Welch.”

Her mood swing from laughing to tears, then back to laughter baffled Trotter. In addition, he had no clue on her explanation of the tears. “But I only want your friendship. Honest. I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me.”

She was able to detect honesty in his voice, and a sympathetic sincerity in his face. Two qualities no man had ever shown her before. Perhaps this was the reason she found herself so easily confiding in him. Maybe it was the sadness she saw in his eyes, behind his smile; the same compassion she sensed when they were clinging to the ladder in the pool. The few other men she tried to be with wanted her for her money, or sex, and so far, Jack Trottson expressed no hint of wanting either from her. Contrarily, she found herself attracted to him more spiritually and emotionally, than physically. However, she did find him easy to look at, just as those two horny bitches also dining here did.

“What I’m trying to say is, my whole life is a farce. I could never satisfy your desires…like those two…sluts…over there want to do to you right now.”

Trotter looked their way, and they both hurriedly focused their gaze from him, to their clam chowder and turkey on wheat sandwiches.

“Those two over there?” He asked, using his eyes to show direction.

“Yes, Jack. Those two. They’ve been undressing you since we walked in.”

“I didn’t take notice. I was too wrapped up in our conversation, and I find you absolutely…intriguing, Amber.”

“And I find you fascinating too. That’s what scares the hell out of me and makes me envious of mature women like them.” Her hand was shaking as she picked up her soda and took a sip through the straw. “Life’s not fair! Christ! I don’t even know why I’m telling you all this.” Another tear sprang from the corner of her eye, and ran off her cheek.

Trotter reached his hands across the table and held her tiny, trembling hands in his. “It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me anymore.”

Looking into his eyes, she saw that understanding sadness again, through a smile she knew he was forcing for her sake. She felt compelled to tell him her problem. Lately, the thought of suicide has been running rampant through her mind, and subconsciously, she had a desire to confess her affliction to an understanding ear. She knew in her mind that confiding in a sympathetic person would possibly heal her tortured soul.

“It’s just that I’m so tired of Amy calling me a lesbian, or a virgin. I’ve never been with a woman. Nor have I ever slept with a man.” She put her hand over her mouth and looked away.

A moment passed, then she lowered her hand to her chin. “When I was thirteen years old, I was…almost raped…by the father of a little girl I baby sat. I never told anybody. It was ugly! He hurt me! He almost took the most precious thing I owned, and the bastard gave me a fear of intimacy in return. I hated all men for a long, long time. Now, perhaps because I’m older, it’s just that…I’m so confused. I have all these mixed emotions.”

* * * *

Did he hear her correctly? She could not be intimate, either? His heart skipped a beat. Although his mind was racing, he kept a poker face, “Trust me Amber, I know how cruel life can be. I promise to keep your secret. Believe me.”

“Somehow, I knew you would understand, Jack. But, I also hope you won’t look at me like I’m a freak, or less of a woman. What really tears me apart and breaks my heart is that I really like you. Like I’ve already said though, our relationship could never be anything more than platonic. I know a day will come when you’ll want more than that from me, and I will not…be able to be there for you.”

Their overly bubbly waitress returned with their seafood dishes. “Lobster Bisque for the lady, and the Captain’s Platter for you, Captain.” The waitress said cheerfully while placing their scrumptious looking meals on the table, then she asked, “Can I get you anything else?”

“Yes you may,” Trotter said, reaching across the table and picking up Amber’s almost full glass of diet cola. He then handed it and his iced tea to the waitress. “What wine do you recommend with seafood?”

“I would suggest the Chardonnay to accent the lobster,” she quickly answered with no hesitation, placing their glasses on her tray.

“Excellent choice! Bring us a chilled bottle of your finest Chardonnay, and two glasses, please,” Trotter politely requested.

“Yes, sir, Captain. Coming right up.” She flashed her smile and left.

Amber looked at Trotter, astonished. “I thought you said you weren’t a drinker.”

“I’m not. Unless there’s reason to celebrate,” Trotter replied with a devilish grin on his face.

“What’s there to celebrate?” Amber asked suspiciously. “I just told you I’m damaged goods.” Trotter reached across the table, and once again, he clasped her tiny hands in his huge paws. “Us. We are celebrating us. And the beginning of our…ironically…innocent…relationship!”

About Born of Greed

couple heterosexual topless with jeans detail studio shotTitle: Born of Greed

Author: J.T. Baroni

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Jack Trotter and Amber Fontana enjoy a platonic relationship; that is until one fateful evening when they dine at Jimmie’s Crab Shack, a tiny bistro lying in seclusion off the coastal highway outside of Santa Monica. An out of the way place, Jimmie’s legendary seafood is as notorious as the movie stars and gangsters who have wined and dined here since the Roaring Twenties. It is here, in the aura of secrecy where clandestine meetings amongst lovers; deceitful schemes; and revenge riddled plots, have abounded for decades, where Amber reveals her intimacy problem, and Trotter finds courage to reveal his own disturbing dilemma.

Together, Jack and Amber overcome their sexual inhibitions and learn how to love. Then the two lovers mastermind a plan to take what they feel is rightfully Amber’s…forty million dollars from her greedy twin sister who became a sensational singing diva due mainly to Amber’s writing her twin’s hit songs, for little pay and no recognition.

Born of Greed is a fascinating epic fictional biography where greed, love, and revenge collide with sex, drugs and rock and roll.



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