Coming this July, an Interracial romance novella!

Hi Readers!

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I have to great news for novella lovers. I just signed a contract for a new novella with Secret Cravings Publishing called Because I Love Him. I have two other novellas (Candle Light Series) out but self-published so this is kind of a first for me.

Blurb:

Rafael DeLuca and Talia McKenna fall in love when the Italian business mogul goes to Boston to visit one of his family’s companies international offices and she is assigned to be his guide. But Rafe is already engaged and his marriage is also meant to merge his father’s and future father-in-law’s companies. He calls off the wedding and just days later, he finds Talia in bed with his brother.

Months later Rafe is ready to fulfill his obligation by marrying his fiance and commit to his family responsibility but Talia crushes his wedding. She isn’t ready to let go of him just yet.

Out July 2015!!!

Add it to your Goodreads

Another short read you will enjoy especially since it ‘s #Free on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble is The Beginning, series preview for the Dukkha Fate Series. Find out what turned Ashat Rivers into a vengeful depressed werewolf.

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An interview with Maria Martinez Greer, star of novel Star Bright

Tred paint backgroundoday on my blog I am joined by Maria Greer whose life story is told in the inspirational romance novel Star Bright by Christina OW. She talks about her life after the abuse she faced at the hands of her ex-boyfriend Ricky and the happiness she’s found with her husband Dave.

Star Bright is a wonderful book that keeps you at the edge of your seat with each page you turn. It’s quite staggering and disturbing that this story is based on someone’s life- Maria’s. What’s more frightening is that there are thousands of women out there in the world going through the same thing.

But we are here today on a more uplifting note, to discuss Maria’s journey from hell to her own kind of heaven. Without further delay, let the interview begin.

 

Host:   Maria, I’m glad you could join me today. Honestly, I’m quite surprised that you agreed to this interview.

Maria: Thanks for having me. To be quite honest with you, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for        Dave. A year ago, I wouldn’t have agreed to this but… (She pushes her hair behind her ear) well, I’m sure you’ll ask me about that later on.

Host:  Yes. I would like to start from the beginning (Maria fidgets in her seat) How is your relationship with your father? Have you moved past feeling abandoned?

Maria: (A shadow of a smile on her lips) we’ve seen him twice these past few years, during the Christmas holidays. Christmas in Cancun is wonderful and seeing my mom makes it even better. (Dave coughs behind me and I notice a sudden change in Maria) Though I rarely see him we talk as much as we possibly can. We are taking it one day at a time. I’m new to the whole father-daughter relationship.

Host:   You mentioned Christmas in Mexico, does this mean Dave won the bet? (The heavy chuckle behind me made Maria glare, but it was evident she was suppressing a smile).

Maria: Let’s not inflate his ego further. Next question please.

Host:  (I laugh) Okay. How are Michael and precious Izzy?

Maria: (her smile beams happily) they are wonderful. Michael is our little genius. Dave thinks in a year or two they’d have to skip him a few grades to keep his interests focused on school. And Izzy is in preschool and loving every day of it.

Host:  That’s great to hear especially knowing what they’ve gone through. But what I’d really like to know is how their relationship is with Miguel?

Maria: He is a wonderful grandfather. The way they are around him, you’d think Miguel had been present since day one.

Host: And Dave, how does he feel about that relationship?

Maria: (she shakes her head) Ah ah. I know where you are going with this. I’m not discussing that. Enough was reveal in the book.

Host: Okay… hey! A journalist can hope. Back to you, how are things with your muy caliente lawyer?

Maria: (she blushes, fiddling with the rings on her left hand finger) I think you can take a guess. He is wonderful and nothing like… (She stiffens and visibly swallows) like Ricky.

Host:  I know he’s a tough subject to discuss but, would you tell us about your life with him, with Ricky? (Maria’s hands tremble on her lap. It’s shocking to see the effect Ricky still has on her. She then looks up and behind me and the trembling stops. It’s wonderful to see Dave’s effect on her)

Maria: In a word, it was hell. I wouldn’t wish it on any woman. Living in fear for so long (she rubs her arms, her eyes gaining a distant look) I lost myself… my self-esteem. I forgot how it felt to live without fear, who I was, what I loved, my hopes, my dreams. I was completely consumed with fear and I became a woman I didn’t recognize, and even now back to the woman I used to be before Ricky, I still don’t recognize her but I understand her. (She looks at me, straight in the eye with a hard gaze and it gives me chills) But that fear did something great too. The fear of losing my son finally jolted me into taking action. And now because of that one moment of fear, I have everything I’ve ever wanted and deserved.

Host: I’m so glad for you Maria. You look so happy… you are radiating! You deserve all the love and joy in your life. Your story is so heartbreaking and yet inspiring. It made me cry from both sadness and happiness. Your courage is to be admired and I hope someone will find strength from you story into taking action and living they life they deserve.

Maria: (She smiles, quickly wiping a stray tear from her cheek) thank you, I hope so too.

Host: So what now? Now that you’ve gotten your happily ever after, what’s next in Maria Greer’s inspiring life.

Maria: (she chuckles, a tint of pink spreading over her cheeks) Well, I’m currently studying psychology. I’d like to become a counselor for domestically abused women and children. I’d like to help in anyway I can, and as you said inspire them to live the life they deserve. And well… (The pink in her cheeks grows crimson. She looks up and smiles. I look behind and standing there with a huge goofy grin on his face is her hot lawyer husband Dave. He moves into the room, lifts Maria up. Taking her seat he settles her on his lap.)

Host:  Are you saying what I think you are saying? (Maria turns, hiding her face behind her gorgeous hair making Dave laugh. He moves his hand to her belly and she places hers over his.)

Dave: What do you think we are saying?

And like a good journalist I sat there, keeping my cool when all I wanted to do was jump up and down and shriek excitedly, and waited for him to say the words. I need the confirmation, right from the horse’s mouth per say. Drawing conclusions without proof is bad business for us.

But Dave just kept smiling at me- and I’m sure that’s what nabbed Maria, that dangerous sexy smile- not saying a word. I didn’t push, I didn’t nag and when he stood up tacking Maria into his side, I knew the man was a sadist at heart. Dave Greer led his wife out of my interview room with a quick ‘bye’ and creating a journalist’s worst nightmare when he said ‘take a wild guess’.

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Get Star Bright for $.99, you only have 3 days before it goes back to its orignal price of $2.99. Don’t miss out on this inspiring interracial romance suspense!

A Heart Not Easily Broken on Sale this month!!!

Everyone is looking for romance, but what would you sacrifice if you held the key to the happiness of the ones you love?

 AHNEB Sale with seal pic

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

****ON SALE FOR .99 CENTS FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!!!****

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book,Jadedvisit this link! 

 

Author Pic 5.2012ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free.  Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.

No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and two pit bulls. MJ can often be found hanging out at the local library where she is director of a local writer’s group, or online connecting with readers and other authors. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.

MJ’s debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Book one of the Butterfly Memoirs, became an instant Amazon Bestseller in Multicultural Romance and African-American Literature and Fiction within hours of publication. It has also spent time on the African-American Women’s Fiction and African-American Romance Bestsellers lists.

You can find MJ on social networking sites, sharing writing tips, talking about music, life, and family. She’s always excited to meet new people. Connect with her via the websites below.

The Butterfly Memoirs: Reviews, Free Chapter Samples, All Sales Links

Author M.J. Kane Blog and Website

5 Prince Publishing Author Site

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Goodreads

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New Series…. THE ALBURY AFFAIRS

ALBURY AFFAIRS

This is a new series that I’ve just began.

The first book, HER VENICE AFFAIR is about Riana Albury, The second, HIS BAHAMAS AFFAIR is about Reno Albury.

There might be a third book but I’m not so sure. We’ll see what the future holds.

It’s about two siblings Riana and Reno Albury who came to America with their mother Cora Davis who ran away from her New Providence home after she was confronted by her lover’s wife.

After their mother’s death and Reno’s deportation, Riana is left alone in NYU. Life seems to only gets worse when she finds her roommate and her boyfriend having sex in her bed. Distraught and tired of always been the good girl, she takes a billioniare up on his offer to go to Venice with him.

What could possibly go wrong?

More details will be made available for both books soon.

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Pic downloaded from CardFed

CONTEST!!!!

Has anyone been to Italy? If you have, tell me about the best place you visited and what you loved most about it.

I’ve never been (seriously campaigning for my mom to send me) and I’d like to use your favorite places, why you loved them and if it was a romantic trip what you felt. I love reading stuff that inspire emotion.

The best description will be featured in my book HER VENICE AFFAIR and the writer will have a special mention with their picture (if they have any available) in the place they described in the book.

leave your comments on the post and send me an email. Spread the word and get as many entries as possible.

There will be another contest for the second and third books in the ALBURY AFFAIRS series HIS BAHAMAS AFFAIR and HIS PARIS AFFAIR.

Center Stage Keller Family Series Book 4 By Bernadette Marie

Center Stage

John Forrester is a simple man whose never needed more than his work, his truck, and a small apartment with his flat screen TV. After a bad breakup with his ex-wife John swore he’d never get married again and has done his best to keep to himself. But one woman always creeps into his mind—Arianna Keller.

 

Arianna Keller had an amazing career, center stage on Broadway. However, her run in New York is over and circumstances have forced her back home to Nashville, Tennessee.

 

The relationship John and Arianna have forged over the years as friends has always had a romantic spark, which has been ignored. Now they are working together to restore an old theater and their desire for each other can no longer be denied.

 

It’s only a matter of time before sparks ignite into a passionate fire. But Arianna is keeping a secret which threatens to destroy more than her relationship with John—it threatens the lives of the entire Keller family.

Books in the Keller Family Series THE EXECUTIVE’S DECISION, A SECOND CHANCE, OPPOSITE ATTRACTION

 

Excerpt from Center Stage:

Arianna pushed down on the suitcase and forced the zipper to close. The rest of her apartment was packed and ready for movers, but she’d need all her clothes before her belongings arrived in Tennessee.

She looked around her small, New York apartment. It had been a good home to her for the past decade. She’d accomplished everything she’d wanted. When she’d moved there, it was to try her hand on the stages of Manhattan. She’d played in some dives and had worked her way up to leads on Broadway. She had a few commercials to her credit and had graced a few TV shows as an extra, but her love was still on stage. But now it was time to go home, back where her family was. Something would come together for her there. It always did.

Arianna looked at her watch. She had barely enough time to get to the airport. If there were any accidents backing up traffic, she’d miss her flight.

Her brother-in-law, Zach, had called and said her sister Regan had gone into labor with the couple’s second baby. She figured she’d arrive just in time to get to hold the bundle of joy. Then in a few more weeks, her brother, Curtis, and his fiancée, Simone, would have their first child. She knew moving back to Tennessee was right, and getting to spoil new nieces and nephews was reason enough to be closer to home.

 

The flight had been miserable. Leaving New York in a January snowstorm always meant delays and aggravation. It was almost eight o’clock at night by the time the flight landed two hours late. Carlos would be livid if he’d been waiting at the airport the entire time.

She made it to baggage claim, retrieved her two pieces of luggage, and then scanned the area for her brother. There was no sign of him, or any member of her family, anywhere.

“I thought I’d missed you,” the familiar voice behind her said.

She spun quickly to find John Forrester, Zach’s most trusted building foreman, standing there.

“Missed me? Were you looking for me?”

“I have been sent to pick you up. Carlos and Madeline ended up with Tyler for the night.”

Arianna narrowed her stare on him when he’d commented about her nephew. “I thought Mom was watching him while the baby was born.”

“Well, it seems as though your family is going to grow quite a bit tonight. Regan is still in labor, and Curtis just took Simone in. She’s having her baby today, too.”

Arianna gasped. “Simone isn’t due for two more weeks.”

“Babies come when babies want to, and Emily thought she’d better be there for Simone.” He picked up her suitcases, one in each hand. “C’mon, my truck isn’t too far.”

Who would have thought she’d get to be there for the birth of both babies in one night. God had blessed the Keller family—that was for sure. Carlos and Madeline’s kids were teenagers, and in the next few years, they would be off on adventures of their own. Eduardo, their eldest, was already working for Zach after school. Christian, their second son, was an all-star athlete—baseball, she thought. And Clara, well, Clara was a girl after her own heart. She was an accomplished musician on the acoustic guitar. And, boy, could that girl sing.

Regan and Zach’s son, Tyler, was as anxious as any sixteen-month-old child could be for a new sibling. But Arianna figured he’d need the most spoiling from her to make everything just right.

As for her, she’d never wanted children. It just hadn’t been in her plans. Her career had always been more important. She came and went as she wanted, carried on in any fashion she saw fit, and, of course, traveled the world.

But now Nashville, Tennessee called her back home. Perhaps she could share her talent with the world in some other way.

John led her to his truck in the adjoining parking lot. She was comfortable with John, she thought, as she walked behind him. They had been each other’s dates to both of Carlos’s weddings last year, and they had hit it off, as friends of course. They might have hit it off more, but he was very conscious of their age difference, even though she wasn’t worried about the thirteen years between them. His ex-wife had burned him badly ten years ago, and it was clear he didn’t trust any woman.

Not that she’d been looking for a man, but she often thought if John hadn’t been so worried about everything, they might have had something. As it was, they could keep each other’s company comfortably. Coming home with all her brothers and her sister being married, that might just be what she needed—someone to keep her company.

John’s truck was probably one of the most beat up pickup trucks she’d ever had the displeasure of riding in, and she’d been born and raised in Tennessee—she knew bad pickup trucks. But that was John’s character. If it still worked, there was no need to replace it.

He backed out of the parking lot and headed toward the highway. Also common with John, he didn’t have much to say unless you started the conversation.

“So, how is the construction business?” she asked.

“Zach keeps me busy. That’s for sure.”

“I’ll bet. Do you think he’ll take some time off after the baby is born?”

John laughed. “Sure he will. He will work from his office at home.”

Arianna followed suit and laughed too. That sounded like her brother-in-law.

She watched as John merged lanes. His tanned skin showed the many years that he’d worked in the elements. The deep lines around his eyes never made him look old, she thought, only distinguished. Arianna liked her men distinguished. Age on a man had never bothered her. Oh, if her parents knew about some of the men she’d dated in New York, they certainly might have had an opinion on the matter.

She must be feeling the pang of needing someone to connect with, she decided, because the thought of running her fingers through John’s salt and pepper shaded hair was almost irresistible. But she denied herself the pleasure. He probably wouldn’t take too kindly to the lunatic sister-in-law of his boss making a move on him.

 

The long flight and drive out to the hospital must have worn her out more than she’d thought. She woke to John’s hand on her arm.

“We’re here. If you hurry, you might not miss the show.”

She rubbed her eyes. “Aren’t you coming in?”

“Not my place to be. But I’ll drop your bags off for you. I assume you’re staying at your place?”

She nodded. One of the perks of keeping your house when you moved away, especially if you knew you’d be back. “Yes. Of course.”

“That was a sound business decision to keep the house and rent it out. Benson, Benson, and Hart keep good care of it.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything different. I know I have a renter in the basement, too. Hope they don’t make too much noise. I’m a day sleeper.”

John smiled. “Oh, he’s a good guy. He won’t bother you.”

Arianna nodded and looked up at the hospital where her brother worked as an emergency room doctor. “Guess I’d better go meet the newest members of this crazy family.” She slid across the seat and placed a kiss on John’s unshaven cheek. “Thanks for the ride. I’ll take you out for pizza and a beer.”

“Never could turn down a woman who offered up pizza and beer.”

She opened the door and climbed out. He was just her kind of man.

The waiting room was full of Kellers, including Carlos and Madeline, who held a sleeping Tyler.

Carlos stood and greeted her with a hug when she walked into the room. “I thought you were babysitting him so he didn’t have to hang out here.”

“C’mon, what’s better than meeting your baby brother or sister in the middle of the night and knowing this is the kid you get to beat on for the rest of your life?”

Arianna laughed as Clara rushed over and hugged her. “Auntie, I have a new song for you. I wrote it myself.”

“And I bet it’s the best song ever.”

Arianna pulled her niece to her side. This was just what she’d needed—her family.

 

John opened the door to Arianna’s house. He supposed he’d have to relinquish his key now that she was home. He shut the door and carried her bags to the bedroom at the top of the stairs. He didn’t open the door. He knew it was empty, but still, it was her bedroom.

The house was dark and quiet; he’d miss that too. There hadn’t been a renter upstairs for months; he’d had the house to himself. Oh, he kept to himself downstairs in the little apartment in the basement, but he’d enjoyed using the front door access and the kitchen from time to time. There was a grill on the back porch, which offered the perfect view of the sunset. He was sure Arianna wouldn’t mind him cooking a steak or two for her, just for access to the porch.

John grabbed a beer from the refrigerator as he passed through the kitchen. He figured he’d better get his plugged in downstairs. It had been a saver on electricity since the one he had in his kitchen was old, and Arianna’s kept the beer colder.

He started down the stairs to his little apartment. The door locked from her side, which kept the renters out of the house. He’d taken liberty with that since the house was empty, but certainly he wouldn’t disrespect that rule when she came back home.

His small apartment was just the right size. He was a simple man who didn’t need much—and who didn’t have much since his ex-wife took everything he’d ever had. Ten years after she’d left him for another man, he still wondered what he’d ever seen in her. Well, he’d never make that mistake again. Women just weren’t worth it. Most women, he corrected himself. His mind had been preoccupied with one woman in particular for months. And now he faced the dilemma of knowing she’d be living only feet from him.

The last thing he wanted was a relationship—platonic or just sexual. Relationships had never brought him anything but grief.

John sat down on his Lazy Boy recliner and turned on his big screen, flat panel TV. A man had to have his luxuries. He pulled from his imported beer and thought life was good.

But only a moment later, his mind wandered to Arianna. With her hair piled atop her head, her eyes dark from lack of sleep, and her ripped jeans, she’d still stirred him up more than he’d have liked.

Beer and pizza sounded like a great idea, but he wouldn’t take her up on the offer until he knew they’d cemented their relationship as landlord/renter and friends—only friends.

  Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com

Purchase link : www.5princebooks.com/buy.htm

Another Bestseller from Bernadette Marie….. First Kiss.

I’ve never met an author who has one bestseller after another! it’s just incredible how much love Bernadette has from her fans. Such support is what makes the blood, sweat and lack of sleep all worth it!

I’M PROUD TO BE IN THE SAME 5 Prince Publishing family with her.

CONGRATULATIONS BERNADETTE!!!

Now to the main event…. FIRST KISS

Promises made as children have a funny way of working themselves into reality when fate is orchestrated for them as adults.

Olivia Baker wants the best life for her young son, and that meant raising him in the small town she grew up in, but where her past still haunts her and rumors drip from the tongues of the local gossips.

Cade Carter moved away from Aspen Creek the moment they handed him his high school diploma. Now a washed up ex-professional football player he’s headed back after his father’s death to settle the estate of the man he’d left and forgotten about.

The friendship Cade and Olivia shared so many years ago is just now a haunting memory. People changed and moved on. Secrets were kept and loved ones around them buried with them. But when they are thrown back together to face the reasons their friendship faltered, and forces greater than them are in charge, anything can happen with the person whom they shared their First Kiss with.

 

Excerpt from First Kiss:

There was a chill in the air, even in June. Cade Carter rolled the windows up on his Porsche as he began his decent into the valley. The mountains of Colorado could deliver any unprepared traveler an array of weather to cope with, and it could change without warning in a matter of moments.

Though the higher peaks still boasted snow, he’d found the entire, long and boring trip from Green Bay, Wisconsin, to be fairly dry. Cade had considered driving his Bronco to Aspen Creek, but he’d needed the speed of the sports car and Ashley had needed it to move.

He glanced at his Rolex for the sixth time in the past half hour. He was going to be late.

Who was he kidding.  He’d had no intentions of getting to his own father’s funeral on time.  Had it not been for Ashley, he’d have blown it off all together.  But no.  The words still rang in his ears.  “You have to go.  He was your father.  He loved you.  You owe him…

Cade gripped the steering wheel tighter.  He did owe him the decency to be at his funeral, because Cade Carter had been the worst son, and he knew it.

The first sign that would alert drivers to the small town of Aspen Creek was coming up on his right.  A left would take him over the next hill to the elite ski resort town of Aspen Hills.  The road he veered down would drop him into small town hell.

As the deep groves of Aspen trees thinned he could see the small town at the bottom of the valley.  Each street was visible, the cars looked small, and the town stood there as if someone had taken a picture of it fifty years earlier, not one thing had changed.  He did see a 7-11 sign peeking above the buildings.  Corporate America had moved in. That was new. At least he’d know what the coffee tasted like.

He could see City Park in the center of town.  The grass was green.  Green’s Market had the most cars in the parking lot and Sloan’s Diner must have just finished with their lunch crowd.

Aspen Creek rolled along the sides of town and under the Rose Bridge. It was fast, unforgiving, and cold all year long.  He’d had his share of dunks in that water, some on purpose, some not. Beyond the bridge and the white rapids of the river that rushed through town with its new melt off he could see the street where he’d grown up, where his father had lived, and where he’d fallen in love as a young boy.

Cade pulled the car to the shoulder of the narrow road and slammed it into park.  He lifted his sunglasses from his eyes and rubbed them.  He hadn’t been back to Aspen Creek in twelve years.  Long had been forgotten the sentiments of home, like people knowing your name, and not because you were some famous football player, but because you were Austin Carter’s son. High school football games, swimming in Aspen Creek, and the girl next door were things a man forgot about when he was an M.V.P.

He blew out a long, ragged breath. The comforts of a sports car were limited to the power of the engine on a man Cade’s size.  He tried to stretch his legs, but to no avail.  If he didn’t get out and walk around soon he’d be paralyzed in the car seat.  Just another thing he deserved he supposed.  Career killing injuries were just another daily reminder that he was lucky to be alive, even if he now stood on the sidelines and basked in the glory of what used to be.

It was easy for the team to cut him loose when he was no longer able to perform. The position needed to be filled by someone younger and able to play. He was just a washed up has-been now who’d collected his payout.

Adjusting his sunglasses back on his face, he put the car back into drive.  He had demons to face and he’d better just get it over with.  Ashley was housesitting in Green Bay and Cade was expected back in three days.  He couldn’t imagine closing out his father’s life could take longer than that.

 

Olivia Baker sat in the cemetery alone, next to the new grave and sobbed.  The funeral had been small, but Austin had kept to himself for the past two years.  She wasn’t sure everyone had even heard he’d passed.  She wiped her eyes.  No, they all knew he’d died.  He’d died right in her arms and that had gotten the attention of the local gossips.

The casket had been lowered, the chairs had been collected, and now the only man she’d ever cherished lay beneath the mound of red Colorado soil with a spray of wilting flowers atop it.  It didn’t seem dignified enough.

Her jaw clenched when she looked at the few bouquets and sprays that still lingered near the grave.  Not one of them had Cade’s name on it.

Damn him anyway.

What kind of son didn’t even make it to the funeral of the man who raised him?  The kind like Cade Carter.

The arrogant, self-centered bastard probably had some pressing football engagement and couldn’t be bothered with his father’s passing.  Some dry-cleaners probably needed him to cut their big obnoxious grand-opening ribbon with an oversized pair of scissors, and to Cade that would have always been more important than respecting his father.

Olivia noticed she’d twisted the head off a carnation at her fingertips.  She unclasped her hands and looked beyond the new grave to the one next to it.

CONNER CARTER.

Looking at the name written in stone sent chills up her spine.  She looked away.  She wondered if anyone at all had come to that funeral.  She hadn’t.  She’d been tucked away safely in Grand Junction, again, when Conner had died.  She was sure Austin had paid to bury him and had splurged for the headstone too.  And she couldn’t help but wonder if guilt over Conner’s death had in some way contributed to Austin’s death.

Just beyond the gate to the cemetery she could hear the sound of tires on the gravel.  It didn’t phase her.  Neither did her responsibilities at the bank.  Her boss Parker Woods had told her to take her time and that was what she was doing.  She was in no condition to head back to town and act professional.

Tears streaked down her face from under her dark sunglasses, and she let them fall.

The hole in her heart from Austin’s absence ached and she wondered if she’d get over her loss.  Her son Gabe would never remember the man she adored and loved.  He’d never know how much Austin Carter cherished him and loved him.

Olivia squeezed her eyes shut tight.  Would she miss Austin everyday when she looked into Gabe’s eyes and saw the resemblance?

She wiped away the tears and then noticed that the driver of the car, which had parked in the lot had walked across the gravel and stood only a few feet from her.  She did what she could to compose herself.  After all, she owed it to Austin to be gracious and welcoming to his mourners.

Olivia pushed herself up from the ground, brushed off her black skirt, and turned toward the person standing behind her.

 

There was an uneasiness that settled in Cade’s gut when he saw the mound of dirt before him.  Could guilt kill a man of his stature?

The woman who had been sitting at his father’s grave stood before him, her elegant black dress covered in dust, but she didn’t seem to mind.

He swallowed hard. “Is this Austin Carter’s grave?”

The woman shook her head more in an effort to convey disgust than to signal that he was in the wrong place.  “Why did you even bother?”

“I beg your pardon.”

“Why show up now, Cade?  You couldn’t even give him the decency of being here on time?”

“I…” he had no answers.  Besides who was she to be criticizing him?

Cade examined the lean, yet curvy woman in the well-worn dress who stood before him. Her hair was pulled back and dark glasses covered her eyes.  Little gold bands adorned each of her ring fingers, so she could have been someone’s wife.  Hell, he’d grown up in the town, maybe he did know her.  But still, what he did to get the funeral on time, or not, was not her concern.

“I guess you know me.  Who might you be?”

The woman opened her mouth, and then shut it again.  Instead of answering she picked her purse up off the ground and searched inside.  She pulled out a business card and handed it to him.  “I’m the one in charge of closing out your father’s estate.”

With that, she started off to the parking lot and he watched.  Back in town five minutes and he was already pissing off the women there.

He ran his hand over the back of his neck and looked at the card as the woman sped away down the hill toward town.

Olivia Baker, Vice President Aspen Creek Bank.

His head shot back up and the air in his lungs escaped him.

A man could drive into town, and the girl next door, whom he’d fallen in love with as a child, could hand him a card with her name on it and he didn’t even recognize her.

Suddenly the aches and pains in his leg, from his brush with death, didn’t hurt as bad when he was faced with a woman scorned and a week in small town hell.

Other Posts on Bernadette Marie

* Keller Family

* Opposite Attraction

Book 1 of the Candle Light dilogy…. Love Forever After

Love Forever After is about tragedy, life and love. It does not conform to the usual lovey dovey, chocolates and flowers tradition. The show of love is trust, sacrifice and life.

William loses his with Kristy in a car accident. Plagued with sorrow and pain, for a few months he believes that she is still alive. He is trapped between reality and fantasy and he is the only one who doesn’t realize it.

Kristy, a ghost, unable to watch her love suffer alone comes back to him. When he acts like she had never left, she doesn’t bother to tell him that she is a ghost.

But once William is forced to face that Kristy truly dead and is a ghost, he breaks down and goes on a destructive path.

Afraid that he might actually succeed in killing himself, Kristy’s solution to keep him sane and alive is…a child.

A piece of him and a piece of her, born on Valentine’s day…

Love Forever After

For richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, in death and in life

Chapter One
The church bells rang loudly, filling the cold quiet dead air. It was a suitable sound track for what was happening. The scenery also looked set, especially constructed with purple flowers scattered on the ground complimenting the green grass, just for this moment, this perfect heart wrenching, dream crushing, unbearable torturous moment. It was the first scene of my
new forever lonely empty life and the last scene before the credits rolled, of our perfect loving full life.
I’ve always wondered how it felt like to loose someone close to you- a friend, a family member or a loved one- but now I know, I know the pain so well sometimes it feels like an extra limb.
A limb attached to my heart, its sole purpose is to crush, shred and rip apart my heart over and over again like a wild animal devouring a poor helpless prey just at the thought of her, or when I felt her empty side of our matrimonial bed, or when I walked around our apartment expecting to hear her laugh echo and bounce off the walls making our home warm- a home that was now empty and hollow, yes because you aren’t here to fill it my love. Every essence of you made our home full and warm, but now it was cold and empty- like me.
Who would have figured it, me empty, cold and hollow after so many years of happiness?
Our happiness was in such abundance it should have lasted forever, right?
No, not really, never because I can’t feel it now, not even a little bit.
Maybe it’s because you aren’t here… definitely because you aren’t here, what other explanation could there be?
Well it should have, after you were taken from me, the least it could have done was leave me our happiness to go along with our memories. I should remember you and feel happy, not an aching sadness, I deserve that much.
Death
I’ve felt death, when my dad died I felt its impact, but I don’t remember it being like this, intense, malicious, tormenting, painful and amusing itself by making fun of me, at how vulnerable and impairing it could make me. Someone should give it a taste of its own medicine, see how it likes it.
I looked around at the crowd surrounding the beautiful mahogany coffin. Everyone she loved, everyone who loved her was here. They were all dressed in black crying as the priest said his prayers. They were sad, sadder than I have ever seen any one of them before. They were suffering a great loss. But she wouldn’t have wanted to see any of them cry over her death but celebrate her life.
She wasn’t going to like this one bit. When I suggested a party instead of a funeral they all thought I’d lost my mind. My mother Gloria was so horrified she called a psychiatrist to come fix me, I knew it wasn’t only for my benefit; her English pride needed her son to be sane in front of all the people who would come to the funeral.
Her brother Morris and sister Sandra however agreed with me. They knew her-not as well as I did, but well enough to know what she’d want and a depressing gloomy funeral wasn’t it.
Gloria wasn’t going to let us have a party, so she took it upon herself to organise everything.
It was a classy dignified funeral; she even gave out instructions on how our family was to dress. I chuckled, knowing how much of a fight my wife would have put up against my mother and the high class funeral she had organised.
Mother moved to stand next to me; she looped her hand on my pocketed arm. She looked up at me, her eyes red and wet, her cheeks stained with tears. She must have seen me laugh, wrong move, now she was going to be my constant unshakeable companion.
They brought a basket full of lilies to me, her favourite type flowers. I looked at the person holding it; his face was glum patiently waiting for me to take one. Mother nudged me, pulling my hand out of my pocket. I reached out and took one, then moved forward and laid it on top of the coffin. I lingered over it for a while, imaging how small it could have felt for her being inside it. She hated the dark and small spaces.
It was a good thing she wasn’t inside it.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, it was Morris, and he placed his purple lily. Sandra came next. She put a white one, then leaned over it and kissed the coffin before she moved back and stood next to me. Her eyes were red, but she wasn’t crying anymore she had a smile on her face. She moved between Morris and me, and then tip toed so she could reach our ears.
“Will, if your mother finds out she’s not inside there, she’ll kill us and cram all three of our bodies in it!”
“You know she would have haunted us if we put her in a box. I’d rather face an angry Gloria.” Morris said with a chuckle, but the sadness at the edge of it was very evident.
“She’s still going to haunt us for letting mother throw her an uptight funeral.” I whispered as someone came forward and placed a lily on her coffin.
My wife was a free spirit, she hated confinement and rules. She was an earth lover, an environment activist. That’s why we cremated her and spread her ashes in the sea. It was hard for me to see her reduced to ashes but there was no better way. She would keep being a free spirit; roam the world as she got carried by the wind.
She loved helping people; that’s why I donated all her organs; she would still help them even in her death. When she gave me the organ donor forms to fill out she said, “Why burry parts that could help a person in dire need of them. As much as we don’t like it, we are all spare parts to someone else’s body.”
Well, in a way, she is still alive; inside other people her body was still alive. If only it was possible for me to share my body with her, I would always live inside my head to be with her and forget the outside world.
She was the type to chain herself to a tree or break into a cosmetic lab and free all the animals. She went by the motto ‘do unto the environment, trees and animals as you would do unto yourself’. I became a vegetarian because of that, but I always stuffed myself with burgers when she was on one of her long protesting gigs. When we got engaged, I opened an account in her name for bail money that the bank was instructed to pay immediately she wound up arrested. I wanted her to be taken care of when I was abroad doing business or
visiting my mother in England. The thought of her spending a night in jail always gave me the chills. She thought it was the most romantic wedding present she could ever get- I scored some serious points there.
We had been married for six years before this happened, before someone decided to take her away from me out of sheer selfishness.
“Will you please step back, you’re hovering!” We jumped at Gloria’s scolding voice. She was really going to run this funeral by the script. We moved back a few feet, but still stood close to each other.
I watched as they lowered the coffin into the dark hole, and got a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was gladder now that she wasn’t in it. Sandra grabbed my hand and held it tight. I looked at her. She was staring at it, pain in her eyes. Her breaths sounded short, strained. Morris put a hand over her shoulder and held her tight against him. I could see he was trying to be strong for both of them, but the loss of his younger sister was taking a toll on
him too.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” the priest went on with his prayers as the coffin hit the ground. Another man stepped forward with a shovel full of red dirt. He held it in front of me and waited. I took a pinch of it then he moved to Sandra, and then Morris. The two of them moved forward and poured the sand into the hole.
I stood there frozen. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I knew she wasn’t in there, but this felt too real, too final. She was dead and never coming back. My chest tightened, all the fears of never seeing or touching her again flooded back drowning me with all the moments we would never share again. Why did she have to die? Why not me? How could I be here and she wasn’t, this wasn’t how we planned to spend the rest of our lives.
“Will…” I turned to see Sandra look up at me, “its okay she isn’t in there,” she whispered.
I nodded, she was right my wife wasn’t in there so this shouldn’t be so difficult. I took a staggering step forward and faced the dark hole. I raised my hand over it; forcing my fingers open I let the red sand flow out of it.

A long line of people followed, pouring sand into the hole as they made their way back to their cars. This was their final goodbye before everything went back to normal in their lives, but for me it was the beginning of my slow long lonely death.
I looked down at the head stone and read the beautiful engraved marble. The phrase set in stone made more sense to me now. It felt like the words were not only curved in the rock but I could feel the pounding, chipping of my heart as the words were curved in it too.

Christina Lee James-Stanford
Loving daughter, sister, wife and humanitarian

Featured poem Candle Light

Books 2 of Candle Light dilogy is Love Rekindled.

OPPOSITE ATTRACTION by BERNADETTE MARIE

ImageBook 3 of the Keller Family Series has already hit the bestseller chart 17 times as of 8th of August 2012 and it was just released! It’s amazing the support her dedicated fans are showing and of course their excitement to read the story of Curtis and Simone! It must be a ‘family tradition’, as the first 2 books have been, and currently are, on the bestsellers list.

And for the mucho obsessed fans of the series, you will be happy to know that there is a book 4 (I’m hoping Arianna will be book 4, she’s one spicy character and I would love to see her in her own element) in the works, and if the story line continues to be loved, there is room for many more stories.

What characters would you like seen explored?

Bernadette also has a $10 Amazon gift card give away to the first person who comments on this blog on the 16th, courtesy of 5 Prince Publishing (my home too.)

Here is a blurb and an excerpt of OPPOSITE ATTRACTION

Curtis Keller is a lucky man. He has the love and support of a family like no other. But he’d never fallen in love with a woman. He liked to play the field, have a good time, and enjoyed friends with benefits. But when wild child Simone Pierpont comes into his life for the first time he considers settling down—that was until she stranded him.

Simone Pierpont fell in love. She hadn’t meant to, but her best friend’s brother-in-law had treated the Parisian oil heiress with more compassion than she’d ever known.  What was she to do? So she left him stranded on a yacht in the French Rivera.

Now, cut off from her father’s fortune, a pregnant, and desperate to win Curtis’s hear; Simone must prove to everyone she can hold down a job and take care of herself.  Curtis isn’t sure the princess can change, but because of his caring nature he has a hard time turning her away.

However, all efforts might be for not when he learns about her pregnancy and she is forced to run back to her father. But Curtis will eventually understand and come for her—or so she hopes.

Excerpt

Caterers moved about the house and Curtis fixed himself a plate of fruit. He’d be happier in the kitchen he decided. The reception was depressing him.

When he lifted his head from the platters of food, he saw the reason it depressed him standing right in front of him.

“Hello, Curtis.”Simone Pierpont’s French accent stabbed right into his heart before he choked on the grape he’d just swallowed whole.

He coughed until he could breathe. Her eyes never wavered from him and he was sure they had bored a hole right through him.

“Simone. I didn’t expect you here.”

She twisted her fingers together and smiled nervously.“I’ve been out of town.”

Didn’t he know that? He’d tried for the past two months to find her. Even his brother-in-law, Zach, who she claimed was her very dearest friend, hadn’t known where to find her.

“You’re looking well.”He wasn’t sure what else to say. He’d been dumped by women before, but it had never hurt like this one did. Oh, she’d had him fooled. Yes, he thought there’d been a chance for something real. He’d thought it was love.

But he had to acknowledge that there were women in the world who appreciated the art of seduction and fast steamy love affairs without stings just as men did. He just never thought he’d be the man who was used and disposed of.

Damn her anyway, he thought.

She took a step toward him and then stopped just short of reaching him. Her knuckles were white now and her nervousness wasn’t helping him keep calm.

Simone bit down on her lip then shifted her blue eyes to his. “I would have called…”

“Listen,” he set down his plate.“You don’t owe me any explanations. Zach and Regan set us up to share the evening together so we wouldn’t be alone. They didn’t tell us to,” he lowered his voice, “screw like rabbits and run off to your yacht in the French Riviera. So we had a good time. Really, who thought much of it?”He had and he fought his eyes to make sure she didn’t know how much he’d thought of it.

“Right. It was just sex. I was hoping you would understand that.”

“Got it.”He picked up his plate.“Well I think I’ll go see how the party is going. See ya‘round.”

That wasn’t exactly how Simone had hoped that would go. She untangled her fingers realizing they were almost numb now.

She deserved him to treat her like that. She’d been very forthcoming with him, over too much champagne on her yacht, that she’d bedded many men. Why she felt he needed to know that she wasn’t sure. She’d left out the hefty part of the tale though. Most of those men had been in her bed while she tried to wrap her head around the fact that Zachary Benson had never seen her as more than a sister or dear friend.

Lucky for her, she loved him the same. She was glad he and Regan had found each other and now had a family. But that hadn’t changed her view on herself. Simone Pierpont longed for what Zach now had. Love, marriage, and a family. One piece didn’t really fit without the other.

She sucked in a breath. Had she not made such an ass out of herself in front of Curtis and then run off without a word, stranding him on the Rivera to find his own way home, perhaps she’d have just that.

Simone ran her hands over the slim satin line of her dress, lingering only a moment on her jittery stomach.

Well, she thought, at least she’d have some of what Zach had.

Image

Bio

Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share with her friends.  Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter.  At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years.

In 2007 – after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children – Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published.  That year she wrote 12 books.  In 2009  she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born.  In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released contemporary titles and began the process of taking on other authors in other genres.

In 2012 Bernadette Marie found herself on the bestsellers lists of iTunes and Amazon to name a few.  Her office wall is lined with colorful PostIt notes with the titles of books she will be releasing in the very near future, with hope that they too will grace the bestsellers lists.

Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events.  She is also an accomplished martial artist who will earn her conditional second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do in October 2012.  She loves to meet readers who enjoy reading contemporary romances and she always promises Happily Ever After.

 

Where to find Bernadette Marie and connect with her:

www.bernadettemarie.com

www.5princebooks.com

info@bernadettemarie.com

www.facebook.com/authorbernadettemarie

www.authorbernadettemarie.blogspot.com

Twitter: @writesromance

Buy links:

www.bernadettemarie.com

www.authorbernadettemarie.blogspot.com

 

KELLER FAMILY by BERNADETTE MARIE

THE EXECUTIVE’S DECISION:  Book 1 of the Keller Family Series

Regan Keller fell in love with a wealthy and powerful man once. He was her boss. When that turbulent relationship ended, she swore she’d never again date someone she worked with. That was before she literally fell into her new boss’s lap.

Zachary Benson is the head of a successful empire and used to getting what he wants in the boardroom and outside of it – and what he wants is Regan Keller. He’s determined to convince Regan that even though he’s her boss, they can share a life together.

However, when Regan’s past threatens to destroy the architectural firm Zach has invested his entire career in, he has to make an executive decision whether to choose his business or fight for the woman he loves.

A SECOND CHANCE:  Book 2 of Keller Family Series

Sometimes love is right where you left it.

Carlos Keller was finally moving on. He’d asked Kathy to marry him and now he could forever put behind him the disappointment of his failed first marriage to the only woman who ever held his heart, Madeline.

Madeline can only assume karma is out to destroy her life. Her second marriage has ended. Her doctor has told her she has breast cancer, and now the only man she’s ever really loved is getting married.

Even though divorced, Carlos and Madeline remained close friends. But with one moving on, and one facing the possible end, will it be too much to remain friends? Or will fate step in and offer them a second chance?

OPPOSITE ATTRACTION: Book 3 of the Keller Family Series

Curtis Keller is a lucky man. He has the love and support of a family like no other. But he’d never fallen in love with a woman. He liked to play the field, have a good time, and enjoyed friends with benefits. But when wild child Simone Pierpont comes into his life for the first time he considers settling down—that was until she stranded him.

Simone Pierpont fell in love. She hadn’t meant to, but her best friend’s brother-in-law had treated the Parisian oil heiress with more compassion than she’d ever known.  What was she to do? So she left him stranded on a yacht in the French Rivera.

Now, cut off from her father’s fortune, a pregnant, and desperate to win Curtis’s hear; Simone must prove to everyone she can hold down a job and take care of herself.  Curtis isn’t sure the princess can change, but because of his caring nature he has a hard time turning her away.

However, all efforts might be for not when he learns about her pregnancy and she is forced to run back to her father. But Curtis will eventually understand and come for her—or so she hopes.