Get Shades of Love for your Collection!

Friday, November 10, 2017



Title: Shades of Love Box Set
Authors: Reana Malori, Suzette Riddick, J.L. Campbell, Annamaria Bazzi, Janae Keyes, Toye Lawson-Brown, P.C. Zick, Hebby Roman, Caroline Bell Foster, Stacy-Deanne
Genre: Multicultural Romance
Release Date: November 7, 2017





Whether prince or pauper, beauty or beast, cupid entangles unsuspecting hearts. From the exchange of a glance to the throes of romance, follow these couples as they discover that love has no limits. Indulge your taste for adventure with ten diverse tales from familiar and exotic parts of the globe. Shades of Love is brought to you by a select group of award-winning and best-selling writers, whose stories feature couples who close the cultural divide through their love.
In the melting pot of cultures, love knows no boundaries. Immerse yourself in ten breathtaking stories.

Claiming Lana - Reana Malori
Jake Bradford and Lana Miller are two strong-willed people who seem to be sworn enemies. That all changes in the blink of an eye when they’re thrown together for an important project. When passion simmers just under the surface, the outcome is not what either of them could have expected, but exactly what they needed.

Caliente Nights - Suzette Riddick
Nursery school teacher Jeanette Adams and athlete Alonzo Castro are immediately attracted to each other. He is aware of his Cuban mother's disapproval, but it's not enough to keep him from pursuing the African American beauty.

The Blind Shot – J.L. Campbell
Kofi Danquah and Regina Chu are from different sides of the globe, but find each other in a foreign land. As their relationship goes from platonic to passionate, their families’ opposition also increases … but Kofi and Regina want what comes naturally and they won’t be denied.

When East Meets West - Annamaria Bazzi
Winter Portobello, a coed from a faith-based Italian family, falls in love with a fellow student, Samir Chamas, a Lebanese immigrant. Together, Samir and Winter must prove their love to be as strong as the hearts that bind them, despite the cultural and religious differences that threaten to destroy the Chamas family.

Would Smell As Sweet - Janae Keyes
Sick of feeling like a prisoner in her own home, Shayna moves to the small town of Cotton Springs, Texas. She puts the pieces of her life back together and finds romance, but Happily Ever After only lasts until Shayna's stalker finds her hiding place and turns her dream into a nightmare.

Postcards from Havana - Toye-Lawson Brown
Arlene Joy never expected to win a five-day trip to Havana, Cuba. After meeting Arlene at a fiesta, Vincenté Martinez is happy he came home.

Third Base - P.C. Zick
Baseball star Tomas Vegas loses focus on his game when he meets Adriana Moretti from a tight-knit Italian family. When she falls for the handsome Puerto Rican, their families attempt to pull them apart, which only brings them closer together.

The Best Game – Hebby Roman
After years apart, Liana De Leon and Damian Escobedo meet again in their San Antonio hometown. Liana wants to escape her high-profile life, but coming home isn't working out the way she planned. Instead of the quiet life she envisions, the city's most eligible bachelor is set on winning her heart and making all her dreams come true.

Small Town Boy - Caroline Bell-Foster
They were first loves, but tragedy struck before Kerry and Noah could explore where the future would take them. Years later, can the British politician and the American County singer ever re-connect?

Sometimes Money Ain’t Enough - Stacey-Deanne
Raquel Hood has everything a woman could want; money, beauty, and an entire town under her command. But after meeting Tobias, Raquel realizes that sometimes money ain’t enough.
“Good morning, Arlene. Vince kindly invited me to tag along. It’ll only take a minute,” Josie says as she gets off the couch and scampers into the bedroom.

I sit on the couch and cross my legs, folding my hands over my knee. “How are you, Vince?”
“Good, now that I see you again.” He moves over to the couch and takes my hand in his. “Last night was not long enough for me to get to know you.”
His deep, piercing stare is doing weird things to my stomach. It’s so dark, almost as dark as his hair. The man is a walking poster of fineness. I snap back to reality. “I enjoyed myself. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for me today.”
“After we eat, the whole day is open to do whatever you want. If you like beaches, I would love to take you to the stunning coast of Playas del Este. There are beautiful beaches that I think you’ll love.”
I feel that same smile from last night returning to curl my lips. “I’d love to go exploring with you.”



Reana Malori is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of sensual and contemporary romance. She hopes to weave stories that pull the reader into her world and helps them to share in her universe, even if only for a short time. Her stories feature women you’d love to hangout with and men who love them with everything they have. Sign up Reana’s newsletter or visit her website.



Suzette Riddick enjoys writing romance novels with real life situations readers can relate to. She’s an Amazon bestselling author of African American Romance. In 2013 she was nominated for an Emma Award and was a featured author in USA Today ~ Happy Ever After. To learn more about Suzette and her books visit her website.


J.L. Campbell is an award-winning, Jamaican author who writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, sweet romance, women's fiction, as well as new and young adult novels. She is a certified editor, who also writes non-fiction. Visit her on the web at www.joylcampbell.com or lrd.to/JLCampbell


Annamaria Bazzi - Love is an important part of life, not just something to be experienced but also to be read. After thirty-one years of marriage, and still going strong, Annamaria Bazzi believes in the happily ever after. This strong belief transcends into her romance novels—every person deserves his and her own happy ever after. Annamaria writes contemporary romances to bring new love experiences to her readers. She also writes young adult sci-fi/fantasy and dabbles in paranormal short stories. Visit her website.


Janae Keyes - Janae Keyes is an American mom, wife, and hopeless romantic living in Europe. She loves to explore various cultures coming together through the magic of love. Residing in a suburb of Brussels, Belgium, with her husband and daughter, Janae loves to share her passion for romance with others. To learn more about Janae, visit her website.


Toye-Lawson Brown is an Amazon bestselling author of multicultural romance novels. In 2014 she was nominated by the B.R.A.B Book Club for Breakout Author of the Year.


P.C. Zick - Bestselling and award-winning author, P.C. Zick, creates contemporary romances with a social consciousness. She describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. Strong female leads, handsome and heroic men, and descriptive settings grace more than a dozen published novels. Visit her website.


Hebby Roman is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her book, BORDER HEAT, was a Los Angeles Times Book Festival selection. She has been a RONE Finalist three times and in three different categories. Visit her website or Facebook.


Caroline Bell Foster is an internationally bestselling, multi award-winning British author of diverse romantic fiction and named as one of the most influential people in culture & entertainment in the East Midlands, England. To learn more about Caroline please visit her website.

Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is an award-winning author of sensual romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women's fiction books. She's written Amazon Top 100 bestsellers, and her work has been praised and reviewed in USA Today numerously. Stacy's books are full of passion, thrills, intriguing characters and so much emotion you can't get enough! If you want something different and unpredictable then definitely check out her work. Sign up for Stacy's mailing list: http://bit.ly/2h5Uqei


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Shades of Love Anthology is Live! #MulticulturalRomance #NewRelease

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I have exciting news! Today is release day for the Shades of Love boxed set! We are live on Amazon!



Love knows no boundaries and bridges the gap between creed and culture. Whether prince or pauper, beauty or beast, cupid entangles unsuspecting hearts. From the exchange of a glance to the throes of romance, follow these couples as they discover that love has no limits. Indulge your taste for adventure with ten diverse tales from familiar and exotic parts of the globe.  

Shades of Love” is brought to you by a select group of ten award-winning and best-selling writers, whose stories feature couples who close the cultural divide through their love.  


Claiming Lana - Reana Malori 
Jake Bradford and Lana Miller are two strong-willed people who seem to be sworn enemies. That all changes in the blink of an eye when they’re thrown together for an important project. When passion simmers just under the surface, the outcome is not what either of them could have expected, but exactly what they needed.

Reana Malori is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of sensual and contemporary romance. She weaves stories that pull the reader into her world and to share in her universe, even if only for a short time. Her stories feature women you’d love to hang out with and men who love them with everything they have.



Caliente Nights - Suzette Riddick 
Nursery school teacher Jeanette Adams and athlete Alonzo Castro are immediately attracted to each other. He is aware of his Cuban mother's disapproval, but it's not enough to keep him from pursuing the African American beauty.

Suzette Riddick enjoys writing romance novels with real life situations readers can relate to. She’s an Amazon bestselling author of African American Romance. In 2013, she was nominated for an Emma Award and was a featured author in USA Today ~ Happily Ever After. 




The Blind Shot – J.L. Campbell
Kofi Danquah and Regina Chu are settlers in a foreign land, but the one thing they have in common is their attraction to each other. As their relationship moves from platonic to passionate, so does their families’ opposition to their love … but Kofi and Regina want what comes naturally and they won’t be denied.

J.L. Campbell is an award-winning, Jamaican author who writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, sweet romance, women's fiction, as well as new and young adult novels. She is a certified editor, who also writes non-fiction. 


When East Meets West - Annamaria Bazzi

Winter Portobello, a coed from a faith-based Italian family falls in love with a fellow student, Samir Chamas, a Lebanese immigrant. Together, Samir and Winter must prove their love to be as strong as the hearts that bind them, despite the cultural and religious differences that threaten to destroy the Chamas family.

Annamaria Bazzi - Love is an important part of life, not just something to be experienced but also to be read. After thirty-one years of marriage, and still going strong, Annamaria Bazzi believes in the happily ever after. This strong belief transcends into her romance novels—every person deserves his and her own happily ever after. Annamaria writes contemporary romances to bring new love experiences to her readers. She also writes young adult sci-fi/fantasy and dabbles in paranormal short stories.




Would Smell As Sweet - Janae Keyes

Sick of feeling like a prisoner in her own home, Shayna moves the small town of Cotton Springs, Texas. She puts the pieces of her life back together and finds romance, but Happily Ever After only lasts until Shayna's stalker finds her hiding place and turns her dream into a nightmare.

Janae Keyes is an American mom, wife, and hopeless romantic living in Europe. She loves to explore various cultures coming together through the magic of love. Residing in a suburb of Brussels, Belgium, with her husband and daughter, Janae loves to share her passion for romance with others. 



Postcards from Havana - Toye Lawson-Brown
Arlene Joy never expected to win a five-day trip to Havana, Cuba. After meeting Arlene at a fiesta, Vincenté Martinez is happy he came home.

Toye Lawson- Brown is an Amazon bestselling author of multicultural romance novels. In 2014 she was nominated by the B.R.A.B Book Club for Breakout Author of the Year.






Third Base - P.C. Zick
Baseball star Tomas Vegas loses focus on his game when he meets Adriana Moretti from a tight-knit Italian family. When she falls for the handsome Puerto Rican, their families attempt to pull them apart, which only brings them closer together.

P.C. Zick - Bestselling and award-winning author, P.C. Zick, creates contemporary romances with a social consciousness. She describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. Strong female leads, handsome and heroic men, and descriptive settings grace more than a dozen published novels. 




The Best Game – Hebby Roman

After years apart, Liana De Leon and Damian Escobedo meet again in their San Antonio hometown. Liana wants to escape her high-profile life, but coming home isn't working out the way she planned. Instead of the quiet life she envisions, the city's most eligible bachelor is set on winning her heart and making all her dreams come true. 


Hebby Roman is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her book, “Border Heat,” was a Los Angeles Times Book Festival selection. She has been a RONE Finalist three times and in three different categories. 




Small Town Boy - Caroline Bell-Foster

They were first loves, but tragedy struck before Kerry and Noah could explore their lives further. Years later, can the British politician and the American Country singer ever re-connect?

Caroline Bell Foster is an international bestselling, multi award-winning British author of diverse romantic fiction and named as one of the most influential people in culture & entertainment in the East Midlands, England. 





Sometimes Money Ain’t Enough - Stacey-Deanne 
Raquel Hood has everything a woman could want; money, beauty, and an entire town under her command. But after meeting Tobias, Raquel realizes that sometimes money ain’t enough.

Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is an award-winning author of sensual romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women's fiction books. She's written Amazon Top 100 bestsellers, and her work has been praised and reviewed in USA Today numerously. Stacy's books are full of passion, thrills, intriguing characters and so much emotion you can't get enough! If you want something different and unpredictable then definitely check out her work. 





Get your copy of Shades of Love at $0.99 on Amazon or with your subscription on Kindle Unlimited. Find the boxed set at: lrd.to/shades-of-love


Get Ready for Shades of Love

Monday, November 6, 2017

Tomorrow is the big day! The Shades of Love Anthology will be released on Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Ten select romance writers have combined their skills to bring you ten stories of couples from various cultures. These tales are set in various corners of the world and are designed to demonstrate that love will find a way, no matter our creed or culture. 

Please support our set. The cost to you is only $0.99. You can pre-order by going to lrd.to/shades-of-love.



IWSG Anthology Contest Closes Today!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Today is another post day for the IWSG members. Another opportunity to release our fears and offer encouragement to each other. If you're not sure what the IWSG is about, check it out here and sign up to participate. Alex's helper this month are Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield and Rebecca Douglass

This month's optional question is: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

To answer, yes, most of my NaNo projects do get finished and yes, most of them are also published. Matter of fact, I have two unfinished projects that need some attention, but they are not on the front burner for NaNo 2017.

Do remember the ISWG Anthology Contest closes tomorrow. If you haven't yet submitted your entry, today's the day to get it done. 


Will you be putting in an entry for the anthology? Are you doing NaNo this year? Do you have a plan in place to finish?

#IWSG Writing For Profit & Show Us Your Insecurity

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Today is posting day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! and we take the opportunity to release our fears to the world and give encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click here and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Hop around and visit some new blogs. You never know who you might meet on the way.

The co-hosts for today are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

October 4 question - Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Since my stories tend to be deep and involve real-life issues, yes, life’s gory details do get involved. They never go in the way they happen though. I use creative license and put my own spin on things.

Show Your Writer Insecurity Contest!

Are you proud to be an insecure writer? Then show us!


Today, post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Then leave a comment at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post directing us to your photo. (All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.)

The IWSG site admins will visit each one and pick the top three. Why? Because there are cool prizes involved:

Third place – EBook of A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford, eBook of The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, eBook of Cling to God by Lynda R. Young, eBook of Already Home by Heather M. Gardner, and eBook of Dragon of the Stars by Alex. J. Cavanaugh.

Second place – The entire eBook collection of the Totem series by Christine Rains, eBooks of Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie, audio book of CassaSeries by Alex J. Cavanaugh, eBook of Black and White by Nick Wilford, and your choice eBook from J.L. Campbell.

Grand prize winner - IWSG website interview, IWSG newsletter spotlight, IWSG pinned tweet for one week, C. Lee McKenzie's Featured Follower for the month, the IWSG Goodreads book club eBook for October/November, a short chapter critique, and a pair of IWSG erasers.
 
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Writing for Profit Available Now!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this free anthology. 

From writing to publishing to marketing, the Insecure Writer's Support Group members provide tips on making money as a writer. This guide represents the spirit of the IWSG - to encourage and support writers everywhere! It is our hope that this book will benefit you as a writer, no matter where you are in the journey. 


ISBN: 9781939844453 FREE
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

A Sneak Peek ... The Long Game

Sunday, September 10, 2017

It made me uncomfortable to have my love life discussed this way. At this rate, Ayisha would soon be wearing a halo and I was the one who'd have to do a full-time job of repairing what little reputation I had left.  

The only positive thing in this situation was that Ayisha knew me, so none of this surprised her. I relaxed because this was one of the good things about being with her like this. Although I wasn't great relationship material, she accepted me for who I was and was willing work with me as I was right now. That single fact made me love her. 

I definitely could see myself with her long term. This was a shock for me, since a little over a month ago, I didn't have any thoughts or plans about my future other than the next female who'd be in my bed. 

Mama patted Ayisha's hand before getting up to clear the table. Despite Mama’s protests, Ayisha helped her move the plates and cutlery to the kitchen. 

When they didn't come back after their last trip, my father peered at me over his glasses and I knew I was in for more advice. "Mess with that girl and I'll kill you myself, although you're my only son. I don't understand how you treat women this way and you have a sister." 

"Donna can take care of herself," I said in reference to my sister who had been working overseas for several years. "You might not believe me, but I treat my women well." 

He shot a glance at the kitchen doorway. "Women?" 

"You know what I mean. Ayisha is the only one I'm seeing now." 

"At your age, you really—" 

I felt myself getting tense. This scenario was getting old. I was tired of having to defend myself in the place where I usually felt most relaxed. I put up both hands. "Papa, trust me, I'm not about to hurt Ayisha or anything like that." 

His gaze didn't waver as he looked at me. "My only worry is that you won't be able to live up to her expectations. I've never heard of a leopard changing its spots." 

"Well, it's a good thing I don't have to prove anything to anybody but Ayisha." 

My mother's voice put an end to the conversation. She and Ayisha, plus the dog, came back into the room. 

As we ate slices of bread pudding laced with raisins and rum, I watched Ayisha. She pulled the cake fork out of her mouth slowly and then licked a crumb off her lip, all while she stared at me. The front of my jeans grew uncomfortably tight and I shifted. 


As if she knew what was happening to me, Ayisha smiled. She dragged her teeth over her bottom lip as her eyes lit up. The woman knew exactly what she was doing to me. Under the table, something nudged my foot. I thought it might be Cookie, until I looked across at Ayisha and a mischievous grin greeted me. 

Get your copy of The Long Game

IWSG Anthology Contest News!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Today is another IWSG day when we share our insecurities and offer encouragement to those who may need it along the journey.Assisting Alex today are The awesome co-hosts today are  Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure.

This month's optional question for you to answer - Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in? 

I've surprised myself several times over by reaching into genres that I wasn't sure I'd enjoy. The latest avenue I've gone done is sweet romance, which is a different set up from romantic suspense and women's fiction. It's challenging to dial down the drama, but I've found enjoyment in writing stories with cute kids and pets.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology Contest

Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free. 

Word count: 3500-6000

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller

Theme: Tick Tock. The story revolves around a clock, is time sensitive, or has something about a specific time. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence. 

Story deadline: November 1st 2017

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging or Facebook IWSG group. 

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. 

The shortlisted entries will then go to our official judges who are listed below: 

Elizabeth S. Craig writes cozy mystery series for Penguin Random House, Midnight Ink, and independently. She curates links on Twitter as @elizabethscraig that are later shared in the free search engine Writers Knowledge Base.

Anne Hawkins is a partner in John Hawkins & Associates, Inc., New York. Founded in 1893 by Paul R. Reynolds, it is the oldest literary agency in the country. She works with mainstream literary and commercial fiction, including mystery, suspense, and thrillers and a wide variety of serious non-fiction, particularly history, politics, biography, science, and natural history. A number of her books have gained distinction through award nominations, book-to-film contracts, significant foreign rights sales, major book club selections, or placement on the New York Times bestseller list. Anne Hawkins is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives. 

Candace Havens is the Editorial Director of Covet has written multiple novels for Berkley, Entangled and Harlequin. Her books have received nominations for the RITA’s, Holt Medallion and Write Touch Reader Awards. She is one of the nation’s leading entertainment journalists, runs a free online writing workshop, and teaches comprehensive writing class. 

Author, Public Speaker, and Executive Producer, Lynn Tincher was born just outside of Louisville, Kentucky in the beautiful city of La Grange. She has written four books, with the fifth one currently in the making. Her first book, Afterthoughts was optioned for movie production by Kilted Pictures and Dancing Forward Productions in Los Angeles. It is currently in pre-production with plans to shoot in Louisville, Kentucky very soon. 

Ion Newcombe is the editor and publisher of AntipodeanSF, Australia's longest running online speculative fiction magazine, regularly issued since January 1998. His qualifications and employment range from horticulture through electronics into literature and communications. 

Patricia (Pat) Stoltey is the author of four crime fiction novels published by Five Star/Cengage including a historical mystery called Wishing Caswell Dead (https://www.amazon.com/Wishing-Caswell-Dead-Patricia-Stoltey/dp/1432834401/) (December 2017). She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Sassy Dog, and Katie Cat. To learn more about Patricia and her books, visit her website/blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Mason Canyon had a love of books since childhood encouraged by a mother who loved to read. A 30+year career in journalism fueled her desire to know what a story is all about. Blogging at Thoughts in Progress since 2009 and operating MC Book Tours for over a year. Loves to read and share great stories with others. MC Book Tours

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title. 

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word! 


Go to the contest page here

Last, but not least, on Wednesday, October 4 (IWSG Day), for the Show Us Your Writer Insecurity Contest!post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Leave a comment that day at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post directing us to your photo. 

(All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.) We've got some cool prizes in store! Look out for the IWSG Writing For Profit anthology, which will be available by that time.

See How Ayisha & Vance Win The Long Game!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

On Friday, The Long Game hit the Amazon platform. Like every other story, theirs is unique and took me to places I hadn't gone before as a writer. It is my hope that you'll enjoy their story. 

Blurb:

Aside from a brief stint of madness during their teen years, Vance James and Ayisha Glenn are not each other's idea of relationship material. Vance, a financial analyst and avid golfer, is preoccupied with getting his fill of women, and finding that special someone doesn't factor into his plans. Yet all it takes to turn his world upside down is one remark from Ayisha about his lifestyle. Suddenly, his focus shifts and he's spending his days trying to prove he can be the man she needs.

Ayisha is a go-getter who knows what she's about—a successful business, a lifetime with the man of her dreams, and children to complete the picture. Vance is an expert at romance, but with Ayisha it's all or nothing. She's waited years for Vance to stop chasing the wind in pursuit of what's already in front of him. Now that he's set his heart on having her, will she accept his love? 

Get your copy of The Long Game

Aaaaaand if you don't want to miss another release, be sure to follow me on Bookbub.





Sunday Sample ... The Long Game

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Long Game is coming this week ... 

I pushed away my plate and made room for the Shih Tzu I'd taken home a couple of days ago. She'd come to me through a customer who had a litter. For months, my client kept offering me one of the pups. I'd wanted the puppy, but kept procrastinating because I didn't have the ideal home situation.

Not that I was in any better position now, but I'd finally taken the little cutie pie after I'd seen a digital image of her last week and after I had a talk with Mama. Kiki was now five months old and very cute. She put her paws on the table and sniffed at my leftovers.

I moved the plate farther away. "Nope. That's not on the menu, girl."

Vance continued eating while he watched us.

"You're not leaving her locked up here during the days, are you?"

I shook my head while scratching Kiki under her chin. "Mama will keep her."

He closed the knife and fork, finished his orange juice and then asked, "So what's the point of getting the dog?"

"I've been thinking about it for a while now."

"You never mentioned it."

Playing with Kiki's silky ear, I said, "I don't talk about every single thing with you lot."

"Understood, but it's just weird you never mentioned Cookie before."

"Kiki."

He folded his arms and cocked his head. "Cookie fits her better."

I wouldn't admit I agreed with him, but her black, tan and white coloration did remind me of a slice of marble cake.
"Whatever. Since when are you interested in my household affairs anyway?"

His wide smile said it all. When he poked out his lips and then pursed them, I knew he had something to say that I probably wouldn't like. "Does this dog have anything to do with Brianna?"

I looked at him like he was crazy. "You're comparing a baby and a dog?"

"Well, Brianna is cute and the dog is too."

"I don't know what you're implying and I'm not even going wherever with you."

Now, he grinned. "Don't think I don't see the way you and Anna-Lise look at that little girl, as if the sun shines out of her. I think the two of you would pop one out if pregnancy wasn't so long and complicated."

I was speechless. After cutting my eyes at him, I shook my head. "You're so vulgar."

"It's not like you didn’t know. But anyway, you know I'm not lying."

When I didn't say anything for a bit, he added, "Like I said, being a mother would suit you."

"All in good time, I guess."

Kiki barked as if she agreed with that I'd just said.

"Isn't she going to complicate your life?" Vance said, pointing at Kiki. "Especially since you're now going to the gym."

"Man, you're all the way into my business."

"As your man, it's my business to know what's going on in your life."

His declaration sucked my breath away. He'd put into words what had been lingering on the edge of my mind. If I had a doubt about what we were doing, Vance had just blown my doubts away.

For reasons I hadn't clarified with myself, I'd started the gym at the beginning of the week. This thing with Vance had me shaking up my life, which wasn't a bad move since I'd fallen into a crater and hadn't climbed out except to go on that date with Lawrence. I could have told myself I didn't need to work out, but I knew better. I was fit enough, but there was room for improvement and if I was to keep up with Vance, yeah, I needed to step up my endurance.

Kiki squirmed in my lap, so I got up to give her a snack. She didn't eat much, but until I learned her habits, I didn't want to run the risk of starving her. In the kitchen, I doled out a bit of kibble and put fresh water in her other bowl. Kiki dipped her head in the neon-pink bowl and got busy with her snack.

When I stood straight, Vance was behind me carrying our breakfast plates. He went to the bin, emptied the leftovers and moved to the sink. Watching him washing up brought a smile to my face. He was trying, which pleased me. Although he lived alone and was used to tidying up after himself, when we got together, Ayisha, Kathy and I tended to clean up after the guys.

I paid attention when Vance stood before me. He looked at his watch, a big old thing that had smart features, including measuring the yardage on the golf course. It was the only thing he wore that was obviously expensive and he hardly ever took it off.

A sly grin twisted his mouth and he gripped my waist with both hands. "We have some time before we head out to the course."

Sliding my arms around his shoulders, I mumbled against his lips. "Don't you ever get enough?"

"Not with you," he said, easing his fingers under my tank top.