Sample Sunday - Dominic's Pride

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The next book in the Virtues & Vices series is Dominic's Pride. Look out for it on March 21. You may pre-order at

Nearby chatter interrupted Nick’s trip into the past. While sipping coffee, his eyes met those of the woman who told him a week ago that he got around. 

Seemed like she did too. 

She spoke into the phone, lifted her chin, then smiled. Something about her made him not only want to return the gesture but get closer. Frowning, Nick realized then that he hadn’t thought about being with anybody since he landed. As far as he knew, all his body parts still worked but he’d forgotten how much he enjoyed the chase.

Before he thought about what he was doing, Nick was halfway across the bistro to where the woman sat. He didn’t know her name, but that small detail wouldn’t stop him from reconnecting with her.

“May I?” he asked, pointing to the ladder-back chair.


He pulled it out and sat in the opposite seat. She was even more attractive up close. Her eyes were bright and shone with interest, a look he’d seen many times.

“I wasn’t wrong,” she said after sipping from a cup of orange juice.

“About what?” he asked.

She pushed away a saucer with a half-eaten rock cake. “The fact that you’d turn up again.”

He tipped his head to one side as he said, “You were thinking about me, huh?”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself.”

“Or what?” he said. “You’ll take me down a peg or two?”

“I don’t think anything I say will affect you.”

He studied her smooth skin, intense eyes and the braids pulled into a bun on top of her head.

She was right, but he wouldn’t tell her. People’s opinion didn’t bother him. His parents had instilled confidence and self-reliance in him. He just hadn’t bothered to stand on his own. Perhaps because he’d never needed to do so.

He didn’t want to come off as arrogant, so he shrugged. “Your opinion can’t affect me one way or the other since we don’t know each other.” He watched her over the next sip of coffee then said, “What’s your name?”

“What’s yours, pretty boy?”

“I beg your pardon?”

She hid a smile, then said, “You heard me just fine.”

Despite his habit of not letting things bother him, something about her words touched a nerve. His nostril’s flared, but he said, “My name is Dominic.”

“I’m Ashley.” Her smile turned into a grin as she added, “I see there are things that can and do hit a nerve.”

“You don’t know me, so some respect is very much in order.”

She raised one brow. “You’re the one who slid over here, trying to pick me up.”

“That’s not what I was doing.”

Now both her eyebrows levitated. “No?”

“Definitely not.”

She assumed a serious expression, but the light in her eyes betrayed her. “Okay, so why are you here?”

Nick ignored her amused tone. “It would have been rude of me to ignore you once we recognized each other.”


Despite his intention to keep a straight face, he chuckled. “So, how are things going between you and Antonio in terms of repairing your vehicle?”

“The car isn’t mine.” She stared over his shoulder and sat straight. “It belongs to my … ”

He waited, but she didn’t say anything more and her stubborn expression told him he’d be waiting a long time.

“Your friend almost got me in a world of trouble. For a couple days, he wouldn’t answer his phone.” She huffed. “Nearly made me have to set the police on his tail.”

Nick stifled laugher because Ashley didn’t crack a smile. He could imagine the hell she’d given Antonio when she caught up with him.

“I hear a little bit of something foreign in your accent,” he said. “D’you live here or abroad?

“Why d’you want to know?”

He swallowed more coffee and made her wait. “I’m just making conversation.”


He stared hard at her. “What?”

A slow smile greeted him. “You’re asking because you’re interested in me. Not because you don’t have anything to say.”

He considered that, then said, “Busted.”

They laughed together before she answered his question. “Actually, I’ve been living in Orlando since I was a teenager.”

“So, what are you doing here, if you don’t mind me asking?”

She hesitated, then said, “I’m visiting family. Sort of.”

Her response hinted at a complicated situation, so he changed the subject. “How long will you be on the island?”

“Maybe another week or two. You?”

“Same as you,” he said. But the truth was, he didn’t have much to return to, other than debt and stress. Yet, he didn’t see himself staying in Jamaica under Marlon’s thumb. 

“How about going out with me on Friday evening?”

Ashley’s wide eyes reflected his surprise.

Nick’s mouth was moving faster than his mind, but he was grateful when she said, “I don’t see why not.”

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