I'm not letting my wife's past come back to haunt her.
She's mine to protect now.
Mine to blow sh-t up for.
My boss’s friend is sexy as sin and has a smile that can make any girl weak.
However, he’s fifteen years older than me.
That should be enough to keep me away.
But something keeps pulling me back to him.
If that was my only problem, I could figure my life out.
On top of everything, my best friend has turned stalkerish and now wants me all to himself.
And he’ll do anything, even hurt me, to keep me.
I don’t know what made her think I would leave her when she needed me.
I had never abandoned anyone or anything in my life.
Until I didn’t return from leave because my woman was being threatened.
One look at her so-called best friend has me ready to pounce.
But I’m the property of the USA.
I can’t have the military tracking me down to toss me in the Brigg for assaulting a citizen.
Uncle Sam should know that I will protect my woman and our child, though.
No one will stand in my way.
Darkness lurks behind their gazes.
There’s something sinister about their smiles.
Their name incites fear in their enemies.
Their touch arouses passion in the women they love.
They are the DeLucas. In the streets and in the sheets, there’s one word that describes them best.
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They say if you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be yours.
Because of a misunderstanding, college sweethearts Ryan Rogers and Chrissy Underwood were torn apart. A year later, they reconnect at a Valentine’s Day Masquerade Party. With the lights low, the music humming and their faces hidden underneath a mask, they’re still able to recognize one another. And the love they once felt is still there and strong as ever. As they sway to the music and reminisce, Ryan is able to clear up the misunderstanding that forced Chrissy to leave.
However, will Chrissy have the guts to reveal the secret she left town with?
“Are you coming to the jamboree afterparty tonight, or are ya still pussy-whipped and doing what Chrissy tells ya to do?” Jace said in an extra southern tone. His taunting voice was starting to irritate me.
For some reason, he had become extra concerned about what Chrissy and I were doing lately. If he wasn’t asking me what our plans were for the day, he was trying to get me hooked up with another girl. No matter how many times I told him I wasn’t interested, he kept butting in with suggestions of ways for me to stray away from Chrissy.
Wasn’t going to happen.
“I’m not coming. Gonna be at home getting pussy whipped, all night,” I replied without turning to face Jace. I continued to stride down the hallway, headed toward the cafeteria.
The halls were filled with students going to and from classes. Many of them were on a mad dash to the cafe to get a bite to eat before their next class. Others sprinted toward their cars to head home for the day.
“You’re going to miss out on the hot chicks I invited from Clark, and you know the Nu Lambs girls are at your service and willing to do whatever,” Jace noted with widened, watchful eyes. “I know you’re getting tired of being with one girl. You can get some variety tonight.”
His offering up different girls wasn’t a selling point for me. “Not interested. But hey, that just means more for you, right?”
Jace was a big guy, but he made light steps beside me. His six-foot-two frame barely made a sound. It was his booming voice that filled the space, and he was always talking too much.
“Don’t you get tired of the same girl all the time? I mean if it were me…”
I cut him off. “But it’s not you,” I reminded him. “You’re not the one dating Chrissy. I am.”
“You’re right.” His mouth snapped shut. Finally, there was the sound of nothing coming from his face.
A welcomed sound.
A few seconds later, we reached the lunch counter. The pickings today were slim. There were loaded baked potatoes versus a chicken breast that looked like it’d dried out and had been brought back to life by a pan of water. Not exactly what I was craving.
“You know what, I’m not hungry for anything in here. I think I’ll go taste some of my pussy covered with whipped cream. You know, since I’m whipped and shit.” I breathed in a whiff of air then released it in a gush. “Yeah, pussy covered in whipped cream. That sounds really good right now. I think I want strawberry flavored today. I love a good strawberry surprise.”
Jace deflated, looking like he’d just lost a thousand dollar bet. “I never thought it would come to this.”
Seeing his reaction made me smile. “What has it come to?”
“To a point where the younger brothers are being initiated, and you think being with your girl is more important. Who are they supposed to look up to if they can’t look up to their older brothers?” Jace asked.
This was coming from a guy who took the fraternity's reigns and turned it into a yearlong party. Since Jeremy Turner graduated and Jace was chosen as the new president, things changed dramatically. The once-beloved fraternity that was known more for service to the community than wild parties and pranks had gone downhill fast.
“Well, they should start with their parents as someone to look up to,” I said. “Besides, initiation isn’t for another month. It’s not that important that I be at tonight’s party.” I stepped away from him, planning to get on about my day. I had a few more classes and Chrissy to do.
Jace put a hand on my shoulder, stopping me. “The board has so much faith in you. They believe we can help build the frat. The least you could do is be there to help me steer the inductees in the right way.”
“I’ve been there, Jace. You’re not steering them the right way, but we’ve had that talk before. When you’re doing something worth my time, I’ll be there again. But I’m not coming to the party tonight.” I continued toward the cafeteria’s exit, doing my best to ignore Jace’s prodding.
The thought of sorority chicks trying to get my attention and some of them begging to get banged just wasn’t appealing anymore. As it was, Chrissy had been feeling neglected due to the time I spent with the new inductees. And I wasn’t inclined to disappoint her. She had planned a two-week-long Valentine’s Day celebration, and I didn’t intend on missing one minute of it. After the last few nights filled with delicious desserts and lots of sex, I was headed back to her place as soon as my last class ended.
Jace’s booming voice interrupted my thoughts, reminding me that he was still talking to me. “One of the first things we learn as Nu Lambs is that we have to be united. We are not whole if one of our frat members is at home cuddled up with his girl. What happens if two or three decide to do that? What if everybody does it? Then, what do we have?”
Why was he still here?
I stared at him, uncaring. “The others will be there.”
“I know they will because they know they have to be there for the team,” Jace chided. “So, I guess the question is, are you out or in?”
“What do you mean by that shit?” I barked. “I’m always there for the team. I just won’t make it tonight.”
“I said what I said, man. As the president of our chapter, I’m starting to wonder if you’re really down anymore. When you come to the meetings, you’re looking down at your phone, smiling and texting Chrissy. Now, you’re missing the inductee events. Are you still dedicated to our movement, or are you ready to move on to more personal things? It’s a simple yes or no.”
My blood was boiling at this point. I’d never had a real problem with Jace butting into my personal life, but he was getting on my nerves with this shit. I was the most dedicated frat in Nu Lambs. Always going the extra mile for the worthy causes we were involved in. Yet, he was ragging me like I was a newbie.
“You know I’m in, but I don’t know why you’re riding me like this when you don’t do the same thing to Ramsey, Mike, or Luke, who also have high ranking positions.” Those guys were always fucking off somewhere and not a peep from Jace.
“They have been to all of the initiation events,” Jace crowed.
“Yeah, but have they been to the things that matter, like the back-to-school drive or any of the other for-show charitable events we have to do to meet the requirements of having a fraternity on this campus?”
The smugness in Jace’s eyes wavered. The stern look he wielded at me softened a bit. He knew damn well when it came down to the work that mattered, he could depend on me to be there. But, I was more mature in my senior year than I had been over the past few years. I wasn’t down for wild parties anymore. Giving my girl my word and keeping it was more important to me. Spending the night with Chrissy trumped a night filled with sloppy drunk girls and boys with raging hard-ons.
For once, I didn’t want to be out at the jamboree’s afterparty, kegging it up and doing stupid shit until three in the morning. This was the time the frats got together to participate in all manner of forbidden things. Things Chrissy wouldn’t agree with. Things that would have me single by the next day.
Now, guilt-tripping Jace was reminding me of my responsibilities to the inductees. He was right about one thing. We were stronger when we were united. When I was inducted, all of the upperclassmen were there for every gathering. And they did some wild things, but it seemed Jace wanted to top what was considered wild then. He gave less credence to the positive activities that promoted brotherhood.
Jace clamped a hand down on my shoulder. “You have done great things to help Nu Lambs. But have your ass there tonight, or I’ll bring you up for dismissal.”
“What? This is bullshit, Jace!”
“All you have to do is be there.” Always the guy who liked to drop bombs and walk away, Jace strolled off with a confident smirk. “See you tonight.”
“Fuck you, man.”
“Yeah, tell Chrissy she’ll have to wait on the fucking tonight.” He laughed. “I hope she can at least wait for you to get back.”
I didn’t like the sound of Chrissy’s name coming from him or his insinuations about her. “From now on, how about you keep my girl’s name out of your mouth?” I growled.
“We’ll see about that,” was his cryptic reply.
Jace left out the cafeteria, leaving me with enough rage to turn over every table in the room and reminding me why I was so ready for graduation.
1. Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan. Swoon. Fall in love. Swoon some more. This book will make you want to not move until the last page has turned. I listened to the audio, which made it even better. The poetic way Kennedy Ryan wove the words of this story into an unforgettable love story is nothing short of magic. The abuse, how she overcame it, the triumph in the end. I was here for it all!
2. Hook Shot by Kennedy Ryan. This author has romancing of words down to a science, which continues in book 3 of the Hoops series. Even though it's book three, it's my second favorite book of the year.
3. Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan. (Ahem, first of all, thanks for recommending this series Posey Parks!) This book had BBW issues that held my attention. As you can see, I highly recommend the Hoops series. All three books made my fave list.
4. Vanquished by Leteshia Newton. Think crazy, sexy, and not cool, and you have Vanquished. It’s a train wreck that you can’t look away from. In the end, something from every scene grows on you and makes you fall more in love with the dysfunctional characters. (Crystal Partin, this was a good recommendation)
5. Promised Land by Brenda Hampton. I saw a post about this book idea possibly being lifted by a major film, so I had to read and compare. Being recaptured and forced into slavery is real fear for some (okay, I am some). There was great imagination put into this storyline with comparisons to American slavery and contemporary racial divides. A must read!
6. Truly by Carmel Rhodes. OMG. The words. All of the words. I don’t usually read erotic romance stories about teens, but I loved that it was true to teenage experiences. I would definitely read more from Carmel Rhodes.
7. Zahir by Theodora Taylor. I read the Ruthless Tycoons series, but this book stood out to me. Zahir seemed cruel but damn if he wasn’t seductive at the same time. I think these books are driving me to the dark side—muahahaha. Mean, controlling, yummy Zahir!
8. His Wicked Witch by Siren Allen. I don’t usually read paranormal, but I wanted to read some of my good friend's work. His Wicked Witch made me do what I thought was impossible. I fell in love with magic spells, witches, and sexy shadows in a far away paranormal land.
9. Out of the Flames by J. McCreary. Della’s story of overcoming meth abuse to finding love and someone to share her life with touched my heart, so yeah…all of the feels. Actually, this book and part one of the Kendrick, Pennsylvania series, Under the Sycamore, are great reads.
10. Christmas with the Recluse by Victorine E. Lieske. I read this book after reading Victorine’s book on how to write swoon-worthy romance. I wanted to see how she executed a book of clean romance, and it was a fun read that takes you through all the back and forth emotions she has mastered. I almost gave up on this couple, but they got it together in the end. HEA's abound!
Nonfiction: Team of Vipers by Cliff Sims. It was interesting to read about the experience of a man from Alabama who went to work for the Trump White House.
From My Catalog: Classic Alpha for Christmas. I got so much good feedback about this book that I read it again this Christmas. Omega and Astalia made me smile :)
To spread a little Christmas cheer, Secrets of a Kept Woman is Free on Christmas Day. Whether you're chilling and social distancing at home or spending time with family, my wish is that you have all your heart desires. Stay read- Shani
I come bearing gifts...
At six foot two with honey-brown skin and flowing dreadlocks, Titus Wilson is a walking god, who only has one thing on his mind, making it out of the Sloan Mill projects by any means necessary. Entering the drug game is his ticket to the finer things in life, but it’s called a game for a reason. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. After marrying Shayla, attaining a lakeside property, and having anything he wants at his fingertips, he should be living the good life. But there’s always someone coming for the number one spot.
Shayla Wilson gives up everything for her first love. Her pursuit of being a psychiatrist to help the mentally ill, attending church, and ties with her family are all broken when she marries Titus. However, she loves him too much to let go. Along with Titus, her best friends Gladys LaQuinn and Rhonda Jackson are all Shayla needs until the day she finds out that the people closest to her are not who they say they are. What will Shayla do when her beautiful, expensive, expertly designed house of lies threatens to fall?
As rival drug cartels invade their lakeside property and friends unveil themselves as foes, will the walls come falling down around Titus and Shayla, or will they survive the darkest test of their lives?