Chi-town Flavor + Caribbean Vibes + Carnivals = Carnivale

Hey reading family! Okay, check it. I’m apart of a multi-author collaboration due to come out on Kindle and paperback edition, March 26th. The series is the Carnivale Chronicles.

Each author will bring a different experience of the Carnival to their story. For example, at a carnival you have the headliners, vendors, parade, dancers, stylists, management etc.

My characters are dancers on opposing teams.

Here’s the blurb for my story, Move Your Body. And I can’t wait for you guys to read this because I danced through the entirety of this book.

Kickstart Dance Studio owner Tatiana Anderson is excited about her squad’s upcoming competition at the Afro Caribbean Carnivale. Practicing day and night has her team in tip-top shape, and she’s confident they will take home the win. That is, until she discovers the rival dance studio across the street is who they’ll be facing off against. 

And not only will they compete for the victory, but getting to know the leader, Messiah West, has Tatiana wondering if they’re battling for something a little more. Determined to ward off any sentiments of desire, Tatiana’s guard remains elevated. But Messiah’s perseverance is just as strong in his ambition to break down her walls.

Be sure to pre-order Move Your Body HERE and can you check out the entire series by clicking this link.

And This I Swear is available now!

As the matriarch in one of Chicago’s elite families, Bridgette Valentine has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Coordinating soiree’s for every season, along with pulling her weight as the co-owner of Valentine Media Group, Bridgette is left little time to indulge in the one person who rocks her world, Leslie Valentine. As a domineering force to be reckoned with, and head honcho of their dynasty, Leslie is the epitome of Bridgette’s wildest dreams. He’s not clueless to the way she’s withdrawn from him, and instead of forcing her attention, Leslie sets out to eliminate anything that threatens to come between them, determined to reclaim her soul and nourish her heart once again.

*This novella follows the mother and father of the Valentine men. This is not Kyle’s story which comes next.

Click HERE to download a copy of And This I Swear now, and be sure to leave a review!

Sunday Sample – And This I Swear

Hey reading family! I’m back today with a snippet of my upcoming novella. And This I Swear, which features the matriarch and patriarch of the beloved Valentine family; Bridgette and Leslie.

Good news! This will be hitting your eReaders THIS Wednesday, 2/12!

Keep reading for a sneak peek and the pre-order link.

A new day

When Bridgette awoke the next day, she found herself surrounded in a potent fragrance that made her sit straight up in bed.

“Oh, my God.” 

Her hands covered her mouth as her eyes roamed from one bouquet of cherry-red roses to the next, covering her floor, the end tables, the furniture, while rose petals trailed up her sheets to her knees. 

Bridgette’s heart swelled. She knew Leslie was gone, already getting a start on his day like most mornings. However, this display of love had utterly taken her breath away, and that made her hands drop to her chest, where she covered her heart. 

She vowed, right then, to always do right by him, to never push him away again. Besides, if the morning went well, she wouldn’t have to. 

Glancing at the clock on the nightstand put Bridgette’s thoughts into motion. It was a good thing she bathed last night, or she would be running late. 

She retrieved her cell phone, dialed a number, then put the receiver to her ear as she slipped out of bed. 

While she listened to the phone ring, her eyes glanced down at her feet, where she had landed on cool petals that were light and fluffy against her toes.

A smile encouraged the rise of her eyes, and then she heard her husband answer the phone.

“Good morning, milady,” Leslie’s thick voice grooved before she had a chance to greet him.

“A very good morning indeed, handsome.”

“Ooh, I think I like that,” his dark voice murmured jokingly. 

“I hope so, and I’m sorry I haven’t said it more often.”

“No need to be. I hope your day is beginning well.”

“It is. Thank you for the lovely flowers. They absolutely take my breath away.”

She could feel the smile in the way of his response. “Success,” he teased, making Bridgette giggle like a young woman.

“I only wish you were here to send me off with a kiss. That would be the icing on the cake.”

“If I were there, I’d send you off with more than a kiss.”

She squirmed on her feet. “I love you.”

“I love you more, sweetheart.”

“Is such a thing even possible?” she asked.

“Absolutely.”

“You’re so convinced.”

“You know what they say about when you know…”

“You know…” she finished biting down on one lip. “I won’t hold you much longer.”

“One could only wish,” he responded.

She was hot for him. Always had been, but within the last twelve hours, Bridgette found herself swelling almost painfully for her husband.

“I left a trail for you to get out of the room. Juan will clean up the roses, so don’t worry about them.”

Juan was their housekeeper and a long-time friend of the family. It had been a running joke among Leslie’s friends that he must trust Bridgette wholeheartedly with a sexy Latino like Juan as a maid. They’d boasted that they would never leave their wives with a man that had the looks to steal their woman away. But Leslie paid them no mind. 

“I’ll make sure to leave a note for Juan not to throw them away but to distribute them throughout the house. I want to see them in every room I enter.”

“That is very sweet of you.”

“No, I’m going to show you what’s sweet…or more like, nasty.” Her mouth spread wide in a smile. 

“Oh, is that a fact?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now, it’s on.”

Bridgette laughed naughtily. “Later, my love.”

She disconnected the call and all but skipped through the makeshift garden of roses to enter her closet. 

Humming a tune, she twirled and dressed, then headed to the kitchen where she grabbed a bottle of water and sailed to the front door.

The bell rang out just as her hand grabbed the knob, then with surprise in her gaze, she opened it, taken back by the visitor.

“Good morning,” the woman said.

Bridgette swept an eye over the younger woman. It was the same woman she’d spotted having dinner with Leslie the night before.

Narrowing her eyes, Bridgette held on to the smart retort that lay on her tongue. Seeing the woman face-to-face didn’t help the air of insecurity she’d felt seeing her dine with Leslie at the restaurant. 

Smooth, tight chocolate skin, vibrant light-brown eyes with lashes that fluttered ever so softly—the woman was divine. 

Bridgette’s gut tightened, right along with her throat, and no response came from her as the woman’s smile decreased by just an inch. 

The woman cleared her throat. “You are Mrs. Valentine, right?”

“What do you want?” Bridgette snapped. 

“I…” The woman’s mouth hung in surprise at Bridgette’s feistiness. 

“If you’re coming to tell me that my husband’s been cheating with you so you can drive a wedge between us and slip your homewrecking claws into him in peace, then you can forget about it, bitch.”

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER: CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

Dare to Indulge

Good morning reading family. Can I jump-start your week with a little treat? 

But wait! Before I do that, did you hear? I won two amazing literary awards. One for the Beverly Jenkins Author of The Year and the other the Rochelle Alers Best Series for the Falling for a Rose series!

I AM STILL totally stoked. I just can’t believe it but I am so thankful to BRAB bookclub and it’s members for the recognition. It is amazing. *dreamy sigh* Lol.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about that treat.

I’m on the road to publish 40 books by the end of this year. If you’re following me on social media, then you know I’m currently at 37. 

See slideshow below.

All of my books can be found on Amazon!

Towards the end of the summer I made a personal vow.

1 – Short story

1 – Novella

1 – Novel

And I will reach my goal! So we have arrived to today. I’ve added a short story to my Lunch Break Series.

The Lunch Break Series is not a continuation of the same story in parts. It is a series of standalone short stories that you can enjoy on your lunch break hour. These stories are written purely for your quick gratification.


He was the only man she’d ever loved…

When CEO Monica Stratton needs to make an appearance that could catapult her career to new heights, she sends her assistant to pick out a chaperone from the agency—a discreet escort service with the finest gentlemen money can buy.

But when the man on her doorstep turns out to be the only one to make her pulse thump recklessly, the evening will take her on a passionate ride to surrender, one she may wish will never end. 

Do you dare to indulge? ➡️ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZCK71HC

Risky Retreat!

Hola! Welcome to this week’s Risky Retreat! Here you can find a teaser of the romance, drama, and suspense that flow through my pages when I write. Even though this is only a teaser it will still feed your need to read. Some of these stories are coming soon, some are available now, and some are simply free short stories I wanted to share with you! Enjoy and don’t forget to check back in two weeks for the next Risky Retreat!

Until My Last Breath (Trouble In Paradise book 4)

When Caroline left the house, she hit the alarm on her car and put the phone to her ear. “Yes, I’m on my way right now, tell them not to leave. Take them refreshments,” she barked through the phone. She jumped in her Mercedes Benz and pulled out of the driveway. Her license plate read; Mrs. Right4You. Speeding off down the road, she never noticed the blue two thousand and one Ford Taurus parked across the street in the driveway of a vacant house.

Tim adjusted his mirror. He was sweating bullets. The last thing he wanted to do was go back inside that house. There was no telling what lay inside it, but he had to help. He just couldn’t go through with this. Maybe he should wait until it was dark. He could, but then he’d run the risk of running into Caroline. She was the last person he wanted to run into. As far as he was concerned, she was scarier than Nightmare on Elm Street. He’d rather have bad dreams about Freddie Kruger than to deal with a woman on a mission who would pay money like that to set someone up. That was real life a bad dream he couldn’t deal with.

He steadied his breath and manned up. Then, he got of the car and closed the door quietly. The house wasn’t located in a busy part of town, and this neighborhood held mostly vacant houses. The next occupied house was about two blocks away. It was a good spot for anyone to hold someone against their will. Nobody would hear them. Just thinking about it gave Tim the creeps.

Tim crossed the street, tip toeing as if someone could hear him. He checked the front door and it was locked. He crept around to the side entrance, it was also locked. There was a door in the back of the house. He was all too ready to breathe a sigh of relief and leave, telling his conscience he tried but couldn’t help. He crept down a slope the house sat on and rounded to the back. Once there, he checked the door and it turned. There was a pained expression on his face as he realized getting away that easy was too good to be true.

Stepping into the shadowy room, he gently closed the door. He moved in deeper to find a room with saws, and carpenter tools lying around the top of a wooden table. There was a stench he couldn’t make out, but it was the worst of worst. He bent over and regurgitated, spilling his guts on the floor. He went down to one knee and continued to spill his guts, literally. He tried to shake it off.

“Come on, get up,” he said, giving himself a pep talk.

It was too late for him to turn back now. He’d already gotten himself into it and left his mark in the corner of the room. He might as well help them out. Finally getting himself together Tim stood to his feet. On his toes he went down a darkened hallway. The smell was getting stronger. He peeked into an open doorway where the putrid smell was the strongest. Bile rose in his throat when he saw the two women bound. He bent over and spilled more of his guts out onto the floor.

The sound caught the attention of Victoria. She looked over, unable to see out of one eye.

“Who’s there?” she called in the weakest voice he’d ever heard.

Tim continued to throw up. Who was he kidding? He was not made for this. Caroline was a monster. What had he done? His conscience was right; he was going to hell for this. He shook his head and asked the Lord for forgiveness right then and there.

“Please,” Victoria begged, “help me.”

Tim got to his feet. He went to her and examined the rope she was tied to. The other woman was lifted in the air by her hands, but Victoria was in a pile of feces on the floor.

Victoria looked at him with her one good eye and knew who he was. Surprise flew across her face as recognition hit her. “Aren’t you Greg’s friend?”

He shook his head yes shamefully. “Please tell me you have a cell phone.”

Tim took out his cell phone, his hand shaking fitfully. Victoria gave him a number to dial.

“Talk to me,” Joshua answered the phone.

“Please,” she said, starting to weep softly.

Joshua turned the CD down. “Hello!” he said, alarmed, but unable to make out the raspy voice on the other end. “It’s me, Victoria, please.”

Tim took the phone away from her ear. “We should probably get you out of here before anyone comes back,” he said.

“Tell him where this is. Do you know where this is?” she asked.

Tim’s nerves were getting the better of him. He didn’t want anybody else to know he was involved. Maybe he should just get Victoria out of there and drop her off somewhere. He fidgeted thinking about his options which weren’t many.

“Hello! Victoria!” Joshua was screaming through the phone.

Tim put the phone to his ear. “Sh-she’s in trouble, man,” he stuttered.

“Who is this?” Joshua roared. Tim shook taking the phone away from his ear, he took too long to respond, “HELLO!” Joshua barked.

“Please,” Victoria begged, “please tell him.”

Tim put the phone back to Victoria’s ear. “Baby,” she said, about to pass out now, “I’m sorry.”

Her head fell backward as she went off into a slumber. No energy left in her.

“VICTORIA!” Joshua screamed. He’d pulled over to the side of the highway now and had the phone on speaker.

Tim put the phone to his ear. “Hold on,” he said. He moved throughout the room and found an old rusty sink sitting in the back with a water drip. There wasn’t any cups, so he reached for an aluminum can he saw sitting on top of the sink. He put his nose to it and sniffed. There was just an old rusty smell to it. It was his only choice, he turned the faucet on and let the water run into the cup. He did what he could to rinse it out before filling it halfway with water.

“HELLO?” He could hear Joshua yelling through his cell phone. He put the phone back to his ear as he walked back over to Victoria.

“I’m giving her some water,” he said.

“Who is this?”

“A friend, just know if I don’t get her out of here, we’re both dead.”

An ominous feeling ran through Joshua. “Where are you?” he barked.

Tim lifted Victoria’s head and put the can to her lips the water ran out and covered her mouth, spilling down both sides of her face. She began to choke on water that had seeped into her throat. Tim pulled back and gave her a second.

“I said, where are you!” Joshua shouted, unable to keep his cool. He was on the edge of hysteria.

“Hold on,” Tim said again.

Joshua cursed and threw his hands up. Tim put the cup back to Victoria’s lips as she became more aware of the cold liquid oozing through her mouth. She drank slowly at first then hastily as if she hadn’t had water in years.

Tim put the phone back to his ear while Victoria drank from the can in his hand, “She’s on Magnolia Street in Marietta three blocks from East Cobb Park. The address is 204—”

A sharp pain hit Tim in the side of his head and he went to the floor, landing on top of Victoria. She let out a sharp cry before his phone hit the ground and shattered into pieces. Alexis stood over him with the butt of her gun raised in the air prepared to hit him again. She wouldn’t need to. Tim was weak. He tried to get up but stumbled forward and fell to the floor. She turned her gun on him and pulled out her cell phone. She dialed Caroline but there was no answer. Alexis cursed. Caroline must have been in the meeting. She had no choice but to tie him up.

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Until My last breath

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Short Story Challenge!

Hola! I accepted the challenge to write a short story to the picture below. Check out the quick story that was written for your enjoyment! 😉

shortstory

“Will you pay it this time?” Celine watched him walk to the edge of the bed and buckle his belt. His tongue slid across his teeth as he thought about her request.
“You gave me a hard time, why should I pay anything?”
Her lip trembled, “We had a deal.”
“Sure did and yet you still gave me grief.”
She let out an exasperated breath, “Look,
you know this is not ideal for me. My husband needs major heart surgery, It’s the only way I can pay—“
“Save your story,” he said cutting her off. “I’ve heard it a thousand times.”

“How can you do him like this, he’s your brother for God’s sake.”
He turned to her, “He’s no brother of mine, I could care less about his condition.” A wad of spit flew from his mouth in her direction. “I could care even less about his wife.”
A mist of tears clouded her vision, “I’m not asking you to care,” her voice shook, “Just please hold up your end of the bargain.”
“I don’t know Celine. I’m thinking you owe me one.”
Her heartrate increased, “I just gave you everything. I’m covered in your sweat!” Her chest rose and fell as anger surged through her. Thoughts of the .22 inside her purse flooded her mind. “Don’t make me regret this.” She said through clenched teeth.
A smile played around his lips. This was fun for him. “Don’t you already regret it?”

“I’m not referring to the sex we just had.” He lifted an eyebrow. “Devon, you’re supposed to be dead,” A vein pushed against his forehead.
“Are you threating me?” He took a step toward her and she threw the sheets off and scurried off the bed. Within seconds she’d pulled the handgun from her purse and leveled it on him.
“Brian knows it was you that made the deal with the south side boys. I was supposed to lead you to your death then, but because I love the man that you despise so much you’re still alive. You should be thanking me. Now make the call!” She said. “Don’t try anything stupid. I’m a desperate woman. I’ll kill you myself if I have to.”

He held her through narrowed eyes. “I’m not going to ask you again.” She said.
He pulled out his cell phone and dialed a number, “Put it on speaker.” He obliged.
“Send the payment through.” He spoke into the phone. “All of it.” Celine demanded.
His objection didn’t make it into the air when he watched her take the safety off and pull back the handle.
“All of it.” She said. His eye twitched.
“Send the full payment.” There was a pause on the other end.
“Are you sure?” The voice called out.
“Yes, I’m sure.” There was another pause. “It’s done.” The line died.

“Show me.” Celine said. After a beat he showed her proof the money had been transferred into an offshore account she’d previously set up. Her husband was going to have his surgery. An enormous weight lifted from her shoulders.
“Now what?” he said.
Celine pulled the trigger sending a bullet crashing through his nose. “Phi!” He fell to the floor, eyes wide, mouth agape.
Moving fast, she gathered her clothes and threw them on. Simultaneously, she made a phone call. “It’s handled.”
A dark voice barked, “Good girl, you should come work for me, I can use a skilled shot like you.”

“Thanks, but no thanks. I’m not open for business. Now it’s your turn.” There was a knock at the door.
“I got you, the cleanup crew is already there.”
“How did they get here so quick?”
“They’ve been there for the last two hours,” he paused. “You know, insurance just in case you couldn’t get things done.”

She opened the door. “I’m gone.” She disconnected the call and left discarding the phone and her identity. Disappearing without a trace.

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It’s Outline October!

It’s that time of year again! Starting November 1st authors and writers around the globe will be taking to their keyboards to write the novel inside them. The goal of NanoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Granted a lot of writers already have this down pack but a lot of writers don’t. I will be participating this year and Nano is always a challenge for me. I’ve done this challenge about four times now so this will be my fifth go round with two wins under my belt! As for the other two times I tried, well… I have no excuses, I will start off doing great getting the words down and will feel fantastic. For the first two weeks I am good and on board but then I start to stutter and get stuck in where I’m going with the story, ONLY WHEN I DON’T OUTLINE (sorry for screaming). Every year I go back to this video because it gives me great motivation.

Gotta love it! Open Ellbey gives good advice on writing an outline so you practically have the story you want to write and the detail and/or the big picture so you won’t have the problem of getting stuck. For me I am a details writer, so I start out writing down the big picture. What do I want to happen in this book? From there I write down major events. This was a spin off of the big picture, basically breaking down so to speak what major events would happen to lead to the big picture. From there I write down details for each of these events. It helps me form a great outline and I’m all ready to begin writing. I can truly see the 50,000 words accomplished by the end of November.

So to all of you who haven’t tried this challenge and to the one’s who have tried but did not reach the 50k goal don’t fret! If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again! That’s our motto! Never give up! Besides, even if you write 10k, 20k, 30k, or even 40k, that’s thousands of words you have that you didn’t before. If you are an aspiring writer Nano is a good start to get you pumped and ready for the writing world. For those of you who have tried Nano and successfully won the challenge KUDO’S to you! You rock! I can be found just about anywhere on social media (almost anyway). Make me your writing buddy on Nano’s website http://nanowrimo.org, my username is Stephanienrrs1. Let’s keep each other informed and encouraged to reach these goals at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about! Follow me on twitter and tell me about your progress @stephanienrrs1 using the hashtag #NanoWriMo. I am also apart of a small writing group and during Nano season we’re completely pumped and encouraging one another! If you would like to join, you must be participating in Nano and be ready to run! If you’d like to be added to this group just comment below with your Facebook name. Happy writing!

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participant