Friday, 14 February 2020

Spotlight and Giveaway: Beauty for Ashes:Cora's Story by K. Sharronne


Cora grows up fast due to the cruel, unrelenting ways of a harsh mother and excruciating farm life. She gets married due to the unexpected pregnancy in hopes of a better experience with her husband but sees all her hopes dissipate when things do not turn out as planned. Cora speeds from one tragic life event to another at every turn. She overcomes a multiplicity of hardships in the form of child abuse, spousal neglect, and self-esteem issues because of her love for Christ. Cora's story is transformative tale that shows the power of God's mercy and grace to break every chain of despair in her life and those connected to her.

EXCERPT

The tears began to flow. The psalmist was incredible. Flags and banners lifted the name of Jesus. The praise in the church was astonishing. There was a Godly move in the place. Most of the parishioners were praising God with the pastor for the things they hoped for in the New Year. There was a feeling of celebration in the air. Holy Ghost moved freely in the church sending many mothers into shouts and tongues of their most high Jehovah.
Cora sat quietly in the back of the church. She was hoping she would not be noticed in the corner in her seat. She could feel a true desire to get up and clap, but she was so ashamed of what her life had become. Plus, she was not clear on how this church experience was supposed to be. So, she tried to dab her eyes with her tissue. She did not want any of the other folks in the church talking about her or staring. Eight years seemed like only a blink of an eye. But that was the amount time it had been since she'd lost her only son in a hit and run accident. Over the years, she had faced much criticism and been the talk of a lot of speculation concerning his accident. None of the hurtful words or thoughts of the folks in her town affected her. In fact, nothing affected her like it used to. The only thing that still stung like it was yesterday was the vision of her son dead in her arms. The image would come and go but it was still there haunting her like a photograph.
The past eight years had been long and hard. She wanted to be delivered from her problems and removed from her pain. It just seemed to consume her. Depression came off and on in her life like a faulty light. No matter what she did she could not knock the uneasiness she felt. Cora tried to numb her pain with the melody of narcotics. In the years since her son's death, she had tried a garden variety of drugs by themselves and in every concoction. She sought counseling from friends, frenemies, many pastors, therapists, and the bottle. Her life became a joke in town as she spiraled downward. The mention of her name would get anyone side stares. Cora went from a former beauty queen to a snagged-tooth, bald, emancipated version of herself.
She was doing much better than the first two years after her son was killed. It was a long journey to get to this pitiful state, and her image had not fully recovered. Her presence still managed to get her numerous glances and stares of disapproval. Cora's story was never mentioned or even whispered among others because of her tale was so wrenching. Not only could she not bring the words to her lips to even recant the tragedy, nobody else in town seemed to acknowledge her story. If a brave soul did speak to her, the conversation was brief and trivial. It was as if the tragedy was a pandemic virus that would spread from host to host and everyone was trying to avoid the main host.
Her nerves were still bad. She was easily angered by things. She neglected her appearance, losing over sixty-five pounds in the months after her son’s death. Her body faded from pin-up model to unidentifiable skin over bones. Cora had not set foot in a church in over three years because her church decided to put her out. It was voted on openly at the church meeting. Not one soul stood up for her. She had attended that church all her life. It contained all her history and at the very moment she needed them to love her, in her time of need, her church family turned on her and betrayed her. Her real family and church family washed their hands of her. Cora was left hung out to dry for no good reason at all. 
She could still remember that day in church as if it were yesterday. She had returned after another stint in the local rehabilitation center. Cora remembered entering the church with a feeling of relief. Subsequently, she also felt a lot of dread when she took her seat in the pew. She went right to the front and sat down in the right pew where she used to sit when she was a child. Ms. Elsie, the mother of the church, looked her way but did not seem excited to see her as she usually did. Cora was not sure why because if there was one thing that remained true, it was the fact that Ms. Elsie was always happy to see folks come to church and praise the Lawd as she would put it. This day was different. The church mother turned her head yet continues humming the hymns rallying from the choir. Cora found it strange that the mother of the church did not look at her. Though she felt funny, there was no warning sign in her spirit to leave until it was too late.
The harmony from "Amazing Grace" barely left the air before Pastor Owens asked all the visitors to stand. Cora did not stand because she was a member of the church. She thought to stand because five years away was like being a visitor. Many of the elders were now gone to glory. There were a few new families attending since the last time.
Cora knew some of their faces because she saw them out downtown. On the days she managed to be somewhat sober, she went downtown to the café to get breakfast. Cora would have her regular of grits and cheese eggs scrambled hard with black coffee. She would sit for hours listening to the locals lie about their lives and watching others who knew the real story pretend to be intrigued. It was her time to read the papers and to catch an open-eyed nap before returning to one of the few abandoned houses in town to sleep until night.
At night, she would turn a trick with the same old tired men to earn enough money for her drug du jour. She mainly smoked crack, but sometimes she would do meth. She did not particularly like how it made her feel afterward, but the initial high was incredible. These were the only times Cora was able to clear her mind of the accident. The act of getting high became a habit of survival for Cora. She did not party with the other addicts in town, nor did hang out the crack houses in the area.
Her routine was simple. She collected her disability check and paid the bills on her house. She would stay home maybe two to three times a week. Then she would hitchhike or walk the seven miles into downtown. Once downtown, she would go to the café and then when night fell, the hilltop was her next stop. She would pick one or two of the same old men who frequented there and perform a quick sex act. This gave her enough money for drugs and food for the week; this is when she felt like eating. She'd get her drugs and either get high there or go home to get high in private. There were never many days that she was sober for the entire day. And there were fewer and fewer days that she was not turning tricks or doing petty crimes for drugs.
She would steal things from other peoples' yards or the local discount store. The stolen items were resold to some of the more unscrupulous locals for a fraction of their actual costs. The proceeds were always used for drugs and her limited survival.

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ABOUT K. SHARRONNE

K. Sharronne is a Christian/Inspirational Author and Poet. Since a child, she loved to write and her passion has continued through her current writings. Her favorite form of writing is poetry. Sharronne writes poetry almost daily. Currently, she has two other books published: I Dreamt of Love- Poetry Collection and Give Me a Reason to Love. K. Sharronne is the founder of an Indie publishing company, True Vine Press.K. Sharronne started True Vine Press to give a voice to authors that wanted to write about God in conventional and non-conventional ways. True Vine Press lives by the motto 'Be Inspired By Words.' The only caveat is that every story that uses scriptures or talks about God has to line up with premises and precepts of the Bible.

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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

New Release: Be My Valentine, Volume Two | #ValentineRomance #RomanceAnthology


Life is beautiful especially when you're in love.
Dive into these hand-picked contemporary romance novellas and fall in love this Valentine's Day.


Featured stories:
The Curse of Valentine by Glory Abah
She will be loved by Zee Monodee
When Love Happens by Rosemary Okafor
Until Morning by Mukami Ngari

THE CURSE OF VALENTINE by Glory Abah
Jane fell in love in January, to a man she glimpses every evening after work on the way home. Not bold enough to talk to him, she’s content with just staring at her daily fix from afar.
Until one stupid February day when he approaches, starts a conversation and she bolts.

Because February is the worst month in the history of months. And she’s cursed. Cursed to be dumped and left broken-hearted on Valentine Day.

Can she break the curse of Valentine and keep the man she loves? 

SHE WILL BE LOVED by Zee Monodee
This Valentine’s Day, the music scene’s hottest artist, DJ Den, is set to perform his worldwide smash hit in Mauritius. Jaeden Kang—the man from Shetland behind the stage name—is looking forward to a break and some inspiration before his tour gobbles him up again.

Tanzanian medical doctor Zenobia Hashemi is visiting her brother on the island when her path crosses that of Jaeden and they’re off to a rocky start.

Neither of them ‘does’ love … but life has other plans for them during this trip!

WHEN LOVE HAPPENS by Rosemary Okafor
Morgan is ruthless and plays dirty to protect his billion-dollar conglomerate. However, he holds a dark secret that could destroy him if exposed. His relationships with women are about pleasure alone until one weekend with the beautiful Eno leaves him ready to risk everything for her.

Eno was a young journalist when she witnessed Morgan murder his wife. Six years later, she’s ready to do anything to make him pay for his crime. Until she falls for his charms. Now she’s torn between destroying the proud billionaire and allowing herself to fall in-love with him. 

UNTIL MORNING by Mukami Ngari
Following a devastating relationship breakup, Zawadi is out on a girls’ night out with friends when she meets a sexy stranger with a deep soulful voice created for baby-making music, the handsome face and hot body of a potential cult leader and who rides a motorbike like a speed demon. He becomes her first one-night stand.

Soon she discovers the sexy stranger is her new investor, Gerald. Things deteriorate when he pretends he’s never met her and then she discovers his unfathomable secret.
Will love win this Valentine season?

AVAILABLE ON

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

GLORY ABAH
Glory Abah is a die-hard romantic whose head has always been in the clouds. She started reading books from a very young age and finally, decided to pen down the love stories she fantasizes about. She lives in Nigeria and loves to hear from her readers.

You can reach her at (cue social media handles and email address)

Join her mail list to have first access to free stories, book releases, discounts and many more exciting offers, including a FREE book. Click the link ( http://eepurl.com/dnpV-r)


ZEE MONODEE
Of Indian heritage & a 2x breast cancer survivor, Zee lives in paradise (aka Mauritius!) with her long-suffering husband, their smart-mouth teenage son, and their tabby cat who thinks herself a fearsome feline from the nearby African Serengeti plains. When she isn’t in her kitchen rolling out chapattis or baking cakes while singing along to the latest pop hit topping the charts, she can be found reading or catching up on her numerous TV show addictions. In her day job, she is an editor who helps other authors like her hone their works and craft.

AUTHOR SITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM


ROSEMARY OKAFOR
Born in Nigeria in 1987, Rosemary Okafor graduated from Rivers State University and has since been employed as a broadcaster, news writer, radio script writer, stage play writer and a shop keeper. She writes short romance and other genres on social media for her followers. This would be her first official published prose. When she is not writing, she is busy as an online marketer, a wife and a mother.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM


MUKAMI NGARI
Mukami Ngari is from Nairobi, Kenya. 
She is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, Pharaoh’s Bed. 
She enjoys telling sweet passionate romance and women fiction stories set in Africa. 
When she is not writing or reading, she enjoys practicing yoga and watching supernatural T. V shows. 
Follow her on her social media account to connect with her and to find out about new releases. 

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Spotlight and $25 Amazon GC Giveaway: Most Eligible Bachelor by Empi Baryeh


Can their one-night stand turn into something more?
Magazine columnist Chantelle Sah doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day—not since her fiancé’s betrayal three years ago. After botching her first assignment as a feature writer, she’s more than willing to put in a hard day’s work this Valentine’s Day; even if it means going on a date with gorgeous construction Tycoon, Lord McKenzie, and opening herself to an onslaught of all things love.

When Lord—his given name, not a title—sets his sights on Chantelle, it isn’t just work he has on his mind. But even he couldn’t have predicted the magnetic attraction between them when they meet, nor the evening ending with more than an interview. Now he has to convince Chantelle that their one-night stand wasn’t a mistake.

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EXCERPT

The kiss intensified, the urgency of their unified desires racing through them. His hands swept down her body to cup her butt. Instinctively, she curved her arms around his nape rendering support as he lifted her, bringing her feminine mound up to meet the thick length of his arousal. She moaned, shivered. The mermaid cut of her evening gown halted her attempt to wrap her legs around his waist. With a whimper of frustration, she pulled back.
“Stupid dress,” she mumbled.
The sound of his deep chuckle did nothing to lessen the sexual energy gripping them.
“If we were dancing right now, would you let me lead you through a death drop?” he asked, still holding her against his arousal and not releasing her from his gaze. “Without hesitation?”
She quirked her brows, but his earnest expression made her realise his question wasn’t about an obsession with the dance move. He wanted to know if she trusted him.
“Yes,” she answered.
“Do you believe I won’t let anything happen tonight that you’re not ready for?”
She nodded.
He eased her back to her feet. “Lift up your dress.”

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$25 Amazon Gift Card

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ABOUT EMPI BARYEH

Empi Baryeh is the award-winning author of Most Eligible Bachelor (Book of the year, 2017 Ufere Awards). She works fulltime as a university administrator and spend her spare time writing sweet and sensual African, multicultural and interracial romance, and women's fiction.
Her interest in writing started around the age of thirteen after she stumbled upon a YA story her sister had started and abandoned. The story fascinated her so much that, when she discovered it was unfinished, she set out to complete it. Somehow the rest of the story began to take shape in her mind and she's been writing ever since.
She lives in Accra, Ghana, with her husband and their two lovely kids.

Friday, 31 January 2020

My latest release: Love and Hiplife

Lamisi Imoro will do anything to complete her PhD before the extension is up. It doesn’t matter who dies, leaves her high and dry, or hates her guts, she’s on fire. But, her supervisor wants to prove just how much he’d love to see her fail by throwing obstacles to thwart her from reaching her goal. Desperate for help and nowhere else to turn, she’s forced to ask for the assistance of the hiplife artist who once saved her from a nasty fall. She finds that their scorching attraction is a problem and is determined to tamp her rising emotions because nothing will stop her from getting what she set out to accomplish.

Blaise Ayoma is on the verge of taking African Francophone countries by storm with his new style of music. Learning how to sing in French without butchering the beautiful language is harder than he thought. Multi-linguist, Lamisi is the key to his success. When his presence in her life puts her in danger, will he end the budding relationship in order to keep her safe?

AVAILABLE ON

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Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Spotlight: Bound to Liberty by Kiru Taye writing as Kai Tyler



❤OUT NOW❤


James isn’t ready to lose his heart again. Will Ethan fight for his love?
As if life isn’t tough enough for James Coker, rejected and nearly killed by family, he is also a closeted gay man in a country where being gay is outlawed. So when the first man he's ever loved gets engaged to a woman, James’s solution to heartbreak is to indulge in a holiday fling.
In contrast, Ethan Eze has had life relatively easy. Born in the 'Land of the Free' and nurtured within a family where he can be whoever he wants to be, he's a military veteran who is not afraid of going for what he wants. When he meets James, Ethan wants him.
Desire burns between them and soon blurs into devotion. But James is not ready to lose his heart again. Ethan has fought for his country. Now will he fight for love?
Bound to Liberty is a story about breaking free from mental chains and living a life of boundless love.
Content Warning: homophobia, threat of forced outing, depictions of anxiety.

AVAILABLE ON

AMAZON | OKADABOOKS


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EXCERPT

Ethan let the men out and locked the door. When he turned around, James wasn’t in the living room.
“James?” he called out as he strode across the space. Getting no response, he knocked on the closed door to the younger man’s room. “Can I come in?”
“It’s not locked,” James’s muffled voice came through.
Ethan pushed the door and stopped at the threshold.
His ward paced the room manically, muttering to himself. Although the AC was on, sweat beaded his hairline and his hands were clenched.
The sight of James’s distress undid Ethan. His job was to keep James physically safe and find his stalker. His professional remit didn’t extend to dealing with emotional baggage.
 Nonetheless, he’d be damned if he just had to stand guard while the young man hurt. He stepped into the room without a second thought. Nothing else mattered but taking away the suffering. Neither his misgivings about getting personally involved with his ward nor the risk of losing an influential client if he cocked this up stopped him.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” He halted in front of James, blocking his pacing path.
James shook his head and tried to swerve past him.
He reached out and settled his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Talk to me.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a lover of romance novels, Kiru wanted to read stories about Africans falling in love. When she couldn’t find those books, she decided to write the stories she wanted to read. She writes sensual African stories as Kiru Taye and writes queer romance as Kai Tyler.

CONNECT WITH KIRU TAYE

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Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Prah, Constantine, and Baryeh Review: Wedding at Mistletoe Chalet by Dani Collins



Happy Holidays! Welcome to the last review of 2019. We read a Christmas story to help get us in the mood for the festive season. This month, it's only Constantine and I reviewing (Baryeh will join us again next year) so make sure stop by Constantine's blog to see what she thought of the book.




The Blurb
Eager for a home-style Christmas while she considers a career shift, Kristen Benz leaps on the temporary job at Mistletoe Chalet. Soon she’s wrapping presents, trimming the tree, and helping her new boss’s tween daughter plan a Christmas Eve vow renewal for her parents. The holiday is imbued with a magical glow—especially when Kristen’s high school sweetheart appears on the doorstep.

After years of medical school, Finn Garrett has promised his parents he’ll be home for the holidays. His detour to see his first love is supposed to provide closure, not rekindle their long-ago romance.

Can a matchmaking tween and the magic of Mistletoe Chalet spark the happily ever after that eluded them in the past?


My Review
The story did a fantastic job of nudging me towards the Christmas spirit with descriptions of the charming chalet, gorgeous scenery, decorations, and festive activities.

I found that the book was more about Kristen's experiences with the other characters, learning how to run a small inn, and preparing for the wedding. The romance between Kristen and Finn didn't feature  enough to make me a happy romance reader, although what did happen between them was very sweet. They tended to remember more of their past relationship than building their current one.

I give this book three out of five Christmas tree shaped chocolate bars.

I purchased my copy from AmazonUK

Monday, 9 December 2019

Spotlight: Closer To You by Sheryl Lister


Located an hour away from San Diego, the small town of Blackmont, California is known for its peaceful surroundings and majestic lakes. However, secrets and danger lurk just below the surface. And some secrets could prove to be deadly.
Love may be a distraction neither of them will live to enjoy…

When Zahra Chandler unexpectedly inherits her grandfather’s small-town home and bookstore, she jumps at the chance to leave LA. There’s just one problem: she also, unknowingly, inherits a long-buried secret that someone would go to any lengths to protect, including murder. The only thing standing between her and a killer is the town’s arrogant, but irresistibly sexy sheriff—a man who ignites in her a passion she’s never felt.

Kendall McKnight takes his job as sheriff seriously and is always prepared for anything…except his instant attraction to newcomer Zahra. As they’re drawn together in their search for clues, protecting her becomes less about civic duty and much more about carnal desire and he’s in danger of losing the one thing he vowed never to risk again—his heart. But the threat is closer than they realize and the truth, when revealed, could tear them apart forever.

AVAILABLE ON

AMAZON

EXCERPT

            Zahra Chandler parked in front of her grandfather’s bookstore and sucked in a deep breath. She still couldn’t believe he was gone or that he’d left the house and bookstore to her, as well as a large monetary inheritance. Though only seven o’clock on Saturday evening, all of the town’s stores seemed to be shut down for the night. She stepped out of the car, looked around and stretched to relieve some of the kinks from the three-and-a-half-hour drive. Located about an hour away from San Diego, nestled in an area with beautiful mountains and lakes, Blackmont, California had a population of less than a thousand and everybody knew each other. So, who could have wanted her grandfather dead? Reaching back into the car, she grabbed the key ring her grandfather’s attorney, Mr. Bostwick, had provided, shut the door and pressed the remote lock.
            She walked up to the store’s front and searched for the key. “Oh, great,” she muttered. None of the keys were labeled. There had to be at least twenty keys and half of them looked to be a possible fit. She stuck the first one in, the second one, the third one…then the fourth one. She turned the key slightly and it broke off in the lock. Zahra let out an impatient sigh and cursed under her breath. She walked back to the car and searched the glove compartment for something to try to remove the broken piece. She grabbed a mini screwdriver out of one of those eyeglass repair kits she’d gotten from some promotional campaign, a regular sized screwdriver, and went back to the door. Using the flashlight on her key ring, she decided to try to dig out the small piece first. If that failed, then she’d use the larger one to pry off the lock.
            “Freeze!” a deep voice commanded from behind her.
            She gasped sharply, clutched her chest and spun around, instinctively bringing the screwdriver up in a protective position. Zahra slowly lowered it and visibly relaxed upon seeing the officer. “Goodness. You scared me. I thought you were a robber or something.”
            “I figured you’d be back.”
            Her eyebrows shot up. “I beg your pardon. Back from where?” 
            “Step away from the door, Miss,” he commanded, gun drawn.
            “Why? What are you talking about?”
            “Put your hands where I can see them.”
            She took a step. “I can explain.”
            “I’m not going to tell you again.”
 Raising her hands, she sighed. “I’m not breaking in.”
He holstered his gun, stalked over to where she stood and latched on to her arm.
            Zahra pulled away, dropping her keys and screwdrivers. “Wait. What are you doing? I’m not trying to break into the store.”
            “Look, lady. Don’t make me add resisting arrest to breaking and entering.”
            “You’re arresting me?” she asked incredulously. “This is my store. I haven’t done anything wrong. If you would just listen—”
            “You can explain it at the station.” He gestured her toward the police sedan.
            “You’re making a big mistake.”
            The corner of his mouth kicked up and he let out a snort. “Right. I’m making a mistake. I’m not the one who was caught jimmying a lock with a screwdriver. We can straighten out your identity at the station. Get in.” He retrieved the keys and screwdrivers from where she had dropped them then escorted her over to the car. “What’s your name?”
Zahra folded her arms and rolled her eyes. Before she could say anything, another police car drove up and two men got out. 
A young blond-haired officer called out, “Hey, Ken. Who you got there?”
            “Finally caught the person trying to break into Chandler’s Bookstore.” He held up the screwdrivers.
            Zahra placed a hand on her hip and pointed a finger in his face. “I wasn’t breaking into anything! Did you not see the keys in my hand?” She heard muffled laughter from the men, but didn’t care. She’d had enough of this craziness. 
            He opened the door and gestured her inside. “Have a seat.”
            She dropped down into the backseat and crossed her arms. “Arrogant jerk,” she muttered. After what seemed like hours, he came and leaned into the window. She drilled him with an angry stare.
            “Now, let’s try this again. What’s your name?” 
“Zahra Chandler.”
His brow lifted. “Chandler?
            “Yes. Chandler.” She smiled smugly and leaned forward. “I tried to tell you who I was before, but you wouldn’t listen,” she said through clenched teeth. “If you had just opened your ears for two seconds, I would have told you the key broke in the lock of my store and I was trying to get it out. I would have shown you my driver’s license, but it’s locked in my car, parked right over there, in front of my store.”
            “Looks like you really stepped in it this time, Kendall,” the older officer said, pushing off the hood of the car. Zahra guessed him to be about fifty. He had graying hair around the temples and a few lines bracketing his mouth and eyes on his walnut colored face. Although he had some added girth around his middle, he still looked to be in good shape. The man came over, smiled warmly and extended his hand through the window. “Carl Franklin. It’s nice to meet you, Ms. Chandler. You must be Josiah’s granddaughter. I recognize you from the picture he kept in the store. He talked about you all the time. My condolences.”
            She shook his hand. “Thank you. Nice meeting you, too.” 
The other officer introduced himself.
She fixed her gaze on the man still standing there with a scowl on his face. “I’m thinking I’d like that apology now.”
            He had the decency to look embarrassed. “My apologies, Ms. Chandler. Someone has been trying to break into the store for the last couple of nights and I thought you might be that person.” He opened the door to let her out.
            “Thank you, but I’d still like to speak to a supervisor or your boss.”
            Officer Franklin laughed. “That might be a little tough since he is the boss. Ms. Chandler, meet Sheriff Kendall McKnight.”
            Zahra’s mouth fell open. A slow grin made its way over the sheriff’s face. Her breath caught. That smile was… She shook herself mentally. Now she had really lost her mind. Yes, he looked good…okay, better than good. Along with his towering height, he was drop-dead gorgeous. He had smooth nut-brown skin, a neatly groomed beard and goatee that hugged his jaw like a shadow, close-cropped black hair, chiseled features and piercing, dark chocolate eyes that seemed to see clear through to her soul. But this man had just tried to arrest her, so she had no business thinking about his smile or anything else about him. 

ABOUT SHERYL LISTER

Sheryl Lister is a multi-award winning author and has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She is a former pediatric occupational therapist with over twenty years of experience and resides in California. Sheryl is a wife, mother of three daughters and a son-in-love, and grandmother to two special little boys. When she’s not writing, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers. For more information, visit her website at www.sheryllister.com.

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