Winter Locke, still reeling from a broken engagement with her high school sweetheart, is dreading the holidays for the first time in years. An emotional setback seems likely given that she also has an upcoming class reunion in which seeing her ex-fiancé is highly probable. While lamenting her blues to her best friend, he tells her she should go and finally put the past behind her. Winter begins to have hope for love again and wonders if he’s the reason why.
Chad Turner, never big on commitment, is tired of witnessing Winter waste tears on a man he’d always hated. He’s also a firm believer that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone new. Before she sees her ex again, Chad proposes to take Winter out on a date to remind her that there’s love after heartbreak. What she doesn’t know is his determination to prove that he’s the only one for her.
I know I have mentioned in earlier posts about how difficult this year had been for me for a host of reasons, and my writing kept me sane. My year is ending so much better than when it began. I recently took a much needed vacation to Costa Rica and celebrated one of my friend’s birthday and engaged in long overdue self-care. The reflective time in which I rocked in a hammock overlooking an infinity pool with luscious green hills in the distance was the highlight of the trip and reminded me to be grateful of what I do have in my life and not what I don’t have.
I believe everyone should take a trip somewhere even if it’s a staycation in your town. Sometimes it takes placing yourself in a different setting from your familiar to become your most creative, peaceful self. I needed that to say thanks to God and the life that I do have. And to let go of all the negativity that had been holding me hostage to my emotions.
I also want to take the time to thank Delaney Diamond, my publisher and popular romance writer. She has been such a good mentor to me and has been supportive of my publications even if it was through myself and not Garden Avenue Press (though I have more work on the horizon through them). In the fourteen months I have known her, I have published thirteen of my stories. I’d written some within the last year and all within the last two years and through her influence and support I felt confident to release them and to keep writing even if it looks like I couldn’t find an audience. Thank you again and look forward to future endeavors.
I do hope that each of you remember to be thankful for what you have and if there’s something or someone you want, then work towards it. In everyday that we are blessed to grace this Earth there is beauty, peace, and joy even it seems impossible. I recall such a situation: My grandfather passed suddenly December 31, 2013 in front of my grandmother’s eyes. My mother was on the phone with my grandmother as the paramedics attempted to revive to no avail. They were in Baton Rouge and my mother and I were in Houston preparing for a New Year’s Eve party. Plans were quickly changed and I drove four and half hours to be with my grandmother who had been with my grandfather for years. Good friends of the family had already picked my grandmother up from her home and stayed with her until me and my mother could get to her. When we got to my grandmother, she seemed so lost, so small. We went back to her home and she told me and my mother that she couldn’t sleep by herself and we all climbed in bed with her. A full size bed. The minute we were all snuggled in bed, we realized it was too small for three of us. And when we couldn’t do anything but lie flat on our backs, (even a slight turn was impossible) I commented that we were like three pigs in a blanket. I remember that we all laughed so hard and long that happy tears flowed and we were able to fall asleep just as we were peacefully. And for that moment, no matter how hard that night had been for us, especially for my grandmother, who didn’t expect to find humor within hours of losing her mate of fifty plus years, our laughter was a symbol to us that life goes on and joy can still be found.
**This conversation between Constance and Big Aaron takes place after the big fight between Aaron and Bakari. Hope you enjoy. **
I’d changed to my gown and sat on the edge of my bed trying hard
to keep it together. I rocked trying to soothe myself and kept wiping my eyes.
My baby was gone again. I knew him. He was not going to come back. No matter
how hard I loved him, it was never enough. When I saw my destroyed living room,
I already knew what happened. As angry as I wanted to be with Kam, for pitting
my sons against each other, I couldn’t. Their battle started a long time ago
and she was just the catalyst.
“Sweetheart, there’s nothing we can do. Let’s just go to
sleep and talk about it more in the morning. Aaron is just mad right now but he
and Bakari will be fine.”
I gritted my teeth. I loved my husband but he like his elder son
could be so self-involved. “In what world are you existing right now? Did
you see that living room? They could have killed each other tonight. Our older
son is a grown man and if he says he no longer has a brother, then that’s what
he means. And Kari doesn’t like being around us either, so I don’t think he’s
ever coming back. You can’t make either of them do anything they don’t want to
do. I need you to understand that we just lost our family tonight.”
“Connie, it is going to be fine. Aaron is just mad because
Kari told Kam about our grandson, but he has to realize sooner or later the
only one to blame is himself. We should have made him man up long before now
and I’ll talk to him about forgiving his brother. And I’ve been talking and
getting closer to Kari like you always wanted. He’s not going to disappear
“Like I always wanted?” I got up angrily and put on my
robe, unsure if I wanted to be in the same room. “You know what? I’m
always trying to keep the peace among my men but it’s exhausting. You’re the
main reason he doesn’t want to come home and then you say nonsense like you
really didn’t want to be close to him – it was something I wanted. He loves you
and is your son as much as Aaron.”
“I know that. How can you say I’m the main reason? I
haven’t done or said anything cruel to him. Hey, where are you going?” He
sat up in the bed, bothered. The only arguments we ever really had were about
the boys. I truly loved being married to him and I know with every fiber of my
being that he has always been faithful though I know he’d been tried over the
years. He already would draw women to him like a moth to a flame because he was
handsome and then add on the fact that he was a cardiologist and most of the
moths would burn just to get close. As loving and affectionate as he could be
to me, he couldn’t do it with his sons. Aaron was more like him and it never
seemed to bother him, but Kari was different and needed his father’s affection.
“What’s done is done. You’re right we can’t do anything
about it. I need to sleep in the guest room. I’m too upset.”
“Con, the boys will work it out. They always do.”
I closed my eyes standing by the door, realizing I was at fault
for not including my husband on his family and I no longer wanted to carry this
burden alone. “Not this time…it’s not just the fact that Kari told Kam
the truth about Dominick.”
I came back to bed but sat on his side near him. He moved
slightly so that I could have room but enough so he could wrap his arm around
me. “They were fighting over Kam.”
“Listen to me, Aaron. They were fighting over Kam.”
He stared at me in disbelief. “Are you saying Kari hit on
Kam? He wouldn’t do that. They’ve had their differences but…”
“Not just hit, she may be pregnant with Kari’s child.”
I met his eyes with my own tearful ones.
My Aaron looked so confused and then his expression quickly
changed to anger, “How could he do that to his brother? What in the hell
is wrong with him? We raised him better than that. We’re not that type of
family. We don’t do that to each other. No wonder, Aaron disowned him, we
should too,” he yelled.
“We will not disown either one of our sons no matter what.
We are their parents.”
“How could you be okay with this? Our baby son had an
affair with our older son’s wife,” he bellowed, and I fought the urge to
cover my ears. He had the right to his anger because what happened between Kari
and Kam was the worse form of betrayal. But I wasn’t going to allow my husband
to shun his son anymore.
“Calm down, you’ll give yourself a heart attack and I can’t
lose you.” I touched his heart. “My love, I think Kari loves Kam like
you love me.”
“He can’t. She’s married to Aaron and they love each
other.” I could see the bluster lessen because he knew how deeply he loved
I continued to touch his rapidly beating heart. “We’ve
always worried about how Aaron could be dismissive with Kam because we love her
like our own. Remember how angry we were to know he had a child and we both
could tell he still messed around with Vonnie after he was married. She was
still too bitter about Aaron and Kam for him not to have led her on at some
point. I’m not saying that Aaron and Kam don’t love each other because they do.
I think that Kam believes that Kari loves her the way she should have been
loved by her husband.”
He hit his hand with his fist. “So, Kari must have
convinced her to cheat by telling her that since Aaron had a baby then she
should get back at him, because she would never cheat on Aaron. He got her to
sleep with him and now she’s probably afraid of losing her husband. Damn, Kari
for doing this to the family. I owe Aaron an apology for how I treated him, he
was only acting like any man would do to the man who slept with his wife. It
didn’t matter that…it was…his…” His words faltered at the end as if
what I said really hit him. He reached for my hand and asked softly, “What
did I do so wrong that my sons hate each other?”
I kissed his cheek. “I ask myself that same question,
except I’ve been doing that since they were young. Aaron never even cared that
his brother was in the hospital and you and he always seemed embarrassed after
he attempted. “
My Aaron frowned at me. “Don’t ever say that about me. I
was never embarrassed. I blamed myself that I could be a heart specialist and
not know my own son’s heart was broken. That he was broken. Do you know how
helpless I felt seeing him tied to that gurney because he had to be on suicide
watch? Do you? To know that I failed as a father and that everyone knew.”
“So, what if everyone knew?” I asked tired, that he
often worried about appearances more than I ever did. “He was and still is
“I didn’t mean for it to sound like it did.” He
sighed. “I meant that everyone knew what he did, and I didn’t want people
to treat him different.”
“You mean as you did.” I tried to get up and he held
my arm preventing me.
“No Connie, we don’t walk away from each other, ever.”
I folded my arms and tapped my foot, trying to control my
growing ire. “If you don’t stop doing this to our son, I may have to walk
He sat up with his arms now wrapped tight around me. “We
also don’t talk or threaten divorce. I love you as much as I did when we first
married. I may not have been the best father, but I’ve been a hell of a
husband. I don’t know why it was easier to love you than my sons. I used to be
jealous of the attention you gave them when they were babies, but I outgrew
that when I would see how they were just as happy to see me when I came home
from work. I never want you to ever think I was ever ashamed of Bakari. Ever. I
was always proud of him. Always. I didn’t know how to love him like
you did. I would try to talk to him, and he would rebuff me. I could tell he
thought I was insincere and that I didn’t love him. I love him so much that I
didn’t sleep that whole time he was in the hospital and I canceled all my
surgeries because all that mattered was my son. I thank God that you found him.
If he had…” He stopped himself, rare tears flowed. “I wanted to
take away his pain and I begged God to let me switch places and feel whatever
he felt as long as that meant he could be happy. I like Aaron more because we
get each other but I love both of my sons. I need you to believe that. I was
the one who wanted to try again after your miscarriage. I know I messed up with
Kari, but I thought we were finally getting close…I can’t believe he slept
I nodded loving that he always had the ability to change my
anger to softness and I touched my forehead to his. “I’m sorry I know you
love them both. I’m just scared…”
“You don’t think he’ll hurt himself?” He inhaled
“Who knows? But Kam doesn’t seem to think so and I guess
I’m inclined to believe as well. He’s much stronger than when he was a kid.
He’s not coming back because he loves Kam and he thinks she’s going back to
“Well, they’re still married.”
“Yes…but she loves Kari right back. They remind me of
He moved over so I could lay next to him and he propped himself
up on his elbow to look down into my face. “She’s been with Aaron forever,
and Kari for a moment. How can you say that they have the kind of love we
“They’ve had feelings for each other for years but recently
acted on it.”
“You knew and didn’t tell me?” He accused.
“Yeah, I’ve always known. It started the day we all met
We were up washing
dishes and cleaning the kitchen after everyone retired or left for home. This
was our time when Kari was himself instead of the withdrawn, sullen young man
who stayed in his room listening to music or playing video games.
excited about tomorrow?” I asked as he passed me another glass.
You know we didn’t have to have a party. I’m just ready to move.”
internally at his desire to leave his family, to leave me. Although Aaron was
far away in Florida, he liked coming home every chance he got. Even though Kari
was going to be closer, in my heart I didn’t expect frequent visits.
“Promise you’ll try to have fun tomorrow. Most of your friends will be
there.” I looked at his side profile thinking how such a handsome and
intelligent boy had so much turmoil within.
“Most of the
class will be there so it’s cool.” He dried the glasses as I put them in
the cabinet. “What you think about Kameron?”
her.” And I did, she was a pretty girl, but she was more than looks and
was genuinely a nice person. “She was nice and fit in with our loud
“She seems too
nice for him,” he said studying the glass in front of him. “What does
she see in Aaron?”
brother is handsome and charming.” Aaron could talk his way out of a
spanking even when he was four years old.
they’re serious?” He asked with a frown. “She doesn’t deserve to be
“Oh, says the
boy that flirted with all the girls, even though his girlfriend was at the
different and you know it. He’s older than me. I haven’t even started college
yet.” He stopped drying the glass and looked out of the kitchen window in
front of him. “You can tell she likes him, but we know how Aaron is and
it’s not fair to her.”
“I hope he
does mean it this time because she’s a nice girl. But that’s between them Kari.
Why do you care?” I leaned against the counter waiting for his answer.
Kari’s face lit up
and he smiled wide showing his dimples. “She’s different than any girl he
ever brought home and she’s smart. She liked the family and we all liked her.
She wants to do so many things once she finishes school, not like the girls I
I watched him
recognizing a crush and it made me smile. He was animated more than I had ever
seen him, and it was good to see him for once act like a young man should when
he likes someone. I didn’t think it was a big deal that he’d had a crush but I
did want to see if he was obvious with his feelings, so I made sure to observe
him and Kam at the party. Watching them dance and I knew that not only was Kari
crushing on Kam, but she seemed to feel the same. She smiled more with him than
she did with Aaron. At one point, they both disappeared and came back together,
though he walked through the door first as if they weren’t. I also noticed how
when Aaron proposed later – which I still think was in poor taste to do that at
his brother’s party – she glanced at Kari before saying “yes”. I thought that
after the wedding, that whatever crush they had on each other was gone. And I
believed it was until he came to visit.
I noticed that
whenever they were in the same room, they would sneak glances at each other and
at the dinner we had for him and Leela, Kam closed her eyes when he touched her
shoulders and kissed her cheek in greeting. I grew concerned then because there
was something there. The night it was just the three of us in the kitchen when
Kam came over to tell me that she and Aaron were no longer doing the ceremony,
the energy between them was crazy. They were like an old couple comfortable in
each other’s presence. And I could tell she was jealous when we discussed his
plans with Leela and his reaction as if he liked that she was. I asked him to
walk her out that night to see what he would do. If there was nothing, then he
would have come right back in the house. But he didn’t. Kari was gone for a
while and when he came back in, he had a smile on his face that he couldn’t
hide if he tried.
I asked him to help
me with the dishes and at first, we talked about his move, his upcoming
marriage, and where he wanted to live. I didn’t know if I should say anything
about how I suspected something between him and Kam until he started talking
about how he was glad that Kam popped by the house. With his guard down, he’d
been completely relaxed as he seemed to be around her more than anyone else.
“Kari, do you
have feelings for Kam?”
He looked taken
aback and stuttered, “I…I mean she is my sister-in-law. Of course, I
“Why did you
stay so long walking Kam to the car?”
“Ma, I think
she’s mad cool and you know that. I just wanted to make sure she was safe in
her car that’s all. I also asked
her advice about where to live.” Kari looked down as he spoke and I knew
he was lying.
I touched his arm.
“Son, you have to leave her alone. She’s your brother’s wife and he loves
her. You are about to move here, and you’ll see each other all the time. I can
tell you like each other. The more time you spend with each other will only
lead to disaster. You have to stay away from her.”
tell?” He again tried to contain his joy which should have been fear.
obvious if anyone pays attention. So, stop it now. Whatever is going on, stop
it now. You and Aaron are getting close for once and that’s all I’ve ever
wanted. Can you let whatever crush you have on her go?”
“Ma, you worry
too much. It’s fine. There’s nothing between us.” He kissed my cheek and
then he reached for his cell in his pocket and whatever he saw concerned him.
“I need to make a call. If you want me to finish the kitchen, I can before
I go to sleep.”
I watched him leave
out of the kitchen. The next morning, he left and didn’t return until Sunday
night even though we had all made plans to go to church. I later found out that
Kam left Aaron the same weekend Kari was here.
I looked up at my
husband. “I couldn’t imagine my life without you, there has never been
another man for me.”
never been another woman for me.” He touched my lips with his finger.
believed that Kam chose Aaron.” I sighed. “What if Kam and Kari are
really like us like I think they are?”
He sighed and
closed his eyes tight and when he opened them again, I could see his tears.
“Kari isn’t coming back is he?”
I shook my head and
we held each other knowing first-hand how a love so deep is damn near
impossible to ignore…
I am a proud graduate of Florida A&M University and those who read Forbidden, know that Kam and Aaron attended and met and fell in love there. And in my new series ‘A Love for all Seasons’ three of the sisters are graduates or attend FAMU. My first story is the youngest sister who is in her last year and the love she finds when she isn’t even looking…Whenever I write, I try to make my characters as realistically as possible even if they are living in a fantasy (One Week, Endgame and Essence series, anyone?)
Autumn Falls was a throwback to my college days and I hope you give it a chance and enjoy!!
Determined not to follow her mother’s footsteps and give up her dreams for a man, Autumn Locke has no time or desire for a serious relationship. She simply wants to enjoy her last year of college and study hard, while playing even harder. Falling in love was never a part of the plan. Until she unexpectedly has to live with Quincy Jackson, the sexy head drum major, who is just as resolute to tempt Autumn to act on their undeniable attraction.
Go to “Books” on my website and read the first four chapters of my new book. If you want to participate in my give away for a free e-book of Autumn Falls, either join my newsletter or follow me on Instagram @tiye28always to get more details!! Of course you can always click on the tab and pre-order now!! As always I hope you enjoy the first in the series about four sisters and each of her path to love…
Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend…If you follow my website, you might already have your copies but in case you don’t a surprise free download of the first two books in my trilogy! Tell a friend to take a free chance on me…