Give the Gift of Knowledge

We have selected amazing books to give as gifts all year long, to populate your home library shelves and to fill those special gift bags. Give the Gift of Knowledge, give a book! You can also read more detailed author interviews at: Share this page on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!

Intimate Conversation with Sonja Lewis

Intimate Conversation with Sonja Lewis

Author of The Barrenness, Sonja Lewis has appeared on CNN and The Tom Joyner Morning Show. She has also been featured in Black Enterprise, and in the media in Canada and the United Kingdom.  A former reporter for The Albany Herald (Georgia), Sonja has also written for British newspaper The Guardian. Currently, she writes a blog for the Huffington Post, UK.  A member of the Society of Authors, Sonja lives in London with her husband, Paul.

BPM: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes, when I was a girl I loved nothing more than to make up stories for my youngest sister, though I didn’t write them down. I named the characters, described them and acted them out. When I think back, I absolutely loved the free thinking, no rules just creativity. My first real writing assignment came with a state-wide contest when I was a tween.  What a tree means to me? I won and have been hooked since.

BPM:  Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of your family.
My church, the Spring Creek Missionary Baptist Church, a small church in Leary, GA. There I gained confidence by writing the church history, speeches, the weekly announcements and very theatrically delivering these pieces. And wonderfully, the people embraced me, encouraged me, said I had something special even when I read in Sunday School.

BPM: What does growth mean to you?
I feel I’ve grown when I learn from a mistake or a challenge and move on, when I am able to take from the past, let it go; and abide in the present and imagine the future positively. That to me is exponential growth.

BPM: Introduce us to your book,
The Blindsided Prophet,  and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
The Blindsided Prophet is the story of a modern day prophet who is caught unawares by a tragic event when he is a teenager. This alters his life forever. Fifteen years later, at God’s bidding Isaiah Brown returns to Coffee, GA, to unravel the tragedy, make reparation and prevent an even worse tragedy.

The main character, Isaiah Brown, is probably my favorite because he is original. I don’t know anyone like him. Naturally, he had to come from somewhere so I must have drawn on characteristics of some of the world’s great people, some perhaps renown. In any case, he is unique. He is a modern-day prophet.

Also, I favor Mae Cook as she is so very much like many people I know—well meaning, good to the core, but gets it wrong a lot of times. At middle age, she learns valuable life lessons. Through Mae, we see that it is never too late to grow-up.

BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in The Blindsided Prophet?
My faith, I suppose is the short answer.  I remember being called arrogant once by a young preacher when I talked of my own personal relationship with God. I wanted to show that faith is not just about religion, it is about dwelling/residing within yourself if you will. Deep within you meet God as and when you please. You just have to focus. There, you find the answers.

BPM: Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
Yes, my faith does. I think Christianity is misunderstood often but not just in non-Christian countries but right here at home. People are turned off by these people who profess to know this Christ but He doesn’t always show up in our attitudes, in the way we live etc…

With my first book a Christian radio announcer cancelled the interview at the last minute because she found profanity in the book. Sorry but there is profanity in life and I try to create a real picture, if you will. I totally respect that it was not the book for her and her audience, but I didn’t have a lot of time for her assumption that she had inside information with God that I didn’t have, and that she was living more purely than I, if you will. I somehow doubt it.  But if she is, good for her but don’t judge.

BPM:  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
A spell bounding read that stays with them for a very long time.

BPM: How do you feel about e-books vs print books?
I prefer print books to touch them, to smell them, to read them and I always will but e-book readers, particularly the Kindle, have a place in our world. I love being able to access endless books and take countless reads on holiday, the train, etc… But if I had to choose, I’d choose print books every time. Now my business sense says that might be the wrong choice, but it is what I think.

BPM: Do you think book sales are the only indicator of your success as a writer?
No, I don’t. I do think sales are a huge indicator, but for example, with my first novel, The Barrenness, I had a campaign that took the lid off a very important social issue—a woman being fulfilled without becoming a mother.  One of my goals was to start a worldwide conversation about the topic. I’d like to think that I played a role in all the attention that subsequently came to the subject.

BPM: My writing offers the following legacy to future readers....
The legacy of taking responsibility for one’s own thoughts and learning how to find peace within through changes one’s thinking.

Connect with Sonja at:  or  visit her website:


Sept. 22 - BAN Radio National Discussion on Assata Shakur

National Discussion on Assata Shakur

Sunday Night, September 22, 2013 at 8-10:00 pm EST

Join the conversation by calling into the show:  (646) 200-0402


The National Discussion on Assata Shakur will be held Sunday Night, September 22, 2013 moderated by bestselling author Victoria Christopher Murray,  co-hosted by Linda Chavis  and  Deborah Burton-Johnson founder of Turning Pages Book Club.

Assata Olugbala Shakur, as JoAnne Deborah Byron, married name Chesimard is an African-American activist and escaped prisoner who was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army.

Assata Shakur was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, becoming the first woman ever to make the list. In addition, the state of New Jersey announced it was adding $1 million to the FBI’s $1 million reward for her capture. She was convicted in the May 2, 1973, killing of a New Jersey police officer during a shootout that left one of her fellow activists dead. She was shot twice by police during the incident. In 1979, she managed to escape from jail. Shakur fled to Cuba, where she received political asylum. Shakur has long proclaimed her innocence and accused federal authorities of political persecution.

Call into the BAN Radio discussion to learn more about Assata Shakur and the case that still strikes a chord with many.  Read more about her story, told in her words:

Join the conversation by calling into the show to share your opinions at:  (646) 200-0402  or join the other guests in the BAN Radio Show Chatroom:

Sept. 25 - Turn Your Mishaps Into a Ministry

You are invited to a special BAN Radio Presentation

Turn Your Mishaps Into a Ministry
Wednesday,  September 25 at 8-10pm EST

Join Us Here:

“If hurt people, hurt people, then healed people can heal people.”

GIVING BUILDS SUCCESS!  There are many people in need of  of love.  They might be looking for this love and compassion in words or deeds. Sometimes all a person needs is the lending of a hand or a sound example to follow.  BAN Radio Show and  producer Ella Curry want to bring people together from all walks of life, that have answered the call of giving.  Our speakers will share their journey and personal knowledge as a way to support hurting people.  You will meet authors, business owners, social change agents, survivors,  educators and more!

We invite you to join the monthly panel discussions to share your stories of triumph and survival too!  Call into the radio programs to speak up and out!  You may not feel that you are the one to mentor or minister to others, but you never know.  Your testimony might heal a hurt person.  Your struggle might eliminate the pain in someone else''s future.  Haruki Murakami says “What happens when people open their hearts...They get better.”

When people have hurts and trials in their lives, they tend to work on resolving them by focusing on what went wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with asking this question, but more importantly we want people to seek ways to resolve the issues!   We firmly believe that investing in our BAN community is the key to creating success for our listeners.  If we can help a few, we can save many! 

Lasting change can only be achieved when people have access to both knowledge and resources.  We bring you people who are not just "talking the talk" but have been through the darkness and are now living in sunshine!

“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it...” 

― Nicholas Sparks, At First Sight


Call in to speak with Ella and the other speakers:  (646) 200-0402
Share the BAN Radio show page with readers:

8:00- 8:20pm  -  Kimberla Lawson Roby (Surviving the death of a parent and maintaining a career.)

8:20- 8:30pm  - Denise Johnson (How business owners and families can benefit from Legal Shield.)

8:30- 9:00pm  -  D.A. Rhodes (Surviving child molestation or domestic violence)

9:00- 9:15pm  -  Naleighna Kai (Raising a young black man and caring for a ill parent)

9:15- 9:30pm  -  Mahogany Law (Surviving and thriving after breaking the ties that bind)

9:30- 9:45pm  -  KS Oliver  (How to handle being diagnosed with 5 diseases and Lupus before the age of 30)

9:45- 10:15pm  -   Nikole Morgan (Surviving teen sons being incarcerated)

Join the BAN Radio Show Chatroom Guests, by clicking here.


“Pain is a pesky part of being human, I've learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can't be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing. Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart.

But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.”  ― C. JoyBell C.

Somewhere Between Here and There by Jason Gilmore

Somewhere Between Here and There
by Jason Gilmore

Somewhere Between Here and There
is the story of Corey Oakley and Melissa Forrester, headstrong teenagers who meet and bond over their desire to escape life in mid-1990s Toledo, Ohio, where twin traps of violence or complacency await them at every turn. As Jason Gilmore chronicles the mercurial but genuine progression of their unlikely friendship across colleges, states and relationships, he creates an engaging portrait of religion, sex, ambition, loyalty, adulthood and the cost of dreams. Somewhere Between Here and There is one of the most dazzling coming-of-age novels to emerge in recent American literature.

Excerpt from Somewhere Between Here and There 

It was the longest quick trip of my life. But I was calm all the way there: across 80 East through Ohio, skirting the perimeter of bumpy, useless West Virginia, detouring before the frenzied DC beltway. But there was something about actually arriving on campus – about seeing all the fresh faces and impending freedom – that made me realize I had to ditch my dad.

“That’s pretty much it,” he said. I guessed I should’ve been more appreciative, since he’d carried all my crap up to the third floor and down the hall pretty much by himself. Not to mention that he’d driven me there in the first place.

“Yeah,” I said, hoping he’d get the hint, “it is.”

“Sure you don’t need anything else?” he said. “It’s gonna take you a while to unpack and get everything set up.”

“No, that’s okay,” I said. I opened the front door, thinking it might be helpful.

“Make sure you get this cleared out by the time your roommate gets here. You know what I always tell you about first impressions.”

“Okay, Dad.” I grabbed his arm and guided him towards the door. “My roommate won’t be here until the fall.”

“Melissa, if I can speak on your mom’s behalf, we’re both very proud of you. You’ve been such a good daughter.”

Now he wanted to turn this into an after school special. And when did he ever speak on Mom’s behalf? Christ, why hadn’t he left yet??

“Dad, thank you. But you’ve got a long drive ahead of you. You need to get back on the road.”?He gave me this puzzled look, like he didn’t know he was leaving. He looked out the window. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”?

I hugged and kissed him. He probably thought I was going to walk him to the car. I didn’t. I hurt him, probably, I was sure. But he was a parent. Wasn’t the first time, wouldn’t be the last. I couldn’t linger there, there was too much to do. And Toledo had wasted enough of my time.

I spent 18 years as a larva. It was time to become a butterfly.

It was like I finally learned how to breathe. Or like I already knew how to breathe but couldn’t, and someone saw me writhing on the shore and tossed me back into the ocean. That summer, Virginia might have been the loveliest place on earth. The leaves on the trees were particular shades of green and red that I had never seen before and never knew existed. Students of countless races milled in and out of Neo-classically designed buildings. The sun was radiant, but merciful. Slight breezes swept through unannounced. Though the campus was barely occupied, the student union buzzed. 

My fellow freshmen staggered about, exuberant but raw, like newborn colts. They played pool, yelled over the Michael Jackson song on the jukebox, exchanged phone numbers. We just didn’t have these kind of outlets back home. Where else could I meet a girl like Rodricka Hughes? Army brat, graduated first in her class in Richmond, fluent in German, obsessed with Aaliyah like me. Who in my Toledo inner circle was going to introduce me to a guy like Phil Brand? White and freckled and a biochemistry major, who had already interned as a radiologic technologist at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital? These people were more interesting than most of the people I went to high school with after only ten minutes of conversation. The loud, black girl with the New York accent over by the southeast pool table, for example.

( Continued... )

© 2012 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Jason Gilmore. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.

Meet the Author

Jason Gilmore was born and raised on the west side of Toledo, Ohio and educated at the University of Pittsburgh. His writing has appeared in Gadfly, at Turner Classic Movies’ and VH-1’s  His short films have aired on national television and at numerous film festivals. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

Download to your Kindle

Sinful Seduction by Sabrina Sims McAfee

Sinful Seduction by Sabrina Sims McAfee
Sins, Secrets, and Scandals Series - Book 1


Nurse Katilla Richardson was recently dumped by her NFL superstar boyfriend. Now that she’s out on the dating market again, she’s determined not to let any man break her heart. Believing that true love is impossible, she sets out to seduce a renowned wealthy physician for her own personal gain. However, she’s shocked when her hot game of seduction backfires after she ends up in the fine doctor’s bed.

Dr. Kenneth Michaels is a leading cardiologist still grieving the death of his wife. Feeling as if he’s already had his opportunity at true love, he meets a beautiful woman that changes his mind about second chances. As he engage in a steamy love affair with the pretty lady he’s so smitten with, he begins to fall madly in love with her. But then suddenly, when he learns of the seductive nurse’s secret, and someone from her past returns, things become explosive!  Will Kenneth and Katilla’s relationship survive her deceitful game of SINFUL SEDUCTION?

Excerpt Sinful Seduction

Heartland Memorial Hospital

“Get the OR - stat!” Dread strained from Dr. Maze’s tight vocal cords as his bloody, gloved covered hands maneuvered the trapped fetus stuck inside the womb of his pregnant patient. With her thighs parted wide cupping her knees, her leaking entrance was clenching the fetus’ head, preventing it from moving further down her constricted canal.

Nurse Katilla towered over the doctor, fighting hard to keep her raw emotions in check. Before she turned on her heels, the woman on the birthing table bolted upright and pushed. Clenching her teeth, she grunted, “Aaagghhh!” A clear, thick film excreted from her opening onto the crisp white sheets beneath her.

“Push, Margie! Push!” The urgency in the physician’s voice caused Katilla’s heart to spin and had her hustling to the other side of the room, where she made an emergency call, requesting OR preparation for an emergency cesarean. She slammed the phone back on the receiver, then hurried back over to where Dr. Maze was still struggling to deliver the baby.

Katilla stood slightly behind Dr. Maze and glared down over his shoulders between the pregnant woman’s bloody thighs. She then looked at the confident physician, Dr. Maze. Tiny beads of sweat dotted his crinkly forehead as he slid the length of his arms up inside the woman’s stretched vagina, twisting and turning them as he maneuvered the stuck fetus.

With no success, the brainy doctor extended a red, stained gloved hand toward Katilla and she lowered a shiny silver instrument to his palm so he could perform an episiotomy on the distressed woman.

Katilla’s intense gaze went to the heart monitor posted beside the patient, Margie’s, bed. The red number on the machine was steadily increasing, worrying the heck out of Katilla.

Oh no! Margie’s heart rate is rising! We need to deliver this baby now!

Katilla looked at the round, high swell of Margie’s unyielding belly. Worried sick over her patient’s labor, her pulse pounded hard in her dry throat. She met Margie’s intense gaze and swallowed with fear.

“It’s time to push again,” she told her as she went to stand by her side. Looking into her darkening irises, she grabbed her hand. “On the count of three, I need you to push, Margie, okay?” Margie nodded. “One…two…three...push!”

With her thighs quaking wide apart, Margie was clasping her knees, clenching her jaws, and pushing harshly. “I can’t do this! I’m so tired!” she grunted through clenched teeth then slumped back on the firm mattress. With quick breaths winding from her pursed lips, a worried expression washed over Margie’s crimson, perspiring face.

Dr. Maze looked into Margie’s eyes. “You can’t quit on me now, you must keep pushing. Everything will be just fine if you do as I tell you to,” he promised unrealistically.

Katilla knew the real reason he’d urgently requested the emergency team to prep for surgery. Margie needed to have a cesarean, only now it was too late and too risky to perform the possible life saving surgery. The fetus was too far submerged down the birth canal, and its heartbeat was steadily declining.

( Continued... )

© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sabrina Sims McAfee. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.

Here’s what reviewers had to say about Sinful Seduction, Sabrina’s debut book.

McAfee's debut is overflowing with romance, suspense, drama and humor. -- APOOO Book Club

Sabrina novel is full of drama, love, suspense and humor. This novel had me laughing out loud and sometimes at the bleak of tears. -- C&B Books

Sabrina McAfee does an outstanding job of mixing romance, suspense, and dialogue which helps the novel stand out amidst similar ones on the market. -- RAWSISTAZ & Black Book Review

Purchase Sinful Seduction by Sabrina Sims McAfee

About the Author
Sabrina McAfee
is your writer of suspense drama, romantic suspense, and mainstream. Originally from Florida, she’s a current resident of Myrtle Beach, SC.  In her leisure she likes spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and watching reality and suspense TV shows.   Sabrina’s goal is to someday produce one of her books into a movie. As she strives toward her dream, she plans to try her hardest to bring readers great satisfying stories. She thanks all of her readers.

Life In Prison With Lauryn Hill Written by Jamila T. Davis

Life In Prison With Lauryn Hill 
Written by Jamila T. Davis 

On July 8, 2013 my existence as I have known it for the past 5 years in prison instantly changed. I had been so drained, physically, emotionally and spiritually that I had no idea how oppressed my spiritual being really was. In the midst of my own internal chaos a beautiful, chocolate face with a warm smile and bright spirit spoke life back into my dry bones.  Lauryn Hill has sparked a worldwind of knowledge, faith and courage into my broken spirit. It was a tremendous boost, at a time and place where I least expected it. Through her purity and candidness, she has encouraged me to be myself, with no cut on it, despite the barriers that divide me from the free world.

At first sight I admired Lauryn's courage, which I quickly found out was contagious. Lauryn Hill reminds me of Angela Davis or Assatta Shakur because of her knowledge and strength. Like a soldier who was trained for war, she jumped right into the prison routine and hasn't missed a beat. Surprisingly, she didn't shed a tear or complain. Instead, she opened up her spirit for God to use her. Almost immediately, she reached out to listen and comfort the many hurting souls at the Danbury Federal Prison Camp. I am one of them.

I had the pleasure to spend many hours on end just talking to Lauryn about life and her experiences. In such a short period of time I learned so much! I had no clue how intelligent she truly is. I only saw her as a singer, but the truth is she has vast knowledge on so many different levels that it is almost scary. It was shocking to see that we share many things in common, including hardships. In just a few days she became like the sister I had from the same father, but a different mother who I had never met. After 5 years of what seemed like endless pain and disappointments, through Lauryn's company I experienced intense joy, which is a rare experience in prison.

Some may have mistaken her as eccentric, but the truth is she is POWERFUL!  She possesses spiritual skill sets that few have, so her conversations are life changing. She is definitely a living inspiration. Like many woman in prison, she is a survivor!  People may view her imprisonment as her death, but it is her resurrection.

Lauryn Hill doesn't just "talk-the-talk."   She "walks-the walk!"  Don't sleep on her! She knows her mission and assignment from God, and she is on it! In a few days her mere presence has changed our weary environment and has given many women hope. To us she is a modern day Harriet Tubman. In my heart, I know she came to set us captives free!

Lauryn Hill, the Grammy Award-winning, former Fugees singer reported to the Danbury Federal Prison Camp in Connecticut on July 8, 2013 to serve a three-month sentence, after pleading guilty to three counts of tax evasion for failing to file returns on earnings from 2005 to 2007 — totaling $1.8 million.  Follow Lauryn on Tumblr to read her side of the story and messages to her fans:

About the Author
Jamila T. Dav
is, author of the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series is a self-help expert, motivational speaker and a women's prison reform activist, who is currently a federal inmate. At age 25, she was a multimillionaire, high-flying real estate investor with ties to the hip-hop world. At age 31, she was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison for her role in a multimillion-dollar bank fraud scheme. While imprisoned, Davis has helped to change the lives of many through her inspirational books and cautionary tales based on her real-life experiences.  For more information on Jamila T. Davis, her books, projects  and to check out her latest memoir 
The High Price I Had To Pay
  visit   or


E. N. Joy Admits to Having a Ghost Writer

E. N. Joy Admits to Having a Ghost Writer

There are Christian fiction writers and then there are Christians who write fiction. There is Christian fiction, then there is what some consider to be church fiction or church drama. You have some authors who didn’t necessarily set out to write Christian fiction, but they were placed in that category by either their publisher or the book stores simply shelve them that way. And of course you have the writers whose work is categorized as Christian fiction but they do not write for a Christian fiction imprint, which means they are not necessarily writing with any type of guidelines. 
I can’t speak for any other Christian fiction author or author who either chose or by default was placed in the Christian fiction category, but I am a Christian fiction writer who writes for a Christian fiction imprint. That is my choice on purpose.

I’ll be the first to admit that yes, I have a ghost writer; the Holy Ghost!  I take dictation from the Holy Spirit when I write my stories. My Holy Spirit does not curse nor does He describe explicit sex scenes for me to deliver to God’s people. I write Christian fiction, not inspirational fiction, not faith based fiction or anything else. Christ is in what I do “CHRISTian” fiction. I’m not worrying about “keepin’” it real. 
The Bible is as real as it gets and if the Holy Spirit didn’t instruct the authors of the Bible to curse people out and describe explicit sex scenes, then why on earth should He start using me to do it now? So my concern is not about “keepin’ it real” for the world as much as it is keepin’ it holy for the Kingdom. My ultimate goal is, yes, to please the readers, but I must first please God.

P.S. Maybe Peter did curse. But even the author of the Bible didn’t feel the need to write the actual curse words.

About the Author
BLESSED-selling author E. N. Joy is the writer behind the five book series, “New Day Divas,” the “Still Divas” three book series and the “Always Divas” three book series, which have been coined the “Soap Opera In Print.”

“The New Day Divas” series includes the titles She Who Finds A Husband, Been There Prayed That, Love Honor or Stray, Trying to Stay Saved and I Can Do Better All By Myself. The “Still Divas” series includes the titles And You Call Yourself a Christian, The Perfect Christian and The Sunday Only Christian.

The “Always Divas” series includes the titles I Ain’t Me No More, More Than I Can Bear and You Get What You Pray For. Formerly writing secular works under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY, this award winning author has been sharing her literary expertise on conference panels in her home town of Columbus, Ohio and cities across the country as well as instructing literary workshops.

Joy writes children’s and young adult titles under the name N. Joy. Her children’s story, The Secret Olivia Told Me, received the American Library Association Coretta Scott King Honor. Book club rights were acquired by Scholastic Books and the book has sold almost 100,000 copies. Elementary and middle school children have fallen in love with reading and creative writing as a result of the readings and workshops Joy performs in schools nationwide.

Currently, Joy is the executive editor for Urban Christian, an imprint of Urban Books in which the titles are distributed by Kensington Publishing Corporation. In addition, Joy is the artistic developer for a young girl group named DJHK Gurls. Joy pens original songs for the group that deal with messages that affect today’s youth, such as bullying. Visit the author at 

Intimate Conversation with Mary B. Morrison


If you can’t get enough of all things reality television get ready for the drama like only New York Times bestselling author MARY B. MORRISON can bring it in!

New York Times and #1 Essence best selling author Mary B. Morrison expertly blends steamy fiction with reality. Morrison has been captivating readers since 2001 when she introduced the Soul Mates Dissipate series which explored the topic that puzzles most of us: how to find— and keep — your soul mate. 
The series did so well that Morrison received a multi-film development deal. Publishers Weekly noted Morrison’s sensual novels “pack in dozens of juicy episodes” in her “high drama page turners” and described her as “prolific” noting with Darius Jones, “there's not a dull moment in this shamelessly flamboyant romp that Morrison's many fans are sure to devour.” This summer Morrison is returning with the second installment of the If I Can’t Have You series.  I’D RATHER BE WITH YOU is being published this August by Dafina Books in hardcover original.

In  I’D RATHER BE WITH YOU, friends Loretta Lovelace and Madison DuBois return to deal with the aftermath of the provocative bet that forever changed their lives. Now, with their futures up in the air, the question is who will play one vengeful game too many? And who will wish she wasn’t left standing.

Loretta believes she is the wife that Madison’s husband; Chicago DuBois really deserves. Nursing wealthy businessman Chicago DuBois back to health was the least Loretta figured she could do. After all, it was her bet that made Madison the object of a crazed stalker; Granville Washington affections and put Chicago at death’s door. But now Madison wants to take back what’s no longer hers and she knows just how to do it.

To get her life back on track, she’ll have to settle the score with Loretta. But this spoiled beauty has just the plan to handle her competition, her stalker, and her straying husband.

Intimate Conversation with  Mary B. Morrison

New York Times bestselling author Mary B. Morrison believes that women should shape their own destiny. Born in Aurora, IL, and raised in New Orleans, LA, she took a chance and quit her near six-figure government job to self-publish her first book, Soulmates Dissipate, in 2000 and begin her literary career. Mary’s books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, and she’s a frequent contributor to The Michael Baisden Show.
Mary is also actively involved in a variety of philanthropic endeavors, and in 2006 she sponsored the publication of an anthology written by 33 sixth-graders. In 2010, Mary produced a play based on her novel, Single Husbands, which she wrote under her pseudonym, HoneyB.
In addition to her novels and play, Mary has a multi-film development deal with Codeblack Entertainment for her Soulmates Dissipate series. Mary currently resides in Oakland, CA, with her wonderful son, Jesse Byrd, Jr., who is following in his mother’s creative footsteps and pursuing a career in TV/film and writing. 

BPM: What topics does your latest book, I’d Rather Be With You, address? Why?
MBM: Deception runs deeper than love. Men and women will lie to get what they want, fight to keep the person they don’t deserve, and hate the one they love most. People do this because they don’t know who they are but believe they can define their partner.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?
MBM: Everyone that reads or listens to my books on audio. I’m pro-female empowerment. I write strong female characters. No matter how difficult the journey may be for my heroines/protagonists, they almost always overcome their obstacles. I believe women rule. The problem, as I see it, irrespective of socio-economic status, is that most women don’t realize how powerful they are.

BPM: You believe strongly in: 
MBM: God. Sexual liberation. Self-actualization. Non-judgment. Taking risk.

BPM: Faith allows you to: 
MBM: Overcome fear of failure. God never fails us. He never lets us down. If we fall, He extends a hand. Faith allows me to stand-in ‘my’ truth and stand-up for what ‘I’ believe in.

BPM: Criticism makes you:
MBM: Stronger. I wholeheartedly embrace freedom of speech and expression. What people say about me and/or my work expresses how they feel about themselves. How and what I respond to defines me.

BPM: Do you consider yourself a role model: 
MBM: I don’t consider myself a role model. I feel I’m an inspiration to many of my fans and readers. Eddie Murphy, Terry McMillan, Tyler Perry, and Wendy Williams are just a few of the people who inspire me because I aspire to do more than what they’ve done.

BPM: When you are afraid, you will:
MBM: Sleep with the light on. Not in the traditional sense. I mean seek clarity. Manifest destiny. I’m not really afraid of anything, especially failure. Why? Because failure is a concept and the catalyst to success.

BPM: What surprised you the most about becoming an adult:
MBM: Growing up is a natural progression. As a kid, I worried I wouldn’t be able to pay rent, bills, etc. We learn work ethics and discipline starting with . . . do your homework, clean your room, go to bed. I give my guardians and teachers my gold stars for helping me to become who I am. The word ‘believe’ may be the most powerful word in all of our development. When others believe in us, we’re awesome. When we believe in ourselves, we are amazing!

BPM: The greatest threat to literary freedom is: 
MBM: Censorship. Doesn’t matter if it originates in the mind of the writer or the omission of the editor, it’s lethal. Deleting or changing one word can alter the meaning of an entire sentence. The most genuine aspect of writing is to be authentic. Society is so sensitive that freedom of speech isn’t free. Say or write something offensive and you could jeopardize your life-long career.

BPM: How has your writing evolved: 
MBM: It’s eternally evolving. I’m working on giving readers what they want before they realize they need it. I consider the non-fiction book I’m penning, D.A.D.: A Woman’s Guide to Choosing the Right One, a new perspective for a new generation.

BPM: Do you view writing as a gift or a career:
MBM: The answer could be either, or, or neither nor but for me it’s both. Thirteen years in the industry and currently working on book number twenty denotes sustainability. I don’t take my success for granted. Each novel is more difficult to pen because I’m always striving to do and become better.

BPM: Advice you would give a new author:
MBM: Be true to your characters or they will be false to your readers. You cannot please everyone. Don’t try. Do not censor your first writing. Let it flow.  Always hire a professional editor. Learn the business. Brand yourself. Set and attain goals. Know what you want.  Please don’t tell me, “I just want to write a book. I don’t care about making money.”  Then talk to someone who isn’t making money. You don’t need advice from me for that. Don’t ask me, “I want to write a book. Where do I start?”  Published writers, editors, and agents respect you when you can show (not prove) you’ve accomplished something.

BPM: Your greatest accomplishment as a writer: 
MBM: Is yet to come. What I appreciate most is having a loyal fan base. Some readers have purchased all of my books. I love them for that. I do take time to smell the roses but there’s so much I want to do I know I’m going to run out of time before I do it all. I’m ready to produce my first book-to-film with Codeblack Entertainment. I’m eager to write for television, executive produce another stage play, open a restaurant, and host a talk show. There’s so much to do I don’t focus on what I’ve done. Already getting paid for that. On to the next!

BPM: What you know for sure: 
MBM: I love my sons, Jesse and Max. Max is my adorable six-year-old Yorkshire terrier. Men are like dogs but harder to train. I have no problem telling a man what I want. Women need to understand that what one man won’t do, another man will. Ladies should ask men for a “relationship ring.” I do. It’s not a promise ring because I can’t promise a man shit. I’ll explain why this ring is important in my non-fiction book.

BPM: Life's greatest teacher is:
MBM: Some may say experience. I say, “teachers.” I love my teachers so much!

BPM: Success means: 
MBM: Being your best. Accomplishing your goals. What I/we aspire to do in our lifetime is meaningful. For some it’s graduating from college, others want to become astronauts. We know man can land on the moon. What else can we do? Whatever one dreams of is extremely rewarding when it’s achieved. But don’t stop there. Set a goal. Achieve a goal. Set a goal. Achieve a goal. Success is not a destination or a place to vacation. It’s a revolving door. We must sacrifice for success, not for society. If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, do that. But do not give up your career or livelihood to ‘do the right thing.’ I ain’t trying to be right, y’all. I’m living to be me (whatever that is). I am not the person anyone else thinks I should be. I am who I am.

BPM: Your writing educates, illuminates or entertains: 
MBM: All three. I can make just about anyone laugh and at the same time learn something.

BPM: Will the printed book ever become obsolete:
MBM: I sure am glad typewriters are. I got tired of that damn whiteout, especially when the document had carbon copies. I’m on a flight to D.C. and I’m working on my 11-inch MacBook Air that fits in my purse. We no longer print our books and send them to the publishers. I love it! Everything is done electronically and we’re talking the last five years or so. I tell my son that his kids will ask, “Daddy, what’s a book?” In about 10 years (or less) I believe printed books will be a collector’s item, and that’s not a bad thing. Buy and have them signed now! Especially the first editions.

BPM: What legacy do you wish to leave future generations of readers: 
MBM: Positive life lessons. Time changes. Being smart will never grow or get old.

Visit Mary online at  

I'd Rather Be With You by Mary B. Morrison

I'd Rather Be With You 
(If I Can't Have You Sequel)
by Mary B. Morrison 

I’d Rather Be With You . . . Relationship satisfaction is never guaranteed.

From New York Times bestselling author Mary B. Morrison comes the sizzling tale of two friends and the provocative bet that forever changes their lives. Now, with their futures up in the air, who will play one vengeful game too many? And who will wish she wasn’t left standing?

I’m the wife Madison’s husband really deserves. Why won’t she let him go? Nursing wealthy businessman Chicago DuBois back to health was the least Loretta Lovelace figured she could do. After all, it was her bet that made Madison the object of a crazed stalker’s affections and put Chicago at death’s door. With Madison’s marriage on the rocks, Loretta couldn’t resist looking after Chicago’s interests and reigniting his passion for life. But now Madison wants to take back what’s no longer hers. . .

I’ve got a fresh chance to start over. But letting Loretta walk away with my old life—that’s not going to happen. Madison’s life was perfect before Loretta introduced her to Granville Washington and initiated the bet that ruined Madison’s reputation and marriage. Now with a baby on the way and a family empire to save, Madison knows it’s past time to make some tough decisions. To get her life back on track, she’ll have to settle the score with Loretta and deal with Sindy Singleton, another woman who’s trying to make a play for Chicago. But this spoiled beauty has just the plan to handle her competition, her stalker, and her straying husband. . .

Excerpt from I’d Rather Be With You



Have you ever loved someone so much you could kill him? My signature was a heartbeat away from doing that. I’d signed the authorization to take my husband off life support. He was a good man. But there were times when being a good person wasn’t enough. Some would say he did all the right things in our relationship, but he did them for the wrong woman. I’d disagree. Unlike most women, I knew my self-worth. The brilliant diamond wedding ring on my finger was there because I’d earned it.

“Mrs. DuBois,” the doctor softly said. “I still have the paper in my hand. It’s not too late to have a change of heart.” He stood in front of me as though my time was up. In a small private space, there was a desk, two chairs, a computer, the doctor, and me. The door with a large square windowpane was closed.

The room suddenly got colder as though someone had locked me in a morgue, alone, with the Grim Reaper. The chill penetrated me so deep I froze from the inside out. Reminded me of a trip I’d taken to New York City to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I was in the midst of tens of thousands of people bundled in coats. Their faces were wrapped with scarves. My feet were stuffed in fur-lined boots. My hands were inside cashmere-coated gloves and I was in Times Square, freezing.

Tapered to my body, the sleeveless black dress I’d chosen to put on this morning was midthigh. The back of my legs stuck to the hard plastic chair. I hugged myself, then slid my hands up and down the chill bumps covering my arms. I wiggled my fingers; they were stiff. I pressed them together; then I rubbed them back and forth. I wanted to cry for my husband, for myself, but this was not the time to break down. There were too many what-ifs in my mind competing for attention; it felt like my head was going to explode. My unchanging heart was heavy and numb. I’d heard the doctor, but I didn’t respond.

I sat staring at the beige tile beneath my four-inch black platform stilettos. What if my husband died before I made it to the hospital’s exit? What if all of his football fans blamed me for his death? What if I hadn’t had sex with that idiot, Granville? What if the baby growing inside me was the result of my infidelity? What if the tape Granville stole from my house of us having sex ended up online for millions to see? What if I continued to delay having surgery for my breast cancer? What if something went wrong with my operation and I ended up on life support? Would I want someone to take me off?

Gazing into the doctor’s eyes, I told him, “My decision is final.”

He remained quiet for several minutes, then said, “Okay. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to be in the room when he’s disconnected from the machine, but I have to—”

“Ask?” I paused, then continued, “No, you don’t.”

Already dressed for the possibility of becoming a grieving widow, I stood, with one foot in front of him, and opened my mouth. I wanted to ask how long did he think it would be before I received the call saying my husband was dead.

Don’t do that, Madison. The doctor will think you’re insensitive.

The truth was, I did care for Roosevelt. Hopefully, his transition would happen within twenty-four hours. Just in case he lingered more than a day, I’d already approved comfort care for him. The staff could insert an IV and administer morphine as often as needed to eliminate the pain I had caused.

Sister Betty Says I Do by Pat G'Orge-Walker

Sister Betty Says I Do 
by Pat G'Orge-Walker

An inspiring, devilishly funny tale of hope, secrets—and hard-knock faith that can make the most impossible situations right. . .

For Sister Betty, the marriage proposal from trustee Freddie Noel is a once-in-a-lifetime surprise blessing. Unfortunately, she knows the chances of having a peaceful ceremony in their beloved Crossing Over Sanctuary Church are slim to none. But she's armed with enough sense and scripture to keep contentious church busybodies Bea Blister and Sasha Pray Onn from sowing even more chaos amid the congregation—until a rehearsal disaster and an unexpected secret causes Freddie to break off the engagement without explanation. . .

While this no-nonsense prayer warrior needs all the holy backup she can get, her pastor, Reverend Leotis Tom, is desperately dodging temptation as Mother Pray Onn's wild-child niece and Betty's young cousin compete to become his First Lady. With her happiness, the church's future, and Tom's sanity on the line, Sister Betty will need to kick some spiritual butt, take names—and fight for some major soul-saving miracles.


Sister Betty Sarah Becton and Trustee Freddie Noel (skinny and yellow as a number two pencil) are both on the far side of 60 but decide to jump the broom. But there ain’t no drama like wedding-planning drama, especially in the small South Carolina town of Pelzer. Sweating in the Southern heat like “Friday night strippers sitting on Sunday morning church’s second pew,” church mothers Sasha Pray Onn and Bea Blister worry over Sister Betty’s plans. But Freddie’s off-and-on health issues may delay the big event. A wild bunch of extended family and church folk meddle in the plans lending the story a hilarious reality show vibe.
Stealing scenes are Sweet Betty’s cousin Sharvon and sexy hot Ima, each batting their eyelashes at muscled and sexy Rev. Leotis Tom. Down-home humor, scripture readings, and outrageous trash talk. Priceless. VERDICT Might there be an emerging subgenre of urban Christian romantic comedy? No matter how vendors categorize G’Orge-Walker’s work (Sister Betty! God’s Calling You, Again; Don’t Blame the Devil) it’s a wonderful romp that will have wide appeal to both sinners and saints.   Sister Betty Says I Do by Pat G'Orge-Walker

Excerpt from Sister Betty Says I Do

“Oh, man, please,” Thurgood said as he placed his hands on his hips. “You need to calm down. You already taking medicine for that high blood pressure.” Thurgood suddenly smiled. “Although, I got to tell you that you really surprised me back at Betty’s.”

Freddie stopped and spun around. “What are you talking about now?”

“I’m talking about the way you was reacting when my Dee Dee was reading that piece from the Song of Solomon. A man knows what another man is thinking.”

“You’re crazy.”

“Uh-huh.” Thurgood smiled. “I’m crazy enough to know that whatever you taking for your high blood pressure ain’t stopping Freddie Junior from trying to strike out on its own.”

A shade of red Thurgood had never seen before suddenly spread across Freddie’s face.

“Don’t be embarrassed,” Thurgood told him. “Dee Dee can cause a stir in a graveyard.”

Freddie hung his head. “I guess now I’m being a bit hypocritical. I’m sorry,” he told Thurgood. “I’m not lusting after your wife. It’s Betty I want.”

Thurgood laughed. “Man, please. I ain’t hardly mad at you. Me and the whole world know that Dee Dee is a fine woman, and a gorgeous one at that.”

“She’s very pretty,” Freddie remarked. “But she’s not my Honey Bee.”

“Lord, no!” Thurgood blurted. “But I am glad to hear you say that. I mean, there’s a lot of playas out here and inside the church that would’ve had such ideas.”

“I’m no playa.”

“Of course you are,” Thurgood told him. “You’ve probably been running away and escaping the marriage claws by inches.”

“No, I haven’t,” Freddie admitted. “I’ve never been within reach of a marriage claw.”

“Really?” Thurgood said. He then folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the living room wall. “I betcha when you rode a horse, you tamed that filly, didn’t you?”

“I did ride a couple of horses back in the day, but as soon as I’d feel them bucking, I’d fall off too soon. . . . Word got around quick that I was no cowboy.”

What Freddie had confessed weakened Thurgood, and it showed as he slowly pushed away from the wall. Although he no longer wore his hair conked, the little gray fuzz he did have stood on edge. “Not even one that you could pay to ride?”

“Nope, I’ve never had a professional trainer in the art of sex.”

“And yet Betty still wants to marry you?” Thurgood shook his head and whistled as he looked Freddie in the eyes. “Man, whatever you need to do to get back on the good foot with my cousin, you need to do it. You can’t let nothing, not even high blood pressure, mess up your marriage plans.”

Thurgood began thumbing the side of his cheek, as though to conjure up more advice. “If you telling the truth and every woman you ever slept with has stamped your lovemaking skills ‘return to sender,’ then there’s all kinds of things you can use to get your manhood off the trade-in block. If you and Betty think y’all wanna consummate and make things legal, there are ways. I mean, you have the pump. It’s a hand pump, so I’m just assuming you ain’t been completely idle all these years, so you probably won’t have too much trouble with it. And then there’s Viagra and Cialis. I’m telling you there’s a pill or a cure for just about everything that ails you. We can even come up with something romantic to square away Betty’s misunderstanding of where you stand about marrying her.”

Thurgood held out his hand to Freddie. “I normally look for a check when I counsel, but since you gonna be family soon, a handshake will do.”

“Sure. Why not?” Freddie gave Thurgood a limp handshake.

“Why the soft handshake, Freddie? Didn’t I help you?”

“You helped with everything but my cancer.”

The two men stood opposite one another, watching smiles fade and concern take their place.

( Continues... )

© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Pat G’Orge-Walker. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

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Sister Betty Fanpage:


Written by Jamila T. Davis

As a child, I stood proudly with my right hand plastered over my chest, staring in admiration at the American flag, as I recited the Pledge of Allegiance. It didn't bother me that I was the only African-American child in my fifth grade class. Instructed by a female, Caucasian teacher and surrounded by students of diverse cultures and backgrounds, I was taught that we all were equal. We had one powerful common denominator that outweighed all of our differences, which I took pride in- we were all Americans!

I zealously recited the words, "one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

I believed that meant no matter my race, creed, or gender, I was afforded liberty, equality and justice. I had no idea as an African American female I would be subjected to major discrimination not only because of my race, but also because of my gender. Even more shocking, I had no idea that the prejudice I would face would take place in the U.S judicial system.

On July 16, 2008 I was sentenced to 12½ years in federal prison for bank fraud. I was accused of being the 25 year old mastermind that devised an elaborate scheme to victimize the now defunct Lehman Brothers Bank. From the beginning I admitted my role in the scheme. However, I argued that the bank's own employees directed the loan applications and instructed us to what was needed to insure that each applicant met the bank's lending criteria. Without the assistance of Lehman's employees and affiliates the loans in my case would have never been approved. My claims were quickly rejected and Lehman attorneys (who turned us over to the feds after the company's own fraudulent dealings were threatened to be exposed) were taken at their word. As a result, not one Lehman employee was investigated or questioned in my case. Instead, I was presumed to be the mastermind.

In the federal system, according to the U.S Sentencing Guidelines, sentences in white collar cases are imposed largely based on loss amount. The larger the loss amount, the lengthier the sentence. In 2002, before the biggest real estate boom in recent history, my company, through business partners, acquired 9 properties in Alpine and Saddle River, New Jersey, with funding from Lehman. The goal of the plan was to buy houses in these upscale areas, fix them up and resell them for a profit to wealthy clients. We spent millions of dollars in renovations and were in the process of selling the properties when we were turned over to the feds by Lehman attorneys. From the onset, the bank's attorneys had their eyes on the prime real estate in my case, which was valued at over 26 million dollars by the end of 2003.
Instead of conducting a public auction or bidding on the properties, the bank's attorney, Jeffrey Greenbaum, turned down full price offers and sold the properties to a vested investor in Lehman, Chris Lipka, for a substantial discount. As a result, the bank created a 12 million dollar loss amount. My sentence was calculated based on this inflated loss amount. Consequently, I was given a guideline sentence of 151 months. A few months later, before the same judge, the white, middle ages lawyer and mortgage broker, who were both seasoned veterans in the banking industry, and who utilized their licenses to process and close the deals, received a 24 month sentence each. In a just society, how could it ever be justified that my sentence should be more than six times greater than theirs? Where is the justice in that?

Just 59 days after I was sentenced, Lehman Brothers Bank collapsed. The bank's bankruptcy findings concluded that the corporate policies of the bank were premised on funding fraudulent mortgage loans. The bank was caught red-handed in the conduct I alleged their employees were involved in years before the bank's collapse. I thought it should be fairly easy to use this newly discovered evidence to overturn my lengthy sentence. Clearly, it could now be seen that I wasn't the "mastermind." It didn't matter. Once you are trapped in the belly of the beast of the "justice system" it is very difficult to get out!

Despite the fact that my case contained blatant constitutional violations, my pro se filings were quickly dismissed. I wondered if they were even looked at, especially after reading about Jerrold Peterson, the former court clerk in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans, Louisiana. Before killing himself, Peterson left a lengthy suicide note stating he could no longer deal with the guilt, after following judges' orders for nearly 13 years to procedurally deny, without any review, every federal appeal filed by federal inmates who proceeded without attorney representation. Unfortunately, this kind of injustice is common throughout the U.S judicial system, especially amongst those who can not afford representation. Yet, it is often swept under the rug and not publicized. Witnessing the hardships of other women whom I was imprisoned with who faced the same challenges within the judicial system, I realized I was not alone in my struggles.

Although American democracy was created on the principles of equality and justice, in 2013 women such as myself, are serving stiffer sentences than our male colleagues for financial crimes. While white males, who are corporate executives and businessman, receive a slap on the wrist or no punishment at all for their wrongdoings, women of all creeds and backgrounds are being sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment for the same crimes. Stripped from society and taken away from our families and children, we have been left without a voice. Contrary to popular belief, most us us are nonviolent offenders who pose no threat to society. We are humans who made some bad decisions and poor judgments which led to our imprisonment. We are not hardened criminals that have no chance on being rehabilitated.

While not one executive banker has been held responsible for the events that led to the 2008 financial crisis, women like myself, have been left to serve big time! We are liken to Prisoners Of War that have been taken captive. Yet the only problem is we are American citizens. Many may overlook our struggles believing that our problems will not affect their own lives. The truth is the epidemic of the rising rate of women in prison in our country effects our entire society. Trapped away in prison, our children are left to be raised without mothers. Not only are we serving time, so are our families. Without proper guidance and direction many of our innocent children will also be led astray and become vulnerable to criminal behavior. If this destructive cycle is not broken, it will continue. And, the results will be harsh on our entire society.

Unlike the state system, federal prisoners have no recourse. We don't have a parole system, and we are mandated to serve 85% of our sentence. When you have any system that is run by humans, mistakes and misjudgments are bound to occur. Without any form of parole, or the ability of our prison overseers to recommend release for those they feel have been rehabilitated, we are stuck in the belly of the beast. We are held bound in a prison system that is overcrowded and lacks the financial budget needed to provide enough effective programs to deter recidivism.

Despite the errors in my case, I must serve 10½ years on my 12½ year sentence, which will cost tax payers approximately $400,000. Instead of paying my debt back to society, society is paying my debt through the hefty cost of my incarceration. Through prison reform, which includes effective alternatives to incarceration for women, this problem could be turned around. And, the imprisonment cost to tax payers could be significantly reduced. At the same time, female offenders would be awarded a chance to pay their way forward as they rehabilitate.

There is no one in our society who is perfect. We have all fallen short in one way or another. Mercy and compassion heals and restores. They are the key ingredients of justice. Don't just lock us up and throw away the key. Please provide us with the resources we need to change. Our successful rehabilitation effects society as a whole.

Most importantly, help to ensure that we are treated fairly and that our constitutional right to equal protection is upheld. As Americans, we all should be treated equally. Setting double standards for men and women negates the principles that our country was built on and it sends the wrong message that some of us are "too big" to be punished.

Please lend female prisoners throughout the country your helping hand. Your voice as an American citizen can make a difference!  WE NEED YOU!

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The High Price I Had To Pay by Jamila T. Davis

Nonfiction Book »  Biography »  Political biography
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Excerpt: Anybody’s Daughter by Pamela Samuels Young

Anybody’s Daughter
by Pamela Samuels Young

Available November 5, 2013

When 13-year-old Brianna is forced into the horrifying world of human sex trafficking, her Uncle Dre, a former drug dealer, scours the dark corners of L.A. determined to find her. He ultimately comes up with a daring plan, one that puts many lives in danger. But will he find Brianna before it's too late?


Brianna sat cross-legged in the middle of her bed, her thumbs rhythmically tapping the screen of her iPhone. She paused, then hit the Send button, firing off the text message ready?  Her soft hazel eyes lasered into the screen, anticipating—no craving—an instantaneous response. Jaden had told her to text him when she was about to leave the house. So why didn’t he respond?  She hopped off the bed and cracked open the door. A gentle tinkle—probably a spoon clanking against the side of a stainless steel pot—signaled that her mother was busy in the kitchen preparing breakfast.

Easing the door shut, Brianna leaned against it and closed her eyes. To pull this off, Brianna couldn’t just act calm, she had to be calm. Otherwise, her mother would surely notice. But at only thirteen, she’d become pretty clear after finding ways around mother’s unreasonable rules. She gently shook the phone as if that might make Jaden’s response instantly appear. Brianna was both thrilled and nervous about finally meeting Jaden, her first real boyfriend—a boyfriend she wasn’t supposed to have. Texts and emails had been racing back and forth between them ever since Jaden friended her on Facebook five weeks earlier.

It still bothered Brianna—but only a little—that Jaden had refused to hook up with her on Skype or FaceTime or even talk to her on the phone. Jaden had explained that he wanted to hear her voice and see her face for the first time in person. When she thought about it, that was kind of romantic.

If it hadn’t been for her Uncle Dre, Brianna would never have been able to have a secret boyfriend. When her uncle presented her with an iPhone for her birthday two months ago, her mother immediately launched into a tirade about perverts and predators on the Internet. But Uncle Dre had teased her mother for being so uptight and successfully pleaded her case.

Thank God her mother was such a techno-square. Although she’d insisted that they share the same Gmail account and barred her from Facebook, Brianna simply used her iPhone to open a Facebook account using a Yahoo address that her mother knew nothing about. As for her texts, she immediately erased them.

A quiet chime signaled the message Brianna had been waiting for. A ripple of excitement shot through her.

Jaden: hey B almst there cant wait 2 c u.
Brianna: me 2
Jaden: cant wait 2 kss dem lips
Brianna: lol!
Jaden: luv u grl!
Brianna: luv u 2

Brianna tossed the phone onto the bed and covered her mouth with both hands. OMG!  She was finally going to meet the love of her life. Jaden’s older brother Clint was taking them to the Starbucks off Wilmington. Her mother kept such tight reins on her, this was the only time she could get away. Jaden had assured her that Clint would make sure she got to school on time.

Turning around to face the mirror on the door, Brianna untied her bushy ponytail and let her hair fall across her shoulders. The yellow-and-purple Lakers tank top her Uncle Dre had given her fit snugly across her chest, but wasn’t slutty-looking. Jaden was a Kobe Bryant fanatic just like she was. He would be impressed when she showed up sporting No. 24.   Brianna slung her backpack over her shoulder and trudged down the hallway toward the kitchen.

“Hey, Mama. I have to be at school early for a Math Club meeting.”

Donna Walker turned away from the stove. “I’m making pancakes. You don’t have time for breakfast?”

Brianna felt a stab of guilt. Her mother was trying harder than ever to be a model parent. Brianna had spent much of the last year living with her grandmother after her mother’s last breakdown.

“Sorry.” She grabbed a cinnamon-raisin bagel from the breadbox on the counter. “Gotta go.”

Donna wiped her hand on a dishtowel. “It’s too early for you to be walking by yourself. I can drop you off.”

Brianna’s breath caught, but she kept her face neutral. “No need. I’m picking up Sydney. We’re walking together.”

Brianna saw the hesitation in her mother’s overprotective eyes.

Taller and darker than her daughter, Donna wore her hair in short, natural curls. Her lips came together like two plump pillows and her eyes were a permanently sad shade of brown. Donna had spent several years as a social worker, but now worked as an administrative assistant at St. Francis Hospital. Work, church and Brianna. That was her mother’s entire life. No man, no girlfriends, no fun.

Brianna wasn’t having any of that. She was gonna have a life, no matter how hard her mother tried to keep her on a short leash like a prized pet.  Donna finally walked over and gave her daughter a peck on the cheek, then repeated the same words she said every single morning: “You be careful.”

Brianna bolted through the front door and hurried down the street. As expected, no one was out yet. Her legs grew shaky as she scurried past Sydney’s house. Brianna had wanted to tell her BFF about hooking up with Jaden today, but he made her promise not to. Anyway, Sydney had the biggest mouth in the whole seventh grade. Brianna couldn’t afford to have her business in the street. She’d made Sydney swear on the Bible before telling her about Jaden.

As she neared the end of the block, she saw it. The burgundy Escalade with the tinted windows was parked behind Mario’s Fish Market just like Jaden had promised. Brianna was so excited her hands began to tremble. She was only a few feet away from the SUV when the driver’s door opened and a man climbed out.

“Hey, Brianna. I’m Clint, Jaden’s brother. He’s in the backseat.”

Brianna unconsciously took a step back. Jaden’s brother didn’t look anything like him. On his Facebook picture, Jaden had dark eyes, a narrow nose and could’ve passed for T.I.’s twin brother. This man was dark-skinned with a flat nose and crooked teeth. And there was no way he was nineteen. He had to be even older than her Uncle Dre, who was thirty-something. Brianna bit her lip. Something unsettling tinkered in her gut, causing her senses to see-saw between fear and elation. But it was love, her love for Jaden, that won out. It didn’t matter what his brother looked like. They probably had different daddies.  

She handed Clint her backpack and stooped to peer inside the back of the SUV. At the same horrifying moment that Brianna realized that the man inside was not Jaden, Clint snatched her legs out from under her and shoved her inside the Escalade. The man in the backseat grabbed a handful of her hair and jerked her toward him. Brianna tumbled face-first into his lap, inhaling sweat and weed and piss.

“Owwwww! Get your hands offa me!” Brianna shouted, her arms and legs thrashing about like a drowning swimmer. “Where’s Jaden? Let me go!”

“Relax, baby.” The stinky man’s voice sounded old and husky. “Just calm down.”

“Let me go!” Brianna screamed.

She tried to pull away, but Stinky Man palmed the back of her head like a basketball, easily holding her in place. Clint reached between the front seats, snatched her arms behind her back and bound them with rope.

When Brianna heard the quiet revving of the engine and the door locks click into place, panic exploded from her ears. She violently kicked her feet, hoping to break the window. But each kick landed with a sharp thud that launched needles of pain back up her legs.

“Don’t touch me! Let me goooooo!”

The stinky man thrust a calloused hand down the back of her pants.

“Damn, girl,” he cackled. “I like this big old behind.”

“Cut it out, Leon,” Clint shouted. “I’ve told you before. Don’t mess with the merchandise.”

Clint reached into the backseat again and stabbed Brianna’s arm with a needle just above the elbow.

A flash of fire lit up her entire body and in seconds, her eyelids felt like two heavy windows being forced shut. She tried to scream, but the ringing in her ears drowned out all sound. When she blinked up at Stinky Man, he had two—no three—heads.

Brianna could feel the motion of the SUV pulling away from Mario’s Fish Market. She needed to do something. But her body was growing heavy and her head ached. The thick haze that cluttered her mind allowed only one desperate thought to seep through.

Mommy! Uncle Dre! Please help me! 

( Continued... )

© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Pamela Samuels Young. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

About the Author
is a practicing attorney whose fast-paced legal thrillers tackle law and crime. Recognized for her savvy female characters, Pamela brings a taste of diversity to the legal fiction genre. Her novels include the Fall 2013 release Anybody's Daughter, Attorney-Client Privilege, Murder on the Down Low. A natural hair enthusiast, she is the author of Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide.  To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or event, email Pamela via her website at


Platinum Promises by Zuri Day

Platinum Promises by Zuri Day

Seduction in the lap of luxury?

Award-winning wines have helped Dexter Drake turn his family's luxury resort and spa into the most successful vineyard in Southern California. Yet Dexter has another talent—his prowess with women. He is having too much fun to settle down?until he meets Faye Buckner, a guest at the vineyard's hotel. Her act of kindness makes it impossible for him to get the beautiful doctor out of his mind.

Faye believes in making the world a better place, and has dedicated her career to saving lives. She plans to concentrate on her work. But she soon discovers that the breathtaking playboy isn't just gorgeous—he is intelligent and compassionate, too. Should Faye remain focused solely on her career or listen to Dexter's passionate promises?and her own heart?

Excerpt from Platinum Promises by Zuri Day

Practical, no-nonsense Dr. Faye Buckner lay in uncharted waters—literally and figuratively—feeling wanton, wicked and strangely free. The water swirled around her body as her lover's tongue traced circles against her heartbeat, causing flutters from her stomach to her heat. Ah, yes. The beautiful beaches of Haiti. But how did I get here with him?

"Relax." Her lover's voice was as soothing as the water and as warm as a summer breeze. "I can't."

"Yes, you can. I'll help you." He laid a trail of kisses down her neck, over her collarbone and on her shoulder, all the while brushing feathery fingers up and down her arm. Goosebumps appeared on the upper part of her body. A furnace of passion exploded within. He captured a nipple with his teeth, pulled it inside his mouth. Not wanting to appear rude or neglectful, he slid his hand to her other nipple, pebbling it between his thumb and forefinger before moving his hand down farther?to her navel, hip and inner thigh.

A foreign feeling of losing control caused her to squeeze her legs together.

Her lover raised up on one elbow as his finger slid up and down the crease caused by her tightly clenched thighs. She closed her eyes.

"Don't be shy," he said with a chuckle. "Trust me."

He leaned over and placed a soft, reverent kiss just below her navel.

Her breath came fast, and her heart beat faster.

He eased back up to her breast. Feathery kisses rained down on her dewy, soft skin, a trail of tantalizing sensations across the fleshy plains of her softness, her boyishly lean frame a perfect canvas for his oral artistry. He reached the thighs, which were still pressed against each other. He lowered himself farther, kissing, rubbing and licking the line that served as the gateway to her desire.

"Let go."

She moaned, shaking her head from side to side. She couldn't. She wouldn't! But why not? She had no answer to that question. Her mind was muddled, logic elusive. How can this be happening? But it was. She could feel it, could feel him, everywhere.

"Don't think, baby. Just feel. Give yourself to me." His tongue stiffened, became more insistent even as he eased his hands underneath her booty, licking a wedge between her armor, causing her thighs to part of their own volition. The act was unexpected, the air against her love button a delicious friction. How is the wind blowing there? She dared open one eye and look downward. His bow-shaped lips were parted; it was he who fanned her flame. There, in the most intimate of places. Hot breath touched her feminine furnace as he spread her legs and then kissed her inner thighs. Before she could ponder the deliciousness of the way his skillful tongue felt against her sensitive skin, he moved on to an even more sensitive spot and kissed it. She gasped, taking in a mouthful of air, releasing a lifetime of inhibitions. Without waiting for instruction or permission, her hips began a circular dance, lifting up to meet his tongue. Again, her rational self tried to intervene, tried to argue that such gyrations were inappropriate, lewd, nasty.

He licked her there. Between her lower lips. Once. Again. Deeper still. Reason fled, replaced by desire. She moaned, stroked his close-cropped hair as he stroked her.

"That's right. Relax and enjoy this." He ran his lips over her nether ones, over and again, kissing her with a tenderness that brought tears to her eyes and wetness in other places. She tossed and turned and tried to get away. He captured her thighs with his large hands, looked up at her with glazed eyes and a wicked smile. "You're not going anywhere," he said. "And neither am I."

In that moment, Faye's heart burst—and her head fell against something hard like steel, cold like glass and?leathery. Leather? At the ocean?


The cheerful, gray-haired driver glanced back at his passenger waking from an unexpected nap. "Wake up, Sleeping Beauty. We're almost there!"

Faye looked around, dazed and confused. She eyed palm trees and grapevines and signs announcing concerts and spas and wine tastings. Slowly the dream faded. Reality crashed in. She wasn't lying on a beach in Haiti. She was riding in the back of a town car on America's West Coast, not at all surprised that she'd been lulled to sleep during the one hour drive from San Diego International Airport to her destination, Temecula, California, the area she'd only recently learned was Southern California's wine country, even older than the more widely known Napa Valley. There had been little sleep in the past seventy-two hours, spent in what had been her home away from home for the past three years.

The memory of that beloved country brought a pang to her heart. She missed Haiti already. Or was it the lover in her dream that she longed for, and the fact that he was not real that made her sad? She narrowed her eyes, tried to "see" the man who'd taken her places she'd never been in waking moments. But there was no recalling his face. Only that body, hard and strong. Only the way he made her temperature soar, causing her to feel embarrassed as the driver looked into the rearview mirror and offered a fatherly smile.

"Looks like you're in for a treat," he said, turning onto a winding road bordered by Bird of Paradise bushes and fields of grapevines beyond them. "I wish the wife and I could afford to stay at a place like this."

"It does look beautiful," Faye agreed. She was immediately struck with how diametrically opposite her current surroundings were compared with those she'd seen mere hours ago. Ian told me this place was like heaven. He was right. Dr. Ian Chappelow was a philanthropist, mentor and friend. He was the reason why she was no longer in Haiti, the reason why she would see her lifelong dream come true—opening the Hearts of Health and Healing Center, a free clinic for poor families—and the reason why she was getting ready to step into the lobby area of California's award-winning Drake Wines Resort and Spa. Thinking of him reminded her that between the lengthy customs process and jet lag she'd forgotten to turn on her phone and "ring Haiti as soon as I arrive stateside," as she'd promised.

The driver opened her door. Faye stepped out and walked around to the trunk of the vehicle, fully prepared to grab her bags.

"Oh, no, miss," the driver said, easily pulling her two pieces of luggage out and closing the trunk. "I'll take these to the front desk for you or, if you prefer, to the bell captain to be delivered to your room."

"Of course." Faye nodded, granting the driver a brief, bright smile. "It's been a while since I've been catered to in this way. The front desk will be fine. I can handle them from there. Thank you."

"No problem, miss." The driver walked with her into the hotel and up to the check-in counter.

Faye dug into her oversized canvas bag for her wallet. "How much do I owe you?"

The driver held up his hands with a smile. "Everything has already been taken care of, including the tip. I hope you enjoy your stay."

That rascal. Ian had already given her more than she'd ever dreamed possible. She'd insisted that he do nothing more regarding her vacation than pay for the hotel. I see how he listened. Not at all! Faye thanked the driver and within minutes was checked in by the cheery brunette who'd welcomed her to the "Inland Escape," a tag that she'd later learn had been created by the resort's director of PR. She accepted her key cards, secured a carry-on handle in each hand and headed toward the bank of elevators the receptionist had indicated. Even in her exhausted state she took in the eclectic yet perfect mix of marble and bamboo, silk walls and bronze fixtures. When scanning the brochures describing the resort, Faye had noted its exclusive feel and had mentioned to Ian her concern at the expense of this trip. "You deserve it," he'd told her with a reassuring squeeze of her shoulder. "You're a tireless worker who refuses to rest. Besides, it feels good spending money on the daughter I never had. Those two heathen sons of mine are chomping at the bit to get my fortune after I die." Faye had shushed talk of death and heathens with an "I love you, Doctor" and a heartfelt hug. Now, looking around, it was clear that the doctor had indeed spent a good sum of money on his "adopted" child.

Halfway across the lobby, Faye walked too close to a vase-holding table, causing her carry-on to get caught in its legs. The stuck luggage was wrenched out of her hands, and the unexpected imbalance caused Faye to stumble. Geez! Having carried bags across rougher terrain, Faye knew that exhaustion was to blame for her errant strides. And she knew just the prescription to help her feel better: sleep. She quickly righted herself, freed the luggage and took three more steps toward the bank of elevators before she looked up, saw a vision and for a second wondered if she'd stepped back into her dream. She hadn't recalled the face of the phantom man who'd played her body like an instrument while she was sleeping, but if she had, she was sure that he would look like the one across the way, brow creased in concentration as a thumb lazily rubbed the face of a cell phone, the other hand in his pocket.

Eyes trained to take in surroundings and/or symptoms in an instant registered his information on a mental chart: six-one or two, maybe one eighty-five, gorgeous. She could see only his side profile, but if it were any indication of what a full frontal looked like, then Lord. Have. Mercy. Even from the side she could see an aquiline nose, thick lips and a strong brow. Her glances were quick, surreptitious, taking in what had to be a tailored suit; the well-fitted jacket lay across broad shoulders and fell over lean hips. His legs were long, his feet were? don't go there, Faye. Seriously! That dream has you feeling all beside yourself! While in the jungles of Africa or the makeshift shanties of Port-au-Prince, it had been easy to forget how long she'd gone without a date, let alone an intimate evening. Burying herself in work had kept thoughts of romance at bay; eighteen-hour days had made sleep her only desire when she fell into bed. But the dream had reminded her of what she'd been missing—no, of what she'd never experienced. She wasn't a virgin, but Faye was positive that she'd never been loved like that, had never experienced what had transpired in her dream. Those sure hands, that skilled tongue...stop it! 
Even as she worked to divert her train of thought to a subject less?volatile?an involuntary shiver went through her body. She reached the bank of elevators, pushed the button and vowed to herself that she would not look back, that she wouldn't take one last look at that delectable dish of dark caramel. She argued with herself that it would be senseless to gaze upon that sculpted body just one last time, to commit it to memory, to invite him into her subconscious, and perhaps another passion-filled dream. Faye Buckner, pull yourself together. You are not having that kind of dream ever again! And you're not going to look at him. Only her head didn't get the memo, as seemingly of its own will it turned in the direction of the human god. Her eyes betrayed her as well, quickly finding the object of her desire. When they did, it was to find that the man she'd already unconsciously dubbed "the man of her dreams" had finished his scrolling or texting or whatever and was looking in her direction. Is he looking at me? No, couldn't be. Torn jeans. Ratty T-shirt. I'd hardly garner his attention. And then he smiled. And winked. At her, definitely at her. And since you can see him looking at you, Faye, then he is undoubtedly very aware that you are staring at him.

Crap! Faye quickly turned away, wishing upon ten thousand stars that the elevator would come now, that the doors would open up and rescue her from this extreme embarrassment. At that second, the chime of the bell announced her chariot's arrival. It couldn't have been more welcomed had it been Peter's blowing horn announcing that she'd been accepted through heaven's pearly gates. She hurried into the elevator and turned to smile at the handsome stranger, whom she assumed from his attire had conducted business at the hotel and was someone she'd more than likely not see again. Her smile quickly flitted away, however, as she saw a laughing, dark-skinned beauty walk up to him and lean in for a hug. He kissed her cheek. The doors closed. Her heart dropped. Of course he's taken. Someone who looks like that wouldn't be spending his nights alone. And then the next thought. What do you care? A useless feeling, really, although somehow it mattered. And considering her third thought, Faye knew that it shouldn't matter. Not at all. He was flirting with me while waiting for her? What a jerk! It was just as well. 
Whatever fantasy she'd created in the seconds she'd seen him needed to fade away just as quickly as her dream had. She hadn't come back to the United States to flirt or date or play footsy with some heartthrob. She'd come here to realize an entirely different type of dream: opening a free clinic in a poverty-stricken area of San Diego, to develop a model that would hopefully be re-created in inner cities across the country, and to make her friend, mentor and millionaire who was largely funding her endeavor, Dr. Ian Chappelow, proud.

This place indeed looks magical but you are not Cinderella, this is no fairy tale and that oh-so-gorgeous, dimpled piece of corporate goodness is not your Prince Charming. Period. End of story.

She reached the room boasting the number on the card envelope she'd been given, opened the door and stopped short. Convincing herself that she wasn't in a fairy tale while staying in these surroundings would not be easy to do. She stepped inside, closed the door and did a slow 360-degree turn. The suite was straight out of a magazine or movie screen. Ian had booked her in a suite, and the living and dining areas alone looked incredibly impressive. The floors were a dark-colored polished wood, the couch and loveseat the color of rose wine. A beautiful multicolored rug anchored that area and complemented the glass and metal coffee and end tables. Beyond the living room was the dining room, complete with buffet. The open-concept kitchen was small yet highly functional, its stainless-steel appliances gleaming in the afternoon sun. Walking to the oversized, floor-to-ceiling windows, Faye beheld the most beautifully landscaped garden she had ever seen. There was a profusion of flowers, perfectly-formed shrubbery and a large fountain in the middle. The cobblestone path added a classic touch to the modern architecture. The mountains soared toward the brilliant blue sky.

"Are you sure you're not Cinderella?" she mumbled. Wow, Ian?thanks. She continued to gaze out the window, overcome with emotion for the man who'd helped her become a better doctor, had helped her realize her dreams and had sent her here. Batting away tears and battling emotions from she knew not what, she reached for her phone and dialed Ian's cell phone. The call went to voicemail. She left a brief message, plopped down on the bed and fought off a wave of melancholy.

"You're exhausted, Doctor. You need sleep and a shower." And not necessarily in that order.

( Continued... )

©2013 Zuri Day. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Zuri Day. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

Meet the Author
Zuri Day
is a national bestselling, award-winning author who snuck her first Harlequin romance from her older sister’s “off-limits” collection and was hooked from page one. Knights in shining armor and happily-ever-after were fitting fantasies, and she could get lost for hours in this world of positive possibilities. That Zuri now creates these stories as a full-time author is a dream come true! She splits her time between the stunning Caribbean islands and southern California. Having written more than a dozen novels, she is currently busy writing the next. She loves to hear from readers and can be contacted on Facebook and via email at  Zuri Day Website: