Cover Reveal: She Wears the Mask by Shelly Stratton

SHE WEARS THE MASK BY SHELLY STRATTON

Coming August 11th

No one can ever really know what lies behind the mask . . .

Gripping and moving, She Wears the Mask is a novel about two women from two very different worlds, both burdened with secrets from their pasts, who form an unexpected bond…

1950s Chicago: Angelique Bixby could be one of many fresh-faced sales girls working along the Magnificent Mile, but she’s unique. She’s a white woman married to a black man in 1950s Chicago, making her stand out among the tenements on the South Side where she lives. Despite the challenges the couple faces, they find comfort and strength in their love for one another. Angelique is content, as long as she has her Daniel by her side and their baby in her arms, until she loses them both—one to death and the other to dire circumstances.

1990s Washington, D.C.: Angelique Crofton is a woman of privilege. A rich, aging beauty and mother of a rising political star, she has learned to forget her tragic past. But now that she is facing her own mortality, she is finally ready to find the daughter she left behind, remember the young woman she once was, and unearth the bittersweet memories she had long ago buried.

Jasmine Stanley is an ambitious lawyer—the only black woman at her firm. She is too busy climbing the corporate ladder to deal with her troublesome family or their unresolved issues. Tasked with Angelique’s case, Jasmine doesn’t know what to make of her new client—an old debutante with seemingly too much time and money on her hands. Jasmine eagerly accepts the challenge though, hoping if she finds Angelique’s long-lost daughter, it will impress the firm’s partners. But she doesn’t count on the search challenging her mentally and emotionally. Nor does she expect to form a friendship with Angelique, who is much more like her than she realizes—because Jasmine is harboring secrets, too.

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EXCERPT

Chapter 1

Angelique

November 9, 1950

Chicago, Illinois 

She will never get used to the sound of the “L” train. 

Angelique realizes this for the umpteenth time as the train thunders above her and she ducks her head and clutches the collar of her wool coat in a white-knuckled grip with one hand. While crossing the street under the train tracks, she doesn’t look up—too frightened to witness its passage. She focuses her runny eyes instead on the puddles of melting snow where the halogen lights from bars and the late-night delicatessen glow. Her eyes then drift to the bundle in the basket she holds.

Hearing the steady click-clack of the train wheels, the seismic rattle of metal beams, and the whoosh of air as it passes will never become background noise to her, no matter how long she lives in the “Windy City” to some or “Chi-Town” to others—but it did for Daniel. He laughed at her the first time she cringed when the train passed their bedroom window. 

“Look at you,” he drawled that first night they slept in their apartment. “It’s just a train, sugar. It can’t hurt you none.”

But what did Daniel know? Even though he’d grown up on the alfalfa fields of North Carolina with dirt under his nails and the sweet stench of manure in his nostrils, he’d been a city boy at heart. The “L” was practically a Mama’s lullaby, lulling him to sleep at night, while it became her torturer, yanking her awake every time her eyelids would drift closed.

When she did sleep, the train would haunt her dreams—those hungry steel wheels gnashing at the tracks, sending up sparks into the dark night. Her mind’s eye would see the train barreling at high speeds over Logan Square, Hyde Park, and Chinatown, like it was searching for her, leaving quaking windows in its wake. 

She dreamed of standing with other commuters waiting to head Uptown, only to have someone accidentally shove her. She’d go tumbling off the platform, onto the train track, and get hit by the “L,” yelling for help as she watched it approach. She dreamed of Daniel riding on his way to work at the stockyards, and one of the train cars would derail and go careening to the busy street twenty feet below. She would wake up screaming, and Daniel would wrap her in his strong arms, pull her close, and let her tremble in his embrace.

After a while, she started to sleep with a pillow over her head to finally get some rest, hoping to drown out the sound of the train at night. Unfortunately, it also drowned out their baby’s cries. Daniel had to shake her awake and tug the pillow from her head a few times. 

“She’s hungry, sugar,” he would say, bringing their baby girl to her. 

She would turn onto her back, prop the pillow behind her, tiredly undo the ribbons of her night gown, and lower the infant to her tender breast, yawning and staring out the window at the passing of the “L” as she nursed.

Ultimately, Daniel would be proven right. It wasn’t the train she should’ve feared, but the street car. That’s what took her man away in the end. The sound of the trolley bell would be the harbinger of death for him, not the screech of train wheels.

She gives a bleak, dark chuckle at the irony as the “L” finally . . . mercifully passes overhead, leaving behind the distant sound of rattling metal and fluttering newspapers. She can hear her baby girl, Emma Jean, crying now and see her squirming in the basket at her side, making it hard not to drop the basket and the baby from her sore fingers. She holds fast though, and continues to walk in the cold and through the melting snow. Her leather shoes—one of her few remaining pairs—are covered in rubber booties, but the booties have holes in them. The shoes are now damp and she suspects her feet are starting to freeze. Her toes are stinging like they’re being poked by tiny needles. She wonders if she will develop gangrene, but she doesn’t stop to check her feet. She’s already walked this far. May as well keep going. 

“Hey, lady! What you doin’ out here with that baby?” a voice slurs, startling her and making her pause for the first time. 

Angelique turns to her right to find a figure lurking in a doorway. An old Negro man with weathered skin stumbles out of the shadows like someone has given him a hard shove. He clutches a half pint of Old Forrester in his dirty hand. He’s wearing several layers of clothing, all of which are either shredded, riddled with holes, or covered with stains. The rank smell of alcohol, body odor, and urine drifts from him like an atomic cloud. He narrows his bloodshot eyes at her.

She stares back at him, tugging the basket close to her side, but she doesn’t respond. She turns back around and starts walking again.

“Cain’t you hear that baby cryin’?” he shouts drunkenly after her and she starts to walk faster. “Shouldn’t be out here in the cold with no baby no way! Take it inside!”

When she nears the end of the block, she is almost at a run, jostling the infant in the basket and making her cry louder.

“Crazy cracker wench!” his voice howls against the growing wind.

Angelique is finally a block away. She stops at an empty wooden bench to regain her breath. She sets the wicker basket on the bench, sits beside it, and takes out Emma Jean. She holds her against her chest, cooing to her and rocking her softly. Emma Jean is no more than a little round face engulfed in blankets under the street light. Big brown, watery eyes gaze up at her. After a few minutes, the wails quail to whimpers and the whimpers die down to hiccups. Emma Jean’s eyes close. Long dark lashes like her daddy’s sweep her cheeks. Eventually, Emma Jean quiets, asleep again.

This is when Angelique begins to lose her nerve, feeling the familiar warmth of her baby girl against her body, seeing Emma Jean slumber so blissfully in her arms.

Her vision begins to blur as the tears well. She sniffs and a nose that was already chapped red from the chill and the wind, becomes even redder.

“I can’t do this. I can’t do this,” she whimpers, shakily rising to her feet, leaving the basket on the bench. She lurches back toward the corner with Emma Jean, and sees the outline of the drunken bum leaning against a brick wall, watching her from a distance like a specter in the dark.

Seeing him again, she suddenly remembers the empty shelves in the kitchenette cabinets back at her apartment and the icebox filled with one block of cheese and a bottle of milk that is about to go bad. She remembers the “Rent Due” notice tacked to her front door. And she remembers that she can’t return to her plush sales girl job thanks to Mr. Mullan. She probably will never be able to show her face, let alone work anywhere at the posh stores on State Street again. Odd jobs at night clubs and seedy bars won’t keep her and Emma Jean from starving. She could very well find herself on the street like that bum. She must move on and start all over again, but her baby girl will not be able to move on with her. Emma Jean does not fit into her life anymore. Not after the mess she’s made of it. That is why she is here to procure her daughter a new life—a better one.

She lowers the infant back into the basket, nestling her in the soft blankets, careful not to wake her again. She adjusts the envelope beside the baby, the one containing a note, a picture of Daniel, looking dapper in his Army uniform, and a lock of her own hair.

Angelique blinks through her tears and starts walking again, continuing to her destination. 

ABOUT SHELLY STRATTON

Shelly Stratton is the penname an award-nominated author who has published almost a dozen books under another pseudonym.

She is married and lives in Maryland with her husband and their daughter. Visit her at her web site http://www.shellystrattonbooks.com to learn more about her work.

CONNECT WITH SHELLY

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A TASTE OF HER OWN MEDICINE BY TASHA L. HARRISON

A TASTE OF HER OWN MEDICINE

BY TASHA L. HARRISON

“He looks like he could plow my north field without a horse.”

Sonja Watts needs to re-enter the workforce after divorcing her husband of thirteen years. Taking the advice of her sister Birdie and her best friend Estelle, she signs up for a six-week course for entrepreneurs; hoping that she will learn everything she needs to know to build a business to support herself and her kids.

On the first night of class, Sonja is able to ignore the fact that most of the students were younger than her by ten years or more. It was what she expected. But when the instructor walks in, she debates packing up here new twelve hundred dollar laptop and walking out.

Sonja couldn’t remember the last time she looked at a man with little more interest than she give a sturdy dining room table. She was just disinterested.

But wow, did Atlas James grab her interest.

Atlas hasn’t been interested in dating since he moved back home California. Adjusting to new found success in the town where everyone sees him as that big, geeky guy who cut grass for pocket change when they were in high school has been awkward. Aside from a couple of one night stands, he hasn’t really wanted to pursue a relationship with anyone until sweet, shy Sonja signs up for his class.

Compact, curvy, and juicy in all the right places, being in the same room Sonja Watts ignites all of those giddy feelings he felt when he had his first crush. He wants to know her and he’s pretty sure she wants to know him — despite the age difference that she seems to be so fixated on.

With her future riding on the success of her new business, Sonja has no time for distraction. Will she be able to keep her eyes on her own paper or will they remain glued to Atlas’s biceps and thick thighs?

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chapter one  

Sonja

The strip of shops, eateries, and galleries in The Village of West Greenville were dark and quiet when I pulled my Subaru into the parking lot a few blocks away from The CoWorking Spot. In the last few years, this part of town had experienced some growth with the arrival of a few restaurants and specialty shops. But that was just a handful of businesses; most of which closed at or around six o’clock, leaving the streets quiet on a late summer evening. I took advantage of this moment of quiet. Closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths to settle the nervous butterflies in my stomach.

About a month ago, I allowed myself to be convinced to sign up for a six-week entrepreneurship course— something I’ve been regretting since the day the payment cleared. 

What makes me think I could run my own business? 

The only thing I’d managed in the last ten years was a household, and occasionally, the front desk at my ex-husband’s real estate offices. Those skills didn’t necessarily translate into the sort of hustle one needed to be an entrepreneur. But at the time, my sisters Birdie and Agostina, as well as my friend Estelle, made it seem like a great idea to start a business with the skincare products I made from the herbs and medicinal flowers in my garden. And I agreed. Or maybe the gallon of wine I drank that night agreed because now that I was sitting in my car with my brand new laptop, in a brand new laptop bag, I wondered if I’d temporarily lost my mind.

The Bluetooth in my car announced that I had an incoming call from Estelle Murphy.

“Hello?”

“Get out of the car, Sonja,” she ordered. 

“Why did I let you talk me into this?” I groaned and opened the car door, slightly annoyed that she knew me so well. 

“Because you’re more than ready for it. We’ve gone through this. Get out of the car, and I’ll walk down there with you.” 

“Okay. I’m coming.”

I’d arrived a good forty minutes early, mostly because I needed to stop by Ink Blue Yoga to get a pep talk from my Estelle. 

Ink Blue, Estelle’s yoga studio,was one of my favorite places. The front windows went floor to ceiling, which made the interior look and feel bright and warm. The smooth, shiny hardwood floors were warm in the winter months and cool in the summer. They welcomed bare feet and I almost wanted to drop my bags, strip down and get in a few vinyasas. Estelle was good at this business thing and was brilliant at getting her studio seen. If I checked our town’s hashtag on Instagram on any given day, her yoga studio always showed up in the top nine. 

“Hey, Soni,” my friend said and gave me a knowing look as I came in. “Amelia?” 

The woman sweeping at the far end of the studio looked up.

“I’m going to walk Soni down to the The Coworking Spot. I’ll be right back.”

“No, problem. I’ll get everything set up for the six-thirty class.” 

She grabbed two bottles of water out of the cold case near the cash wrap and handed me one. I opened it and followed her back out to the sidewalk. 

“Okay,” she said. “Out with it. What are you feeling right now?”

I gnawed on my bottom lip. “I’m nervous.”

“Be specific.”

“I’m probably going to be the oldest person in the class —”

“And that matters because…?”

“It makes me feel self-conscious. It’s been years since I’ve been in a classroom. I’m not sure if I can learn everything I need to know to make this thing work.”

“Sonja, you’re one of the smartest people I know. You’ll be fine.”

“How can you say I’ll be fine? It took me six days to figure out how to use this fucking computer you made me buy.”

Estelle laughed at me, and I joined her, realizing how pathetic I sounded. Doing something new was always scary. But it had been so long since I’d done anything new that this felt huge. She grabbed my hand as we walked the remaining two blocks to the building that hosted The Entrepreneur Academy.

“There’s no need to be intimidated by anything you’re presented with today. You’re there to learn, and the instructor is there to teach you. Who’s your instructor again?”

I laughed and rolled my eyes. “You sound like you’re escorting your kid to their first day of elementary school.”

“Aren’t I?” she joked.

I pulled up the email they sent me after I registered for the class. “My instructor is someone named Atlas James. You know him?”

Estelle gasped, and her steps faltered a bit. “Yeah… yeah, I know him.”

“What was that reaction about?” 

“Uh, nothing. Atlas James is … he’s an amazing teacher. I learned a lot from him.”

“Yeah, but you gasped.”

Estelle cleared her throat and smirked. “You’ll see.”

We arrived at the doors, and I turned to her with a smile. “So, I’ll meet you next door when the class is over so we can have some drinks?”

“Oh, most definitely! Relax, and have fun. It’s not nearly as hard as you think it will be. Especially not with Atlas teaching. I think you’re really going to enjoy yourself.”

I rolled my eyes. “Bye, Estelle.” 

Still laughing at my friend, I went inside the coworking space that doubled as the Entrepreneur Academyclassroom on evenings and weekends. From what I read online, the two people who owned the business and ran the programs were dedicated to helping an underserved group of entrepreneurs get a foothold in the economy growing in Greenville. The businesses that students started after attending the Academy were conscientious and interested in blending into existing community. That was precisely the kind of business I wanted to build; one that felt so familiar that my customers could easily imagine the hands that made the products and feel connected to the process. 

I’d entered on the street level across from the Village Journal into a small lobby and seating area. 

“Hi!” a young girl sitting behind the desk said with a smile. “Welcome to The CoWorking Spot. I’m, Chloe. Can I help you?”

“Uh, yes. Hi, Chloe. I’m here for the Entrepreneur Academy Course?”

“Ah, yes. Could you just sign in for me? They’ll be meeting in the Community Classroom at the big table down there,” she said, jerking her thumb over her shoulder. “But you’re a little early, so feel free to grab a cup of coffee and look around or just hang out up here. Atlas is around here somewhere.”

“Okay, thanks,” I said as I signed in.

When I was done, I adjusted my bag on my shoulder and made my way down the steps to the Community Classroom. The big table was in an open area, with about ten or fifteen chairs around it. The group was far smaller than I anticipated it would be, and for some reason, that made me feel even more nervous. That and the fact that this Atlas person was somewhere in the building and if no one else arrived soon, I would be the first to meet him. All that tittering Estelle had done on the sidewalk made me wonder what the hell I was in for.

After choosing a seat on the far end of the table away from the big screen TV  as the place to drop my laptop bag, I went back up to the lobby to grab a cup of that free coffee the girl at the desk had offered me. I was still considering the dark, strong-smelling brew when a young man bounded up the stairs. 

I swear my mouth went so dry that my tongue stuck to the roof of it. 

“Hi!” he said cheerily, his lips splitting into a grin that lit up his face. And Jesus Christ was it a gorgeous face. He had smooth dark skin and the sort of distinctive features that were so unusual that it was hard to look at him without really staring. Full lips, a broad nose, and bedroom eyes with thick lashes that squinted when he smiled like he was doing now.

“Hello,” I managed to croak, unable to tear my eyes away even though he was standing next to me now, and I had to look up, up, up to meet his gaze. This man was tall and built like he could plow my north field without a horse, with shoulders that he could probably throw a woman-sized stack of potatoes over. And by woman-sized, I meant me. I would like to be that woman-sized sack of potatoes.

That thought startled me. I couldn’t remember the last time I looked at a man with little more interest than I gave a sturdy dining room table.

“Trying to get that last dose of caffeine in, huh?” he said casually as if his deep baritone wasn’t designed to disintegrate my panties the moment he opened his mouth.

“Uh, yeah. I usually try not to drink coffee this late. It tends to mess with my sleep, but I’m not usually out after this hour, so—” 

What the hell was I even saying? Why was I talking about my caffeine intake like some old lady who needed to be at home before nine to make sure she took her remedies?

“I hear that,” the young man said as he tore open two sugar packets with the edge of his bright white teeth. His tongue swiped at a loose granule, and my pussy clenched like I knew how that tongue would feel between my thighs.

Look away, Sonja. Look a-damn-way. 

He gestured at the still empty cup in my hand with the carafe of coffee in his hand, offering to fill it up.

“Yes, please.” I held out the paper cup in my now trembling hand. “Thank you,” I said once it was filled and finally turned toward the coffee station to add some sugar and cream. 

“No, problem. I’ll see you down there,” he said, a smirk in the corner of his full lips. 

“Oh! You’re here for the Entrepreneur Academy thing?”

He pivoted around the corner to make his way back down the stairs. With his eyes on me, his smirk shifted into a smile. “I’m the instructor,” he said just before he disappeared from view.

“Holy fuck … that’s Atlas James?” 

“Yes, ma’am, it is,” the girl behind the desk said with a wistful sigh.

Leaving the cup of untouched coffee on the bar, I ducked into the nearest bathroom to call my so-called friend. Her self-satisfied giggle met my ears when she finally decided to pick up the phone. 

“Really, Estelle?”

“What? 

“You could have warned me that my instructor was a real-life action hero, so I didn’t embarrass myself by drooling and blubbering like an idiot.”

“You drooled and blubbered like an idiot? That’s surprising. I didn’t think he would get that much of a reaction out of you.”

“And what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Sonja,” she began gently. “I’ve known you for almost nine years, and I’ve never heard you so much as sigh at the sight of a pretty man. Even men that are universally handsome never seemed to move the meter for you.”

I scoffed. “Yeah, well, Atlas James sure as hell did.”

“Mmmhmm… six weeks of class with him was not an unpleasant experience.” 

“Estelle! You’re happily married!”

“I’m married, not dead, Sonja.” 

“I get that, but…”

“Yes, I allowed myself to enjoy his personage, then I went home to my husband. And since you no longer have one of those, none of that should matter to you.”

“I have no intentions on—”

“I gotta go. The six-thirty power hour is about to start. I’ll meet you for drinks, and we can talk about how Atlas made you squirm in your seat for an hour and a half.” Then she hung up before I could respond. 

I glared at my phone’s darkening screen for a moment and tried to figure out if there was a way that I could sneak downstairs, grab my new bag and twelve-hundred-dollar laptop, and duck out before the class started. because I couldn’t sit in the same room with that man. Hell, maybe I didn’t need to grab my stuff. Estelle could drive me home. My kids were there, so I didn’t need to worry about how I would get in. I could pick up my bag in the morning or some other time when I was sure he wouldn’t be here. Then I would quit the class because a woman my age should not be subjected to a man that young and that fine for six-long weeks without any sort of satisfaction. 

Satisfaction? I mean, seriously. What satisfaction did I want from this man? And more importantly, what satisfaction would he be willing to give? Did I want to know? Goddamn, he had successfully scrambled my brain. This was not right or okay.

I glanced in the mirror and smoothed my hand over my newly cropped hair. Around the same time that I allowed myself to be convinced to sign up for this course, my sister Agostina thought it was a good idea to chop off all of my hair. “A woman who cuts her hair is about to make big changes in her life,” or some foolishness she’d parroted from a mindfulness blog she read. Initially, I thought the cut looked cute. Fun. Now I just looked like a middle-aged woman who’d lobbed off her hair and dyed it to hide the grey.

I sighed and shook my head at myself, then turned on the water to wash my hands. I was making too big a deal out of this. He probably didn’t even notice that I’d drooled over him. I wasn’t unattractive, but I’d long ago realized that I’d become invisible to a specific type of man and definitely a certain age bracket. Atlas James fit that demographic. Yeah… I was worried about the wrong thing. 

By the time I made my way out of the bathroom and toward the low murmur of conversation in the Community Classroom, I’d convinced myself that I was overreacting. I’d only assumed that he had noticed me noticing him. That didn’t make it true. 

And I believed that until I realized that my bag had been moved to a seat other than where I’d left it. It was now in front of a chair closer to the middle of the table…

Right across from where Atlas was setting up his laptop and unloading his backpack. 

I glanced toward the place I’d left my things and saw that two girls were huddled there now. How wrong would it be if I put on my mom-voice and bullied them out of their seats? 

“Decided against the coffee?” Atlas asked, pulling me out of my reverie.

“Uh… yeah. I had a couple of sips, but I’m jittery enough. It would have been a mistake.”

“I probably should have done the same, but you know…Y.O.L.O.”

I cringed inwardly. “Yeah…Y.O.L.O.,” I echoed then pulled out the chair. 

My son used that horrible slang phrase when he was in middle school. Was this Atlas in the same age bracket? Now I felt a little gross about lusting over someone who was probably only a few years older than my high school-age son. 

Yuck

I laughed at myself again. Unloaded my bag. 

Stay on task, Sonja.

“Okay… It looks like everyone is here!” Atlas said. “Let’s get started.” He clapped his hands together and moved toward the front of the room. “Welcome to The CoWorking Spot. I’m Atlas James, and I’m going to be your instructor for this cohort of the Entrepreneur Academy. A little bit about me…Yes, my name is really Atlas, but I don’t think my mother named me that in anticipation of me having shoulders big and strong enough to carry the world on them, but it helps that I grew into it.”

We all laughed at that, and he seemed to relax a little bit. “I’m a business coach for creative people who want to use their talents to make money. I’ve been at that for a little over six years, and before that, my best friend and I built a tiny home in a step-up panel truck and I traveled to every state in the continental US. I have two degrees, business and MBA in marketing, both of which used to build and run this business. Now…” He looked from one end of the table to the next, and then his eyes settled on me. “I’d like to get to know all of you.”

My mouth suddenly went dry, and my nipples drew up into tight little buds against the thin silken fabric of my bra. I folded my arms, leaned forward on the table, and prayed that he didn’t ask me to go first. Nothing but squawking high pitched sounds would come out of me if he did. 

Atlas smiled at me then turned his attention to one of the young girls at the far end of the table. 

Thank God

“You there in the pink sweater. State your name, state your business.”

Everyone at the table was at least ten or more years younger than me. They had internet jobs that I’d never heard of before — like social media manager and content strategist — that they’d joined the Entrepreneur Academy to grow. None of them had a business that sounded anything like mine. 

“And what about you, Miss…” Atlas pushed up the sleeves of his henley and pointed at me.

My brain short-circuited. 

“Sonja…” I stammered. Yes, that’s my name. “Sonja Watts and I want to open an online store to sell natural soaps, essential oils, hand, and body cremes, and maybe teas using recipes created by my Gullah grandmother.”

The room fell silent. 

“Excuse me…Sonja?” one of the girls at the end of the table began. She was sitting across from the girl in the pink sweater. I think her name was Ashley.

“Yes?”

“What is a Gullah exactly? You mean, like Gullah, Gullah Island? That show that used to come on Disney?” Ashley asked with a giggle that her friend in the pink sweater echoed. 

Atlas turned his attentions to Ashley and regarded her for a long critical moment. “Gullah people are Coastal Carolina African Americans who have maintained most of their West African culture, to include language and traditions,” he explained finally. “They practice a lot of holistic medicine through cherished recipes passed down through generations.” He looked at me again, his eyes soft and…was that appreciation I saw there? “I imagine your business will be no different than someone starting their own beauty brand.”

“I imagine so…” I said, feeling for the first time in an hour that I was right where I was supposed to be.

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ABOUT TASHA L. HARRISON

Often accused of navigating life without a filter, Tasha L. Harrison has managed to brand herself as the author who crafts characters and stories that make you feel all of the feels. She writes African American, interracial and intercultural erotica and erotic romance with heroines just as brazen, emotionally messy, and dramatic as herself and heroes that love them anyway.

She lives in Upstate South Carolina with her handsome hubbie, two not-so-smallish men, and one super needy boxer dog. When she’s not writing filth, she’s riding around with the top down on her Jeep Wrangler, Amber, blasting Southern Rock and pretending she’s in love with the mountains when she really misses the ocean.

She also edits romance and erotica because love stories are her business.

Tasha’s work and information on her editing rates and services can be found at tashalharrison.com.

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REDESIGNING HAPPINESS BY NITA BROOKS

REDESIGNING HAPPINESS BY NITA BROOKS

Real life is a work in progress… #DesignYourLife

It wasn’t easy for Yvonne Cable to get over a heartbreaking relationship and revamp her life. But now the once-broke single mom is Atlanta’s most sought-after interior designer—and one-half of the media’s hottest power couple. She and her celebrity fiancé, Nathan, are a perfect, practical match, on—and off—camera. And with their new home improvement reality show the object of a fierce network bidding war, there’s no limit to how far they can go . . . 

But Yvonne is stunned when mogul Richard Barrington III unexpectedly makes an offer for their program. He’s the man she thought left her for a more successful woman. And he’s the father of her son—though he didn’t know it until now. Richard wants to get to know their boy, and Yvonne agrees, though she’s wary. Yet little by little, she’s finding it hard to resist the responsible, caring man Richard has become. But when a scandalous leak puts everything Yvonne’s worked for at risk, she’ll have to look beyond surfaces to come to terms with who she is—and discover what she truly wants.

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ABOUT NITA BROOKS

A reading addict, self-professed connoisseur of home improvement shows, and a collector of teapots, Nita Brooks resides in South Carolina with her family. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter at @AuthorNitaB.

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