If You Want Me

If You Want Me

4.2 18
by Kayla Perrin

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Alice Watson's no longer the shy, overweight girl everyone dissed back in high school—everyone, that is, except Marcus Quinn, her one-time best friend who ended up trampling all over her heart. Now, thirteen years later, Alice is tall, stunning, sensational . . . and a genuine movie star who goes by the name of Desirée LaCroix. And passion's flame starts


Alice Watson's no longer the shy, overweight girl everyone dissed back in high school—everyone, that is, except Marcus Quinn, her one-time best friend who ended up trampling all over her heart. Now, thirteen years later, Alice is tall, stunning, sensational . . . and a genuine movie star who goes by the name of Desirée LaCroix. And passion's flame starts smoking again when she sees that handsome Marcus still has it going on. But is it Alice or her famous Hollywood persona who's got his beautiful brown eyes wide open?

Marcus's own heart has gone through major achin' since back in the day. And the reappearance of Alice/Desirée seems to spell bigtime trouble. Still, this proud, sexy sista could make Marcus forget the pain and his promise not to let a fine face and figure turn his head ever again. And even though the lady's got drama—and there's serious danger doggin' her trail—this could be the time for cautious Marcus to commit to a perfect love that he once let get too far away.

Editorial Reviews

Eric Jerome Dickey
A. . .writer that everyone should read. She combines mystery and romance with ease.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Chapter One

Thirteen years later...

"Hey, isn't that ...

"Oh, my God. Is that Desirée LaCroix?"

Alice heard the hushed whispers and buzz around her as she walked purposefully through the corridor. She saw the curious stares. Even with dark sunglasses on and her hair pulled back in a ponytail, people often recognized her in public.

Today, that public place was a crowded Chicago hospital.

Her brisk pace made it clear that she wasn't here to sign T-shirts or notepads or anything else. Who in a hospital was? Like everyone else in these packed corridors, she was here to visit a patient.

Not just any patient. Her mother.

Alice's pace faltered for a brief moment as the realization of the situation dawned on her again. She could hardly believe she was truly here, that her mother had actually had a heart attack. The last time she'd talked to her mother, she'd told Alice never to come back to Chicago, and Alice had heeded her command. Until now. Now, the hard, cold woman Alice had considered indestructible could actually die. When her sister, Marie, had called to tell her the news, Alice had felt something she hadn't felt in years — remorse and regret, and the overwhelming feeling that she needed to see her mother before it was too late.

If for no other reason than to finally look her in the eye and ask her why she didn't love her.

"Psst. Look."

Alice didn't break her stride as she rounded the comer and headed for the elevators. Mane had told her the room number and wing where her mother was in Cook County Hospital. The woman at the information desk had pointed herin the right direction.

Her anxiety built as she rode up in the elevator, watching the numbers illuminate to indicate which floor they were on.

When the elevator doors finally parted, Alice was filled with a sudden sense of dread. What if her mother didn't want to see her? What if she'd come all this way for nothing?

She turned right, glanced at the first few doors, saw the numbers were going up, not down, then pivoted on her heel and headed in the other direction. As she reached room 612, she slowed and inhaled a shaky breath, praying she could compose herself. Even after all this time and how far she'd come in her life, Alice was actually afraid to walk into the room and see her mother.

She opened the door and stepped inside.

Alice wasn't prepared for the emotions that overwhelmed her as she looked inside the room and saw an empty bed. Not yet, she thought. Oh, God, not yet.

She stepped further into the room, her head now aching from the urge to cry, but the tears wouldn't come. There was a vase of yellow carnations on one side of the bed and two cards on the other. Lifting a card, she saw it was from her niece, Mia, to her mother. Yes, this was her mother's room.

But her mother wasn't here.

Oh, God. Was she too late?

At the sound of someone entering the room, Alice whirled around. Marie stood in the doorway, a Styrofoam cup in her hand, and a startled expression on her face.

"Marie." Alice could hardly breathe. "Where's Mom?"

"In surgery. You didn't think —"

"I didn't know what to think. Oh, Marie." Alice practically flew toward her and wrapped her in an embrace. It was an instinctive move, but awkward nonetheless. She and Marie weren't exactly close.

" Alice."

Alice pulled back and looked at her sister for the first time in years. Her hair was drastically shorter than it had been the last time Alice had seen her, slicked back off her face and held in place with gel. It was no longer black but auburn. It suited her oval-shaped face. Marie had put on weight over the years, but it had all gone to her hips and waist, not her face.

One side of Marie's lips lifted in a half smile but her expression was wary. There were dark circles under her eyes, proof that she'd spent a sleepless night.

"Last night you told me that she didn't want the surgery."

"The doctors were finally able to talk some sense into her. I called you a couple hours ago to tell you she'd changed her mind, but you'd already left."

"Triple bypass?" Alice asked.

"Yeah." Marie's voice was faint.

"So this is serious."

"Pretty much so. There's extensive blockage in her heart. Thank God Mia was with her at the time. If we'd all gone to bed..." Her voice trailed off and ended with a sniffle.

"Was she conscious before she went to surgery?" Alice asked.


"Did she ask for me?"

Marie shook her head.

Alice turned then and walked to the window She stared outside but barely registered anything other than the bright sky. What had she expected? That her mother would have clutched Mane's hand before surgery and begged her to call her? Scenes like that only played out in Hollywood movies, not real life.

Alice faced her sister. "Where's Mia?"

"In school. I didn't want her to miss the day."

Silence fell over them, heavy and oppressive. There were so many things Alice wanted to say, so many things she was afraid to say The truth was, her sister was a virtual stranger She knew she'd married her high school sweetheart, Chad Greenley, had one child, then divorced three years later. That was about it.

"I can't believe how good you look," Marie finally said, a hint of wonder in her voice. "I guess the cameras don't he."

"Thanks," Alice told her, a feeling of disappointment tickling her nape. But she should have known Marie would make some comment about her weight, even though she'd been slim and trim for over ten years now...

Meet the Author

Kayla Perrin's acclaimed novels include The Sweet Spot, Tell Me You Love Me, and the Essence bestseller Sisters of Theta Phi Kappa. A certified teacher, Kayla also works in the Toronto film industry as an actress, having appeared in many TV shows, commercials, and movies, and was the 2002 recipient of the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Multicultural Romance.

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If You Want Me 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Close to graduating high school, overweight and pickable Alice Watson wants two things in life: Marcus Quinn and a career as an actress. No one except her father and Marcus believes that Alice should go to Los Angeles. Even her mother disses Alice¿s dreams as a LaLaland fantasy because no one will hire an obese African-American in filmdom. When Marcus asks Alice for advice about another girl, she concludes that her best friend will never see her as his lover. That sends Alice to LA upon graduation.

Thirteen years later, Alice returns home to nurse her mother, recovering from a heart attack. However, the Alice who goes home is not the same person who left town, as she is beautiful, glamorous, and confident. She tries to mend the break with her mom and seeks out the now divorced Marcus, who she still loves. However, will he see her as his old bud, a quick bed, or finally, the loving other half that will make life complete for both of them?

This ethnic romantic remake of the ¿Ugly Duckling¿ theme will captivate the audience with its charming plot and delightful cast. The lead couple is a swan and a hunk whose relationship makes the novel a joy to read. However, the depth to the tale belongs to Alice¿s efforts to patch up her relationships especially with her mother and sister. Readers will want more novels like IF YOU WANT ME from Kayla Perrin, who eloquently states that a person can go home.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fair read started out great but some parts slow but good enough to hold my attention finish to the end well written could have been more excitment in some parts but overall recommend will keep in my collection 
nishaboo407 More than 1 year ago
Just read this book i truly enjoyed it from beginning to end will surely be reading a book from this author again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a nice read kind of slow in some places but a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good read! Classic ugly duckling turned beautiful princess!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well this is my first time coming across this author and I must say that I'm going to go on ahead and cop this book. I'm going on the comments that are posted. I do hope that its worth it. Trust I will be back to make another statement! Happy Reading Nook Lovers... Devotion143
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Could not put this book down. The first six pages had me. I like easy reading and to the point. This books brings so many standards to mind. It makes obvious that one can have whatever it is you want out of life if you BELIEVE. Another important point this book makes is about the power of forgiveness and the love and acceptance of your family and that no matter how much money you have it will not bring you permanent happiness.Only momentary. It also makes note of how no matter how kind you are to people, you will not and can not make everyone happy. This is a powerful read. I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Add another up and coming African-American author to the list in Kayla Perrin. This book was a fascinating read that had me hooked from the opening pages. It was fun to read about Alice overcoming all of the problems that drove her to leave Chicago for Hollywood. Looking forward to Ms. Perrin's next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alice Watson had an emotionally unstable family life. Her only safety zone is her father. He seems the only one in her family that believes she can do anything. But that would soon fail, because her father died and now she really felt all alone. At school Alice is always laughed at and talked about. Alice wondered would she ever find any peace. Well, she found it in acting. When Alice was acting she felt nothing and nobody could harm her. She had a good friend Marcus Quinn. Alice always looked up to Marcus for encouragement. After a while, Alice fell in love with Marcus. Marcus confides in her and she feels very close to him. One day Marcus tells her that he is going to ask Tanisha one of the most popular girls in school to be his bride. Alice thought she was going to die... But she didn't she left home after graduation and became an actress. Thirteen years later, Alice was good at her craft and made a name for herself. After her mother is admitted to the hospital for heart trouble, she has to come back to her hometown of Chicago and face all of her demons including her mother. She finds Marcus and Tanisha divorced, leaving Marcus a bitter man when it comes to women. She surprised her ex-classmates with her celebrity status. She felt good about doing well inspite of what they thought about her. There were alot of things happening in this book. I like the suspense, but when I found out who done it, I thought the reasons could have been more powerful than they were. I liked the story very much, but wanted to knock Marcus out!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If You Want Me is the best book with romance ever, It was really good and I loved the details that it gave in the story. I read this book about three times! It's really great!!!!!