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No Compromise

No Compromise

4.3 40
by Rochelle Alers

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As the driven executive director of The Sanctuary, a program dedicated to reaching out to victimized women, Jolene Walker has neither the time nor the energy for a personal life...until she meets United States Army Captain Michael Kirkland, a sexy, powerfully compelling intelligence expert who tempts her to trade in her eighteen-hour work days for sultry nights of


As the driven executive director of The Sanctuary, a program dedicated to reaching out to victimized women, Jolene Walker has neither the time nor the energy for a personal life...until she meets United States Army Captain Michael Kirkland, a sexy, powerfully compelling intelligence expert who tempts her to trade in her eighteen-hour work days for sultry nights of sizzling passion. But their bliss is shattered when Jolene takes on a mysterious new client whose deadly secrets plunge her into a terrifying world of danger, leaving Michael no choice but to risk everything to save the woman he loves...

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Driven by a need to protect others from the same fate as her twin sister, murdered by an abusive husband, Jolene Walker becomes director of The Sanctuary, an agency that helps addicted, abused women. U.S. Army Captain Michael Blanchard Kirkland, on a six-month leave from the Pentagon to avoid sexual harassment from his general, meets Jolene on a blind date and finds himself immediately attracted to her. But they've both had problems with relationships before. As her romantic life picks up, the rest of Jolene's world falls apart. Someone vandalizes The Sanctuary. An attempt is made on her life. One of her clients is murdered. Alers paints such vivid descriptions that when Jolene becomes the target of a murderer, you almost feel as though someone you know is in great danger. Fans of the romantic suspense of Iris Johansen, Linda Howard, and Catherine Coulter will enjoy this first installment of the "Hideaway Sons and Brothers Trilogy," part of the continuing saga of the "Hideaway Legacy." Shelley Mosley, Glendale P.L., AZ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Kimani Arabesque Series
Product dimensions:
4.21(w) x 6.62(h) x 1.01(d)

Read an Excerpt

No Compromise

By Rochelle Alers

Kimani Press

Copyright © 2007 Rochelle Alers
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780373830183

“I can’t believe you’re actually leaving, sir.”

United States Army Captain Michael Blanchard Kirkland glanced over his shoulder when he heard the familiar voice; his grim expression softened as he stared at his assistant standing at attention in the doorway of the small space he shared with another military aide. A slight smile tilted the corners of his firm mouth.

“At ease, Franklin.” He turned back to filling the canvas bag on his desk. “You’ve got a serious case of denial.”

Second Lieutenant Kyle Franklin stepped into the office and closed the door. His dark gaze lingered on the tall, perfectly proportioned physique of Michael Kirkland in civilian clothes. He’d seen his superior officer out of uniform many times over the past year, but only outside the Pentagon. The realization that Captain Kirkland was to begin an official leave of absence saddened him, because he’d enjoyed serving as his assistant. “I just hoped you’d change your mind, sir.”

Michael pushed a small leather-bound planner into the bag and zipped it. He was finished. Now, all he had to do was walk out of the world’s largest office building, retrieve his car, drive to the 14th Street Bridge, cross the Potomac River, and make it to his residence inGeorgetown and freedom.

He’d spent the past four years waging an undeclared cold war with General Harry Cooper—a war that could only end without a winner. General Cooper wanted from him what he was unable to give any man: his passion. That he reserved for women only.

At first he thought he’d imagined the two-star general’s subtle interest in his private life, but as one year became two, three, and then eventually four, he knew that the older career officer would never approve his request to return to his former post as a highly trained military intelligence officer. And because Coop, as most of his staff referred to him, had become more aggressive with his sexual advances Michael had requested and was finally granted an official six-month leave.

Coop was livid once his aide had gone over his head to solicit the approval, but there was little he could do to contest it after the request was authorized by the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Lieutenant Franklin did not understand that he had to leave before he was court-martialed. And if General Cooper had made an attempt to physically touch him, he would’ve forfeited his life; what Michael had to decide was whether he would dispatch Coop quickly, silently, and mercifully, or make him suffer until he begged to die.

However, Captain Michael Kirkland had no intention of spending the rest of his life in a military prison, so he’d opted to temporarily walk away from a way of life that had become as essential to him as breathing. He loved every phase of the military—from the tactical maneuvers to the special training operations—as much as he loathed Harry Cooper for forcing him to retreat to civilian life, much like a coward deserting his post.

Reaching for a lightweight khaki jacket hanging from a coat tree, he slipped his arms into the sleeves, then, without a backward glance, walked out of the office and out of the Pentagon.

Quickening his pace, he made his way to the parking lot and his assigned parking space. Pressing a button on a keyless remote device, he opened a door to a late-model SUV and placed the bag behind the driver’s seat before slipping behind the wheel; minutes later he left the boundaries of the Pentagon behind. Late-afternoon traffic moved quickly, and half an hour later he unlocked the door to the converted carriage house he’d purchased three years before. It was now his permanent and legal residence. It had become a sanctuary—a place where he shut out military deceit and simulations, but as he crossed the foyer and walked into the yawning space that had been set up as a living-dining room, it suddenly felt like it was a prison without bars. He had six months, one hundred eighty days, to decide whether he would continue his military career or become a civilian.

At thirty-two, he was still young enough to consider another career. His credentials were impeccable: He’d graduated with honors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and during his tenure in Washington he’d returned to college and earned a law degree.

Running a slender hand over his coarse, black, close-cropped hair, Michael closed his eyes and inhaled deeply before slowly letting out his breath. He repeated the act a half-dozen times, feeling some of his tension and anxiety easing. He opened his eyes and the clear green orbs shimmered with confidence under a sweep of incredibly long, thick black lashes. He wouldn’t think of his future—not now.

A clock on the mantel of a massive fireplace chimed the quarter hour. It was five forty-five. He’d promised he would attend a surprise birthday celebration for his friend’s mother. The engraved invitation indicated cocktails would be served promptly at seven.

Climbing a winding wrought-iron staircase that led to a loft containing a trio of bedrooms, he pulled the hem of his shirt from the waistband of his slacks. A slight smile curved his mouth. A social gathering was what he needed to take his mind off his uncertain future. It had been months since he’d accepted a social invitation, and he knew the McDonald soiree would only be a temporary diversion; but he was willing to accept anything at this time.

He would take the time given him, and before his leave ended he would determine where life would direct him.

The telephone rang, startling Jolene Walker. She’d been so absorbed in writing the first draft of a grant proposal that she’d shut out everything around her. It rang again, the flashing light indicating the call had come in on her private line. Glancing at the small brass clock on her desk, she noted the time, frowning. It was 4:30. How had the afternoon slipped away so quickly?

Picking up the receiver before the third ring, she said softly, “Jolene Walker.”

“Jolene, it’s Stuart.”

Vertical lines appeared between her large, expressive dark eyes. She’d registered a tremor in his voice. “What’s the matter?”

“I’m calling from the emergency room at Johns Hopkins.” Her pulse skipped a beat. “What happened?”

“It’s Keisha. She fell out of a tree at her grandmother’s and broke her wrist. Trina called me at work, hysterical. I had to come. I’m sorry about tonight. I’ve decided to spend the night in Baltimore. I don’t want to leave Keisha right now.” His words were running together.

“Don’t apologize, Stuart. Your daughter needs you.” What she didn’t say was that Keisha’s mother probably needed him, too. “And please don’t worry about tonight.”

A heavy sigh of relief came through the earpiece. “Thanks, Jolene. You’ve just taken a lot of pressure off me.”



“May I make a suggestion?”

“Sure. What?”

“I think you and Trina should consider a reconciliation.” A profound pause followed. “I…we’ve talked about it a few times.”

“Talk some more,” she suggested in a soothing tone.

“Maybe I can get her to agree to come with me to see you for marital counseling.”

“I can’t be your therapist. It wouldn’t be ethical.”

“Why not?”

“We’re seeing each other.”

“That’s true. But remember, Jolene, we’re not sleeping together.”

“It doesn’t matter. You and I have a personal association. If you’re serious, then I can always recommend another counselor.”

“I’ll talk to Trina and see what she says. I’ve got to go. The orthopedist just walked in.”

The call ended with a dial tone. He’d hung up abruptly. Raising her eyebrows, Jolene held the receiver for several seconds, then replaced the receiver in its cradle. Now she was faced with her own personal dilemma. She needed a date for a catered dinner party.

Drumming her fingertips on a stack of papers, she closed her eyes. She could call and cancel, but quickly dispelled the notion. Claire McDonald was board chairperson of the organization that employed Jolene as its executive director. Not attending Claire’s birthday celebration, even if it was a surprise, would be tantamount to treason.

She opened her eyes. It was two and a half hours before the affair, too late to call anyone to fill in for Stuart—not that she had a list of names of men who were beating down her door to date her. That time had passed.

After she’d ended her marriage to Cheney Clarke, there had been a number of single, African-American men in the nation’s capital and surrounding environs who’d openly admitted they’d been waiting until her divorce was finalized; men who were more than aware that her marriage had been doomed even before it began. But this was now, five years later, and she didn’t have a date for tonight. She had only agreed to go out with Stuart Richardson because it was mutually agreeable. He did not want to get too involved, and neither did she.

Pulling her lower lip between her teeth, she knew she had to think of a solution—quickly. As a social worker, she had pat answers for everyone but herself. Shaking her head, she reached for the telephone and punched in a number, waiting for a familiar voice.

“Sutton residence.”

A smile parted her lips once she heard the greeting. “I have a problem, Paige.”

A throaty feminine laugh came through the wire. “If you have a problem, then the world must be coming to an end.”

“I’m not kidding,” Jolene said. The three words came out between clenched teeth. “I don’t have a date for tonight.”

“I thought you were coming with Stuart.”

“His daughter had an accident.” “Was it serious?”

“She broke her wrist.”

“That is serious. You’re still coming, aren’t you?”

“That’s why I’m calling. I—”

“I know you’re not going to miss my mother’s party just because you don’t have a date,” Paige said, interrupting her.

“It was you who insisted upon having couples.”

“And I will have couples. Last night when I went over the guest list with my socially deficient brother, he informed me that he’d invited a guy he met when he attended graduate school in Japan.”

“Is this guy coming unescorted?”

“That’s what he told Damon.”

Jolene let out her breath in an audible sigh. At least she wouldn’t have to sit at a table by herself. Paige’s invitation indicated a dinner party featuring a French theme: bistro tables with two chairs at each were to be set up on the Suttons’ expansive outdoor patio, with a medley of French dishes, desserts, wines, and champagnes to be served.

“What does he look like?”

“I don’t know. But we’ll find out soon enough.”

“I’m certain we will.” There was a hint of laughter in Jolene’s voice. “I’ll see you at seven.”

Ending the call, she put her desk in order. As the director of an agency offering comprehensive services to substance-abusing, battered women, she had dedicated her life to the clients who sought to reclaim their lives through sobriety and empowerment. Her dedication to her career was complete and absolute. She’d sacrificed her own short-lived marriage, spent most of her savings, and continued to forfeit a conventional social life in order to make the Sanctuary an ongoing success.

Her platonic relationship with Stuart was straightforward and undemanding. He was still in love with his ex-wife, and Jolene had no desire to remarry. They shared dinner, an occasional movie or concert, ending each date with a chaste kiss and a promise to do it again.

She’d given Paige her word she would attend the surprise dinner party because she’d declined two prior events hosted by her best friend. A knowing smile curved her lush mouth. Paige was definitely her mother’s daughter. She, too, had become a D.C. social maven.

Claire McDonald née Nelson and her husband, Walter, were descendants of two of the oldest and most prominent Washington, D.C., African-American families. And the prerequisites for becoming a Nelson or a McDonald had been established more than a century ago: marry well, marry educated, and marry light—the lighter the better. There were a few members from both families who were so fair in coloring that some had passed over into the white race. However, most conformed to the established family rules—except Paige. She had fallen in love with a dark-skinned man who, at the time, was a detective with the Chicago Police Department.

Claire had barely recovered from her daughter’s insubordination when she’d had to cope with the announcement that her son, Damon, had proposed marriage to Melissa Kyoto. Damon had met Melissa after she’d come to the States to pursue a medical career. His love affair with all things Japanese had extended to an affair of the heart. It was said that a collective groan of despair was released from young, single D.C. African-American women everywhere once Damon’s engagement made the society section of the Washington Post.

Gathering her handbag and leather tote, Jolene wondered if Damon’s friend was Japanese. She’d never dated any man outside her own race, but there was always the first time. After all, she mused, it was only for one night.

Jolene walked to the door of the office bearing her name and position, flicked a wall switch, turning off an overhead light, and then closed the door softly behind her.

An eerie silence greeted her. She was the last one in the building. All of the support and clinical staff had left for the weekend. The Sanctuary operated out of a spacious converted two-story, two-family dwelling on a quiet street several blocks from the Dupont Circle Metro station. It blended in well with the neighborhood’s many bookstores, cozy cafés, elegant restaurants, art galleries, and funky bars. She doubted whether many neighborhood residents or business people were aware that the treatment program offered women who came through its doors a safe haven and a few hours of respite from whatever awaited them once they returned to their own homes.

Pressing several buttons on a panel near the rear door, she activated the silent alarm system and closed the self-locking door. She made her way to the staff parking lot, and a minute later started up her seven-year-old Toyota. An intermittent grinding sound reminded her that she had to look for a new car. The timing belt was severely worn. Her mechanic had warned her that the vehicle was in its death throes, yet she hadn’t taken time to follow up on his suggestion.

This weekend, she told herself. It had to be soon because she doubted the car would last another week.


Excerpted from No Compromise by Rochelle Alers Copyright © 2007 by Rochelle Alers. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Hailed by readers and booksellers alike as one of today's most popular African-American authors of women's fiction, Ms. Alers is a regular on bestsellers list, and has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the Vivian Stephens Award for Excellence in Romance Writing and a Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award. Visit her Web site www.rochellealers.com

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No Compromise 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my most favorite boks. I read it in less than a day. It is one of toes books once you start reading it you cant put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was fantastic i read it at night and couldnt put it down.I finshed it in one weekend. This book was one of the best ive read it over and over and the second time is always the best
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this years ago and decades later i can still remember it...how many hooks can you say that about! His life...journey...minustry...relationshio with God is beyond inspiring. I promise now as i would have in decades past...you will not be sorry for reading this book or listening to his AMAZING MUSIC!!!
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I love this book. I love the whole series with the whole family i hope you makw a coupke more books with this family please.
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Tiffany Mooring More than 1 year ago
It was so romantic had to be one of the best books ive read in years I LOVED The plot the characters everything. If you love romantic/drama you will love this book. Highly reccomennd
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December-Baby More than 1 year ago
Excellent Book! One of my favorites from Rochelle Alers..
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