When Love Calls [NOOK Book]


Political lobbyist Alyssa Wingate sneaks into an exclusive reception, hoping for a chance to convince Senator Randolph Kingsley to support her foundation for improving elder care. The plan didn't involve ending up in a police station with him in the middle of the night—or becoming involved in a red-hot relationship that could jeopardize his career and her livelihood.

Randolph's life is charmed…but it's also empty.

Surrounded by ambitious social...

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When Love Calls

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Political lobbyist Alyssa Wingate sneaks into an exclusive reception, hoping for a chance to convince Senator Randolph Kingsley to support her foundation for improving elder care. The plan didn't involve ending up in a police station with him in the middle of the night—or becoming involved in a red-hot relationship that could jeopardize his career and her livelihood.

Randolph's life is charmed…but it's also empty.

Surrounded by ambitious social climbers, he's struck at once by Alyssa's understated beauty and poise, and by her passionate commitment to her cause. But in a cutthroat city like Washington, D.C., lobbyists and politicians shouldn't mix business with pleasure, much less fall in love….

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426813986
  • Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Series: Kimani Arabesque Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 305,613
  • File size: 242 KB

Meet the Author

Celeste O. Norfleet, a native Philadelphian, has always been artistic but now her artistic imagination flows through the computer keys. With over 14 novels she continues to win rave reviews and critical praise for her spicy Kimani Arabesque romances reflecting strong sexy characters with unpredictable plots and exciting story lines. Although Arabesque is her heart Celeste is now lending her talent to TRU, Kimani’s young adult line. Celeste lives in Virginia with her husband and two teens.

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Read an Excerpt

When Love Calls
By Celeste O. Norfleet Kimani Press Copyright © 2008 Celeste O. Norfleet
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780373831111

"I'm going to jail."

"No you're not."

"Oh, yeah, I'm going to jail," Alyssa Wingate muttered as she readjusted her crooked name tag again. "I guess I can always plead temporary insanity. Yeah, that's it. I'm sure the courts will be lenient with me. After all, this is my first real offense, if you don't count that bat incident a few years back."


"I've always played by the rules, never broken any laws… well, except for that mattress-tag thing, but that wasn't my fault. I was only trying to see the price. And besides, I bought it anyway, even though I didn't really want a fourteen-hundred-dollar king-size mattress. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm getting tossed out of here and then I'm going to jail."

"Shh… You're not going to jail," Nina Hall whispered, as she stood beside Alyssa.

"Yep, I'm going to jail," Alyssa repeated with certainty as she glanced around, ready to be handcuffed and taken away.

"Would you please stop saying that? There's no reason we shouldn't be here. This is a major event and we were invited."

"Correction, our boss was invited and couldn't make it. We swiped the tickets, then snuck into the VIP reception."

"That doesn't matter as long as we're cool."

"Maybe I'll get lucky and just get probation and have to do, like, a million hours of community service. I coulddo that," Alyssa said, nodding to herself.

"And stop rambling on like that, people are beginning to stare," Nina hissed, smiling and greeting a passerby. "Good evening, how are you? What a wonderful turnout."

"I'm not rambling. I'm just practicing what I'm going to say, so that when I get arrested for stalking a U.S. senator, the judge will see that I'm truly sorry as I throw myself on his mercy."

"Oh, God, you're insane and overly dramatic. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were pretending, but your goody-two-shoes act is far too perfect."

There was a buzz of excitement across the room. Heads turned, but Alyssa looked the other way, straightening her name tag one last time. "I'm going to jail."

"Shh, and stop fidgeting."

"I'm not fidgeting."

"Then what are you doing?"

"It's not me. It's my name tag. It keeps drooping, slipping, flopping…"

"Whatever, enough with the seven dwarfs already."

Alyssa finally straightened her name tag, took a deep breath and looked up, smiling. Her pecan skin shone, her smile radiated and her almond-shaped, dark eyes sparkled with crystal clarity. She was the spitting image of her grandmother. "Okay, I'm ready."

"Good, you look fantastic. You need to smile more often."

"Thanks," Alyssa said, appreciating the compliment. It was something she had to teach herself to do. Compliments were rare growing up.

"You'll be great." Nina nodded her assurance.

"Yes, I'm calm, I'm cool, I'm collected and I'm relaxed. I know everything there is to know about the honorable senator from California. He's single, served two terms as a congressman, then was elected to the Senate at twenty-nine years old. He took office a year ago on his thirtieth birthday, making him one of the youngest senators in U.S. history. He sits on several congressional committees and subcommittees, inherited a vineyard in Napa Valley from his grandfather and, by all accounts, is drop-dead handsome."

Nina stared at her while shaking her head in growing dis-belief. "Wow, girl, you are obsessed."

"I prefer the term well informed," Alyssa corrected.

"Still, of all the politicians to pick, you chose the one who is firmly against lobbyists."

"It was a no-brainer. He may be staunchly against political lobbyism, but he's also pro universal health care and Social Security reform. And if I can pull him in, Pete will have no choice but to offer me a position as a lobbyist. And to clarify his position, he's not against political lobbying, he's against 'excessive lobbying and the perks that follow, which make politicians useless to the people they're supposed to represent.' That's a direct quote from his Web site, by the way."

"I have no doubt. But be that as it may, he's still a tough nut to crack. I heard that as soon as he hears the word lobbyist he calls security and has the person thrown out."

"I doubt that," Alyssa said.

"Well, you know him better than I do. Hell, you know him better than anyone does, probably even his assistant."

"You make me sound like some kind of stalker."

"If finding out everything there is to know about a person is stalking, then the shoe fits, dear."

"I did it to help others."

"Uh-huh, right."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Alyssa asked.

"You know what it means. You like him, you're attracted to him."

"Of course I like him. He's a good politician."

"Nah, not like that, you like him as a man and, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you more than liked him," Nina said as she stared at her friend suspiciously.

"Well, now, it's a good thing that you know better," Alyssa said sternly, hoping to end this conversation. She looked around, feeling Nina's eyes still on her. She was right, of course; her little investigation had turned into more than professional interest. She did feel something for him. She wasn't sure what it was, but she definitely felt something.

"Okay, I'm ready, let's do this. Where is he?" She smiled through clenched teeth.

"Umm—" Nina looked around the crowded reception area quickly "—it doesn't look like he's here yet."

"But he's got to be here. I'm ready now." She raised her voice slightly, drawing glances from those around her.

The he whom she referred to was Senator Randolph Kingsley, one of the most discriminating senators on the hill and one who personally vowed to limit the influence of special-interest lobbyists. He and another senator were cosponsoring a bill that would curtail influence by capping the amount of gifts, services and political donations lobby-ists could make. It was an uphill battle, but it was successful so far.

Most lobbyists stayed far away from Senator Kingsley. Approaching him at a public function was risky, but one that Alyssa was willing to make for her cause.

"Alyssa Wingate, would you please stop that and calm down? You're a nervous wreck. You'll do fine. Just relax. You know all the material.You practiced a million times on the way over here, so chill," Nina said, then jumped when a passing waiter startled her by offering her an hors d'oeuvre from his tray. He stared at her strangely. "Thanks," she said breathlessly, then grabbed a miniature crab cake off the tray and dropped it into her mouth before the waiter could even offer her a napkin.

"Now, look. You've got me all jumpy and nervous."

Alyssa adjusted her bogus name tag again and continued to look around, knowing that she didn't belong there. These were the powerful political elite, senators, congressmen, business executives and corporate heads, community leaders. And then there was her, no status, no family name, no money and no nerve. "I need to leave. People are staring at me," she muttered to Nina.

Nina smiled warmly and turned away. "That's because you're acting as if you don't belong here."

"I don't belong here. We don't belong here."

"Shh… Just relax and smile as if this is the most natural thing in the world, a simple after-work reception on Capitol Hill. We do it all the time." She smiled and greeted another person.

"Hello, how are you this evening? Wonderful turnout, isn't it?"

"Maybe he's not coming tonight." Alyssa looked around.

"He's coming, just relax. I spent all afternoon on the phone finding out his itinerary for this evening. He's got three events scheduled tonight—a Senate meeting, a photo shoot for a magazine, this reception and one other reception later on. So if we don't get a chance to talk to him here, we can catch him at the next one."

"Brilliant," Alyssa said. "I like to think so."

"What if he skips both?"

"He won't."

"Hey, that's not three things, that's four things."

"Whatever, he's coming, so stop stressing, and if everything I hear about him is only half true, he's probably half-a-second ahead of schedule."

Alyssa squinted and continued to look around. "Stop that. Just put your glasses back on. I swear, you're gonna get frown lines squinting like that."

"No, I won't, and I can see fine far away. It's up close that things get a bit blurry."

"Honestly, if you don't want to wear your glasses, then why didn't you just wear your contact lenses like everybody else?"

"I was too nervous to put them in."

"You should have done it."

"And intentionally poke my finger in my eye, are you kidding? Why would I want to do that?"

"How about so that you could actually see and not squint, maybe?"

"No, I mean, do you know all the things that could go wrong?"

"Only for you,Alyssa. Knowing you, you'd probably try to put the lens in and cause a blizzard in the Brazilian rain forest."

"Ha-ha, not funny."

"Actually I was going for reality and not so much humor." Nina looked around again, smiling warmly. "You know, what we need is a drink in our hands. Everybody has a drink. We'll blend in with a drink. Wait here, I'll go get us a—"

"What, are you crazy? I'm not waiting here by myself, looking like a nut. No drinks. I don't drink anyway. Well, maybe a glass of champagne to celebrate the new year and maybe a small glass on my birthday. Oh, and I did have a glass when my grandmother celebrated her birthday and—"

"You're rambling again."

"Okay, you're right. No rambling, got it."

"Relax, I'll be right back."

"Nina, no, wait…" Alyssa said as her friend walked away, and several guests turned and glanced at her. "Hi, how are you? Good evening. Miserable weather outside, isn't it?" She plastered a fake smile on and nodded until they turned away.

"I'm going to jail," she muttered again.

"Excuse me?"

Alyssa froze in place, hoping that if she didn't move and didn't breathe, the person tapping her shoulder wouldn't notice her anymore. She was obviously wrong.

"Excuse me, aren't you—"

"No, sorry, not me. You have the wrong person," she said, turning away slightly and looking desperately for her friend.

"Funny, I could have sworn that you were Alyssa Wingate." Oh, Lord, busted.

Alyssa sighed, then turned around, ready to accept her punishment. "Oliver Watts?"

"Hey, it is you," he said.

"Oliver Watts," she repeated.

"Yep, it's me, in the flesh," he answered with his usual boyish charm.

"Not now, go away, Oliver," she said quietly as she pivoted slightly. He stepped back into her line of vision.

Oliver Watts, a pesky neighbor several years younger, stood chuckling. "So, what are you doing here?" he asked, obviously ignoring her request.

"Shut up," she hissed. "Do you want to blow my cover?"

"You have a cover?" he asked, still chuckling, then tilted his head to glance at her crooked name tag. "Sundari Adia Nomalanga. Where did you get that goofy name tag? And who is Sundari Adia Nomalanga?"

"Shh," she hissed, then readjusted the tag again. "Keep your voice down. I'm not supposed to be here." She glanced around, smiling and nodding. "Sundari Adia Nomalanga is my alias. As I said, I'm not supposed to be here."

"No kidding. You stick out like a flower in Death Valley. What are you doing here?"

"I'm undercover," she whispered.

He burst out laughing. Several people around them turned and smiled at the couple. Alyssa was horrified as she tried to walk away from him.

"No, wait, I'm sorry, you just caught me off guard. But really, what are you doing here?"

"I need to speak with Senator Kingsley."

"He's not here yet."

"Duh, yeah, I know that. I'm waiting for him."

"Okay," he said, still half chuckling.

"What are you doing here? I thought your mother said that you were in Nepal or Mongolia somewhere."

"I was, now I'm back. I'm supposed to be hanging out at a gallery opening across the street, but I noticed this shindig going on over here, so I decided to stop by."

"That's it, you just walked in, no cover story?"

"No, first I told the sentry at the door that I was a secret agent on assignment and that my contact was inside with my forged papers," he said, and chuckled at his ridiculous story, then looked at her face. She was grimacing and he laughed out loud again. She turned away. "No, seriously, I just walked in, no big deal. Don't tell me you had an elaborate story…"

She glared harder and he laughed more. "You know what, you're right. I do stick out. I don't belong here. I'm gonna leave."

"Alyssa, what are you doing?" Nina said, handing her a martini. "Here, take this. It'll relax you."

"I don't belong here. I can't do this, I gotta go."

"Alyssa," both Oliver and Nina began. They stopped and looked at each other, then turned back to see their friend cutting through the crowd toward the main exit.

"Excuse me. Excuse me," Alyssa said, parting through the thickest part of the crowd. Still holding the glass, she got bumped from behind, turned, then turned again only to bump into a solid chest, spilling her drink down the front of his tie.

"Oh, rats, I'm sorry." She shook her head, then quickly produced a lace handkerchief from her purse and began dabbing her suit and the man's tie in front of her. "Ever have one of those days when everything seems to go wrong?" she moaned out loud.

"Repeatedly," the man said as she continued dabbing them both with her handkerchief.

"Yeah, okay, that's not coming out. Here, take my business card and send me the cleaning bill. Believe me, I'm good for it. I'll send you a check."

"Thanks, but don't worry about it."

"No, really, I insist. I'm good for it," she said, continuing to dab at his tie.

"All right, if you insist," he said, taking her card.

"Uh, why don't I take care of that, sir?" another man said, suddenly standing at her side.

"Actually, I'm kind of enjoying it, Kent."

Alyssa stopped dabbing with the handkerchief, looked up into gorgeous dark eyes and glared. "Playtime's over, jerk."

"Too bad." He smiled and shrugged.

She smirked, pushed around him with her elbow slightly poking him in his side, then continued through the crowd, meeting Nina and Oliver as she got to the other side of the room. "How did you beat me here?" she asked.

"Oh, it was easy," Nina said. "We didn't stop to fondle Senator Randolph Kingsley on the way over."

"That was— No, he didn't even look like— I can't believe this— I just spilled— I just called him— Oh, crap." She turned around, seeing him standing slightly above the crowd, looking in her direction. He smiled and nodded amiably. She closed her eyes and grimaced as someone walked up to him and blocked her view. "Crap," she repeated.

"All right, you have your in. Just go back over there," Nina declared.

"Are you crazy?" Alyssa said, pulling Nina over to the side.

"He already thinks I'm some kind of nutcase. Oh, and that's beside the fact that I just called him a jerk to his face."

"You called him a what?" Oliver said, chuckling. "That's great. Only you would call one of the most popular senators in the country a jerk to his face."

"Tell me you didn't," Nina butted in, after glaring at Oliver. Alyssa nodded ruefully.

"Uh, ladies—" Oliver began.

"Not now, Oliver," Alyssa said, obviously still upset.

"I'm just saying…" he proclaimed, glancing up and noticing Senator Kingsley scanning the room, obviously looking for someone.

"What am I going to do, Nina? The whole idea of coming here tonight was to make a good impression on the man."

Oliver continued to watch the senator look around. "You know, I kind of think you might have made that good impression, 'cause if I'm not mistaken—"

"Oliver, please," Alyssa said. "Okay, what do we do? How do we salvage this?"

"Okay, let me think," Nina said as the two of them moved away again, then put their heads together.


Excerpted from When Love Calls by Celeste O. Norfleet Copyright © 2008 by Celeste O. Norfleet. 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 9, 2011

    When love??.....

    Don't waste your momey. Boreing!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2011

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This was a really good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2008

    When Love Calls

    Great title and it said it all 'When Love Calls' you gotta answer and for Randolph and Alyssa they did. If you are a Mamma Lou fan then you are going to love this book. You will get to meet Randolph brother to Juliet who is married to JT. Randolph life is good he has a job he love and family and friend but it is missing something and until he see and meet Alyssa that's when it hit it all at once. The sparks are there from the very beginning. Alyssa and her friend Nina crash a fund reception to meet the man himself Senator Randolph and boy to she meet him. Alyssa spill her drink on him and it is on from then on. Celeste put a little twist in the story. Can't give to much away, but this is a great book and you will enjoying catching up with Tony & Madison, Raymond & Hope, Dennis & Faith, and Kennedy & Juwan and JT & Juliet. Of course we get to meet Trey sister sound like another book for us. smile.................. Louise

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