Fearless Men: Serenade, Sincerely, and Suddenly

Fearless Men: Serenade, Sincerely, and Suddenly

by Sandra Kitt
Fearless Men: Serenade, Sincerely, and Suddenly

Fearless Men: Serenade, Sincerely, and Suddenly

by Sandra Kitt

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Overview

A special three-in-one edition by bestselling author Sandra Kitt, featuring the passionate contemporary urban romances Serenade, Sincerely, and Suddenly
Serenade
:
Once, they made beautiful music together. Alexandra Morrow was a college freshman when she met composer-musician Parker Harrison. Drawn together by music, they became lovers . . . only to have it end in heartache. Ten years later, Parker is a world-renowned jazz musician, and the two meet again. Is this their second chance? Or will the secret that threatens Alex’s singing career destroy her future with the man she loves?
Sincerely:
Finding a dead body on New Year’s Eve is no way to start a new chapter, but when Joanna Mitchell meets her deceased neighbor’s ex-husband—charming and seductive Trevor Jackson—she gives in to the passion heating up between them, truly believing she’s found the perfect man. But could she be falling for a cold-blooded killer?

Suddenly
:
Supermodel Christine Morrow has it all—except the one man she can’t live without. Dedicated doctor and activist Maxwell Chandler doesn’t think he has time for frivolous, high-maintenance women—but Christine plans to prove him wrong. Because when it comes to love, opposites not only attract, they sometimes lose their hearts forever. 


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781480438842
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 08/27/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 848
Sales rank: 1,012,285
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Sandra Kitt is the author of more than twenty novels, including The Color of Love, Significant Others, and Close Encounters, as well as numerous short stories. Her work has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award and has appeared on the Essence and Blackboard bestseller lists. She is the recipient of the Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award and the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award. A native New Yorker, Kitt previously worked as a graphic designer, creating cards for UNICEF, illustrating books, and exhibiting her own work, which is included in the collection of the Museum of African American Art in Los Angeles. She formerly served as the managing director of the Richard S. Perkin Collection in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. 

Read an Excerpt

Fearless Men

Serenade, Sincerely, and Suddenly


By Sandra Kitt

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 1996 Sandra Kitt
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4804-3884-2


CHAPTER 1

One of grandma Ginny's old wives' tales was that if it rained on the day you got married, the union was doomed to failure. It was a pessimistic, rather sobering notion, but one that kept reverberating with humorous irony in Alexandra's mind as her cab pulled up in front of the modest whitestone church. She struggled with payment, an umbrella, a plastic clothing bag, and the door as the persistent old wives' tale lingered. Alexandra swore to herself she wasn't the least bit superstitious. Still, she hoped it was nothing more than this myth that nagged at her today.

The rain poured down steadily, as if taking revenge on the earth and its occupants for some infraction against Mother Nature. It was not supposed to rain today. It should never rain on anyone's wedding day, Alexandra thought, as she pushed the cab door open and was met by a gentle sweep of cold, damp air—but then, forecasters were notorious for being wrong.

Alexandra swung her legs cautiously out the cab door and promptly stepped into the shallow puddle of water running along the curb. The displacement her step made sent a wave of water into her bone-colored sling-back pumps, making her toes curl with the icy touch. She drew breath sharply between her teeth in exasperation. So far, events did not bode well. If Grandma Ginny's tales had any truth to them, Alexandra was glad she wasn't the one getting married.

With her head lowered and the umbrella braced against the chilling spring winds, Alexandra dashed up the church steps and through the heavy doors, crashing with teeth-rattling suddenness into the tall, gaunt, be-speckled form of Pastor Nichols. The wind was knocked out of them both, and the pastor grunted as he was pushed off balance.

"Good heavens, girl! Where are you off to in such a hurry?" he asked, as he placed a bony restraining hand on Alexandra's shoulder to steady her.

"I'm sorry," Alexandra said, out of breath, trying to shift her clothing bag and attempting to collapse the dripping umbrella.

The pastor chuckled indulgently as he relieved her momentarily of her garment bag while she fought with the temperamental umbrella. "I know they say that girls are all sugar and spice, but believe me, a little rain won't make you melt."

Alexandra smiled as she finally closed the umbrella and retrieved her bag. "I was more concerned about being late, Pastor Nichols. I should have been here thirty minutes ago."

He folded his thin hands over his robes and shook his head gently at Alexandra. "There's really no point in tearing around so. We can't start without the groom, and he's not here yet, either." His eyes twinkled. The pastor now looked at her carefully, making note of the softly upswept hairdo, the sienna-toned oval face with its full, wide, curved mouth. And eyes so dark they were like black buttons in her youthful face.

"Do I know you?" he asked suddenly, wrinkling his brow.

Alexandra's wry smile and raised brows indicated what she thought of the man's memory. "We met at rehearsals last week. I'm to sing in the service this morning, remember?"

Recognition now brightened the pastor's myopic eyes as he gave Alexandra a toothy smile. "Ah, yes. You're the young lady with the incredible voice. I remember now. What a joy it is to listen to you."

Alexandra merely smiled her response, taking a step further toward her destination, concerned about the time, even if Pastor Nichols wasn't. But he detained her still.

"You know, I could sure use you in my Sunday morning choir," he hinted broadly.

Alexandra shifted uncomfortably, a guilty conscience reminding her that she had stopped being a regular attendant at church services, here or anywhere else, and that her already busy schedule would not allow for any more commitments. She was spared having to make an admittedly weak excuse when the pastor quickly changed subjects.

"That reminds me, I haven't yet instructed the best man as to his duties. He was the only one not at rehearsals last week. Has anyone else had a chance to speak with him?"

Alexandra shrugged. "I'm sorry. I don't know who the best man is."

"Well, no matter. His job is simple enough, and there's lots of time yet," he said benignly.

Alexandra managed a quick glance at the clock on the wall, and thought not. She took another step away. "Is anyone here yet?"

"Oh, yes, yes. The bride's family has arrived. She's with her mother in that second anteroom off the far corridor." He pointed helpfully.

Alexandra was about to thank him and go on her way when the door opened behind her and a gust of March air blew raindrops on the backs of her legs and swept tendrils of hair against her cheeks. An instant later, someone plowed into her back, pushing her once more into Pastor Nichols. She glanced over her shoulder to find a man breathing down her neck, his hands grabbing her arms to. steady her once more. His dark blond hair was damp and windblown, his cheeks a bit ruddy. His strawberry-blond moustache curved at the ends as he grinned wickedly at Alexandra.

"We have to stop meeting like this. What'll I tell my future wife?"

Alexandra rolled her eyes and laughed softly. She watched as Brian Lerner adjusted his black bow tie and smoothed his hair into place with his hand. Then he turned to shake hands with the man who would marry him.

"Hi, Pastor. Hope I'm not late."

The pastor chuckled. "Young man, you can't really be late. You just have to show up." Continuing to hold onto Brian's hand, he steered him into the entrance hall. "I think we should move away from the door. I'm not sure I can survive being tackled a third time."

While the two men laughed in appreciation, Alexandra took the opportunity to move away. "I've got to go get ready. I'll see you in about an hour," she said, and began walking to the room the pastor had pointed out. The long, thread bare red runner down the center of the floor quieted her footsteps as she moved, making Alexandra feel reverent. She might not attend church regularly, but she experienced a quiet, peaceful sense of being whenever she entered one.

Knocking gently, Alexandra opened the anteroom door. Inside, a slender young woman, a few inches taller than Alexandra but about the same age, was having a wedding veil adjusted atop her curly red hair. The short train of the ankle-length Victorian lace dress was being smoothed and arranged by the young woman's mother, at that moment down on her hands and knees. They both turned their attention to Alexandra as she stood smiling in the doorway, and greetings were exchanged.

Alexandra watched the young woman, trying to gauge in her eyes and movement what she was feeling. She found the pretty face flushed and the green eyes bright with excitement. "Well, Debby. This is it," Alexandra said, her voice suggesting that it was getting too late for the young woman to change her mind.

Debby continued to move the veil around on her bright curls. "I can't believe this is finally happening." She whispered, in such wonder that Alexandra knew she had no intention of turning back.

"You'd better believe it," Debby's mother muttered dryly. "After all you've put your father and me through the last six months, if this isn't the real thing, we want to know the reason why."

The two younger women giggled, and Alexandra came closer to examine the beautiful gown. Debby's mother put a hand on a nearby chair and hoisted herself up, shaking out the folds of her own pale blue gown.

"I'm glad I have only one daughter," she lamented. "All of these plans and details have really done me in." But her laugh was nervous, and her voice had a suspicious crack in it.

"Oh, Mom," Debby whispered, putting an arm around her mother's shoulder and kissing her soft, warm cheek. For the moment, the two of them were locked in an intimate moment that no one else could intrude upon.

Alexandra watched the exchange with warmth and a kind of detached envy. She herself had no immediate thoughts of getting married, although a very youthful fantasy still played itself out in her daydreams from time to time—the one in which she'd seen herself in a white dress and veil, about to walk down the aisle and be married to the man she loved. She'd even had a very specific man in mind, bringing the fantasy an inch closer to reality. But a fantasy was all it had ever been. It was safe, the dreaming, and filled a long-ago ache.

That same youthful anticipation had allowed her to realize too late that dreams didn't always come true. That one failed romance was to have other effects on her life. It was to touch on her relationship to her family and on what Alexandra herself wanted to do with her life. Sure, it had all been disappointing and unbelievably painful at the time. But not the end of the world. She had survived and grown up.

Alexandra watched also the genuine love and tenderness that was exchanged between her friend and her mother and noted another emotion: a sense of emptiness. Her own mother had died when she was fifteen and her younger sister not yet ten. That had been thirteen years ago. She had adjusted to the loss long before she'd reached maturity. Alexandra knew now, as she watched Debby with her mother, that there were certain to be special days when her own mother would be missed a lot.

Alexandra thought how young she'd been when she'd first begun to lose things and people in her life. How young she'd been to take on the responsibility of the family, of others depending on her, inadvertently and helplessly drawing on her strengths and caring until sometimes she felt she'd given it all away and there was little left just for her. In some ways she felt as though she'd grown up too fast. In some ways, she suspected, she had not grown up at all.

Alexandra felt her hands clasp together under the garment bag folded over her arms, suddenly feeling her losses again of having had so much taken away against her will: loved ones, dreams, princes. There were few things she wanted anymore, and these she held onto tenaciously, greedily, to protect them and herself. Alexandra let her tense body relax as Debby's mother spoke.

"Come on, now. Let's not fuss so. After all, you're only getting married, not leaving the country," she said, gently pushing her daughter away. "I'm going to try and find your father, and see if everyone else is here. No doubt he's in Pastor Nichols' office, being fortified with the sacramental wine."

Alexandra and Debby chuckled as the older woman disappeared through the door, leaving the two of them to the last few private moments when they were exactly the same, young women who shared the same interests and were friends. Alexandra had met Debra Geison at the university, where they'd both studied music. It had been Debby who'd willingly tutored her in music theory in exchange for having a steady companion to attend concerts with. Later they'd both begun to teach at the university's conservatory. Alexandra had gone on to give lessons to particularly talented but underprivileged children recommended through a scholarship program by the public school system. The children were all bright, but raw and undisciplined, their attention quickly diverted, and it had taken creative and ingenious steps to make the repetitive lessons fun. Alexandra enjoyed working with children most of all. She and Debby had both been young and idealistic, thinking they could make a difference in children's appreciation of music. Of course, that was before they both realized they were competing with the creative flamboyance of Michael Jackson and Prince. It was before they'd both had their first taste of love, which would change both their dreams and their lives.

For Debby, it had come to a perfect natural conclusion. She was marrying someone who loved music as much as she did, and they both very much loved each other. Another twinge of regret crept in around Alexandra's heart, but quickly dissolved. Alexandra let the true affection she felt for Debby soften her dark eyes with joy for her now.

"Well ... how do I look?" Debby breathed out, pivoting around much too quickly for Alexandra to see anything.

"Debby, you look beautiful," she responded honestly.

Debby grimaced in mock disgust. "Is that all? Just beautiful? All brides are beautiful. I want to be so stunning I'll knock Brian clear out of his socks."

Alexandra laughed as she put her things down and shrugged out of her coat. She hugged an arm around her stomach and braced the other elbow on her wrist. Leaning her round chin on her fist, she pretended deep contemplation of Debby's appearance. "Okay. Maybe you're more than just beautiful. I personally think you knocked Brian out of his socks a long time ago. He's going to find you stunning no matter what you wear today."

Debby gnawed her bottom lip. "Do you think so? I'm not sure about my hair ..." she said, frowning slightly, and turned away to pat and fuss with the glossy curls in an ornate mirror behind her.

Alexandra smiled as she recognized the eleventh-hour nervousness that was attacking Debby with doubts and last-minute questions. Gently placing her hands on Debby's shoulders, Alexandra forced her down onto the vanity chair in front of the mirror. Just as gently, she removed Debby's hands from their blind marauding and once again straightened the filmy veil and train.

"There is nothing wrong with your hair. Everything is just perfect," she voiced softly, and smiled at the suddenly pale reflection of Debby in the mirror. "Are you a little nervous?"

Debby nodded, "Yes, I guess so. This is a pretty bad time to be wondering if this is the right thing to do. Is it what Brian wants to do?" Suddenly, Debby's eyes flew open and she looked positively stricken. "Oh, my God! What ... what if Brian doesn't want to get married? What if he's only doing this for my sake, and wished he hadn't canceled out on that European tour with his band?"

Now Alexandra did allow herself to laugh. "Oh, Debby, stop it. You're scaring yourself to death for no good reason at all. You know very well Brian adores you. Getting married can't be compared to a European tour. And don't forget, you turned down his proposal twice before accepting."

In an almost comic turn around, Debby blinked at the reminder, considering it. Finally, she began to relax, and squinting, smiled back at Alexandra in the mirror.

"That's right. I did, didn't I?" she remembered gleefully.

Alexandra nodded sagely. "And you also told him you wanted to continue teaching and playing in the orchestra at the Kennedy Center, and he agreed."

"Yes!" Debby brightened even more, her green eyes large and happy again. With her confidence quickly restored, Debby's eyes became coquettish in her pretty face. "As a matter of fact, all things considered, Brian's pretty lucky to be getting such a talented, gorgeous creature!" she continued.

A quick frown passed through Alexandra's dark eyes and then was gone. A thought, a voice, a memory shook her, sending a shiver of feeling all through her body that was unexpected. "Talented, gorgeous ..." She'd heard that before. Old wives' tales were one thing, but now she was getting waves of premonition that were unsettling; something that would affect her, not Debby. Deciding she was being fanciful, she sighed and withdrew her hands from their unnecessary but soothing chore at the elaborate lace headdress and smiled at Debby again. "Oh, I think Brian is well aware of how lucky he is. You both are lucky," Alexandra added, and stepped aside as Debby stood once more to face her.

"Thank you," Debby said in a soft, sincere voice. "Thank you for the pep talk, and for being here, and for taking my classes while I'm on my honeymoon ..."

Alexandra uncomfortably brushed the words aside. "Don't be silly. That's what friends are for. Besides, I know you'd do as much for me."

"Of course," Debby said at once, checking her makeup yet again. "I don't have the voice that you do, but I'm looking forward to performing at your wedding one of these days."

A thought twisted Alexandra's mouth, and she chuckled soundlessly. It was on the tip of her tongue to utter don't hold your breath when she realized she'd have to explain her remark, and she didn't want to; but she also didn't want Debby to feel her offer was taken lightly. Yet Alexandra knew with a certainty that she had no intentions of marrying. That idea had been discarded in favor of doing other things with her life. In one way the decision had already been made for her.

Debby turned from the mirror. "Well, that's the best I can do with what I have. Ready or not, Brian, here I come," she laughed lightly. "I decided not to wear my glasses. Pastor Nichols could marry me to the best man and I'd never know it."

At that moment, Mrs. Geison opened the door and stuck her head in.

"For heaven's sake, you two. Everyone's almost ready. Come along, Debby. The pastor is ready for you to take your place."

Debby quickly gave Alexandra a hug. "I'd better let you change." She stood back and stared at Alexandra. "Do you realize that in twenty minutes, I will be Debra Geison-Lerner?" Before Alexandra could respond, Debby giggled joyously and went through the door, her train like gossamer behind her.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Fearless Men by Sandra Kitt. Copyright © 1996 Sandra Kitt. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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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