She’s a widow. He’s a reformed player. One passionate night changes them both forever.
Toni Harrison isn’t buying anything Ahmad Espen is selling. Everyone considers him the savior of the African American community but she knows him as a heartless player and plans to steer clear of him. The only problem is her sister and Ahmad’s brother are smitten with each other and despite Toni’s attempts otherwise, she constantly finds herself in Ahmad’s presence.
Ahmad understands why Toni is wary of him, but he’s a totally different man from the boy she knew in college. Now he’s determined to push past all her defenses to gain her trust. When he finally does, one passionate night with her confirms she’s the perfect woman for him.
Yet it seems there’s no fairy-tale ending for them, as Ahmad and Toni find out the hard way. Someone is out to destroy their relationship, along with Ahmad’s good name and Toni’s privacy. Once more Toni has good reason to distance herself from Ahmad, since he blames her for the whole mess. Heartbroken again, she walks away, and by the time he comes to his senses, he realizes it may well be too late to rewrite their love story to give it a happy ending.
|Publisher:||Totally Entwined Group Ltd|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
A.M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose three favorite outlets are traveling, reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © A.M. Griffin 2016. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
Antoinette Harrison scrolled through the email messages on her cell phone, which she had resting on her knee. As the beat from a popular radio song thumped around her, she tapped her foot in time and hummed along. It seemed that everyone else at the singles mingle was either busy flirting, talking to one another, or on the dance floor with a prospective mate. Everyone except for her. She was sitting at one of the round tables, tucked away in the back corner of the dance hall, hiding from would-be suitors.
She really hadn’t expected to spend her Friday night being surrounded by desperate women who felt their biological clock was ticking away, or with men who wore too much cologne. She hadn’t planned to put on outside clothes at all, but when her younger sister Gabby had called in tears, asking if she’d come to the party with her because their cousin Mina was sick, Toni had found herself putting on a little black dress, combing her wild, wavy hair and heading out of the door. She loved Gabby, but she really needed to learn how to say no to the girl. Toni was way out of her element. She didn’t know a single soul in the building besides Gabby, and she didn’t even have her to talk to.
Toni glanced toward the dance floor, looking for her sister’s flaming red dress in the sea of other bright dresses. Gabby was the only one who’d gone with the ‘I’m going clubbing’ red outfit. She spotted her almost immediately. She’d been dancing with the same guy for over an hour and, from the looks of it, didn’t have any plans to take a break anytime soon. Toni didn’t know how she could stand to dance in heels for that long. Hell, Toni’s heels were hurting her feet and she hadn’t danced at all.
“As soon as I get to the car, these things are coming off,” she muttered.
A man walked by about ten feet from her, and when she looked at him, he slowed his steps and inclined his head toward the dance floor. She pulled her eyebrows together.
How lazy is that? What, he thinks that he can just nod and I’ll go scuttling over to him?
With a snort, she shook her head and turned her attention back to her phone, dismissing him. “Keep it moving.”
From her peripheral vision, she watched as he walked off. He might come back later to try to ask her to dance but hopefully he’d find someone willing and forget all about her. She mentally shrugged the man out of her mind and punched in the code to unlock her phone. Despite being at a loud party, she’d already gotten a lot of work done. She’d updated her calendar with the dates of the upcoming blog tour for her latest release. She’d caught up on her emails, replying to everyone she owed one to. She’d posted Facebook messages on her fan page and even sent out a couple of Tweets, keeping her readers up to date on what was going on in the fictional book world she’d created.
While she was active on social media, she made sure never to mention anything about where she was or what she was doing. She kept a clear divide between her real life and author life. As far as readers knew, she was a married woman with a very active social life. Only three of her closest author friends were aware that her husband had passed away three years ago. And while her family knew that she wrote erotic romance novels for a living, only four people knew her pen name, Marie Miller—Gabby, Mina and her older brothers Randy and Jamal.
Separate. That’s how she kept it and that’s how she liked it.
“Hello,” a deep voice said.
Toni blew out an exasperated breath. How many guys had asked her to dance already? Eight? And she’d turned each and every one of them down. Whenever they came sniffing around her and wouldn’t take no for an answer, she waved her a hand over the table littered with empty or near-empty wineglasses and told them she was watching them while people danced. If they continued to press her, she told them she was also watching the two purses that were on the table. They didn’t need to know that the purses actually belonged to her and Gabby.
She flicked her gaze from her phone to the man standing above her with every intention of telling him the same thing she’d told the others. As soon as she looked up, her heart seized on a beat and her breath formed a lump in her throat. Toni not only stared at who was possibly the finest man she’d ever seen in her life, but also one she hadn’t seen in eleven years.
He wasn’t even supposed to be at the singles mingle that his business was putting on. Everyone knew he didn’t attend his parties and from what Gabby had told her, he should’ve been on the other side of the country in California. But here he was in Detroit—all six-foot-two of him.
She didn’t think it was possible, but he looked even better now than he had the last time she’d seen him in person. He was tall, dark and handsome. Such a cliché, but it fit well. She’d seen her fair share of pictures of him since they’d parted ways, but none had done him justice. Everything about him appeared strong—strong nose, strong mouth, strong jaw, strong neck and strong eyes that stared down, right at her.
A long time ago, when she’d first started college, she’d thought he was the man for her. She’d learned a lot from Ahmad back then, like never to trust a drop-dead-handsome man with a flashy smile and smooth words. Nothing good came of it.
A vision of the last time he’d talked to her flashed across her mind and was just what she needed to close her gaping mouth and firm her back. She stared back at him, waiting for…for what exactly? For him to mention what had happened between them? For him to apologize?
He smiled down at her, flashing bright white teeth. “I’m sorry to disturb you, miss. But I saw you sitting all alone back here and thought you could use some company.”
She didn’t know if she should be mad or glad. He didn’t seem to recognize her. On one hand, she didn’t have to relive the embarrassment but on the other, he’d dismissed their last encounter, while she’d held onto it for all these years.
“I-I’m…um. I don’t need company.” Did she just stutter? She wanted to slap a hand across her forehead. She gripped her cell phone tightly to stop herself from doing just that and making a bigger fool of herself.
When she’d been a freshman in college and he’d been the sexy and worldly junior, she’d had the same reaction—stumbling, bumbling idiot. Get it together, Toni. She wasn’t a green little girl anymore.
“Well, if you don’t want me to sit with you, can I have this dance?”
If she were any other woman at the party, she would’ve gladly jumped up and taken him up on his offer. But while everyone knew Ahmad as an African-American motivational speaker who’d sprung onto the scene five years before, attracting more followers to his ‘black community self-help’ doctrine, Toni knew him as a promiscuous, rowdy fraternity boy. While Toni admired his topic, the man behind the words often left a bad taste in her mouth. Every time she saw him on television talking about his main agenda, the state of the African American community and the need to revitalize and energize the younger generation, she couldn’t help but remember how he’d treated her. “Why?”
He took a quick glance around. “You’re the only person not on the dance floor or mingling.”
She smiled up at him like she’d done to the other men. Everyone else in the room could worship at his feet. They thought he was so great, so perfect. “No, thank you. I’m watching the drinks and purses,” she said, but what she really wanted to tell him was to go to hell.
The emotion on his face quickly went from enamored to confused. “All I’m asking for is one dance.”