Welcome to Leo's--Where Anything Can Happen
A proper lady lets loose on Open Mike Night--and opens her heart to a different kind of man...
A Texas RAnger and a candy shop owner have a blind date--with a deliciously unexplected outcome...
A widowed party planner meets a handsome doctor, but fears losing her heart for the second time...
A journalist runs into an old college flame--she's determined to be all business, but he ahs another agenda...
Welcome to Leo's
A stylish D.C. supper club patrons come to enjoy rich, savory gourmet food, sip intoxicating cocktails, and drick in the soulful sounds of live music. It's the perfect place to dine, unwind, catch up--and mayhbe even fall in love...
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|File size:||474 KB|
About the Author
Rochelle Alers lives in Long Island, New York.
Donna Hill, author of books including Divas, Inc. and In My Bedroom, lives in Brooklyn, New York. She has more than fifty published titles to her credit, three of which were adapted for television. She has been featured in Essence, the Daily News, USA Today, Today's Black Woman, and Black Enterprise, among many others.
Brenda Jackson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels, including the Westmorelands series and, from St. Martin’s Press, Some Like It Hot, Taste of Passion and The Playa’s Handbook. She was the first African-American author to have a book published under the Harlequin/Silhouette Desire line of books and the first African-American romance author to make USA Today's bestsellers list and the New York Times bestsellers list for the series romance genre. Jackson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University, and worked for thirty-seven years in management at a major insurance company. She now divides her time between family, writing and traveling. She has been married for thirty-seven years to her childhood sweetheart, Gerald, and they have two sons. She lives in the city where she was born, Jacksonville, Florida.
Francis Ray (1944-2013) is the New York Times bestselling author of the Grayson novels, the Falcon books, the Taggart Brothers, and Twice the Temptation, among many other books. Her novel Incognito was made into a movie aired on BET. A native Texan, she was a graduate of Texas Woman's University and had a degree in nursing. Besides a writer, she was a school nurse practitioner with the Dallas Independent School District. She lived in Dallas. "Francis Ray is, without a doubt, one of the Queens of Romance." --Romance Review
Read an Excerpt
Welcome to Leo's
By Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, Brenda Jackson, Francis Ray
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2000 Rochelle Alers Donna Hill Brenda Jackson Francis Ray
All rights reserved.
Leigh Walcott stood in the doorway to Lawson's Gourmet on Washington, D.C.'s Connecticut Avenue, waiting for the downpour of rain to subside long enough for her to make it to her car without getting soaked through to the skin. The early spring humidity was so oppressive that she had left her raincoat in the car.
As usual, she had purchased more than she could carry, but it had been a while since she had shopped exclusively for herself. Adjusting her oversize leather tote, she reached into its cavernous depths. It bulged with containers filled with pâté de foie gras, delicate crackers, petit fours, several bottles of her favorite wine, and a bouquet of cellophane-wrapped pale pink tulips. She withdrew a small, compact umbrella and pressed a button, and it opened smoothly with a soft, swooshing sound.
She had gotten up earlier that morning, berating herself for neglecting the most important person in her life—herself. It was the first time in months that the whirlwind activity of her business had slowed enough for her to claim a week to devote to her personal entertainment. As she was a professional event planner, her days, weeks, and months were filled with an ongoing, never-ending cycle of conventions, office parties, baby and bridal showers, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, family reunions, conferences, graduations, and retirement dinners. This was the first week in more than six months that she had nothing listed on her calendar, and she intended to take advantage of the coveted eight days.
She had forced herself to get out of bed, despite the fact that she was bone-tired and it was raining. However, it had been raining in D.C. for the past three days. Most people in Chocolate City complained about the absence of sunlight, dreary damp days and nights, but only under their breath. The winter had passed without a single flake of falling snow, with most days unseasonably warm and dry, prompting many meteorologists to predict a water shortage if the below-normal precipitation continued into the spring and summer.
Leigh had planned the week to include preparing her favorite dishes, viewing a few of the movie videos she had purchased—many months ago still in their original cellophane packaging—catching up on reading one or two of the many books lining the shelves of the built-in bookcases in the office of her spacious apartment, and listening to music from stacks of CDs.
Afterward, she would take a deep breath, exhale, then start up her hectic schedule all over again. Next Sunday she was expected to be on hand at the wedding of a senator's daughter. The young woman had elected to have a civil and religious ceremony. She was to be married by a Supreme Court justice, followed by an Episcopal mass at the Washington Parish Christ Church. The church's history boasted that it was the oldest ecclesiastical edifice in the District, and its congregation included many of Washington's present and past notable citizens, including presidents Jefferson, Madison, and John Quincy Adams.
The falling rain slackened and Leigh clutched her leather tote to her chest while balancing the umbrella with her right hand. She waited for traffic to slow down, then sprinted across the street. She felt the moisture seeping through the canvas covering of her deck shoes as she waded into a deep puddle. A car sped by, sending a shower of water off the roadway like a geyser. The swirling puddle splashed up, washing over her and pasting the fabric of her khakis to her legs and thighs.
Swearing softly under her breath, Leigh concentrated on reaching the opposite curb. A soft cry of surprise and fear escaped her parted lips when she misjudged the height of the sidewalk and her right foot slipped off the curb. Pain—sharp, burning, and blinding—gripped her ankle, radiating up her leg and not permitting her to keep her balance.
One moment she was standing, and within seconds she found herself seated on the curb, moaning in agony. Biting down on her lower lip, she blinked back tears. Her pulse raced uncontrollably as she struggled to maintain her composure.
"Are you all right, lady?"
She registered a soft male voice somewhere above her. Shifting her umbrella, she glanced up at the dark brown faces of a young man and woman. "I just twisted my ankle."
The explanation was squeezed out between clenched teeth.
"Do you think you can stand up?" asked the young woman, her large, expressive eyes filled with genuine concern.
Leigh shook her head. Her umbrella rested beside her on the sidewalk, while the falling rain pasted her professionally coiffed, chemically relaxed silver-gray hair to her scalp.
"I don't think so." Even if she could stand up, she doubted whether she would be able to maintain her balance. Not with the intense throbbing pain.
The young man swept back his jacket, plucked a cellular phone off his waistband, and dialed three numbers. Meanwhile his female companion picked up Leigh's umbrella and held it over her head in an attempt to protect her from the falling rain.
She was in pain and thoroughly embarrassed. She was sitting on the curb of one of the busiest, trendiest streets in the capitol district, temporarily disabled. Two teenagers had come to her aid while other well-dressed D.C. professionals in designer couture rushed past her as if she were a piece of discarded debris floating along the curb and into the sewer.
She had lived in D.C. for the past ten of her fifty-three years of living, and never had she felt more detached than she did now. People talked about New Yorkers being cold, distant, but the same could be said for D.C. citizens. She had come to the realization that the only thing that elicited a spark of interest in the residents of the nation's capital was a political scandal.
A smile softened the young man's classically handsome features as he hunkered down beside her. "The police are sending an ambulance to take you to the hospital."
Leigh's thickly lashed hazel eyes crinkled in a forced smile. "Thank you."
"No problem, lady. My sister and I will wait with you until they come."
Staring at her rapidly swelling ankle, Leigh experienced twin emotions of annoyance and embarrassment. She was annoyed because she should have been more careful and embarrassed because she was sitting on a street corner in the rain like so many homeless people she saw on the streets of the city, existing in their private world of anguish and hopelessness.
Her gaze swung back to the youth who had come to her rescue. "What's your name? Somehow I'd like to repay you for your kindness."
"My name is Kyle Jackson and my sister is Keisha. But you don't have to pay us. Our dad is a D.C. cop, and—"
His words were drowned out by the sound of a wailing siren. The vehicle eased up along the curb, the driver mindful of not splashing more water onto Leigh's already-soaked clothing.
The emergency medical technicians worked quickly, lifting her and her bulging tote onto a gurney, and within minutes she stared up at the ceiling of the ambulance speeding toward the municipal hospital.
* * *
Dr. Scott Alexander turned off the overhead lights in his spacious office, closed the door, and unconsciously emitted a sigh of relief. It was the first time in a very long time that he looked forward to relaxing. It had taken years, thirty-seven to be exact, for him to permit something other than medicine to become an integral part of his life.
Several years ago he had driven from his apartment in a Federal-style Georgetown row house to McLean, Virginia, to visit a friend whom he had not seen in more than twenty years. He had passed an abandoned farmhouse with a FOR SALE sign listing a realtor's telephone number. He'd stopped and copied down the number, and it wasn't until a week later that he called to inquire about the property. The agent set up an appointment to show him the house and surrounding acreage, and three months later he closed on a 1912 farmhouse and carriage house that sat on thirty acres amid overgrown weeds and a riot of wildflowers.
More than two years had elapsed since he had purchased the dilapidated property, but now the structure had been fully restored to its original grandeur, along with a total landscaping makeover.
Tomorrow when he awoke he would begin his day as Scott Alexander, not Dr. Alexander, chief of the Trauma Unit at the city's largest municipal hospital. He was scheduled to start an unprecedented month-long vacation, and he intended to use the time to begin the leisurely process of settling into his new home.
He made his way down the highly waxed hallway, nodding and smiling at the nurses and technicians as they wished him an enjoyable vacation.
"Dr. Alexander!" Turning, Scott stared at his secretary as she quickened her pace to reach him before he left the building. "I'm glad I caught you," she confessed. "Dr. Franklin just left a message. He wants you to call him at home anytime after nine. He says he has good news for you."
He nodded, smiling at the highly skilled, efficient middle-aged woman. "Thanks, Merilyn."
Merilyn Hawkins returned his smile. "Enjoy your vacation."
"I have every intention of doing just that." There was a hint of laughter in his deep, soothing voice.
"You go, Chief," Merilyn whispered under her breath.
She had worked for Scott Alexander for more than six years, and she could not remember the last time he had taken more than three consecutive days off for what he called vacation leave. Once he had submitted the vacation request for a month's leave, rumors were circulating around the city's largest municipal hospital that Dr. Scott Alexander had discovered something that held a greater appeal than medicine. She surmised that perhaps he had become involved with a woman but dismissed that notion as soon as it entered her head. She had known Scott to date several women; however, none of them had even come close to getting the brilliant doctor to commit to a permanent relationship.
Scott walked through a set of double doors and made his way along a winding, narrow tunnel and stepped into an area and the bustling activity of the Emergency Room. Residents, nurses, and technicians were attending to a half-dozen children who were screaming for their parents.
"What happened?" he asked a nurse as she attempted to calm a little boy who wouldn't let her touch his injured arm.
The woman stared at him, vertical lines appearing between her clear blue eyes before realization dawned. She had not recognized Dr. Scott Alexander. His mixed-gray hair was concealed under a denim baseball cap that matched his long-sleeved shirt and jeans.
Her frown deepened. "Some idiot ignored the flashing red lights on a school bus and plowed into several kids who were crossing the street."
She reached for the child again and he let out a bloodcurdling scream: "No! Don't touch it!"
Scott signaled a passing orderly. "Get him to Radiology." His order was issued in a soft, no-nonsense tone. The powerfully built man scooped up the protesting child and carried him out of the waiting room.
Scott's gaze swept around the space, lingering on the lone figure of a woman sitting in a corner, her right foot elevated on a chair with a plastic bag filled with ice taped to her grotesquely swollen ankle. He studied her profile, noting the rigid set to her delicate jaw. There was no doubt that she was in pain.
Turning, Scott walked over to the reception desk, an expression of annoyance tightening his handsome features. Two of the three workers were taking medical information from the parents of the injured students, while another practically reclined on her chair in front of a computer terminal, filing her nails.
"Miss Voss, may I have a moment of your time?"
The clerk sat up quickly, dropping the emery board when she recognized her boss's authoritative voice. She could not believe her bad luck. First she had cracked her acrylic nail, and now the chief of the department had caught her filing it. She was still on probation, and she doubted whether Dr. Alexander would forget the incident when he had to sign off on whether she would become a permanent employee.
"Has anyone taken care of the patient with the foot injury?"
The young woman glanced at the computer screen. "She was seen in triage and is now waiting to be x-rayed."
"How long has she been waiting?"
"Almost ninety minutes."
Scott shook his head. "That's thirty minutes too long."
Since becoming chief he had instituted a policy that no one should have to wait longer than an hour in the Emergency Room before being seen or treated. A triage team had been set up to evaluate each patient before referring them to the appropriate medical professional.
"Give me her chart," he demanded. He had not bothered to disguise the annoyance in his voice.
The clerk handed him a chart, and he scanned the computer-generated sheet. Fifty-three-year-old Leigh Walcott had twisted her right ankle. The physician's assistant had indicated that because Ms. Walcott could move her toes he concluded the ankle was not broken.
"Get me a lab coat, Miss Voss. And please try to take care of your nails on your own time."
The clerk shot up from her chair, embarrassment staining her pale cheeks. She considered herself lucky to escape with only a verbal reprimand. She had heard from veteran employees that Dr. Scott Alexander ran his department like a storm trooper. And she had also heard that he was a workaholic, controlling, but an extremely compassionate doctor. This was one time she hoped that he was in one of his compassionate moods.
* * *
Leigh opened her eyes, tilted her chin, and stared up into the large, dark penetrating gaze of a tall man with close-cropped coarse salt-and-pepper hair. She glanced quickly at the ID badge hanging from the pocket of his lab coat.
Her gaze widened as she studied his face—feature by feature. Dr. Scott Alexander was so breathtakingly male that she found it difficult to speak. His features were strong, each one carefully defined to make for an arresting face. His forehead was broad and high, nose bold with a straight bridge and slightly flaring nostrils, cheekbones pronounced, giving his face a rawboned appearance, and his mouth was firm—the thinner upper lip offset by the sensual fullness of the lower one. His eyes were large, dark, intelligent, and penetrating. However, it was his coloring and the texture of his skin that held her entranced. His complexion was flawless, nearly poreless, and called to mind a smooth whipped dark chocolate mousse. If it had not been for a neatly barbered mixed gray mustache, she would have doubted whether he'd claim any facial hair.
"Yes?" She had finally recovered her voice, and the breathless quality sounded foreign even to her own ears.
Scott sat down on an empty chair beside her. "I'm Dr. Alexander, and I'm going to treat your ankle. I've ordered a wheelchair for you so you can be taken to have your ankle x-rayed."
She emitted an audible sigh of relief and flashed a wry smile. "Thank you."
Returning her smile, he tilted his head at an angle. "How did you injure it?"
Heat suffused Leigh's face. Dr. Alexander's sensual smile made him even more attractive. Almost as attractive as the man who had captured her heart and refused to let her go. The tightness around his firm mouth had vanished with his smile, the frown creasing his forehead had disappeared, and the deep grooves in his lean cheeks appeared, drawing her attention to his strong chin.
"I feel like such a klutz. I misjudged the sidewalk."
Scott's smile broadened, the minute lines around his eyes crinkling attractively. "You're lucky you didn't fall on your face." And it would have been a pity if you had injured your very beautiful face, he added silently.
Lowering her lashes, she averted her gaze. It had been a long time, a very long time—thirty years to be exact—since she had found a man attractive. The first and only man in her life had been her late husband. She had married Leonard Walcott at twenty-one, given birth to their son at twenty-two, then lost both at twenty-three when a drunk driver claimed their lives in a head-on accident. She had spent three weeks in a New York City hospital after a plastic surgeon had reconstructed her face, but it had taken years before she was able to put her life back together.
"You're right, Dr. Alexander. I am very lucky."
Excerpted from Welcome to Leo's by Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, Brenda Jackson, Francis Ray. Copyright © 2000 Rochelle Alers Donna Hill Brenda Jackson Francis Ray. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.
Table of Contents
|Second Chance by Rochelle Alers||1|
|Eye of the Beholder by Donna Hill||87|
|Main Agenda by Brenda Jackson||161|
|Sweet Temptation by Francis Ray||247|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
¿Second Chance¿ by Rochelle Alers. In Washington DC, fifty-three years old widow Leigh Walcott badly twists her ankle. She is rushed to the emergency room of a nearby hospital where she meets Dr. Scott Alexander. They are immediately attracted to one another, which is a surprise for Leigh who has not thought of a male in three decades since her husband died. Over a series of dinners at Leo¿s supper club they fall in love. ¿Eye of the Beholder¿ by Donna Hill. Tara Mitchell takes her best friend English professor and gospel singer Jae Crawford to Leo¿s to celebrate the latter¿s birthday. Though feeling out of her element at the nightclub, Jae meets Clyde Burrell and soon love is on the menu. ¿Main Agenda¿ by Brenda Jackson. Four years ago, Raven Anderson and Lincoln Corbain met and shared a romance on a Black College Weekend in Daytona. Lincoln wanted to continue their relationship, but never found Raven when he traveled to Tallahassee to see her. Now she has entered Leo¿s as he sits at the abr. Can the memory of that glorious weekend become more than just a personal history tidbit and turn into a lasting relationship? ¿Sweet Temptation¿ by Francis Ray. Howard University teacher and Texas Ranger Chase Braxton and confectionery shop owner Julie Ann Ferrington go on a blind date to Leo¿s. The two immediately hit it off as sparks fly. Fans of urban contemporary romance, especially African-American tales, will fully relish this anthology. Each story is well written and quite entertaining. The four lead couples are charming as they welcome the readers into their hearts. Harriet Klausner
All three stories had me wishing that they would last a little longer,I didn't want to stop reading the stories. They made my heart ache, they made me cry and feel absolutely wonderful when I finished each one. I definitely say read this book!
I loved this book so much. I read it within two days because I couldn't put it down.
Each story is wonderful and entertaining. The characters, primary and secondary, give each story a certain uniqueness. The settings are so realistic that you can picture youself inside the scenes and involved in the action. The authors are to be commended.