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Crafting full of love...
means crafting stories with love's complete dynamism, openness, and truth - no matter how common or atypical they may be.
  • The Bookshelf

    loose Loose (with BJ Thornton)

    If fantasizing were a crime, Chakah DuBois would be locked away for life. With a failed engagement already on her rap sheet, some find her guilty of longing for unconditional, unbridled love with a person of any gender. When she meets the dynamic married couple Griffin and Luz Gray, Chakah glimpses a consuming love for which she would gladly serve a life sentence. Yet is a three-way relationship worth being branded a wanton woman, or would unraveling the social norms that bind her give Chakah the happiness she seeks?

    aj's serendipity AJ's Serendipity

    Greek Alejandro Melonakos hadn't been shopping for the love of his life during a routine market run for his restaurant, yet that was exactly who he found.

    the beauty within The Beauty Within

    When full-figured barber Tyler Carver enters GD Fitness for a personal training session, she immediately butts heads with her trainer Gunnar Daniels. Refusing to allow Mr. Just-Walked-off-an-Abercrombie-&-Fitch-Billboard’s rudeness, she gives him a piece of her mind and storms off. Too bad she can't stop thinking about the gorgeous gray-eyed grump.

    being plumville Being Plumville

    Set during the turbulent 1960s, Benjamin and Coralee experience change in a community unprepared and unwelcoming of it. Can a relationship rekindle and bloom under such adversity, or will it succumb in the battle for Plumville's status quo?

    reconstructing jada channing Reconstructing Jada Channing

    Jada Channing never thought she would see Aaron McKensie again after that night, that one glorious night when she'd lost all good sense and muzzled all the voices telling her why being with him wasn’t a good idea. He was older, wealthy, and white. Jada was none of those things, and yet she'd fallen for Aaron anyway

    trolling nights Trolling Nights

    For as long as there have been Trolling Nights, Bevin Moore has been the unofficial official Gatekeeper for her group of friends, the Femme Crew. Yet on one particular Trolling Night, she's completely unaware someone has, finally, chosen her.

    Reviews

    The Beauty Within
    AlTonya Washington, Harlequin Kimani Author

    "Reading Savannah Frierson's The Beauty Within was indeed a pleasure. Spending time...with the characters of this enjoyable, funny, sexy and heartmelting story proved to be a treat in many ways...Ms. Frierson's gift for storytelling, drew me in..."

    Being Plumville
    Pamela Bolden, The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers

    "My hat goes off to Savannah J. Frierson for a job well done. The love affair found within the pages of this novel is awe-inspiring to say the least. Benjamin's love for Coralee was so strong, he wanted the whole world to know. I would recommend couples involved in interracial relationships to read this book. It will serve as a testament that no matter what others may think or say, true love conquers all."

    Reconstructing Jada Channing
    Professor Werner Sollors, Harvard University

    The characters come to life, and [Frierson's] writing moves forward briskly but also hovers nicely on all sorts of descriptive details that convey a strong feeling of lived experience.

  • latest news

    LOOSE Available Now!

    Happy Release Day! Loose is here for your reading pleasure. Get your eBook copy now at Amazon.com!

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014


    Discovering Chakah - Revealing Me

    Every now and again, a character can take an author to a place you hadn't prepared to go but certainly needed to be, and Chakah DuBois was that character for Savannah. To learn more about the Grays, visit co-author B.J. Thornton's site where she explains the real relationship that inspired Luz & Griffin's unbridled feelings for each other.

    Friday, March 14, 2014


    Celebrate Valentine's Day with a delicious teaser from Loose!

    This unconventional love story follows Chakah, a queer Black physical therapist who lands a dream job with an intriguing couple, the frontman of her favorite band and his bisexual, kinky wife. Their marriage is as passionate as it is troubled, but friendship with Chakah brings out the best in them, eventually involving them all in an intimacy that leads to them wanting more.

    Find out what Chakah's doing for Valentine's Day in this steamy free read!

    Friday, February 14, 2014


    It's a New Website!

    After several countless false starts, templates that just wouldn't work, and the wherewithal to actually sit down and work on it, welcome to the new SJFBOOKS.COM! It's been a labor of love, complete with forgetting that food is a necessity when it comes to survival, but here it is. Questions or comments about the site, particularly if there are any bugs, please send an e-mail!

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Notes

    Editing and Proofreading

    Savannah has several years of experience content editing and proofreading, having worked for companies such as Pearson Education and Beautiful Trouble Publishing. Savannah has also worked with authors individually, including Aliyah Burke and BJ Thornton. For more information, please send an e-mail.

    Book Formatting

    Savannah has formatted books for companies such as Beautiful Trouble Publishing and individual authors such as Cherrie Amour, Wendy Coakley-Thompson, and Phyllis Johnson. She is most comfortable with Kindle and paperback formatting. For more information, please send an e-mail.

    Appearances

    Savannah has spoken to diverse groups about her work, ranging from high school and college students, book clubs, and the general public. She is also available for remote appearances via Skype or phone. For more information, please send an e-mail.

    Agency

    Savannah is represented by the wonderful Saritza Hernandez at The Corvisiero Agency.

    About Savannah

    savannah j. frierson The Crafter

    Savannah J. Frierson realized writing was her calling her junior year of high school. She began her first original work, Reconstructing Jada Channing, during her senior year of college and released her first novel, Being Plumville, three years later in 2007. Being Plumville earned Savannah SORMAG Readers’ Choice Awards in 2007 and an Emma Award for Debut Author of the Year at the 2008 Romance Slam Jam Conference. She has also spoken at several book fairs, including Capital Bookfest in Charleston, South Carolina, book clubs, and student groups about her work.

    Savannah is dedicated to social justice issues, especially those concerning Black womyn. She is dedicated to ensuring representations of Black womyn are as full of breadth, life, and vitality as they exist in the world.

    When not writing, Savannah enjoys engaging in social media until she's either laughing or cussing at her screen; reading until her eyes grow heavy; singing until she's hoarse; and learning until there's nothing left to learn. Luckily, such a thing is impossible.



  • SJF Books


    For Information about Savannah:
    sfrierson[at]sjfbooks[dot]com

    For Information about Editing Services:
    sjfediting[at]gmail[dot]com

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  • Discovering Chakah - Revealing Me




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    Loose

    Buy Loose






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    Learn more about Be and the Grays


    According to Romance Writers of America, the romance genre must 1.) have a central love story and 2.) emotionally satisfying ending. Another element, though often taken for granted, is a romance offers an escape from the pressures of every day life, where the reader can become immersed in a story where love conquers everything no matter what obstacles the hero and heroine face. To be honest, the reason why many people read romances is the very reason why I write the stories I do. I can create a space where women who look like me and were similar to me in various ways could find a love that seemed elusive in real life. Every heroine I'd written so far possessed a flaw of mine, and she would be my escape to where it would be all right; I'd have permission to have this flaw and I'd be loved anyway. And while Loose is most certainly a love story, writing Chakah DuBois didn't allow for that type of escape for me. In fact, writing her meant writing directly to and from my heart, revealing some of my deepest fears and my most secret dreams, ones I hadn't even known I held until I'd seen them reflected in Chakah's narrative. Writing Chakah and Loose left me exposed, raw, vulnerable - uncomfortably so at times - but it also left me open to receive a new optimism about what could and should be for people and love, irrespective of color, gender, size, sexual orientation, or any of the other categories into which people fall. This crafting journey meant examining my own expectations and biases, stretching and flexing my characterization and storytelling muscles, and learning how to maintain the integrity of the work with someone else. Releasing Loose as my first full-length novel in five years written with a fantastic coauthor is the perfect way to commemorate said journey.


    A typical romance doesn't generally allow for true depth in character. The plot bends and unfolds around the main characters in a way that they are usually fighting against external obstacles, not internal ones. The characters in a typical romance may have to do some soul searching as they find their way to that Happily Ever After, but rarely does soul working get done. In this way, Loose isn't a typical romance and Chakah in particular isn't a typical heroine, which meant I couldn't write her or this project the way I typically could. Here was a young woman who, like me, is fat, Black, and yearns to be loved for the fullness of her instead of piecemeal. And that Chakah finds not just one, but two dynamic people who see Chakah for all she is and revel in her is exactly what I want, and yet exactly what I'm afraid I would never experience myself. Chakah represents an accessibility to love I'd not really anticipated when I'd first started writing her. I'd also not anticipated that accessing this love meant crafting her motivations, hurts, joys, sorrows - soul moves - which meant having to access mine as well; but there was much I didn't want to face.



    In order to do Chakah and Loose justice, I needed clarity of self and goals. I'd gone on a Nina Simone bent during the initial writing of Chakah's character, because as much as she loved The Gray Hats, her formative music, as I saw, centered on Soul, R&B, and Black female singers. A woman like Nina Simone, for example, would've been cornerstone to Chakah, a woman who deviates from what "conventional" beauty is and yet yearns for a grand love all the same.  Those facts had remained consistent amid several iterations of key details about Chakah from initial concept until now, but I'd had crafting inertia, not really able to move from one version to the next with the necessary flexibility and deftness. The planning would be fire, full of life and vivaciousness; but whenever I put my contributions to the paper, it didn't crack and sizzle like it should've because much of that inertia was facing some pain and darkness I'd been avoiding, but would have to break through and overcome if I were to do Chakah justice.


    Be, my co-author, helped me stay focused as I pushed through the tide of issues and feelings I'd not dealt with because I didn't have to until now. Women who deviate, women who dare to be large, dark, wide, broad, are defiant; but they can also be lonely. As I'd crafted Chakah, I'd deviated far from the daring and delved into the lonely, because that was what I was. But for however lonely Chakah was, she was determined to fulfill her dreams, and she had every reason to think she could attain them all - including a love for the ages. Just because the typical narrative rarely casts a heroine who looks like her doesn't mean that can't be her story. She is just as due for her happy ever after as the next person; "this'll do for now" is completely unacceptable. And as much of a risk that may be to think that way, there is also courage to demand of yourself to have exactly what you want and deserve. For women who deviate from the "conventional", a heroine like Chakah might be that shot to the heart you need when loneliness starts to loom. I know she became that for me.


    chakahsmile


    Chakah is courageously flawed, full of optimism and quick to find joy. She doesn't dwell on what's wrong; but that doesn't mean she can't be hurt. She knows she deserves the grandest of love and isn't afraid to yearn for it and pursue it. She is, in fact, who I want to be and a stark reminder of whom I'm not.  All of her gumption and joy came from within, even though she had sporadic feedback in her life. She's used to being ignored, passed over, not treated with care or consideration because of her size and her color. But Chakah is brave, she boldly goes; and while that may be off-putting to many (particularly her mother), Chakah has boundaries for herself and protects her self- worth and esteem from any who dares to trample over it - including (and, in many ways, especially) her mother. As a Southern woman where family is paramount, it was difficult for me to understand on the West Coast, the families you choose can be far more important to a person than the families assigned by quirk of birth. I kept Chakah relaxing her boundaries where she shouldn't have been; or, I'd go too far in the other direction and have her mean and combative. Balance was difficult for me to find for Chakah, because I didn't have it in my own life.



    Writing Chakah as a queer woman was also something that was very important to me - both in terms of representation and as far as my own relationship with sex and sexuality. Again, most of my heroines reflect the level of my comfort with sex and sexuality; meaning they are primarily heterosexual and had few - if any - partners. Sex for those heroines is a thing heavy with meaning, the ultimate expression of their feelings for their partner. They were also incredibly traditional with a dash of patriarchy. A lot of that, admittedly, is because many of the calls for manuscripts with major publishers had demanded that, so I wrote accordingly, even as I would rant about how unfair that is to Be and others. Even more, though, was my lack of intimate knowledge on that front, so my characters wouldn't have too much more so I could feel a semblance of competency when writing about a Black woman in love and being loved. Chakah has the most experience of any heroine I've ever written at the start of a novel, and the most diverse experiences at that. It was a learning process for me and my writing was more tentative than it should've been because of that. First drafts would come across as performative, cerebral, instead of authentic and organic. However, Be would encourage me to go where I and Chakah needed to go, because we both believed in the same thing.


    chakahpose1


    I think it's important women, particularly Black women - be allowed to express themselves and their sexuality how they see fit, and not be penalized/demonized/slut-shamed for it. In addition, those that do not fit the hegemonic heteronormativity of monogamous expressions of love and relationships are just as deserving of real love and expressing that love as those who do. The Black female body, racism, misogyny, and the politics of respectability make it prickly to unpack, and Chakah forced me to examine my own biases and hang-ups. Incidentally, I never had an issue with thinking a woman like Chakah could pull a Luz or Griffin Gray; in fact, I'm more of the mind she should be bringing all the folks to her yard; if not for the commodification of Western European beauty ideals and how those tend to leave Black women by the wayside. In fact, just trying to find stock images for the trailer that represented Chakah had been a challenge because the women were generally not fat enough, not dark enough, and we gave up on even looking for a Black woman who was both with Chakah's natural hairstyle. Thank goodness for women like Amber Riley, Jazmine Sullivan, Gabourey Sidibe, and Danielle Brooks (the ultimate inspiration of Chakah), or there would be a real dearth of fat, Black women being confident and beautiful in all their full glory.


    The anemic choices we encountered during that search speak to a larger problem of accessibility of love in a way.  The media's job is to maintain the status quo of who people should think of as worthy of grand loves, and Loose is definitely about breaking out of such narrow strictures. However, the media is so pervasive and effective, even I had to fight against that as well. Though intellectually my thinking is "of course they find you attractive!", my first-draft writing would have Chakah come across as surprised, shocked, fishing for validation and affirmation about her worth as a person, about being considered beautiful. Those are my hang-ups, not Chakah's, and I really had to get through all of that to access Chakah's delight that someone finally noticed her fabulousness and admitted it to her face. That's an important distinction, and one I remind myself of in my everyday life. 



    Even though Chakah is on a decided Janelle Monae kick right now, this song soundtracks her walk through life and the San Francisco streets. It's saucy and sassy, but it's also buoyant (one of my favorite descriptions for Chakah). It feels like a contradiction almost, a track that's so sexy and alluring, but the lyrics are all about how a beautiful day makes the singer feel good, excited about what the day will bring for her. Chakah's appeal defies the conventional definition of "sexy"; she is alluring because she's so positive and not afraid to be so. She has Carefree Black Girl on lock, except I wasn't allowing her to be as carefree as she could be, because I couldn't be as courageous as my character was - a big Black woman who would have no qualms moonwalking if the mood struck her; a big Black woman who is prone to fangirling and squealing and cheering with all the joy she possesses; a big Black woman who is tender and excitable and yearns to be held after a day of holding and healing everyone else. That's not the narrative most women who look like Chakah have access to; they are to be strong, a pillar, sturdy. Black women usually aren't allowed their dimensions; and, despite my attempts and intentions, I hadn't been allowing Chakah's full dimensions in the first drafts, either.



    Chakah is ambitious when it comes to her career and to her love, striving to reach her fullest potential in both. And as nurturing as she is, she also asserts herself, insisting to be treated with care in return. Her berth is wide, yet firm. She is ready and willing to bring in more, but she's not unafraid to shut someone out when it becomes clear it's a lost cause. And this isn't restricted to romance; this is all shades and variations of love. I really had to learn to get a handle on that as I wrote her, having her be assertive about her emotional space instead of a crag of rocks in the mighty ocean of feelings. That required giving others dimensions in ways I hadn't anticipated, and for me, especially when writing Luz and Griffin, I was even more nervous because those were Be's characters primarily, and I felt a tremendous pressure to get them right. But, in my case, the more pressure I put upon myself, the more restrictive I become. If I was having such a challenge with my primary character, how could I ever hope to get them right as well? The self-negative talk I'd been giving myself had been counterproductive, and Be and I had to work though that a lot. She had every faith I could do this, but my self-doubts had grown and grown, folded over and doubled upon themselves from self-doubts that had far predated this project. I couldn't get out of my own way, too concerned about reaching an unattainable perfection instead of trusting myself and the characters and the story to go where we needed to go. And because I didn't trust myself to know, there were periods of this process that were very difficult for us both. Coincidentally, those are similar circumstances Chakah and her sister Minnie have - where old secrets and hurts block the relationship from progressing forward; and it's not until Chakah and Minnie experience their breakthrough can things get better, and as defined by their terms - not their mother's, significant others, or anyone else.


    chakapose3


    I, too, struggled with worrying about outside influences regarding this story. For a while, a lot of my focus was on how would this story be read by the audience - its terms - and what readers of my older works would expect of this one. And it was also allegorical for me as well - I do a lot of self-editing to make sure I'm palatable to people, because I want to be liked; but along the way, I began to disregard that the person who needs to like me the most is myself, and that I am a likable, lovable person as I am - flaws and all. Chakah wasn't merely grateful the Grays were paying her the attention she wanted; she had more esteem for herself. She knew she was of value, she knew she could be a positive influence in their lives even when she first took the job as their physical therapist without falling into a Mammy role. And while there is a bit of hero worship for Luz especially, commingled with her attraction, it was never at a zero- sum game of her own worth as a person and potential lover.  This story is about figuring out how the trio's strengths and weaknesses find the grooves of each other to give them all the maximum fulfillment. There's no 80/20 here. Everyone is at a full 100.



    This is Chakah DuBois's theme song. It's a constant striving for the very best, the utmost freedom, and not at the expense of anyone else's unhappiness or restriction. To be free, unfettered, loose. I had to free myself from the chains of comparing Chakah and Loose to the other stories I'd written, and to my own flaws and faults as a person and a writer. Once I did that, I was able to let her be real and true to her story instead of have the story shape and turn around her, and I was able to love her in her realness. Having her primarily rooted in authenticity instead of escape makes me want to strive for my other and future characters to be similarly rooted. To have a reader go from "I wish this would happen to me" to "I believe this could happen for me", or, even better, "My partner(s) went on a similar journey with me" would mean a job well done.


    This story has become one of the most revealing projects about myself as a writer and a person. I couldn't have done it without a plethora of support from my family and friends, but particularly not without Be. I still have some learning and growing to do for myself, but helping to craft Chakah's story has set me on the path to be courageously me.




    loose

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    Loose

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  • AJ's Serendipity - Excerpt




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    They weren’t in a rush to get to the park, and AJ took Samara’s hand with his free one. He let Spyros choose the place, and he selected a clear patch of green not too far from a duck pond and the Zappeion. Spyros spread out the blankets while AJ set up the food; and once everything was settled, they all sat down to partake in the meal. AJ had chosen food he had seen the girls order as well as fresh grapes and strawberries to snack on. Frankie and Samara talked about what they saw in the museum while they ate, and his heart constricted when Samara announced Athens was slowly becoming one of her favorite cities.

    “Can’t believe we only have a day left, though,” she said sadly as they finished eating. There was still food left, but they had plenty of time to eat it.

    “Yeah, I can’t, either. It’s like this time flew by, thanks to our tour guides,” Frankie said, glancing at AJ and Spyros.

    “Speaking of,” Spyros said. “Want to check out the Zappeion. It’s not far from here and it’s a beautiful building.”

    “Sure,” Frankie said, “Samara?”

    “Nah, y’all go on ahead,” Samara murmured, pointedly not looking at AJ. Frankie gave them a knowing smirk, but nodded. “All right. Be back in a while.”

    Spyros helped Frankie to her feet and, after grabbing some food to feed to the ducks, went off toward the Zappeion. AJ, who had been lying on his side, reached his hand to touch Samara’s.

    “You didn’t want to go?” Samara asked.

    “All I want to see and explore is right here,” he said softly, drifting his thumb along her the lines in her palm.

    She sighed and closed her fingers over his thumb. “The things you say, AJ…you say it to all the foreign women you meet?”

    He wouldn’t lie to her. “I’ve been known to say them from time to time.”

    Samara nodded. “Did you mean them?”

    “Yes, for that period of time, I did.”

    Samara nodded. “Okay. Thank you for being honest with me.”

    AJ didn’t like her desponded tone, and he sat up. He tugged her hand to get her attention. “Hey.”

    Samara granted it to him. “Yes?”

    “Those were all practice runs for the times I would mean it, precious,” he said clearly, so she wouldn’t misunderstand. “I’ve been nothing but sincere and genuine with you.”

    She looked at him skeptically and scoffed. “Even when you call me beautiful?”

    Especially then!” She seemed taken aback by his adamancy, and he tugged her hand again. “Come here.” He patted the space between his legs.

    She looked at him shyly and he grinned, tugging on her hand once more. She finally moved; and once she was between his legs, his arms wrapped around her tightly and his legs enveloped hers.

    “Samara, you are lovely…so lovely. I look at you and I am awed. You might not hear it often, but it doesn’t change the truth of my words; and the fact your personality matches your outer beauty only makes you even more beautiful to me. Please believe me, khriso mou.”

    She said nothing and bowed her head. A few seconds later, he heard her sniffle. AJ sighed with understanding and pulled her to his chest, telling her to let it out. He rocked her as she wept, brushing away her tears as he sang softly in Greek. Though he knew she didn’t understand what he was saying, he knew she appreciated his efforts by the way she snuggled deeper into him.

    “I’m sorry,” she said after she calmed. “I’m just…I’m so overwhelmed.”

    “I am too,” AJ admitted, unable to hide his tremors from her gently stroking his chest. “I can’t believe I finally found you.”

    “Found me?”

    “Yes,” he whispered against her temple. “God, you feel so perfect in my arms.” He held her tighter, and a few minutes passed without either of them speaking.

    “I like being held by you,” Samara confessed quietly. “You make me feel so cherished.”




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  • The Beauty Within - Excerpt




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    Mmmbaby…that feels so good…”

    “Yeah?”

    “Yeah,” Tyler moaned, biting her lip at how he was making her feel. “God, those hands…”

    His chuckle was low and husky, and he applied more pressure.

    She hissed.

    “Liked that?” he whispered in her ear, biting the lobe of it.

    Gunnar…”

    “Now you’re getting a taste of how you make me feel,” he said deeply, kissing her shoulder.

    “I make you feel like this?”

    “Every single time.”

    “Hmm. I should charge you extra!”

    Gunnar laughed and smacked her bare bum gently. “Turn around, wench.”

    Tyler’s laugh joined his, and she did as instructed, leaning her head back into the shower’s spray so Gunnar could rinse out the shampoo. The water and suds slid down her body, only heightening the sensual experience of sharing the shower with Gunnar. They had behaved the entire time, taking the opportunity to explore each other’s bodies as they washed. To her surprise, Gunnar had expressed his desire to wash her hair, and though she knew it would be a tangled, frizzy, nappy mess afterwards, she decided to indulge him. Besides, he’d already seen her naked; there was nowhere to go but up in her eyes.

    He pulled her head up gently and kissed her, making her smile against his lips. “All clean?” she asked.

    He nodded and kissed her again, wrapping his arms fully around her. “All clean, elskling.”

    She snuggled into his wet, warm, chest. The water soothed her, and with Gunnar holding her so close, Tyler didn’t know when the last time she’d felt so completely relaxed.

    Gunnar’s hand drifted along her bare back, and she felt him kiss the top of her head. “I had no idea your hair was this long.”

    It brushed between her shoulder blades when wet. “I don’t straighten it very often. It’s a pain, for one, and for two, I like my hair natural.”

    “And it’s all yours?”

    “All mine.”

    “Hair that’s all yours…what a concept!” Gunnar teased.

    Tyler giggled into his shoulder and hugged him tighter. “Not all black women wear weaves or wigs!”

    “Not even a black thing,” Gunnar said, popping her bum again. “Every woman I knew in LA had extensions. One girl I was dating…hers came out during…um…‘vigorous exercise’…”

    Tyler rolled her eyes, not even wondering what this “vigorous exercise” entailed. “I’ll bet!”

    “Bad form to talk about one woman while naked in another’s presence, huh?” Gunnar conceded, leaning back to cup her cheek. His gray eyes were bright with amusement and a little contrition. “I’m sorry.”

    “The past is the past,” Tyler said, stepping out his embrace and out of the shower. She heard Gunnar turn off the water behind her, and just as she reached for the towel, he snatched it away and wrapped it around her. “Thank you.”

    “Tyler?”

    “Yes?”

    “What are you thinking?”

    She bit her lip, debating whether to answer truthfully, untruthfully, or not at all. She chose the third option and started to leave, but he held fast to her, and she could feel his nude body press against her through the terrycloth of the towel.




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  • Being Plumville - Excerpt




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    It was a very gray day and just cold enough to make snow a definite possibility. Coralee wore many layers and lined the pockets of her coat with newspaper so her hands wouldn’t be so cold. In a rare move, she wore her hair out to give her ears some protection, and constantly muttered under her breath that it should never get this cold in Plumville.

    Because she kept her face to the ground, she never noticed the presence slightly ahead of her…watching her. There weren’t many students outside braving the weather as she was doing, but she had to study—there was a major test in her philosophy class that week, and she didn’t know Kant as she should.

    She’d just passed by the large tree in front of the library’s steps when suddenly she heard a shout of her name. She jumped, startled, then narrowed her eyes when she saw a laughing Benjamin sagging against the tree. She marched up to him, glaring, but then he spun her around so that her back hit the tree’s bark, and a pair of familiar lips covered hers.

    She’d missed him so much.

    “You was so wrong fo’ scarin’ me like that,” Coralee murmured when Benjamin broke their kiss. He merely grinned, rubbing his nose against hers and playing with her hair.

    “You should wear it out more,” he said softly, pressing a kiss to the bridge of her nose. “It’s like a mass of black fire.”

    “An uncontrollable mass of black fire,” Coralee mumbled. “Can’t go out my room with my hair every which way!”

    “Doesn’t look that way to me.”

    “You’re a bit biased, Benny.”

    “You’re a bit beautiful, Coralee.”

    “Just a bit?”

    Benjamin pretended to think long and hard about it. Finally, he grinned, leaning his head towards hers to kiss her lips lightly. “A really big bit…”

    Coralee rolled her eyes and bunched her hands near his waist. He was so warm, and she snuggled into him. “I’m glad you’re here.”

    “I’m glad I’m here too,” he whispered, caressing her temple with his nose. “You know, I’ve been having trouble fallin’ asleep lately…”

    Coralee blushed and sniffled a bit, her nose runny. “Warm milk should help that.”

    Benjamin chuckled, pulling back to rub his thumb against her cheek. “Only you can, honey. You felt really good in my arms that night.”

    That was almost two weeks ago, and she had to admit it’d been harder for her to fall asleep since then as well. Coralee nodded and buried her head into his chest.

    “Someone could see us,” she whispered, a bit belatedly, but she’d been too high on Benjamin to realize this was the most public she’d even been while showing him affection.

    “Let them see.”





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  • Reconstructing Jada Channing - Excerpt




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    She took in one last breath before turning towards the glass doors and freezing, exhaling harshly and falling back against the railing for support. Jada could only blink, disbelieving her eyes. He stood not even five feet away from her, wearing a perfectly tailored suit, Versace if she remembered his tastes right, and looking every bit as handsome as he had five years ago, even with his new beard. His hair was shorter though, yet the waviness of it was still apparent, and his green eyes looked right through her, as if he had X-ray vision and could see all the secret pining for him she’d hidden for years.

    Jada gripped the railing tighter when he came closer, slowly, as a hunter cornering his prey. He put his hands in his coat’s pockets and stopped a foot away from her, eyes darting all along her face.

    “Jaybird?”

    She closed her eyes at the familiarity, having not heard that name in years. She counted to ten and opened them again. “Aaron.”

    He smiled and Jada instantly felt warm. She smiled in return because it was an automatic response whenever he did. His smile widened and he enveloped her in a large hug, lifting her off the ground with ease despite her filling out a bit since the last time he’d seen her.

    “It’s been so long,” he whispered in her hair and he set her on the ground, his hands cool against her bare shoulder blades as they slid up her nape to tangle underneath her bun.

    “Five years,” she said softly in his neck, eyes closed as she allowed her body to settle into the intimacy and naturalness of the embrace. It was as if they’d just seen each other yesterday and not five years ago, as if they hadn’t exchanged the first words to each other in over four. She pulled back, but not before he snuck a kiss to her forehead.

    “You’re beautiful,” he said seriously, rubbing his hands along her arms. She gave him a skeptical look and shook her head. “You are. You’re absolutely glowing.”

    “It’s the shimmer makeup.”

    “Still can’t accept a compliment, can you?” he asked on a light chuckle.

    “You always flattered me too much.”

    “Every word I say I mean,” Aaron said, his stare intense.

    Jada laughed and stepped away, needing to put distance between them. He was making it too easy to fall back into their friendship, but too much had happened for that to be the best thing to do. There was an entire seaboard separating them anyway, and she didn’t have the freedom she once had while in college. She had responsibilities now…





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  • Trolling Nights - Excerpt




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    trolling nights

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    It was bright as fuck, and Tim’s head felt as if it had been cracked open and shoved full of the festering foolishness from the night before. He groaned softly, bemoaning his existence, until he smelled the unmistakable aroma of eggs and biscuits coming from someplace—definitely not his house. Ulrich couldn’t cook that well and his grandmother had been dead for years.

    He sat up slowly, groaning, and looked ahead to see a curvy black body wearing a shirt that stopped right at the bottom curve of a generous bum and nothing else. Though the sight did nothing but make his customary morning erection even harder, Tim looked up and thanked the Lord for creating a body like that.

    Completely ignoring the pile of clothes and towels on the back sofa cushions on the floor, Tim left the couch and made his way silently to Bevin, putting his hands behind his back so he wouldn’t wrap his arms about her waist. Tim leaned against the refrigerator and inhaled again. Now he smelled sausage and bell peppers, and he thought he’d definitely died and gone to heaven.

    “Good morning,” he rumbled, his voice and drawl deeper than usual because of sleep.

    Bevin jumped and spun to him, her golden eyes wide. She gasped and tried to pull down her shirt with one hand and hide the scarf about her head with the other.

    “Oh, my God!” Bevin muttered and looked everywhere but at him, then she looked through the wall. “Courtney! Damn it, I’m doin’ everything backwards today!”

    “How so?” Tim asked, not moving from his spot, looking deceptively nonchalant when all he wanted to do was grab her and fuck her into stupor.

    Bevin glanced at him, then sighed and leaned over a skillet, agitating its contents with a wooden spatula. “I meant to go to the store first because I know we don’t have any Mountain Dew or Sunny D, but then after I dropped off the towels for you, I figured you’d be hungry when you woke up and—”

    Bevin clamped her mouth shut and frowned. Something told Tim she hadn’t wanted to reveal that part of her plan. Her esteem was only rising in his eyes.

    “I can go get them for you,” he offered. “Least I can do—”

    “You’ve done plenty,” Bevin said kindly and gave him a tiny smile. “You’ve done more than many men would do…and some things many men wouldn’t.”

    “Such as?”

    Bevin shrugged and went back to staring into the skillet. “Lots of guys think plastered women are free passes, but you didn’t. I appreciate it, especially since you proved me right after all.”

    “I did?”

    “Yes,” she said, and she grinned at him. “I thought you were a good man, and you are.”

    “I thank you for that, but I have to confess something,” Tim said.

    “What?”

    He made sure his eyes never strayed from hers. “If I’m with a woman, I want her completely ready, willing, and aware of when I lay down pipe.”

    Bevin looked confused and scandalized at the same time. Tim cleared his throat and blushed, especially when her eyes dropped below the proverbial belt.

    “Gotdamn!” Bevin muttered, and she looked back into Tim’s green eyes. “Courtney’s gonna be mad she missed all that!”

    Tim’s shyness waned as another emotion flooded him. He went to her, caging her between his arms with his front bent over her from behind. He gripped the edge of the countertop on either side of the stove, and he drifted his nose and lips along the side of her neck. Bevin’s pre-showered scent made his cock harder than granite, as did her body’s trembles. He placed a hand on her abdomen to calm her.

    But then he had to open his mouth.

    “You have no idea how bad I wanna pull aside your panties and slide my cock deep inside you right now…no idea…”

    “Tim…”

    “And I know you’re willin’. Your body’s temperature just shot up ten degrees and your pussy is cryin’ out for me, which is only fair ’cause my dick is weepin’ for you.”

    “Please…”

    Tim buried his nose in the crook of her neck and his hand slid low until it rested just above her pelvic bone. “Give me directions to the nearest store, Bevin, before I spin you around, lift you up on this counter, and make it a very good mornin’ for both of us.”

    He felt her diaphragm expand as she took a deep breath. “If I’m so willing, why won’t you take what I’m offerin’?”

    He grinned and kissed her cheek tenderly. “You’re not ready.”

    “How do you know that?”

    His smile widened and he moved his hand to her butt, squeezing a cheek. She gasped and jumped forward. “I rest my case.”

    “Ooh!”

    Tim laughed and kissed her cheek again. “Directions, darlin’. I wanna shower before I go.”

    Bevin told him, and Tim knew the area well enough that he didn’t ask for her to write it down. Besides, if he did get lost, it was the perfect excuse for him to call her.

    “Thank you, sweetheart,” he said and kissed her temple before going back to the living area to get the items he’d need for his shower. He gave Bevin a parting wink as he left, but the joke was ultimately on him since this shower would have to be a cold one.





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  • Loose - Excerpt




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    loose

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    Valentine’s Day morning, Chakah hustled through the financial district toward Marina Morrison Bridal Salon. She’d agreed to go shopping for Minnie ages ago, but Chakah hadn’t thought the favor would be cashed in that day. Her mother and sister must have assumed she had nothing better to do.

    Except, Chakah had two hot dates for a romantic rendezvous.

    Grinning at the prospect, she excitedly rocked on the heels of her boots as she waited at the red light, patting her bag that held two cards she’d just bought for her lovers. One expressed a generic, love-for-all sentiment, to which she’d added a politely detached message thanking the Grays for the time they’d spent as her clients and friends, now that her assignment had ended.

    The other card was as red hot in color as the desires she’d written within.

    Chakah rushed across the street when the light changed. Her heart thumped beneath an off-the-shoulder red sweater, both because she was running late and because she remained unsure which card she would give to them. Whether the night proved to be a turning point or a last hurrah, she was determined to make another incredible memory, and had told Luz she would bend her no sex rule for the occasion.

    Her sister already was inside the shop when Chakah stepped through the doors. Minnie greeted her with a tight hug and a burst of giggles that made Chakah more wistful about their sisterhood than she’d expected to feel.

    “Where’s Mom?”

    Minnie looped a slender arm through Chakah’s. “It’s just you and me today!”

    Her sister’s overly bright smile, combined with the fact she didn’t elaborate further, convinced Chakah they were sneaking under Lorraine’s radar. She smirked.

    They moved toward a blonde who stood near a dais with a three-way mirror. “This is Chelsea, the consultant,” Minnie introduced them. “Chelsea, this is Chakah, the maid of honor and my big sister. Older sister,” she corrected with a slight wince.

    Chakah refrained from rolling her eyes.

    “Nice to meet you,” Chelsea sing-songed. “I’ve already pulled a few things for Minnie, so why don’t you browse the bridesmaid dresses and see if anything catches your eye? Your sister insists on a June wedding; and since most of our dresses take six months to finish, we’re really under the gun here!”

    Chakah caught the anxiety underlying Chelsea’s joking tone and side-eyed Minnie, worried their father’s credit card was making the shop bend to her sister’s will.

    As Minnie began to critique Chelsea’s selections, Chakah drifted off on her own. She swallowed a laugh while trying to imagine herself in any of the dresses she saw. Even when Khalil had proposed, she hadn’t been able to envision walking down the aisle of By His Grace with hundreds of strange eyes staring at her. It’d seemed more like torture than something to look forward to, confirming Chakah’s long-held suspicion that marriage might not be for her. However, now, she also realized Khalil hadn’t been the spouse for her, either.

    “And neither are the Grays,” she muttered, reminded of their marital problems.

    Just when her mood began to slip, Chakah stopped before a dress she thought would look great on Minnie. It didn’t have a frilly skirt, but the lace detail was elegant, and the sweetheart neckline would accentuate the bit of bosom her sister had without the threat of flashing the congregation.

    “Minnie,” Chakah called, checking the price tag. The number made her wince.

    “Why are you in this section? Bridesmaid dresses are—oh.” Minnie’s gasp was reverent, and she clutched Chakah’s biceps. “Oh, no, you did not just find my wedding dress!”

    “Me,” Chakah teased, “doing something right in a fashion boutique?”

    The dress was large enough to try on, and Minnie sparkled when she did. The consultant crowned her with a sample veil, and she cut such a figure that they all became misty eyed.

    “You look stunning,” Chakah enthused, squeezing Minnie’s hand as they stared at her reflection in the mirrors.

    “This dress is giving me life. This is the one!” Minnie wiped away tears. “And here I thought we would only narrow it down to a few choices. Mom’s going to be so mad I chose one without her.”

    Worry stiffened Minnie’s pretty face as she whirled to face Chakah. “What if Mom doesn’t like it? I mean, it is more modern than classic.”

    “Minnie, it’s your wedding. All that matters is whether you like it.”

    Minnie paused for a moment and then took a deep breath, a smile starting to form again. “You’re right. See? That’s why I asked you to come.” Minnie squeezed her hand tightly as she turned back to the mirror. Fingering the veil, she seemed in awe of her reflection. “I’m getting married in this dress.” She giggled happily. “And to think you spotted it. You hate shopping.”

    “Actually, I hated shopping in the stores you two used to drag me in. Remember that time Mom dropped me off in the plus department for prom and said, ‘Good luck’, while you two went to the makeup counter?”

    Chakah laughed; but, over the years, it’d wounded her to watch Lorraine and Minnie have quality bonding time while she’d had to tag along with nothing to show for the outings except her mother’s criticism. She hardened at the thought, and then caught her sister looking unsure of what to say. They’d been in a good groove, something rare yet precious, until Chakah had invoked the specter of Lorraine and jostled them out of it.

    For Minnie’s sake, she faked a smile. “Anyway, this shopping trip is for your wedding! I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

    Chakah crossed her fingers behind her back for that lie. She would love to be on her back with Griffin inside her, but she shelved that thought for later.




    Loose

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