About your Book:
~Deception, greed, and fame dismantle their lives~
Charlene and Raven, mother and daughter, are woven together by blood, but separated and haunted by circumstance: personal struggles, concealed demons and uncovered skeletons.
Fifteen-year-old Charlene Shaw is frustrated with life and decides to leave her troubles behind. She embodies every young woman’s starry-eyed dreams and heads for Hollywood. On her rugged road to fame, Charlene’s using everything in her might to erase the past–even at the point of compromising her own love story. Charlene still can’t wipe away her deepest fear that shakes her very core… Raven.
Raven Shaw grows up in her mother’s tiny Christian town Bellwood, North Carolina. She’s a feisty, confident young thing who won’t hesitate to use her fist when bullies mock her as a bastard. Overcoming teen depression, she finds love. A first love, a teenage romance to die for. Now, Raven can’t be fully committed to the man that has her heart until she learns shy she’s been neglected.
When their path’s collide, Raven asks to questions–two family secrets–that can ruin their lives, leading mother and child on the road of feeling like a “Miss Nobody”
Targeted Age Group: 16+
Genre: Drama, Family Saga, African American Fiction
The Book Excerpt:
Turning around, Raven looked up to see a tall, attractive guy with caramel complexion. He wore the latest rappers designer jeans, and a cardigan added a slight preppy look to his bad-boy style. Instantly, she became mesmerized by warm, honey colored eyes and a beautiful smile. Her brow arched. “Yes?”
“You don’t know who I am.” Those honey eyes sparkled with a smile. His dimple made her legs go weak. Then the sexiness of his eyes began to show genuine hurt as she blinked at him and shook her head. “It’s me, Jon.”
As Raven registered what he’d said, she jumped into his arms. Surprised, she was hugging a man with more muscles in his arms than she ever deemed possible for her old best friend. It was a comforting bear hug. She inhaled his charismatic citrus and cedar cologne.
“Do you want the charm bracelet?” The cranky voice of the jeweler separated the reunion.
“Oh, I don’t have that much money. Sorry.” Cheeks warm, Raven handed back the bracelet that was miraculously still in her hand. She couldn’t afford it after all the money she’d spent for winter formal.
Jon pulled out his wallet. “We’ll call this an early birthday present.”
“You don’t have to, Jon.” Raven pulled his arm, but the jeweler already took and examined a hundred-dollar bill.
He gathered his change when Mecca came out of the store. A frown creased her skin, she hadn’t found the perfect shoes. Her sour face faded into a smile as her eyes zeroed in on Jon. “Damn, if I knew you had muscles under all that fat, I would have got wit’cha a long time ago,” Mecca winked as Raven told her who he was.
All the happiness disappeared as he gave a stone-faced reply, “I wouldn’t.”
Raven hid a chuckle. He was just as cocky as ever with Mecca. He turned back to her, smile back on his face, and said, “Let me introduce ya’ll to my friend.” He walked with her towards a hip-hop clothing store, with Mecca following.
Out walked a smooth, dark-skinned teenager, talking on a cell phone. He put it away. “Damn, Jay, I didn’t know you were going to come back with some honeys, which one is mine.” He rubbed his hands together. “Don’t be stingy.”
“This my boy, Shawn.”
Together they went to the food court, ate, and talked. Shawn kept the conversation lively, joking, and attempting to impress the girls. He went back and forth flirting with Raven then with Mecca. It was evident that he was in his zone.
“Ya’ll ain’t going home now, are you?” Shawn asked as they threw away uneaten food on the food trays.
Raven felt like she was under a magnifying glass as Jon looked at her intensely. He responded for her. “No. They’re coming with us.” He took Raven’s hand. “I want to show you something.”
She nodded. She knew Chris would be pissed, but she couldn’t bear leaving Jon after being away from him for so long. Besides, Mecca gawked at Shawn like he was a piece of choice-meat. Mecca followed Jon’s ’79 shiny black Chevy Chevelle with lime green flecks of paint. A few minutes later they pulled into the parking lot of the dorm rooms at Brinton Preparatory School. Mecca’s bucket stuck out between Audis, BMWs, and other expensive imported vehicles.
“Has your mom seen this car?” Raven asked with a sarcastic smile. She couldn’t imagine Elise allowing her son to ride around in a muscle car with shiny black rims. Import, yes. Muscle, no.
“She’s coming around to my way of things, got me stuck at this school.” Jon gave her a tour around campus as Shawn and Mecca went to the dorm rooms.
“Dang, this place is as big as the city college,” Raven said, as they walked along a pebbled path towards a mass of red mulberry trees. “Are you taking me into those woods, Jay? I don’t know if I’m that comfortable with you.” The wind flew through her hair, as she looked up at him. “Haven’t seen you in almost four years. Can I trust you?”
“You don’t have to call me Jay, Raven. And yes. I want to show you something,” Jon said as they passed over a field with a mist of dandelions. “Do you trust me?”
“I trust you, Jonathan Dubois Junior.” Raven took his hand.
Swirls of red and purple peppered the large mulberry trees. The sound of a stream came into view. The air was fresh and clean, as they took a seat close to the creek with its green mossy boulders half submerged in the clear water.
“Almost reminds me of where we used to play.” She thought about being in the meadow–their meadow–and daydreaming about him. She’d been there just a few days ago, lying in the grass.
“I come here sometimes when I’m homesick.” Jon plucked a long blade of grass. He twisted it with his fingers, changing the piece of grass into the shape of a heart and handed it to Raven.
Instantly, a rush of questions came to Raven, questions about him during the past four years. She lay back into the soft grass with thoughts that she couldn’t bring herself to ask him. Maybe if she looked away and imagined a very, fat boy that she’d loved as a child, it would be easier? But, he was no longer the pudgy Jon who looked into her eyes and challenged her to be the best person she could be.
He lay down next to her, scooting closer and propped on his hand, looking at her intently. He was different, towered over her when standing. He had muscles, was handsome. Raven found herself feeling nervous. Instead of giving him the third degree about where he’d been, she listened.
“When I started Brinton, I was angry. I wanted to come home. But Shawn became my friend, and you can just imagine how crazy he is. He helped me get through the fact that my parents got rid of me…I’m the captain of the football team….I mean, my dad finally talks to me. Not about law and stuff but football. He even come to my games.”
“That’s great,” was all Raven could say. She tried to concentrate on his happiness She propped herself onto her arm, laying on her side, still ecstatic about being so close to Jon. But is he the same person? Raven traced the mermaid charm of her new bracelet. When he caught her eyes, she looked around at the graying of the sky. There was something beautiful about the sky right before it rained away.
“How’s it going, looking for your mom?” He asked.
“It’s not going anywhere,” Raven admitted . Why can’t I just say that I stopped searching for Charlene after you left?