Jamine, Leeza, and Cristal have a chance meeting at the Atlanta Airport during Hurricane Allee. These three diverse women wanted to get away from each other, but they were forced to be joined at the hip in the cramped waiting area until the storm passed. In spite of themselves, they form a lasting bond before returning to their own separate lives that are on the verge of spiraling out of control. Will their hopes and dreams be blown away like the six-day reign of Hurricane Allee, or will they find the faith and courage to help each other hold on and begin again…Living in the Seventh Day?
Targeted Age Group:: 17+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
It occurs to me that no matter how different we think we are–backgrounds, race, finances–we all have some very basic and common needs. We have the need to be loved and understood, and we have the need to have a basis for our faith–who or what we hold onto in times of hardship and trouble. Jasmine, Leeza, and Cristal allow us to explore this reality from three very different perspectives.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I needed at least three distinct characters from varying backgrounds to deal with this concept of coming to faith in Christ in order to deal with the everyday struggles and disappointments that come our way; and the belief that our lives do have order and purpose no matter how chaotic the circumstances may appear. And these three women could not be more different–one black, one white, one diva! They make for a comical and interesting trio as they find their way around their prejudices, untested beliefs, lies, and social status to form a lasting bond on the basis of basic human needs. [At first, Jasmine’s name was going to be Lavender (she’s the oldest and more prudish of the three women), but one of my Facebook friends/readers suggested ‘Jasmine’, and it stuck.]
Leeza landed at Heathrow Airport and checked into the chic King George Hotel near the River Thames. Although her concern for her dad and her career threatened to overwhelm her at times as she crossed the Atlantic, Jasmine’s encouraging words offered her a great deal of comfort on the eight-hour flight. Her phone call had come as a breath of fresh air before her devastating meeting with Detective Visclosky and the horrible news about her mom being slowly poisoned to death. Leeza was able to get room service and a well-deserved good night’s sleep in her elegant suite overlooking the brisk English street life below. The fog had lifted. London was enjoying the promise of spring, and nothing could be lovelier.
The next evening, her two friends, Heather and Nadine, whom she’d met during her Harvard days, told her to wear something hip and sexy. “And try not to look like a stuffy, old business frau,” they had giggled over the phone. Leeza picked out a little black number and a push-up bra for the occasion that put her supple cleavage and long, silky legs on full display. At midnight, her friends picked her up at her hotel, all black eyes and glitter, and took her to an underground Rave. Heather was wearing red silk shorts and a strappy tee, and Nadine had on a purple, spandex mini that barely covered her assets. Nadine had brought over her henna kit for the occasion, and she scrawled a temporary tattoo down Leeza’s neck–a long, bright red butterfly.
The three of them stumbled down some steep stairs to what must have been an abandoned railroad tunnel for the Tube, the equivalent of a subway tunnel in New York City. They entered the club-like setting, colored lights strobbing and music pumping out a loud, monotonous dance track. The room was filled with odd creatures and phantom faces–green hair, spiked brows, extreme piercings–and varying states of lucidity. What was passing itself off for dancing was a lot of pushing and shoving, gyrating and banging.
The L-shaped, crystal bar was lined with young, scantily clad women of all ages, each dripping with a come-hither look in their eyes that said they were ready for anything. Leeza’s two friends snagged two places at the bar and squeezed her in between them. They could barely hear each other talking over the loud music.
“So where is he?” Leeza yelled.
“Patience my dear, Leeza,” Heather said in her British brogue. “This is London, not New York. The real party doesn’t start ’til 3 a.m.”
“He’ll be here.” Nadine wiggled, trying to get the attention of every man passing by.
“He is so delectable,” Heather said.
“Don’t worry.” Nadine purred. “You’re sure to spot him the minute he comes through the door.”
The two friends moved to the dance floor to bounce around to the heavy metal downbeat, leaving Leeza to fend for herself at the bar. She received a number of admiring glances, from men and women alike, but she was trying to keep her mind on her business. She’d come here to meet Rhymes Nolan, the son of Lord Jeffrey Nolan, head of Sebatha Enterprises. Her friends from Harvard, Heather and Nadine, had had the good fortune of meeting him in this very spot some months back, and they had made fast friends. For old time sakes, they were prepared to let Leeza cash in on their goodwill.
“There he is.” Heather mouthed and motioned to the door.
“Yes.” Nadine giggled absurdly. “The finest man in the room.”
After being greeted and pawed on by a gauntlet of inebriated patrons, Rhymes made his way to the bar. He didn’t acknowledge Heather or Nadine until he’d slipped a nod to the bartender who seemed eager to respond to his slightest inflection. Once he had his liquor in a tall snifter, Rhymes took up the spot quickly vacated by some clubbers who obviously respected his superior clout. He assumed a nonchalant pose with his elbows turned to face the bar.
“Ladies.” Rhymes finally snapped his fingers at Heather and Nadine, and they came running. “Fancy meeting you here,” he said in his cultured English accent.
Heather and Nadine swooned as if on cue. They flanked him, one on either side, and stroked his arms through his tailored silk shirt. His spiked hair was an abnormal shade of blonde and the piercing on his left nostril appeared to be removable upon necessity.
“Rhymes, you naughty boy; we’ve been waiting for you.” Heather cooed.
“And who do we have here?” Rhymes gave his first notice of Leeza. He liked the looks of her, and his eyes lapped her up like a saucer of milk.
“This is the friend we were telling you about, Rhymes,” Heather said, dripping his name like honey.
“And what is your name, Friend?” Rhymes scrolled his eyes over Leeza’s sexy cleavage.
“Leeza.” She stopped with that, since first names seemed to be the protocol. And after all, she didn’t want to come off as a hungry, frustrated, tired businesswoman. Even though, at that moment, she was all three.
“Not drinking?” Rhymes glanced at her empty hand. He had an immediate distrust of people who didn’t indulge in some form of intoxicant. After all, what was the point?
“I’ll have what you’re having,” Leeza said seductively, trying not to appear too forward.
Rhymes nodded at the bartender, again, and in less than a second, he was placing a fancy, long-stemmed glass into her hand.
Leeza sipped and smiled like she had a secret she was dying to tell.
After Heather and Nadine had fawned over him for an appropriate amount of time, Rhymes yelled over the music in Leeza’s direction. “Dance?” He nodded to the crowded floor.
“Sure.” Leeza let him lead the way. “If you’ll show me how.”
Rhymes seemed to like the invitation, and he happily lead her out to the mob scene in the center of the floor.
“Come here often?” Leeza mouthed to get his attention, since he seemed to be x-raying all of the women within radar range.
Rhymes looked back at her as if he were seeing her for the first time. He smiled and cocked his had. “What do you want?”
“Want?” Leeza balked.
“Sure.” He waved his arms over his head like the crazy mob around them. “Everyone who wants to meet me…wants something.”
Leeza waved her arms around, in-kind, like she was a woman gone mad. “To be honest,” she said close to his ear, “I do want something.”
“Name it.” Rhymes looked amused. “And we’ll see what I can do.”
Leeza went for it. “I need your father’s business.” She buzzed.
Rhymes pulled Leeza away from the dance floor so they could hear each other better. “I usually get–how does my Father put it in his antiquated terms–‘serviced’–to render this sort of favor to anyone.” He grinned lustfully.
Leeza thought back to her Dad’s subtle suggestion that she should do whatever was required to pull this off, and she cringed. She’d never expected to be called on to lay her body on the line to keep her job. “Serviced?” she said tightly as she continued to bounce to the beat of the wicked music. “But all I’m asking is that you give me an introduction to the CEO at your father’s firm.”
“That’s a tall order.” He pulled her closer to him and grinded his body against hers. “Even for you, Pretty Leeza.”
Leeza was repulsed by his touch, but she didn’t dare move. She wanted to run away and yell, “Later for this job!” But she gritted her teeth and said nothing.
Rhymes twirled her away from him and then pulled her ear back to his lips. “But,” he said, “I may be willing to let you off lightly.” He nodded to Heather and Nadine who were salivating over him like tigers on the prowl; eyes glued to his every move. “Because I imagine your girlfriends over there,” he crooned, “are more than willing to provide enough ‘service’ to cover this one favor–this one time. He skinned his lips back over perfect white teeth and snarled like a wolf.
Leeza kept still and prayed with all her heart that this would pass.
“Tell you what I’ll do.” Rhymes looked over his shoulder at Heather and Nadine, again, who were nearly panting with desire and anticipation. “I’ll give your name to my Father’s executive aide…with my recommendation.” Rhymes ran his index finger along her cheek and down her neck over the glowing butterfly. “Will that please you?”
“Oh, yes. Thank you.” Leeza dared to breathe again, but every part of her body was gripped with fear as to how far she’d have to go, if asked.
Rhymes’ eyes revealed that something was kicking in that was far more potent than the liquor in his glass. “And what you do with it, Pretty Leeza,” he slurred, “that’s entirely up to you.” He gave her cheek a long, slow lick with his hot, wet tongue. “But I never want to see you here again. Understood?” He staggered slightly.
“Understood,” Leeza whispered. She wanted to use her hand to scrub him off her cheek. It felt like it had been fire-branded, but she didn’t dare. She slithered back over to the bar with her girlfriends and felt like the lowest form of snake.
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