Perfect Chance at Love excerpts
Book 1: Love by Delivery
“Still single. I’ve got the condo, the car, and the salary, so where is my husband?
It wasn’t the first time Dominique Hayes’ mind wandered as she attended the Friday night singles meeting. Of all the auxiliaries at Salvation Temple, she tried not to miss this weekly ministry—well, not anymore. Yet, as she shifted in her seat, Dominique wanted to wave a white clearance sign with bold red letters: available for dinner, movies, or a walk in the park. pick me.
How pathetic. She sounded like a stray puppy in a shelter, whining for a good home instead of a driven senior account manager. Since she was a teenager, she had trusted God for every blessing in her life: great position—almost six figures; home—spacious condo in a nice neighborhood; and good health.
Now, at thirty-three, she struggled with trusting the same Lord for finding her a mate, one of the opposite sex—of course she had to clarify today in this time of wickedness. But she didn’t have to tell God that. He was the Creator of the guidelines for husbands and wives.
Two nice-looking men—tall, built, and meticulously groomed— strolled into the small sanctuary. They scanned the chapel. Dominique perked up, but slumped when Sisters Carr and McAllister waved and the gentlemen headed their direction.
“One day,” Paige Blake, who was like the sister Dominique never had, whispered sitting next to her.
Dominique nodded, but didn’t believe it. No one, besides her best friend knew she had been outside the safety net of Jesus and frequented a few clubs with associates in hopes of finding her special someone. The men wanted her body, and she wanted them in the Body of Christ.
In an effort to justify her dating the unsaved bachelors, she had invited Tyrone Kennedy to her church. After him was Sam Glover, and lastly, Jeff McCoy. None of them ever returned after one visit. Her mother, Dora, always said, “You can bring a horse to the water, but you can’t make him drink.” True, so Dominique repented and returned to the singles meeting with a new commitment to wait on God.
“Be prayerful, hopeful, and faithful,” Minster Quinton Ray, their leader, advised the group. “God will show you the man or woman who’s perfect for you.”
Dominique guessed he was speaking from experience since he was recently engaged to a fairly new member. Of all the church ladies who had vied for the hunk’s attention for months, in walked Mya King and the minister was a goner.
“I’m losing the hopeful part.” Paige took the words right out of Dominique’s mouth.
Book 2: Late Summer Love
Blake Cross was no longer on a mission. With his DD214 papers of military separation, he was back on U.S. soil in Cleveland, Ohio, permanently. After three tours of active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus two years with the Ohio National Guard, the military had been in his DNA for fourteen years.
He had been a civilian for six weeks. How long would it take for him to re-adjust to a life where he didn’t have to answer to anyone?
One day you will answer to Me.
God? What did I do? What do You mean? When no answer came, Blake decided to brush it off to his imagination. Besides, he was in Charleston, South Carolina, for the weekend. Grabbing his key card, Blake strolled out of his hotel room in search of family to reconnect with after his long absence.
Leave it to the Bells and Crosses to choose another historic site for their family reunion.The DoubleTree Hotel was spacious for his hundred-plus family members to gather. After decades of hosting family reunions, there was no shortage of African American historically significant places for organizers to designate as this year’s must-see spot. He wouldn’t be surprised one day if everybody ended up in Africa where Ancestry.com had pinpointed their descendants.
Walking out of his third-floor suite, he admired the hotel’s stately layout leading to the elevator. Once there, he pushed the down button and waited. When the doors opened, a sweet fragrance beckoned him to come in. He did, and his knees weakened. It took all his will power not to drool. Wow. He was in the company of the most exotic woman he had seen in a long, longtime.
How could a woman have so much hair? Shiny black curls glistened. It reminded him of the dolls his older sisters had when he was a boy. However, this woman wasn’t a toy. Her delicate fragrance filled the elevator like a garden, but it wasn’t overpowering. She removed fashionable shades from her face, and hypnotic hazel eyes stared back at him. That was it. He stopped breathing. Call for resuscitation now!
“Hi. Here for the reunion?”she asked, snapping him out of the trance.
Getting his bearings, Blake took short breaths and recovered. “Yep. It’s been a long time since I’ve attended one.”
She nodded as the doors closed without him selecting his stop.“I didn’t think you looked familiar. I’m Paige Blake from St. Louis, Miranda and William’s daughter.” She extended her hand, and the softness seemed to melt in his. When his heart skipped a beat, he released it immediately. He had chased after many women in his days, but nonet hat were in his bloodline.
Whoever Aunt or Cousin Miranda was, she has a pretty daughter, definitely a looker. She probably had men straining their necks to appreciate her beauty. Come to think of it, the Crosses were known for having nice-looking children. His older sisters were evidence of that. Monique and Sanette had their pick of men until they decided which ones couldn’t get away. He had yet to meet a woman who would fit that description. “I’m Blake from Cleveland, Lily and—”
The doors opened to the lower level and they walked out in sync, without him finishing.
“I know that, silly. This is the Blake/Croft reunion. Do you know where our hospitality suite is?”Shesquinted,and they pointed at the same time in oppositedirections.
Blake saw it first. “There it is…Cross/Bell Reunion, the Queen Bee Room.”
“The Majesty Room…” she said at the same time.Paige frowned. “Cross/Bell? Aren’t you with the Blake/Croft reunion?” Her bewildered expression begged for an explanation. “I assumed you were saying you’re a Blake versus a Croftcousin.”
“It appears our family reunions are sharing this hotel this weekend.” Blake snickered with renewed interest, relieved there was amix-up.
“Paige,” a woman’s squeal echoed from the far end of the hall. “You finally made it!”
Twirling around, Paige released her own high-pitched squeal. The two started a trek toward each other.Without a goodbye, he had been dismissed, leaving a dusting of intrigue behind. Despite separate family reunions, he planned to reunite with Paige before the weekend ended.
“Who was that?” Nyla Blake, her cousin and her roommate for the weekend, demanded once they were behind closed doors of the hospitality suite. Her hazel eyes—a Blake trademark—sparkled with mischief. Both were the same height—about five-six—and the same shade of golden brown. Another trademark was a head full of thick hair, if they didn’t cut it. Nyla did, and the short cut enhanced her looks.
“His name is Blake. We rode down the elevator together.” Paige shrugged as she surveyed the stuff to be handed out tonight during the Friday night reunion kickoff banquet.
Her cousin’s shoulders slumped. “Should have known.
Are we related to all the fine men?”
“I hope not,” Paige said nonchalantly as she peeped at the prizes, awards, and other recognitions that were stacked in categories, but there were still more piles that needed separating. “That’s his first name.” She paused and twisted her lips.“I can’t recall if he told me his last name or not, but he’s here for another reunion. Strange, huh?” She couldn’t recall two family reunions occupying the same hotel at the same time in all her yearsattending.
“Excellent.” Nyla grinned. “Can’t do the kissing cousins thing.Maybe ’ll push all the floors next time so I can catch a ride on the elevator with him.”