Wednesday, June 28, 2017

#WriterWednesday - New Release from Chicki Brown

Today's Writer Wednesday blog guest is Author Chicki Brown!! She's sharing her new release with us, and it sounds AMAZING! Check it out!!

A quiet bookworm, Tangela Holloway has always been content working at her an independent bookstore in the sleepy little town of Eufaula, Alabama. But lately, Tangie discovers that she’s bored and frustrated, especially since the man she’s been dating for two years seems to care more about his business than he does her. When Reese Turner rides into town on his Harley, Tangie’s heart feels like it’s beating for the first time. She not only sees the most exciting man she’s ever met, but also a chance to experience something other than backyard BBQs and fishing at the lake.

After ending a drama-filled relationship with a high-maintenance fashion model, Reese wants nothing more than to make a road trip to Florida with his motorcycle club. Never did he expect a quick stop at a small town bookstore would introduce him to a shy bookworm who makes him re-think his vow to remain single and unattached.

On Saturday night, after I closed the store, came home, showered and changed, I waited for Johnnie as I always did. He’d called me in the afternoon to make sure we were still on for dinner. I suppose it was merely a courtesy, since we had a standing date for dinner every Saturday at seven. With both of us running businesses, we rarely did anything during the week. More often than not we ended up at one of the barbecue places in town, a couple of which I believe he frequented because he knew the owners. Their food certainly wasn’t anything to write home to mama about. Johnnie preferred the homey little joints to the nicer places that had better quality food. He was nothing if not a creature of habit, and he never even considered going someplace out of town. In his mind all of the restaurants had food, and it didn’t matter which one we ate at. I often felt if I had to eat in one more of the places we’d been to dozens of times, I might be sick.

Johnnie didn’t understand or didn’t want to hear that I had a more realistic view of our town than he did. If I wanted really good barbecue, I’d go to one of the black-owned places. Anyone who is a barbecue connoisseur knows there are major differences in the food depending on culture. He frequented their spots because they’d said, “Come on over!” Like they were friends or something. But when the tables were turned, they didn’t reciprocate. The annual King Day celebration was a prime example. We all worked together to pull it off. But at the parade held that same afternoon sponsored by the NAACP, the white residents generally refused to join in. It was kind of a benign d├ętente. We all get along in our own lanes, but crossing lanes is silently resisted. 

Tonight I convinced him to eat at the Cajun Corner. It wasn’t fancy, but they had delicious seafood and a New Orleans atmosphere complete with jazz playing through the sound system and jazz murals on the walls. I ordered a shrimp/scallops combo and deep fried eggplant sticks served with homemade remoulade dipping sauce, thankful for being spared barbecue for another week. 

Johnnie placed his order and folded his hands on the table. “How’d your week go at the store? My receipts were up this week by almost twenty percent.” His face spread into a wide smile, one of the things I always loved about him. He wasn’t make-your-head-spin fine, but he had those cute boy-next-door good looks.

“That’s fantastic! Wish I could say the same, but my sales aren’t affected by bass season. I do have a few editing jobs that’ll bring in about a thousand dollars.” I had the feeling he was just making small talk. Johnnie and I never had a hard time communicating with each other. Growing up in the same town gave us the same frame of reference. 

He settled his gentle brown gaze on my face. “What’s been going on with you, girl?”

Something in his tone told me he wasn’t talking about the store. “Why don’t you come right out and ask what you want to know?” He had the habit of avoiding any topic that might be sensitive or lead to an argument.

He cleared his throat and took a long sip of his New Orleans Hurricane as though he needed the fortification. “People are talking, Tangie.”

I swirled the straw in my sweet tea. “About what?” I wanted him to put it into his own words.

“You know what I mean. I thought we were cool.”

“What’s the problem, Johnnie?”

He leaned in closer and glanced from side to side before he whispered. “I want to know who this guy is you had lunch with on Wednesday.”

Finally he got to the point. I shook my head. “He was a customer who ordered a book and wanted to know where to get something for lunch. I only tried to be friendly.” 

“A little too friendly in my opinion.” He gulped his drink and watched the server who’d appeared and placed our meals on the table. She asked if we needed anything else and left.

“It doesn’t really matter.”

“How can you say that, Tangie? Are you trying to embarrass me? I mean, everybody knows we’re together, and you strut right through the middle of town where everyone can see you with some strange dude.”

“It sounds as though you’re only worried about what people think. Why are you always so concerned with the opinions of other folks?”

“I care about your reputation, that’s all.”

“Are you sure it’s not your reputation you’re concerned about?”

“Look, forget I said anything. Let’s eat.” He said a quick blessing and dove in.

“I can’t forget. We’ve been together for two years, Johnnie, and you seem quite content with things the way they are.”

“You’re not going to start harping on that again. Things are fine between us. Now is not the time for us to change our relationship. I’m trying to focus on building the business.” 

“Maybe you’re content, but I’m not.”


Contemporary women’s fiction/romance author Chicki Brown has been featured twice in USAToday. She was the 2014 B.R.A.B. (Building Relationships Around Books) Inspirational Fiction Author and also the 2011 SORMAG (Shades of Romance Magazine) Author of the Year. Chicki was also a contributing author to the Gumbo for the Soul: Men of Honor (Special Cancer Awareness Edition). 

A transplanted New Jersey native who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, Brown still misses the Jersey shore, the pizza and the hot dogs.

Nia Forrester, Beverly Jenkins, Iris Bolling, Lisa Kleypas, and J.R. Ward are among her favorite authors.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for letting me hang out here with you today, Adrienne!