One of my favorite authors has a new release! Cue music:
The amazing Chicki Brown has released book five in her Stafford Brothers Series, I Want You Back and she is sharing and excerpt with us today. Let's take a peek at Nick Stafford, shall we.
About the Book:
Nick Stafford is the youngest in his family. He's recently graduated from medical school and finished his internship. Everything was going well for him until Cherilyn, his girlfriend of two years, starts hinting about marriage. The thought of adding more responsibility to the pressure he is already facing getting ready to take the last of his board exams and the nearly quarter of a million dollars in student loan debt already hanging over his head is too much. He breaks off their relationship.
Eight months later, he runs into Cherilyn at an event on the arm of another doctor, and she's wearing an engagement ring. Seeing her with another man stirs up a jealousy like he's never experienced before. Now all Nick can think of is how he can get her back.
Once he was inside the familiar surroundings of Cher’s apartment, Nick drew a long breath and the tension began to ebb from his neck and shoulders. He used to spend so much time at her place, but it had been months since he’d last been there. A brief glance around the living room reassured him that everything was still the same. She had a gift for the domestic arts. Even though her living space was small, it was comfortable and cozy. For some reason, even when he couldn’t relax in his own apartment, being at Cher’s always helped him settle down and unwind. Or maybe it was simply her presence that soothed and calmed him. Only this time, when she closed the door, an uneasy silence filled the room. They stared at each other for a long moment before she spoke.
“You can sit, Nick. Do you want something to drink?”
He removed his suit jacket and slung it over the back of the chair he used to consider his and eased into it with the unwelcome thought that Derrick had probably claimed it too. The notion made him so queasy he jumped up and moved to a seat at the kitchen table.
Cher turned toward him with a confused expression and poured him a glass of sweet tea from the pitcher she always kept in the refrigerator, but she didn’t say anything.
“Why don’t we order something to eat?” he asked.
“Yes, please.” She sounded thankful for the suggestion.
“How about Italian with all the trimmings?”
“Salad and garlic bread and cannoli for dessert?”
“I haven’t eaten anything delicious in three months.”
She was standing at the sink with her back to him. “I was on a strict diet to get ready for the wedding.”
“Derrick was trying to get me to eat healthier. I figured the best time to start would be before the wedding.”
It was obvious that she was trying to make light of the matter. She kept her back turned to him as she spoke.
He sensed how the confession bothered her. “I thought you were looking a little peaked, as my Aunt Velma always says. I thought maybe it was just the stress of the wedding.” He rose, came up behind her, wrapped his arms around her waist and murmured in her ear. “You don’t need to be on a diet. Your body is incredible. You’re the sexiest woman I know.”
Cherilyn immediately relaxed and rested back into his embrace. He wanted to let his hands roam over her curves, but it was probably too soon. Just this morning she was preparing to marry another man. He didn’t want her to feel as though he was pushing her. “I’ll call and order dinner.” He released her and stepped back. Instantly he felt a void at the loss of her warmth. He sighed and reached into his pocket for his phone.
Nick didn’t have to ask what she wanted. This restaurant had been their favorite, and they always requested the Best of Italy Trio with lasagna, fettuccini alfredo and chicken parmigiana. He wasn’t sure how to begin the conversation, so they waited in silence with only the sound of the television filling the apartment. When the doorbell finally rang, he got up to answer it, paid the delivery man and set the bags on the table. The aromas of tomato and garlic from the unopened containers filled the room.
“This smells wonderful.” She opened each item, and Nick spooned their food onto plates then took her hand and offered a quick blessing.
He tore a slice of hot garlic bread from the foil-wrapped loaf. “We can’t avoid talking about this.”
“I know,” she answered softly. “Where do we go from here?”
“I need to say something first.” Her eyes rested on the Caribbean blue gaze she adored, and she waited for him to speak. “The night we broke up, you said something that hurt me, Cher. You said I needed to show you that you weren’t just a place to stop when I wanted to do my laundry or get a home-cooked meal, or get my rocks off.” Maybe you were just angry, but I need to know if you really believed that’s how I saw our relationship.”
Following a long sigh, she rested her fork on the edge of her plate and looked as though she was contemplating her answer. “We were together for two years, Nick. That’s longer than a lot of people stay married, but we had gotten into such a routine. You’d come here after working a God-awful shift at the hospital. I’d feed you. We’d watch TV until you crashed, which was usually about twenty minutes after you ate; then I’d wake you up and we’d have sex then you’d go back to sleep until you had to get up and go back to work.”
He twirled his fork into the fettuccini and hesitated before raising it to his mouth. “Sounds pretty monotonous when you put it like that. I saw things totally different. I loved coming here. I have a roommate. There’s no such thing as privacy with him and all of his friends traipsing in and out. You gave me the three things a man needs: good food, good sex and quiet.” He smiled. “Coming here and spending time with you was the best part of my week, but I understand you felt you were getting the short end of the stick. I didn’t take into consideration what you needed. I’m sorry, baby.”
“It was my fault, but if we’re going to be together, things will be different. No more spending the night. No more doing your laundry here. If you want me, you have to date me like you should’ve been doing all along.”
Nick mulled over her words for a moment then nodded. “That’s fair. It’s what you deserve, but don’t expect any gourmet dining or weekend trips to South Beach on a resident’s salary.” He added with a mirthless chuckle.
“Oh, my God! You make fifty thousand dollars a year, more than half of the households in this country. No, that doesn’t compare to what your brothers make, but please stop acting like you’re poverty stricken.”
“I do, but I’m also drowning in two hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt. If I ever plan to get out from under it, most of what I earn has to go toward repaying my student loans. I don’t want to still be paying them off ten years from now.”
She crossed her arms and shook her head. “Think about it this way. If we were married, my salary plus what I make from giving lessons on the side would go into the family pot. We would only have one rent payment instead of two and only one set of utility bills.” She gave the ceiling a brief glance. “I’m just saying.”
He gave her a half-smile. “You’re right. I have to stop imagining this anvil hanging over my head with 200K written on it.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Am I ever going to get to enjoy your cooking again?”
She smirked. “We’ll see.”
“Let’s finish eating. You need to be on your way before it gets too late.”
Kindle US: http://amzn.to/1qi7bFc
Kindle UK - http://amzn.to/1UUfALq
CreateSpace (paperback) - https://www.createspace.com/6179027
Coming soon to Nook
About the Author:
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.
Amazon Central Author Page: http://amzn.to/l2kjXQ