Hello, Leone’ Sweet
I’m a former law major, turned English major, turned author living in the Midwest. No matter where I am in the world, Chicago will always be my home.
I’ve been reading romance novels since I was a teenager. I guess you can say becoming a romance writer was inevitable.
When I’m not at my full-time job, I’m working out in the gym, reading a romance novel by one of my favorite authors, drinking tea on my deck while working on a new erotic tale—weather permitting—or in the kitchen testing out new recipes.
For me writing is fuel to my creativity, and I love to create stories I hope readers will enjoy.
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Excerpt from Nora
What kind of friend am I? I’m sulking at my best friend’s wedding reception, which I helped organize, by the way.
Gabby deserves this day with the man she’s been in love with for over two long years. It took some doing for them to get together, but her Sir is right for her and that’s all that matters.
Beside me, Gladys rubs her swollen stomach, an ever-present smile spread on her glowing face. She’s four months pregnant with my first niece or nephew, and anyone can see her happiness. Gladys went through so much heartache losing family member after family member to death until she fell in love with my brother. I know having a baby is something they have really hoped for, and I’m very happy for the both of them.
Alex sits down next to her and wraps his arms around Gladys. I’m so happy for my brother; he deserves happiness and then some. I consider both Gladys and Gabriella my sisters. The fact my brother found his forever in Gladys only sweetens the pot for the sisterly love I have for her in my heart.
Then Alexander found Gladys’s estranged father. Her father turned out to be one of the richest men in the world and owner of Colton Industries, a tech giant. She will inherit the CEO seat of her father’s company, pushing out her half-brother, who hired a hit man to kill her.
That hit man turned out to be Gabriella’s long-lost and forgotten father. He kidnapped her because he found out Gabriella’s mother, who he turned into a prostitute and addict, is actually an heiress to the Holsworth financial family conglomerate. Her new husband, Lancelot Howard, is a badass ex-military Marine and owner of the very firm hired to protect us. He’s like a millionaire.
Then you have me, Eleanora Kincaid, of the Scottish clan Kincaid, adored sister of Alexander and part owner of Kincaid Tech, a worldwide conglomerate in technology software.
You would think I have everything I can possibly want in this world to make me happy, but you would be wrong. Single and dateless Eleanora is what I call myself, but I’m not bitter—I’m mad. Mad because what I want or whom I want seems unattainable, for now.
I should be happy for all of my family and friends but I’m not. Oh, I’m happy they found love and marriage, but those are the things I want, and they seem so far out of my reach. I’m tired of sitting back and watching everyone I love find their true love while I’m left holding the damn bridal bouquet, again.
I can have what I want, but I may lose someone very dear to me. On the other hand, I can have this person, who is dear to me, but lose that part of me I have kept hidden for so long. Either way, I’m going to have both, come hell or high water. All protocol is off when my brother married Gladys, and now I’m getting what I want too. At this point, whether Alexander is okay with it or not, I’m going after what’s mine. I know they want me, and I know they know that I want them.
Truth be told, I’m in love. Not the puppy-dog-crush type of love. No, I’m in the ready-to-give-up-my-V-card-take-me-hard-and-fast-in-my-puss-down-my-throat-and-up-my-ass kind of love. I may be a virgin, but I have friends who like to talk about details of their sex lives, and I like to listen, except for Gladys’s.
I know it sounds crazy that I’m a virgin at twenty-five, but I have my reasons. One very special reason is: I made a promise to myself with help from my brother.
Alexander has always told me to never settle, always get what I want, and when I choose the man, demand respect. I’m the prize, and my gift to the man I love is my love. The tricky thing is, I’m in love with two men who are my brother’s best friends.
Alexander raised me. He took care of me and shielded me from the worst of our parents’ mental abuse and taught me everything I needed to know about lifelong lessons and business. He could have left me with my incompetent nanny, but he didn’t. He stayed and cared of me. He bore the burden of the punishments and degradation from our parents.
I never knew the things done to him behind closed doors. I knew the absence of my parents’ love, admiration, and praise but my brother made up for their lack of affection in spades. I didn’t see or feel the dislike they had for us because they were never around, and Alexander took over my care. He shielded me so well that he would wrap fake gifts from them for me when they missed my birthday or send nice cards written by him but addressed from them.
That’s why it breaks my heart that the decision I’ve made may upset him. He sacrificed so much for me and still does. In order for me to find happiness as he has, I need my heart’s desire.
I love my brother, but I also love Bartholomew and Ramsey. Not as brothers, though. Bartholomew, or Bull as everyone else calls him, and Ramsey, also known as Ram, are our two oldest and dearest friends. Whatever I’ve ever needed or wanted, the three of them have always been there to take care of me.
Since I was ten years old, I’ve had a crush on them, and by the time I was a teenager my crush turned into admiration and then later love.
Every lifelong lesson, every social development, and every challenge I struggled with, they were there for me. Bartholomew’s parents have always treated my brother and me as if we’re family. So afraid to leave me at home with the staff or with our parents if they happened to be home, Alexander always took me along to Bull’s family’s home.
Mrs. Sinclair, Bartholomew’s mother and Ramsey’s aunt, is one of the sweetest women I know. We enjoyed dinners at her house, playdates, and field trips. She taught me things my brother and his friends couldn’t.
They taught me to fight, fish, stand up for myself, and not fall for the bullshit boys told girls to get them in bed. She taught me how to cook, how to get a read on people, and how I should remain true to myself because I’m the best me there is. I could make a path of my own making. She taught me to follow where my heart led me, and to listen to myself and not anyone else because the advice they may give me may not be best for me.
I remember the three of them being there for me whenever I needed them. They never let me fall and helped me to learn from my mistakes.
I also remember the exact day I boldly walked up to Bartholomew and confessed my feelings to him and Ramsey. I’d turned nineteen and grew tired of waiting for Bartholomew and Ramsey to take notice of me, knowing they would never approach me. I told Bartholomew I wanted him and Ramsey to be my first lovers. The look on his face was priceless.
I purposely cornered him in Alexander’s kitchen after we’d all had lunch before my graduation ceremony. For some reason Ramsey left and didn’t come back. When he left for military service, I wanted to kick myself for missing my opportunity to get them both together to ask them.
“Bartholomew, I need tae ask ye something, please.” I wasn’t nervous.
Looking over at me while he leaned on the other side of the kitchen island sipping his whisky, he casually said, “Sure, what’s up, little Jewel?”
I love that name he calls me. He started calling me that after one of our many talks about boys. He said I’m a prize, a Jewel, and I should act as such.
Bartholomew is a big, beautiful man, even better-looking than he was as a boy. He has ink up and down his left arm and stands well over six feet tall. Built with solid muscle and broad, wide shoulders, his thick arms and thighs bulge through his clothes. His hands are massive, and I dream of what they will feel like all over my body. Gone is the tall, gangly, thin youth I remember so well as a child. In his place is a Celtic Viking; he’s absolutely beautiful.
When Bartholomew came home from college on one of his many breaks, that’s when I noticed the inner change in him. He was more confident and more assured of himself. As a child, every adult seems big, but he’s larger than life.
Ramsey is the total opposite of Bartholomew. Cousins by birth, they were raised in the same household as brothers. Where Bartholomew is light, Ramsey is dark. He has black, inky, curly hair, kept short in a military-style buzz cut. He has dark, piercing midnight-blue eyes with thick arched brows and long lashes any woman would kill for. His nose has been broken and has a slight bend, his full sexy lips are pink and kissable, and the tattoos up and down both arms tell a story I don’t know yet. Both men are the same in height, but Ramsey is leaner than Bartholomew’s thick bulk. Ramsey is a rugged pretty boy, and Bartholomew is a cover model.
After the death of his parents in an automobile accident, Ramsey moved in with his aunt and uncle, his mother’s sister. Right after that was my earliest recollection of a change in Ramsey. Gone was the smiling and joking youth I had known. He was always easy to laugh with and play a joke on someone with, but in his place was a brooding and serious youth, quick to anger and scowling. It wasn’t a total surprise when Ramsey enlisted in the Marines. The day he left, I was heartbroken, but not because he was going, although that was a factor; it was mainly because he didn’t say goodbye.
Walking the short distance around the island to stand with my back to the entrance into the kitchen, I purposely cut off his escape just in case he decides to take flight and run. This puts me right in front of him with the island at his back. I look him square in the eyes and say what I’d practiced for months. Each time I wanted to talk to him about this I always backed out.
“Bartholomew, I want ye tae think about something. I want ye tae take yer time in thinking about it and give an answer later.”
“This sounds serious, what is it, little Jewel?” He looks down at me with concern.
“It is, Bartholomew. Ye see, for as long as I kin remember ye and Ramsey have been in my heart.” Before he can interrupt, I hold my finger up, and rush on. “And now, I want ye tae be something more tae me. I want both ye and Ramsey tae be my first.”
A look of sheer panic and shock plays out across his face. He looks like the metaphorical deer caught in headlights. He glances over my shoulder for an escape and tries to sidestep me to the left. I sidestep to my right. With nowhere to go and, I think too afraid to move me in fear that he would have to touch me, he tilts his head to the side and says, “Be the first what?”
He knew full well what I was talking about.
“My first lovers. I want ye and Ramsey tae join me in a ménage encounter. I ken I’m young yet, but we have time. We have tae wait until Ramsey comes home for a visit, and maybe we kin make it a date?”
You would think I grew a second head with horns with the way he gaped at me with his mouth opening and closing, and then clenching his jaw. He sits his whisky down, fists his hands at his sides, and lets his eyes roam my body as in a lover’s caress.
I would give anything to feel his big hands anywhere on my body. To feel them engulf and knead my aching breasts, to run them possessively up and down my back and to grab my ass.
But that isn’t meant to be. Just as I close the distance between us to capture a kiss, he holds his hands up between us and says, “Nora, you’re like a sister to me, and if I do what you asked, we can’t go back from that. Anyway, you’re still a little girl and I’m an old man. You’re going away to school soon; you’ll find someone there.”
Grabbing my shoulders long enough only to move me aside, he walks out without a backward glance. Where is the kiss on my forehead he always gives me? Right now, with his rejection, I would settle for that. He just walked the fuck out, like I hadn’t said a word.
I lower my head, but not in shame or anger, in determination and thought. I think his dismissal has something to do with the brotherly love he has for Alexander, which is commendable and is to be respected, but the love I have for him is worth fighting for.