For the last week I’ve been in bed, unwell. This book has been with me. I’ve never read anything by this author. There was a little bit of ‘hood’, a little bit of romance, a lot of suspense, a thrilling story, a self-made female billionaire I loved to death, and a hero millionaire I adored. As I read, I felt like the author is a natural born story-teller. It was a five plus stars read for me!
About The Book:
Indigo Ace had a rough life growing up. Her mother is a prostitute and her father is a pimp who despises her. Solace Mack is the only pimp in Atlanta, but when Indigo’s mother dies and Solace kicks his only daughter out on the streets, Indigo is forced to boss up. She follows in her father’s footsteps and becomes a female pimp, infringing on her father’s territory. Soon, she becomes the richest female in the south and Solace does everything he can to destroy the billion dollar empire his daughter built. It isn’t long before a war ensues between the father and the daughter and many lives are lost.
In the midst of it all, Indigo meets Bentlee Paxton, who is hood royalty. His name rings bells all over the country, and he’s ready to go to war in order to protect Indigo. While the two figure out what their future together holds, they’re forced to dodge bullets and fight off enemies.
Will they live to see their future? Better yet, will Indigo’s billion dollar empire fall at the hands of her father?
5 Plus Stars… For A New To Me Author!
I don’t typically read this genre, but the story-line sounded very intriguing. I am really glad I had the chance to read it. I’m not one to give away a plot or spoilers but here’s what I loved.
The characters I found them very well rounded and believable Indigo is a strong woman, who is just twenty-one by the time she is an actual billionaire. This is where I really do give props to the author, sometimes it’s hard to relate to young adult characters, but I never had that problem at all being an older reader, I really like Indigo and the way she drives the story forward it kept me so interested. Her story is one of a female who is given an opportunity, once her mother passes, she grabs it with both hands. Determined to move on from her ‘hood’ upbringing. I was very engaged in where she was on her way to all throughout this story.
The other characters are equally as interesting, the hero who Indigo ends up with Bentlee he also too is such a wonderful male lead. He is believable to read, non-typical, and really appealed to me as a character. The romance between these two I enjoyed experiencing the development, it was not instant there’s plenty of push and pull, but ultimately they fall for each other.
I found that the author’s story-telling really kept me turning pages, one moment the story would feel very much like and urban read, with lots happening, then there’s a location change. The characters and story head to the Maldives! I loved the location change, as the story also changes, the romance comes in. Then once back in Atlanta, the suspense, action, and story changes again. I found it well paced and exciting to read with the story-telling.
Overall, for me someone who is not a typical reader of the genre I really enjoyed this story, and I am very much looking forward to part two as it ends on a cliff- hanger. Again, typically I prefer a story to have a conclusion rather than leave me hanging, so here I really have to say the author has done an excellent job at grabbing readers. I will pre-order part two for it’s release next month. Overall five plus stars from my reading experience. Billionaire Baddie for me is a well written, engaging, enjoyable story with a little bit of everything from romance, suspense, and of course street life in Atlanta, featuring great like-able characters. I recommend it if you fancy something different to read, and enjoy reading or following strong female leads, with high stakes, expectations, a fearless attitude, and millionaire men who are very like-able! It’s a free read on Kindle Unlimited at the time of reviewing.
Thank you to the author for my Advanced Reader’s Copy. This book is due for release on the 24th November 2020. I’ve never read anything by this author before, I feel lucky to be an advanced reader. I must say, while it was enjoyable it was the ending that really satisfied me! I read this book in just two sittings.
About the Book:
Marley Samuels is determined to live her perfect life. That means accomplishing every goal on her vision board before her 30th birthday− simple goals, like being married by thirty with a blossoming writing career. But when her boyfriend of ten years, Asher Channing humiliates her by refusing to ask the big question and her latest novel flops on Amazon, Marley is left to her own devices. No husband. No big book deal. No Happy Birthday, Marley.However, a trip to visit Santa has her scheming up a plan to overcome her failed attempts at love and happiness. Pushing her pride aside and ignoring her extremely opinionated friends, Marley gives into the whim of 2024s latest technological advances. With android lovers being all the rage, why shouldn’t she take part in the fun, right? What’s the worst that can happen? Marley is about to find out.Note from the Author“Sprinkled with witty and comedic realities that women face during their twenties, thirties and even forties, iGifted is outrageously funny and authentically touching. As we watch Marley deal with betrayal, heartbreak and then the reawakening of herself, it literally brings tears to your eyes.” – Kristi Tailor
5 Unique and Entertaining Stars!
Typically, I don’t touch romantic comedy as a genre, sometimes I have found in an attempt to make the romance ‘funny’, the stories can come across as a bit …well, silly! This has been my past experience. I didn’t find that at all with iGifted. In fact I read the first twenty-thirty pages stood in my kitchen, as I made a cup of tea I opened the book. I found it hard to put it down. I was drawn in straight away.
What’s really interesting about iGifted is that it’s set in a futuristic sense, from 2024. I’m not one for spoilers but this is what was intriguing about it, and a key part to Marley’s story. No spoilers from me, let’s just say that the future feel of this comedy romance fit well, with the overall story-line. It really kept me interested in ‘what happen’s next.’ Also I could place myself in the future, in Marley’s situation, it was really cool as a reading experience.
I really enjoyed the author’s writing style I found it very engaging, active, lots of dialogue to keep my attention. I also found that the pace of the story was good also, it did not drag on. I finished it in just two openings of the book.
I found that all the characters were like-able apart from one, and as the story went on it was clear that this probably was the author’s intention. For her to not be like-able, due to the part she plays in Marley’s sad sudden life changing events. However it was good development as I read, I could understand why the character was how she was. The author did a good job at creating a character that was central to Marley’s story, and not a complete angel either.
The story-line itself is a very touching one, at times I felt sorry for Marley and wanted to hug her, at times I felt like I could shake her and say, ‘girl c’mon f*ck him!’ At times I was sympathetic to how events took a toll on her and her life, I did like Marley. She came across as a hopeless romantic, with a deep need to find her suitable life partner, and at times a complex heroine. I feel like the author told her story in a way that many women could relate to, and even sit back and think ‘what would I do?’ I found myself really hoping for Marley to find her happiness.
When all the drama unfolds, another change of events happen, then Marley’s ex-boyfriend comes back, this is where I was praying so hard that the author didn’t make Marley out to be a woman who can’t stand up for herself. Or even know her worth, and what she truly deserves. The ending for me and the happy ever after, panned out the way I would have encouraged Marley to go if I were really her friend. By the end of the book I felt like I was LOL. I had invested so much in wanting her to be happy. For me as a reader it was the ending that really left me satisfied. It rounded off Marley’s story nicely. I would have loved more on the lead up to the ending, some drama over the choices she made when it came to Asher and Austin, but this is after all a holiday romance comedy! And a very unique one at that. For me as a first time reader of the author’s work, five unique and very entertaining stars. The balance between comedy, entertainment, and futuristic love, and what love in the future could be like really was enjoyable. I recommend that if you love romance, holiday stories, and even comedy romance, stories that are unique and take you away from ‘what’s already done,’ that you head over to Amazon, here and place your pre-order. I must say I look forward to reading more of this author’s work. The 24th November 2020 is the release day.
Meet The Author
Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Kristi Tailor spends her days raising her young daughter, teaching high school English, and writing interracial romance. Kristi’s hobbies include immense coffee drinking, ice- skating, beach bumming and binge watching Netflix. For the latest release dates and future book signing locations visit http://www.kristitailor.store
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Thank you to NetGally for my free review copy. I had a wonderful time reading through this book of Goddess!
About The Book:
Every woman could use a bit of Goddess wisdom in her life.
Do you want to explore your personal power and claim your passions? Do you seek advancement in your career? Are you searching for love, or trying to get free of a bad romance? Do you wish you had more confidence and courage? The Divine Feminine is here to help you achieve the love, success, and happiness that you deserve.
Get ready to feel empowered: you are about to meet thirty-six of the most revered spiritual heroines from faiths and traditions around the world. Use this book to call upon each one for support, guidance, and inspiration in all areas of your life. Evoke their unique energies and strengths through rituals, meditations, gatherings, prayers, blessings, and many more fun and creative activities.
* Celebrate your true beauty with Hathor
* Unleash your dark and wild side with Lilith
* Free yourself from unhealthy relationships with Persephone
* Take aim at your career goals with Artemis
* Own and explore your sensuality with Oshun
* Find protection and healing with Tara
* Manifest spiritual and material wealth with Lakshmi
The Goddess Pages is a unique and empowering book that helps you connect with the strength and beauty of the Goddess―and experience the divine within you.
4 Lovely Stars!
This was such a empowering and enlightening book to read through, I am glad I got a copy. I found that the range of Goddesses covered is very varied, which is good there’s a Goddess energy to help empower every woman, no matter what situation she is facing, or stage of life she’s at. For me this really was the icing on the cake. I was also really proud, and in a way very happy to see that the author had accurately described and written about African Goddesses, from my own culture. Often times when I have read books like this and they are included, ( as they are the two most celebrated Goddesses around the world from the culture), the authors have gotten facts wrong, that could have been cleared up with a bit more research into the African Goddesses. So Kudos to the author!!
I recommend this book to all women around the world, no matter their age, race, background, or situation. There is a Goddess, ritual, meditation, and exercise for you to help move forward and achieve your goals. My only wish is that there was a bit more variety on the actual rituals or exercises themselves, that said there are two Goddess here that seemed to resonate with what I am currently hoping for in life! So of course I will follow up on the author’s recommendations, to see me through. The book is also not written from a ‘religious’ point of view either and I loved this, I loved the fact that the author has not tried to force traditional religion on readers, and it’s appealing to all no matter where you stand with traditional religion. 4 wonderful stars.
Of course as a qualified astrologer myself, I had to snap up this book. I thank NetGalley for my free review copy. I am so glad I found it, I have bought a paperback. It really is wonderful, whether you are someone well versed in the science of astrology, or have no real knowledge at all.
About the Book:
Find where you belong using this groundbreaking book on astrological houses and see how the placement of the Sun and Moon within them reveals your life’s story. Learning the location of these celestial characters in your birth chart helps you protect your emotions, trust your instincts, and make your mark on the world. Featuring a wide variety of examples using three of the most popular house systems―Placidus, Koch, and Equal―Behind the Horoscope presents a unique and simple approach to chart reading. Discover how the Sun’s placement shines a light on your identity, vitality, and mission in life. Explore how the Moon’s placement illuminates your intuition, emotional depths, and where you feel most secure. Whether you’re a newcomer or experienced astrologer, this practical book offers new and exciting ways to know yourself and the incredible wisdom of the cosmos.
5 Wonderful and Informative Stars!
Whether you’re well versed in astrology or not, I found this book to be well written for the masses. So even if you don’t have a qualification, or done any formal training it’s written in simple terms that everyone can relate to. The book does cover and focus only on the importance of where a person’s sun and moon are placed, within the houses of life, in their own birth chart. All twelve houses are covered and how this energy can resonate in a person’s life. Keep this in mind, this is not a general book on astrology as there are eight other planets to consider, however the importance of the sun and moon in astrology is significant. So it’s very clear why the author has placed her focus here.
The interpretation is detailed and I liked the fact that the author (who is an experienced astrologer), has based her book on research and her own work as an astrologer, from interpreting a high amount of individual birth charts of real people. This was a major selling point to me, this is not ‘theory’ this book is full of tried and tested interpretations, based on what she found with ‘the masses’ of people she worked with.
What also was really lovely is that I read the information on the placements for my own sun and moon, in my birth chart, my son’s sun and moon. Was it accurate? Yes for me it was and made a lot of sense. The information I read on my son’s chart I had already kind of concluded from studying his chart before myself, but not in as much detail as the author was able to offer. It was a beautiful reading experience! Overall I recommend this book as a book for anyone who has an interest in astrology, there are things to learn and consider here as you practice, when it comes to the importance of the sun and moon in a birth chart. For those who just have an interest in the topic, because of the ease of ability to read the subject matter, and as it’s not over technical or ‘sciencey’ I recommend it. I can’t wait for my copy to arrive, it will sit very proud on my bookshelf. Note that to gain the full benefit of the book, you will need a copy of your own birth chart or the charts of people you wish to understand, to locate areas in the individual charts. But you can always get your birth chart done for free from many online resources, if you don’t pay an astrologer.
So for the #90DaysBlogChallenge the prompt is ‘how do you feel about diversity in romance?’ I will broaden this and talk about fiction and non-fiction. A few years back I wrote about this, but a few things have happened within the last say four months, I really feel the need to address readers directly, rather than writers or even specific genres to answer this prompt.
Is fiction diverse enough? Short answer- yes in terms of the high numbers of writers of colour present, offering something different. I did a thirty day promo for male authors of colour in the summer, in the height of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I met some wonderful authors of colour during this time. Also the many non-authors of colour who appreciate diversity, and write using a diverse character line up, let’s not forget their input into creating diversity within fiction. Nope, I don’t believe it is diverse enough when you look at the number of authors of colour, who are signed to the big publishing houses, or household names that are outside of say Urban Fiction authors. There is a massive lack and I would love this to change.
But I want to focus on something different, to respond to this writing prompt: ebnotics that are purposely used in writing, by an author (who may also more likely be of colour). Who wishes to express themselves, who they are, or highlight who their character(s) are.
Readers: Ebnotics are not ‘errors’
Now I sincerely hope I don’t offend anyone, but most of you know me very well. I am not afraid to talk about race, be honest, or call out things how I see it. A few months ago I picked up a book by a African-American author he happens to write non-fiction. However I got really busy and bought the audio book to save time, and ensure that I read the book. Do you know the first thing he did in his opening chapters was say, ‘this is me, how I speak, I use ebnotics and my books published are not filled with typos, so don’t get in my reviews and talk s*hit’. I laughed so hard as I knew what he meant. Firstly, I had a review like this for a book of mine, when I decided to use ebnotic language to highlight how my character would really talk. They are there because I put them there, not because they are any kind of typo.
Fast forward a month or so ago, a African-American author friend of mine who is female, posted on Facebook ‘ all black female authors report to this post, I have a serious question’. I did not see the post but she messaged me and asked me ‘Kim what do you think of this, a BETA reader tried to say my character is too black.’
I read the small paragraph that this reader referred to, all my friend had done was show her character talking about her hair to a white man, that had never dated a black woman and referred to herself as a ‘sista.’ Which is what any black female would do, with no wrong doing here. To me it showed great character development as this is ‘how the character would talk.’ So my response to my friend was, ‘don’t you dare change your work, because that is how the character would talk, you know it and I know it, and you know it that’s why you wrote it. Readers who get this will not think or say ‘she’s too black’. It was totally good humoured also how she wrote it.
Fast forward, again I got another review on my same book saying that there are errors, nope my characters speak with ebnotics, and this was conscious choice of mine when I wrote the story, and I will not edit that out! It’s there for a reason.
I reflected on this, and I remembered when I wrote a Russian and Irish character using ebnotic language to reflect their accents, I had no problems what so ever! But as soon as it’s for a black character there’s a complete different story. The same for my fellow African American authors, across the Atlantic too. Me as a Black -British author I will embrace the ‘blackness’ in all my characters I write, always. I will also do the same for characters who are of another ethnicity. I don’t just write with one race of character if you’ve read anything of mine you’ll notice this.
My point here is this: readers who are not from the same background of the characters they are reading, or the author who wrote the book need to understand that:
1. Some authors of colour decide, wish to, want to, and do use ebnotics in their language and writing. And it is their choice and no error. So in a way no, diversity in fiction is still not there and there is a lot of work to do, if this is not recognised.
2. We will not ‘say or be sorry’ for embracing our blackness, within our characters, who are black and brown, or for using mother tongue words, styles, or even speech.
The fact that the male African American author had to state ‘ leave my language alone’, the African American female author had to question ‘ is my character too black or too fierce?’ And check in with her community. And then I decided to place in the blurb of my book ‘character’s in this book speak with ebnotics, and the author has made this choice’, shows me that when authors of colour embrace their roots, or use characters who they would like to see more of in their work there’ s a lack of appreciation, and regard for this and it then causes (some) of us to wonder if we should ‘tone ourselves down’, ‘question our work’, ‘make statements to show we embrace our ebnotics from our mother languages.’
Really all we’ve done is develop our characters in ways that are true to the characters and their speech, or nature.
What’s interesting is, these comments of ‘being too black’ and lack of understanding of ethic characters’ ebnotics in these examples are for books outside of Urban Fiction. Which makes me wonder, if all three of us were Urban Fiction authors would these comments happen? Probably not. Which is a damn, shame. I guess non-Urban Fiction authors are likely to have readers of different backgrounds to their characters, or even them as writers as they are writing more mainstream work for the masses. Why can’t authors of colour embrace ebnotics, blackness, and be free? We should never be pushed to question our work, or place disclaimers on books about the language used that some may not deem ‘correct English’ when we have decided to characterise and use ebnotics.
Personally, I love it and will continue to use ebnotics where needed with my characters, and really that’s the end of that. Secondly, my parents are of Caribbean descent, they were not born in the UK. My whole family speaks with ebnotics when they wish too, and not use correct English. I grew up listening to ebnotics in speech and understand it and can talk it myself well! So of course I will characterise my characters knowing full well what I am doing.
So dear readers, in case the memo was missed an author’s use of ebnotics in their work are not incorrect, editing issues, or there for any other reason than: they are placed there, by us, for us, and because we want them. We will continue to embrace black and browness where and how we wish to with no shame. It’s no different to an Irish, Russian, or London cockney accent, in real life, or in fiction or non-fiction writing. It’s who we are skin deep and we love it, and bring diversity with it.
Oxford Street, Central London, 1960
Lifting the hem of her elegant black dress, Jane steps down from the stage.
The crowd cheer, clap, and beg for more sultry tunes.
Wow. I need a break, she muses to herself. My voice won’t last the week at this rate.
She just gave them all she had, singing a heartfelt version of Smokey Robinson’s Who’s Loving You?
Moving confidently through the crowd, heads turn in her direction, and smiles come her way. Through the smoke-filled room she heads to the bar, then takes a seat.
“You did great up there, Jane.” Jenelle pats the seat next to her. “You sounded amazin’.”
“Thanks, that means so much coming from you.”
Jenelle playfully laughs, then places an arm around Jane’s shoulders. “I mean it, don’t sell ya self short. You should seriously think ‘bout comin’ back with us to New Orleans. We could do with a blued, soulful sister on board.”
A bartender slides a dry martini between Jane and Jenelle.
Wow, this treatment, she chuckles to herself. I could get used to it.
Jane takes a sip from the glass. Pondering Jenelle’s proposal, she extracts a thin smoke, then places it in the holder.
Jenelle fires a match. “Need a light?”
“Thanks.” Drawing the smoke deep into her lungs, Jane leans back, then looks around.
The jazz room is dimly lit with soft lighting. Dark oak tables, with red fabric-lined chairs and sofas face the stage, and a combination of chairs, stools, and benches line the walls around the room.
Whisky and cigars fill the air.
The bar Jane is sitting at, has a high, glossy polish, thanks to Jenelle’s watchful eye. She wipes every drip of liquor and flick of ash customers drop.
On the stage, a black piano, a microphone stand, and a set of drums rest, ready for each act.
Maurice’s Place feels like home now, after seven years.
At sixteen, she had left school with good qualifications, then bummed around for four years between Dublin, Ireland, and London deciding what to do with her life.
At twenty, she scored her first on-stage role at Maurice’s Place, working behind the bar three nights a week and singing the other two. Now twenty-seven years old, the atmosphere of Maurice’s Place, and the variety of customers have kept her here. The chilled out, low-key bar attracts the clientele she enjoys performing for.
Jane inhales her smoke, then glances around. The jazz scene in London is picking up, but New Orleans would be like a dream come true.
The lights in the room lower, and the spotlight moves to the stage, hushing the crowd. Men and women relax in the comfy sofas and chairs around the tables. All eyes move to the centre of the room.
Three men set themselves on the stage: a lead singer, a saxophone player, and a piano player. The smooth vocals of the male lead, floats through the air.
Wow. Who is that?
She studies the saxophone player. His skilful fingers move over his instrument.
“So, what do-ya say Jane?”
The corner of Jenelle’s lips turn up slowly at Jane, who remains under the spell of the musicians on stage.
Jane’s eyes stay trained on the saxophone player. Her smoke has long reached the end, yet it is posed between her fingers.
Laughing to herself, Jenelle waves a hand in front of Jane, as if to snap her out of a daze.
“Earth to Jane. Earth to Jane. Anyone home?”
“Gosh, I’m sorry. I didn’t catch what you said?”
“Look at you. All caught up in the music, or is it Mr. Sax player?”
Jane moves her gaze away from the stage and joins in the girly laughter with her friend.
Dropping her burned out smoke in the ashtray, she reaches for another one, then turns to Jenelle “Wow, he is handsome, don’t you think?”
“More than handsome. He sure can play, too.”
“Hmm, I’ve never seen this band before, have you?”
“Not here, no. But they’ve played over at Ronnie’s a few times. I was over there just last week. They brought the house down.”
Jane meets Jenelle’s eye and raises a thin-pencilled eyebrow in her direction. “Really, you were there? And you never told me? I imagine they sounded great, though.”
“You never answered my question, what about New Orleans? I’m serious, Jane.”
“Yeah, of course?”
“You think I could make it over there? Would I be welcome in your community?”
Throwing both her hands up, Jenelle shakes her head. “Don’t worry ‘bout skin colour, it’s not ‘bout that, it’s ‘bout the music, the voice, the stage presence. All of which ya have honey. Don’t let the racial segregation shit get to ya.”
Jane frowns, and Jenelle’s delicate features mould into frustration.
Biting her lip, she admires her girlfriend’s milk chocolate skin. The woman’s jet-black hair, tied up in a red scarf with matching lipstick and red nails, accents her knockout looks.
“Hmm. I guess so. You’re right, Jenelle.”
“I am. Plus, Dr. Martin Luther King, he’s doing all he can to help everyone move forward.”
“Yeah, I guess so. Okay, let me give it some thought.” Jane smiles, and her friend returns the gesture.
“You do that.” Jenelle raises her martini. “I’d love ya to come over.” She clings her glass against Jane’s as if to affirm a secret pact and vow of friendship.
Jane’s attention drifts to the three men on stage, then lingers on the saxophonist playing an impromptu solo.
An hour later at the bar, alone and reflecting on her and Jenelle’s plans to take over New Orleans together, Jane sips her drink slowly. She reminisces over the vivid dream of how the two of them would make a legacy together, as jazz and soul singers. In theory, every record label in the United States would offer sweet recording deals.
On a high over all the excitement, Jenelle took off with her date to Soho for a movie and a slice of pizza.
Staring into her martini glass, absent-minded, Jane detaches from the smokey atmosphere of Maurice’s Place.
I can sing, that’s about it, she muses, that’s all I know. Secretary, factory worker, seamstress . . . arrgh. These jobs are not for me.
The lights dim slightly, ready for the next act to take the stage.
Looking across the room, Jane locks eyes with the handsome stranger playing the saxophone.
He smiles, and with the nod of his head, he tips his hat in her direction.
She shyly returns the gesture. A slight blush moves through her. Lowering her lashes, she empties the glass.
Oh, wow. That man.
The room stands still. It’s as if everything flows in slow motion. Even long after the song ends, the melody, burned to memory, continues to sweep her way.
Raising her gaze in the band’s direction, her eyes widen.
Where is he? She scans the room and finds who she’s looking for.
Confidently, he strolls over to her with a smooth, easy glide to his gait.
She drinks him all in. He’s easy on the eyes.
His pristine white shirt, black slim tie, milk chocolate skin, and beard, highlight his groomed-to-perfection look. He gives her another warm smile, then leans on the bar by her side.
“Evenin’ Miss.” Looking down at her sitting on a bar stool, he fixes Jane with a seductive gaze.
“Good evening. You were great up there.”
“Thank ya, ma’am. Can I get ya another drink?”
“Sure, I’ll take a martini, thanks. I never got your name?”
Holding out a hand to Jane, she puts her small palm in his.
“Louis.” He places a kiss on the back of her knuckles. “Louis Simpson.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Jane O’Sullivan.”
“You weren’t too bad up there on stage ya’self. Ya really put a lot of heart into that last song.”
“Thanks, I feel so at home on stage.”
“Yeah, it shows.”
“So, where are ya from? Not that I know a lot-a places in London. I just arrived a week ago.”
“I’m from Shoreditch.”
“Oh, yeah, the ‘East-end’, right? That’s what you guys call it?”
“I’ve not been over that way yet. I’m stayin’ aroun’ here just off Tottenham Court Road.”
“Oh, nice, not a bad part of London at all, right in the centre.”
“I heard a lot about the East-end though, some characters over there.”
Jane pulls out another slim smoke and slides it into her long black holder.
“Allow me.” Louis offers her a light, then takes out a smoke for himself from his pocket.
“Oh, you mean the Kray twins. They’re crazy, all right. Just stay out of their way, that’s all.”
She laughs, fully aware of the reputation Ronnie and Reggie Kray have around London.
Two of the most formidable men in the East-end. The twins, loved by few but feared by many, create their fair share of trouble.
The bartender slides a martini glass, with a tumbler of whisky in front of her and Louis.
He pulls out a note from his wallet to pay, and Jane scrutinises him. His style, accent, smoothness, and confident body language speak to her in a way other men fail to achieve.
“So, where are you from Louis? I know you’re American, but what state?”
“Wow, a true southerner.”
“That’s right, ma’am.”
“So, how long have you been in the band?”
Louis glances over at his mates, Clive and Ray, at the other end of the bar where he left them, smoking and playing dominos.
“Ah, the boys, we’ve been together a lil’ while now. ‘Bout five years or so. We go way back. Grew up in Jackson, they’re my buddies.”
“Well, you guys are great together.”
“Why, thank you, ma’am. So, this place is your gig? Ya sing here every week?”
“Sure do, two nights on stage and three serving cocktails.”
Louis nods his head. “Nice place, welcoming. Over here, me an’ the boys ain’t outsiders so much, if ya know what I mean?”
“Back in Jackson, ya don’t see so much people mixin’ together. The segregation is still there an’ strong.”
“Gosh, it’s terrible. London’s not perfect, but slowly things are changing with all the new people arriving from all over. Personally, I think it’s wonderful.”
“Let’s toast to that, Miss.”
Jane smiles warmly, then raises her glass to Louis.
“Talkin’ ‘bout mixing, do ya wanna dance?”
Jane beams back at Louis. “Yeah, I’d love to.”
He guides her from the bar, over to the dance floor.
The sensation of eyes crawling over her—some in shock, some in admiration—makes a warmth spread across her cheeks and neck.
With his hand on the small of Jane’s back, he glides her around the open space.
“Thank you, Louis.”
“What for? I’ve not done anythin’ to thank me for, yet.”
Jane looks into Louis’ handsome face. A wide grin stretches across his face from ear to ear.
His gentleman-like manners, southern accent, and handsome face force the corners of her lips to curl.
“You have. Dancing is just what I needed to have a little fun and relax a bit. I love singing on stage, but it can overwhelm a person.”
“Yeah, I understand that, ma’am. I know the feelin’. You go on an’ relax now, don’t worry ‘bout the stage, you’re with me.”
He pulls Jane in closer and sways to the music.
All these people, all the stares. Mmm, I just met him, she thinks to herself. Maybe this is wrong but . . .
Something shifts internally for Jane, dousing the negative words floating in her head.
Why shouldn’t I be happy? The thought makes her smile. And why should I care what others think?
Right now, his company equates to happiness. And she has every intention of getting to know this handsome southerner better.
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