Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story-Prologue


Eleven Years Earlier-July Nineteen Eighty-One

Isabelle gazed in the mirror, touching up her red lipstick. She rolled her lips, smoothing out the bright color. She looked pretty in her white lacey floor-length dress with the heart-shaped bodice cut low above the breast. The gold cross dangling around her neck was a gift from her Dad. On the dresser, in front of her, laid a pair of simulated pearl earrings with a matching necklace. Isabelle picked it up and placed it over her cross. After she hooked the jewelry in place, she slipped on her pearl earrings. Then Isabelle stepped away from the mirror to admire herself. On each side of her smooth coffee-latte face was a dangling black curl, and the rest of her hair was swept up into a loose curly bun.

Preoccupied, Isabelle stared into the mirror with sad, mahogany eyes. She was supposed to be happy because today was her wedding day. For the first time in her life, she felt unsure about her decision. She was always confident with her decisions, never second-guessing herself. However, her biggest fear she might be marrying the wrong man, and that bothered her to no end. From the moment she saw Rosette, Isabelle instantly knew he wasn’t the one. However, she liked him. He seemed to fit the bill. He was tall, handsome, a Christian and a gentleman, and he was college-educated with a great sense of humor. He had all the attributes of a life-long partner, but Isabelle felt something was missing. 

Isabelle drew in a deep breath as those thoughts weighed heavily on her mind. She entertained canceling the wedding, after all, she and Rosette only dated for ten months. Maybe, just maybe they needed more time. If they had time, perhaps she could figure out what was missing in their relationship. Isabelle flinched from the hard knock on the door and she hollered. “Come in!” 

The door swung open, and Claude Dickson, her father, walked in. He was looking handsome and dapper in his doubled breasted gray silk suit, and his smile lit up the entire room like the morning sun. Claude was six-foot-tall with a vibrant chocolate complexion, and his graying afro was cut low to his head. His dark brown eyes rested on Isabelle, and he beamed with joy. “My number one daughter, don’t you look beautiful this afternoon!”

“Thank you, Dad,” Isabelle said. Her father fondly called her his number one daughter because she was the oldest of four.

“Are you ready to take that trip down the aisle?”

“I think so,” Isabelle sighed, shrugging her shoulders. 

“Ah…what’s wrong? You’re supposed to be happy on your wedding day.” Claude came over and stood in front of her, placing his large warm hands on her shoulders. 

“Dad, I feel weird,” Isabelle said, poking out her bottom lip. “I care for Rosette, but something is missing. I’m wondering if I’m making the right choice.”

Claude looked his daughter square in her eyes and said. “You don’t have to do this. You can put this marriage on hold.”

Isabelle folded her arms and frowned.“ I know Dad, but I’ve two hundred and fifty guests out there waiting to see us get married! I can’t cancel now. It’s too late!” 

“It’s never too late. It would be best if you didn’t worry about that. Your guest will get over it. After all, it’s your life,” Claude flatly said as he let go of his daughter. He went to the sofa in front of the stain-glass window and sat. Claude drew up his right leg and rested it on his left knee. Quiet and somber, he intently studied his daughter’s face as he stroked his graying mustache.

Isabelle flattened her hand against her stomach, frowning slightly, concerned. Her eyes zeroed in on her father’s. “I thought you like Rosette! You said he’s a good man.”

“He is, but he’s not right for you, and I think you already know that,” Claude’s forehead furrowed. “If you don’t feel it’s right, don’t marry.”

 Isabelle’s eyes went round with surprise. Swallowing hard, she absorbed the seriousness of her father’s words. She marveled at how well her father knew her. He was right. She shouldn’t marry Rosette, but she didn’t want to disappoint him or their guest. So to save face, she came at her father from another angle. “Dad, I’ll be all right. It’s just cold feet,” she calmly insisted.

Claude gave her a stern, all-knowing look. “Are you trying to convince yourself or me?”

“Dad….” Isabelle whined.

“Dad nothing!” Her father cut her off, unwilling to agree with her. “It’s your life! You got to live with your choices, not me, not Rosette, not those people out there! You do!”

 Isabelle hung her head. She hated when her father chastised her. “You’re right. I guess I have a decision to make.”

“You certainly do.”

 Isabelle dragged herself to the sofa and sat. She rested her head on her father’s shoulder and closed her eyes. They sat in silence for a while then the wedding march song faintly echoed through the door. “So what’s your verdict?” Claude asked, breaking the solitude.

Isabelle opened her eyes and raised her head. She looked at her father. “I guess I’m getting married,” she said. 

Claude stood on his feet and smiled. He extended his hand, and Isabelle grabbed it. She got up and followed her Dad to the door. When he opened it, the wedding march boomed overhead through the loudspeakers. Isabelle walked out first, then her father next. As he closed the door, Claude turned toward his daughter, and his lips erupted into a bright smile. “Are you ready?”

“Ready as I’m going to be,” Isabelle smiled back. 

“Then let’s get you married!”

 Isabelle held her head high as they walked to the sanctuary. When the usher opened the wooden doubled doors, everyone rushed to their feet. Rosette Perkins stood at the altar smiling broadly. He looked dashing in his white tux as he stood anxiously waiting for the ceremony to start. With all eyes peeled on her, Isabelle smiled. Then she slipped her left arm inside her father’s bent elbow, and together they entered the sanctuary and walked down the aisle.

Thank you for reading. If you want to know if Isabelle stay married, purchase your copy of Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story on Amazon.com Now by Clicking On Link Below! I promised you it will be an entertaining read!

Uncle Hippo: The Scandalous Story Behind The Name


Madam CJ Walker

 This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons , living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Walter Perkins Jr was born in Mississippi in 1909. When he turned seven, his parents, Walter Perkins Sr and Isabelle Davis, moved him and the family to Indianapolis, Indiana where he remained until the day he died. Handsome, suave and debonair, and an astute businessman, Walter Perkins made an excellent living as a bail bondsman. By the age of twenty-five, he had his own business, and he was a lady killer. He stood six feet and three inches tall, and he had piercing light brown eyes. His dark brown soft, curly hair was the envy of many. 

A snazzy dresser, Walter often wore a  gray doubled breasted suit coat with black pleated pinstriped pants, a white shirt, and a large red tie. To top off his look, he wore a wide-brimmed hat with silk red-gold trimming. He had a perfect winning smile, a weapon he used to his advantage, and the women swoon when he spoke. Like flies, they flock to him, competing for his attention. He enjoyed it, never short of female company. 

Notoriously single, marriage was far from his mind. When he was out on the town, he had a different woman with him on his arm. His popularity and good looks drew the envy of men in the city. Soon, Walter found himself developing enemies, and when he needed protection, he relied on his unsavory friends in low and high places.

One August evening, Walter drove his burgundy Buick to Indiana Avenue and parked across from the Walker Theatre. The rectangular-shaped building was four-stories high, the largest business establishment on the street at the time. Inside, Count Basie and his orchestra were playing a jazzy tempo, and Walter was late. Madam CJ Walker owned the Walker Theater. A well-known hairstylist in the community, she was a daughter of a former slave. She was also America’s first black female millionaire, a novelty at the time. The theater became a popular jazz hub for African-Americans in the 1940s. Madam CJ Walker used it as her headquarters while she manufactured hair products for black women and men. 

Walter strolled inside, and his stride was long and deliberate. Bold Egyptian colors, red and gold decorated the interior. Gold trimming aligned the baseboard of the ceiling and along the walls. Red carpeting ran throughout the entire theatre, and the seating section had plush, cushiony red seats. 

In the front of the seating section, Count Basie’s orchestra played on an elegant wood stage. Count Basie sat at the grand piano belting out one of his famous songs, One O’Clock Jump. He was all smiling with his glistening black wavy hair. On the far left, a glass door trimmed in gold separated the theater from the lobby. Walter opened the door and strolled inside. Men in fancy suits hovered over the bar drinking highballs and making light conversation with attractive, well-endowed women.

Dressed to kill, Walter took off his big silk hat. He sat at the end of the bar and reached in his coat pocket. Walter took out a fat Cuban cigar along with a pack of matches. After he lit his cigar, a rich cinnamon scent floated in the air. It wasn’t long before a waitress sauntered over his way. 

She was short, with Shirley Temple black curls and a deep chocolate complexion. The waitress’ strapless dress clung to her like a wet paper bag. She leaned over the counter, revealing her big breasts, and her burgundy red lips parted into a seductive smile. The waitress batted her long black eyelashes, and she crowed in a syrupy voice. “So, handsome, what are you drinking tonight?” 

Walter’s face brightens into a grin as he tapped his cigar on the edge of his ashtray. “Bring me a shot of Whistle pig whiskey,” he replied in a gruff voice.  

“You got it.” The waitress sauntered off, disappearing behind a stain-glass partition. Walter sat back and puffed his cigar, checking out the noisy scene. When his light brown eyes drifted to the other end of the bar, a mysterious woman with brown hair styled in a fingered wave copiously caught his attention. She was alone, and her cinnamon-brown skin glistened under the low light. The woman’s expressive dark brown eyes complimented her round and delicate face. She sat sideways, slightly stooped over with her legs crossed at the knee. She looked sensual and ravishing in her crème-colored lacey dress. The material was so tight that her nipples protruded through the fabric. 

Quiet and introspective, the woman held a king-sized Rothman cigarette between her slender fingers. Every few seconds, she lifted her head, pursing her lips blowing out wispy white smoke. On the counter sat a glass of whiskey, and she would occasionally take a sip. Then she would lick her thick ruby lips before taking another sip. Preoccupied with her thoughts, she didn’t notice Walter Perkins checking her out at the opposite end of the bar. 

Captivated by her sensuality, Walter puffed on his Cuban cigar. He stared at the woman through clouds of smoke. He never took his eyes off her. After a while, the woman finished her whiskey. She lit up another cigarette and gently inserted it between her lips. Walter gestured for the waitress, and she immediately came over. She slapped her hand over her  left hip and thrust out her big breasts. “What can I get you?” She asked in a throaty tone.

Walter leaned over the counter and whispered. “See that fine woman sitting at the end of the bar with the white lacey dress?” The waitress turned and looked. Frowning, she responded with venom. “Yeah, what about her?”

“Bring her another drink. Say it’s from Walter.” He grinned at her showing perfect straight white teeth as he dropped a fifty dollar bill on the counter. The waitress’ features softened as she gingerly grabbed the money. She sauntered off, not saying another word.

Minutes later, the waitress set a glass of whiskey in front of the woman. With her mouth churning like a washing machine, she nodded her head in Walter’s direction. The woman looked Walter’s way and shyly smiled. She reached for her glass of whiskey and lifted it slightly in the air. She nodded her head in Walter’s direction, signaling a toast. Then she took a sip dragging it out, licking the rim of her glass. 

Hooked, Walter drank his whiskey and pressed the butt of his cigar in the ashtray. He slipped the spent cigar in his coat pocket and grabbed his silk hat. Walter rose out of his seat and strolled over to the woman breaking out into his winning smile. He hovered, bowing over holding his silk hat against his chest. “Madam, my name is Walter Perkins. How are you this fine evening?”

“I’m fine,” she coyly replied. Her words sounded like musical notes on a piano.

“Yes, you’re certainly are,” he joked. “Your name madam?”

“Celeste Henry.”

“Can I join you?”

“Certainly Mister Perkins.” 

Walter shook his head. “No. Call me Walter. I insist.”

“All right, Walter!” Celeste smiled broadly.

“You’ve a beautiful smile. I bet you get many compliments.” Walter placed his silk hat on the counter and sat on a stool across from her. He leaned to the side with one foot touching the floor.

Celeste giggled. “Sometimes,” she said as she grabbed her glass and sipped on her whiskey.

Walter’s light brown eyes bored into her as he studied Celeste more closely. He didn’t see a wedding ring on her finger, so he felt Celeste was fair game. “I frequent here quite a bit, and I don’t remember seeing you around here. Are you new in town?” He innocently asked.

“No. I work here, keeping the books. I’m usually in the office, out of view,” Celeste explained.

“So, what brought you out this evening?” Walter asked with rounded eyes.

“Count Basie. I love his music.”

Walter gestured for the waitress. “It seems we’ve something in common. I’m a fan of Count Basie too. Care for another drink?”

“Yes, please,” Celeste smiled. The waitress sauntered over and gave Walter a dirty look. She refused to look Celeste’s way. “What now?” she quipped in a salty tone.

“Two more whiskeys,” Walter smiled, ignoring her frosty attitude. 

“Fine,” the waitress said as she sauntered off to another section behind the bar.

“Damn, what’s wrong with her?” Walter asked.

“She’s just a little jealous,” Celeste chuckled throwing her head back.

 Walter shook his head and reached in his pocket, pulling out his spent cigar and pack of matches. He struck a match and lit the cigar up. Walter puffed on it, inhaling, holding the smoke then he blew it out. Wisps of smoke hovered in his face, as his eyes delved into Celeste’s. The waitress returned, breaking their trance. She crudely placed their glasses on the counter. “Thank you,” Walter said.

“Mmm-hm.” The waitress pursed her lips and rolled her eyes. Then she took off to the opposite end of the bar. Walter grabbed his glass and drank his whiskey without stopping. His Adam’s apple moved up and down until the alcohol was gone. Coughing and gagging, then catching his breath, he said in a hoarse voice. “Damn, that Whistle Pig whiskey is good!”

Celeste laughed. “It’s not my favorite, but it will do.” She picked up her glass and gulped the whiskey down like nobody’s business. Finished, she set the glass on the counter and grinned. Walter stared at her with wide eyes. “Impressive.”

“Thank you,” she giggled.

Walter looked Celeste in the eye and grinned. “Let’s get out of here and go somewhere more intimate.”

Celeste leaned over and gently squeezed Walter’s thigh. “I have a room at Maude’s Place. Why don’t you come with me for a late nightcap,” she winked.

“Sounds delicious,” Walter growled as he smashed the butt of his cigar in the ashtray. Horny and excited, he was ready for a good time.

“I need to get my purse,” Celeste said as she scooted from the stool. “I’ll be right back.”

“I’m not going anywhere.” Walter watched her strut across the lobby. Her ample behind swished back and forth like a small wave rippling in the ocean. Increasingly getting hornier, Walter couldn’t wait to ravish Celeste’s voluptuous body.

Celeste returned with her evening purse clutched underneath her right arm. The lobby crowd had moved to the theater to listen to Count Basie’s second set. Celeste’s red ruby lips puckered into a naughty smile. Walter paused, looking at her expectantly. “Let’s go this way,” she suggested as she grabbed his hand.

Together they left the lobby, going out a side door. As the door slammed, the alleyway where Walter and Celeste stood reeked of strong piss and rotten food. A lamppost across the way flickered in and out, casting a shadow over the charcoal-colored road. Celeste squinted as she tried to view Indiana Avenue from where she stood, and Count Basie’s orchestra faintly echoed from the building. “Maude’s Place is only a five minute walk away,” Celeste whispered.

Walter stretched his hand out, bowing slightly. “After you, my beautiful lady. Lead the way.”

Celeste headed down the alleyway with Walter close behind. They passed a gray rat, the size of a small kitten, lying in the gutter, stiff as a board with a pasty toothy grin on his hairy face. Celeste’s mouth sagged open, and she picked up her pace.

 “What’s your hurry baby doll?” 

“I don’t like rats. They’re nasty.”

“I’ll say,” Walter agreed.  They continued down the alley until they reached Indiana Avenue. Then they stopped, and Celeste pointed down the road. “Maude’s Place is around that corner,” she said. 

Walter followed her, and Maude’s Place looked like a rusty relic of years gone by. Bricks and cement had eroded, washing the once vibrant color from the building. When they entered the lobby, a large crystal chandelier hung from the cracked ceiling, and tables dusty with lint held the remnants of parties past. The floors creaked with every step, and Walter made a point to walk lightly. Fearing the wood may give away and he would fall through. Walter frowned and shook his head. “How long you been living here?” he asked. 

“A few days,” she answered. Celeste and Walter stepped up the stairs to the third floor. They walked down the hall, and Celeste stopped at the door with the number fifteen. “Here we are,” she crooned as she unlocked the door. Celeste stepped inside, and Walter followed her and closed the door. The room wasn’t much. Just a full-sized bed, and next to it was a nightstand with a glowing lamp. In the far corner, a  table and two chairs sat in a Kitchenette. Celeste stood by the bed and watched Walter take off his hat.

He strolled to the kitchenette and tossed his hat on the table. He pulled off his doubled breasted coat and flung it over the chair. Then he loosens his tie. When he whirled around to see where Celeste was, she had unzipped her dress, and it had fell to the floor. She stood there naked, puckering her lips, and posing. Turned on, Walter unbuckled his belt, unzipped his pants, and he pulled them off. He pounced on her, and they both fell on the bed, and Walter ravished her body with kisses.  Walter spread her legs and entered her. Before he could get in two good thrusts, the door rattled off the hinges like an earthquake. Then a man’s gruff voice yelled from the other side. “Celeste, open this damn door! I know you’re in there!”

Wide-eyed, Celeste shoved Walter off her and scrambled from the bed. “Shit, you gotta go!” She hissed as she snatched the sheet off the bed and covered herself with it.

“Who in the hell is that?” Walter angrily asked as he slid on his pants.

“It’s my husband. He will kill you,” she whispered.

Walter’s eyes got big. “He’s your husband? Why didn’t you tell me you had a husband?” He squeaked in a high-pitched voice.

“You didn’t ask. Now go!” Celeste’s husband kicked the door repeatedly until a small hole appeared.

“June Bug, stop it! I’m coming!” Celeste screamed.

“What’s taking so long? Celeste, open this damn door! I know you got a man in there? I’m going to whipped your…” 

“Hurry up!” Celeste hissed at Walter.

With eyes round like buttons, Walter gasped. “Did he say his name was June Bug?”

“Yes, do you know him?”

“Hell yeah, I know him. He bonded out of jail yesterday! Damn!”

Visibly shaken, Walter grabbed his shirt and coat. “ Celeste, you put me in a bad position, and now I’m trapped!” 

Celeste ran to the window and shoved it open. “Jump out here! If you don’t, he’ll kill you and me if he finds you here.”  Tears glistened in her eyes, and she looked at Walter expectantly.

“Are you kidding me?  We’re on the third floor. I can’t jump out a damn window!”

As soon as those words left Walter’s lips, the wood on the door bulged slightly. June Bug hurled his body repeatedly against the door. Suddenly the opened window was beginning to look useful to Walter Perkins. He grabbed his hat, threw on his shirt and coat, and wiggled his six-foot-three-inch frame through the window. He jumped out, landing hard on his left hip. He swore he heard a bone crack and a sharp pain rippled down his leg like a bolt of lightning, taking his breath away. Walter laid there on the street in complete darkness. All of the lampposts were out. The screaming between Celeste and June Bug was piercing.

Then June Bug poked his head out the window, squinting because it was too dark to see. Walter didn’t move. He remained quiet. “You better not be down there, you greedy sapsucker! If I find you, I’m going to kill you!”

Celeste came to the window and tried to pull him away. “He’s gone baby, let’s talk.” 

Irritated, he smacked her across the face, and she fell backward. “Woman, I’m done talking! You’re nothing but a cheating whore!” 

June Bug lingered in the window for a long while, poking his head out, squinting, trying to see if anyone was out there.”Sapsucker, if and when I find you, I’m going to whip your ass like your pappy used too!” he yelled into the dark night.

The dark night slapped June Bug over the head with a deafening silence, and Walter laid still, afraid to move. He held his breath with pain shooting up and down his left leg. Resigned to a lifetime of silence, so it seemed. Finally, June Bug gave up and slammed the window down.

In excruciating pain and desperate to get to safety, Walter winced, groaning softly as he slowly hurled himself up. Unable to bear weight on his left leg, he stumbled and limped to his car. Walter opened the door and fell in. He managed to sit upright in the driver’s seat. He cranked the engine, and with his right foot he stomped on the accelerator. He took off down the road with tires screeching. 

Walter never sought medical care for his hip injury. Instead, he allowed his hip to healed on its own, and the muscles atrophied over time. So from that day forward and until the day he died, Walter Perkins Jr walked with a limp with the aid of a cane. And because of that limp, his family fondly nicknamed him, Uncle Hippo. As Always Thank you For Reading.

The Predator In The Garden

Bug Ridley loved her garden. At ninety-one, she was still planting flowers around her two-story split leveled home in Steilacoom, Washington. Bug’s green thumb brought magic to her colorful garden. There were roses, daffodils, pansies, and marigolds planted along the periphery of her home. She could grow anything. 

One crisp, sunny morning, she decided to go early to the grocery store. Buddle up in a light green jacket with her favorite floppy hat on top of fiery red curls, she used her cane to navigate the flight of stairs leading to the garage. She opened the garage door and slid inside her blue “Back to the Future” Oldsmobile. As she cleared the garage and backed out, she noticed a plant about six inches tall in the garden. 

Not your typical plant, the leaves had a silver-gray color, and it appeared to be sprouting tiny white flowers. The mysterious plant sways ever so lightly in the crisp sixty-nine degreed weather.  Intrigued, Bug turned off the ignition and got out.

Using her cane, Bug strolled over to the plant. For a moment, she stood there looking at it, admiring it. She poked it gently with her cane, reluctant to touch it. She wasn’t quite sure if the plant was safe to touch. After all, she didn’t plant it. ”Whatever this is…it’s a beautiful little thing,” she muttered to herself. Giving no thought into how the plant came to be in her garden, Bug strolled back to her car and opened the door. She eased in the driver’s seat and secured her seatbelt. Then she turned on the ignition and drove off.

Later in the afternoon, Chris, one of her daughters, came home from work. Like a creature of habit, Chris parked her Toyota Prius on the left side of the driveway. When she eased out of her car and noticed the plant in her mother’s garden, she immediately determined it was a weed. Making a mental note to bring it to her mother’s attention, Chris locked her car and went inside the house.

 Chris found her mother sitting in her favorite recliner, watching a Lifetime movie on television. “Mom,” she loudly called out. Chris knew Bug had hearing problems. “A weed is growing in your garden. Do you want me to pull it out?”  Chris also was aware of Bug’s overprotectiveness of her garden, and she thought it better to ask permission before pulling the weed out. She had no interest in making her mother angry.

Bug leaned forward and turned up her hearing aid. Her big hazel-green eyes bore into her daughter. “What are you babbling about over there?”

“There’s a weed out there in the garden…” Chris trailed off. By the looks of her mother’s scarlet face, she knew the conversation was going to be challenging. “Leave my plant alone! It’s not bothering anybody out there!” Bug quipped. Chris groaned, rolling her hazel-green eyes, a trait she inherited from Bug. “Mom, it’s not a plant! It’s a weed!” She insisted.

Bug fell back in her recliner and armed herself with the TV remote. She turned up the volume gritting her teeth. “I repeat, leave my plant alone.”

Chris stiffened then she rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands. She pulled her brown braids into a rubber band and shook her head in defeat. Chris decided to leave the matter alone. She hated being at odds with her mother. Bug had gotten stubborn in her old age and Chris knew how futile it could be to argue with Bug. So, she gave up and went to her room.

When Chris came home the next evening, the color drained from her face. The weed captured her attention in the worst kind of way setting off a creepy chill within her. It had grown two feet tall since she last laid eyes on it, and the weed’s silver-gray leaves crept into the driveway. Stunned, Chris recognized the creepy plant must go but convincing her obstinate mother of this would be a difficult task. She ran inside the house and tried talking to Bug again, but she soon realized she was getting nowhere. Instead, Bug became onery and yelled at her. “Stop pestering me!  It’s my garden, and I want it to stay there.”

Frustrated and beside herself, Chris decided to call her sister, Cheryl. She needed support in a big way, and her sister had  the gift of persuasion. Grabbing her cell phone, Chris hurriedly dialed Cheryl’s number. She heard Cheryl’s voice no sooner than she completed the call. “Sis, what’s up?” Cheryl answered on the first ring as if expecting her call.

“Girl, you didn’t give the telephone a chance to ring good,” Chris chuckled.

“Oh, I thought it was the office calling me…so, what’s going on?”

“It’s Mom…”

“Did something happen?” Cheryl asked with her voice shooting up two octaves. 

“No, no, no, nothing serious,” Chris quickly reassured her. She heard Cheryl sigh with relief. “Then what is it?”

“There’s a big ass weed growing in Mom’s garden. She refuses to remove it because she thinks it’s a plant.”

Cheryl belched out a series of loud giggles. “You called me for this?” She asked after regaining her composure.

“Yes, sister, I did. You should see it. It looks creepy.”

 “How big is it?” 

“At least three feet,” Chris embellished, hoping to sound the alarm. “And it’s getting bigger and bigger by the minute!”

“Come on, sis. Stop exaggerating and get real!”

“No, I mean it! This thing is creepy! It has grown three feet overnight! Like it’s got a growth hormone in it or something!”

“How do you know?”

“I just know!”

Cheryl laughed again. “Girl just pulled the thing up!  What’s the problem?”

Chris held the phone away from her ear and stared at it like a big starry-eyed raccoon. Then she pressed the receiver to her ear and with a strain voice, she said. “No way, I’m not touching that weed! Besides, Mom told me to leave it alone.”

“So, what do you want me to do about it?”

“Talked some sense into her. That thing has to go!”

“Okay, Sis,” Cheryl giggled. “I’ll do my best.”

“Please do.” And with that, Chris disconnected the call. Exhausted, she took a quick shower and crawled into bed. Within thirty minutes, she was fast asleep.

The next morning, around dawn, a loud rumbling noise came from the yard across the street, jolting Chris awake. She sat straight up, hyperventilating and sweat beaded on her forehead. She rolled out of bed and peered out the window. Big Boy was in his truck racing the engine. Her eyes drifted to the garden and she gasped with sheer exasperation almost peeing on herself. “Oh, I can’t stay here! I got to move! That damn weed has taken over!”

 The weed was bushy and taller than the day before, and another one just like it was growing from behind. Chris fell on the bed and immediately texted her sister. “Cheryl, Help! Come quick! The weed snatchers have invaded Mom’s garden!”

Her phone ranged two minutes later, and when Chris answered, she heard Cheryl cackling in hysterics on the line. “Girl, have you lost your cotton-picking mind? What are you talking about?” She managed to ask after getting her words together.

“Look that thing has grown another two feet, and now it’s brother or wife is growing behind it,” Chris whispered.

“Did you say there are two now, are you serious?” Cheryl asked with angst in her voice.

“Yep, there’s two, and they’re big as shit!”

“I’m coming right over.” Cheryl hung up before Chris could say another word. After Chris showered and dressed, she went outside on the porch and checked out the weeds. She stared at the plants for a while, and she swore the white buds look like teeth, itching to gobble her up. An icy chill shot up her spine and Chris jumped up. She started pacing, and she wondered why Cheryl was taking so long. Her sister lived in Puyallup and she had a forty-minute drive, but for the moment, she didn’t care. Chris needed her right now. Hell, she was scared. 

Antsy with a desire to calm her nerves, Chris left the porch and walked behind the house. She screamed, slapping her hand over her mouth. Across the yard, growing through her mother’s fence was another one of those menacing weeds. It was just as bushy and creepy, and the weed’s silver-gray leaf-like tentacles crept along the lawn heading to the house. When Chris saw this, she had enough. She ran to the porch and stayed there until Cheryl showed up.

 Cheryl’s black Baby Cadillac flew in the driveway with tires screeching. She parked and got out, ready for battle in her burgundy-gray sweatsuit. Her hair was wild with big brown curls, and she briefly looked across the driveway. With her hands on her hips, she calmly said, “You’re right; this weed has become a monster!” 

Chris ran to her side. “There’s one in the back growing through the fence.”

“You’re kidding?”

“No, dear. I’m not.”  Cheryl stepped back, and her hazel-green eyes, a trait she also inherited from Bug, scanned the area again. “Do you know where these suckers are coming from?”

“No, I wish I knew,” Chris said, looking worried. Then she pointed out, “No one else in the neighborhood has these weeds as far as I can tell.”

Cheryl tilted her head and placed a finger on her chin. “Mmmmm…What about the abandoned house next door? It’s been weeks since Mister Purdy got evicted.” 

“What’s your point?” Chris asked with big eyes.

“Maybe we should check it out.” Cheryl took off before Chris could blurt out an answer. She strolled into the yard of the abandoned home with Chris on her heels. With her stomach in knots, Chris was amazed by her sister’s tenacity and inquisitiveness. “Sis, you’re crazy!”

“Probably,” Cheryl replied as she stopped in the middle of the yard. 

The two women stood there, staring at the empty house. The outside paint looked like it might have been a shade of dark brown at one time but had since faded into a dingy pale color. The lawn was overgrown and filled with little dandelion weeds. On the right side of the house was a badly worn wooden fence. “I’m going over here to look in the backyard,” Cheryl said, running off.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Chris hollered after her. But Cheryl ignored her. Instead, she stood on her tiptoes and peered over the fence. Braving it, Cheryl sucked in a deep breath and clicked open the latch. She plunged ahead inside, and her mouth flew open. The entire yard covered with weeds looked like the ones in her mother’s yard. They stood at least twenty feet tall, and one weed’s branches wrapped around the balcony.  The leaves covered the sliding glass door. “Chris, you got to see this!  Come back here!” Cheryl shouted.

“Uh, no…I don’t think so. I’m going to stay right here!” Chris wasn’t about to venture into that yard. It was safer where she stood.  Finally, Cheryl emerged from the back yard, shaking her head. “Girl, those weeds are huge, and they’re everywhere. I think they tend to spread.  I believe that’s why Mom is having a problem.”

Chris snatched her cell phone from her back pocket. “Let’s google it,” she suggested. Cheryl came over and stood over her while Chris looked up the weed on the internet. The image of the plant came up on her screen, and Chris eagerly showed it to Cheryl. “This is it!” Chris said, getting excited. 

“What sort of weed is it?”

“An English Ivy,” Chris replied. She groaned as she read over the description. “What does it say?” Cheryl asked.

“This weed is an invasive species with the potential to wreak havoc on vegetation. They can grow up to forty feet, and they are banned.” Chris relayed.

“Get out of here!”

“Girlfriend, I know. This thing reminds me of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, an evil predator!”

Cheryl snickered. “I don’t know about an evil predator, but I’ll think we need to pressure Mom to get rid of this weed before it takes over her yard.” 

“And her house!” Chris added.

They walked back to the house and found Bug in her pajamas sitting with her legs crossed at the dining room table. She was drinking a cup of Starbucks Coffee, and her face automatically turned scarlet. “I saw you two sneaking around outside being nosy. So, did you find what you’re looking for?” She asked, beating them to the punch.

“Mom, the house next door has those weeds all over the yard and balcony. Some of them are twenty feet tall,” Cheryl excitedly explained.

Bug looked Cheryl squared in the eye and dismissively waved her hand. “Mister Purdy must have planted them before he was kicked out.”

“Mom, you can’t be serious!” Chris grumbled out loud, rolling her eyes. “Those weeds are invasive, and the birds help spread them by dropping seeds on the ground. Washington State’s Forestry Department has banned them. There’s a number to call for someone to come by and get rid of them. Do you know, these weeds can crawl up your house, and get in the gutters and block the windows?”

“Well, if they do, I hope they crawl in your window and grab you, so you can stop pestering the hell out of me!” Bug deadpanned with a gleam in her eye.

Cheryl giggled hard from the pit of her stomach. Chris hung her head in disgust. “Mom, I’m serious, that’s not funny,” she pouted.

Bug stood on her feet and huffed. “My goodness, give me the damn phone number? If I call those people today, will you leave me alone?” 

 Finally, her mother saw the light, and Chris was delighted sighing with relief. She wiped the sweat from her brow, and said. “Mother, you got a deal! Thank the Lord!” Until Next Time, Thank You For Reading. Comments Welcome. My novel, Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story is available on Amazon. Click on the link below and take advantage of the disocunted retail price.


The Struggle Is Real-An Excerpt From Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story

For over 25 years, Cafe 290 has been the hottest and coolest jazz club in the City of Atlanta. Owned by John Scatena, the club is the most respected venue for mainstream, contemporary and funk jazz. Well known, national and international jazz artists often perform there.

In Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story, Isabelle goes on a date to this famous haunt. Now embroiled in a sizzling romance with Lincoln Davis, she struggles with her conscience and Christian faith. One Sunday after church, one of the church ushers asks her out to Cafe 290 and she reluctantly accepts. Later, she tries to convince her best friend, Jinx why she agreed to the date.


Carl called on Wednesday evening precisely at eight after Isabelle had settled on the couch to watch her taped recording of  Living Color. They talked briefly and Isabelle agreed to meet him at Cafe 290 at nine in the evening on Saturday. He offered to pick her up, but she refused. Carl sounded disappointed, but Isabelle didn’t care. He was pushy. A red flag. It was best to err on the side of caution. After they hung up, Isabelle loathed her upcoming date. She wasn’t excited. It was just something to do. A way to get Lincoln Davis off her mind.

The next morning, Isabelle told Jinx about her upcoming date. Jinx understood her intentions, but she knew better.

“Girl, please,” she said rolling her hazel eyes toward the ceiling. “Do you think this man can make you forget about Lincoln? You’re fooling yourself.”

“It’s worth a try,” Isabelle said digging in her heels.

“Face it. You’re in love with Lincoln,” she shot back. “It’s written all over your face.”

Her words hit Isabelle like a ton of bricks, and she turned scarlet inside. “Maybe,” she retorted getting flustered. 

Jinx gave her a knowing look and cursed, “Maybe, my ass.”

“You’re overreacting,” Isabelle sneered back. “You exaggerate too much.”

Jinx’s laugh was sarcastic. “Girl, get a hold of yourself. This shit is not going to work, and you know it.”

“Watch me,” Isabelle said rushing to her feet. 

“Okay, but Lincoln has your heart.”

“No, he does not.”

Isabelle burned with anger. Jinx was right. She just wasn’t ready to hear it. Isabelle stomped out of her office, and Jinx came to the door. She stood in the doorway chuckling as she watched Isabelle hurry down the hall. 

“Don’t forget to call me,” she cackled after her. “I want to hear all about that date.”

Irritated Isabelle didn’t answer. Jinx’s teasing got on her nerves. Frustrated, she went to her office and sulked for the rest of the afternoon. Thank you For Reading. Comments Welcome. Order Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story On Amazon by clicking on this link below.

The Hilarious Jinx Collins: Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story

Update: One evening while working at TLC Radio Station, Isabelle is surprised when Jinx shows up.


Sometime later, Jinx and Jo Summers walked in. Isabelle’s mouth dropped open and she gasped. Jinx is here! Hell-bent on meeting Lincoln! Damn! Isabelle watched with amusement while Jinx pretended to be interested in Jo’s orientation. After Jo finished her introductions and left the room, Jinx snuck over to Isabelle’s cubicle. 

“Where’s the man?” she whispered, bucking her eyes.

“He’s sitting in the back,” Isabelle whispered back. 

Jinx craned her neck to see over the cubicle. A small squeal escaped from her lips when her eyes fell on Lincoln. “Damn, that’s one fine ass motherfucker!”

Isabelle patted her chest. Her heart was flipping somersaults. She withered down in her padded seat, wishing she could disappear. “Jinx! He might hear you!”

“Girl, he’s on the phone! He doesn’t hear or see me!” she said, still checking him out. She pulled up a chair and sat. “Are you sure you don’t want…”

Isabelle cut her off. “Hell no! Now stop it!” she fumed.

“Okay, okay,” Jinx said, batting her eyes. “But if you decide to get some at a later date, I sure as hell don’t blame you!”

Isabelle shook her head in sheer exasperation. “Girl, you are a trip,” she groaned with angst in her voice.

Jinx scooted her chair into the aisle. She stretched her neck to get a better view of Lincoln with her eyes popping out of her head. “Here he comes! He’s a tall ass mother…”

“Shush!” Isabelle scowled. “Don’t you say anything crazy! You hear?”

Isabelle knew her words fell on deaf ears, so she braced herself. Jinx, grinning like a naughty little girl, kept gawking at Lincoln as he glided toward her. “I mean it!” Isabelle hissed again, fully aware she was wasting her time.

“Well, hello handsome!” Jinx said batting her short eyelashes as Lincoln stopped in front of her. 

His mocha brown eyes crinkled at the corners, and his shoulders started to bounce. “Lincoln Davis,” he said extending his large manicured hand.

Jinx held his hand. “Are you looking for Isabelle?” she asked in her sweetest voice.

“What is your name ma’am?” he said, ignoring her question.

“Oh, I’m Jinx Collins,” she cheerfully replied as she caressed and patted his large, smooth hand. “So nice and warm. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Isabelle almost threw up. 

“Warm hands make a warm heart,” Lincoln teased with nervous laughter.

“I’ll say,” Jinx said, winking at Isabelle as she gingerly dropped Lincoln’s hand. She scooted her chair out of the aisle so Lincoln could step into Isabelle’s cubicle.

Isabelle gouged the bottom half of her face with her fingers and squeezed her eyes shut. Lincoln noticed her discomfort. “Are you all right over there?”

“I’m fine,” Isabelle said, opening her eyes. He shot her a knowing grin, and she returned the favor with a weak smile. 

“Jinx, do you plan to take the job?” he asked.

“I’m thinking about it,” she crooned in a low throaty voice. Her hazel green eyes roved up and down his physique, checking out every detail. 

Seething inside, Isabelle fought the urge to slap the mess out of her. “Jinx and I work together at Emory Hospital. She needed a part-time job, so I told her to apply,” she hurriedly explained.

“Nothing wrong with a little extra money,” Jinx chimed in, still eyeballing him.

“I heard that,” he said looking amused. “We’re all in the same boat these days.”

Jinx bristled up. “Honey, speak for yourself. I’m rowing my own damn boat, thank you very much!”

His eyebrows went up, perplexed by her outburst. “Interesting,” he said.

Jo intervened just in time, and Isabelle was grateful. “Miss Collins, come with me. I need you to watch a video before you leave for the evening.”

“Sure,” Jinx said, pulling erect. She stood almost as tall as Lincoln, looking him squarely in the eye as she flashed him a naughty grin. “See you around, handsome, you hear?”

His face brightened as if he was embarrassed. “Likewise,” he smiled.

She sauntered off, leaving Isabelle to explain away her flirtatious behavior, however she didn’t have to. Lincoln had another agenda. To find out Lincoln’s agenda for Isabelle, be sure to purchase your copy of Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story on Amazon by clicking on the link below! Thank You For Reading.


Revelations:Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story

Weeks before her first date with Lincoln Davis, Jinx Collins, Isabelle’s best friend and work colleague Kandy Crane, met in Jinx’s office one morning for one of their many chats. Not only was Isabelle surprised to learn about Jinx’s past descretions, but she was equally stunned by Kandy’s revelation about Lincoln. Jinx Collins, a red boned, slender woman with hazel-green eyes and auburn red hair styled into a short pixie stood six feet tall. She walked with a swanky strut, cursed like a sailor, and she loved teasing and playing devil’s advocate. The setting in this excerpt occurred at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital where all three women worked as clincial social workers. Enjoy.

Two days later, Isabelle and Jinx were having their usual morning chat when Kandy Crane barged into Jinx’s office. She had been off work for several days visiting her married boyfriend in Miami. Petite and skinny, Kandy had short, thinning blond hair. Although she was African-American, her complexion was light, almost pale.

Isabelle couldn’t stand her. She tolerated her. Kandy thought herself better than others, and this irritated both Jinx and Isabelle. She was snooty and self-absorbed, a woman with no emotional boundaries, always telling her business to anyone who would listen. Isabelle made sure she kept her distance.

Kandy stood in the middle of the floor in her white lab coat, her pockets crammed with notes and pens. She monopolized the conversation, chatting away like an old hen. Isabelle sat back in her chair with her legs crossed, bored to death. 

“I had the best time with Darryl this weekend,” she beamed, shifting from one foot to the next.

Jinx rolled her lips inward as she struggled to keep a straight face. “Well, tell us about it,” she encouraged with sarcasm in her voice.

“We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel on the beach and sunbathed all day,” Kandy boasted. “The food we ate was delicious, and we even talked about getting married!”

Isabelle raised an eyebrow and Jinx bucked her eyes, turning ornery. “And his wife? Where was she?” she asked in a salty tone.

Kandy frowned, shrugging her shoulders. “Who cares?”

“How was he able to pull this off?”

“It’s not my concern,” she haughtily said, pointing her nose in the air.

Jinx bucked her eyes again. “Well, if she finds out you were sleeping with her husband and whips your little ass…I bet you’ll care.”

Isabelle burst into laughter. Thrilled Jinx jack her up.

With a clenched jaw, Kandy hissed. “You two get on my nerves!”

“Get a grip! I’m speaking truth to you, girl!” Jinx said.

Kandy snapped her mouth shut and glared at Jinx. A hush fell over the room. For five long minutes, no one spoke a word. Angry as hell, Kandy mustered up some courage and spewed venom Jinx’s way. “You used to date a married man! You got nerve!”

Isabelle whipped her head back, stunned with Kandy’s revelation. Jinx with a married man? No, not Jinx! Isabelle kept her mouth shut and cast her eyes on her lap. 

Jinx, looking wolfish, stood up. “Girl, you don’t know who you’re messing with,” she snarled.

Terrified, Kandy made a beeline to the door. She stood in the doorway with her mouth gaped open, hyperventilating. 

Jinx pretended to lunge at her. “You got something to say? Say it!”

“Okay, okay! I’m sorry! I don’t want to fight!” she squealed in a soprano voice, jumping back.

Isabelle howled with laughter, and Jinx joined in.

“Not funny,” Kandy whined after she realized Jinx was joking.

“Girl, you are in a relationship going nowhere!” Jinx chuckled as she returned to her seat.

“Not so,” Kandy insisted, still determined to think otherwise. “He loves me, and I love him. It will all work out. You’ll see.”

Isabelle snickered out loud again, and Kandy flashed her a dirty look. Jinx continued with her tongue lashing, refusing to let up. “He may love you, dear heart, but he’s never going to leave his precious wife. They never do.”

“I second that,” Isabelle piped in.

Kandy was defiant. “The man loves me! Aren’t you two listening to me?”

“Yes, we are, but it’s hard to process so much stupid at once,” Isabelle said.

“Smart Ass,” Kandy sneered with her nostrils flaring. 

“It takes one to know one,” Isabelle snarled back.

Jinx rolled her eyes heavenward and sighed. “Okay, ladies, let’s calm down.” She gave Kandy a wary look. “I hope it works out for you, girl.”

“It will! You’ll see,” Kandy insisted.

Jinx changed the subject, breaking out in song. “Isabelle has an admirer! Isabelle has an admirer!” she sang with melodious glee. Isabelle flipped her the middle finger, and Jinx ignored it. She kept up the teasing and blood rushed into Isabelle’s cheeks. 

Furious and embarrassed, Isabelle hissed at her like a snake. “Jinx! Stop it!”

“What happened?” Kandy asked. 

“Not a damn thing!” Isabelle huffed.

“Tell her,” Jinx demanded. “It’s not a big deal.”

“Tell me what?”

Isabelle slid down in her seat and folded her arms on her chest. Jinx loved kicking up controversy, even when there wasn’t one.

“Hurry up! Tell me!” Kandy said as she grabbed a chair and sat.

Isabelle pursed her lips and hesitated, taking a deep breath. “I met a man at the radio station two days ago. His name is Lincoln Davis.”

Kandy’s face lit up. “So, you took the job?” 

“Yes, I did.”

“Did he tell you his wife is expecting a baby?”

Isabelle was inwardly surprised. “No, he didn’t. He left that major detail out. When is the baby due?”

“This summer.”

“When I see him this evening, I’ll congratulate him,” Isabelle said. She was pissed. How dare he try to get in her panties, and he’s an expectant father! Damn! She couldn’t wait to get to the radio station to give him a piece of her mind.

“He’s a ladies’ man,” Kandy further explained. “Don’t let him get too close. He likes pretty women like you.”

Isabelle gave Kandy a funny look. “A compliment from you? Now that’s a first!”

Kandy smiled wide, revealing big chunky teeth. “I don’t mind giving you props!”

Jinx threw in her two cents. “So, what are you going to do girl? The man is coming after you.”

“No, he’s not!”

“Yes, he is!” Jinx said. Then her expression turned naughty. “I want to see this man. Maybe I’ll go to the radio station this week and fill out an application.”

Isabelle rolled her eyes in an exaggerated fashion. “Let me get this straight. You’re going to apply for a job so you can check out Lincoln?”

Jinx grinned. “Yep! I got to see this fine ass chocolate man.” 

Isabelle shook her head in amazement. “Unbelievable!”

She elected not to tell them about her latest encounter with Lincoln. She wasn’t in the mood for Jinx’s teasing. Kandy continued to chatter away about anything and everything under the sun until a loud knock on the door interrupted the conversation.

The door flew opened and in walked Lisa Cooper, the social work supervisor. She was a tall, attractive blond, with a Farah Fawcett haircut. Her work ethic was meticulous, and Lisa expected others to follow her lead. Now she was on the warpath looking for fault in anybody she could find. With her piercing baby blues, she sized up everyone in the room.

“Are you ladies working or goofing off?” she sweetly asked in a baby voice. 

Isabelle bolted from her seat so fast she almost lost her balance and fell. She regained her footing and smoothed out her dress. She hustled to the door. “I have to see patients,” she declared.

“Me too,” said Kandy, jumping to her feet and following Isabelle. They both ran out before Lisa had a chance to address them, leaving Jinx alone to deal with her wrath. “That was cold,” said Kandy, laughing her head off.

“She can handle it,” Isabelle giggled.

They hurried through the hall, splitting in different directions, Kandy going for the elevator and Isabelle to the stairs. “See you later,” Isabelle hollered as she exited through the stairwell. She ran up  seven flights of stairs and stopped on the seventh floor.

Red in the face, Isabelle grunted, taking deep breaths. She rested on the couch in the waiting room. Breathing normally again, Isabelle hurled herself up and hustled to the oncology unit. While there, Lincoln’s baby news crossed her mind.

A wife? A baby? So very disappointing! Despite, her disappointment, the baby was a welcome gift. In her mind, Lincoln had no business asking her out, no business at all. Fatherhood would keep him busy. The perfect plan. Until Next Time. Thank you For Reading. Purchase Your Copy of this steamy Entertaining Novel by clicking on the link below.


Chickens, Cats, Howling Dogs, and Fireworks: Elaine’s July 4th Weekend

This story is dedicated to my sister, Cheryl. Enjoy!

One hot, sunny July fourth afternoon in the year of two thousand and ten, Elaine just left Seattle in her brand new black Cadillac Seville. She cruised down Interstate 90, weaving in and out of heavy traffic on her way to see her new man Greg. She met him online a few months earlier, and he had invited her to Spokane for the holiday weekend. She was to meet his daughter, Lisa who lived in Spokane, and the drive there would take her four hours.

Although, Elaine looked calm, her stomach rattled like an old washing machine. Even after she gulped down a banana pineapple smoothie, her stomach churned in knots. Annoyed, Elaine sighed as she glanced at her rolex watch. Time seemed to tick by slow, it was only two o’clock. Greg wasn’t expecting her until seven so she leaned back in her seat and settled in for the boring drive.

Interstate 90 stretched for hundreds of miles. On each side of the highway, cattle grazed lazily in the hot grassy fields. Elaine took off her Raybun sunglasses and rubbed her hazel-green eyes. She yawned, stretching her mouth wide feeling tired from the long drive. She kept her eye on the road as she reached over, turned on the radio, and repeatedly tapped the tune button on the dashboard stereo. Finally she found her gospel station, and Kirk Franklin’s hit song, “Smile” boomed from the car speakers. Emotionally moved, Elaine bopped her head like a ping pong ball to the rhymthic beat then the song went off and the disc jockey came on.

Elaine squirmed in her seat, and sweat trickled down her face. She reached up with one hand and swiped the straw hat she was wearing off her head. With long cinnamon brown fingers, she raked through her curly red auburn hair, and with the other hand she steadied the car keeping it straight on the road. Elaine was full figured, attractive with expressive hazel-green eyes. Despite her plumb figure, she wore dresses, and big hats with style.

However, her friend, Greg was completely opposite. His idea of style was casual. He often wore loafers with faded jeans, and he would throw on his favorite corduroy sports jacket over a plain white shirt. Hardly Elaine’s idea of a stylish, well-dressed man. She was spoiled. Her deceased husband, a pastor, used to wear silk doubled breasted suits to work or church. Needless to say, she missed his impeccable style.

Before long, Elaine saw the sign to Spokane, Washington. She had fifty miles to go, and again, she glanced at her watch. It was now six o’clock in the evening, and the sun was morphing into an orange ball of fire. Dusk was settling on the horizon so Elaine pulled over. She parked on the side of the road and turned on her GPS. She typed in Lisa’s address then she pulled out onto the highway.

Thirty minutes later, she was on Chicken Coup Road. Beautiful red brick homes on manicured lawns decorated the newly paved street. Elaine searched for Lisa’s house looking for the number 455. As the paved street narrowed into a dusky dead end, Elaine’s face contorted into a gremlin-like frown. Straight ahead she noticed a barb wired fence wrapped loosely around an old wood shabby house. The house tilted to the side was propped up on cement blocks. Elaine parked her Cadillac and turned off the ignition. She blinked her hazel-green eyes in amazement and shook her head.

“Surely this isn’t it,” as she tried to convince herself. “This can’t be it. I better call Lisa. Maybe I passed the house by mistake.”

Elaine snatched her cell phone out of her Coach Handbag and dialed Lisa’s number. The phone rang for several seconds and the ringing vibrated like a buzzing bee. Finally a woman anwsered. “Hello, this is Lisa.”

Lisa sounded warm and inviting, and Elaine breathe a sigh of relief. “Hi Lisa, this is Elaine. I’m on your street, but I can’t find your house. Where are you?”

“At the end of the road,” Lisa chuckled.

“You mean the brown wood house with the barb wire fence?”

“That’s right,” Lisa clarified. Elaine’s heart sank. She couldn’t believe it. She drew in a deep breath and used her musical voice to tried to sound cheerful. “I’m right out front. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Great, I can’t wait to see you!”

“Likewise.” Elaine hung up and started up her car. She drove up the dusky road to Lisa’s home. On her right, five rusty cars in need of repair were parked alongside the road. There were two red Toyotas, two copper brown mustangs, and a four-door silver gray Honda. Little brown and black chickens raced hither and yond up and down the road. Elaine noticed chickens scurrying back and forth on the porch.

Elaine scowled and shook her head. “This place is full of chickens! I can’t do chickens!”

Elaine parked her vehicle, shoved the door open, and gradually eased out. With her handbag on her shoulder, she smoothed out her white cotton dress. She reached in her car and grabbed her suitcase. She dropped it on the ground breathing heavily. She slammed the car door and locked it. Then grabbed her suitcase and started toward the house. Her eyes watered from the smelly white chicken poop splashed on the ground before her. She gagged, almost fainting from the putrid, rotten smell.

Suddenly Greg emerged from the house. Chickens scattered everywhere trying to get out of his way. He ran down the stairs. When Elaine laid eyes on him, she cringed at the sight of him. He wore a plaid red short-sleeved shirt tucked in dirty brown dungarees and his bulky orange rubber boots were caked with dried mud. Strands of salt and peppered hair peeked from underneath his Mariner’s baseball cap, and his piercing blue eyes looked like large buttons on his dusky face.

Excited to see Elaine, Greg broke out into a wide grin. He snatched her suitcase out of her hand and dropped it on the ground. He wrapped his thick arms around her shoulders, squeezing her tight. “You’re so dirty!” She cried out, wrinkling up her nose. She pushed him away. He smelled like an old musky towel.

“I’m so sorry,” he apologized. “I was doing repairs around the house. I know I smell bad.”

“That’s an understatement,” Elaine flippantly mumbled under her breath. Ignoring her comment, Greg grabbed her hand.”Come on, let’s go inside,” he said.

“Okay,” Elaine replied looking wide-eyed. As they walked up the stairs, the wood creaked and moaned. Once they reached the door, two howling dogs greeted them. One was a white toy poodle and the other a brown lab retriever. The canines took turns out doing each other with their loud howling. Irritated by the noise, Elaine slapped her hands on her plumb hips and violently cursed. “You two bitches shut the hell up, right now!”

The dogs immediately stopped howling. Startled, they took off down the stairs, whimpering to themselves, as they disappeared across the yard behind the chicken coup. Greg roared with laughter. “Elaine, I think you hurt their little feelings.”

“They were making too much damn noise! I couldn’t hear myself think,” Elaine giggled getting tickled. Greg laughed and opened the door. He motioned for Elaine to follow him in. She did so with great caution taking one step and then peeking shyly around the door. Greg grinned wide looking like a Cheshire Cat. “Don’t worry, it’s safe,” he assured her waving her in.

Elaine walked inside and to her dismay, three black cats ran up to her. They whined and cried which grated on Elaine’s nerves. Her nostrils itched and she sneezed. One cat edged closer and rubbed his head against her bare leg. Elaine’s eyes begin to itch and tear up. She sneezed repeatedly, scaring off the cat. The cat screeched and leaped in the air. It landed in a nearby chair, and stared at her with glaring yellow eyes. “Creepy,” she mused. Elaine looked at Greg. “I’m allergic to cats. I can’t be around them,” she informed him.

“Oh dear, I’m sorry,” he apologized. “I’ll get rid of them.”

“Thank you,” Elaine coughed. He scooped up the cats and disappeared down the hall. Elaine sneezed repeatedly and her eyes itched like hell. She rubbed them hard until they turned tomato red. Now fighting an allergic reaction, Elaine grabbed her Benadryl from her handbag. She twisted off the cap and popped four pills into her mouth. Then she grabbed her inhaler, screwed off the cap and took three puffs.

A few minutes later, she was feeling better. Elaine found a chair in a corner in the hallway and sat. While she rested, Greg’s daughter, Lisa showed up in the hall. She was barefooted with her red hair tangled into a messy mop, and she looked trampy in her see-through yellow top and ripped jean shorts. When she smiled, her grill was missing two front teeth, and her voice was dry and raspy from smoking. “So you’re the special lady in my dad’s life. Glad to finally meet you.”

“I’m happy to meet you too,” Elaine sneezed. ” Thanks for inviting me to your home.”

“You’re quite welcome. Are you all right?”

Elaine dismissively waved her off. “Oh, it’s allergies. “I’m allergic to cats.”

“Oh too bad,” Lisa pouted, poking out her bottom lip. She ran across the hall to the closet, and swung the door open. She grabbed a box of tissue, tossing it to Elaine. “Here take one.”

Barely catching the box before it landed on the floor, Elaine grabbed a tissue, and blew her nose like a fog horn. Lisa’s violet eyes stared back at her with amusement, and Elaine felt her cheeks getting warm. She quickly apologized. “I’m so embarrassed! Please excuse me. My behavior is horrible.”

Lisa cracked up laughing. “No worries. I hope you feel better soon.”

“I will.” Elaine said with a flushed face.

Greg stood in the hall, giving Lisa an icy glare.”You should’ve dressed better! You looked sloppy!”

Lisa rolled her eyes heavenward and whirled around. With her back to her father, she sashayed down the hall. “Elaine, come with me,” she hollered back. “Let me show you where you’re staying.”

Elaine hesitated. She eyeballed Greg looking to him for permission to follow Lisa. He looked perturbed as he watched Lisa walked away from him. He threw one hand up and gestured.”Go ahead. I’ll deal with her later,” he said.

Elaine didn’t say a word. Instead she inhaled deeply and reached for her suitcase. She went after Lisa and caught up with her in the living room. Eaine checked the place out. It was spotless. A pleasant surprise that Elaine didn’t expect. However, Lisa’s decorating taste left alot to be desire. Elaine didn’t care for her country-styled taste or out-dated gray furniture. As they moved throughout the house, Elaine secretly admired Lisa’s chestnut hardwood floors.

When the two women arrived in the guest room, Lisa hurled her petite body through the wood door. Once inside, she waved for Elaine to follow her in. The room, smelling like fresh lemons, was roomy and quaint. The room was painted in a bright fluorescent pink, and oil paintings of farm animals hung on the walls. Against the far wall, sat a queen sized maghoney wood framed bed draped in a red comforter with fluffy black pillows scattered on top.

Elaine dropped her suitcase in the middle of the floor and sat on the bed. She squinted from the bright pink paint while rubbing her hands over the cushiony comforter. Taking note of the soft texture, she mumbled. “This is so nice, thank you.”

“I’m glad you like it,” Lisa warmly smiled. “In the bathroom, you’ll find towels in the vanity closet.”

“Thank you,” Elaine said as she continued to checked out the room. Elaine gasped, stiffening up when she noticed a dead beetle on its back in the far corner. She wondered if Lisa had a problem with bugs. “Any issues with bugs?” Elaine innocently asked.

“No, not really,” Lisa said looking down at the floor.

Elaine sighed deeply and Lisa studied Elaine’s face. She folded her arms, and scoffed. “If you happen to see bugs, the spray is in the closet.”

“Thanks,” Elaine said taking note of her scornful tone. Lisa turned and went for the door. “Why don’t you freshen yourself up for dinner. We’re eating at eight and fireworks begin at nine,” she said.

“Will do.” Elaine sternly replied, feeling irritated. She didn’t like being told what to do. Lisa left the room, slamming the door behind her. Elaine made a face and slid off the bed. She gave the room a quick once over. She lifted the comforter and looked underneath the bed. Except for a few dust balls, she didn’t see any bugs. Then she ran to the bathroom and inspected the bathtub along with the shower. Satisfied she didn’t see any dead little creatures lurking around, she blew out her cheeks in a sigh of relief.

She went back to the room and tossed her suitcase on the bed. She flopped down with her plumb bottom sinking down into the mattress, and she began unpacking her suitcase. Then out of the blue she heard, pop, pop, pop and she scrambled off the bed, ducking to the floor. Her heart pounded like a drum in her chest as she sat crouched on her knees beside the bed. Scared out of her wits, she was afraid to move. A moment later, she heard Greg shouting outside her window. “You critters get the hell out of my yard with those firecrackers! You come here in again, I’m calling the police!”

There was loud husky laughter and stomping of feet. Then a few seconds later, there was complete silence. Realizing she wasn’t in any danger, Elaine took a deep breath and stood up. “This place is crazy! What have I gotten myself into?” she grumbled shaking her head. Then she unzipped her suitcase and sat on the bed. “I might as well make the best of this. It’s going to be a very long weekend.” Thank you For Reading And Have A Happy Fourth Of July!

The Turning Point: Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story

A week before Isabelle’s romantic date with Lincoln, she witnesses a debate between co-workers on her teleworking part-time job at TLC Radio Station one evening. Impressed by his candor after being confronted by a male co-worker, Isabelle views him differently and eventually agrees to a date.

One Thursday evening, Isabelle, ten minutes late, noticed the work area was scarce of workers. Except for two women gabbing on the phone in the next aisle, the place was virtually empty. Where is everybody? Did something happen? Puzzled, she locked her handbag in the desk drawer and booked it to the break room.

Upon her arrival, Isabelle heard loud, angry voices exploding from behind the door. With her hand poised on the doorknob, she eased the door opened and looked inside. Pat, with her face puffed up like a jellyfish, was embroiled in a heated debate with Cashmere Jones. She stood over him with her hands on her hips.

Droplets of water sprayed from her lips as she shouted in his face. He slid his chair back, wiping his face with his coat sleeve, his copper-brown eyes bulging out of his head. “Woman, stop spitting on me!”

She scowled. “I didn’t spit on you!” She shoved her chair backward with her feet.

Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas were the topic of discussion and everyone in the room had gathered into a big circle. The chaotic scene looked like a boxing match between two heavy-weight fighters. Isabelle panned the room and found Lincoln sitting near the refrigerator, stroking his well-groomed mustache. He appeared introspective, deep in thought as his mocha eyes studied Cashmere.

Isabelle tiptoed in and closed the door. She settled in a chair on the back wall.

Pat, looking wolfish, kept hurling insult after insult at Cashmere. Although his name was Cashmere, there was nothing soft or luxurious about him. The dark bags under his eyes made him looked sleepy, rough, and much older than his stated age of thirty-eight. His outfit, a wrinkled black suit three sizes too big, matched the wide brim hat hanging off the side of his head. Tightly thick beaded black hair grew around his ears and temples. He looked like an old, sleazy drunk on skid road. He was three gallons of crazy in a two-gallon bucket, and his pig-headed viewpoints rubbed women the wrong way.

“Cashmere! Don’t get me to arguing and cussing with you!” Pat screamed in his face with her false teeth clicking like a softly ticking clock. “Anita Hill is not lying! The man put pubic hair in her coke for goodness sake!”

“Yeah, he also referred to his nasty ding-a-ling as his long dong silver,” hissed an angry woman with a red afro.

Isabelle cringed as she imagine pubic hair floating in a glass of coke. She scooted her chair closer to the door, ready to book at any minute. 

“She’s a temptress,” Cashmere charged with his thick lips curling. “She seduced him, and when he got some, he dumped her little ass. She got mad and came up with this cockled knuckled bull!”

Every woman in the room hissed and gnashed their teeth, popping out of their seats like jack-in-the-boxes. Spewing gross expletives out of sore mouths, they accused Cashmere of being a male chauvinist pig. Cashmere withered in his seat like a frightened little boy who just got spanked. He looked to the men around the room to bail him out, but no one volunteer.

Agony clouded his features, and he wailed in desperation, “Hey guys, help a brother out!”

With a stone face, Lincoln stood to his feet and threw up his hands. He went for the exit. “Bruh, you are on your own.”

“Man, you know I’m right!” he yelled at Lincoln.

Lincoln stopped in mid-stride and turned to face him, his eyes steely and vacant of warmth. “No, you’re not!” he said raising his heavy voice. “Clarence Thomas puts us men to shame! He’s an asshole!”

Pat screamed from her corner of the room. “That’s what I’m talking about, a man with some damn sense!”

Shouts of approval erupted around the room. Defeated and embarrassed, Cashmere scowled as he sank further in his seat. He pouted and threw his arms on his chest. 

Isabelle’s mouth gaped open. Lincoln’s response took her by surprise. His opinion, different from most men on the subject, was refreshing to her. Her view of him changed that very moment. He was strong. A true rebel. A man not afraid to stand up for his beliefs. 

Impressed, Isabelle gave him the thumbs up as he glided past her out the door. She slid out of her seat and followed him. He hadn’t gotten very far. He always took his sweet time walking with his easy swagger. 

“Lincoln!” she called out trying to keep her voice low.

He stopped and turned around and grinned when he saw her. “What’s going on?”

Isabelle strolled up to him. “You were great in there!” She smiled broadly.

“Cashmere doesn’t know what he’s talking about half of the time,” he said.

“Well, he has a closed mind. I can see why the women don’t like him,” she giggled.

Lincoln laughed.  “Baby Girl, he’s nothing but a punk in a cheap suit!”

Isabelle fell out giggling even harder. She loved his sense of humor. As they walked together, he slyly asked, “Care to get a drink this Saturday evening?”

Tickled, she fell out into a belly laugh. She couldn’t help herself. Lincoln was still trying to seduce her, only this time it was working. The corners of his lips turned up into a boyish grin. “What’s so funny?”

“Oh, please,” she groaned. “You know what you’re doing.”

He let out a frustrated sigh. “Isabelle, it’s just a drink between friends.”

For a moment, she mulled over his words. She knew he was manipulative, but now she didn’t care. He was her hero. He was the man. “All right, what time and where?”

His face dropped, stunned. 

“What’s the matter?” Isabelle innocently asked.

“Are you serious about meeting me for a drink?” he incredulously asked. 

“Absolutely,” she chuckled. “Why not? We’re friends, right?”

“Mmmm…” he said with his mocha eyes grazing up and down her body as if he would like to eat her up.

“Stop it,” she giggled tilting her head back. 

“Stop what?”

“Looking at me like…”

He shrugged his shoulders. “Like what?” 

“All sexy like!”

“I can’t look at you?” he asked raising his eyebrows as he invaded her personal space. She could smell the sweet scent of his lavender cologne, and her head swam. The heat radiating from his body made her quiver with goosebumps. She knew he was going to kiss her if she didn’t move out of his reach. So, she placed her hand on his chest and gently pushed him back. “Stop it,” she said in a syrupy voice.

“Mmmmm…okay,” he grinned, still checking her out. “So, this date we’re going on, you and me, let’s meet at Paschal’s on MLK Way.”

“What time?” she asked fluttering her long black eyelashes. 

“Eight-thirty,” he flatly said.

“Eight-thirty it is,” she said in a honeyed voice.

“Good,” he said, looking pleased. He started to walk away, and Isabelle stopped him, placing her hands on her hips. Her eyes widen in an exaggerated fashion. 

“Be on time,” she warned. “If you are one minute late, I mean one minute, don’t bother coming. This girl waits for nobody.”

He cracked up laughing. “Don’t you worry, Baby Girl, I’ll be there. You can count on it.”

The Date-Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story

In this week’s excerpt from Whiskey And Merlot A Love Story, heroine, Isabelle Perkins had her first date with Lincoln Davis at La Carousel Lounge, a jazz club owned by Robert and James Paschal in Atlanta. 

 In 1960, the club with a capacity to seat two hundred patrons opened its doors next to Paschal’s, a restaurant the brothers owned. Known as Atlanta’s “jazz mecca,” top notched jazz musicians and vocalists like Ramsey Lewis, Aretha Franklin and many others performed there on a regular basis. 

Viewed as the “happening place” for the city’s African-Americans, the Pashchal Brothers also welcomed White patrons to the club, the only establishment to do so at the time. No wonder Isabelle’s love interest, Lincoln Davis selected the club for his romantic date with her. Not only was La Carousel Lounge a “happening” place, but it was a historical trendsetter for its time. Read about Isabelle’s exciting date with the handsome Lincoln Davis below. Enjoy.

Isabelle could spot Lincoln anywhere. She saw him the minute she came through the door. Lincoln looked handsome in his blue silk suit and shiny black Calvin Klein oxfords. He wore his suit well with his fine, commanding presence, and her heart fluttered with excitement. He made his way over to her, and his lips parted into a gangster grin. His swagger and handsome looks were magical to her, and Isabelle felt her knees buckle at the sight of him.

She managed to stay upright, drawing in a deep breath as she met him halfway.  

“What’s up, Baby Girl?” he greeted her, grabbing her hand. 

Goosebumps tingled up and down her arm when she touched his hand. She knew she was in deep, deep trouble. This affair was going to hurt once it was all over. However, she couldn’t stop herself. She was swept up and dazzled by his sexual charm. 

“How are you this evening?” she asked.

“Better now,” he grinned.

The music faded into a bebop rhythm, prompting a crowd to dash to the dance floor. Lincoln led Isabelle to the non-smoking section. He pulled out a chair from the table, and Isabelle sat. 

“So, what are you drinking this evening?” he asked as he scooted his seat closer to her.

“Wine,” Isabelle said with her voice quivering a little. All of a sudden, she was nervous and overwhelmed with the whole situation.

“What kinda wine?” he inquired as he gestured for the waitress to come over.

“Merlot,” she said. The waitress bounced over, took their orders, and left just as quickly. The music changed from a bebop rhythm to a slow melodic tempo, turning the atmosphere into a romantic mood. 

Lincoln leaned in closer, and she felt his hot breath on her cheek. “Care to dance?” he asked.

“No, I pass,” Isabelle replied cautiously.

“What are you so afraid of?”  

“You,” she answered in a soft voice.

“What do you think is going to happen here?” he whispered in her ear.

Isabelle shrugged her shoulders, giggling nervously. “Nothing, I guess.”

He stood, towering over her, and grabbed her hand. “Let’s dance.”

He led her to the dance floor and pulled her to him, placing his left hand firmly on her hip. He held her close, and his muscular strength made her feel vulnerable and safe at the same time.

They floated across the room as if hypnotically synced as one. The fragrance of his lavender cologne made her swoon, and she thought she would faint. He held her closer, and she felt a hard ridge pressing on her abdomen. He was hard as a rock, and his arousal inflamed her sexual desire. When she gazed into his handsome ebony face, he leaned over, and his lips were five inches from hers.

He whispered, “The problem is…if I kissed you, I don’t think I’d be able to stop.”

“Go ahead,” Isabelle boldly said with her heart pounding in her chest. “I want you too.”

She felt the gentle press of his velvety dark lips on hers. He kissed her as if she belonged to him. For a moment, she could taste the next sixty years of her life as she surrendered to his intoxicating passion. He kissed the tip of her nose and moved to her neck gently nibbling and sucking on her soft skin. Isabelle’s eyes widen, and she pushed him away. 

“No hickeys!” she scolded him.

“Okay,” he laughed. 

“Not funny!”

He backed off. “Keep your panties on. I get it.” 

He took her hand, and they returned to the table. Their drinks had arrived, and they both sat. Isabelle tasted her wine. It was smooth and dry, just the way she liked it. 

“Mmm, very good,” she purred feeling pleased. Isabelle eased back in her seat and looked at Lincoln. “Do you come here often?” 

“Been here a couple of times. It’s okay for a drink.”

“Mm-hmm,” Isabelle said. 

They looked at each other for a long moment, and he said, “I kinda like you.”

“Kinda like me? What is that?”

He leaned in closer. “Okay, I like you.” 

“This isn’t going to work. You’re married.” 


Isabelle’s mahogany eyes sharply bored into him. “What do you mean ‘so’?”

“Do not challenge me, woman.”

Isabelle reared back with her temper flaring. “Oooooooo, you got the wrong one, my brother! I will challenge you if I damn well please. Who in the hell do you think you’re talking to?”

He cracked up laughing. “You’re so cute when you get mad.”

“Oh, you think I’m cute when I get mad? Well, get ready handsome, because I’m about to get fine as hell!”

“Isabelle, calm your sexy ass down,” he chuckled with his eyebrows touching.


“Well, nothing,” he interrupted her. He stood up and extended his hand. “Let’s dance, Baby Girl. You need to calm down.”

Isabelle giggled hysterically. She loved the way he handled her. Most men couldn’t deal with her temper, but he could. Lincoln saw right through her brash exterior, and it was refreshing. She took his hand, and they danced for the rest of the evening. 

When he escorted her to her car, it was one o’clock in the morning. Before they parted, he planted a series of hot sizzling kisses on her lips and Isabelle fell for him before she even realized it. Until Next Time. Thanks For Reading. Comments Welcome. Purchase Your Copy Of This Steamy Entertaining Love Story by Clicking on the link below.


Why Atlanta Was The Setting Choice for My Latest Novel.

I moved to Atlanta in October 1989 to take a clinical social work position at Emory University Hospital.  It wasn’t long after, I became fast friends with a social worker who was embroiled in a sizzling affair with a married man. As our friendship grew, she told me about her entertaining, juicy affair, a story I thought one day would make a good romance novel. 

As a wide-eyed transplant from Seattle, I found Atlanta rich with history and quite intriguing. Not only was the city the capital of the state of Georgia, but it also was and still is the most populous, multicultural and economically driven city in the entire state. Metro Atlanta is home to 5.9 million people and it boasts the nickname “city in a forest.” The nickname stuck with the city because of it’s sprawling landscape of green vegetation and beautiful dogwood trees.

 Atlanta is home to Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Home Depot, AT&T, Chick-Fil-A, UPS, as well as higher learning institutions such as Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Morehouse and Spellman Colleges.  The city is notable for its role in the civil rights movement in the 1960’s. Atlanta became the meeting place for civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He met with activists at the historical restaurant Paschal’s to strategize and organized marches. Many years later, Atlanta hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics earning a reputation as an upscale city to live and work.

Atlanta, with its mild winters and hot, humid summers, rocks a beautiful skyline. Affectionately referred to as the “New York of the South”, on a clear, sunny day, the city’s skyscrapers give the area an impressive regal flair. Atlanta has many mecca offerings such as the arts, theatre, professional sports, festivals, as well as night club entertainment. The city draws thousands of visitors throughout the entire year making it one of the best places to vacation. There is always something to do in the “HOT ATL”, another affectionate nickname given to the city by the locals.

In the novel, Whiskey and Merlot A Love Story, Isabelle’s and Lincoln’s first date was at the La Carousel Lounge Jazz Club on Martin Luther King Way near downtown Atlanta. The club was housed in a popular restaurant called Paschal’s back in the day, and this is where Isabelle and Lincoln had their first date.  To read more about their romantic date, tune in next Saturday for another excerpt from Whiskey and Merlot A Love Story.  Thank-you For Reading.