He’s an Oxonian, licensed therapist, and man of faith, preparing to take over the largest Pentecostal church in New York.
She’s an around-the-way girl from Harlem, struggling with three jobs and school to make ends meet for so many.
So, what could they possibly have in common? Find out how Ezra Carmichael and Lex Grier make a covenant, fall in love, and create a sphere for both their worlds to harmonize in the Love Unaccounted series.
Ezra’s journey begins here and is now available!
In Covenant with Ezra teaser #1
In Covenant with Ezra teaser #2
In Covenant with Ezra teaser #3
In Love with Ezra is available now!
In Love with Ezra teaser #1
In Love with Ezra teaser #2
In Love with Ezra teaser #3
Because of you, we went number 1!
Bonded with Ezra is available now!
Bonded with Ezra teaser #1 with excerpt
***Copyrighted material. Subject to change prior to publication***
“Foour!” I groaned, straining to lift from my seat.
I made it to the sink and washed my hands, using my upper thighs to balance me against the countertop of the vanity. I splashed cold water on my face and took a few more deep breaths. As I turned to leave the bathroom, I was able to shed my clothes that suddenly felt unbearably tight. This was unusual for me. I never got sick and hoped it wasn’t the flu. Couldn’t have been: I was too damn hungry.
After pulling back the comforter and sheet, I crawled into bed, resting my back on the headboard. I needed a few moments of rest before I could pick up the phone to make the call. It would take room service at least thirty minutes to get here with food. Maybe more on a Saturday night. Fuck! I opened my one lid to locate the phone. I groaned. It was too far away. I’d have to get up.
Just when I tell her to go back to the house…
I wanted to cry. Feeling the first wave of blues, I wanted to cave to self-pity. I took a few deep breaths. Not now. Not now. Not now. It felt as though I didn’t even have the energy to cry about being sick and hungry.
A knock at the door snapped my attention.
“Who is it?” I barked.
That name sent a zing down my spine. It was intimidating at first sound. Had she gotten to him? What did she say? I called to set up a meeting with Elle to talk about the church speech and all that, but not Ezra. I hadn’t spoken to him since leaving him in the foyer of his home. Was I ready to sound off with him? Honestly…
I was sick.
“I brought food,” he rasped through the door.
Without thought, I scrambled to my feet and opened the door. I didn’t even look at him before diving back into the bed to cover myself. I was down to only my bra and panties. By the time I settled on the mattress, I turned to see him carrying a serving tray mounted with a metal salver. The same one the hotel uses to deliver my—
“Bacon cheeseburger? Lettuce, tomatoes, red onions—please say they’re red and not yellow—”
“…red onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, and five pickles,” he assured.
My shoulders dropped for a few seconds before I tore off the lid and was hit with the most delicious smell ever known to man. I ripped open the extra packs of ketchup and splattered them over the plate.
Never before in life had I seen such an enchanting siren devour food with little care of her appearance. She bit with a gusto I had seen in third world countries with impoverished villagers. She chewed with the impatience of a wild animal with little time to feast on its freshly killed prey before other vultures approached wanting a share of the game. Alexis’ head hardly surfaced from the plate. So far, Ms. Remah hadn’t misadvised. She was utterly engrossed in feeding her face, breathing wasn’t a priority. It almost made me forget my agenda, such a fascinating and disturbing spectacle.
“So, she did betray me?” Alexis finally garbled while biting into her sandwich again.
She hadn’t swallowed her first bite yet.
“She shared your latest…compulsion.”
Alexis rolled her eyes while facing ahead. I switched stances after her third bite that elicited a groan.
“It’s time to leave, Alexis.”
Her brows shot into the air. “And go where? Harlem?”
“No. Come back to the house where you belong.”
“Oh?” she asked with a mouthful. “Is that where I belong? In your dungeon, waiting to be fucked by you? And I’m supposed to be good so long as I have shelter, food, and a car, all paid for by your highness?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Alexis. Most women would pay for your circumstances.” I scoffed at her absurdity.
She swallowed and lowered the loaded burger for the first time since it touched her hands. “And not enough would leave. I’ve spent my career comforting and aiding women in abusive relationships. I’ll be damned if I walked right into one with my eyes wide open—”
“So, I’ve abused you now?” I could not believe the accusation.
“In a…neglectful manner, yeah…” she stumbled in her assertion.
“Why are we reaching for extreme mal-titles to describe a simple misunderstanding?”
Alexis snorted mid-bite. “A misunderstanding,” she muttered. “You withholding pieces of my past is a misunderstanding? Especially since I let you do shit to me like tie me up? That’s a misunderstanding to you?”
She swallowed so hard and fast—too hard and fast—that she tapped her throat. “Mouth? You better be lucky I’m not using my damn fists on you! You are not in control anymore, Ezra! I gave you that bit of it. I gave you that access to me, and look where it got me! Burned. So I don’t give a fuck about you not liking my language or you coming here to demand I come back to your fuck pad of a basement!” Her long arm pushed in the air and index finger led it, swinging wildly. “I’m good where I am! Here, I have my life back! Here, I can go back to doing me! Here, is where I don’t have to worry about giving more of myself away than someone can reciprocate. So, fuck you and this whack ass burger you tried bringing up here to convince me to go back!”
She tossed the remaining burger back on the plate. My body tensed with heat, anger flaring from my core. It wasn’t about the overpriced eighteen-dollar meal, but about her stubbornness. That and she apparently had no clue of the personal hell I’d been in all this time.
“On my dime,” I informed with quieted wrath.
“Excuse me?” She snapped her neck to face me.
“This haven you’ve nestled your ‘woe is me’ broken spirit in is being underwritten by me.”
“What? Please!” Her face distorted in disgust. “I checked in with my credit card!”
“The MasterCard I pay off each month.”
Alexis gasped at that realization.
Yeah… I’m still boss here, kitten.
“I never asked you to pay for shit! You demanded to pay off my loans to marry me: nobody said shit about you continuing to do it!”
“I take care of mine, Alexis. You belong to me,” I reminded her with smug confidence, now well past the original composed state that I’d arrived in. “So please, mind your vulgarities.”
I watched in slow sequence as Alexis’ mouth dropped and she froze with disbelief—abhorrence. She pushed the tray from her lap and stood to her feet, squaring her shoulders as she approached me.
“Get your controlling, heartless ass the fuck up outta here.” She pointed to the door. “Now!”
After a few seconds of debating, I backed up from where I stood and quietly ambled to the door, shutting it behind me. Why doesn’t she get that she belongs to me? What made that concept so deplorable? My steps halted and I immediately turned back for the door. The moment I raised my fist to knock, I heard the contents of the serving tray clatter onto the floor. I took a deep breath before turning for the elevator.
Bonded with Ezra teaser #2
Bonded with Ezra teaser #3
Bonded with Ezra teaser #4
***Copyrighted material. Subject to change prior to publication***
“And this works best with your current schedule?”
His eyes ballooned as he exhaled. “Yeah. I’m flexible. I’m gonna make time!”
I didn’t hide my grin at his enthusiasm as I tapped into the calendar app of my iPad.
“That’s cool. I’ll run a few of your dates against hers and arrange for joint sessions, too,” I mumbled into my lap, tapping away.
“Is…she as flexible as I am?”
I lifted from my device. The muscles in Trent’s face were relaxed, but his eyes told me all I needed to know; it would be an easy fix for these two.
“Yeah.” I laughed. “Very flex—”
My words were halted by the ruckus of my office door being swung open. In stepped a tall bearded man dressed in a three-piece wool suit.
Trent jumped to his feet, startled just as I was.
“She’s gone,” he spoke through gritted teeth.
I sat back in my chair, taken by his nerve. But I can’t say I was surprised by his abruptness. He’d come early to today’s session.
“I know,” was my simple reply.
“You said, we’d work. You guaranteed—”
“I’m with a client, Ezra. You can’t just come into my office, throwing your issues on the wrong plate.” I gestured to Trent.
“Oh, nah.” Trent’s eyes bounced between the two of us. “It’s gravy. Love, we’ll be in touch.” He tossed me a quick wave. “Ezra, see you Thursday, man.”
Ezra’s eyes fell, hopefully in embarrassment. Trent was his parishioner!
His hand extended, and Trent accepted it in a shake. When the door closed, I cocked my head to the side.
“Nice job, Pastor.”
“Oh, I gave you that client,” Ezra quickly returned.
“No. You referred a client that pushed back several for me to take on right away. And this is how you conduct yourself in front of the two of us. Where’s the respect?”
“I am going through a dark affair in my life. He would understand if he knew. She left me!”
I lifted and drop my shoulders, glancing away. “You’re in the valley. It’s a part of the marriage journey. Get used to it. Just don’t set up shop there.”
“What’s the use of having you if this could be possible?” His brows met at that jab. Then his open hands flew in the air. “Look. I understood full well at the beginning of this venture, you didn’t hold the formal qualifications of a therapist, but I’d also researched you, and spoke extensively with your relatives.”
I rolled my eyes. “First of all, have a seat while you’re speaking to me.”
His neck retracted just slightly, and one brow peaked. “Pardon me?”
“You heard what I said. Ezra, I respect you…actually like you a lot, but the moment you come into my place, throwing around your imposing weight, that could all come to an end. I’m overseer here. I’m boss here. I’m leader in this place. You are a client, needing my services. Do you get where this is going?”
“I could have gone to someone else, Love. Someone who would have at least worked it so she would not have left,” he threatened.
I sat up in my seat. “I have countless peers on the shelves next to me. Not one would care to take on your story. None could have gotten this far with you, and none have my talent to manage you.”
“That’s mighty arrogant of you.” He scoffed, coolly. “I wholly disagree.”
“Ezra, don’t fool yourself. My specialty is broken people, bringing them to a place where they can experience healthy, long-lasting romantic love. You’re kidding yourself if you think many of my contemporaries would be prepared to take you on. Many of them do the cutesy couples with minor flaws that makes for a plot, and have them live happily ever after. I take on the impossibly companionable, and work on their internal individual issues many would deem irrevocable.”
He leaned down toward me, still standing, and I could smell his fragranced beard. “You clearly didn’t do a good job with Alexis.”
I cocked my head to the side again. “Who said Alexis was the broken one of the two?”
We locked eyes. Ezra slowly stood straight, and I didn’t miss when his lips parted in sheer astonishment. That’s when I found myself in Lex’s shoes: eye warring with a warrior. The beast. Ezra was, without effort, intimidating. His presence alone had a heavy weight, an air of power and fearless leadership. And while I believed he possessed a high level of knowledge, wisdom had not always been present for him.
“So, I’m broken?” his rasp held a tone of humility.
If I was not mistaken, Ezra had momentarily put down his weapons. If he could only remove the armor, too. I was not in the business of attacking people, no matter how weak their seemingly tough veneers.
“You need lots of work, but the one thing you have working for you is I ‘get’ you. You’re not an overnight success. When I agreed to this, I knew it wouldn’t be a short bubblegum love story. I don’t do those. I believe in you, but you have to kill some things in yourself to make this thing work.”
“Things like what? What do you ‘get’?”
My eyes skirted around the room. I stood to get a box that was used to ship a pair of shoes I’d recently ordered. I brought it over to the coffee table.
“This box encompasses your life. It represents the barriers between you and the world—the world being everything that doesn’t affect the core of you. Inside this box are all the things that matter to you…the only things you cherish in life.”
I gave a nod to confirm he was following me.
“Okay…” His response told of his stubbornness, but I knew he was following.
“Inside the box,” I pointed, “is Ezra and God.” I gave a brief pause for digesting.
“Outside of the box?” I was surprised he asked.
“…is Lex and everything and everybody else. I’m out there, too.”
Slowly, Ezra straightened his spine, backed up, and collapsed on the sofa across from me, on the other side of the table.
“Do you get where this is going? Ezra, your wife is in the same category as your cleaner’s guy, mechanic, your dentist, and me, a virtual stranger to you. Nothing or no one else is inside this box, not even your parents. Marriage doesn’t work this way. She needs to be in here with you. She’s your partner, not a tool sent for your one-sided pleasure.”
“One-sided? I am no savage,” he murmured.
“I don’t believe you are.”
“Your readers do.” His fingers yanked through his thick beard in a combing manner. His eyes were in the corner of the room.
“My real ones, the ones that trust me to be the author and don’t try to co-write my stories know I wouldn’t have taken you on if you were not good at the core and redeemable.” He finally looked at me. “I can work with you.”
“I just don’t like the way I’m being perceived.”
Another client reading my reviews while under my care.
I shook my head, dismissing his anxiety. “Ezra, we’re privileged to even be privy to your personal life. Your marriage is sacred: the details that get you to your custom-made happily ever after are a personal matter.”
He scoffed. “And that’s it. It doesn’t matter that I’m being dragged through the mud like some caveman?”
“I’m there with you as the author. I’d say your story resonates. The few who have callous things to say are those who choose to pry, is how I see it. My stripes haven’t changed. This will be our tenth book, and I’m writing the same length, in the same fashion. It’s safe to say I’m established. If they don’t like what I present, they can stop reading. Bottom line.”
Ezra sat up, exhaled his frustration, and rubbed his palms into his face.
“Ezra, you have to trust me. I master journeys of this nature. Go through the darkness of process. It’s going to hurt, but if you want it, let go of those things keeping you from giving her what she needs. Once you achieve that, you’ll see brighter days. I promise.”
“Okay.” He sighed again, flashing his palms that gestured his compliance.
“And please stop reading my reviews. It’ll impede your journey. I promise you, I don’t lose a night of sleep over them. Either I’m for you, or I’m not. If I’m not, get off my boat. The same can be said for your marriage. Either you want to meet Lex half way, or you don’t. If you don’t, release her so she can find someone who will account for her wellbeing. Just like my readers, the choice is yours, sir.”
Ezra’s head swung up, his nose scrunched in disgust. I tossed my head back and cracked up.
“See! That doesn’t even have the same appeal as when she says it.” I tried calming myself.
“Let me assure you, no one has the same appeal as that woman, Love.”
“Good. Great start!” I glanced at the clock. “We’re still twenty minutes or so ahead of your appointment, but let’s get started.”
“It is well,” he agreed, sitting back on the couch.
You made it happen again!