From J. Hale Turner
Author of Contemporary Fiction
Now available in paperback and and where all e-books are sold.
(Amazon, B&N, etc.)
(FREE KINDLE APP ALSO AVAILABLE FOR ANY DEVICE.)
During a robbery two guarded strangers, Melanie Harris and Kendall Myers met briefly in New York City. Just as quickly as they were linked in each other's arms, they were separated amidst a crowd, regretting the idea of never seeing each other again. Was their encounter proof there is a possibility to love again or was their special moment just a dream?
To the delight of her readers, Ms. Turner has finally returned from an extended hiatus and she has recently released her latest children's book, Joseph's Surprise Gifts, in September 2015. It is also available in Kindle.
Her most recent release, Paradise Dreams (released January 2016), is now available in paperback in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in other stores where books/e-books are sold.
"Sometimes it's better to wait than to rush the cake to rise. I had to learn that while growing up and continue to acquire patience. The results will be worth the wait for me and my readers."
In her spare time, she continues to enjoy the association of family and friends in addition to her tranquil moments reading by the fireplace during the crisp winter or on her back porch enjoying nature during the warmer seasons.
In addition to writing, she serves as a caregiver for a family member and offers assistance to those new to the responsibility. "Through training and experience, I find it a joy to share what I've learned with others. Now they know what to expect as well as abide by health guidelines in caring for a loved one."
She encourages reading to the elderly. "Reading to our elders is not in vain. As long as they can still hear us or just feel our touch to assure our presence, they are comforted to know that they are not alone. An inspiring story read to them will lift their spirits and grant them comfort." Ms Turner believes that caring for the sick along with personal prayer and daily Bible reading have opened her heart to fully appreciate the needs of others. "Applying the fruitage of the spirit according to Galations 5:22,23 was a true wake-up call for me in dealing with various situations. Daily application helped me grow stronger spiritually and emotionally."
Gardening is another one of her passions. On good sunny mornings, she can be found on her back porch with a cup of java and her laptop. She lives with her family and their dog, Rikki, in North Carolina.
Listen in on interview with Latrise Carter of Sistah's Place2 Inspiration & Entertainment News.
A SNEAK PREVIEW
The crisp, cold air greeted Melanie Harris with a rude gust as she struggled against the heavy glass college doors. In seconds she was amid the hustle and bustle of an impending rush hour, and quickly rolled up her cashmere collar peeking from inside her coat, barely enough to brace her neck and face against the blistering cold wind.
Melanie chided herself for misplacing her hand-knitted shawl. She glanced at her watch as her teeth chattered. The lecture went well and she still had plenty of time to return to the hotel before heading to the airport.
The afternoon sun hung high above the crowded city. The more she walked, the more she forgave the intrusive gale, acclimating to the brisk cold and welcoming the fleeting thermal rays of the sun. Not enough time to rediscover her birthplace, she mused as white vapored puffs escaped her lips.
She smiled at a childhood memory when she and her best friend, Jonece would mimic smokers by puffing their imaginary cigarettes into the frosted air. Today, they were both advocates against smoking.
Melanie shook her head at their silly antics.
Since her return to the States, she had planned to visit the Big Apple more often. Now that she was here, she only had enough time for her lecture and appointment with the Dean. Jonece was out of town of all times. Melanie would text her friend just before her flight and give her the scoop when she arrived home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She was confident that she had gotten the contract as visiting lecturer for the next semester.
Getting into the rhythmic pace with the rest of the sidewalk troops, made Melanie enjoy the walk more.
Faces hid beneath thick scarves and wool caps, and a regretful few others like her stiffened against the cold without head covering.
Her stomach rumbled as a reminder that she had missed breakfast and lunch. Perhaps a bag of nabs would carry her over. She released a sigh of relief when she spotted an ATM machine outside of a nearby bank.
She entered the side alcove alongside a building where the ATM machine was located, entered her card, and awaited the cash. In an instant her face was rammed against the cold stone wall and breath knocked out of her.
Melanie heard a growl of obscenities against her ear. Her brain numbed from the attack as the heavy weight pressed her harder against the building.
She looked helplessly through the glass enclosure hoping someone would help, but the area was isolated from public view and a few passersby did not bother to turn her way.
The stranger’s hot soured breath and vulgar demand chilled her entire body more than the wintry wind.
Her hands pulled behind her, rendered her helpless. Melanie’s dulled senses finally started to clear, and she started screaming.
He issued a slew of threats as he rammed her against the machine to silence her. He pried something from her clutched hands—her money.
She did not care.
Take it and leave me alone, her brain shouted.
He pulled on her tangled shoulder bag, but it was not enough. He wanted more. She felt him groping at her body.
Melanie forced a scream in the struggle. As quickly as he weighed against her, she felt his muscled frame move away.
Somewhere in the midst of this madness, Melanie heard another man’s voice and the strange grunt that followed.
Her legs gave way as she slowly slid down, braced by a pair of strong arms.
Disoriented, Melanie struggled to gather her bearings.
Renewed, she screamed and fought harder against her attacker.
“It’s alright, it’s alright. He can’t hurt you anymore, Miss. I’m here to help you.” The deep, mellow voice poured over her like warm brandy. Her eyes closed as tears streamed down her face. Her body trembled as she silently allowed the kind stranger to straighten her shoulder bag and return her scattered money in her trembling hands. He removed his leather gloves and gently lifted her chin to examine her face.
“You need to have that looked at. That’s a nasty scrape.”
The moment their eyes linked, Melanie felt another collapse coming from the intensity of his chocolate brown eyes laced with coal black lashes women vied for.
He protectively held her in one arm while he magically flipped out his cell and dialed the police with his free hand.
Voices and faces that surrounded them evaporated. Everything had come to a standstill, with just the two of them. He held her in a tight embrace to quell her quaking.
She felt safe. The clean scent of his aftershave sent her thoughts reeling. She did not want him to let go. Melanie wanted this moment in his arms to remain.
He held on to her until her trembling subsided, unaware of the effect he had on her. His body felt strong beneath his camel hair coat.
“Miss, you’re safe now.” His thick dark brows knitted with concern. “Can you stand?”
“Y-yes, I believe so,” she stammered. “It h-happened so fast.” She braced herself against the wall. He still supported her shaky stand with a strong arm. She felt foolish for being so helpless.
“I saw you both from a distance. He was walking close behind you suspiciously. I lost you in the crowd for a moment … I’m glad I was able to get here before anything terrible happened.”
“T-thank you. With so many people moving around in this city, I didn’t think I was in such a vulnerable situation.” Melanie shook her head. “In broad daylight of all times.” She looked up only to be spellbound, unable to move away.
“You’re not from around here, are you?”
Her defenses shot up again, “Why do you ask?”
He appeared not to notice. “This cash machine is in a precarious location and it’s not the first time this has happened. It’s been in the news often. They need to do something about it immediately. This could’ve been worse –”
“If you hadn’t come in time,” she finished. “Thank you.”
Her face was now stinging. The shock was wearing off. She winced when she stood on her own.
“Is something wrong? Do you need an ambulance?”
“No, no. I’ll be alright.”
She regretted his release. Gaining her balance, she recognized her would-be attacker, slumped over and semi-conscious. She gasped.
“He’s okay, just resting until the police get here,” he said as if it was nothing, giving her a mischievous grin that made her heart skip a beat.
“And I’ll be happy to press charges.”
“Just make sure you see a doctor. You’re going to feel stiff and sore for the next few days.”
His smile was gentle and his eyes comforting. He stood several inches above her. Perhaps six-three, six-four. She admired his mocha coloring and teasing smile. That sexy smile.
What is wrong with me?
In the middle of a life-threatening crisis, she was wondering what she liked most in this man and wondering if he was available. Melanie shook the thoughts away.
As he was escorting her out of the alcove, they saw blue uniforms approaching. Of all things so were the media, huddling around a loudmouth advocate against the bank’s haphazard location for their ATMs endangering the college community and surrounding businesses.
“Oh, no, not them too.”
“I’m not partial to the media, but in your case it should be known.”
“In New York City? Really?” Her eyes darted around her. The curious crowd of onlookers increased as did her fear of being questioned and recognized. She liked the anonymity of the Big Apple.
As the police approached, her handsome rescuer gently asked her to stay put as he walked toward the police – her chance to escape. She slithered through curious glances until she was down the block. At a safe distance, Melanie turned around hoping for the last look at her gallant black knight.
He stood tall and confident among the gathering crowd of spectators while the officers stood over the dazed assailant. Just a glance at the tall figure stirred emotions she had willed dormant and forgotten.
Melanie watched his puzzled face search the onlookers and the street. She ducked. Her heart raced and tugged interchangeably. She dreaded her cowardly flight, but could not risk being discovered.
Quickly, she headed around the corner and hailed a cab.
“Just my stupid luck,” she muttered.
Her thoughts fumed. Welcome back to the Big Apple, kiddo. Your first day back to your hometown and you get mugged, meet your prince charming and lose him all in a few minutes.
Nerves frayed, she searched in her bag for her cell. Her attorney was in court, but his assistant immediately accepted her call. She rambled incoherently about her attack and gave the bank’s name and location. Melanie was assured immediate action would follow and advised not to worry and to seek medical attention.
Lill’s compassionate voice helped ease a bit of Melanie’s angst before she disconnected. She leaned back against the leather seat in the back of the cab and took deep breaths. Her head pounded and her body ached even more. This wasn’t how her visit was supposed to end – to be driven into the sunset, leaving the man of her dreams behind.