Hello, readers! Today I’m going to do a book spotlight for my upcoming release, Simply Amazing. It’s a short, free read and the prequel to the third book in the Arrington Family series, Only One for Me, which will be released in 2013. Writing a prequel to the third book was never on my to do list, but I realized after The Game of Seduction was published, no one knew much about the oldest Arrington sibling, Cannon, except that he was always busy and is somewhat of a workaholic. I know everyone thought his twin sister, Raven, would be next, but what I have planned for her won’t work if Cannon’s book isn’t before hers.
At the end of The Game of Seduction, Cannon goes off to Brazil once again to open another medical clinic for a small village. He’s quite the humanitarian and has always been so, but something from his past has caused him to bury himself even deeper into his work and good deeds. So, I decided to give Cannon a back story, thus Simply Amazing was written. It takes place 12 years before the book. Its my very first short story for publication and has been a nightmare to write as I tried to fit everything into 10,000 words; however, it ended up being 14,000 words. Below is the blurb and the first chapter. The official release date is Thursday, December 6th. Happy reading!
Cannon Arrington has pushed aside a social life to dedicate his time to medical school, extracurricular activities, and helping others … that is, until he lays his eyes on the angelic face of Yasmine Dubose. For Cannon, meeting her was like a breath of fresh air. Something about the bubbly, sexy teacher makes him realize he needs to stop and smell the roses.
Yasmine has had a crush on Cannon since high school, but he’d never noticed the nerdy freshman. Now she’s blossomed into a woman who’s full of life. She knows Cannon’s drive for success is important to him, but she fears he’ll become even more of workaholic than her father, who died when she was a child.
Will Cannon settle down and learn how to balance his career and love life, or will he lose the simply amazing woman who has stolen his heart?
Cannon Arrington raced along the interstate in his white Mustang, shifting gears and weaving in and out of traffic. He’d overslept, as usual, and was running late to the Read-a-Thon at Garrett A. Morgan Elementary School. A second-year medical student at Meharry Medical College, he’d stayed up until three in the morning working on a presentation he had to give at noon. He’d hit the snooze button on the alarm clock a few times before realizing he had overslept.
Glancing at the time on the dash, he had twenty minutes to be seated in a first grade teacher’s rocking chair to read a book. He’d volunteered with the graduate chapter of his fraternity, which adopted the school as a partner in education in order to show a more visible presence of positive African-American men as role models. His best friend and fraternity brother, Doug Winters, presided over the program and had persuaded Cannon to participate, which only added more to his already overflowing plate of activities outside of medical school.
He pulled into a parking space, popped the trunk, and grabbed the crate of books before he dashed into the front door of the school. Since it was the beginning of October, he decided he would read Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. It was one of his favorite books about a fruit bat that was raised by birds. He’d brought enough copies for each student in the class to have.
“What up, frat?”
Cannon turned his attention to the left to find Doug, who was dressed in a pair of khaki’s, a black polo shirt with their fraternity crest, and holding a clipboard. Cannon had on the same attire. They met each other halfway.
“Good morning, Doug. Great minds think alike.” They shook hands while doing their secret handshake, which went unnoticed by people walking by.
“Yes, except when it comes to setting the alarm clock. I had to switch you and Tony. You’re now reading in Ms. Dubose’s classroom. I’ll walk with you.”
“Dubose? My favorite teacher from high school was Ms. Dubose.”
“Well, I doubt it’s her. She’s Sherika’s best friend. They’re from Memphis, like you, and teach across the hall from each other.”
Cannon glanced sideways at his friend. “Oh, so that’s why you chose this school,” he said with a smirk. “Because your new girlfriend teaches here.”
“She’s not my girlfriend.” They turned down a bright yellow hallway with colorful bulletin boards displaying student’s work. “We’re just hanging and getting to know each other.” The gentlemen stopped in front of a door displaying cut-out autumn leaves falling from a tree. “Here’s Ms. Dubose’s classroom. I’ll be across the hall reading,” Doug said with a grin and a wink.
Cannon chuckled. “I’m sure you will be.”
He turned toward the classroom door, shifted the crate of books on his left hip, and pushed open the already ajar door.
Approximately twenty students sat on an oversized carpet of the United States in front of a bulletin board with a calendar, student work, and a dry erase board. The students were listening intently as their teacher sat in a rocking chair, reading a book to them in the sweetest voice he’d ever heard.
“Ms. Dubose, we have company,” a little boy stated in a loud tone.
She lifted her head, wearing a breathtaking smile on her angelic face, and his heart skipped a few beats. Her smile grew even wider and even more amazing as she tilted her head to the left with a look of recognition on her face. She handed the book to a little girl sitting in front of her. The teacher stood and proceeded toward him at the back of the classroom while the little girl continued reading the book to the class. He watched as the young teacher moved gracefully in a pair of gray dress slacks and a black, short-sleeved sweater, which complimented her small frame. Her sandy brown, layered bob framed her soft face, but he couldn’t take his eyes off her smile. It warmed his heart.
She stopped a few feet in front of him and held out her hand. He set the crate of books on a desk and took her small hand into his.
“Hello. I’m Ms. Dubose. Welcome to my classroom.”
“Thank you, Ms. Dubose. I’m Cannon Arrington.”
She glanced at the students, who were sitting nicely on the carpet while their classmate read to them. “You probably don’t remember me, but my mother is Emma Dubose at Frederick Douglass High in Memphis.”
“She was my favorite teacher, and I do remember you.” He paused and lowered his voice so the students wouldn’t hear. “Yasmine. You would do your homework after school in your mother’s classroom during our science club meetings. Surprised to see you in Nashville.”
Yasmine flashed her beautiful smile again, and he had to hold in a sigh. She was so breathtaking. She had definitely grown up from the geeky, little freshman he remembered sitting shyly in her mother’s classroom with her nose in a book. She was all woman now, and a fine one at that.
“I attended TSU. I just graduated in May and was offered a job here. And you?”
“I’m a student over at Meharry.”
“Cool. Small world.” She looked in the direction of her students as the little girl finished reading. The children had begun to speak quietly.
“Well, I guess I better go read.” He grabbed his autographed copy of Stellaluna and followed her toward the front of the classroom. He tried to keep his eyes straight ahead; however, they kept glancing at the cutest butt he’d ever seen.
The children’s voices silenced when they saw their teacher approach. She stood next to the rocking chair and displayed that damn beautiful smile again. Cannon cleared his throat and tried to stay focused. He was there to read not lust over the teacher, but if she kept flashing that smile and shining her pretty brown, doe-like eyes on him, he wouldn’t be able to concentrate.
“All right class. Let’s welcome Mr. Arrington, a student at Meharry Medical College.” Yasmine motioned for him to sit in her rocking chair. “What do we say, boys and girls?”
“Good morning, Mr. Arrington,” all of the students said at once.
“Good morning, students,” he said in an upbeat tone as he sat down. He glanced at Yasmine, who gave him an encouraging nod. She walked to her desk and perched on top of it. The sexy, bubbly teacher with the simply amazing smile was doing a number on him. He cleared his throat, opened the book, and prayed he could keep focused on reading and not Yasmine.
Yasmine stared at Cannon as he read one of her favorite books to her class. She couldn’t believe when she looked up and saw Cannon Arrington, her high school crush, standing in the back of her classroom. She’d almost fallen out of her rocking chair, but instead, quickly handed the book she was reading to one of her brightest students.
Of course, he never really spoke to her in high school; just an occasional hello or nod if he saw her in the hallway, but only because her mother was his mentor. He probably did so out of obligation considering he was a senior, and she was only a freshman. A nerdy, gawky-looking freshman with braces and whose mother was a science teacher at the school. Boys didn’t even notice her until her junior year, when she somewhat blossomed, but were scared to ask her out because of her mother.
When she was fourteen, she thought he was the most handsome boy she’d ever laid her eyes on. Now at twenty-two, he was the most handsome man she’d ever seen. Her gaze casually roamed his chiseled face with the strong jaw line, butterscotch kissed skin and low-cut wavy hair. His deep, baritone voice—that sounded like a baby bird at the moment—sent electric shocks through every cell in her body. His over-powering presence seemed to take over the classroom. Around six feet one with a medium-build muscular frame, he was way too big for her rocking chair.
She grabbed her camera to take a few pictures of Cannon and her students for the Read-a-Thon bulletin board and for her personal photo album, of course.
She was disappointed when Cannon was done with his question and answer period. When she saw him glance at his watch, making a slight grimace, she knew it was time to wrap up.
“Thank you, boys and girls. I brought each of you a copy of Stellaluna.
The students cheered and clapped. Yasmine slipped from her desk and walked over to stand next to the rocking chair. His masculine, woodsy scent tantalized her nostrils, causing her to go weak for a second, but she quickly shifted gears and put on her teacher’s hat.
“What do we say, class?”
“Thank you, Mr. Arrington,” the students exclaimed in unison.
“You’re very welcome. It was my pleasure.” Cannon stood, and Yasmine’s heart sunk a little. He was leaving.
“Can you come back next Friday?” a little boy asked, and the rest of the class began to beg in their cute little six-year old voices. Yasmine silently begged in her head. Pretty please? With a cherry on top?
Cannon smiled sincerely at them. “I’ll set something up with your teacher, but it may not be next Friday.”
After the students gave him a group hug and high-fives, Cannon waited by the door while Yasmine dismissed the students to their desks and instructed them to begin working on the grammar questions on the board. She pressed play on the CD player and the sounds of Mozart filled the room. Once they were settled, she met Cannon at the back of the classroom.
“Thank you so much for reading to my class today. You did very well with them.”
“Thank you. I’m going to be a pediatrician one day, so I hope children will like me. I meant what I said about coming back. I’m always available to give a helping hand.” He reached into his wallet and handed her a card with his phone number and email address. “Just call me.”
His voice was smooth and casual with a hint of seduction, which flustered her to no end. She ran her hand through her hair and hoped when she spoke her tongue wouldn’t be tied in knots. “Thank … you,” she stammered. “The fall festival is coming up, and I’m sure the PTA will need extra help.”
“Whatever you need,” he said with a sexy half grin. “Well … I hate to read and run, but I have a study group meeting in an hour. Plus, I have to go back home to pick up my sister, Raven, whose car is acting up. She’s also in her second year at Meharry.”
“I remember your twin sister. Wow, you’re both in medical school? Your parents must be very proud.”
He chuckled, displaying his gorgeous smile and a cute dimple on his left cheek. “They are, but they’re both doctors. They’ve been training us since birth to be doctors as well. My brother, Sean, is at Morehouse and should be coming to Meharry in a few years if he can keep his mind on his books and not on the girls at Spelman.”
Yasmine laughed, even though deep down she was disappointed he had to leave.
“Well, I gotta go.” He stepped toward her, as if he was about to hug her, but then glanced at the students. Instead, they shook hands and a spark of static electricity shocked them both. Her temperature rose, and she had a feeling her cheeks were flushed pink, as they always were when she was embarrassed.
He winked and a charismatic grin flashed across his handsome face.
“It was really, really good to see you again, Yasmine,” he said in a low, deep voice and squeezed her hand with a tender caress before letting it go.
After he left, she tried to put her focus on her class for the rest of the morning, but her thoughts kept racing back to Cannon.
Even though it had been almost eight years since she’d seen him, he still had the same captivating intellect and sexy charm that had attracted her to him in the first place. But now he was a grown man. Now she wanted him more than ever.
Copyright by Candace Shaw, November 2012
I hope you enjoyed chapter one. Check out the song and video that inspired Simply Amazing below.