Today I welcome fellow romance author, Libra Rajani to my blog. She’s here to share an excerpt of her latest release, The Perfect Choice which is the sequel to Soul Custody. Happy reading!
Tanya Campbell is full figured, full of life, and has no business on a ‘let me fix you up’ Caribbean cruise. But when Isaiah Scott promises to be the man of her dreams she is intrigued. However, once on board she discovers that he can’t make it after all. Thus, when a mysterious stranger approaches her and asks her to spend some time with him she feels she has nothing to lose and agrees.
Malik Anderson has reservations about playing investigator for Isaiah, but he owes him a debt and giving him daily reports on Tanya Campbell is the least he can do. However, when he finds himself falling for her, text messages to Isaiah become few and far between. How can he choose between the mentor who shaped his future and the woman that he longs to be with?
When Tanya discovers Malik’s betrayal she heads back to Florida and is determined to give Isaiah the opportunity he missed. Even though the handsome Isaiah is generous, funny and promises to give her the world; his critiques, negative assessments, and other strange discoveries give her pause.
Will Tanya’s anger cause her to settle for something less or will her heart rule her head and compel her to forgive Malik’s betrayal and build the relationship she deserves?
Tanya sat in the Florida home of her friend Simone Holiday and listened to her go on and on. “Tanya Campbell,” she said with a pointed finger. “I’ve heard everything about your horrible history with men, but after you meet Isaiah Scott, I promise you that this will be the year you say, ‘I do’.”
Tanya rolled her eyes and poured more of the Mojito cocktail into their glasses.
Simone glanced up as she raised her glass. “What?”
Tanya nudged her forward. “What do you mean what? If you’ve listened to anything that I’ve said, you know damn well that marriage is not on my vocabulary list. As I told you when I moved to Miami six months ago, I’m focusing on my career as a fraud investigator. If I can have some fun in the process, that’ll be even better.” She watched her friend shake her head and take another sip of her libation. She laughed. “Don’t look at me that way. Most people don’t find their soul mate in high school and if they do they don’t stay with ‘em. My girl Gabriella can attest to that.
“I know I’ve been fortunate on the love front, but you can too if you just give yourself a chance.”
Tanya nodded and knew that Simone Holiday’s was well intentioned. For the past three months, she’d listen to her brag about her half-brother Isaiah Scott. Her mother remarried an up and coming real estate broker. When good investments paid off, her mother never had to work and Simone wanted for nothing. She worked as a volunteer at a hospital. That’s how they met. Tanya sprained her ankle trying to climb one of those rock walls. But for the most part, Simone had nothing but time on her hands. Now, her main objective in life was to find all of her single friends a husband. Tanya was next on the list. All she heard was, “Isaiah’s so wonderful. He’s such a good catch.” Simone didn’t even know what he looked like let alone who he was. Her mother was never married to her biological father who lived in Chicago and when Simone was two years old, he later moved out of Illinois all together. Simone never knew an Isaiah existed until a year ago.
According to Isaiah, when his mother recently died, he looked through some of her papers and discovered their wayward father had another child. He was elated and immediately looked Simone up. They’d been emailing once a month ever since. Simone was just as ecstatic and through the correspondence, discovered that he was the product of a previous relationship his father had, five years before her birth. Isaiah was a lifetime Chicagoan and the notable founder of a youth program there. As a result, he was the recipient of several awards and doing well for himself.
In any case, meeting Isaiah was the reason for the girl’s night. Simone was trying to convince her once again to go on a cruise so that everyone could finally meet. Isaiah relayed to her that he was looking to settle down. She in return, relayed to him that she knew the perfect woman. He was more than eager to jump aboard.
“Tanya, what harm is it going to do? If you don’t like him, you can go on about your business and I’ll leave it alone.”
“I’m not going,” she said after a long pause. “Because of you and your bragging, everyone expects us to meet, hook up, and live in marital bliss. I hope you kept your word and didn’t tell him any of my business. I don’t tell most people that I’m a fraud investigator.”
“I didn’t tell him anything that I know you’d want to tell him yourself. I just told him that you were a very good friend of mine in the finance business who was looking to meet someone nice and settle down.”
Tanya doubted that. She’d seen Simone in action and if she knew you, she had something to say about how she could improve your life. They’d become good friends, but Simone was the type of woman that shared everyone’s business with everyone else. She didn’t see any harm in it, but in Tanya’s eyes, if Simone were gossiping about everyone else, she was gossiping about her as well. That was why she only shared her deepest thoughts with her mama and her best friend Gabriella. “That makes me sound desperate. I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to hook your brother up with someone else. Blind dates put me right there on front street. He hasn’t seen me and I may not be his type. Hell, he’s probably not mine either.” She stared in the mirror on her left and slid her hand across her stomach that was now two inches wider than it was six months ago. “Some men don’t appreciate all I have to offer.”
“That’s ridiculous, besides, you can lose that by the time we go on the cruise.”
That evening was several weeks ago and unfortunately endless debates wore her down. Before she knew it, she was booked on eight-day ‘let me fix you up’ Caribbean cruise and she was now sitting in the seat of a Southwest Airlines plane.
It was already off to a horrible start. While studying to become a CPA, she found that aiding companies who suspected fraud fascinated her. Because the work was tedious, she had to attend many seminars. She also had to obtain her Certified Fraud Examiners License. Her supervisor scheduled a meeting for the week after the cruise, but due to an unfortunate mix up, she had to travel to Chicago the day before. It wasn’t too bad because it was her hometown, but it caused her to arrive a day later than the other cruisers. She couldn’t do anything about it considering it focused on the new inventive ways an employee could defraud a company. That was something she could embrace. She closed her eyes and thought about the uncertain week that was to come.
“Excuse me, is this seat taken?”
She looked up at an older man with salt and pepper hair and beard.” No, it’s not taken sir. Have a seat.” She smiled and moved her purse. “I’m Tanya. It’s nice to meet you.”
He sat down with his newspaper in hand and squeezed her into the window. “Likewise, I’m Franklin. I don’t mean to bother you, but I don’t like sitting in the rear. I’m a nervous flyer.”
She nodded. “Don’t apologize. It’s perfectly fine. I don’t like the rear either.” She looked around at the crowded plane. “I guess everyone is taking advantage of the low rates this time of year.” A screaming baby disturbed her. She looked down the aisle and put her index finger to her lips.
“You don’t like kids?”
That question always gave her pause. Should she lie to appease him or tell the truth? It wasn’t that she didn’t like kids; she just didn’t think children were in her future. That didn’t sit well with some people. When Gabriella asked her to be her daughter’s godmother, it was enough for her. “I don’t have a problem with kids,” she finally said. “But I’m not in that space. I’m focusing on my work.”
He smiled. “My daughter is around your age and she used to say that too, but like I told her, you have plenty of time to change your mind. I have four children myself and two grandchildren. They’re the best things in my life.”
She smiled. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be rude, but I have some work to do and then I’m going to try and take a nap.”
“I have my newspaper.”
She looked out the window as the ground disappeared and the plane rose above the clouds. Maybe Simone is right and this vacation won’t be so bad. Maybe Isaiah will turn out to be a nice guy who loves everything about me and we’ll live happily ever after. She smiled. Maybe you’ll win the lottery too. Keep dreaming girl.
Wow! Tanya has quite a few suitors. I wonder who she chooses in the end. To read the rest of The Perfect Choice, it is available through Amazon.