Hello everyone!! I’m honored to have Chelle Ramsey stopping by my blog today to spotlight her new release, A Woman’s Design: Redemption. Check it out, and make sure to 1-Click at the link below. 🙂
Ambiance – After discovering her husband had an illegitimate child resulting from a lengthy affair, her world was torn in two. His untimely passing left her feeling she had been robbed of the chance to deal with the betrayal. Seeking to give herself a fresh start, she packs up and moves cross country to the West Coast. Pursuing her dreams as a business owner, she’s on top of the world, until the man who caused her to question her marriage comes knocking. Will he mend her broken heart, or uproot her new life and leave it in further disrepair?
Naomi – Dealing with empty nest syndrome, she discovers everything everyone ever said about her is true. She has no life. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery and entering the dating world after years of being alone, she’s unprepared for the games that lie in wait. Juggling her feelings between two very attractive men, she will soon learn that one is playing a deceptive and dangerous game.
Paige- Barely escaping a deadly snare created by her own devices, she is searching for healing and redemption. After two years of therapy, Paige is finally ready to face her demons. It won’t be as easy as it seems when accusations are constantly launched at her, and people from her past continue to pop up. A former lover is not ready to let go, and she soon finds herself making similar choices from her past. Will she open her heart up to love and be loved, and will she be convinced to open her life to Christ?
Three best friends search for healing and deliverance from their emotional wounds, as they come to grips that the affliction they’ve borne was at the burden of their own hands. They yearn for the redemption of their sins in the arms of men, the arms of a Savior, and in the eyes of one another.
When the heart mourns, redemption is born.
I had run my Saturday morning errands, which included the grocery store and farmers market, the post office, and our local gym. I had become inspired by Sasha and decided to purchase a membership. Maybe I would meet people there and could get out of the house.
When I pulled back up to the house after one that afternoon, I could’ve slapped myself. I had completely forgotten I’d set up an appointment with a new landscaper. My usual landscaping service was with a large company that no longer provided the attention to detail that I needed for my property. I had instead selected a smaller company on the recommendation of a co-worker at the office.
A green, Back 2 Nature Landscaping Services truck sat in my driveway. My appointment to meet with a representative to discuss my property was at 12:30. Glancing at my watch, I cringed, realizing it was well over an hour later, yet they had stayed to wait on me. Desperate for my services? I hoped not. I mean, yes, I wanted them to focus on my needs and make them a priority, but I hoped the service wasn’t so poor that their clientele was that low.
Getting out of my car, I grabbed a few of my grocery bags. I would pull my car into the garage later, but I needed to grab the perishable items now. He would have to wait just a moment longer. I had a pretty decent handle on at least three of the bags. I was debating whether or not to make multiple trips to unload my groceries now or later, when a smooth, deep voice broke into my thoughts. I jumped, because I didn’t realize he had left his truck, let alone gotten that close to me.
“Here, let me help you with those. Mrs. Blankenship, correct?” he asked.
“I don’t need—” I broke off my refusal of assistance once I turned around and looked up. Standing in front of me was nothing but hot fineness melted into six feet of male muscle. I glanced up and down his body, taking in every morsel one drop at a time. Something like a shiver ran down my spine as I imagined those arms wrapped around me on a cold winter night.
His fawn-colored skin was flushed from the heat of the afternoon sun. Lifting my eyes slowly up to his face, I noticed his close-set, smoky, black eyes taking me in from head to toe. His perusal left me feeling womanly. Full lips tilted up in a smile, as he ran long, tapered fingers through short-cropped, black hair, the color of a raven’s wing.
I tried repeating my denial once more. “I don’t need…” I couldn’t seem to make it. The words just wouldn’t come out. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t need his help, but somehow, the lie wouldn’t form on my lips.
Those slanted, dark brown eyes were staring me down as if he could see right through me. And I refused to look at those luscious lips with a fine sprinkling of hair on the top, because they were enough on their own to make me go into a sexual frenzy. His well-trimmed fade looked as if it would be soft, yet bristly underneath my fingers.
Whew! Naomi, girl, get it together and stay focused. I had to lecture myself or we’d never make it through this appointment.
“Hello…are you there?” he asked again, waving his hand in front of my face. “Let me help you with those,” he said, reaching beyond me to remove the remaining bags from my trunk.
“Uh…uh, sure, thanks,” I said, moving out of his way. I watched as he scooped the rest of the bags up and maintained ahold of the portfolio under his arm easily. It would have taken me two to three trips to retrieve those bags.
I walked to my house and juggled the bags I had so that I could unlock the door.
“I’m so sorry. I completely got caught up running my errands and forgot about our appointment,” I apologized breathlessly, as I sat the bags on the kitchen island. You would have thought I had just finished working out the way I was out of breath. I had been working nothing but my imagination since I laid eyes on this fine specimen.
He sat the remaining bags on the island next to mine. “No problem. Actually, it gave me time to do a few more mock-ups. I know we were supposed to discuss your landscaping needs today, but I was able to walk around the property and survey the land. I have quite a few suggestions for what would be best for your lawn, but that’s only after we address your concerns, of course,” he said, motioning at me.
“Oh, yeah…sure. Um, would you like something to drink?” I asked, putting away a jug of juice into the refrigerator.
“I would love something. Do you mind?” he asked, pointing at a stool at the island.
“Um, no. No, I don’t mind. Have a seat. I don’t know where my manners are today,” I apologized, laughing nervously. “I hope I’m not keeping you from another appointment.”
“No, ma’am. Actually, you were the only appointment I had on the schedule today,” he explained, as I sat a glass of juice in front of him.
“Not much business?”
“No, we have a sufficient amount of business. Everyone else is actually booked; my schedule was the only one that was pretty lax today,” he explained. He took a sip from the glass of juice I had sat before him.
I watched him take a sip and found myself wondering what it would feel like to have his lips on me the way they wrapped around the rim of that glass. Naomi! Get a grip, woman, and stop lusting over this man. Don’t get me wrong, I had been attracted to plenty of men over the last eighteen years. I had just refrained from taking a bite of that forbidden apple. My life revolved around my daughter, Sasha, and my career.
But it was like after the talk she and I had this morning and the one that I had with Ambiance on yesterday, something had been unleashed within me. The only thing I needed at that moment was a good dose of scripture and some prayer. Matter of fact, I needed someone to anoint me with oil and lay hands on me.
Oh, yeah, now that was a good thought. Or maybe not, since I wasn’t thinking of spiritual oil and the laying on of hands that they did at my church.
“Mrs. Blankenship, did you hear me?” he asked.
Once again, I was caught daydreaming. This man was going to think I was the world’s largest idiot if I didn’t get it together soon.
“I’m sorry, I have a lot on my mind. Do you mind repeating your question?”
“I asked…well, never mind what I asked. Would you like to reschedule? I can come back when it’s better for you,” he suggested.
“Oh, no…no, don’t come back. I mean…come back, but don’t leave. This is a good time. I just have to get things off my mind,” I apologized frenetically. The last thing I wanted was for him to leave me.
“Are you sure?” he asked, with a lift of his eyebrow. He appeared to be somewhat amused.
“Yes, I’m sure. You have my undivided attention as of this moment. Now, what was the question you wanted to ask?” I took a seat across from him as he spread out his plans between us on the empty island. With all of my confusion, I had somehow managed to put my groceries away.
“I was asking if Mr. Blankenship would be joining us?” he muttered, staring down at his plans and then erasing something, just to pencil in something else.
“Lord, I would certainly hope not!” I exclaimed in what might have been too eager a tone.
“Why not?” he asked, looking back up at me with confusion on his face.
“Because, I don’t understand the purpose of having my father sit in on this meeting. I’m a grown woman fully capable of handling my own landscaping decisions,” I teased, with a slight smirk on my face.
His eyebrows slowly unwrinkled, the confusion leaving his face, as the meaning of my statement dawned on him.
“I apologize, I didn’t mean to assume you were married, or…” he broke off. It seemed as if he was uncertain what he should say next.
“It’s okay. I was just teasing. But no, I’m not married, I don’t have a boyfriend, or fiancée. It’s just me and my landscaping needs,” I confessed.
I sounded a bit desperate even to my own ears. Then I begin to question my sanity. Why on earth would I tell this complete stranger that I was in this big house all alone? For all I knew he could be a serial killer or rapist.
“Well, that’s good. I mean not that it’s good you aren’t married or engaged, or even have a boyfriend…I mean…I don’t know what I mean,” he chuckled, shaking his head.
“It’s okay. Can we start over?” I asked, extending my hand.
“Sure,” he replied. “I’m Kiyoshi Hayashi,” he introduced himself with a hint of humor in his eyes. The smile that graced his lips took me straight to Heaven. But nothing prepared me for his touch as he took my hand in his and firmly shook it. The touch of his hand did something else to me. Father, forgive me for I have sinned, I thought.
“Kiyoshi, pleased to meet you. I’m Naomi,” I returned.
I liked the way his name sounded on my tongue. Japanese, I wondered.
“In my native language, which is Japanese it means ‘pure,’” he pronounced, answering my unspoken question. “Now that we have that out of the way, can we return to the business at hand?” he redirected. It caught me off guard how serious he became after that statement. Gone were the teasing look in his eyes and the playfulness of his voice. But after all, he was here for a purpose and I had held the man up for more than an hour.
“Kiyoshi, I want to apologize once more for leaving you here so long. I really didn’t mean to take up your time the way that I did,” I apologized again.
“Really, Naomi, you don’t have to keep apologizing. It really wasn’t a problem. Now, why don’t you tell me what your expectations of Back 2 Nature Landscaping are and your concerns about your lawn,” he coaxed.
I happily allowed him to redirect the meeting to its original intent and purpose. It had gotten way too uncomfortable for me. But I knew what my problem was. He was the first man that had been in my home other than my father and Sasha’s father, Jaime. Yes, I had to get a life. I couldn’t be jumping the man’s bones just because he looked in my direction. Besides, he wasn’t even my type.
Women’s fiction author and blogger, Chelle Ramsey lives in the metro Atlanta area with her husband and three children. Chelle wants readers to become empowered to rise above life’s adversities, with faith in the Almighty God, and belief in themselves. She hosts the annual 20 Days of Love authors’ blogging campaign, March Madness authors’ giveaways campaign, and showcases other authors on her blog at www.chelleramsey.com/beautifully-inspired-blog. Her novels can be found online at Chelle Ramsey Amazon.