Happy Thursday! Thanks for checking out the last stop on our The Brightest Day blog tour. Lena Hart kicked things off with her post about Amazing Grace, her 1866 set novella featuring an unlikely love between a former slave and a Confederate soldier. Injured hero! Mail order brides! Love on a cross-country train ride! You can’t resist those tropes can you? Next up, Kianna Alexander introduced us to her Gilded Age novella, Drifting to You. Can a baker with a dark past and a shipbuilder find love on the waves? This excerpt is steamy, guys. (My beta reading note for a certain section of this was: “Release the kracken!” You’ll know the part when you get to it.) Go read it if you haven’t. Piper Huguley kept the Brightest Day train going with her post about her story, A Sweet Way to Freedom. What happens when a good girl school teacher gets knocked up by the town bad boy who runs from serious relationships? Magic, of course! Read her excerpt for a taste of that.
And now, I’ll wrap things up and tell you guys about my story, Let It Shine. Here’s the blurb:
Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don’t court trouble by upending the status quo, but it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Sofie’s spent half her life being prim, proper, and reserved—as if that could bring her mother back—but the nonviolent protests happening across the South bring out her inner agitator.
Ivan Friedman has devoted his life to boxing, loving the finesse of a well-delivered punch and the penance of receiving one. His family escaped from Europe before the horrors of WWII, and Ivan decides to help fight injustice in their new country, even if it goes against all his instincts as a fighter.
When Ivan and Sofie meet, they realize that their pasts are intertwined and—with the sparks that fly between them—perhaps their futures will be too. With everything in their society lined up against them, will Sofie and Ivan be able to beat the odds? Or will their chance at love be destroyed by the tumultuous times they live in?
The bravery of the young people who participated in the Civil Rights movement has always inspired me. They put their lives on the line to ensure equality for all, with no guarantee that that they would win. And, of course, some of them fell in love along the way!
Here’s a sneak peek at Sofie and Ivan:
Ivan washed his hands and wiped them off on his jeans. “Okay, you ready to get to it?”
Sofie nodded, and felt the oddest trembling in her stomach as he approached her. She didn’t think she’d ever paid much attention to the way a man walked before, but she watched the play of muscle as he took each step and how his arms swung in a way that projected an unconscious self-confidence. He gave her his chip-toothed grin as he stopped in front of her and nodded in the direction of her hands. “You should take those off. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for sullying your gloves.”
“They’ll likely be destroyed at a real sit-in,” she said.
He took her hand from where it rested on the counter and undid the small button at the base of her glove, and it was if that one flick of his finger released a torrent of tingling heat that spread from her wrist to her arm and through the rest of her body. “I can only be responsible for my own actions,” he said. “And I don’t want to be the man who shredded these dainty little things.” He pinched the fingertip of the glove and gave it a tug, and Sofie felt the responding pull between her thighs.
She should have grabbed her hand away from him then, as soon as that first bolt of pleasure went through her, but she simply stared up at him with wide eyes as he gave four more swift, gentle pulls and freed her hand from its encasement. He took the other hand, moving one step forward as he did, so that now the roughness of his denim pants rubbed against her knee as he worked.
Sofie knew he could see her hand shaking, and her chest rising and falling heavily, and the way her knees were pressed together. She was embarrassed, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t disappointed too when he pulled her second glove off the final digit, her pinky, and laid it down besides its mate.
She forced herself to look up at him, and was happy to see that his cheeks were flushed beneath his fading bruises. Ivan may have been cool now, but not so cool that she didn’t affect him, too. “Okay, we should go into the living room.”
She stood on wobbly legs and clicked after him across the tiled kitchen floor. “Should I take off my shoes, too?” she asked. It was a brazen thing to ask, but her fingers were still tingling from his touch.
Ivan stopped and looked back over his shoulder. His gaze fixed on her pointy black leather heels, then up her stockinged leg until her skirt obstructed his view. His voice was low and his gaze intense when he answered, and his words made her throat go dry.
“Leave your heels on.”
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt! The anthology is available for the limited time, pre-order price of $1.99.
And please join us at our Facebook pre-release party this Friday, May 29th!