Book Review of Raging Blue Sponsored by Innovative Book Tours
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Blue Holiday has decided to call foul and leave her destructive marriage. But her cheating husband, Jaylin, decides he needs her money to survive and insists on a rematch. Usually, Blue would be game, but after discovering the depths of his depravity, she drops him from her roster of eligibles. Unaccustomed to rejection, especially from his wife, Jaylin decides to take what he feels is rightfully his. Problem is, he forgot a woman in love will put up with a lot. But a woman enraged, she’ll let you think you’re winning, just before she snatches it all. Raging Blue a contemporary romance by author, Renee Daniel Flagler. Buy your copy today.
Renee Daniel Flagler is an award-winning freelance journalist, marketing professional, and the author of four novels, Mountain High Valley Low, Miss-Guided, In Her Mind and, Raging Blue. Renee is the founder of SheBiz.net, a lifestyle blog for women pursuing their passions. She teaches creative writing through the New York City and Nassau County public school’s Arts in Education programs and is currently enrolled in the Queens College, MFA in Creative Writing program. Renee resides in New York and is currently at work on her next novel, Still Raging, and her first faith-based, nonfiction book entitled, The Relationship Survival Guide. Connect with Renee on Facebook, Twitter or online at ReneeDanielFlagler.com.
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He slapped her so hard that her sight blurred for a minute. After a few moments, Blue Holiday focused on her husband’s towering frame as it loomed over her. Jaylin Mack’s rich, dark complexion appeared even darker. His French-cuffed shirt was half buttoned and sloped lazily off his shoulders. His slacks hung low around his slim waist, and his belt was only partially looped.
“See what you made me do!” he screamed, applying pressure to his temples with the fingers of both hands.
Shocked into silence, Blue stood still, absorbing the verbal assault. Tears had yet to find their way down her cheek. In the five years they’d been married, Jay had never put his hands on her. However, she’d grown accustomed to his crassness, initially intrigued by what she'd perceived as confidence.
The slap still sent a pulsing sensation across her cheek. The tears finally appeared, welling up in her eyes. Her unresponsiveness fell away in clumps. She stared at his moving lips and began to hear him clearly. His words carried as much sting as the slap.
“See what you made me do,” he repeated. The liquor made his tongue lazy, causing each word to slide into the next.
Blue looked into his wild eyes and blinked. Tears trickled down her cheeks, making dark circles wherever they landed on her champagne-colored cocktail dress. She swatted them away. Her eyes were fixed on Jay. He was obviously hopped up on something more potent than scotch.
Blue’s eyes darted around the living room of their lavish penthouse, taking in the massive floor-to-ceiling windows that framed the dazzling Manhattan skyline. A pair of handsome floor vases sprouting dried flora caused Blue to pause, but they were too heavy to pick up. Her sight then rested on his set of prized golf clubs. Blue took slow steps in the direction of the irons as Jay continued rambling.
“Don’t walk away from me. You’re supposed to be my wife! A woman! Act. Like. One!” he yelled as Blue continued to walk towards the clubs. “I saw you whispering to that man,” he said, his voice growing louder. “I saw him kiss you!”
Blue shook her head. Jay’s words lashed at her back. She swatted at them in her mind and imagined the cold steel of the golf club in her hands—as protection. With a few short steps, Jay was right behind her just as she reached for a club. He grabbed at her, pulling her from the pit of her thoughts.
“Get off of me!” Blue jerked away from him. Her voice returned, rising to a shaky screech. “Don’t. Touch. Me.” Her eyes narrowed to slits. “Don’t ever touch me again.”
Jay stared at her, seeming to sober up for just a moment. Blue stared back for a beat before turning to walk away.
“Don’t walk away from me,” he said, reaching for her again.
“I said don’t touch me! I can’t believe you put your hands on me!” she screamed. Her heart felt like it was filled with air. She gasped before her voice came back full force. “I’ve put up with enough from you. But this…,” Blue pointed at the spot on her face that still tingled from the slap, “…I won’t put up with.”
His jealousy was toxic and intensified under the influence of cocaine. No matter how much he denied using it, Blue could always tell when he’d been sniffing. Glassy eyes, dilated
pupils and runny nose confirmed words that never passed his lips. Despite his infidelities, it was apparent he couldn’t cope with the idea of Blue being with another man. It sickened her how he always accused her, yet she was never unfaithful. She'd sensed his lies but didn’t have proof to act on any of them. So, she held what little she gleaned for herself.
“You embarrassed me in front of the people I work with and your teammates. I saw you with that woman on the balcony before you disappeared. And you have the nerve to accuse me?”
“I don’t give a damn about those people. No man should be that close to you! This is your fault,” he huffed. “Nobody touches my woman!” he screamed, stabbing the air with his finger.
“Only you, right?” Blue snapped, and walked away. She stopped mid-step and turned back to him. “Maybe I should have just disappeared with him like you did with that woman tonight,” she added, flicking her wrist.
Jay’s eyes filled with surprise and then rage. His breathing became ragged. “What woman?”
Blue refused to buy into the beliefs and acceptance of the other basketball wives. She could care less if all athletes cheated or not. She had her own life to live, and chasing down his infidelities wasn’t in her plan. She’d deal with a problem if it arose, but she wasn’t going to seek it out just to do nothing about it like the others.
“I should have done it!” she taunted while watching Jay’s eyes grow a shade darker. “But that’s not what you’re really concerned about. Is it, Jay?” she asked and sauntered back in his direction.
Jay’s jaw clenched.
“You knew he wasn’t flirting?” she asked, calming her tone.
Jay’s jaw twitched again and his hands folded into fists.
“You know what he said to me, don’t you?”
Now it was Jay’s turn to be speechless.
“Why did I have to find out from someone else that you were cut from the team?” Blue screamed. “They warned you over and over again. You claimed the coach was out to get you, but it’s time for you to take a look in the mirror and realize this world does not revolve around you. I’m done!” she said, then waved him off with a hard downward fling of her arm.
Jay finally broke his silence. “I’ll kill his ass!” He stomped the floorboards beneath him. “That was none of his business. Those bastards are the problem, not me. And what do you mean you’re done?”
Blue threw her hands up. Jay was playing the victim again, just like his mother had always taught him.
“No, you’re the problem.” Blue pulled off her five- carat princess-cut engagement ring and matching wedding band, then threw them at him. “I’m finished with you,” she said before walking away.
Jay grabbed her by the arm.
“Get off of me!”
“I’m still the man of this house!”
“You’re no man!” she yelled. “You’re a…”
Before she could complete her sentence, Jay grabbed her head with his large hand, swallowing the side of it the same way he cupped the basketball on the court. He pushed her with so much force; she went crashing to the floor along with the expensive golf clubs. While trying to shake off the sense of disorientation, Blue attempted to scramble to her feet. She reached for a
golf club, but couldn’t grab hold. Jay ripped across the room like lightning, tossed the club, and grabbed her arms. “I am a man,” he said in staccato, pinning her against the floor.
Blue searched the emptiness of his eyes for mercy, and then summoned every bit of energy she could muster and drew him back to reality with a swift kick between his legs
Jay released her and grabbed his groin as he howled.
She scuttled out of his reach. This time, she made it to her feet, leapt over Jay, who was curled in a fetal position, and ran towards the door. Jay reached out and caught her by the leg, and she fell. The side of Blue’s head met the floor with force.
Jay cursed, still declaring his manliness. As the room grew blurry, he let her know he was indeed a man. His ranting grew distant, until everything subsided and fell mute
Lisa smiled at him with a dreaminess that Gavin Gray could appreciate from a woman of her caliber. She wasn’t caught up by the possible connections she could garner through his association with star athletes. That smile was all for him. Unlike other women, her eyeballs didn’t slowly morph into sparkling dollar signs as he explained his job to her. Lisa listened intently as he shared a recent encounter with a green, starry-eyed college basketball player.
“This kid was so excited he couldn’t even sit still during the meeting,” Gavin said, driving his fist into the opposite palm. “And his dad…” He paused and took a sip of wine. “That man is a hell of a negotiator. I really want to close this deal. His game is amazing, and he’s so humble.” Gavin stressed his point by pressing his finger against the table, appreciative of the kid’s humility. “I’d love to sign him. I would personally mentor him. Try to keep him from getting a big head and ruining his character.”
“I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you,” Lisa said, and curled the corners of her lips into a delicate smile.
He liked it so much that he purposely tried to be charming just to coax her grin to the surface. Even when they spoke over the phone, he could tell when her smile escorted her speech, making her voice flutter just a little.
“Keep me posted. When you close the deal, we should celebrate.”
Gavin could have sworn he spotted a slight glimmer in her eyes when she said ‘celebrate.’ He found himself wondering exactly what she had in mind. Chuckling inwardly, he
reeled his thoughts back to less provocative notions.
Lisa didn’t have a soft and frilly persona, but her petite yet curvy frame, full pouty lips, and large brown doe eyes defied her no-nonsense demeanor. The contrast intrigued Gavin.
“Are you finished working on these?” the young waitress asked. She carried a pleasant voice that seemed to fluctuate with every other word, like she was trying hard to be polite.
“We’re all done. Thank you,” Gavin replied, answering for both. “I’ll take the check now.”
“Sure. I’ll be right back, sir,” the waitress said, then bounced off towards the exposed kitchen of the famed soul food gem of East Harlem.
LaBelle’s was one of Gavin’s favorite restaurants for a variety of reasons, including its Southern-Caribbean fusion cuisine, quiet dining, and cozy atmosphere. His frequent visits and hefty tips garnered him special treatment and the occasional complimentary cocktail. The eatery provided the perfect setting for his second date with Lisa. He didn’t share this place with many of the women he dated because he dined there so often. The last thing he wanted was to run into an ex while trying to enjoy a solo meal or the company of another woman.
“So what’s next?” Lisa asked, with her eyes on Gavin while sipping the last of her drink.
“Whatever you want to do,” he said with a smile as he mentally swatted the mischievous thoughts racing through his mind. “Tonight is your night.”
She smiled also. “Wow! I must be a lucky girl! But, I can’t stay out too late. I’ve got to get up early tomorrow, and it’s going to be a long day.”
“What’s on the agenda?” Gavin inquired. He was intrigued about her photography career because she seemed so passionate. Many of the women who ran in the athletic circles only seemed to have a passion for the athlete’s money.
“I have a magazine shoot in Central Park at first light, and then I’m shooting a black-tie benefit tomorrow night,” Lisa said.
“Expecting anyone interesting?” Gavin asked as he took the bill from the returning waitress, smiled, and thanked her.
“It’ll be mostly supermodels, designers, and possibly a few local politicians. People you probably wouldn’t know. However, I did hear Lady Gaga is supposed to make an appearance at the benefit. Apparently, she’s a huge supporter of the organization.”
“That sounds cool. When are you going to take some pictures of me?” Gavin teased, his voice lowered by a husky quality.
Lisa flashed a demure smile. “We’ll have to see about that. Can I expect you to behave?”
“Now that depends,” he responded, staring directly into her eyes.
“On what?” she asked, meeting his gaze without wavering.
Gavin threw his head back and laughed. If he said the words that came to mind, Lisa would probably slap him. He’d save that discussion for a date further down the line.
“Ready to go?” he asked, signing the check while avoiding her question. Like a true gentleman, he stood and gently helped her out of her seat. “How about we take a walk?” he suggested, not wanting the night to end. “I promise I won’t keep you out too late.”
“I think I can manage that.”
Gavin suspected she wanted the date to last longer, just like him. Holding hands, they walked to his SUV. He drove a few miles before pulling into the garage near his home alongside Central Park. The evening was alive with bikers, joggers, the whiz of passing taxis, and couples walking hand-in-hand in the park. They walked and chatted until they reached the entrance near the carriages.
“Have you ever been on a carriage ride?” Gavin asked, nodding toward the buggies.
“Actually, no! Can you believe that? I’ve been in New York all my life and I’ve never been on a carriage ride.”
Gavin smiled. He was happy he could be her first—in that way. He led her in the direction of the horses, paid for a ride, and helped her into the carriage. Her smile reappeared, and Gavin wished he could rewind the last few moments just to see it again. He hadn’t fallen for her completely, but he was happy with what he’d experienced thus far.
Lisa rested her head on his shoulder as the horse trotted around the park. Afterwards, they had a few more cocktails at a hotel bar overlooking the park. Gavin saw Lisa home, arriving later than they had planned.
Gavin walked in and dropped his keys on the console next to his apartment’s elevator entry. He sang and stepped in tune as he moseyed through his Zen-inspired penthouse toward the bedroom in the back. As he passed the double glass doors leading to the rooftop deck, he checked out his reflection, winked, and smiled. His second date with Lisa had gone well, which was refreshing after his long dry spell of dateless nights.
Gavin discarded the suit he’d worn to dinner, slipped into a pair of comfortable cotton lounge pants, and walked barefoot onto the patio. A sated smile lifted the corner of his lips as he dialed Lisa’s number. Happy she answered right away, his smile spread wider.
“You made it home safely,” she said, her raspy voice reminding him of old blues songs.
“I did. Are you in bed yet?”
“Yes. I’m exhausted. I had a wonderful time—again! Thanks.”.
Once again, Gavin could hear the smile in her tone.
“Shall we do it again sometime?” Gavin asked coolly.
“I’d love to. How about we make plans at a more reasonable hour. I’m much more coherent when I’m not sleepy.”
She smiled. He could tell.
“Call you tomorrow?”
“Sounds like a plan. Goodnight.” It sounded like she sang the last word.
Gavin hit the end button and sat in the darkness, taking in the stars. He felt like sleeping outside but thought better of it. He didn’t want to wake up to hot bird droppings on his head.
Gavin knew what he wanted in a girlfriend, and Lisa was close to that. The standard he compared everyone against was his best friend’s wife, Blue. She represented everything he desired, but she was off limits. However, Lisa had potential and was the closest he’d ever come to what he truly longed for.
The doorbell chimed, reminding Mia Reynolds that she was expecting company. She rose from her scented bath water, not bothering to towel off, and planted a trail of moist footprints down the carpeted stairs and across the hardwood floors to the front door. Her body was wet and flower petals clung to her skin.
“Coming,” she crooned while reaching for the doorknob.
“Hmmm!” Trent Harvey moaned at the sight of her glistening nakedness.
Trent stepped in to the spacious living room with its creamy white walls, sleek white furniture and zebra print accents. Her landlord and best friend, Blue, chose the crisp set up.
Trent lifted her into his muscular arms. “And you smell good, too,” he said, caressing her back.
Mia wrapped her bare legs around him, nestled her face into his beefy neck, and took a long whiff. He always smelled magnificent. Then Mia slid down his taut body, slowing near his groin. When her feet touched down, she took him in one hand, and with the other hand, motioned her finger in a “come hither” gesture. Trent followed like an obedient puppy.
He’s going to be perfect, Mia thought as she led him up to the master bath.
“Your body is so beautiful,” he said in his deep Southern drawl.
He looked up at her nude portrait hanging in the bathroom and smiled.
This man doesn’t own a single ounce of body fat. She watched him disrobe as she examined the crevices of his toned physique. Trent was as black as night, with skin as supple as
butter. He came fully equipped with an athletic build, a handsome baby face, and plump, inviting lips. He was also the youngest, least experienced of her suitors—and freshly married. His inexperience was just what Mia liked about him. He’d been in the NFL for only a few years, but it was the fact that he had just gotten married and was new to Atlanta that made him appealing to her.
Trent was a country boy from Mississippi. His sultry voice seemed to be swathed in a syrupy slur. When he entered a room, all eyes were on him. That’s how Mia had noticed him, but she'd laid low until the right time. She knew one day she’d have him, but the timing and setup had to be perfect. Mia seduced him from afar with sexy smiles, her killer gait, and flirtatious gazes. To lay her foundation, she had done just enough to invite his curiosity until it was time to make her move, and Trent had fallen right into her provocative clutches.
When they reached the bath, Mia stepped in the large Jacuzzi tub and invited him in with a hand gesture and sly smile. Trent stepped in one leg at a time, sinking into the sweet-smelling, foamy water. Once he was completely submerged, Mia positioned herself between his thick, firm legs. She felt his main muscle against her back. Trent dipped his hands underwater and caressed her wet skin. A soft moan caught in Mia’s throat. The sounds Mia emitted gave Trent license to go further.
“You like that, baby?” Trent teased, dipping his fingers into center. “I can’t get enough of you,” he whispered into her ear between nibbles.
Mia arched her back and rolled her hips. She felt Trent’s swollen member grow even more rigid, jabbing her from behind. He toyed with her center until she swelled and purred like a kitten.
“Stand up,” he said, and lifted her from behind. Trent stood, pressing his chest against her
back. He reached around her and tweaked her nipples then gently guided her forward. Mia obliged placing her hands on the edge of the tub offering Trent greater access to her heated center. Mia winced as he slid his expansive manhood into her from behind. This was the best kind of pain.
Mia wanted to scream, but gnawed her bottom lip instead. Her eyes rolled back into her head. Groans resonated from her core and escaped without her permission. A flicker of heat rose in her belly, and she couldn’t hold back anymore. Her knees grew weak and gave out, forcing Trent to support her fully. Muscle spasms erupted randomly along her legs. Mia shook her head from side to side, clamped her teeth, and screamed before collapsing into his arms.
Their excursion began in the bathroom, journeyed through the master bedroom, and ended on the back deck. Trent, looking sated, licked his lips and smiled at Mia. The coolness of the night caressed her skin, causing her nipples to harden again. Still naked, Mia sat on Trent’s bare lap and kissed him. She wanted to tell him how amazing he was as a lover, but instead, she held her tongue.
“What if I told you I was pregnant?” Mia asked in a near whisper.
Trent’s content smile crumbled. Unable to tell where his thoughts were taking him, she remained quiet, allowing the silence to absorb the moment.
“I’m married,” Trent said with a look of confusion, as if he was confessing this news to her for the first time.
“I know that. I didn’t ask you about your marriage,” Mia stated calmly. She wanted to calculate his response by his facial expression, but all she could read was uncertainty. This wasn't the reaction she wanted to see. She wasn't interested in wrecking his home. As far as she was concerned, his wife never had to know about the baby. All he had to do was set her and the
baby up financially, and she would be fine.
Trent looked perplexed. He opened his mouth several times though no words came out. "I thought you were on the pill or . . . something," he finally said. "How far along are you?"
“I’m not completely sure, but I think I’m around two months. When I go to my doctor’s appointment, I’ll find out for sure.” She paused to gauge his reaction. However, his face hadn’t changed. “I was on the pill, but you know that stuff isn’t guaranteed.”
“But I always wear protection,” he said, looking down at the shriveled plastic lying beside the chair. “It can’t be me.” His brows creased.
Mia stood, removing herself from his lap. She followed his gaze to her belly and turned her back to him.
“Trent, the first time we had sex, everything happened so fast that I don’t think we used protection, remember?” she huffed. “Do you think I want this? I’m not trying to break up your happy home,” she said, curling her fingers to make air quotes when she stressed the word ‘happy.’ “These things happen. So what are we going to do?” Trent stood and stared at Mia while pacing the deck. “I can’t believe this. I just got married,” he said, appearing deflated.
Mia watched him from the corner of her eyes.
“I’ll go to the doctor with you. How soon can we get a DNA test?” he asked.
Mia walked back into the house, retrieved his clothes, and threw them at him. In silence, Trent dressed quickly, shaking his head a time or two.
Even though she’d stashed nearly a half million dollars in her accounts over the years, she needed more to secure her financial future for the long haul. A baby was the key—at least for the next eighteen years. She would have to find someone else to take the fall because the real father would have to remain a secret.
Once Mia was alone, the depth of her situation settled on her chest like dead weight. Still wearing her robe, she hadn’t bothered to get dressed after throwing Trent out. She’d been pacing for the better part of an hour. Her plan wasn’t coming together like she intended. One of these men is going to accept my baby, she thought to herself. Someone easygoing, who wouldn’t question the possibility that it belonged to him or push her for too many details.
Mia picked up the phone to call Kendrick King. She held it in her hand, but never dialed the number. Even though she was a petite woman, his wife, Peyton, was a force––a true match for Mia’s antics. She couldn’t stand Peyton, and getting Kendrick to accept the baby would mean she’d have to deal with Peyton head on. Plopping down on the couch, Mia tossed the phone to the side, squeezed her eyes shut, and huffed. Her grumble filled the room.
The real father of her unborn child could never be revealed. There would be too much fallout even though he had the right credentials, an athlete with a lucrative contract who could set her up for life.
The thought popped into Mia’s mind like a flash of light. She wouldn’t focus on the current possibilities. She would try to find someone new. Timing was the only issue. Men weren’t well versed on women’s bodies, so she could always fudge the due dates or find a plausible explanation to make the right candidate believe the baby legitimately came early.
So the first thing every mama should teach their baby boy is that when a woman says “no” she means no, not maybe, not yes, and not keep trying to convince me that you are right and I am wrong…. Seriously that just pisses us off. And then we need to let them know that if they just keep pushing, they should remember that hell has no fury like a woman in a righteous fury. Someone should have told Jaylin.
This book is really good. I wasn’t sure I would like it from the blurb, but I did. I give this book 4 out of 5 clouds.
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