Saturday, April 26, 2014

Featured Author: Melinda Harris

Welcome Today's Featured Author

Melinda Harris


Don't Forget to Breathe
Don't Forget to Breathe


For most, breathing is second nature, automatic, instinctive. But for Jules Greene, a daily reminder is unfortunately necessary. Why, you ask? For starters, her highly dysfunctional family taught her at a young age that an excessively large bank account, and a high ranking role in Atlanta society, makes everyone either completely unsuspecting of a family’s deep, dark secrets, or they just don’t give a damn. Secondly, when you work hard your entire life toward a certain goal, only to have your hopes and dreams smashed to bits the very first time you dare to put yourself out there…well, Jules knows firsthand that a blow like that to the ego will definitely leave you gasping for air. And third, Jules happens to be madly, hopelessly, unrequitedly in love with her boss, whose devastatingly good looks and hidden charm manage to leave her breathless on a daily basis. So, there you have it. But now at twenty-four, Jules is tired of everything being one-sided. She’s tired of being scared, and she’s tired of living and doing everything for everyone else. Jules is finally ready to take a stand, but is she willing to lose everything she loves, everything she’s ever known, to finally start living her life on her own terms? The answer is yes. She most certainly is. 
Warning: This story contains adult language and adult situations. 
Not recommended for readers under the age of 18.

 “Mr. Mercer?” My voice is a whisper. I don’t want to upset him further. “I was just leaving, and I wanted to make sure…” I’m feeling embarrassed now, like I’m seeing something I shouldn’t be seeing. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
I wince and look down. I shouldn’t have touched him. I’ve longed to run my fingers through his silky brown hair, but not this way. It was inappropriate. Suddenly my nerves kick up. Am I going to get fired?
When I don’t hear a response, I dare a look back up at him. He’s now leaned back against the wall, his hands over his eyes.
I have to remind myself how drunk he is. He’s not in his right mind, and I should leave him be. Hopefully, he won’t remember the head touch in the morning.
“Good night, Mr. Mercer,” I say as I stand. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I feel so ridiculous. I would run out of his office if I knew for sure he wouldn’t remember any of this.
I’m nearly at his office door, within feet of my escape, when I hear, “Wait.” I stop immediately in my tracks. “Don’t go,” he adds and I sigh.
His voice is husky and full of grief, but still the most beautiful sound in my world.
I turn slowly back to him, and he’s staring at me with squinted eyes from his corner. I decide to try and keep it professional.
“Yes, sir? Would you like some water? Coffee maybe?”
There’s an excruciating pause before he speaks again. I hold my position by his office door.
“No,” he finally says, as he gets up and slowly stumbles his way to his sofa. “No, thanks.”
I feel my cheeks flush as I watch him. He’s so beautiful, even in this horrible state. I silently curse myself for the millionth time for loving him so much.
I watch as he basically falls into his plush leather sofa. He sits and places his elbows on his knees, his gorgeous face in his hands again.
I stand for a moment longer, waiting for him to say something more, but he never does.
In another moment of blind courage – or insanity, the verdict is still out – I move toward him once again. “Mr. Mercer? Sir?” I’m not even sure if he’s still awake.
I’m standing in front of him now, only inches away, between him and the coffee table. I’m about to reach out and touch his shoulder, to see if he’s still alive, when he looks up at me.
It’s the same sad, pain-filled look he gave me a moment ago when I was sitting in front of him in the corner, and it’s just as horrible to witness now as it was then. I quickly draw my hand back, trying to avoid a repeat of my inappropriate behavior from earlier.
Andrew watches my hand with rapt attention as it moves back to my side, and to my sheer disbelief, he reaches for it. I don’t move an inch. My heart suddenly kicks into hyper speed and I have to concentrate very hard on not panting.
Andrew moves his hand slowly toward mine, a scowl on his face as he watches, like he has no control over his movements – like his hand has a mind of its own.
I continue to stay perfectly still, watching him, until his hand finally reaches mine. He lifts my now quivering hand to his face and places my palm on his cheek. He closes his eyes, and I shake my head in wonder. What is he doing?
I don’t even get a chance to try and reason out what’s happening. The next thing I know, he places his other arm around my waist and pulls my entire body toward him. He never looks up at me. His eyes are still closed, as he drops my hand from his face, puts both arms around me and hugs me close, his cheek resting on my stomach.
“Please stay with me,” he whispers, and without hesitation, I put both of my arms around him.
“Sure,” I whisper back, with one hand now slowly stroking his unkempt hair.
For so long, I’ve dreamt of this man touching me. He’s grazed my fingers before while passing me paperwork. We’ve bumped into each other a couple of times in the hallway, and then today, when he offered his hand to me in the elevator lobby…even those slight touches send a thrill up my spine, stoking the always slow-burning fire inside me where he’s concerned. I always thought that if he ever touched me the way he is now, I’d lose my ability to form coherent sentences and make a complete fool of myself.
But as I sit and hold this beautiful man in my arms, I’m not entirely surprised to find I feel more confident than ever.
I’m confident because this is what I do. I take care of people. I take care of him. Every day. And I love my job because of it. I will endure sixty-plus hour weeks until the end of time if it means I get to see his perfect face every day. He’s my reason for waking up in the morning, and he’s a damn good reason.

You Never Know
You Never Know


Over the past eight years, twenty-six year old Sam Harper has come to realize a few things: her son is the light of her life, a pint of Cherry Garcia will cure all that ails you, her mother is a biscuit-and-grave-filled genius and nothing, absolutely nothing, ever goes as planned.

Still stuck in her tiny hometown of Delia, Georgia, Sam has sat idly by and watched as her life went from “prom-queen and head cheerleader” to “single mom with meaningless desk job”. So when Hollywood bad-boy, Ethan Grant, shows up to film his new television show – the very same actor whose posters wall-papered Sam’s teenage bedroom – Sam welcomes back her excited inner-fangirl with open arms. And when a chance encounter with Ethan confirms what Sam always knew – that behind Ethan’s green eyes and smoldering good looks is a perfect gentleman with the kindest of hearts – Sam finds herself in a romance worthy of "Cinderella" status.

But soon enough, reality seeps back in as the relentless gossip columns and Ethan’s busy schedule lead Sam back to a life she’s come to know well – one full of nothing but broken promises and disappointment. Sam begins questioning whether Ethan has what it takes to help lead her back to the confident and vivacious woman she used to be, or if Sam will have to do the unthinkable and actually figure life out on her own.

“Should we go back inside?” I ask, still not wanting to leave, but also not foolish enough to think this won’t eventually have to end anyway.
I can see Ethan doesn’t want to go back, but I’m certain it’s not for the same reasons I don’t want to go.
 “I guess,” he says, chugging the rest of his drink. I leave mine on the table. I’ve had enough for tonight, and no amount of alcohol can take away the pain these shoes are inflicting, so why bother?
“Excuse me? Miss?” Trent calls out to me as Ethan and I start making our way to the ballroom.
I look at Ethan before walking back over to the bar. When I get there, Trent hands me my purse. I’m shocked and very relieved.
“Thank you!” I exclaim, wanting to throw my arms around him but I refrain.
Trent leans across the bar toward me, and speaks quietly. “You left it on the table there, and I planned to use it to chat with you later in the evening. Please don’t think ill of me?”
Needless to say, I’m floored by the gesture. And as I look into his handsome face, I know it would probably take a lot for me to get upset with Trent, even if he hadn’t just presented me with my lost purse.
“I’m flattered,” is all I can get out, and I can feel the blush in my cheeks.
“Well,” Trent starts, leaning back over to his side of the bar and casting a sideways glance at Ethan, “it appears I am too late any way.”
I look at Ethan then back at Trent and shrug. He’s absolutely right. As beautiful as Trent is, he’s still no match for Ethan, at least not for me.
“Sincerely, thank you,” I tell him.
“My pleasure,” he says with a wink, and I stroll gleefully back over to Ethan.
“You got your purse back,” Ethan says, as he opens the doors to the ballroom and gestures for me to enter first.
“I did,” I say smiling widely now.
“Let me guess,” he says, with a pensive look on his face, “he picked it up after you left it somewhere, planning to use it to introduce himself later?”
I snap my head in Ethan’s direction, shocked he guessed the details of our conversation. I don’t think there’s any way he could have overheard us.
“How did you know that?” I can see my table now, and you better believe my friends’ eyes are glued to me and my escort coming down the aisle. As a matter of fact, I notice quite a few people have turned in our direction.
Ethan laughs at my question. “Just a hunch,” he says smiling.
“What?” I tease. “Are you stereotyping my sweet Trent?”
I’m flirting with Ethan, which will probably be something I’m going to regret later.
We’re at my table before he can answer. Ethan pulls out my chair, and I sit down. All of the non-celebrities at my table are staring, mouths wide open in shock.
He leans down before he leaves to whisper something in my ear. I cannot begin to describe what it feels like to have his face that close to mine, his breath on my neck.
“I wasn’t stereotyping,” he says, his hands still resting on the back of my chair. “I would have done the same thing.”
And with that, he’s gone.

About Melinda:
Melinda Harris was born and raised in the great state of Georgia. She adores living in the South, and although she lives for road trips, she has no plans to abandon her Southern roots any time soon.

She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Economics - don't ask - and she now resides just outside of Atlanta with her loving husband, adorable son and a very grumpy Beagle named, Herschel.

Melinda is the youngest of four, and she loves and admires her siblings, just as a baby sister should. Her family is extremely large and extremely loud, but she wouldn't have it any other way.

Forever a hopeless romantic, Melinda first knew she had it bad when her imaginary love affairs between Ken and Barbie rivaled the best of plot lines on her Nanny's soap operas. Many moons later, while on maternity leave with her son, she finally found the courage to put one of those fantasies down on paper. And within a few short months, her first novel was born.

Melinda is still new to the world of writing, but she is certain she will always be humbled by the idea of anyone - excluding her mom, of course - wanting to read her books. However, she has become quite addicted to writing and the happy escape it provides, so she can only hope a few readers will enjoy her stories too. Because like her Southern roots, Melinda doesn't plan to abandon her new happy place any time soon.


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