My Contemporary Romance Books

Note: Books are listed from most recent to oldest. *All books are stand-alone books. Some characters make appearances in other books. To maximize enjoyment and to avoid potential spoilers regarding couples, you may want to read in order.

NOTE: Check out the beautiful new covers for my series!

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🌸  (To read Chapter 1 of Love’s Desire & Finding Fatih see the bottom of this page.)

LOVE’S DESIRE (Jacques & Layla’s Story), Book 3 of The Hawaii Series.

(Final book in the series.)

Version 2

Purchase Link (copy & paste in your browser if it’s not clickable on your browser): https://www.amazon.com/Freda-Ann/e/B076XSX6WZ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1 ;(Or go to Amazon, or favorite eBook retailer site, to order the electronic version. Paperback is available through Amazon only.)

Blurb:

For a man passionate about life and at the reins of his dream culinary career, Frenchman Jacques Masson is searching for that missing piece that will make everything fall into place.

Little does he know that the missing piece comes in the form of a single touch from the vibrant Hawaiian dancer Layla Kalani. Using her artform, she weaves stories of her homeland and tales of love and seduction.

Their connection is instant; with a depth like the ocean and a bond that feels like kismet. But Layla’s parents have already promised her hand in marriage to her childhood friend. Layla draws strength from her rich heritage, at the expense of her own independence. Is her call to duty stronger than her desire for love?

How far is Jacques willing to go for the woman of his dreams?

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Teasers …

Meet Jacques & Layla:

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Excerpt from LOVE’S DESIRE:

Hearing voices, Jacques turned to the stage where two women were standing at the top of the steps. It’s her. Excitement rushed through him seeing the stunning dancer who captivated him.

She was talking to another woman. They spoke softly but he heard her friend mutter, “There was some serious heat going on between you and the dark-haired guy at the head table. I’ve never seen you look at a man that way.”

The beauty tousled her hair and shrugged a shoulder while putting her foot on the first step, losing her balance in the process. Without thought, Jacques rushed to the steps just in time.

He reached out as she fell into his arms, their eyes locked together—but no words were spoken. He scanned her face as she bit the inside of her bottom lip.

“What the—” One of the male dancers was staring at him with a clenched jaw.

When the woman glanced up at Jacques again, she smiled, murmuring, “Thank you”. Their eyes remain locked together for what feels like forever before Jacques helped her stand upright. She lifted herself to her feet and walked up to the surly man glaring at Jacques, forcing him to turn away.

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FINDING FAITH (Stephen & Faith’s Story), Book 2 of The Hawaii Series.

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Purchase Link (copy & paste in your browser if not clickable):
https://www.amazon.com/Freda-Ann/e/B076XSX6WZ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blurb:

Faith Roche had no luck with men. Still reeling from a breakup with a man she thought was her future, she has little hope of finding Mr. Right.

Stephen Raine has finally landed the lead role in a major motion picture and vowed that nothing would ruin his big break, especially his conniving ex-girlfriend.

As their worlds collide in the most unlikely place, he is drawn to the French beauty. She is a refreshing change from the Hollywood type he’s dated too many times.

When Stephen’s past rears its ugly head, it not only jeopardizes his chances with Faith, but puts her in harm’s way, leaving him to make a decision.

Will he risk his coveted lead role to save Faith?

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Meet Stephen & Faith:

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Excerpts from FINDING FAITH:

Glancing around, Faith got a feeling someone was watching her. Turning to the left, she was drawn to a pair of gorgeous hazel eyes looking at her. A flirtatious smile from the hot guy possessing them made her blush.

His mouth curled as if on the edge of laughter. He looked familiar. He had kind eyes, and even in a crowd, his presence was compelling.

Faith was instantly drawn to him and his infectious smile. He was the type of man she’d only read about in books and magazines. Guys like him didn’t exist, at least not in her life. She snickered when he abruptly looked away as though he’d been caught doing something he shouldn’t have.

Faith examined his profile—he was sharp and confident, two things she liked in a man. She gasped and her eyes grew when she realized who he was. 

Mindy looked up from her menu. “What’d I miss?”

Faith wrinkled her forehead and looked at the man. He was talking to the chef from dinner last night. Mindy’s gaze followed hers as the guys turned around, smiled, and nodded at them.

Faith put her hand to her mouth and whispered, “That’s the guy with the killer smile you wanted me to strip for.”

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FORBIDDEN LOVE (Brandon & Mindy’s Story), Book 1 of The Hawaii Series.

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**NOW AVAILABLE, a completely reworked book, version #2. It flows like a brand new novel!

Purchase Link (copy & paste in your browser if not clickable)https://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Love-Book-1-Hawaii-ebook/dp/B076R8SP6X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=forbidden+love+book+by+freda+ann&qid=1587227597&sr=8-1

Blurb:

Mindy Shane has it all—a loving family, a blooming business and the best friend a girl could ever ask for, but beneath the surface lurks a wound from a past relationship that never fully healed. When she wins her dream vacation to Hawaii, she plans on putting the past behind her.

Movie producer Brandon Wild lives a complicated life. He needs an escape from the fast-paced L.A. scene, his manipulative movie star ex, and his controlling father—and Hawaii is just the place for him to leave it all behind.

But the moment Mindy walks out of his dreams and straight into his life, he knows this vacation just became the chance of a lifetime to win over the woman he never realized he needed.

The only thing is—Mindy leaves in a week’s time. Flung together in a whirlwind of passion, they come under fire when both their exes come calling, and worst of all, Brandon’s meddling father forbids this budding romance. 

Will Brandon and Mindy have what it takes to weather the storm to a lifetime of happiness?

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Teaser …

Meet Brandon & Mindy:

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They cuddled like two halves of a whole, fitting perfectly together. He sent her heart spiraling out of control. Mindy knew it wouldn’t last. Her past was evidence of that.

But she had to give him a chance, right? A chance to be the man she wanted and needed. Feeling confident, she called his cell phone but wasn’t prepared for what she heard. It replayed over and over in her head. His ex-girlfriend getting up close and personal with him. How could Mindy be so stupid?

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LOVE’S DESIRE (Jacques & Layla’s Story):

(Note: This was pasted from the manuscript. Spacing, punctuation, etc. may be affected. This is not an indication of the final book formatting.)

Chapter 1

Approaching the restaurant, Jacques smiled at the tiki torch adorned rock facade of Kimo’s Restaurant. The eye-catching flames of the big fire pit crackled in tune with the bustle of the mingling crowd. Brick columns supported the front roof as glass doors stood open, welcoming everyone inside.

The smiling hostess greeted Jacques with a plumeria flower tucked behind her right ear, the symbol of being unwed.

“Aloha. Three for dinner?” The perky brunette asked, scanning each of them.

“Aloha. My name is Jacques Masson. I’m a friend of Kimo’s. He’s holding a table for my friends and me.” She consulted her seating chart.

She whispered to the tall, dark-haired woman next to her before the woman spoke. “Mr. Masson, please follow me. Your table is waiting.”

Jacques held his hand out for Faith and Stephen, his friends from the mainland, to walk in front of him. Following close behind, he eyed the life-sized hula dancer lamp to his left as laughter erupted from the crowded bar nearby.

Faith leaned closer to him as they made their way through the crowd. “What a gorgeous place.” She whispered, raising her brows and smiling.

As the hostess led them past a dark wooden wall filled with wine bottles, Faith mouthed wow, causing Jacques to chuckle at her.

“It’s a good thing you’re friends with the competition.” Jacques noticed Stephen cut his eyes at him and snickered.

“Kimo wanted you to have the best table.” The woman’s rosy cheeks dimpled when she grinned at Jacques and placed a menu on the table in front of each chair. “Someone will be with you shortly.”

Stephen pulled the chair out for Faith as Jacques sat on one side and Stephen on the other. The three of them faced an elevated stage decorated with palm trees, flowers, and torches as Hawaiian music rippled through the room.

“I’m happy you came to join me for dinner.” Jacques glanced at Faith, then Stephen. “Last time we spoke, I was afraid your schedule would be too demanding for me to see you on this trip.” Jacques leaned forward, eyeing his buddy.

“That’s what I was afraid of, but we lucked out filming some of the big scenes. They didn’t take as long as we anticipated.” Stephen had a relieved look on his face.

“So how is filming going overall?” Jacques was happy for him. It was his friend’s first lead role in a motion picture. As far as he was concerned, Stephen was a hell of an actor and would give the part everything he had.

He saw Stephen eye Faith before answering. “It’s going pretty good. But now that Faith is in Oahu, it’s getting harder to work those extra long days. Not to mention how grueling these final scenes are.”

Faith giggled. “He kicks some serious ass in some of his scenes. I can’t wait to see the final cut.”

Jacques cocked his head. “Ahhh, going for an Oscar, huh?” He loved ragging on him.

“Bite your tongue, man. I’m not even thinking that far ahead. Just trying to stay focused each day. Hey, you’re invited to the premiere. I’ll let you know when I get a firm date for it.”

“Thanks, Stephen. I wouldn’t miss it. I’m overdue for a trip home.”

Turning to Faith, Jacques asked, “Are you working on your tan, or are you getting to know Oahu while Stephen’s working?”

When a waiter walked by with a tray of food, Faith sniffed after him. “Oh my God, that smells amazing!”

Stephen and Jacques snickered while she continued. “Yes, to both questions, Jacques. There are so many wonderful places to see. But I’m saving the best ones for Stephen, so he can go with me once filming is done.”

Kimo walked up patting Jacques on the back. “Well, it’s about time you came to my neck of the woods.” Jacques stood, shaking his hand as Kimo joined them sitting at the head of the table.

As the waitress approached the table, Kimo waved her over. “Bring two bottles of the special house wine along with the appetizers I ordered.”

The waitress nodded. “Yes, sir. Right away.”

“Kimo, these are my dear friends from the mainland Stephen and his girlfriend Faith.” Jacques gestured to each one.

“I’m happy to meet such good friends of Jacques. The two of us go way back.” He smiled, nodding.

“So I hear you have a special show tonight?” Jacques turned to Kimo.

His eyes grew as he told them, “There’s this group many people have been telling me about. They’re a group of Hawaiian singers and dancers that go by the name of Kama’aina, meaning child of the land. They were all born and raised in Hawaii. I saw them perform in Kauai. I was blown away with how good they are. So much so, I booked them for several dates over the next year.” He chuckled.

With pursed lips, Jacques nodded his head. “Well, I can’t wait to see this show. And if they’re that good, I might have to talk to their manager to have them perform at my restaurant.”

Kimo stood. “Please excuse me while I tend to my duties. The wine and appetizers should arrive shortly. I’ll be back a bit later. If you need anything, please tell the waitress, and I will see that it is taken care of.” He nodded at everyone and walked to the kitchen.

While eating dinner, Jacques informed them, “So my restaurant will be undergoing renovations in the next few months. They’re also extending the kitchen, which will be one of the first projects started. Once the extension is complete, they’ll update the old part of the kitchen a little at a time.”

“That’s wonderful, Jacques.” Faith exclaimed.

Stephen patted his shoulder. “I know you’ve been talking about renovating for a while. And now it’s finally happening! You have to be pretty stoked.”

He grinned ear to ear as the curtain closed on the stage. “I am guys. I’m pretty psyched about it.”

Once the waitress cleared the table, the curtains opened back up. The announcer appeared welcoming everyone to the show. After an introductory speech about the group, the lights dimmed, and a hush fell over the crowd.

Living here for years, Jacques had seen many Hawaiian dancers perform. But when he laid eyes on the goddess floating across the stage, he was speechless.

She had long black hair and was dressed in a full-length pink Hawaiian style dress with yellow and white flowers. The woman danced with controlled movements while slow, upbeat music played in the background. Her face, hands, and body told a compelling story.

As a smile played at the corners of his lips, Jacques was mesmerized by the delicacy and strength in her face while she danced. When she finished, several men with tribal tattoos performed using warrior type moves.

At the end of their performance, the guys chased each other off stage while a group of women fluttered to the middle. They did the traditional hula dance.

Jacques focused his attention on that one particular dancer. Her face was oval, and she had olive-brown skin. Her wavy hair shined like silk when it swayed across her bottom. She was beautiful. Her nose was petite, and her eyes were so alive and inviting.

She had a voluptuous hourglass figure. And the longer Jacques watched her, the more stunning she appeared while dancing under the lights. Who is this woman?

The way she smiled and the rhythmic movements of her body mesmerized him. One gesture she made with her hands looked like she was throwing him a kiss. If only. He suppressed a smile, knowing he wouldn’t be so lucky. A woman like that didn’t just fall into your lap, so to speak.

Her eyes appeared to focus on Jacques after every turn she made. She was looking into the crowd behind him, he convinced himself.

After the show, the announcer declared the dancers would be available for photos, and anyone wanting a picture with them should meet out front in twenty minutes.

After surveying the room, Jacques noticed Faith looking at him with a mischievous smile. Wrinkling his brows, he wondered what she was up to.

“Hey, we should get a photo with the dancers. You know, memories of our trip here?” She suggested while relaxing her face.

“Good idea.” Stephen agreed.

Jacques nodded. “Yeah, sure. I’m in.” He beamed at the thought of being anywhere near the dark-haired beauty.

A few minutes later, Stephen led the way past the stage, followed closely by Faith with Jacques. Hearing voices, Jacques turned to the stage where two women were standing at the top of the steps. It’s her. Excitement rushed through him seeing the stunning dancer who captivated him.

She was talking to another woman. They were speaking softly but he heard her friend mutter, “There was some serious heat going on between you and the dark haired guy at the head table. I’ve never seen you look at a man that way.”

The beauty tousled her hair and shrugged a shoulder while putting her foot on the first step, losing her balance in the process. Without thought, Jacques rushed to the steps just in time.

He reached out as she fell into his arms, their eyes locked together—but no words were spoken. He scanned her face as she bit the inside of her bottom lip.

“What the—” One of the male dancers was staring at him with a clenched jaw.

When the woman glanced up at Jacques again, she smiled, murmuring “Thank you”. Their eyes remain locked together for what feels like forever before Jacques helped her stand upright. She lifted herself to her feet and walked up to the surly man glaring at Jacques, forcing him to turn away. They walked to the back of the stage with the other woman. Jacques rejoined Faith and Stephen who were watching him.

“Quick thinking, Jacques.” Faith smirked bumping shoulders with him.

He grinned while they walked to the waiting area. The three of them stood around talking until the dancers appeared just outside the main doors.

When they made their way out front, a hostess waved two dancers over. The female was the same one Jacques caught in his arms and couldn’t take his eyes off.

The male dancer was tall and muscular with tribal tattoos covering his body. When they saw each other, Jacques realized he was the guy by the stage who saw him holding the woman in his arms.

As the tall guy looked away, Jacques saw a smile cross the woman’s face when they approached Jacques and his friends.

Their manager waved them forward. “Aloha. Thank you for waiting. This is Layla and Kai. They’re happy to pose for a photo.” The man tipped his head at them.

Jacques stared at the woman as Faith handed her phone to the hostess for the pictures. “Here, you can use my phone.”

Tapping his arm, Faith expressed, “Hey Jacques, why don’t you stand next to Layla? Stephen and I will stand by Kai.”

Jacques walked to Layla’s left side with enthusiasm. “H—hello.” He tried to control his excitement, standing so close to her. She was so petite next to his large frame.

She giggled softly. “Aloha. Jacques, was it?” Layla scanned his face.

Wow, she remembered my name. He warmed inside. “Aloha. Yes, that’s right.”

The hostess motioned for everyone to get closer to fit in the picture. Jacques scooted over, and Layla slid her arm around his waist, pulling him into her. Damn. The heat from her body sent shockwaves from his head to his toes. They smiled as the hostess took two pictures.

When Jacques eased his arm from Layla’s waist, she turned to him, and they locked eyes for a moment. His mouth gaped, but before he could utter a word, he felt something solid hit his shoulder.

Looking that way, he saw Kai standing shoulder to shoulder with him. He jutted his head toward Jacques and narrowed his eyes. “Excuse me,” he spoke with a gruff voice.

“Let’s go, Kai.” Layla firmly muttered. Jacques watched Kai glance between them before the two left. What is up with that guy?

On the way back to the hotel, Faith sighed dreamily, “She’s beautiful, Jacques.”

He looked at her curiously. “Who? Layla?”

“Yes, Layla. I couldn’t help but notice the sparks between you two. Your eyes barely left her on stage. And she didn’t look at anyone else in the crowd the way she looked at you.”

He sneered at her. So that was why she gave him that look at the table. “I think you’re mistaken. I noticed how attractive she was, but I doubt she gave me a second thought.”

“Are you kidding me, Jacques? Layla was into you, and I’m pretty sure she knew you felt the same. I saw it on her face. There was serious chemistry there.” Faith grinned.

Stephen added, “Hey, I saw it too. She’s into you, man. If you don’t see that, you’re more out of touch with women than I thought.”

“Well, it doesn’t matter because I don’t think she’s from around here since I’ve never heard of the group before today.”

“Don’t give up so damn easy buddy. Check with your friend from the restaurant. He has to know more since he booked them.” Stephen eyed Jacques. “That kind of chemistry is rare, you know? You should have seen what was going on between you two from where we were sitting. You both were sizzling in that room.”

He laughed. “You’re so full of shit.”

Faith shook her head. “No, he’s not. I don’t think either of you noticed anyone else while Layla was on stage. Seriously, Jacques, you have to see what you can find out about the group, but more importantly about her.”

Jacques looked to see if they were yanking his chain, but they weren’t. “Maybe I will.”

Stephen shook his head. “Maybe I will? You sure as hell better! I’ll be checking up on you to make sure you follow through.” He slapped Jacques on the back.

Sliding her arm inside Jacques’, Faith divulged, “And if you don’t, I guess I’ll have to do it for you.” She smiled at him before letting go and plucking her phone from her purse.

When his phone pinged with a text from Faith, he was surprised at the first photo. It was of him holding Layla in his arms by the stage while their eyes were locked in an electric gaze. Her arm was over his shoulders. He had no idea Faith took that picture.

The second photo was of him standing next to Layla with their arms around each other. The photos might just be the motivation he needed. (End of Chapter 1)

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FINDING FAITH (Stephen & Faith’s Story):

(Note: This was pasted from the manuscript. Spacing, punctuation, etc. may be affected. This is NOT an indication of the final book formatting.)

Chapter 1

A breeze blew through the courtyard, carrying floral scents from the fragrant vegetation. As the sun kissed her skin, Faith smiled at the memories of family trips to tropical locations.

That was why her parents chose to live in Florida. When they traveled, they took Faith and her brother there or to the Caribbean. She was happy when they’d moved to sunny Florida since they loved being near the water.

She appreciated every trip they took—the travel kept them grounded. Mom made sure her children knew money didn’t come easy. And when the paychecks came in, the bills had to be paid. If money was left, they tucked it away for another vacation.

Hellooo. Did you hear anything I said? Pleeease tell me some hot guy caught your attention. I was beginning to think you no longer like men.” Mindy, Faith’s best friend, cocked her head and smirked as they approached the restaurant.

“Ha ha.” Faith grinned. “Sorry. The hotel and grounds remind me of places I went to growing up.” She gave Mindy a teasing look. “Oh, and … Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome walked by flashing a killer smile, which was kind of distracting.”

Mindy stopped dead in her tracks, her jaw dropping, and grabbed her friend’s arm. Faith tried to muffle a snicker.

“That’s wonderful! Where is he?”

Faith looked around and lowered her voice. “Well, the thing is, he wasn’t flashing anything at me. I don’t even think he saw me. He was looking at the guy walking with him. They went around the corner of the building while I was wiping drool from the corner of my mouth.”

Mindy’s eyes widened and she threw her hands into the air. “Why didn’t you get his attention?” 

“What should I have done, a striptease?” She shook her head.

“That would have gotten his attention for sure!” They giggled.

Faith looked at her and raised a brow. “So what were you saying?”

“Nothing important. I was just yakking.”

They stopped at the hostess stand. “Two for the lanai, please.”

The girl nodded. “This way, please.” Leading them outside, she seated the women at a table on the right. “Your waiter will arrive shortly.”

While browsing the menu, Faith looked up and pleasantly scanned the well-manicured grounds. “I love this place. It’s so pretty everywhere you look.”

Mindy nodded and smiled. “I know. I still can’t believe we’re actually in Hawaii!” 

“I feel like I need to pinch myself.” Laughing, Faith reached out and squeezed her friend’s hand. She realized Mindy missed her kids. It would be the most time she’d been away from them since her divorce.

“I’m so glad you asked me to come with you. Time to check Hawaii off my bucket list.” She shrugged with a girlish grin.

Faith remembered the night Mindy had called her. “I won!” she’d screamed through the phone. “I won the trip to Hawaii, and you’re going with me!”

From the moment she’d entered the contest, they had fantasized about everything they would do on their dream vacation. Faith couldn’t believe she was here and going to do just that.

Glancing around, Faith got a feeling someone was watching her. Turning to the left, she was drawn to a pair of gorgeous hazel eyes looking at her. A flirtatious smile from the hot guy possessing them made her blush.

His mouth curled as if on the edge of laughter. He looked familiar. He had kind eyes, and even in a crowd, his presence was compelling.

Faith was instantly drawn to him and his infectious smile. He was the kind of man she’d only read about in books and magazines. Guys like him didn’t exist, at least not in her life. She snickered when he abruptly looked away as though he’d been caught doing something he shouldn’t have.

Faith examined his profile—he was sharp and confident, two things she liked in a man. She realized who he was and gasped. 

Mindy looked up from her menu. “What’d I miss?”

Faith wrinkled her forehead and looked at the man. He was talking to the chef from dinner last night. Mindy’s gaze followed hers as the guys turned around, smiled, and nodded at them.

Faith put her hand to her mouth and whispered, “That’s the guy with the killer smile you wanted me to strip for.” 

Mindy mouthed wow, and Faith fluttered her eyelashes at her.

“Good morning. You ladies doing all right?” He scanned her reddened face before his eyes landed on her mouth.

Her lips froze under his gaze. The ruggedness of his voice sent warmth through her body. “We’re, uh, doing well. Getting something to eat before we plan our day. How are y’all doing?” She looked at Mr. Hottie then at the chef next to him. 

When she and Mindy had dinner last night, the chef had his staff serve them new items from the menu in order to get their opinions. After he introduced himself as Brandon, he and Mindy couldn’t keep their eyes off of one another. 

“We’re doing fine.” He chuckled. “I’m Stephen, and this is Brandon. He’s the chef here.” He flicked his head at Brandon.

Brandon cut his eyes at him. “Yes, we met last night in the main dining room. Stephen, this is Faith and Mindy.”

Stephen shook her hand. “I like your accent, Faith. Where are you from?”  He turned in his chair to see her better.

“I was born in France.” A coy grin crossed her face.

Stephen reached for Mindy’s hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” 

Brandon and Mindy struck up a conversation, and Stephen turned his chair to face Faith. “Have you done any fun activities yet?”

“We went horseback riding on the beach yesterday. I’ve always wanted to do that.” 

“It’s relaxing to ride through the water early in the morning and at sunset. Those are my favorite times to ride.” Stephen cocked his head to the side. “Do you still live in France?” 

“My father retired when I was fifteen and wanted to move to Florida after the school year ended. We used to visit off and on when I was growing up. He loved the variety of activities, thanks to the sunny weather.”

“Well, we have something in common already. I was born and raised in Florida. After I graduated, I moved to L.A. for college.” 

Faith loved the way he watched her. A man hadn’t looked at her this intently for well over a year, but she refused to think about him.

“You didn’t want to attend college in Florida?” Faith raised a brow. “Or did you need to get away from your family?” 

Stephen chuckled and glanced away before returning his gaze to her. “It wasn’t that. I get along with my family, and there are some great colleges in Florida, but California is a better place to study my craft. After I graduated, it made it easier to look for work.”

Faith giggled nervously and looked at him wide-eyed. “What are you, a spy or something?”

He shook his head and rolled his eyes, smiling. “Ha ha. I’m not a spy.”

She shrugged, waiting to hear more. 

“You have to promise not to laugh if I tell you.”

“Fine, I won’t laugh.” 

“I’m an actor.” 

She wrinkled her brows. “Like … in plays?” 

“Movies, though I was in small plays when I started out. I’ve done a few made-for-TV movies, but mostly feature films.” Stephen watched her.

Faith nodded. “I must admit I’m surprised. That’s not what I thought you were going to say.”

While the four of them got to know each other, they somehow let the guys talk them into taking a Harley ride with them to see the island. Faith didn’t know why, but she felt safe with Stephen. It went against her usual reaction to do something so crazy, but her inner voice told her to take a chance for once. She even surprised Mindy, who at first didn’t think it was a good idea. 

It’s not like we’re going to be somewhere private, right? Sometimes you have to go for it. 

After breakfast, they made a quick trip to their rooms to change and gather a few things for the ride.

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At the rental site, the guys filled out paperwork, grabbed helmets, and met Faith and Mindy on the side of the building near the bikes. After everyone was ready, Stephen and Brandon climbed on the bikes, followed by the girls.

Stephen turned and spoke over his shoulder so Faith could hear him. “You ready for this?”

She blew out a breath. “Yeah, I think so. I don’t really have experience on motorcycles.” 

“You’ll like the views so much you won’t have time to think of anything else. Hold on to my waist to help steady yourself. You’re going to love it, I promise. Ready?”

She nodded. “I’m ready.”

Stephen and Brandon nodded to each other and pulled onto the road with a roar.

Once they hit the Hana Highway, Stephen looked at her in his sideview mirror. A smile lit up her face when she saw him. Faith looked around in awe of the views as her mouth fell open. While riding along the cliff’s edge, she could see the water hitting the rocks below.

Looking at him in the mirror, her heart fluttered. She smiled at the friction between her thighs as they hugged his body. Every curve and bump in the road seemed to amp up the heat between them.

Stephen briefly appraised her with his gaze. The way he looked at her made her extremely aware of his virile appeal. The confidence he exuded made him even more attractive, if that were possible.

After a while, the guys stopped so they could hike up a double waterfall at one of the hairpin turns. Stephen put out his hand for Faith to hold as they climbed the rocks up the side of the waterfall. Each time he flashed her his panty-melting smile, he caressed the back of her hand with his thumb, making it hard for her to concentrate. 

Why am I flirting with him? I’m not ready for a relationship, am I?

Climbing up the rock at the top of the first waterfall, Faith’s boot slid on the slippery surface. She flailed her hands as she tried to remain upright but fell backward and into the arms of Stephen.

Their eyes locked and neither spoke. Stephen’s mouth fell open, and finally, the words came out. “Are you okay?”

Faith nodded and nervously licked her lips. “Uh, yeah. I’m good. You can put me down now.”

“Right.” He peeled his eyes off of her and put her down.

As they took pictures with their phones at the top of the waterfall, butterflies took flight in Faith’s stomach when Stephen told everybody to get closer for a group photo. With her and Mindy in the middle, he leaned into her, placing his palm on her lower back. After snapping the picture, he smiled at her before removing his arm and stepping away. She let out a long breath. 

Once they made their way back down, they were on the road again. They rode for several hours and stopped at scenic points along the way to stretch their legs. The four of them took pictures, talked, and laughed at each stop like old friends. Faith liked the way the four of them interacted together. 

At the slow points along the road, Stephen leaned back against her so she could hear him talk. Faith was flattered by his apparent interest the longer they spoke. The day couldn’t have been more perfect.

By the time they arrived at the hotel, the sun had set. Stephen and Faith walked ahead of Brandon and Mindy as they made their way through the courtyard. Stopping in front of the women’s building, Stephen turned to Faith and smiled.

“I’m glad you enjoyed the ride as much as I did.” 

She dipped her head before cocking it to the side and looking at him, returning the grin.

“Yes, I did.” She turned to walk to the elevator and stopped to look at him. “Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow.” She pivoted and walked away.

“Hey, Faith!”

Freezing just before entering the breezeway, she flung her head around. “Rest assured, you will see me tomorrow.” 

His face split in a wide grin as he turned and left.

His magnetism was so potent. It warmed Faith as she watched him until he disappeared. Walking through the breezeway to the elevator, she tried to ignore the tingling in the pit of her stomach and how much she’d enjoyed his company.

* * *

The next afternoon, Stephen and Brandon went to the pool. Stephen looked around and saw Faith sitting on an oversized cabana chair. He walked up and sat next to her with a broad smile. “Well, don’t you look relaxed? How’s your day been?”

The edges of her lips turned up in a grin. “I am relaxed. It’s been a good day. Mindy and I took a surfing lesson and had a blast.”

“Wow. Good for you. How did you do?” 

“I kinda drank ocean water in the beginning but got the hang of it by my third try. I loved it though.” 

Stephen swallowed nervously. “Faith, uh, do you like watching sports?”

Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. “Are you kidding? I like sports as much as I like breathing.” 

“No way!” 

“Yep. My dad taught my brother and me all about sports from the time we were kids. We go to games together whenever possible, and we share season tickets for a few of our favorite teams.”

With his lips pushed together and raised brows, he nodded. “Damn. I’m shocked and impressed. Would you like to watch the game tonight at the sports bar down the beach? It’s a local favorite, and they have good food.”

She looked around him at Mindy. “Hey, Min, would you mind if I hang out with Stephen tonight? He wants to hit the sports bar down the street.”

Mindy looked at Brandon before leaning forward. “That’s fine. It seems I have plans too.” 

Cocking her head, she returned her attention to Stephen. “I guess I’m going.” Faith slid to the edge of her chair and stood. “Time to shower and get ready. I’ll see you at seven?”

“I’ll come by your room so we can walk together.”

“Sounds good.” Faith climbed out of the chair. “You coming, Min?”

“Yes, I’m ready. Goodbye.” Mindy walked past the guys following her friend.

Faith looked over her shoulder. “Bye.” (End of Chapter 1)

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FORBIDDEN LOVE (Brandon & Mindy’s Story):

(Note: This was pasted from the manuscript. Spacing, punctuation, etc. may be affected. This is not an indication of the final book formatting.)

Chapter 1

The sun was beginning to set as the moon peeked out from behind the trees in the distance. Looking out over the calm waters the color of a beautiful summer’s sky, Brandon felt at peace and realized it was exactly what he needed.

His friend, Stephen, knew it too. They had worked together for twelve years and by now, Brandon trusted him with his life.

They became fast friends while he was producing a movie that Stephen had landed a part in. It was Brandon’s second feature film in production and his most successful one at the time.

Something nearby caught Brandon’s eye. From his lanai, he looked to the beach and saw two women on horseback—both barefoot with their feet dangling near the stirrups.

The one closest to the water had brown hair and was shorter than the other. The second one was a few inches taller, more muscular and curvy with an electrifying pink floral shirt that set off her beautiful blonde hair. What gorgeous hair you have.

A corner of his mouth curled up as he watched them dismount and wade through the pale blue rippling water a few hundred feet in front of him. The horses followed close behind as the women walked slowly, deep in conversation.

Brandon couldn’t take his eyes off of the blonde. The way she sauntered when she walked captivated him. He imagined running his fingers through her beautiful golden locks. Unable to pull his gaze away, it was as if she had cast a spell over him. Not to mention she looked like a goddess.

A call pulled him away from her. Irritated by the interruption, he lifted his phone from the table. “This is Brandon.”

“Hello darling. When are you coming home? I’m missing you. I want to see you and that sexy body of yours.” Her voice was softer than it had been in recent months.

His shoulders tensed hearing her talk. “Why are you calling me, Tabu? We have nothing to say to each other.”

“My love, we can work this out if you give me a chance to explain myself. Please?”

“As I said, we have nothing to talk about so don’t call me again. Goodbye.” He hung up and let out a long breath. If she continued to bug the hell out of him, he would block her number to get some peace and quiet away from her warped mind.

Brandon had dated off and on after his divorce, ending the most recent relationship with Tabu four months ago. He dated her for only three months when he realized she wasn’t the kind of girlfriend he wanted or needed in his life.

Drawing his gaze to the empty beach, Brandon squinted wondering if he had imagined the two women. Was he that stressed? Trying to relax, he laid back for a while listening to the waves in the distance as the breeze rippled across his body.

“Hello handsome.” Brandon jumped to his feet, coming face to face with the woman from the beach. She had changed and was wrapped in a flowing white toga with a braided gold belt around her waist. There was a shimmery light emanating from around her body.

They locked eyes as his body tingled from head to toe—this woman left him speechless. And when she stepped closer, raising her hand and touching his cheek, his jaw dropped. “You—” he swallowed hard, “you’re everything I imagined you would be.”

She eased her hand down, grabbing his fingers and entwining them with hers. “I know you want me.” Closing the space between them, she tipped her chin up, peering at him and making his knees weaken.

Mesmerized, Brandon asked, “Will you be my goddess? I mean my w—”

A phone alert startles him—he received a text. He lifted his head, blinking and scanning the space for the woman of his dreams. But she was nowhere around. Damn, of course it was a fucking dream.

His phone alerted him again, buzzing on the metal tabletop. As his breathing sped up, Brandon wondered if it was his ex again. He plucked the phone from the table reading the message.

You need to get your ass back to LA and fight for Tabu! You know you’re meant to be together.

He huffed, shaking his head and debating on whether or not to respond to his father, J.D. The man wouldn’t stay out of his damn business no matter how far he traveled to get away from him and his conniving ex. So much for escaping to Hawaii for some much needed relaxation.

After introducing her to his father a month after they started dating, J.D. hit it off with her and pushed them to get serious once he realized how successful she was. Brandon’s father thought money and popularity made the perfect woman.

Not long after she met J.D., Brandon saw different sides of her come out. She lashed out at his long time female friend when she asked him out for dinner before moving away.

But that was only the beginning of it. She continued with the same behavior so Brandon ended the relationship. Tabu told him he was going to regret it, and now she’s conspiring with his father to try and get him back.

Staring at his phone, he decided a short reply might get his dad off his back, at least for now.

Not coming home for a few weeks so give it a rest. And she’s NOT my girlfriend!

His newly strained relationship with his father, since breaking up with Tabu, was more than he could handle at times. Juggling a work schedule and finding time to spend with his kids, who lived with him half the time, was already a lot to deal with.

Muting the phone, he dropped it on the table, and laid back in his beach chair while thinking of the blonde. What was so special about her that mesmerized him? He hadn’t even seen her from the front yet. She might be a dog for all he knew. But somehow he knew she was just as beautiful up close.

He could only imagine what Stephen would say. There was no doubt he’d pick on Brandon for being smitten with her. Breathing in the fresh air, he closed his eyes once again hoping to continue with his perfect dream.

“Brandon? Brandon!” He looked up to see who was calling him. All he could focus on was blondish hair with the dim lighting. It had to be the goddess. But how did she know his name?

Blinking quickly to clear his vision, he peered at the face in front of him. Brandon lifted his hand to touch her, but yanked it back when he heard a deep voice. “How long have you been sleeping?”

He knew that voice. “Stephen!” He blurted out, putting his feet on the ground, pausing a few seconds to shake the cobwebs out of his head before he stood to greet his friend. “When did you get here?” He asked as he shook Stephen’s hand. Brandon glanced around realizing it was almost dark.

“I pounded on the front door but got no answer so I came around the back. It’s a good thing or you might just sleep through the night.”

Brandon sat back down. “What brings you here? Or do I have to ask?” They exchanged smiles with a chuckle. That was answer enough.

The phone vibrated once more as he grabbed it to see who it was this time. “As I suspected, it’s my father again. He’s trying to get me to come home.” He huffed, laying his head back on the chair.

“Forget about him. You’re here to relax. Hey, have you had dinner yet?” Stephen sat next to him.

“Is that an invitation?”

“Can you tear yourself away from that chair?”

“Oh, I suppose I could. But only because you’re buying.” Brandon stood.

Stephen got up slowly, cutting his eyes at Brandon as they walked inside. “And what, dear friend, gave you that impression? All I did was ask if you had dinner yet.”

Brandon grabbed some clothes from the closet and changed. “Okay, I”ll buy since you came all this way to check up on me. After all, how many friends would spend all that money for a ticket to Hawaii for dinner? It’s the least I can do.”

* * *
The dining room was quiet. Only half the tables were occupied—not unusual for this time of year, with some days busier than others. Brandon rather enjoyed the change.
In California it was impossible to walk into a restaurant like this one and expect to be seated anytime soon. It was one of the frustrations about living in an over-populated state and was quite annoying if you were starving.
The hostess sat them by a window overlooking the beach. A waitress took their drink order as they looked over the menu. “How were things in Cali?” Brandon observed his friend waiting for an answer.
“I refuse to discuss business, but I will tell you everything is fine and will stay that way even while you’re gone.”
He knew Stephen was right so he didn’t press the issue. “I appreciate you having my back, like you always do.” Brandon cleared his throat. “Why do I feel like I’m the one always needing help? Am I a shit magnet or what?”
Stephen chuckled. “Nah man. You know what they say…bad things happen to good people sometimes. Besides, if it wasn’t for you, my career wouldn’t be on an upswing and instead, people would be saying, Stephen who?”
Snickering, Brandon shook his head. “I didn’t do that much.”
“Bullshit! If you hadn’t taken this wet behind the ears, new guy in town under your wing, I’d still be struggling to pay my bills.”
Winking at Stephen, he revealed, “What can I say? I didn’t want you to ruin my movie so I had to do something.”
He laughed. “You’re probably right about that one.”
Brandon surveyed the beach, smiling as he thought of the women he saw earlier— especially the blonde. A muffled grin spread across his face.
“Okay, what am I missing?” Stephen’s eyes were burning a hole in him.
Brandon snickered. “I was thinking of something I saw earlier.”

“Well, do share. I could use a good laugh. Especially if it puts a happy grin on my face.” He prodded him, smiling.
“Actually—” he began, with a shit eating grin, “I saw a woman—well actually two women—horseback riding on the beach near my room. They dismounted at the bottom of the dunes and walked the horses down the beach. All I could do was stare.” Brandon turned to the beach wondering which hotel they were staying at.
Glancing at Stephen, he continued, “From what I could see the brown haired woman was attractive but the blonde…there was something about her. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She had this, I don’t know—aura, I guess. Oh, and the way she carried herself, walked, laughed and smiled, it’s like everything went quiet as she strutted down the beach.”
Stephen chuckled, “Are you kidding me?”
“Nope. I only looked away when I got a phone call from Tabu. And when I looked up again, they had disappeared. It wasn’t long after that the blonde appeared, standing in front of me. She didn’t say a word at first but she stretched her hand up and caressed my cheek before holding my hand. She said she knew I wanted her and—” he snickered peering at his friend, “and then I gazed into her mesmerizing eyes and proposed to her.” Brandon raised his brows, holding his hands out as Stephen’s jaw dropped. (End of Chapter 1)

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