Day 17 of 21 Days of Love brings us author Cathy Jo's "No More Expectations." I absolutely loved this book and its authenticity of how devastating relationships can be when there is no self-responsibility taken. She deals with the shallowness of our minds when we become stuck in a game of lust rather than love, and when games are played between men and women.
After losing 207 pounds, the men just keep coming. Brianya Johnson never imagined that what began as a crusade to get revenge on her ex would turn into a journey of self discovery, leaving in its wake a trail of men who can’t seem to take no for an answer. Endo Jamison, Ed Hollister, Monticello Beauvoir, and Darnell Johnson all vie for Brianya’s affection, working her nerves and leaving her questioning her decision to jump, feet first, back into the dating pool. While she has an ironclad rule: No sex before marriage—anymore—there’s no such rule where her heart is concerned. As each man tries to win her over, Brianya finds that what she hadn’t prepared for was the emotional toll all the attention would take.
In my novels, you’ll always find love as the basis. From the cradle to the grave, love is what we crave. Whether the love is romantic, familial, agape, or brotherly, our lives are defined by how we give and receive that love. The road to displaying and finding all those types of love can be entertaining and life-affirming; it’s that kernel of humanness that I focus on in my writing. Although this book is downright hilarious in some instances, sexy in parts, and reflective in others, it mostly addresses the determination of the human spirit to shine in the face of whatever obstacles life throws our way.
So sit back, relax, and please enjoy the excerpt and of course, buy the book. You’ll like it, I promise.
“I want to thank you for this evening, Ed. Everything was superb!” Brianya smiled appreciatively and cupped her chin in her hand. “So tell me, Ed, what’s the deal? And this time I want a real answer.”
Ed moved closer. “All right,” he said. “I like you, Brianya.” He leaned his elbows on his knees and rubbed his face with the palms of his hands.
Blank stare from Brianya.
“I mean really like you, Brianya.” He paused then continued. “Ever since we’ve been . . . well, doing whatever it is we’re doing, I can’t get you out of my mind. I don’t want to be with anybody else. Not that I was some sort of player before, I wasn’t. But I wasn’t a monk either. I can’t even think of being with anybody else in that way.”
“So what are you saying?” Brianya asked, confusion settling in.
A sheen of perspiration broke out across Ed’s forehead. “I guess what I’m saying is I want us take this to the next level.” Ed looked Brianya directly in the eye.
Brianya’s eyes grew wide with surprise. She’d heard what Ed had said, but she couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t he see that she’d put on weight? He’d felt the extra roll on her middle, that’s why he’d pulled his hand back. He had to see that her eating was out of control. Hadn’t he noticed that she’d gone back for seconds twice and that she hadn’t been to the gym in she couldn’t remember how long? She had baggage; hadn’t he heard a word she’d said in the last three months? Brianya shook her head in confusion. “The next level,” she repeated. “Well, I guess that would be letting you hug me without me freaking out.” Brianya laughed when she said it, although she saw nothing funny about having a potential suitor recoil in disgust when he discovered she’d put on weight.
Ed laughed, too. “You got a point,” he agreed. “But, honestly, that’s not a problem for me.” Ed rose from the couch. “Come here,” he said, holding out his arms to Brianya.
Brianya moved with skepticism into Ed’s arms. It was just a hug, she told herself. What’ was the big deal? When Brianya had first arrived, she’d noticed the striking aroma of Ed’s cologne wafting throughout the house and asked what it was. “Black, by Kenneth Cole,” he’d responded. Now, as she snuggled close to Ed, her head resting in the crevice of his neck, she drank in the scent and tried hard to hold herself together.
“You okay?” Ed asked, obviously feeling the tension emanating from Brianya.
“I’m good,” Brianya croaked out.
In an effort to put Brianya at ease, Ed began humming the melody to the song, Two Occasions, by The Deele. Their bodies began to move in sync as Ed went from humming to singing the lyrics to the hook. He spun Brianya around and brought her back into his embrace and they began hand dancing to the beat of a silent tune.
Brianya, giggling like a schoolgirl, collapsed onto the sofa. “I’m cured!” she declared, shaking her head at Ed. “And I thought I couldn’t carry a tune!”
“Hey, I warned you from the beginning.”
Ed, like Endo, had a good-naturedness about him that Brianya found refreshing. Most of the men she’d known before were always so hung up on trying to be hard, tough guys. At this moment, Brianya felt drawn to Ed. As much as she wanted to take it to the next level with him, she couldn’t. The next level, of course, meaning a declaration of exclusivity. “You did warn me,” Brianya agreed. Building on the theme of forewarnings, Brianya added, “And I warned you from the beginning, too.”
“Yeah.” Ed joined Brianya on the couch. “It doesn’t have to be written in blood does it? I mean, I know how I feel about you.” Ed took Brianya’s hand in his and brought it to his lips. He held Brianya’s gaze with his. “You’re the kind of woman a man would kill for,” he said planting a whisper of a kiss on the back of Brianya’s hand.
The room went still. The heat of electricity coursed through Brianya and she found it impossible to speak. “Whew,” Brianya said, finding her voice and fanning herself in a mock gesture. “You’re moving a little too fast for me.”
“Too fast? It’s been three months. Look, I know what you said about not giving the candy away . . . but I’m not talking about a one-night stand. I’m talking about a commitment.” Ed’s brown eyes flashed with excitement.
“Whoa!” Brianya moved away from Ed’s grasp. “We’re not on the same page. Are you talking about sex?”
“Well, yeah!” Ed’s voice went up an octave. “What did you think I was talking about?”
“I thought you were talking about being exclusive.”
Ed looked puzzle. “We’re already exclusive, aren’t we?”
“How can we be exclusive when we’re not even dating?” she wanted to add “duh!” but she didn’t dare.
Ed stood and stalked to the window. “So, you’re seeing other people while we’re dating, or doing whatever it is we’re doing?”
Although she didn’t mean it to be a secret, Brianya hadn’t mentioned to Ed that he was one-third in a triad. Something in his tone and the way he was staring at her, told Brianya that it was better to deny all accusations. “No, Ed, that’s not what I’m saying.” Brianya found that in times like these, when there was a huge misunderstanding about expectations, it was best to say the person’s name. It helped to reassure the other person that all was still well.
“Then what are you saying?” Ed stuffed his hands in his pockets.
“All I’m saying is, from the beginning I told you that I was celibate until marriage and that we weren’t dating.” Brianya sucked in a her breath then slowly let it out.
With the exception of the low hum of an appliance in the distance, the room grew quiet. After what felt like an eternity, Ed spoke into the silence. “You’re right. You did say that. It’s just that you’re so much more than I imagined you would be. I never expected to fall this hard for you. I mean, just the thought of you being with somebody else. . . .” Ed’s thoughts trailed off. “Listen to me. I’m a forty-three-year-old grown man acting like a school boy with a crush.”
Brianya let out a sigh of relief. “I thought you were about to go all Misery on me!”
Ed chuckled. “Yeah. I saw that deer-in-the-headlight look you were giving me.” Ed’s brows furrowed. “I would never intentionally hurt you, Miss Johnson.”
“The fact of the matter is no matter how well-intentioned we are, without meaning to, we almost always end up hurting the ones we care about.” Ed crossed the room to sit, once again, at Brianya’s side. So yes, Miss Johnson, I would never intentionally hurt you.” Ed took Brianya’s face in his hands and she let him kiss her with a passion that mirrored her own feelings, as deep as the Congo River.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As far back as she can remember, Cathy Jo has always been a writer, driven by her desire to control the outcome. She was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and is a proud graduate of the Cleveland Municipal School District. When Cathy Jo isn’t writing, she’s spending time reading, studying, watching movies, or talking to people about the Word of God. While her writing doesn’t necessarily espouse her religious beliefs, it is guided by Godly principles.
Cathy Jo always knew that someday she would be a published author and 2011 her dream came true. With the publication of her first book, Transitions: short stories for a rainy day, Cathy Jo was determined not to be a one-book author. She is working on her third book, which is titled Promise Me You Won’t that is due for publication this summer.
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Web site: http://www.twistedwordpublishing.com
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