A Dip Into the Forbidden ~A Time to Love Series Book I

Below are the first two chapters of my Book! I am excited to share my first self-published novel. I have worked tirelessly for many years on this series, until finally I was ready to share it with the world. I hope everyone who orders will enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing. Sit back and grab a glass of wine and turn on Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. It’s a MOOD! You can pre-order the Kindle Version (Ebook) here on Amazon. The paperback will be available within three weeks.

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Cheers,

Duchess

Excerpt 

Her alter ego Penny awakens as she turns around and sees Braxton writing his name on a tall woman’s dance card. He leaned down and kissed her on the cheek. Eva was lost in thought, thinking this was the woman who interrupted what could have been the best night of her life. It still can be, Penny rants at her. Eva knew she should not be here at this ball staring intently like a brazen she-devil at Braxton. What was the alternative? He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. He was tall, broad shouldered, with unique silver eyes, and dark chestnut hair. 

Tonight, he wore his hair slicked back just long enough to be tied back at his neck. Braxton looked nothing short of regal. Prince Harry, she thought. He completed his look with a tailored long tail black suit with a matching silver waistband matching the allure of his prince charming vibes. Eva felt herself warm underneath her mask as she was mentally stripping his clothes off of his body. Suddenly he looked up, locked eyes with her, and started in Eva’s direction. She quickly glanced down, ashamed of where her thoughts were going.

“Excuse me Miss…” she was struck dumbly. 

“E..va..” She replied, staggering her words a little bit like a drunkard on the street. The light of recognition lit his silver eyes. “Miss Eva, I have never seen you at one of these functions before. Granted, it is always a masked affair, I am happy to make your acquaintance.” 

“Mr. Carter, there are over two hundred people here. I am sure you do not see every one of them.” 

Darn it! She thought. 

Now he knows she was staring at him and knew who he was BY LAST NAME. 

Anymore lame and I’ll be needing a crutch. Eva wanted to melt, his gaze seemed to penetrate into her. Why does she always have to be awkward and rhetorical? A ridiculous combination. He tipped his head back and laughed, showing off a perfect set of pearly white teeth. She was in trouble.

Evangeline

Thursday April 5, 2012

Evangeline, also known as Eva, was tucked nicely into her twin-size bed in her shared apartment. This was the day after the big party her roommate Susan hosted at a popular club near campus. Nothing to celebrate really other than a few weeks left of the semester. Her alarm clock rang with such ferocity she was sure she was in mid battle. At least that is how her dreaming-self interpreted it, quite literally as a matter of fact. Evangeline woke groggy unwilling to put forth the required energy to set the snooze or shut off the alarm. It felt like she just went to sleep. After what seemed like an hour of drifting in and out of sleep from the alarm, she woke up and read the time of the clock at 6:58 AM. Oh, crap! It was her first thoughts as she jumped exuberantly out of bed. The last thing she needed was to be late and have to hear about it from her boss.

“Shit! Shit! Shit! I’m going to be late for work.” With how unruly her hair was to how lazily she perused in the morning she needed at least an hour and a half. 

Evangeline worked with a cleaning agency for the last three years of her college life. Granted it was part time, but the pay was better than the starting pay at most places. It allowed her to continue going to college and save money. In the last two years she was placed at the Carter’s family estate. Unlike other families she had worked for, the home was almost always completely empty except for the cleaning staff. Oh, really and what about the heir of the estate…forgot him so soon huh. That was Penny, Eva’s alter ego she always seemed to come out and encourage poor behavior at all times. As usual, Eva was daydreaming and having full dialogs with her inner self and lost track of time.

Whelp there is another ten minutes gone, sigh. 

At that last thought she jumped up and raced towards her bathroom. With no time to comb through her lion’s mane, she tied her hair under a bandana and placed her cap onto her suffering hair, screaming for a little TLC.

Evangeline was not very tall, only two inches of being a certified little person. One could never see her womanly curves, she dressed at all times in complete modesty. She looked at her doe-y brown eyes that were too big for her face, full lips that she hated one hundred percent of the time and thick manly eyebrows. Finally deciding she was dressed properly, she walked through the living room to grab the keys to her roommates Cadillac CTS-V. Normally she would take the bus but as time is of the essence, she needed to ASAP besides she thought Susan never minds when she takes the car to work. Not that she will be up by the time her shift ends.

Eva stopped by Rogers Coffee House on the way to her job to grab a quick shot of Espresso. “Good Morning Eva, same as usual?”

“Hey there Mr. Roger, how are the grandkids? And now today let’s do a double shot of espresso, running behind and need a quick energy boost if I am to get through the day, you know.” Mr. Roger was the neighborhood’s Grandfather. When she lived in an orphanage, he always came every Friday to drop donuts and cider for all the kids. As Eva grew up, she would help pass out the goodies to all the younger orphans and assist with the cleanup, which is how Mr. and Mrs. Rogers became a big part of her life. 

“The Grands are good, very busy. You know Martha doesn’t even come to the shop much anymore now that Sabrina gave us another youngin’ Now you make sure you get some rest. No old lady like you should be drinking Espresso that’s for us young folks. You get some rest ya hear” He said with a wink. 

“OK! I promise.” She said kissing him on the cheek and waving goodbye. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers had a quaint little coffee house two blocks from her apartment. It was very homey and decorated with trinkets from their native land and culture. Barbados. The coffee was imported from their family farm and was the best in town. Heck, probably the state, she thought.

Eva pulled up at exactly 7:58 am. Pulling her badge and putting it on the sensor so the gates leading to the forbidden fruit will take her up the drive to her workplace. The mansion resembled the chateau look of the Biltmore Mansion in North Carolina. Not comparable in size but style absolutely. 

Thank God I only have to clean two studies and two libraries. If there were more to do, I would never have a chance to finish my degree or live. But! Her alter ego suggested, you wouldn’t be able to feed your thirst for first edition books or see our lover

Had it not been for her therapist, she would swear she was going crazy with all the conversing she does in her head. Eva made her way to the side entrances that took her directly to the Service Entrance. This is where she gets her supplies for the day.

This also happens to be where many of the service employees gather to break and gossip. Which is exactly what Gretchen was doing. Eva overheard her telling Jerry that Braxton was caught up in another scandal. Apparently, he was seen with a Mrs. emphasizing the MRS and leaving a certain four seasons. Blah, Blah, Blah, she thought as she hurried from the room. Normally she could take a little eavesdropping but today she was just in a sour mood and Braxton Carter was the last name she wanted to hear. Eva made an unwritten rule. *Never befriend anyone that works with her. * Upon other Dos and Don’ts according to Human Resource. 

1.) Don’t Steal 

2.) Do your work and only your work. And 

3.) Do not involve yourself in family affairs and be invisible. All those rules were fine with her, she made it her business to be invisible. Especially with Braxton in close proximity. 

The guy was too intoxicating for his own good. She was nearing the first library and heard hushed tones inside, so she had to forgo her normal routine, so she was not spotted. Well, almost.

“You there, come here for a moment, will you?” It was Melony the stepmother. 

“Hello Mrs. Carter, did you need something?” Eva was on high alert, the family has never in almost three years said a word to her, let alone demanded her attention. 

“Yes, you will do just fine. “Mrs. Carter was sizing Eva up and down almost as if checking for imperfection under a scope. 

“You will be here in two weeks’ time, we are having a going away party of sorts and we need trusted people. I trust you will be discreet.” Before Eva could talk herself out of it, Mrs. Carter gave her a nice boon. 

“Of course, this will be separate from your wages, say $3,000 for your help?” While Eva did not object, Mrs. Carter took it as an agreement. 

“Great, go now to Jeffrey so he can add your name to the list and explain what is expected.” Eva just nodded her head and went to the Service area and sought out Jeffrey.

Not that she would object to an extra three grand, which was almost a quarter of what she managed to save in three years. She was just hoping this wasn’t some freaky cult party. Oh, but what if it was Penny who came out with a cigar in hand blowing O’s.

“Excuse me Jeffrey, Mrs. Carter sent me to find you in regards to an event they are hosting…”

 Jeffrey cut her off with a snap of his fingers. “Not now little one, not here follow me.” 

Eva not only wished she had not run into Mrs. Carter but was hoping this was not some sacrificial gathering. Surely, she would make like a shooting star and leave. Nevertheless, her curiosity won, and she followed him into a private office. He did not speak for a few moments. “Our employers are hosting an intimate house party with big wigs.” He stopped. 

“No, you do not need to know who will be here, your job will be to make sure the guests are settled and to keep one guest in particular occupied.” 

“Now wait a minute, I am not the woman who will be giving favors to any man.” 

Jeffrey smiled. “Yes, you will do just fine.” 

“So, I am told.” Eva rolled her eyes. 

“Do not worry, this is nothing sexual at all, in fact your job will be a companion to Lady Scarlet.” This piqued her interest a little. 

“During the festivities you will show her the grounds and ensure she is not lacking in attention.” 

“But why?” 

“That dearie is not important, if you can pull this off you will likely be favored by the family.” 

Again Eva said, “But why me?” 

“To answer in short, Mrs. Carter knows everything about the people in her employ and you are a literature major correct?” 

“Yes.” Eva said quizzically. 

“Well, there you have it, you know it will be a perfect match for the dear Lady Scarlet, now go ahead and finish up for the day, there will be a package in your car for you with further instructions.” He shooed Eva out the room and resumed picking invisible lint from his perfectly tailored coat. For Eva, if this was just as simple as talking about literature then it could not be so bad. She sped through her duties wiping, dusting, vacuuming, and mopping in record time. When she made her way to her final room, she overheard yet again talking about Braxton and his latest scandal. That made her clean with such vigor and anger that it seemed like everyone wanted to discuss Braxton and his nasty ways.

Don’t forget they also talk about how sexy he is. 

She blushed cherry at her inward thought. This library she always saved last it was her favorite. Covered from ceiling to floor with leather bound books in first edition. This particular room looked as if it had never been used since the mansion was built over one hundred years ago. It was all masculine in walnuts and dark cherry woods. Accompanied by a massive six-foot solid wood desk and two chocolate leather sofas. As usual with time to spare, she sat on the Persian rug and delved into Jane Austen’s classic novel Emma. This coincidently reminded Eva of how Susan always tried to set her up with men. Lost in the novel, Eva did not hear the abrupt entrance of the one and only Braxton. She crept slowly to the corner of the massive room trying to make herself invisible. He entered on the phone yelling. “How the hell did they come to that conclusion, four season my ass!” Whoever was on the receiving end, she could almost hear the shakiness in their voice.

“Yes well that is what I paid you for so I do not have to deal with this. Figure it out before my father gets wind of this, you know what, just fix it Jay or you’re fired.” Eva cowered closer to the corner clutching the book, not wanting to move or breathe. Suddenly he sank down in the oversized chair that he seemed to fill nicely

Braxton

Braxton paced back and forth in front of the window oblivious to anything going on around him. By now he should have been used to the false news attacking his character. He was sure this was done intentionally by someone on his father’s board. With his father almost in retirement and many board members pitching themselves as candidates, somehow this feels like a takeover one in which he will make sure to stop. Braxton stopped suddenly, smelling the most fragrant aroma like a mix of cherries and roses intertwined. He looked around and that is when he saw he was not alone. He walked over to one of the cleaning personnel, and she had a book in her hand. “You’ve been here the whole time?” She nodded. 

“I trust that you will be discreet.” The young woman started blushing profusely. Her scent wafted into his nose. He had never seen her here before, granted he doesn’t make a point to become acquaintances with people in his employ besides Nathan. She almost looked scared as he towered over her with his height. 

Grabbing the book from her hands, none too softly, he asked, “Do you normally sit and read while I pay you?” She began to shrink inward, and he felt bad about the tone of his voice. That was until the next words left her mouth. Chin held high, the young woman said, “And here I presumed I was being paid by your father. I’ll be sure to never touch another book unless I am cleaning it.”  With that she turned and left leaving her scent behind and a whisper of words. What an ass. Braxton chuckles to himself at her audacity and leaves to meet Nathan to go over some planning. Apparently, his parents were hosting a house party that he must attend that involved many donors for their company. 

Published by Zahara Red

Zahara Jane is an alumni from the University of Michigan Dearborn with a Bachelors of Arts with a concentration in English. She is currently in the process of publishing her first novel. Zahara has been married for 10 years and has four beautiful children.

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