Date Published: 05-31-2022
Sugar flows through Calla Taylor’s veins, so owning her own candy shop is her dream come true. She has independence and the chance to surround herself with her passion… candy. But life in Avenel, a small island town, has its challenges. The summer’s hurricane season hit her hard, and now that winter has begun, she’s not sure Calla’s Candy can hold out until the warmer temperatures lure tourists back to the beaches.
Ash Singh has it all: good looks, a charming personality, and a pile of money that just continues to grow. He also has a broken heart. Because of the hellish way his last relationship ended, he wasn’t sure he could ever love again. But meeting Calla changed everything. It started small. When she smiled, the jagged edges of his heart found their match and sealed together. Her laugh revived a pulse that sent need and desire through his
soul. But when he held her in his arms as they danced, he felt something he hadn’t felt in a long time. Hope.
But one thoughtless act cuts Calla to the core and threatens the hope that took root in Ash’s soul. He sets out to not only save his relationship with Calla, but he vows to save Calla’s Candy too.
Ash’s stomach grumbled again as he made his way towards the café on the other side of the lobby. He’d debated getting room service, but he wanted to stretch his legs. He’d worked in his suite all day, going over the numbers for potential companies that Singhular Venture Capital could fund.
As he stepped up to the vacant hostess stand, he spotted the hostess coming his way. She was a young woman in her twenties. She graced him with a smile as she hustled towards him.
“Good evening, Mr. Singh,” Cherie Berry said as she stepped behind the hostess stand. She usually worked in the 5-star hotel’s Hope’s Garden Restaurant on the other side of the lobby, but a friend called in sick. She volunteered to cover for her because she never turned down the chance to earn money.
“Good evening, Ms. Cherie,” Ash replied after reading her name tag. Some people would be surprised to have strangers automatically know their name, but not him. He learned that when someone pays over a thousand dollars a night at a resort, the resort makes sure the staff recognizes that guest’s face to ensure the very highest caliber treatment.
Cherie’s heart raced a little when he said her name. Ashwin Singh was handsome and well mannered. And single. She wouldn’t mind finding a man from among the crème de la crème of society. What would it be like to be a guest of the posh hotel instead of a worker?
“Are you dining alone or waiting for someone?” Cherie asked. She set her hand on the stack of menus and waited to hear how many to grab.
“Ah, just myself.” He glanced around the café. Most of the tables were occupied.
“Please, follow me,” Cherie said, picking up a menu.
Ash followed Cherie, but then he spotted Calla. The raven-haired beauty with alabaster skin was laughing with a man on the other side of the room. He was surprised at the range of emotions that flooded him.
His first thought was how lucky he was to spot her. He’d been thinking about her all week, hoping that their paths would cross again so he could continue to heal the fissure between them. Then jealousy twisted his heart. She wasn’t with a friend. She was with a man. And she was laughing with him, slathering him with giggles and smiles. Women liked men who made them feel good, and it was apparent that this man was making Calla feel good.
Ash cleared his throat and asked softly, “Excuse me, Ms. Cherie, is it possible to sit there?” He pointed to a small table for two along the window that looked out at the ocean. It would also give him a good view of Calla.
“Of course,” Cherie gave him a smile. She shifted directions and led him to the table that he’d pointed out.
Ash pulled out the chair and sat so Calla was in his direct line of sight. Cherie handed him a menu and then walked away.
Ash wasn’t sure if this was a good idea or not. He would happily watch her all night, revel in her smile, but was he torturing himself? Her smiles weren’t for him. They were for the man sitting across from her.
Who was that man? He hadn’t accompanied her to the wedding. Calla didn’t seem like the kind of girl to cheat on a boyfriend. At least he hoped not. Could he be a gay friend? A man who had a host of female friends but was romantic with none of them.
When the waitress arrived, he glanced at the menu and ordered a Monte Cristo sandwich After handing her the menu, she hustled off.
Ash intertwined his fingers and set his hands on the table in front of him. He couldn’t take his eyes off of Calla, but he also didn’t want to look like a creepy stalker. He forced himself to grab his cell and cradle it on the table in front of him. He scanned through the business news while darting glances in her direction.
When the waitress set his sandwich in front of him, he noticed that Calla was eating the same sandwich. He smiled at that. This was another thing they had in common.
While he finished his sandwich, the waitress set a large slice of chocolate cake in the middle of Calla’s table. Ash cringed as she slid her fork into the cake and fed the man the first bite. Bile churned in Ash’s stomach as the man’s lips covered the morsel and she pulled the fork from his mouth.
Ash immediately lost his appetite. He wanted to be the man she was flirting with, the man she was romantically feeding, the man she would go home with. He wasn’t sure how much more of watching her on a date with another man he could handle. He just knew that he couldn’t take much more.
Being a man of action, Ash stood. The alpha within him demanded that he speak with her. See if there was any spark in her eye when they spoke. He prayed that her gaze, a sparkle in her eyes would offer him hope? The gentleman within him argued that he needed to respect her space. She was not his, therefore he didn’t have the right interrupt her date.
He knew that the polite thing to do would be to leave her alone, but the alpha in him won the internal struggle within him.
He strode towards her, weaving between the tables of diners, with his eyes glued to her. In some weird way, he prayed that if he could speak with her, that she’d realize that she wanted him.
Halfway to her table, his heart dropped out of his chest as she leaned across the table and let the man feed her a bite of chocolate cake. With her eyes closed in sublime pleasure and the moan of appreciation she purred as the man withdrew the fork, Ash nearly turned around. But he stayed the course.
He didn’t run from a challenge.
Maybe it was his imagination, but as he neared, he could feel the sexual energy between the couple as they shared that cake. Between their body language, the smiles, and eye-contact, they were oblivious to anyone else around them. They were completely absorbed in each other.
This was not a good sign.
Ash came to a stop beside their table and cleared his throat casually to politely interrupt their moment. Then he said, “Hi, Calla. It’s good to see you.” He glanced at the man who sat across from her, gave a polite nod and said, “Hello.”
Calla startled when Ash’s deep voice resonated over her skin. She was thankful that she wore long sleeves so he wouldn’t see the goose bumps his velvet voice caused to dance over her skin. As much as she was enjoying Trent, the sight of Ash standing beside her jolted her. The man was one of the handsomest men she’d ever seen, including Hollywood heartthrobs. It shouldn’t surprise her that his presence affected her. But then the memory of his disrespectful words tickled her ears and she regained her composure.
“Hi,” she said. She leaned back in her seat. Her eyes widened as she glanced between the two handsome men. The moment suddenly felt awkward. The air was heavy between them.
She motioned towards Ash and said, “Trent, this is Ash. Ash, this is Trent. Trent and I went to school together.”
The men gave each other a firm head nod and grunted their hellos as they sized up their competition. Ash noted that she didn’t introduce the man with a romantic title. Not even a ‘good friend’. That made him smile.
“What are you doing here?” she asked Ash. Her brow crinkled in curiosity. “I thought you were back in Raleigh.”
“I was, but I look at houses tomorrow with the realtor.”
“Hm,” she responded. His presence was affecting her in ways she hadn’t expected. Her heart rate ticked up, a flushed heat covered her, and she felt her heart warming to Ash.
She needed Ash to leave for Trent’s sake. She stabbed the tines of her fork into the cake and pulled off another bite. “Good luck with that. I hope you find something that you like.” She slid the fork into her mouth and savored the bite.
She really didn’t want to talk to Ash. And despite her conflicted feelings, she didn’t want him to ruin her date with Trent. As she chewed, she hoped Ash would take the hint and let them enjoy their cake in peace.
Ash nodded politely at them and said, “I didn’t mean to interrupt your dinner.” He purposely didn’t use the word ‘date’. “I just wanted to say hi.” His gaze went to Trent. “It was nice meeting you. I’m sure I’ll see you around once I move here.”
Calla gave him an awkward wave and then mumbled, “Bye,” with her hand covering her mouth full of cake.
Trent nodded once and said, “See you around.”
Ash wasn’t sure how to read their short interaction. She and Trent were friendly to him, but when Calla started eating her cake, he knew it was time for him to hit the road. And Trent definitely wanted to be a lot more than friends with Calla.
Ash stopped at the hostess station. Cherie instantly set down her pencil and gave him her full attention.
“I hope your meal was delicious,” Cherie said. “Is there anything else I can do for you, Mr. Singh?”
Ash began, “My meal was fabulous, thank you. I would like you to add that couple’s bill to my room.” He pointed out Calla and Trent. “No need to tell them who paid. You can just tell them that a friend took care of it.”
“Of course, sir,” Cherie replied. “Have a good evening.”
Ash’s Monte Cristo sandwich was heavy in his stomach as he cut through the lobby towards the elevators. He hoped buying their dinner would be counted as a plus in her book. From her indifference towards him, even if she understood why he behaved the way he did at the reception, she wasn’t interested in him. He wasn’t sure that he could blame her.
About the Author
She loves traveling the world. Whether it’s to the heights of Yosemite, the white sands of the Caribbean, or even Down Under, she’s always ready to pack a bag in search of inspiration.
She enjoys creating worlds filled with unique characters that will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers.
Nonfiction / Career
Date Published: March 30, 2022
Publisher: Getting Results Inc
What do you want to be when you grow up?
That may have been fun or easy to answer years ago, but for teens and young adults, it’s a question that can be disconcerting at best… and sometimes downright frightening now that the question has become real.
Career choice is a huge decision with layers of consequence.
In Find Your Flavor, Lauren Doyle walks readers through the step-by-step process she uses with the young adult clients she works with which include:
- Integrating your interests, strengths, and lifestyle desires to create the
recipe for the ultimate career success.
- The importance of playing, experimenting, and sampling with potential
ingredients to be included in your career recipe.
- How to distinguish between enduring intrigue v.s. hobby-like
- Better understanding and mastering your own mind for more successful life
- Guidance on how to get your foot in the door (or on the ladder).
- Learn to use existing social networks to help you land a position in your
She offers specific exercises that help readers put these critical, but often ‘invisible’ concepts to work to uncover the perfect recipe for choosing the ideal career. Whether you are a teen considering a college major or a young adult about to launch into a professional role, you’ll definitely want to read this book and ‘find your flavor’ that will put you on the path to success and life-long fulfillment.
Indecision can be costly
More Than Money and Time
You are, indeed, faced with a consequential choice.
Part of the cultural shift is an increasing amount of pressure on students to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives. At 18 years old, a student has not been able to have the types of experiences they need to make the best choices. Sure, there is a rare, small percentage who have a clear vision early and follow it for their entire lives with much satisfaction and happiness, but I assure you, it’s a very small percentage.
There are plenty of students, notably the Type-A ones, who struggle with incredible anxiety about making the wrong career and course of study decision. Many understand the ramifications of choosing the wrong major or even the wrong school, and it leads to sleepless nights, worry, and stress… at best. It can even lead to some turning to drugs and alcohol, becoming more reliant on substance abuse in an attempt to combat ongoing bouts of depression and self-doubt.
There can be an internalization of an incorrect decision about career planning. “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get it right?”
Besides the cost of poor career choice planning in terms of money and time, there is an inadvertent and possibly higher cost that comes with the loss of self-esteem. Perception of self-worth plummets, and there’s an insidious, underlying, not-so-nice voice that declares, “I’m a loser because I can’t figure it out.” But how can you figure out what you want out of life when you’ve had such limited exposure to life in the first place? With unrealistic pressure to “figure it out,” many students will start borrowing ideas from others about what they should do or be. Often, it comes from parents; however, peers play a bigger role today, thanks to the impact of social media.
Far too much of a sense of self-worth today comes from the number of likes anyone gets. And yes, it can actually infiltrate all the way to career choice. For some young adults, they don’t follow the career that is most suited for them because it doesn’t sound cool on social media or it doesn’t have the level of prestige in the eyes of their social circles. Unfortunately, I’m not making this up.
The world is a different place today, and social pressures, due in very large part to social media, are at an extreme level – far higher than they’ve ever been. As a result, there is actually a loss of self-identity or missed identity as teens and young adults try to carve themselves into what they think they’re supposed to be based on their “life on social media” rather than determining more effectively who they really are, so they can more accurately determine who they are becoming – not to satisfy social norms and stigmas but to satisfy their own personal appetite of personalized interests.
I realized I had to write this book when I discovered the benefits of going through the process that I’m about to share with you that go far beyond avoiding excessive tuition expenses and wasting time in the wrong major. I found that when the students I was coaching went through this process, it not only clarified their direction regarding career choices, it really boosted their self-esteem and confidence. In turn, they’re less apt to feel insecure about their choices and hopeless about their future. With that increase in confidence, they put less stock in the opinions of their peers and what’s shared on social media and become more focused on succeeding in their careers. As a result and possibly most important, they become less susceptible to using substances to get through their day, ultimately avoiding the bouts of depression that are too commonplace with today’s youth.
The young clients I work with get so much more out of the process, including how to manage their own thoughts, especially when those thoughts lead to anxiety and/or sadness. They also learn how to negotiate challenges in relationships of all types, and so much more, all based on the fundamental principles that I am going to cover with you in the chapters that follow.
So, it’s time for you to stop ordering from the kids’ menu and begin experimenting with different ingredients in different ways to create a recipe for your future that you can truly savor. As I guide you through this in the following chapters, you’re about to discover that this is going to be so much more than career-path choices and decisions!
About the Author
Lauren Doyle has been helping professionals make more money and have more fun the majority of her career as a business coach. Due to the fact that her background is diverse and includes a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, she has had the opportunity to help many of her clients’ adult children navigate the daunting challenge of choosing a career they love and to set them up for untold success. Her skillset is an unusual talent that allows her to connect with this younger population and relate to them through her own personal successes.
This book was written for you because she wanted to codify what has helped her and her clients achieve a life and career by design. Maybe it is her love of puzzles that allow her to help her clients put together the challenging puzzle of choosing a career that will marry each client’s unique talent with their enduring passions to cook up the perfect recipe for choosing a rewarding career ideal for them.
Her ‘outside the box’ thinking she helps her clients and herself live a fulfilling business. She truly practices what she preaches. The concepts she shares has allowed her to: live on the beach in San Diego, become a snowbird in her 30’s spending ½ the year on a lake in Michigan and the other ½ in beautiful Sarasota, Florida. She has been able to do this while achieving financial freedom as a result of cooking up her own recipe of creating a national business coaching firm, buying and selling millions of dollars of real estate and being a great Mom and wife.
She sat in your place once and has uncovered the formula that will help you ultimately determine yours. Her practical approach makes her style relatable and the steps easy to implement.
She has a passion for renovating all things to make them better; from countless properties to hundreds of lives and businesses, she seems to have mastered the art of putting the right pieces in place to create the desired experience.
In addition to this book, Ms. Doyle has also written The Hijacker: Overcome Self-sabotaging Behavior, a book that takes a deeper dive into the impact of understanding Human Operating Systems.
With her Psychology and business background gives her a unique perspective that is most helpful in writing the ultimate recipe for career success.
Nonfiction / Law
Date Published: December 21, 2021
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Sex work occupies a legally gray space in Johannesburg, South Africa, and
police attitudes towards it are inconsistent and largely unregulated. As I. India Thusi argues in Policing Bodies, this results in both room for negotiation that can benefit sex workers and also extreme precarity in which the security police officers provide can be offered and taken away at a moment’s notice. Sex work straddles the line between formal and informal.
Attitudes about beauty and subjective value are manifest in formal tasks, including police activities, which are often conducted in a seemingly ad hoc manner. However, high-level organizational directives intended to regulate police obligations and duties toward sex workers also influence police action and tilt the exercise of discretion to the formal. In this liminal space, this book considers how sex work is policed and how it should be policed. Challenging discourses about sexuality and gender that inform its regulation, Thusi exposes the limitations of dominant feminist arguments regarding the legal treatment of sex work. This in-depth, historically informed ethnography illustrates the tension between enforcing a country’s laws and protecting citizens’ human rights.
About the Author
I. India Thusi is Professor of Law at Indiana University Bloomington Maurer School of Law, with a joint appointment at the Kinsey Institute. She has worked with the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and The Opportunity Agenda.
Start reading Policing Bodies: Law, Sex Work, and Desire in Johannesburg on your Kindle in under a minute.