Today I am so pleased to welcome LaQuette to Joyfully Jay. LaQuette has come to talk to us about her latest release, Under His Protection. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Me & My Big Brooklyn Family
Hello, I’m LaQuette and I’m visiting all the way from Brooklyn, NY! Thanks to Jay for inviting me to relax and gab for a moment.
I was born in raised in Brooklyn, but my family has roots in Georgia which heavily influenced my cultural upbringing. For me, growing up with my southern grandparents living in my home meant big family gatherings on a nearly weekly basis. The idea of an extended family didn’t compute. Everyone in my family was part of my nuclear family, because we were always together.
Growing up with the security of my noisy family around me gave me an incredible sense of belonging. I never felt out of place. I was always certain I was meant to be exactly where I was, tugging on my grandma’s skirt tails, playing with my siblings and cousins, or gathering around the table to sample my grandmother’s gift of making mortal food taste like ambrosia. As long as I was with a member of my family, I was happy, cared for, and no harm could befall me.
Understanding the strength of family was important when I wrote my newest release, Under His Protection. Having firsthand knowledge of this family dynamic, I knew that paring a confident and in-control personality like Elijah with a family like mine would result in a lot of laughter, love, and tears. And once you meet Evelyn, Walter, Manny, and Vivienne Stephenson, you’ll immediately understand what Elijah and I have always known, the source of his strength, frustration, and joy is the Stephenson family. And adding a love interest like Camden to the already eclectic mix can only multiply the fun or trouble.
“Now, one of these things is not like the other, Elijah.”
Elijah already knew where this was going, and the hair on his arms stood up in anticipation of his father’s line of questioning.
This was how interrogations had always begun in Elijah’s house as a child. First his father would come to him with a playful, disarming tone that lulled Elijah and his brother into a false sense of security. Once his father had fattened them up for the kill, he’d tag their mother in for the win, and she’d decimate any lie he and his brother had cooked up.
Keep it cool, and everything’ll be fine.
“No worries, Pops.” Elijah kept his breathing even and his smile tempered as he glanced at Camden standing in the kitchen doorway.
Much to Elijah’s surprise, Camden was leaning against the doorjamb, arms crossed against his chest, one ankle overlapping the other. He wore an amused smile that made him look carefree. His blue eyes sparked with laughter, and the laid-back picture he made reminded Elijah of their one night of conversation and lovemaking.
“Elijah.” His father’s voice intruding on his thoughts brought him out of his musings. “You were saying?”
Elijah shook his head and cleared his throat, giving himself a little time to put his game face back on.
“Pops.” His voice cracked a little again. Determined to sound like the grown-ass man he was, Elijah cleared his throat again and willed his voice to remain steady. “Everyone. This is my friend Camden. We’d made plans a while ago for him to hang out up here, but I completely spaced on the dates. It didn’t dawn on me that you guys would be here this weekend.”
There was silence in the room; all eyes seemed to be on Camden, then on him. All Elijah had to do was keep it together, and the rest of the weekend would flow smoothly.
Finally breaking the silence, his mother pulled her gaze away from Camden and leveled it at Elijah. “Your friend?” The careful lilt to her voice painted the air with suspicion. “Elijah, I’m not that old that I can’t see what’s going on here.”
“Mama, I promise you—”
“We’ve messed around and stumbled into a lover’s getaway. Why didn’t you tell us you had plans with someone special?”
Before Elijah could process what was happening, his mother walked up to Camden, spread her arms wide, and wrapped them around Camden’s middle.
“It’s so nice to meet someone my boy feels is special enough to bring home.”
Elijah tried to interrupt, but his mother dismissed him with a wave of her hand and a “Boy, hush,” before she turned to Elijah’s father with an ear-to-ear grin.
“Walter, our baby has finally got him a man to bring home.”
The floor of his stomach plummeted, and he had to breathe through pursed lips to keep its contents from climbing up his esophagus.
The thought of his mother gushing about his love life and a man he’d just received a magnificent hand job from only moments before would sicken anyone. Add the fact that said man walked out on him without a second thought, and it was a wonder Elijah didn’t empty his stomach in the middle of the kitchen floor.
“And Walter.” The conspiratorial gleam in her eye made Elijah’s heart rate race. “He’s a cute one too.”
Please, God. Please kill me now.
Prosecutor Camden Warren is on the fast track to professional nirvana. With his charm, his sharp legal mind, and his father as chief judge in the highest court in NY, he can’t fail. Nothing can derail his rise to the top… until an attempt on his life forces him to accept the help of a man he walked out on five years ago.
Wounded in the line of duty, Lieutenant Elijah Stephenson wants to ride his new desk job until retirement—not take a glorified babysitting gig with more risk than it’s worth… especially not protecting the entitled lawyer who disappeared after the best sex of their lives.
The threat against Camden’s life is real, but their passion for each other might prove the greatest danger they’ve yet to face.
LaQuette is the 2016 Golden Apple Award Author of the year winner. She writes bold & sexy tales for diverse characters who are confident in their right to appear on the page. Represented by Latoya C. Smith of LCS Literary Agency. Visit her at LaQuette.comand LaQuette@LaQuette.com