Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Until Ray & Giveaway

Title: Until Ray
Author: Cheryl Robinson
Genre: Women’s Fiction


Two people in the same city but worlds apart.

Until Ray is an unconventional love story of how two young people transitioning into adulthood find each other and develop a bond that will be tested through three decades.

HE IS LOST…

Ray lives in northwest Detroit in a four-family flat with his mother. When he’s not at home, Ray’s either at the mall selling women’s shoes or in the club. In both places, he's focused on one thing—picking up women. Dissatisfied, dysfunctional, and leagues behind his peers, Ray's ready for a change but isn’t sure how to make it happen.

THEN SHE ARRIVES…

At twenty-four, Sarita has an MBA, is a CPA, and works in upper-level management at GM. But all that success comes at a cost: she’s lonely and craves the one thing she’s never had—attention from men. Until now. Dr. Graham Emerson wants to marry Sarita, and her parents expect her to, but Sarita isn’t convinced he’s the one for her. On a blind date, she meets Ray Saint and is immediately drawn in by his good looks and sense of humor. But his reputation for being a ladies’ man raises several red flags. Ray swears he’s changed. Is giving up a sure thing for a maybe worth the risk?

Set in the mid-eighties, Until Ray explores life and love through the lenses of colorism, classism, and family dysfunction.

Author Bio
Cheryl Robinson was born in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest in a family of five. She grew up in Palmer Woods, a residential historic district that is now one of the settings in her forthcoming novel, Until Ray. For the past fifteen years, she has been busy writing contemporary women’s fiction. For  Penguin/NAL, Cheryl wrote six novels: If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Like That, Sweet Georgia Brown, In Love with a Younger Man, When I Get Where I’m Going, and Remember Me. Cheryl is now an independent author and the owner of Rose Colored Books. With her company, she has published The One, Like Mom, and the forthcoming Until Ray Trilogy.

Cheryl currently resides in Florida.
To learn more about Cheryl and the Until Ray trilogy, please visit www.untilraytrilogy.com


Links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Until-Ray-Book-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B07379LFY5/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1498667646&sr=1-1&keywords=until+ray

Barnes and Noble:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/until-ray-cheryl-robinson/1126651597?ean=2940154430439

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/until-ray
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/732095

Giveaway
Win a $50 Amazon gift card, 2 $10 Amazon gift cards or 1 $5 Amazon gift card during the book tour.
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Book Excerpts

RAY
_________


If it isn’t Raymond Saint. What’s up, man?” I hear a familiar voice coming from behind me as I pose in front of a floor-length mirror in the women’s shoe department at Hudson’s admiring the suit I just got out of the layaway at Man-oh-Man. I have two more to get out next payday.
Joseph Morris steps into my view, and I turn to face him. “Joe, man, what’s up? I haven’t seen you since we graduated.” We share a brotherly handshake. “How’ve you been?”
“Couldn’t be better, honestly. Life is real good. I’ve been in town for about a week, visiting family. I’m actually flying back tomorrow. I was just picking up a few things before I go.”
“You moved out of state?”
“Yeah, after I graduated from U of M. I’m starting my second year of law school at Stanford.”
I’m pretty sure Joe’s father is either an attorney or a doctor.
“Man, good to hear that.” Joe was part of the crowd I hung with at Cass Tech. I’ve been out of high school since 1980. Six years now. Damn, that’s a long time to still be doing nothing.
“I see you’re still staying sharp.” Joe brushes my lapel.
“Trying to.”
“So, man, what are you doing these days?”
“You know, the usual. Right now I’m just waiting for my girl.”
He nods. “Where did you end up going to school? It’s hard to keep up with everybody. Cass is so big, and we knew everybody, didn’t we?”
I place one finger up to signal for Joe to wait, and then I unclip my pager. “This is my girl paging me right now actually. I need to find her.” I’ve got to get rid of him before he finds out the truth and every Cass Tech alumni knows that the guy voted most likely to succeed is now selling shoes. Why am I in denial? I’m sure most of them already know.
“Really, that’s cool. I was on my way out. I got what I came for.” Joe raises a Hudson’s shopping bag.
“Ray.” I hear the forceful voice of a female. I turn to see Cynthia Meyers. This has the potential to get real ugly, real fast.

















On Saturday, my off day, I open the side door and notice a white Ford Escort parked out front. Cynthia Meyers is sitting in the driver’s seat. She’s at my mom’s house. I never brought her here or told her I live here. Is this girl stalking me? I’ve never had a stalker before. I’ve had women come over here after I stopped calling, which usually happens after we have sex. A few got on their knees, grabbed my ankles, and begged me to stay with them. But none of them have ever stalked me. It took my mom to get those women straight, and I never heard from them again. My mom has to do the same with Cynthia Meyers because I never want to see or hear from that girl again.
I rush into the kitchen in a panic. My mom is at the breakfast table with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other reading obituaries in the Free Press, her favorite pastime. “Miss King, listen, there’s a crazy woman outside. I need you to talk some sense into her.”
My mom sets her cup down and takes a long drag of her cigarette. “The only reason there’s a crazy woman outside is because you just like your daddy. Y’all drives them womens to be that way. They ain’t born like that. But once they get to messin’ with a Saint—your last name should be Sinner—they get to losin’ they mind.” She shakes her head and puckers her lips. “What you do to the girl? And don’t lie.”
“I ain’t do nothin’ to her. She too loose.”
 “Loose? She loose ’cause you mens made her that way. You mens kill me, callin’ a woman loose. You the one laid down with her, what that make you?”
“But she’s too young to be that loose.”
“Young? How young? You best not be messin’ with no teenager. You almost twenty-four years old. You need to grow up and start actin’ your age. Get your own place. When you movin’ out?”
“She’s not that young. She’s twenty-one. Just talk to her, please.”
“Where she at?”
“In her car, sitting outside our house.”
“Stakin’ your ass out. Ain’t it sad the lows some womens go to behind mens. Let her ass sit there. I don’t care. It’s a free world, and last I check I don’t own any of these city streets, includin’ Santa Clara.”














SARITA
_________


Celery. Baby carrots. Yogurt. Alfalfa sprouts. Whole wheat bread. Lots of cheese. Raisins (I do love those). Leftover salmon. Milk—now I have an idea. I plan to drive to the Boston-Edison area to Mr. Fo-Fo’s and get one of those huge slices of chocolate cake that’s large enough to feed three, even when one of them is Boone. That’ll go great with a tall glass of milk.
I take a deep sigh. When the highlight of my Saturday afternoon is eating chocolate cake, something’s gone terribly wrong. I’m not that old.
The doorbell rings.
“Sarita,” my mother says through our intercom system.
I walk over to the unit and press down the button to talk. “Yes, Mother.”
“Please answer the door. That’s the new landscaper who’s coming to take a tour of our grounds. If you don’t mind starting it off, I’ll take it over in just a bit. I’m on the phone with Mrs. Emerson, and we’re discussing you.”
“Me?”
“Yes, you. I’ll tell you later.”
“Okay.”
It’s a good thing this isn’t one of my lazy Saturdays when I sleep in until noon and then dwell on the fact that I still don’t have the life I want. This is one of those Saturdays where I got up and got fully dressed, opting for one of my Norma Kamali dresses, which has huge shoulder pads and two oversized pockets that flare at my hip in a way I really like. It’s the same color as my mood usually is—gray, which is the color of independence and self-reliance as well as evasion, noncommitment, and loneliness. Half of my wardrobe is that color.
“Oh, and don’t get any thoughts. From what I hear, if it’s the son, he’s a good-looking man. Just remember he’s here about our lawn. He’s not a doctor making house calls.”
“Mother!”
I stroll to the door, and as soon as I open it, I see stars. Good looking is an understatement. He’s not as beautiful as Presley Okafor at Georgetown, but close enough for me.
“Hi, I’m Raphael Adams—the landscaper. Are you Dr. Sarah Deering?”
“No, that’s my mother. I’m Sarita, her daughter. But I guess I didn’t need to say that part. If she’s my mother, then I’m obviously her daughter, right?” I clear my throat when he doesn’t respond and instead stares at me as if I have two heads and I’m talking out the side of both of them.












My mother strides out toward him. His eyes bulge, and I wouldn’t be surprised if something else didn’t, too.
“Dr. Deering. I’m Raphael. My dad sent me in his place. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Why would I? I’m sure your father has taught you his business well, and you’ll provide an adequate assessment. But, if you don’t mind, I need to run over to one of the neighbor’s for a quick chat.” She smiles at me, and then turns back toward Raphael. “I’ll be back shortly. My daughter can answer any questions you have. She’s brilliant and knows about this home and the history of the neighborhood better than I do. She gets that from her father.”
“That’s fine. I’ll keep walking the grounds with her, and I’ll wait for you to return so that we can go over the assessment.”
“You can go over that with my daughter as well.”
“I’ll wait.”
My mother waves and floats away, and Raphael’s eyes follow her. She’s fifty-four years old and gets more attention from men than I do.
“Did you have any questions for me?” I ask, trying to snap his attention away from my mother and back to me.
“Your mother is—for lack of a better word—beautiful. Damn. But I guess you hear that a lot, don’t you?”
“All the time.”
“And is that all her hair?”
“Yes.”
“Damn. At least now I have a vision of exactly how I want my wife to look.” His eyes assess me as if I’m one of the hedges in the backyard that needs shaping. “You must look like your father.”
“Just like him. My sister looks exactly like my mother.”
“Where is she?”
“In Boston. Married.”
“Of course she is.”
“Well, if you don’t mind, I’d like to finish showing you this lot and quickly go around to the other. I have plans, and I can’t be out here all day.” I’m ready for my chocolate cake and milk. I’m used to men falling out over my mother. I’ve always been in the shadow of her and my sister.
Well, maybe not always. I had that kind of attention, once, when I was a child. My hair was once almost as long as my mother’s. The length of a woman’s hair can be a great source of power, and it’s not my fault that I lost mine. But I’ve managed to compensate for it in other ways. Just not physically.
























When I finish meditating, I set my Bible on my nightstand and rest my rosary on top of it. My gray Norma Kamali cotton shirt dress—a different one than the one I wore when the landscaper was over yesterday—is laid across the upholstered bench at the foot of the bed. The heels of my sling-back pumps kiss on the hardwood floor in front of the entrance to my bathroom.
Would it be rude if I never made my way downstairs? My mother wouldn’t allow that. This is her dream for me. I climb through the curtains, slip on my dress, and then step inside the closet and stare at my three favorite Coach purses: the Dinky, the Slim Satchel, and the Stewardess. I can’t decide which one to take.
I love each for different reasons. And I can’t narrow it down by color because all three are black. Coach doesn’t have a bunch of colors to choose from to begin with, and if I’m spending that much on a purse, I want to make sure I use it often. I’m not like my mother. Coach isn’t high end enough for her. She prefers Gucci and Louis Vuitton. But I’ll take black glove-tanned cowhide leather over some initials on canvas any day. Besides, black goes with everything.
“Sarita, Dr. Emerson is waiting for you downstairs,” my mother says as she enters my room.
“I know, Mother.” My hand inches in the direction of my Dinky, which is inside its own little white square of the built-in purse display.
“Well, if you know, what’s taking you so long? Not that we don’t enjoy talking to him because, of course, we do. He’s such an intelligent young man, and his parents are dear friends of ours, as you know. He likes you, Sarita, and he’s not the play type. He’s serious. He’s looking for a wife.”
“I understand, Mother.”
“What do you understand? Do you understand I’d like for you to smile at Dr. Emerson, show those great teeth, stay engaged in his conversation? He’s a very rational man.”
“Mother, I’m not stupid. I went to college. I have two degrees.” I start transferring the contents of my Stewardess into the Dinky. It can’t fit nearly as much, but all I really need are some bobby pins and a small comb in case my updo comes undone; my Fashion Fair Lip Moisturizer, my slim wallet, and my keys.
“I never implied you were stupid, Sarita. I know you’re very intelligent. I just understand how you are, and I know that you feel that once you leave work, it’s over, but everyone doesn’t feel that way. Dr. Emerson is passionate about his work, so please act as if you’re interested. Do you remember everything that I taught you about dealing with men of his stature?”
I nod. “Yes, Mother.” I’ve been around men of his stature my entire life. My daddy is a man of his stature.
“Good, because if you do exactly what I’ve taught you over the years, you will be married to Dr. Emerson by next spring.”