Aced Anthology: Because of You Prologue

I am so excited about being a part of ACED: A Charity Anthology! It’s for such a great cause, and for someone who didn’t enjoy reading while growing up (gasp! I know), it’s even more special. It’s a back to school theme, perfect for this time and to alleviate a bit of the stress currently going on with our real back to school. 

I was never good at reading, and I was very self-conscious about it. Even when I was older and we’d have to read out loud in class, I’d count to see which paragraph or page would be mine so I could read it to myself as many times as possible so I would choke and be embarrassed. And if there was a word I had no idea how to pronounce? Geez, I’d freak while waiting for my turn. 

Being able to come together with some author pals and create a collection that will support literacy in children and adults is an honor. I hope you’d help us support such a great cause. 100% of the proceeds will go to charity. 

I wrote a novella for this anthology, brand spankin’ new couple, and I’m so excited for you to read it! It’s a small town single dad romance.

I’m sharing the prologue below so you can meet Ada and Sawyer, or… Oops, I can’t say until you read the prologue! It will all make sense then. 

Prologue

Sawyer

I sit back with my buddy and drink my beer, watching the woman who’s been moving to the electric beats coming from the speakers since I arrived. She laughs and dances as if no one were watching her. Shaking her hips, luring me in. My eyes follow her as she shimmies to a group of women I assume are her friends and drags two of them by the arms.

Her long hair sways to the beat, and her smile is infectious.

“You’ve been staring at that woman for twenty minutes. Go dance with her.” My friend, Emmet, says with a cocky smile.

“Nah,” I shake my head. I drink my beer and keep watching her with curiosity. “I’ll be moving soon anyway,” I add as an afterthought.

“So?” Emmet’s eyebrows dip as he stares at me as if I’m crazy. “It’s just a dance. Besides, it’s not like Springville is that far from here.”

It’s not about the distance from Nashville, my current home, to Springville, where I’ll be moving to at the end of the summer, but more so the fact that I have a seven-year-old son, River, who counts on me to be the stable one in our home. A relationship, hell, a date, at this point, would just add to the current of change flooding our lives.

“Too much going on to think about a woman,” I finally reply.

“One dance.” Emmet holds up a finger. “As a farewell. We both know you won’t be out again before you leave.”

He’s right. This is a rare night out for me. Usually, I’m with River, spending Friday nights together, watching sports recaps and eating pizza. Doing guy stuff, as he calls it.

I smile as I think about my son, and then abruptly stop when the woman I’ve been eyeing looks my way. Her eyes lock on mine. I can’t tell the shade from here, but I suddenly have the urge to know what color they are.

Wordlessly, I drop my beer on the bar and walk over to her, hands in my pockets. She watches me approach, appraising me from head to toe before a slow smile curves her lips, and she moves her hips in front of me.

I smirk, staring into her eyes, discovering they’re a hypnotizing blue, and begin dancing with her. My hands on her hips. Her hands on my shoulders. We move together as if it weren’t our first meeting.

“What’s your name?” I lean in and whisper, smiling when she shivers.

I look back at those baby blues with a grin.

The woman chuckles shyly, a contrast to the seductive smile she was giving me a moment ago. “Amanda Bynes,” she throws out.

I laugh and shake my head. “Hell, then I’m Justin Bieber.”

“Must be hard going around town without getting some hate thrown your way.”

“Could say the same for you.”

“Eh,” she shrugs. Spinning around and coming back to me, she continues talking. “It’d be an odd pairing.”

I nod, wrapping my arm around her lower back to bring her closer, and we move together to the beat spilling from the speakers. When the song changes to something smoother, I keep her close and guide the dance to something more sensual.

Amanda Bynes’s lips part as her eyes stare into mine. I lean in, feeling her faint breath on her chin before tipping my head down and kissing her, stealing her breath, taking what I can from this stranger who lured me in.

Her hands scrape my scalp, and I cradle her jaw, sweeping my tongue against hers. Her kiss is sweet and tempting, a deadly combination as I scramble how to get some time alone with her while warring with myself that I have a son to get home to soon.

My mystery woman leans back, cutting the kiss shorter than I’d like and leaving me hard. Her body pressed against mine gives me a preview of how good we’d fit together if I could take her home. One night to satisfy this need burning through me.

Suddenly, everything turns chaotic when her friends approach, laughing and eyeing me as they drag her away. It happens so fast, I don’t realize I’m standing alone on the dance floor until Emmet comes up to me, clapping my shoulder.

I’m pretty sure her real name is not Amanda Bynes. That would be a horrific coincidence. I could just imagine people’s faces when she introduces herself.

“Ready to head home?”

“Fuck, yeah.” I run a hand through my hair. It’s probably best this way.

©2020, Fabiola Francisco 

You can grab your copy of ACED Anthology on all platforms for only $2.99! Price will be going up.

Amazon ➨ https://bit.ly/AcedZon

Apple ➨ https://bit.ly/AcedApple

Kobo ➨ https://bit.ly/AcedKobo

BN ➨ http://bit.ly/AcedNook

Write You a Love Song is LIVE!

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I can FINALLY share one of my favorite couples with you! I’ve been so excited to give you this story for almost a year! *gasps* I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for this day.

I absolutely love Write You a Love Song. Knox & Ainsley’s story is one of those that I had so much fun writing. They’re two characters I loved exploring, and I found my love for romance again—no second-thoughts or doubting, but simply having fun as I allowed the words to move through me.

You can read Write You a Love Song on Amazon and Free with Kindle Unlimited!

Read it today!

BLURB:

What’s a girl to do after burning all of her no-good, cheating boyfriend’s belongings? Throw a dart at a map and start over in a new town.

I may be new to the small town of Everton, but I’m well aware that I now share a zip code with a celebrity. You’d have to be living under a rock to not know, Knox Bentley, one of country music’s biggest stars. 

When Knox wanders into my bar— careful brown eyes and broody attitude—I can’t tear my gaze away. A cheating scandal fresh on his heels is just one reason I should stay far, far away, but the closer we get, the more I realize he’s not at all what I imagined.

But being a famous musician comes with unwanted attention…the kind that tears people apart, and now it’s becoming too painful to stay by his side.

They say love is a choice, but so is leaving… 

tenderness

Check out the prologue below!

Prologue

Knox

The flashing car lights I’m anxious to leave behind are a blur as I speed down the highway. I can’t drive fast enough to escape my past. I scrub a hand down my face, the other tightening around the steering wheel as my knuckles whiten. 

The radio is silent. I don’t want a reminder of the one thing that stole everything from me. The swooshing of the other cars I race past is enough music for my ears. The pelting rain on my car adds the only drumming I need right now. 

An angry breath moves through me, and I blow out air from my lips. All I can think about is her. Her and the pain in her eyes that mirrored the same pain I put there four years ago. 

It’s done. 

It was done a long time ago, and I’m the only one to blame. 

I squeeze my eyes shut despite my flying speed. I’ve lost control of everything in my life. Little by little, I gave a piece of my life to a dream I thought would offer everything I ever needed. 

Instead, it destroyed me. It destroyed my passion. And now, the media is having a ball with it all, blowing it all up, making mountains out of invisible grains of sand. Enough to hurt both her and me. 

I was naïve, and she was strong. 

I flick the turn signal and take the exit, the shrilling sound of an incoming call interrupting my thoughts. 

“What?” I bark out. 

“Where are you?” My friend and manager, Harris, asks. 

“You know where.” I go to hang up, but his voice comes through. 

“Don’t do it,” he demands. 

“You can’t tell me what to do anymore.”

“Knox, we’ll get through this. We’ll get a new label. Hell, you’re famous enough you can create your own label and release whatever you want,” he tries to convince me. This is about more than my music. This is about something bigger than a label, it’s about a culture. 

“I’m done, Harris.”

“When will you be back?” His voice rings with resignation. 

“I don’t know.” I hang up and pull into the airport. 

Grabbing my suitcase, I stalk through the doors, cap low on my face and head bowed. I go through security, never glancing back at the city I’m leaving behind.  

—©2019, Fabiola Francisco

READ FREE WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED TODAY!

All My Truths & One Lie, Prologue

Read All My Truths & One Lie’s prologue below. For more information about the book, click here.

 Prologue


dim stars & faded dreams 

When I was a little girl, I used to wander around the playground and contemplate life. I didn’t understand some things and understood others way too much. I processed information differently, in a weird way, and I didn’t understand why my friends were so . . . immature. Yes, at the ripe age of ten, I wondered why kids acted like kids as if I had some wisdom they didn’t have. It wasn’t that I did, I just saw things differently. 

I had friends, but I distanced myself. I needed to as a form of regaining my sanity, or center, or . . . I don’t know. Simply needing some time. Too in my own head, that’s what I was told. I was too serious. Too reserved. Too wild. A plethora of adjectives that didn’t always mesh, yet completed me. I couldn’t argue with those descriptions, I knew they were true. A girl who fantasized too much, warred with the desire of a fantasy and the need to accept life wasn’t that. 

And then I grew up. 

But nothing changed. 

I stare up into the sky and sigh. My eyes close for the briefest moment as the warm breeze kisses my skin. Sitting in the dark, wondering why I live in a place that outshines the stars, the artificial lights illuminating the insincerity that swirls around this city. I open my eyes to see one twinkling star. It brightens and dims as I look at it, wondering how far away it is and what it’s called. 

I push my body back to sit straighter in my chair and cover my face with my hands. How long do I have to stay here for? I keep telling myself I stay in the city because I still have lessons to learn from it. Maybe I need to stop judging it so much so that I may move on. Lord only knows. 

I check the time on my phone. I’m nowhere near tired, but if I don’t sleep now, I’ll be exhausted tomorrow when my alarm clock goes off at six-thirty. Five hours of sleep isn’t nearly enough for me to function anymore.  

I glance up at the sky one more time and blow out air through my mouth. Soon. I feel it in my soul. 

The last three years have been a pause in my life. I’ve discovered things about myself, grown internally, but the life I led has stopped. Almost as if I needed reclusion to overcome a hump. But that causes distance between myself and the world around me. The more I traveled within, the more I secluded myself. I can say it’s symbolic to Jesus’s forty days and forty nights in the desert. However, I’m no Jesus, and this seclusion didn’t ground me. Instead, it uprooted me, yet my body wouldn’t move forward. 

At first, I looked at that time as temporary. Then it became permanent. My perception of it became obsessive to the idea that I’d never move from it. Until I realized the peace in the moment. I removed veils of illusion and took the pause for what it was—a preparation for what’s to come. 

I feel the pull in my soul, guiding me like the wind against a sail. I can allow the guidance or resist it and risk experiencing the greatest shipwreck of my history. 

I choose to listen. I decide to go where the pull takes me when I’ve spent many nights staring at the sky like tonight, telling myself I wasn’t ready. 

I am. 

So many times, the tug I feel is familiar. Another soul calling to me, awakening this intense need from its slumbering state, just enough to rouse me. Then, it releases, not quite prepared for the intensity of our union, yet a consciousness of each other’s existence. It’s a building fire I stoke, gently allowing the flicker to intensify.

But I miss him. 

I don’t know him physically, and I miss him. My soul longs to be near his. In my sleep, I long to feel his arms around my body, his breath tickling my neck. I can sense him inside me. How can you miss someone you haven’t yet met?

Homesick for a person my eyes haven’t seen, but my soul is familiar with. We’ve danced together before in other times and I long to see him again. Hold him. Feel him near.

And I’m finally ready. 

That’s why I took this first step in the direction I want my life to go. 

Seeing as my mind is racing and my eyes are wide open, I stay outside in hopes I’ll catch a miraculous shooting star. The street light shines on the outside of my home. It’s small but cozy. This is what I need for now. As long as I have a chair, a small table, and open skies, I’m happy. 

Despite having this home, I still feel stuck. As if my soul is moving faster than my body. I see things shifting in my mind’s eye but don’t see the shift in my life around me. Or maybe I do. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the change when those around you are blind to it. But on the inside . . . on the inside, I feel as if my cells are shaking to a vibration that I’m unaware of. As if something inside of me wants to shake itself free and go at a speed I’ve never experienced in my life. 

Hence, my inability to rest. 

A surge of energy bursts, fueling my mind to think beyond the world I live in. I always have to take a minute to breathe and ground myself. It’s easy just to allow my mind to float to a world that many don’t believe in. It’s natural to see things with a different understanding. And it’s so difficult to bond with people because of this. So many times I keep quiet, leaving my ideas to myself in quiet observation. A few times I express what I’m holding, usually resulting in odd looks or silent disapproval. 

I shake off the feeling of not belonging and go back to admiring the stars. I can’t see the moon from here, but I know she’s out there. Another reason I wished I lived somewhere with less light and population. A forest in the middle of nowhere with traces of ancient civilizations and history so deep, it trespasses my bones and hits my soul. 

A place like that exists. I just need to find it. 

This is why you struggle to make friends. 

I roll my eyes and ignore the side of me that is rational. I’ve learned to embrace who I am. I’ve learned I may never meet anyone in their thirties who will share the inquisitive wonder I do. I’ve learned that there’s more to life than egotistical existence and material gains. 

But those have been easy lessons in comparison to the ones that tore me apart like an angry tiger and then sewed me back together like a gentle horse. 

— © 2018 Fabiola Francisco

Learn more here: authorfabiolafrancisco.com/amtaol

Prologue: LOVE YOU THROUGH IT by Fabiola Francisco

While I was writing LOVIN’ ON YOU last year, the idea for this story popped into my mind and I quickly shoved it away harder than I’d push the biggest villain in any story. I was adamant to leave it alone and not venture into the emotions it would bring. Then, a friend brought it up to me after she finished Lovin’ on You, and I felt as if she had read my thoughts. I told her, NO. I’m pretty sure I used shouty caps. But, her words stuck with me because something inside me wanted to write this story. So, I did.

I began this manuscript, stopped and wrote another book, and picked it up later when I saw the perfect cover for it. It’s as if the universe was telling me, write the damn book. And I listened. I wrote the book and I cried more than I ever have writing any story. {Blubbering mess, y’all}

This is a topic that I fear in my personal life. Falling in love, having the fairy tale, and losing it all because of death. Grab tissues and read the prologue below.


Prologue

I knew the moment I heard the words slip from the man in uniform that my world would be turned upside down. Shattered. Everything ended that dreadful day, including my will to live.
***
I throw myself over the casket after the preacher spoke words of peace and light. I grip the hard wood, bawling, refusing to let them sink this box to the bottom of that hole. No one attempts to stop me. They all watch in sorrow as I yell, asking God why.
I finally feel my father and Josh’s father pull me away. They hand me the folded flag—the tainted reminder of all that is left of him.
I stand in shock as they lower his body and cover him in dirt. I stare numbly at the mound of earth that now separates us. I will never see him again. I will never hear him again. Everything is destroyed.
“We’ll take you home,” my mother says, but I shake my head. “Bri, it would be best if you left. Let’s eat something.”
Turning to her, eyes void of emotion, I say, “Take me home and leave me there. I want to be alone.”
In the silence of the car, they respect my wishes. I hold on to that flag as if it were Josh I was holding.
“I want to be alone,” I tell them as they pull into the driveway before they choose to come inside with me.
“But—”
“No, mom. Not today.” I get out of the car; the black of my dress feels heavy as I drag with me the darkness this day has brought. It’s real. As if I would somehow wake up and have dreamt the visit the officer and chaplain made not too long ago.
As the door closes behind me, I lean against it—white contrasting to my black— and stare at this home. I calmly put the flag down on the console table. I walk a few steps in, grab the lamp and strike it onto the floor. I sweep my arms across the small table in the living room, causing everything on it to fall and break. The metal dish clings against the tile.
“Ahhh!” My throat hurts from the exertion. I yell again and again until I’m sore. I shatter the vase with flowers my friends sent me. Water pours from the broken glass as the roses attempt to soak up the last bit. I walk to them and stomp them with my heel. They can’t live if he’s dead.
I can’t live if he’s dead. I can’t live. I can’t.
I fall onto my knees, the tears a common emotion for me, and look up at the heavens. “I only have one question, God; why’d you bring him to me to steal him away?”
With that, I curl into my side and lose myself.

Copyright 2017, Fabiola Francisco


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