S. I. Hayes (Centuries of Blood) has a brand new book coming out soon and, because I'm privy to it pre-publication, I can tell you you'll just love it.
Donnella Stone is as her name describes, cold, powerful and rich. She is a true Manhattan Blue Blood. This has left her with a problem, the men in her life have often only come for what they can take form her, and it has never been her heart.
To protect herself she has rules and a non-disclosure agreement for all of her relationships with men, she gets what she needs, and promises opportunity, means and her silence once the length of the arrangement ends. It has worked for a decade.
Until she meets Matthew Mayfield, an adorable, awkward artist from Connecticut whose work and passionate attitude instantly intrigue her. The problem? He takes more of an interest in her, than any man she has met before.
Can he get past the dragon and heal her heart of stone or will her past be too much for him to handle, leaving them both on the wayside?
“Just make it happen, God damn it! I don’t care how, bribe someone for all I care! Just get me my fucking paintings!” Donnella Stone slammed the phone into its cradle, collapsing back into her chair. It spun a half turn, facing her toward the glass windows. She stared at the Manhattan skyline through tinted glass. Loving how it looked as the sun peeked through the late morning clouds over the Empire State Building. She exhaled deeply, trying to remember her anger management training. “One… Two… Three… Deep breaths…” She pushed a long red tendril of hair from her face as it fell from her usually well maintained up do. She pulled the octopus clamp from her hair letting the curls fall down her porcelain back and shoulders, releasing some of the tension brewing in her now pounding head. “Better.” She whispered more calmly, rubbing the back of her neck. She heard a small squeak behind her and turned back in her chair, to see her administrative assistant Harold still sitting in the chair opposite her desk, pen in hand waiting for her notes for the morning.
He did not seem to be miffed in any way by her outburst or her need to take a few moments to rejoin him in reality. In fact he rather liked seeing Donnella taking a moment to unwind and let her hair down. As she so infrequently did either. A small smile crossed his lips as she cleared her throat, putting her hair back up.
“Okay, Harold, where was I before we were so rudely interrupted by rubbish?” She asked her pale green eyes settling on him and his Brooks Brothers suit once more. She loved that he dressed so well for the office. It said something about how he felt about his job. Not to mention how well she paid him and the rest of the staff. She knew she could be a bit of a dragon, and paid to the effect, it kept lawsuits for psychological scarring to a minimum.
“You were saying that you didn’t want to go to the Governor’s Christmas Party stag this year. Which means picking from the pool, or finding a new suitor within a month, Miss Stone.”
Donnella blew air through her vermillion lips. “Let’s see what I can find. I’m bored with Samuel and Claude. See if Wyden is available. ”
“Need I remind you his contract ran out two weeks ago so you sent him to Florence for good behavior?”
“Ahh… That’s right.” She smiled standing up, sliding her French manicured toes into a pair of four and one half inch black leather heels with fire engine red soles.
“Are those the Louboutin’s?” Harold asked as she rounded the desk, with a smirk.
“They are. So eat your heart out.”
“The Dorothy’s would be all over you.” He smiled. “You have a meeting downtown in forty-five. Should I have the car brought around now or will you be driving your self today?”
“Bring the car, and you can come too, I’m stopping by the Studio before lunch, I want to make sure that those paintings have the right lighting. Can’t be too careful with Rembrandt.”
Matthew Mayfield opened his eyes, and climbed out of bed, scratching his ribs he looked bleary eyed at the clock. 9:07 A.M.
“Shit.” He spat getting up tripping over his stonewashed jeans on the floor. Falling to the ground he watched as his pit bull terrier mix Pepper cocked her head at him in confusion as she gnawed on his sneaker. “Pepper! No!” He lamented crawling across the floor reaching out for the shoe and the rapidly growing twelve week old puppy. She picked up and ran, shoe in mouth out the bedroom door. He got up, pulling on his jeans. “I don’t have time for this.” He mumbled, looking for his work boots, his standby shoes. They were covered in paint and cement from work, but at least they weren’t slimed and chewed.
Pulling on a moderately clean shirt, he grabbed his jacket and portfolio, hoping that the Listerine wisp would take care of his breath. “Janet? Can you walk her! I’m already gonna be late!” He pleaded to the thin brunette sitting on the couch in their shared apartment watching the cartoon network, smoking a clove cigarette with a beer in the other hand.
“Yeah, sure. Hey where you headed, anyhow?”
“I got that meeting at that gallery in the Village remember?”
“Awe, yeah, man, good luck. You better hurry or you’ll miss the train.”
“I know!” He ran out the door, hearing Pepper whine, he stopped and turned back picking the puppy up. “Daddy’s gotta go. But I promise I’ll take you to the park after. If this goes well, we’ll have a lot to celebrate.” He kissed her on her pink little nose, putting her down and was out the door.
“No, you don’t understand.” Matthew insisted. “I had an appointment. Matthew Mayfield, for one thirty. I came all the way from Connecticut for this!”
“Sir keep your voice down. Show a modicum of decorum would you? Even if you’d had, this appointment.” The receptionist looked him up and down. Paint covered tan work boots, long legs covered by dingy stonewashed jeans, a sweater tucked haphazardly into them, covered by a long leather jacket. The only thing appealing about him was his face, but even that was absconded by dark horned rimmed glasses. “It’s well passed two now. Neither Mr. Walsh nor Miss. Stone have the time for you if you cannot make the time for them. So if you please.”
“If I could just leave this with you.” He pulled out his portfolio, nervously, as the clattering of doors swinging open assaulted his ears followed by shouts.
“Get it done!” A woman’s voice demanded. The power and the echo, caused Matthew to lose his grip on the portfolio and the contents of it fell to the floor.
The receptionist, sighed heavily, and got up quickly seeing Donnella, as she came from the showroom. “You idiot. Are you trying to get me fired?” The receptionist barked. Trying to help him pick up the photos splayed across the floor.
Matthew ignored the irate girl, as he was for the second time that day crawling across a floor. “Fuck me.” He whispered under his breath. As he reached for a photo, only to have his hand nearly stomped on by a black heel with a red sole. He drew his eyes trailing up the curves of the leg to a black flounced hem. He pushed himself backward, embarrassed, and stuttering an apology as the woman bent down to pick up the photo under foot.
Donnella’s eyes surveyed the photo, it was of an African American woman, nude, arms crossed plumping the high points of her chest but hiding the nipples, the rest was turned so the shadows fell to mask her lower region, which accentuated the curve of her hip, down to the metal and plastic prosthetic that was her foreleg. Behind her in the distance was a torn and tattered American flag, and the message Remember Us…
She looked over the top of the photo to the young man still sitting on the ground. “Is this yours?” She raised an uncertain eyebrow.
“Y-Yes ma’am.” He sputtered, as he was helped to his feet by two very large men in dark suits, who did not unhand him.
Donnella waved her hand at them lightly and they released him. “Do you have more like this?”
He nodded. “Stephanie? Pencil him in. I’m taking my lunch now, I’ll see him after I’ve finished. Harold, clear my afternoon.” She looked at the young man again. Not completely unfortunate.
Harold glanced over his shoulder with a nod. “Yes, Ma’am. Right on it.”
“Who was that?” Matthew asked stunned as he pushed the last of his photos back into the portfolio.
“That? That was Donnella Stone.”
Matthew’s eyes widened, and his mouth dropped open, “I thought she’d be older.”
“Everyone always does…” Stephanie grumbled. “You can have a seat over there. When she comes back, she’ll let me know if she hasn’t forgotten you.”
Shannon (S. I.) Hayes has been telling tales for so long as she has been able to talk, and began writing them down shortly thereafter. She is the singular author of the In Dreams... Series, and a Paranormal Historical Romance called Centuries Of Blood: Becoming. Shannon is the Co-Author to Awakenings: The Wrath Saga, a Paranormal Drama likened to Big Brother meets The Real World of the Preternatural, as well as several blogs and host to her own website. S.I.Hayes.com.
In her own words... I have a mind that is easily distracted and prone to wandering. Tangents are my forte, and if you think my characters are going to fit a cookie cutter shape of any kind, think again. They live, they love, they eat, sleep and fuck. I believe that people are inherently sexual creatures and my characters be they human or something altogether else are no exception.
I don't adhere to a single genera, I toe the line on several and wouldn't presume to be a master of any. So I suppose you could call me jack-of-all-trade-paperbacks.
I am a truth seeker, in my life, in my work. I’d apologize for it, but I kinda cannot help m’self. It is my best and worst personality trait, well mostly, being Bi-Polar I guess you could say that is the worse. But I believe that the disorder has made me, well... Me.
I have taken this life and twisted, carved, shaped and molded it in to the worlds of my characters. Albeit with a chainsaw, and it has made all the difference
A Writer’s Mind, More or Less
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