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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Cherished by You Update & Chapter One!

Reader's Corner Post!


Today's post focuses on my lovely readers and all the information surrounding the Cherished by You: A Found by You Finale Novella release! Please watch the following video for more information and when you're done....


CHAPTER ONE OF THE BOOK IS POSTED BELOW!

Hope you enjoy it <3





Chapter One


Roxie


A light illuminated the cab, my awareness going off with that first flash. Another followed, and then another and my head rushed at the influx. Even though expected, they shocked the system. They always did.
Tense, I held my arms, watching as photographers piled on top of each other. They climbed, clawing over the most aggressive who’d made their way to the front of the pack. Those few got the first uninterrupted shots, what I knew to be nothing but tinted windows captured by their active shutters.
I swallowed, trying to breathe. The beading of my violet gown gave me something else to focus on as the limo came to a stop.
I patted around one with my fingertip, following the weaving strand. It swooped and turned, ending in a line just across my stomach. I held my hand there, sighing, feeling, and a larger hand slid between mine and the dress.
Griffin’s fingers laced through mine, my own digits finding every space and groove between his wide ones. He squeezed, his other hand coming to rest on my neck, and using the tip of his thumb, he lifted my chin.
A flare of blue was what I got to see first, ocean-esque and calm in their gaze. His jaw relaxed, Griffin’s mouth turned up in the corner, the freckle near the V of his upper lip moving with his smile.
“Nervous?” he asked, closing the space and touching our foreheads together. I felt every ounce of his warmth.
“Mmmhmm.” The word breathed through my lips, my nerves a simmering cesspool. “Very.”
The pads of his fingertips brushed across my neck, and then followed his lips. His mouth was warm and covered mine in everything that was ever wonderful.
Sighing, I fingered his collar, wanting to melt into him, wanting him to melt into me. Using our laced fingers, he brought me closer, nearly on his lap, and the swell of my breasts pressed firmly to his chest.
His taste consumed me, the smell of his aftershave surrounding me, and I let him take me to a far off place, one of him and his comfort. All too soon, he was the only thing. He was always the only thing.
“Just me and you,” he said, pressing a kiss, and then another. He mouthed my jaw. “Only us, Roxie. No need for the fear. I’m with you always.”
I closed my eyes, understanding with my nod. He told me to focus on him. I would focus on him, and I wouldn’t be afraid.
“Only us,” I told him, pulling away, and when I did, I got a final kiss, one in which he turned my cheek in the direction of his lips.
The door of our limo opened, and by my hand, he took me out into the fray, his six-foot-six inch frame covered in a black suit. It fit him in all the ways a suit should fit a man, close at his thighs and tapered at his long waist. The jacket stretched over his broad shoulders and wide chest, and he turned, revealing his flaxen hair smoothed back for tonight. Griffin Chandler… he was beautiful.
He brought me to him by my hands and then placed one on his arm.
The paparazzi surrounded us.
The minute we hit the red carpet, they took their position directly in front, and Griffin’s people were the only thing holding them back. His name sounded in high alarm, the point guard for Miami a popular photo opportunity, and though Griffin responded to them, he never left me. As he said in the car, he was always with me.
He held me, positioning me with him while they took their photos, and they loved him for every ounce of attention he gave. They loved him.
Over four years of what I had. Over four years of being Griffin’s wife and part of his world, and each time he amazed me. He allowed them to take photos like this was the first time, gave them his patience, and then left them like he couldn’t wait to see them again. This man was a rarity, magnificent.
After the last round, we went to head down the rest of the red carpet, but then my name was said. In fact, they chanted it. They chanted: “Roxie!”
“What are you wearing?” came at me. “Show us the back of the gown, Roxie! It’s gorgeous!” came more, and I did, my mouth a bit agape at the attention.
Griffin’s fingers loosened from mine, but he didn’t let go. He simply extended me over to them, and their attention with a smile on his face, and I posed in front of the stamped board, trying not to be overwhelmed as the photographers captured the silky train of my purple gown. After a few seconds, Griffin placed me back on his arm, and that’s when something else shouted my way.
“Congratulations on your achievement, Roxie!” they said to me, and my heart well…
It swelled.

*

The lights in the wide auditorium dimmed later that night, the attendees of the awards ceremony zeroing in on a single presenter. So much had happened tonight, so many celebrities and pop stars both presenting and earning awards. I used to watch the ceremony at home from my couch. The BET Awards were big everywhere, even in my small neighborhood. I enjoyed getting to see the glitz and glamor while so far away, the flashing lights and star power. Never in my life did I think one day I’d be here.
Nor have anyone acknowledge me.
The presenter’s lips moved, and I zoned out, watching as the second African American woman to ever win Best Actress directed the audience’s attention to the massive side screens in the room.
“She’s chair of the Chandler Foundation,” she said, “an organization she founded with her husband and business partner, Griffin Chandler, which has provided the advancement of after-school programs to inner-city youth. These programs have kept children off the streets, and the organization itself has sent over a hundred young black women and men to college.”
The audience applauded, the actress letting them with her pause, and I forgot to breathe. I forgot to think, everything.
I braced my hands on the armrests of my chair, my entire body shaking, but an arm coming around my shoulders lessened the quake, and the depth of a Texan drawl surrounded me in tranquility.
“You’re okay,” Griffin said, rubbing my shoulder. “You’re fine. I’m proud of you.”
He was proud of me.
I looked up at the presenter, trying to keep the anxiety in. The camera was on me at that time, my reaction on the screen.
You can do this. You can.
“She’s done so much,” the actress went on, tilting her head. Even from there, I could feel her eyes on me. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me.
“But she still finds the time,” she said, pointing at the room. “She’s still there for any rising athlete or bright-eyed kid who hasn’t even thought that far yet, for a personal meet up or even a midnight phone call to discuss their futures. Her consulting firm has matched dozens of professional athletes to respectable industry professionals all over the country, and that was only in her first few months post law school. The future is only bright for this girl, and let me tell you what, Roxie, the world can’t wait to see what you do next. I present this ceremony’s Humanitarian Award to Ms. Roxie Chandler!”
Her applause had everyone standing up, but the first, the very first, was my husband.
Griffin’s applause boomed, leading the standing ovation, and I think that’s what got to me.
My eyes watering, I couldn’t breathe, and I reached up so far to hug him, his wingspan engulfing me in the best way.
“Go get your award, baby,” he said to me, pressing a kiss to my mouth before wiping a thumb underneath my eye.
I nodded, his hand on my back as I turned toward the aisle. But before I could make it out, I received yet more warm hugs.
Kerry Donavan squeezed me, my friend and confidante since coming to the crazy excitement of this town. Her own husband transferred teams, passing down the torch to mine long ago. The Donavans had been family friends of the Chandlers since the beginning, and I had a feeling for many years to come.
“Get it, girl,” she said, giving me one last full body hug before letting me out. Her husband, Kendrick, wrapped a brief hug around me as well, wishing me his congratulations on the other side of her.
Somehow, someway, I made my way to the front, the silk of my gown hiked in my hands. My vision blurry, every step I took was shaky, and an attendant had to help me up the stairs in the wide room.
The actress came forward, taking my hand to lead me the rest of the way. Together, we made it to the podium, and she handed me something insane.
She handed me an award.
My name was embossed in gold lettering on a plate at the bottom of a glass statuette, its crystal hands reaching toward the sky. So heavy, the actress helped me take it back to the podium, laughing a little while she hugged me and said congratulations. After a pat on the back, she left the spotlight. I faced the audience, the moment such a blur. I think I heard my name. I think I heard congratulations, but I know I heard him. I heard Griffin out there amongst the crowd. Perhaps, because I was looking at him, his large frame stood out from the many as I watched him cup his mouth and call out to me between rounds of applause. Eventually, he lowered his hands, using just his mouth.
“Only us,” he mouthed, and I read him all too clearly. We’d talked to each other that way so many times before. He was right. It was only us, but soon, we’d make that even better.
I breathed, moving into the mic. “Thank you.”
More applause and I covered my mouth, the experience so much to take in.
Bracing the podium, I concentrated on blue eyes, my rock.
I parted my lips. “You all have been so supportive of me and Chandler Foundation.”
Sniffing, I had to collect myself for a moment, thinking about all those financial contributions, that support, and positivity I got for my little dream. I wanted to do something with my education, help people, and the ones in my community allowed me to do that. The connections Griffin made over the years garnered initial influence, but many, if not all, pushed on with me well past the life of their financial donations. Together, we made the Foundation happen, and I was grateful for each one of them.
I braced the stand. “We’re all together in this. We’re all helping to get these kids in school and keep them there.”
I got a breath in during another round of support, more applause.
“I’m just a girl, a woman from Wisconsin,” I said, shaking my head at that. “I’m a woman who met a man and found her everything in every way and all at once, and I thank him so much for that. I thank him for his love, and I thank him for his constant support.”
I found him in the audience then, smiling at me as he always did.
“Griffin…” I said, swallowing. “Griffin, I love you. I love you so much.”
The applause went out to him this time. He deserved that much and more.
His hands to his mouth, Griffin kissed his fingertips, opening them out to me in response.
“Every day I look at my life and wonder how I got so lucky,” I said, not breaking eye contact with him. These words were meant for him. I lifted the award. “This goes out to him, the man I love. Griffin, you always say it’s only us. It’s us against the world, and I always loved that.”
I returned the award to the podium after that. I had to in order to tell him what I wanted to next.
I stepped away from the stand and placed both hands on my dress, framing my stomach.
I looked up, leaning into the mic. “But I’ll love the three of us even more.”
Sound amplified around me, reverberated quite literally off the auditorium walls, but from where, I couldn’t have determined at all. My focus was held to the man who gave me everything, who gave us our everything.
Griffin’s gaze took hold of me as well, his attention traveling across the vast space to me on stage. Nothing could break it, people shaking his shoulders and his hands, and though he did reciprocate, his gaze didn’t leave me.
His lips parted, a flush painting his cheeks that could be witnessed even from a distance. The large screens around the stage only confirmed that as the cameras zoomed in on him.
From somewhere music played. An arm went around my shoulders, and my award was slid into my hands—the actress. She placed it there, squeezing me.
I blinked, and Griffin did, too, my time was up on stage. He watched from all angles as I traveled offstage with my attendants, and I asked if I could go back down the way I came. I needed to get to Griffin.
“We’ll have someone take you back to your seat from backstage, Mrs. Chandler,” someone said to me, and “Congratulations on your new addition,” came another. I was surrounded, and I barely got a chance to catch one more sight of Griffin. He had his hand on the seat in front of himself, craning his neck to see where they were taking me. I lost him behind the curtain.
“Um,” I said, trying to fight my way out of the mass of people. Soon after I received one last hug from the woman who presented the statue to me, I politely escaped, trying to get back to the velvet barrier between my husband and me.
A male attendant touched my arm. “Mrs. Chandler, are you ready to go—”
“Just one second.” I held up my finger but didn’t make it to the curtain.
Backstage, screens had been set up to see the auditorium and a zoom over the crowd displayed a calming audience. The people had gotten themselves together, went quiet, nearly, and when the cameras passed over my seat, my seat next to Griffin’s, I noticed two vacant chairs. Only Kerry and Kendrick sat in theirs, and a blast of anxiety shot through within me.
Where is he?
The attendant held out his arm that time. “I can take you back to your seat, Mrs. Chandler. If you’re ready?”
But I wasn’t ready. I…
“Roxie?”
His hand touched the small of my back, covering it, and his fingers twisted in the material of my dress, gesturing me to turn around.
I did, the attendant taking the award from me for a second, so helpful when he noticed me fumbling. Or maybe he just knew I needed my hands, that Griffin needed my hands.
He took them, his face really so flushed and eyes like a wave of crashing blue. He used to be so calm, but not anymore. It’s clear by the way his nostrils were flaring. He was also out of breath, his broad chest rising and falling with his exerted breath.
He gripped my hands, running his thumbs over the tops of my wrists. That’s how long his fingers were.
“Is it true?” he whispered, his gaze never leaving me, and I nodded, the tears stinging my eyes. I didn’t know why I was fighting tears. Perhaps the hormones were already starting to have their way.
And then he did something stupid to me—he made the tears fall from my eyes. He made them fall by raising my hands, kissing the backs of them like they were the most beautiful thing he ever held, and I cried. I cried so hard.
A sheen misted his aqua blue eyes while he did. He kissed my hands again, blinking. “I’m going to be a dad?”
The tears touched the tops of my breasts when I nodded again. I was going to ruin my pretty dress, and I knew that when he touched my cheek. His other hand went to my belly, touching lightly, delicately, though I knew him to be so much stronger.
He put gentle pressure on my back, closing the space between us, and dipped to my level, touching our foreheads together.
“Thank you,” he said, and I laughed. He did as well, chuckling as he shook his head. “I mean, I love you. I love you and me.”
He placed both of his hands on my stomach, feeling him and me. I loved us both, too.



Copyright © 2017 Victoria H. Smith

7 comments:

PL Murry said...

Loved the entree!!! I can't wait until Sept 20. Also, you look beautiful! Glad you are feeling better and back to sharing your wonderful stories with us. Blessings­čśü

Jaxx said...

Wow! The first chapter was worth the wait itself. I cannot wait for Sept. 20. I am greatful you are feeling better. You looked absolutely glowing in the video. Your enthusiasm is contagious. Keep up the fantastic work and know we are here for you.



Jaxx

Crystal Franklin said...

OMG that got me...I can't wait to read the rest!

P. said...

First and most important so glad you are doing much better. Many blessing to you.

Such a tantalizing introduction. So looking forward to September 20th to read the conclusion of their love story. Sorry it's coming to an end. But so loved this story line.

Phylicia Trottman said...

So good!!!!

MarieAnn@yahoo.com said...

LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ENJOY THE READING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This couple is one of my favorite from you Victoria. I am happy to see their HEA love story. THANK FOR THIS GREAT LOVE STORY

Alesia said...

I'm so excited! Now this 1st chapter makes me want to read even more!!!

And I'm glad you've recovered & that you took the time you needed to heal.

 
   

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