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Book 1 in the Baxter Family Saga Series
Kyle Avery, CEO of Mama Avery Foods, has been summoned to a special meeting by a note from her late mother, Virgilia Avery. When she arrives, she meets the elusive mogul Newton "Cass" Baxter, CEO of Baxter Chemicals and learns of the nearly forty year history her mother shared with Cass, as well as the obstacles they'd been forced to endure. As Kyle struggles to understand their history, she's forced to confront the man who loved and left her, Brandon Hall, VP of Baxter Chemicals and the adopted son of Cass Baxter. Kyle and Brandon unite in love, but separate in tragedy. They are forced to deal with the sad legacy of their parent's lives as well as their own heartbreak. It's up to them to finally break the chains which bind their hearts and find their own path to happiness.
When she finally got her ticket, she stood at the door, digging through her purse. Just as she reached for the handle, her hand touched someone else's. She looked up at him and felt a sudden jolt through her body. Their eyes locked for what seemed like an eternity.
Virgilia was suddenly lost in his warm emerald green eyes. He looked at her brown eyes and caught his breath.
"After you," he said, as she suddenly remembered where she was and why.
"Thank you," she managed to get out as she walked through the door he held open.
Neither of them had ever felt that way before and didn't know what to make of it. Was it a case of static? It felt a little too good to be just a random shock.
Virgilia tried to shake it off as she made her way into the theater. It was packed and she craned her head to find a possible seat. There were a couple of vacancies close to the front. Virgilia hated being that close to the screen, but as the saying goes, beggars can't be choosers. She found a seat and relaxed a bit. Not long after, her green-eyed doorman sat next to her.
"I'm not following you," he said, grinning at the look of surprise on her face. "This is just the only seat which seems to be left"
"Don't worry. I didn’t think you were following me"
"Why not? Aren't you worth following?" he flashed Virgilia a devastating smile which made her blush. Before she could even think of an answer, the lights dimmed.
She felt him lean in to her "We will continue this discussion later." Her stomach shivered as she cleared her throat and focused on the screen.
Throughout the movie, the audience’s reaction just heightened the tension of the scenes. Virgilia had no idea how big this shark was, but she knew the next time she decided to go to the beach, she would definitely rethink it.
A couple of times, the movie made her jump, much to the amusement of her doorman.
"Don't worry, Precious," he whispered. "I'll protect you"
Virgilia felt the pit of her stomach flutter when he called her "precious." If it were any other man, she would have been offended, even threatened. With him, it felt natural to hear him to call her that and she didn't even know his name.
When the movie ended, she stared at the screen, reading the credits. When she turned to glance at him, he was gone. Virgilia felt a pang of disappointment.
As she exited the theater, she felt a presence behind her. She turned to see him smiling at her.
"You never did answer my question. Don't you think you're worth following?"
"I will only answer questions from men whose names I know."
"Fair enough" he said as he extended his hand "My friends call me Cass."
"I'm Virgilia," she said as she shook his hand
"That's quite a name. I think I'll call you 'Lila' for short."Normally she hated it when people called her by some modification of her name, but this one seemed different. "Do you often change the name of the people you meet to suit yourself?"
"Only the special ones."
Virgilia felt her cheeks get hot and her stomach do backflips. No stranger had ever made her feel so at ease.
For his part, Cass was fascinated by this vision he saw before him. There was something about this woman, a light, a fire which drew him in and made him want to lose himself in those gorgeous brown eyes. He’d never felt anything like it before and was not going to let this opportunity pass him by.
"Yes," Virgilia said, suddenly.
"Yes, to Lila?"
"That too, but I meant the answer to your question." Cass looked a little lost and then she said, "I am worth following."
Cass felt his heart flip as he grinned. "Shall we?" he said offering his arm.
They walked around and talked for what felt like minutes, but turned out to be hours as evening turned to dusk. Virgilia's face hurt from smiling so much; she couldn't recall the last time she had such fun by herself or with anyone.
Cass found her smart and witty and even more beautiful than when he’d opened the door for her. He had met some stunning women in his life, but tonight, they seemed merely passable compared to Lila.
"It's getting late." She said "I had better get home"
"I'll walk you." he announced.
"No, I don't live too far from here."
He held his hand up. "I'm not letting any woman walk alone at night anywhere, no matter how close she lives."
They’d only just met, but the look on his face said he wasn't going to take ‘no’ for an answer. She thought better of starting an argument as they slowly made it to the gate of her house.
"Well, this is me," she said.
He nodded and looked at the house. It was small, modest, and held a bit of charm with the low white fence separating it from the house next door.
"Cass, I had a wonderful time."
"So did I," Cass said as his gaze moved from her eyes to her lips. "I want to do it again."
Virgilia wanted the same, but she had to be practical. "Maybe we should leave it at tonight."
Cass looked Virgilia straight in the eyes with a determination he felt deep within him. He was not used to hearing the word ‘no’ from a woman. But from this woman, the thought of not seeing her after tonight was completely unacceptable. "I don't believe you believe that. I can see it in your eyes…"
Palessa started reading her first romance novel, at the age of 11. Then she got introduced to V.C. Andrews, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Anne Rice and many more notable contemporary authors as well as some of the classics, A Tale of Two Cities, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Great Gatsby and others. It was during her teenage years that she dabbled in writing. First, it was in her diaries, then she started creating characters, stories about romance, the supernatural and much more. Being an I.B. student as well as entering college, left little time for writing and so she put it and the ideas aside to pursue a career. It would take almost 20 years, a radical move from the city she grew up in, Miami, FL back to her Caribbean birthplace, and a chance Facebook meeting with Sable Hunter to start the juices flowing again. After some fits and starts, the Baxter Family Saga was born. Unchained Hearts is Palessa's first published fiction book with Beau Coup Publishing. She considers herself just a storyteller that sees no reason to shy away from the juicier romantic elements. She currently lives in the mountains of Jamaica with her crazy, cracker-munching-mutt Ivy and a farm, primarily managed by agribusiness partner, also known as Dad.
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