Item forwarded from the New York Papers:
Well, if this don’t beat all. Sit here with me and see if you don’t agree.
First having Hero Williams return to our little Brooklyn town of Weeksville, successful and philanthropic, was as pleasant an event as I’ve ever experienced. Not that him having either of those two attributes surprised me. Look how his family braved the perils any former slaves had to face to make a new life in the North. Any child reared with that background has to have gumption. As a boy he was always curious, adventurous and dogged. His teacher always remarked how he was first to come to class and the last to leave. I knew in my soul that boy would go far. And as to being generous, again his family never failed to say thank you, never failed to repay a kindness many times over. Why would he be any different?
That he’s successful and freely shares his blessings with others is no surprise. What is a surprise is our intrepid generous millionaire is in love. And not being too subtle with it either. Imagine asking me to hand Adelaide Hanson a note before the festivities started. He insisted I make her read it too. Lord have mercy the look on her face! She knew what the note’s one-line missive meant. I sure didn’t.
Of course I’d read it. He didn’t seal it so obviously it wasn’t meant to be kept private – or exclusively private. “Let’s light the fire again” is what it said. I couldn’t make head nor tale of it. Naturally since he makes fireworks I thought it might refer to some display or such. Her expression told me otherwise. Whatever fire that note referred too has nothing to do with fireworks. No siree. I’ve been watching the looks they’ve been exchanging since she read it.
I know longing when I see it. I’ve married enough couples to know when it’s present and when it isn’t. Adelaide’s been courted by Oscar Thompson for almost a year now and I’ve never seen that kind of light in her eyes or his. But when she looks at Hero and he looks at her, it’s there. A fire has been lit again. The fire of love. True love.
But how’s it all going to end up? Hero left Adelaide two years ago with a ruined her reputation until Dr. Shannon’s examination proved her virtue was still intact. Not that that made any difference to Oscar’s mother. No one’s good enough for Emmaline Thompson’s son, least of all an orphan charity case, no matter how talented, hard-working and Christian.
I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out. Oscar’s got the respectability and the stability Adelaide’s always wanted, but I don’t know. More than Roman candles are lighting up this Fourth of July. If I were a betting man – and being a minister I most certainly am not – I’d put my money on Hero.
About the Book
One night in 1896 Adelaide Hanson and Hero Williams shared their hopes and dreams. She to be an artist like Edmonia Lewis. He to amass great wealth. Hero went off to start a fireworks business. Adelaide remained in Weeksville hampered by a ruined reputation until a doctor’s examination proved her still a virgin. Two years later Hero, now a self-made millionaire, returns to share his wealth with the community that sheltered his family from the violence of the Post-Reconstruction South. He has also returned hoping to ask Adelaide for her hand. She, however, is anticipating a marriage proposal from the son of one of the Black community’s most prominent families, despite his mother’s disapproval. Hero begs for a chance to change Adelaide’s mind. Although still in love with him, she is unwilling to risk her heart or face societal opprobrium again. Then Hero makes an offer he hopes she won’t refuse: a chance to revive what they shared two years ago by viewing a private fireworks display designed especially to light the fire between them again.
Light the Fire Again is one of seven steamy fireworks-featuring romances in the Fireworks anthology, proceeds from which will go to ProLiteracy, an adult literacy organization. So enjoy some great sex while supporting a great cause.
Buy it here: https://amzn.to/3ktzVH8
Red and white checkered tablecloths fluttered gently in the warm July breeze. Summer sunlight glinted off glass pitchers brimming with iced tea, lemonade and water. The event attendees had filtered out of the hall and were lining up at the collation tables. Everyone grinned and smacked their lips as the delicious scents of collards, cornbread and fresh baked biscuits, sweet potatoes, and chicken, both baked and fried, filled the air.
Adelaide’s stomach growled. She pressed a fist against her gut to quiet it. She hadn’t had breakfast and regretted offering to help serve.
“Hurry up Adelaide,” Emmaline Thompson barked. “Set those platters beside the others, go back for the last tray then be ready to serve.”
Adelaide bristled, tempted to deliver a tongue lashing of her own but kept silent and complied.
Reverend Johnson, Hero and several clergy and civic leaders headed for a white linen-covered table decked with red, white and blue ribbons set aside for the guest of honor.
Hero glanced her way, catching her eye. He smiled. Not a broad enjoy-your-day smile, but a narrow I-remember-you grin.
She remembered him too.
Her stomach growled again, this time from a different hunger.
She speared chicken on to plate after plate, forcing a smile with every “You’re welcome” she said to each guest served. The letter in her pocket gave her no reason to smile.
Reverend Johnson had given her the envelope in his office. She recognized Hero’s handwriting immediately. If Reverend Johnson hadn’t been present she’d have ripped it up. She’d shoved it in her pocket, planning to do just that when the minister asked her to please open it then and there.
The envelope contained two pieces of paper: one an article from the Brooklyn Eagle announcing the reason for Hero’s return to Weeksville. His family, known for their generosity to causes dedicated to uplifting the Negro race, had several monetary gifts for their former neighborhood. The reporter recounted the family’s harrowing escape from the South then chronicled their rise to wealth. Their most recent success was attributed to the series of fireworks Hero had designed over the last two years. The article ended by quoting Hero.
“Yes, God has blessed us with success, but I’ll be forever grateful to a muse who inspired me late one August night.”
Adelaide re-read the quote several times. Just seeing the words “August night” set her sex pulsing. She laid the article aside and read the second piece of paper. A hot fist of awakening curled low in her belly as she mouthed its simple words.
Let’s light the fire again.
About the Author
Michal Scott is the erotic romance pen name of Anna Taylor Sweringen, a retired United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Church USA minister. Inspired by the love mystics of Begijn, Audre Lourde and Bell Hooks, Rev. Anna writes erotica and erotic romance with a faith arc, hoping to build a bridge between the sacred and secular, spirituality and sexuality, erotica and Christ, you and a well-written spiritually-stimulating and erotically-arousing story. She uses story settings to give insight into the African American experience in the US. Besides erotic romance, she writes inspirational and sweet romance as Anna Taylor and gothic romance and women’s fiction as Anna M. Taylor. Sign up for Michal’s newsletter so she can keep in touch with you: https://mailchi.mp/106e6b05cdfe/michal-scotts-newsletter