So, these were originally shared only on facebook, but I thought I should bring them over here! These are unedited snippets of a story, revolving around Roderick Dixon (Carter’s little brother) and one of his college peers, a bright young girl named Lauren. This isn’t a project I’m working on in a official capacity, but these little snippets are calling me, so I’ll share! I have little glimpses often of things that didn’t fit into the book, or came to me later, so I’ll just tag them under snippets, and with the story they are connected to.  Enjoy!


“So wassup with me and you?”
Immediate heat rushed to my cheeks at the sound of a masculine voice beside me, speaking damn near right in my ear. When I looked up to face the source of interruption, my eyes landed on honey-colored skin, a low fade, pretty eyes, just a shade darker than his skin, and sinewy arms that strained the sleeves of his white tee just enough to be sexy.
“What do you mean, what’s up with me and you? I don’t know you,” I mumbled, turning my eyes back to my book even though my chances of actual absorption were shot. Not with him sitting there, smelling like he did, and looking like he did, and making my little private study room in the library feel hot as hell.
“Right. You don’t know me. And that’s a cosmic mistake I’m tryna correct.”
I rolled my eyes, then looked up at him again, with my face pulled into a scowl I didn’t feel. Instead of backing off, like I wanted him to, he licked his lips, then gave me a smile that made me feel a little dizzy and off-balance. I tore my gaze away, then crossed my arms.
“Look, I don’t know what you came in here expecting, but I—”
“I didn’t come in here expecting anything,” he said, shrugging as his expression shifted into something a little more serious. “I’d like to know your name.” He tipped his head to the side, and the corners of his mouth twitched until his lips spread into a full smile, and heat raced across my cheeks again.
“So why not just ask?” I turned away, rolling my pen between my fingers as I willed my heart to stop racing.
“Cause that’s no fun.”
I lifted an eyebrow, then gave a slight shake of my head as I turned my eyes back to my paper. “And neither is bad grades. I need to study.”
“Are you kicking me out?”
“I didn’t invite you in.”
The side of my face grew hot from his stare, but I refused to look up. Maybe if I just ignored him, he would just —
“Excuse me. I’m sorry to interrupt your studying, Gorgeous, but I’d really love to know your name — if you don’t mind.”
I ran my tongue over my teeth, trying to suppress a smile as I lifted my gaze to him. He had his eyebrow cocked expectantly, and I almost didn’t tell him on the strength of that alone. But then he leaned forward, placed a warm palm over the back of my hand and squeezed. “Please? I mean, just calling your Gorgeous works for me, but I get the impression you’re the type of girl that would maybe rather be called… Bookworm. Or maybe… your name?”
“Lauren.” That response was out of my mouth before I could even process that he’d snatched my guard down.
“Lauren,” he repeated, nodding his approval. “That suits you.”
I slipped my hand from underneath his, tucking it into my lap. “How so?”
His eyes widened a little, taken aback by my response, but the grin remained on his face. “Pretty name for a… nah, I’m not even gonna finish that,” he chuckled.
“Good call.”
Swallowing hard, and trying not to stare at his arms, I flipped my book to the next page, hoping he would take my hint. A moment later, there was movement beside me as he stood, and a brief moment of relief before he touched my bare shoulder.
I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping he hadn’t heard my sharp intake of breath in reaction to his touch.
“I’ll see you around campus… Lauren.”
His hand slipped away, leaving behind an electric tingle on my skin, and before I could stop myself, I turned on the barstool-style seat.
“Hey,” I called out, forcing myself to keep my eyes on his face, instead of traveling to the front of his sweat pants. “I told you mine… but you didn’t tell me yours.”
He pulled his head back, obviously surprised by my request. Shoving his hands in his pockets, he grinned, then said, “Roderick Dixon. But everybody calls me Rod.” He gave me a little nod, then turned away, rounding the corner toward the empty study rooms in the back.
With a deep breath, I turned back to the table, then flipped to the list I kept in the front of my notebook. Right under “don’t drink the “juice” at Que parties”, I carefully wrote “Avoid Roderick Dixon.”




“Dude are you even listening?”
I heard the question, even processed the question, but wasn’t fast enough with response. Carter’s hand connected with the back of my head, hard enough to sting like a bitch, and I reared back, scowling.
“Damn, Carter! Will you cut that shit out? I’m a grown ass man, and you out here in my spot, embarrassing me in front of pretty women.”
“First of all, lil muhfucka, you’re not grown. Second… my fiance isn’t thinking about you.”
Sucking my teeth, I glanced over at fine ass Viv, who was passed on the couch with her pregnant titties looking worth two smacks to the head. And if that little flimsy dress she wore to combat the summer heat would hike up just a little further, I could get a glimpse of supple thighs.
“Ouch! Shit, what was that for?!” I lifted my hand to my head, pulling my face into a deeper frown.
“For looking at my fiance. Put your eyes back in your head and focus on this work. I didn’t bring her up here to be eye candy, you said you missed your family and you were having a hard time with your programming class. Get your head in the game.”
I pushed out a deep sigh, flipping my hat backwards as I sat forward. “Aiight man.”
“Okay, so what’s next?” I cocked an eyebrow, wondering if he was waiting on me to move forward. This programming shit was like gibberish to me, Carter was the expert.
“No, smart ass. I want you to say ‘alright’, not ‘aiight’. Talk like you’ve got some sense!”
My frown deepened. “Carter…you say ‘aiight’ too, man.”
“And what have I told you about tryna do the same shit I do?”
“To follow your example! The fuck?”
I sat back again, arms crossed, tryna figure this out. Once Carter and I got past the stuff with our mom, we were cool, but every once in a while little glimpses of “drill sergeant” would creep back in, and I wasn’t with that shit.
Beside me at the desk, he looked annoyed at being called out, but then he scrubbed a hand over his face and groaned. Lacing his fingers behind his head, he leaned back, and gave me a little nod. “Aiight man. My bad.”
He extended his fist toward me, and I hesitated for a moment before returning the gesture. “What’s up with you? You’ve been tense like crazy ever since-” my gaze drifted over to Viv, her newly round belly rising and falling with every breath as she slept. “Ohhh. I get it now.”
Carter scoffed. “What exactly do you get?”
“You. You’re worried about being a daddy so you’re testing out your parenting skills on me. You’ve got a lot of work to do, bruh.”
“Shut up.”
“I’m serious! That iron fist bullshit you’re running with isn’t gonna work out for you. Especially with a girl. Those girls with the strict daddies give the best he-”
“Really, muthafucka?” Carter looked horrified that I would say some shit like that, but it was the truth. I wasn’t anybody’s parent, but I’d dealt with enough freaky ass girls whose sole purpose was to rebel against their parents to know dictatorship wasn’t the proper parenting move.
I shrugged, then draped by hands behind my head in a similar position to his. “I’m just telling you what i know.”
He groaned yet again, then dropped his forehead onto the desk. “Goddammit. I know.”
Ah, hell.
Now I felt bad. After what he’d gone through as a kid, I knew becoming a parent, and doing it the “right” way was a big deal to him. He didn’t his kids to every feel the inadequacy he felt growing up, and I understood that.
“Hey… bruh, listen. ” I put my hand on his shoulder, and he turned his face up to look at me. “You’ve got this shit man. You don’t have to try this hard. I got you. Viv’s got you. Moms has got you. You’re good. Your kid will be good. Just… chill.”
I shrugged like it was nothing, then gave him a second to get himself together. Five minutes later, we were back into this programming shit, but it didn’t take long for my mind to drift again.
“Rod… I’m about to smack you again,” Carter said, chuckling as he shook his head.
“After the conversation we just had?”
“Especially after the conversation we just had. You’re talking about you got my back with my kid, how about you get this education, be a good influence too?”
I kept my face pulled into a bored expression, until Carter sighed and flipped the heavy textbook closed.
“Aiight… so what is it this time? Some girl, right?”
I started to deny it, but then my mind drifted back to earlier in the day… and Lauren. With her pretty ass. Deep brown skin, fly ass fro, and a hip to waist ratio that made my eyes water. The library wasn’t the first place I’d seen her around campus, but it was the first place I caught her alone.
“So what should Viv tell Bria?” Carter asked, breaking into my thoughts. “You know, the girl that cried beside your hospital bed when your dumb ass cracked your head open on the sidewalk? You know she’s been asking about, right?”
“Tell Bria that what I told her before I left for this semester still stands. I’m not down for the long distance thing. Do you know how many fine ass girls are right here on campus, versus two hours away?”
Carter narrowed his eyes. “Because that’s such a long fucking distance, right?” He shook his head. “Anyway, were you straight up with her? Cause it doesn’t seem like y’all are on the same page.”
“I was straight up.”
“You explicitly said, Bria, we should break up, cause I don’t want a long distance relationship?”
“I… told her I needed some space to figure it out, cause I wasn’t sure.”
Carter stared at me for a second with his lip curled, then pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers. “Rod… trust me, little brother. Don’t do this ambiguous shit. I promise you, it’s not gonna work in your favor. Bria is a sweet girl… don’t string her along. She doesn’t deserve that. Nobody does. Aiight?”
We went back to work, but part of my mind still lingered on Bria. I should call her. I would call her… as soon as I set something up with Lauren.

A Spring Affair from Te Russ

image3Though they’ve yet to meet face to face, Maya has had a secret crush on Xavier, the man who owns a wine café that the winery she works for distributes to. But being that Xavier is involved, she’d never reveal her feelings.

Xavier’s previous relationship has left him wrung out emotionally. Needing to get away for awhile, he decides to drive to Napa and visit the winery that produces one of the best selling wines at his café. And finally get the opportunity to meet the woman with the sweet little voice.

One email and four little words stands to flip their love lives on its head and when Maya and Xavier meet for the first time, both are blindsided by the attraction they feel for one another.

Springtime and wine make a beautiful backdrop for two people on a romantic journey to love…






Maya stood there in the wine cave staring at Xavier.

“‘We’,” she said. “As in…you and me?”

She watched at the corner of his mouth quirked up slightly, before he released a deep chuckle.

“Yeah,” he said. “That’s the idea, unless there is some rule that says you can’t drink right now?”

“My boss doesn’t mind if we taste the wines along with our tourist, as long as we use the spittoon. But it is after hours and everyone has left for the day.”

“So what do you say?” he asked with a smile. “All these years we’ve talked on the phone and emailed each other, it would be nice to sit down and finally get to know more about you.”

She wanted to get to know him better as well.

Then why are you hesitating? her mind screamed.

She looked over her shoulder at the exit, then back at the table.

“I’m sorry,” he said when she still didn’t answer. He looked at his watch. “I suppose now I’m being presumptuous. Here I am asking you to sit down and share this wine and food with me and technically you’re suppose to be off the clock already. I didn’t think that maybe you already had plans with your husband.”

Maya grinned at Xavier’s inquisitive tone.

It was more than a little obvious that he was fishing for her relationship status. Grinning, she held up her hand to reveal her bare ring finger. “I’m not married.”

“Boyfriend?” he corrected.

She shook her head, and she felt her grin widen. “I’m single.”

“Then I’m not stealing you from anyone important.”

“It doesn’t appear that way.” Finally Maya smiled and said, “Sure I would love to sit with you.”

They moved over to the table and Xavier held a chair out for Maya. As he pushed her chair in after she sat, she felt his finger inadvertently brush against her shoulder. It amazed her that even the lightest touch from this man made her body come alive.

She expected him to go around and sit on the other side of the table, but was surprised when he pulled out the chair right next to hers and sat down.

“So, what do we have here?” Xavier asked, rubbing his hands together in anticipation.

Trying to ignore their knees touching under the table, Maya pointed to a white wine.

“This is a chardonnay, much like the one you tasted from the barrel. Of course this one is ready for consumption,” she said with a smile.

They both reached for the bottle at the same time and she stopped as Xavier’s large hand grabbed it first.

“Do you mind?” he asked.

“By all means.” She held up her glass so he could pour some, then he filled his own glass.

“I assume we’re pairing this with the brie cheese over there?” he guessed as he sat the bottle back down.

“You’re absolutely right. It’s actually from a local cheesemonger not too far from here.” She cut them both a small slice of cheese. “You know your pairings.”

“I would hope so, otherwise business would be terrible at my café.”

“What made you decide to open a wine café?” Maya asked. She had always been curious. “Why not just open a wine shop?”

“Because there is a wine shop every few blocks. Not to mention you can get wine from just about any store. With the wine café, people can also experience the joy of learning about wines as well as different foods that pair well with them.”

She loved his answer. And it was obvious that he was a true wine lover. As they went through their flight of wines, tasting several varieties, she watched as he described each one in great detail, as well as how each item of food was enhanced by the wines.

As they finished up their tasting, Xavier wiped his mouth and sat his napkin down on the plate in front of him.

“That was amazing. I can’t thank you enough again for doing all of this.”

“Even though it was meant for you and someone else?” she asked sheepishly.

Xavier turned and looked Maya directly in the eyes. “If it was meant for me to be here with someone else, I would have been here with someone else,” he said with a self-assured tone.

There was something in his voice and the look in his eyes that made Maya’s heart race.

She broke their eye contact and stood, gathering up the dishes. “I still feel terrible. Setting up this whole romantic scene must have brought up some strange feelings considering–”

“Maya.” Xavier stood, gently grabbing her arm, to stop her from her task of cleaning. “The only thing I’ve felt tonight is joy at spending time with you. In fact…” he removed his hand from her arm and hooked his thumbs into the loops of his jeans. “…I was wondering since the winery is closed tomorrow, do you have any plans tomorrow?”

“Uh, no. I don’t have any plans tomorrow. You’re not going to visit anymore wineries?”

“I visited all of the ones on my list yesterday and today. This was the final stop for me. I wanted to save the best for last,” he said, and she felt like he was referring to more than just the winery.

“I know this may seem fast, and forward. And I’m kind of out of practice with all of this, but…I’ve enjoyed our time together today and I want to see you again. So I was wondering if you would have lunch with me tomorrow, before I have to head back to Sacramento.”

Oh. My. God.

After years of fantasizing about this man she’d never before met, he was better than anything she could have imagined. And for all of those years, there was a road block in her dreams by the name of Darby. Now Darby was out of the picture and Xavier was showing interest in her. It was the stuff romance novels were made of.

She remembered what her sister had said about jumping at the opportunity if it presented itself with Xavier. Well…she’d been a little more cruder, but still…her overall advice was on point. And Maya wasn’t going to let a chance she’d secretly been wishing for, for several years now, pass her by.

“Lunch with you tomorrow would be great.”


Growing up an introvert, Té Russ found solace in literary arts at an early age. She found reading to be a vehicle to broader horizons and writing a form of self-expression. She began writing love stories in her adolescent years as a way to expel her youthful thoughts of love into words. Since then she has gone from writing stories and thoughts of love in journals to attending college for journalism and falling in love, which has allowed those youthful words of love to blossom into a series of stories in her romance novels. Though she has an immense appreciation for the sheer smell that books collectively exert, she also has found balance to her introverted nature with adrenaline inducing activities. So if she does not have her nose pressed deeply into a book or her pen ticking through a pad, you may also find this mother of three baking some tasty treats, jumping out of airplanes, cheering her husband on at the top of her lungs at MMA fights, buzzing down the interstate on the back of motorcycles, or kayaking.

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