Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Book Blitz: Love Always (Love, Life And Happiness Series) By Sheena Binkley
Love Always by Sheena Binkley
(Love, Life, & Happiness, #5)
Publication date: November 19th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
From the first moment I’d laid eyes on Shawn Walker, I never thought he would be the love of my life. In the three years we have been together, we have been through so much, and I couldn’t imagine anyone else I would have wanted by my side. Now, we’re about to experience another event that has us both in shock. Will we be able to get through this one together, or will it end up destroying our relationship?
I never thought I would experience love again until Riana Robertson entered my life. The two of us have been through hell and back, but we’re still standing. Now that I’ve graduated Shaw and heading into the real world, I have a lot of responsibility, not just for myself, but for my growing family. With all of the issues surrounding Riana and me, will we slowly lose sight of the love we have for each other, or will it strengthen us as a couple?
Although I was happy about my decision, why did I feel we were getting in over our heads? I knew I shouldn’t think like that, but there was a feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me otherwise. Right now, I’d just have to take things day by day, and hopefully, I wouldn't have this feeling any more. Besides, what could possibly go wrong between us? We loved each other too much for things to become out of control. And if it did, we’d work through it. We always had and that would never change.
Or so I hoped….
“You've always been my inspiration, in everything I do, baby,”
We have shared various dances together
But there’s one that no one knows
This one can go all night
As our bodies move together in the same rhythm
The hungry stare we have for each other
When our bodies become one
I love the sexy way you say my name
As we match each other’s moves
The sensation I get when you touch me
Makes me want you even more
Don’t hold back how you feel
I know how naughty you can be
Especially when you take the lead
We make our own music
The only music I want to hear
As we continue our dance
The one that no one knows
But you and me.
As the evening sun sets upon us
I see a vision to behold
Your beautiful eyes can make me melt with one glance
Your smile alone can make my bad days disappear
The love I have for you is evident
As I look upon your face
With one look
And our passion ignites
Drawing me near to you
Losing myself within you
As I caress your beautiful face
All the fears you had are now gone
All the worries you had have been erased
All the tears you shed are slowly fading
Because of my love for you
One look into each other’s eyes
One touch on each other’s skin
One kiss upon each other’s lips
And we are forever connected
Our heart has become one
Our love has become one
And will always be one
Now and forever.
In the three years Shawn and I had been together, we had our share of ups and downs. But through the good and the bad, we've stuck by each other, and our experiences helped us grow; not just as a couple, but as individuals.
I knew the two of us could get through anything together. Especially with the love we had for each other. Now and always.
I watched as Monica Taylor left with Donnell Patterson and smiled. Those two had been through so much together. From their constant arguing to their various break-ups, they finally were able to talk out their problems and were pretty happy. I knew our friends were still in denial about them staying together, but I had faith in them. Them deciding to move in together, shows that they're serious about their relationship lasting.
I glanced over at Shawn Walker, and he smiled. I still couldn't believe how our relationship had grown. When I first laid eyes on him in our Introduction to Journalism class, I truly despised him. Although I couldn’t deny my attraction to him, his arrogance made me run in the other direction. Well, that, and I didn’t want to fall in love again. But once we were both able to let down our guards, we were able to love each other, which I’m truly happy about.
He wrapped his arms around me and kissed my cheek. “So, what’s your decision?”
My heart started to beat furiously. I didn’t know what to do. A couple of days before Monica made her announcement about moving in with Donnell, Shawn asked me to do the same. He asked after his brother, Marcus, moved out of their apartment to stay in the house their parents gave him; my cousin, Cheryl Thompson, moved in with him. Honestly, I didn't think it was a great idea; however, since we’re always together, it might not be too bad being with him every day and night.
“Do you really think it’s a great idea? Since Monica moved out and I might, what would Britney do?”
“Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine,” Britney Lewis interjected as she wrapped an arm around my brother, Jayden. After I told him about potentially moving in with Shawn, he had an uneasy expression on his face. He had one now, while he was staring at me.
“What are you going to do?” I asked.
“I might try and get my own place. I’ll convince my parents that I need a one-bedroom.”
“You sure your dad will agree?” Jayden asked.
“He might. He’s been pretty easygoing lately, so it’s a possibility.”
“Then, it's set. What do you say, Ri?” Shawn jumped in.
“I still need to tell my mom, and you need to tell your parents.”
“You know my parents. I told them, and they don’t have a problem with it. They know we’re always together anyway.”
“If you don’t want to, just say so. I won’t be disappointed.”
I stared at him and touched his mocha-colored cheek. How could I say no to him? I gazed into his brown eyes, which instantly made me melt. I loved his eyes and could look into them all day and all night.
I caressed his cheek and smiled. “Okay.”
He smiled and kissed me. “When do you want to move in?”
“Soon. The lease is up in a couple of days. I’ll inform the office that Britney and I are not renewing it.”
“Don’t we need at least 30 days to inform them?” Britney inquired.
“We do, but this is a special situation,” I explained.
“If you need to pay the remaining amount in your lease, I’ll cover it,” Shawn offered.
I glanced at him, while Britney raised an eyebrow. “Seriously?”
“Yes. I do have money saved, plus I have money from my internship, so it’s no big deal.”
“Baby, there's something I needed to ask,” I told Shawn. “Since Marcus was paying for the apartment–,”
“That’s something else you don’t have to worry about it. I've got everything covered. Marcus paid the apartment up until the middle of the semester, and more than likely, the news station will be offering me a position after my internship. So you don’t have to worry about getting a job if that's what you were going to suggest.”
I sighed. Maybe this would work out after all. If needed, I would get a job. Since college housing and financial aid paid for the majority of my current apartment, I didn’t have to get one. But since Shawn’s apartment was off-campus and pretty swanky, I figured I would have to; but if he insisted that I wouldn't need a job, then I wouldn't worry about it. Not right now, anyway.
“Okay. We can come to campus one day during the break and move everything out.”
“Great! I’m really happy about this,” Shawn exclaimed.
“I am, too.”
He hugged me, and I sighed. Although I was happy about my decision, why did I feel we were getting in over our heads? I knew I shouldn’t think like that, but there was a feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me otherwise. Right now, I’d just have to take things day by day, and hopefully, I wouldn't have this feeling any more. Besides, what could possibly go wrong between us? We loved each other too much for things to become out of control. And if it did, we’d work through it. We always had and that would never change.
Or so I hoped….
“Baby, where did you put my shoes?!”
I rolled my eyes and went into the closet. I pulled out Shawn’s dress loafers and walked into the living room. He was searching underneath the couch when I cleared my throat. He looked up, and I shoved them into his face.
“Why did you move them? I had them in the living room.”
“I wouldn’t have had to if you didn’t leave them sitting in the middle of the room. I almost tripped on them, not once, but twice this week.”
“Sorry, but I figured I would find them better if they were out here.”
I rolled my eyes again then walked into the kitchen. Since moving in with Shawn 18 months ago, this was a constant issue we had. Sure, we always had fun, but his tendency to forget to put his clothes and shoes in the proper places irritated me. I’m a neat freak, so I liked a tidy apartment. I did not want to see his shoes or clothes thrown on the couch and even in the kitchen. It’s disgusting.
“Shawn, all I ask of you is to clean up after yourself. We never had this problem until I moved in.”
“I know there were times when I've left stuff in plain view, but you know me, I’m just as much of a neat freak as you are.”
I scoffed and walked back into the living room. “Are you really being serious right now? When I moved in here, I didn’t expect to be a damn maid!”
“And I didn’t expect you to. What is your problem?!”
The doorbell rang, and I stomped to the door.
I opened it without looking through the peephole. Marcus and Cheryl were standing outside with a surprised expression.
“If it’s a bad time, we can come back,” Marcus stated.
I opened the door wider so they could come in. They were a little hesitant, but I gave them a look, assuring them it was okay.
“We could hear you two from the walkway. What were you arguing about?” Cheryl asked.
“Marcus, has Shawn always been a pig, leaving his stuff all over the place?”
Marcus glanced at his brother. I turned to look at Shawn, who shrugged his shoulders.
“Just answer the question.”
“Of course you’ll defend him,” I replied and went back into the kitchen. Cheryl walked in behind me and sat down on a barstool. She took my hand with a slight smile.
“What’s wrong, Ri?”
I glanced at her then slumped over onto the counter. Although Shawn’s things laying around the apartment did irritate me, that wasn’t the reason I was so upset.
“I got my grades for the semester. Let’s just say they weren’t stellar.”
“What am I going to tell my mom and Marc? I can’t return home and say ‘I’m so happy to be here for the summer, and by the way, I failed two of my classes.’”
“Wow, Ri; that’s not like you to fail your courses, especially since you’re almost done with school.”
“I know. I think since Shawn and I moved in together, school hasn’t been my top priority. In fact, nothing really has.”
“Didn’t Shawn pass his classes? I mean, he is graduating today.”
“Yeah; barely though.”
“What the hell have you two been doing? Never mind. You two really need to get your priorities straight.”
“I know you’re not talking. You and Marcus are on each other constantly.”
“Well, Marcus gives me room to breathe. Besides, I had to stay focus to apply for medical school.”
“How is that going, by the way?”
“I did receive letters from Baylor and UT. I just haven’t open them yet.”
“Because I’m scared. I've had them for a while now.”
“You need to open them.”
“I will, but I guess I don’t want that feeling of rejection.”
“How do you know that you will?”
“I don’t know. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point, and I just don’t want that feeling of failure.”
“Cher, you need to believe in yourself. You have done so much to get to this point, so don’t lose faith now. If you want, one day, when you're ready, why don't us girls get together and open them?”
“So, what about you? Do you need me to be there for you when you tell Aunt Melanie and Marc?”
I took a deep breath. Honestly, I hadn't even told Shawn about my grades; I know he would be upset about it. That’s one thing the two of us had always agreed on: We would support each other in our classes. During this semester, though, we both kind of slacked off. Shawn did mainly because this was his last semester, and he’d been working nonstop at his job at the news station. After his internship, the station did offer him a position as a production assistant. Although it wasn’t glamorous, he enjoyed it because he was learning a lot about the industry. Once he graduates, hopefully, he would be promoted.
As for me, I think I slacked off because I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go career-wise. Although I enjoyed journalism, I didn’t know if that's want I wanted to do as a career. I took a creative writing class for an elective, and I really fell in love with the assignments. I'd always had a knack for writing, but I'd never thought of it as a career. Until now.
“Thanks, but I have it covered. Besides, they’re not the only ones I haven’t told yet.”
“Shawn doesn’t know either?”
“No. I’m thinking about taking both of the classes again in the summer any way. I already checked and saw there are online courses I can take.”
“Well, that’s good. So, are you calm enough to go back out to the living room?”
I sighed. “I am; but he really needs to clean up his stuff.”
“Well, Marcus was the same way, especially when he came home from work. He’d leave everything sitting out, and I ended up cleaning it up.”
“What did you do?”
“I withheld sex until he got his act together. It worked,” she answered with a wink.
“Maybe I should do that with Shawn.”
“It wouldn’t work with you two.”
I shook my head, while she laughed. “I’m just telling the truth.”
She suddenly snapped her fingers as if she remembered something. “I forgot. We have a final dress fitting once we return to Houston.”
“I thought we already had our final fitting?”
“Nope. Elise claims she gained weight, so we have to do another one. Really, I don’t know where she gained it though.”
I smiled. I still couldn’t believe she and Marcus were getting married. They'd stuck to their agreement of having their wedding after her graduation, so their date was set for July.
“Okay, I’ll let the girls know.”
“Thanks. So are you cool now? There won’t be any altercations while we’re out in public, will there?”
“Of course not,” I said with a smirk. “You know I can’t stay mad at Shawn for long.”
“Okay,” Cheryl replied. She gave me a pat on my back and went to the refrigerator.
I sighed and rubbed my stomach. There was another reason I was moody lately. It was a good thing there was going to be another fitting, because I probably couldn’t fit into my bridesmaid dress anymore. Lately, I hadn't been able to fit into anything. I sighed and rubbed my stomach again. I also hadn't had my period in a month, which was making me even more anxious. I know I’d had irregular periods since I’d been on birth control, but I switched to another brand two months ago.
Cheryl turned around and noticed my sad look. “Is there something else you want to talk about?”
I shook my head and smiled. “No, I’m fine.”
I wasn’t going to mention what I was thinking right now. This was her and Shawn’s graduation day, and I wasn’t going to ruin it. Instead, I would enjoy their moment, and let my issues be.
I looked into the kitchen and saw Riana and Cheryl deep in discussion. I didn't know what was wrong with Ri lately. She had been moody and sort of bitchy. Marcus noticed the look on my face and gave me a pat on the back.
“I wouldn’t try to figure it out, bro. Cheryl is like that sometimes, too. When she is, I just let her be.”
“Ri was never like this though. When she moved in here, it was pure paradise; but lately, she's just really hormonal and temperamental. She gets upset over the smallest things.”
“You sure there's nothing bothering her?”
“I’m sure there is, but I don’t know what it is. Usually, we’ll talk about our issues; we never hold anything in.”
Marcus sighed and looked in the kitchen. Riana and Cheryl were walking over to us. While Cheryl sat on Marcus’ lap, Riana took my hand, and we went to the bedroom. She closed the door with a smile.
“You’re probably wondering what’s going on with me.”
“Yes; you haven’t been yourself lately.”
She caressed my hand and began to talk. “I failed two of my classes, Shawn.”
“Ri! I didn’t even know you were having trouble with your classes. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t want to burden you. You’ve been working nonstop and trying to finish your classes so you can graduate. I didn’t want to add my issues onto yours.”
I touched her shoulder, and she shivered. I'd always had that effect on her. Just one touch from me, and she was ready. I kissed her cheek, and she smiled.
“Baby, when we’re together, your problems become mine as well; you know that.”
“I know, it just with graduation and your job, I just didn’t –”
I interrupted her. “Ri, there is no excuse for you not telling me what’s bothering you. If you would have told me, I could have helped you. What are the two classes you have to repeat?”
“College Algebra and Media Planning & Placement.”
“That was an easy class.”
“It was. How did you fail that?”
“I just had a lot on my mind, that’s all.”
“All kidding aside, no matter what I’m going through, you shouldn’t feel scared to come and talk to me. We haven't kept anything from each other since the whole Spoken thing. I don’t want us to get back into a situation like that again, okay?”
“I don’t either.”
“Are you going to take the courses again over the summer?”
“Yeah; I can take them online, so it won’t affect me going back to Houston.”
“Okay. If it did, I would have stayed with you.”
“I’m sure you haven’t told your parents, have you?”
She shook her head. “I’ll tell them when we return to Houston.”
“Don’t you think you need to tell them now?”
“And ruin your day? No.”
“Baby, the day will not be ruined. I would feel better if you told them as soon as possible.”
She nodded. “Fine, I’ll tell them; but after the graduation party.”
“You want me to be there with you?”
I kissed her, and she grabbed the side of my neck. I could feel her heartbeat against my chest as I touched her waist. I'd noticed she gained some weight lately, but it was in the right places. She'd always had a beautiful body, but damn, she was starting to get thick.
I lay her down on the bed, and she smiled.
“We’re not going to start that. If we do, you will miss graduation,” she said.
“You’re right. My parents would have a fit.”
“Exactly. Don’t rule out later though.”
“Of course,” I said with a grin.
She smiled, kissed my cheek and got up. Then, she went to the closet and pulled out a floral print sundress.
“I’m sorry for not being honest with you. I know you would have come to me.”
“It’s cool. I love you.”
She smiled and went into the bathroom.
I lay down on the bed and sighed. I could sense something else was bothering her. Whatever it was, I hope she wouldn't keep that from me, too.
Sheena Binkley first discovered her love for storytelling when writing her first story for a class project at the tender age of nine. Since then, she has composed several short stories and numerous tales that are not only engaging, but simply entertaining. She is also a freelance writer, penning articles on various topics including education and entertainment. Besides writing, she loves reading, shopping, and spending time with family and friends. She lives in Houston (where the weather is always unpredictable) with her husband and son.
Where did the idea of Love Always come about?
Love Always is the fifth book in the Love, Life, & Happiness series and it’s the second book for one of the couples, Riana & Shawn. The story takes place three years after they met and it shows how much they relationship has evolved. They been through so much in their relationship and now, they have an even bigger test they have to endure. It will show whether their relationship will become stronger or will it destroy them.
With the series, each book was devoted to a couple and their journey to happiness. Why were two books written about Riana and Shawn?
Although I love each of the couples in the series, there were so much more to tell regarding Riana and Shawn. Their relationship is very special and unique that I had to do another story on them. Also, readers of the series love these two and wanted to have an update; so another story was born.
Since this is a part of a series, do you need to read the first four books?
Not necessarily. This story does provide enough background for first-time readers to understand the storyline and the couples; but it would be more beneficial if readers read the first four to see the journey each couple (especially Riana and Shawn) went through to understand where they are now in their relationships.
What was your favorite part in writing Love Always?
I have various scenes that are my favorite with Love Always. In fact, I love the entire story, because it shows how powerful love can be. Also, this book is important to me because it’s has some real-life elements to Riana and Shawn with myself and my husband. Some of the lessons this couple has been through was similar to some of the situations my husband and I faced at their age, so it brought back various memories during my college days a few years ago.
Will there be any other stories coming soon from the series?
Yes, Actually, Love Always was supposed to been the final book in the series, but I couldn’t let these characters go; so I decided to write one more story, titled Redemption. This will be a novella and will be from one of the most hated (but misunderstood) characters from the series, Nathan. Several questions will be answered in this story, so hopefully everyone would understand his point of view on some of the situations that has occurred between him and with several characters.
What are your future plans?
Along with Redemption, I am working on a new series titled Resisting Temptation. I am also working on a spin-off from the Love, Life, & Happiness titled Simply Love. Both series will be available next year.