Welcome back to Leo's supper club, where seduction is always on the menu . . .
Rochelle Alers, "Love Lessons"
Tyrell Hardcastle is knocked off his feet when he meets a local high school teacher. Now all he has to do is overcome her objections to him being the "younger man".
Donna Hill, "Lady in Waiting"
Noah Hardcastle is engaged to beautiful Tara Mitchell. However, their relationship is threatened when Noah's first love Rachel, returns to D.C. to prove to him that he is all she ever really wanted.
Brenda Jackson, "Irresistible Attraction"
Sydney Corbain never forgot her explosive encounter with Tyrone Hardcastle at her brother's wedding. So when she runs into him in New York City on business, they both see this as an opportunity to explore their undenaible attraction.
Francis Ray, "Blind Date"
Ayanna Hardcastle pretends that she is dating wealthy businessman Tanner Rafferty, in order to get her matchmaking friend off her back. But, she never imagined that Tanner Rafferty would show up to collect on that claim!
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.85(d)|
About the Author
Rochelle Alers is one of today's most prolific and popular African American authors of romance and women's fiction. A regular on the Essence bestseller list, she has received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and many other honors. Her novels include Here I Am, Because of You, and Sweet Persuasions. She lives on Long Island, New York.
Essence bestselling author Donna Hill is considered one of the early pioneers of the African American romance genre. She has received numerous awards for her body of work including The Career Achievement Award, The Trailblazer Award, The Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award, and The Gold Pen Award, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Brenda Jackson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels, including the Westmorelands series and, from St. Martin's Press, Some Like It Hot, Taste of Passion and The Playa's Handbook. She was the first African American author to have a book published under the Harlequin/Silhouette Desire line of books and the first African American romance author to make USA Today's Bestseller's List and the New York Times Bestseller's List for the series romance genre. Jackson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University, and worked for thirty-seven years in management at a major insurance company. She now divides her time between family, writing and traveling. She has been married for thirty-seven years to her childhood sweetheart, Gerald, and they have two sons. She lives in the city where she was born, Jacksonville, Florida.
Francis Ray is the New York Times bestselling author of the Grayson novels, the Falcon books, the Taggart Brothers, and Twice the Tempation, among many other books. Her novel Incognito was made into a movie aired on BET. A native Texan, she is a graduate of Texas Woman's University and has a degree in nursing. Besides a writer, she is a school nurse practitioner with the Dallas Independent School District. She lives in Dallas.
Read an Excerpt
Let's Get It On
By Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, Brenda Jackson, Francis Ray
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2004 Rochelle Alers
All rights reserved.
Viola Chapman opened the door to her duplex apartment, sighing in relief as the yawning space welcomed her home. She had waited patiently for nearly a year to move into the four-thousand-square-foot loft in an industrial-turn-residential Washington, D.C., neighborhood. Formerly a warehouse taking up an entire square block, the property was sold to a developer who had divided more than sixty thousand square feet of space into ten luxury apartments.
She had been one of the first to purchase a unit, and the last resident to move in. An architect's rendering had reconfigured open spaces and a towering ceiling into a designer's showcase with recessed lights, fireplaces, skylights, an open staircase leading to an upper level, and the careful positioning and detail of internal walls. The final result was that her home radiated a sense of space, light, and warmth.
Viola placed her oversize leather handbag on a straight-back chair next to a corner table in an expansive foyer as she slipped out of her shoes. Reaching into the bag, she retrieved a letter addressed to her at Carver High School. The embossed logo on the envelope indicated the letter had come from Leo's, a trendy supper club in the District of Columbia.
Leo's was one of twenty-two other business establishments in the D.C. area she had solicited for the high school's annual Career Cooperative. As the lead teacher for this year's career initiative, she had set up meetings with local business owners to garner their cooperation for internships for eligible students interested in a future as entrepreneurs.
She made her way in nylon-covered feet across the oak floor laid out in a herringbone design to an alcove. Sitting on a cushioned built-in widow seat, she opened the envelope and withdrew a single sheet of beige parchment.
Viola's gaze raced quickly over the type, lingering on the last paragraph: I am curious about your school's cooperative proposal. Please contact me at the number on the letterhead, so we may discuss this further. Cordially, Tyrell Hardcastle.
"Yes!" she whispered, a wide grin parting her lips. Picking up a telephone, Viola dialed the number. It was answered on the third ring.
"Good afternoon, Leo's." The male voice was deep and resonant. James-Earl-Jones deep.
"I'd like to speak to Tyrell Hardcastle."
"This is he."
She smiled. He had used the proper pronoun. She had taught English and literature for nineteen years, and factured verbs or pronouns made her shake her head in despair.
"Mr. Hardcastle, I'm Viola Chapman, a teacher from Carver High School. I just read your letter, and I'd like to set up an appointment with you to discuss our school's vocational Cooperative Initiative."
"I'm only free on Mondays, Ms. Chapman. Will that pose a problem for you?"
"Not at all." She quickly recalled her Monday schedule. Her last class ended at two-thirty.
"What time would you like to meet?"
"That depends on where we meet, Mr. Hardcastle."
"We can meet here at Leo's."
She estimated it would take her at least twenty minutes to drive from the school to the restaurant, barring no traffic delays. She opened her mouth to say three, but quickly changed her mind.
"Then, four it is."
Even though the man on the other end of the line couldn't see her, Viola smiled. "Thank you, Mr. Hardcastle."
There was a pause before he said, "Don't thank me yet, Ms. Chapman. As I indicated in my letter, I'm merely curious."
"The word curious means a desire to learn."
"What are you implying, Ms. Chapman?"
She registered the censure in his tone. "Only that we're never too old to learn. I'll see you Monday at four." Depressing a button, she did not give him the opportunity to come back at her.
A shiver of annoyance snaked up her spine. Either Tyrell Hardcastle was interested or he wasn't. She did not have time to waste on someone who was merely "curious" about what had become a positive and successful component to Carver High's academic curriculum.
She moved off the window seat, mentally dismissing Tyrell Hardcastle. It was a Friday afternoon—the end of what had become a hectic week and the beginning of a weekend for which she had nothing planned except to relax. The most strenuous task she'd intended to undertake was a couple of loads of wash.
She had completed her lesson plans for the following week, visited the full-service salon where she'd had her hair trimmed and her weekly manicure and pedicure. She had even turned down an invitation to go to a concert with the school's football coach because she hadn't wanted to give him the impression that they were now a couple.
Evan Richards had asked her to attend a jazz concert with him last spring, and she had accepted. The one date led to several more over the summer months, and Viola suspected the handsome science teacher had come to like her more than she liked him. He'd hinted that he wanted to take their relationship to another level, and she knew that level was intimacy. What Evan failed to realize was that she wanted friendship, not intimacy—especially with someone with whom she worked.
She had learned this valuable lesson the hard way. Fifteen years before, at the age of twenty-five, she had met and fallen head over heels in love with a teacher at a high school in Richmond, Virginia. A whirlwind romance resulted in a quick engagement. However, her rosy world was shattered after she was left standing at the altar when her fiancé eloped with another teacher.
Viola Reba Chapman would celebrate her fortieth birthday within three months, and she had made it a practice to never make the same mistake twice.
* * *
The bell rang, and Tyrell Hardcastle glanced at the monitor of the closed-circuit television in the restaurant's office. His clear brown eyes widened appreciably at the face on the screen. A sandy-brown eyebrow lifted.
"Good," he murmured, smiling. "At least she's on time."
It was exactly four o'clock, and he knew the woman who had rung the bell was Viola Chapman. His smile vanished, replaced by a slight frown. He had been taken in by her beautifully modulated voice until her parting remark about his not being too old to learn. No only did she claim a quick tongue, but a sharp one, too.
Rising to his feet, he walked out of the office, making his way to the restaurant's entrance. He unlocked the door, coming face-to-face with Viola Chapman. Tyrell did not know what to expect, but the closed-circuit monitor had deceptively distorted the exquisite beauty of the woman standing in front of him.
She was tall, her heels adding several inches to her towering height. Her face was incredibly round, with a delicate chin he found enchanting. High cheekbones, a generous mouth, and large slanting dark eyes in a sable-brown face held his rapt attention. His gaze shifted upward to her short, naturally curly salt-and-pepper hair, then surveyed what lay below her long, graceful neck. A tailored burnt-orange gabardine suit with a slim skirt and hip-length jacket skimmed her curvy body. The hem of her skirt ended at her knees, permitting him an unfettered view of a pair of shapely legs.
A knowing smile tilted the corners of Tyrell's mouth upward. When he attended school none of his female teachers ever came close to Viola Chapman's startling beauty.
Unconsciously Viola's brow furrowed. The golden eyes appraising her reminded her of a predator contemplating its next meal. Tyrell Hardcastle's eyes were figuratively eating her up.
She lifted a delicate eyebrow. "Mr. Hardcastle?"
He nodded, opening the door wider. "Please come in, Miss Chapman. It is Miss Chapman?" he asked, glancing at her bare fingers.
Nodding, Tyrell closed and locked the door. "Well, Ms. Chapman, if we're going do business together, I don't think we should stand on formality. I'd prefer you call me Tyrell."
Viola shifted, staring at the tall, slender man dressed entirely in black. The V-neck pullover and slacks were the perfect foil for his gold-brown skin, eyes, and close-cropped sandy hair. It was her turn to visually devour his lean face with its attractive mole on his left cheekbone and his hypnotic cleft chin.
"What happened to your curiosity?"
He smiled for the first time, displaying a mouth filled with large white, straight teeth. The gesture reminded her of the rising sun, an inviting expression she found infectious.
"Oh, I'm still curious, Ms. Chapman. It's going to be up to you to convince me to become a participant in Carver's Career Cooperative."
She wanted to tell the very smug Tyrell Hardcastle that she was an educator, not a saleswoman. Either a business owner accepted the concept or rejected it. And if she had not wanted to meet her projected goal of a minimum of ten businesses she would have turned and walked out of Leo's soon after she'd walked in.
Forcing a smile, she crooned softly, "Only time will tell how convincing I can be. Is that not right, Mr. Hardcastle?"
His smile vanished as quickly as it had come. The timbre of Viola's voice had dropped, the dulcet sound sweeping over him like a sudden blast of heat from a hot oven. He nodded numbly, his gaze fixed on the brown-tinged orange color on her full lips.
"I insist you call me Tyrell," he said, recovering his voice, "because there are several other Hardcastles involved in the day-to-day operation of Leo's."
Cupping her elbow, he led through the darkened waiting area into the restaurant's dining room. He pushed two buttons on a panel on a wall, and the space was flooded with soft golden recessed lights.
A soft gasp escaped Viola. "It's beautiful."
Dropping his hand, Tyrell stared at her stunned expression. "You've never been to Leo's?"
"No," she said, shaking her head. "And it's not as if I haven't heard wonderful things about the food and music from friends and colleagues."
Tyrell lifted an eyebrow. "You're soliciting Leo's participation without knowing anything about my family's business?"
Viola registered his heavy sarcasm. "My decision to solicit Leo's is based upon its reputation. On occasion I do private tutoring. And as the coordinator of this school year's cooperative, I surveyed the parents of these students to determine which businesses I would solicit."
"Is the same core group used to determine which businesses become involved in the cooperative?"
"I wouldn't know that."
"Because every year the teacher chosen to lead the cooperative uses his or her own method for solicitation. This is my first year, so I thought, who better than the parents of these students? They have the money and clout to avail themselves of the best of everything in the capitol district. It is not my intention to flatter you, Tyrell, but Leo's consistently ranked at the top of the dining establishments."
He inclined his head. "If that's the case, then I'm going to have to give you a very special welcome to Leo's."
She frowned. "How?"
He smiled again, and this time a flicker of apprehension swept through Viola. There was something about Tyrell that was very attractive, yet the man wearing the somber colors radiated an air of danger—a danger that assaulted all of her five senses.
She had forced herself not to react when he cupped her elbow, while the clean masculine scent of his aftershave cloaked her in a sensual cocoon from which she did not want to escape. His face was undeniably male and stunningly handsome, his voice triple-X-rated. All that remained was taste. Her gaze went to his mouth, and she wondered if he would taste as good as he looked.
Realization hit her like a dousing of ice-cold water. Why was she lusting after a man she'd just met? A stranger? She didn't even know if he was single, or married with children!
Angling his head, Tyrell regarded Viola closely. He had interacted with a lot of women—literally hundreds of them since he had become Leo's executive chef—but none had come close to the perfection of the woman standing less than three feet away. She projected an air of poise, confidence, and sophistication he'd found lacking in the others. It was as if she wore a banner across her chest that touted: I am the one.
He wondered if she was or could be the one—the one to calm his restless spirit; the one who would help him to manifest his dream to open a culinary school in Washington, D.C.
His hand went to the small of her back as he directed her around rosewood tables with seating from two to eight. Each table claimed small Tiffany-style lamps and curvy glass vessels filled with wicks floating in colored oil.
"I'm going to prepare dinner, while offering you a little background on Leo's." Viola stopped short, causing Tyrell to bump into her. His hands touched her waist, steadying her. "Is something wrong, Viola?"
Glancing over her shoulder, she met his questioning gaze. "I thought you were the owner, not the chef."
His lids came down slowly, shuttering his gold eyes. "Leo's has four equal partners. My older brother Noah is responsible for the overall operation of the restaurant, while my twin brother Tyrone can take credit for the music. Then there's our first cousin, Ayanna. She's the accountant, and I must admit a financial genius. From the first day Leo's opened for business we have never had a week when we didn't realize a profit."
Viola's mind was a gamut of confusion. "My plan is to place students at Leo's who are interested in restaurant management."
"When your letter arrived, Noah gave it to me. Right now his schedule will not permit him to mentor any students, because they would have to work late afternoons and evenings to experience the full effect of interacting with our patrons. The volume of people coming through our doors on any given evening is much too great to take the time to train a student. Perhaps if we decide to open another restaurant, then it would be feasible."
"What made you more amenable to the idea than Noah?"
Tyrell decided that if he and Viola were going to work together, then he would have to be honest with her. "I'm planning to open a culinary school—"
"Where?" she asked, interrupting him.
"Here in D.C. If I decide to accept your students, then it will give me the hands-on experience I'll need to work one-on-one with aspiring chefs."
Her eyebrows shot up. "You want to use my students as guinea pigs for your own project?"
Crossing his arms over a broad chest, Tyrell shook his head. "Don't tell me this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black? You've solicited Leo's participation for your Career Cooperative, and now you're acting put out because I want the same thing you do. What's it going to be, Ms. Chapman?"
Viola bit down on her lower lip to keep from uttering a few colorful and profound epithets for which she usually chided her students. But on the other hand, she had come to Leo's to present Carver's vocational initiative, and she wasn't going to let Tyrell's self-serving arrogance dissuade her. There had been times when she had been threatened by street thugs, and she hadn't backed down. And there was nothing about Tyrell Hardcastle that hinted of thug.
Glancing up through her lashes, she affected a sensual smile. "What's for dinner, Tyrell?"
He came closer without actually moving. "What would you like?"
"Anything covers a lot. Meat, fowl, fish?"
"I'll take the fish, but only if it's fresh."
His fingers closing protectively over hers, Tyrell directed Viola to a enormous kitchen at the rear of the restaurant. He led her to two large tanks. One was filled with lobsters in varying sizes, the other with catfish.
Pulling back her shoulders, she tilted her chin in a gesture he quickly interpreted as defiance. "Yes."
"Good." He released her hand, a smile of contentment softening his even features. "Why don't you tell me about your proposal while I prepare dinner?"CHAPTER 2
Looping the strap of her shoulder bag over the back of a tall stool, Viola sat down, watching the measured actions of Tyrell as he washed his hands in a stainless-steel sink before drying them and looping a bibbed apron over his head.
Waiting until he tied the apron around his slim waist, she said, "This is the cooperative's third year. The mission is to link up students with business establishments in the D.C. area. After an orientation, they will work one day each week in lieu of attending classes."
Tyrell pulled on a pair of large black rubber gloves. "How do you determine which students are eligible?"
Excerpted from Let's Get It On by Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, Brenda Jackson, Francis Ray. Copyright © 2004 Rochelle Alers. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rochelle Alers. DC Carver High School teacher Viola Chapman is responsible for this year¿s career initiative event so she sent letters to twenty-two businesses soliciting their help. Tyrell Hardcastle, part owner of Leo's Supper Club, agrees to meet with Viola. When they meet they are attracted to one another, but Viola feels she is too old for the younger man.--- Donna Hill. Noah Hardcastle and Tara Mitchell are engaged, but he refuses to set a date. Jazz pianist Rachel Beaumont returns to town after leaving Noah to further her career five years ago. She plans to retrieve Noah.--- Brenda Jackson. Roni Hardcastle is away from the supper club to teach music for six weeks at Columbia. He fondly thinks back nine months to when he met Sydney Corbain at her brother¿s wedding and would not mind seeing her again. His wish comes true as the litigation lawyer is taking a needed rest in town.--- Francis Ray. Tanner Rafferty visits D.C. to ensure that his new hotel opens on time. He is having lunch at Leo's when he overhears Ayanna Hardcastle tells her friend Sheri she is seeing someone so she does not want a blind date with the latest hunk offering. Tanner sees an opening to meet the beautiful woman so he joins their table saying he is her boyfriend.--- These four superb contemporary romances each center each on one of the admirable Hardcastle siblings. Each tale is a delightful stand alone yet enhances the other novellas with consistent use of family members and the club they own, making for a delightful anthology.--- Harriet Klausner
Love Lessons by Rochelle Alers/////// Viola Chapman is a teacher at Carver High School. She contacts Tyrell Hardcastle (among several others) to discuss the school's vocational Cooperative Initiative. Tyrell is one of the owners of 'Leo's Supper Club' in D.C. The attraction sparks quickly, but Tyrell must overcome Viola's objections to him being younger than her. ............................. Lady In Waiting by Donna Hill////// Noah Hardcastle and Tara Mitchell are engaged, but Noah keeps putting off the idea of actually setting a date. Things get rocky when Rachel shows up in D.C. She had left Noah five years ago to become a jazz pianist. Now she is rich, famous, and determined to get Noah back. ....................... Irresistible Attraction by Brenda Jackson////// Tyrone 'Roni' Hardcastle is the Entertainment Director of 'Leo's Supper Club' in D.C. He meets Sydney Corbain as he caters a triple wedding. Neither expected to run into each other in New York nine months later. ............................. Blind Date by Francis Ray///// Tanner Rafferty is a wealthy businessman currently in D.C. to make sure his new hotel opens on time. While having lunch at Leo's, his eyes fall upon Ayanna Hardcastle. Ayanna is trying to keep her best friend from setting her up on any more blind dates. In a moment of madness, Ayanna says that she is already seeing someone. However, Ayanna did not expect Tanner to come up to the table and pretend to be the one she is dating. ................................... **** Four great stories by four of today's hottest African-American romance authors. The book downright sizzles in some areas, so consider yourself warned. Each story centers around the restaurant owned by the Hardcastle family. This novel is ideal for those rainy afternoons that you find yourself stuck indoors. ****
This book was great. I enjoyed all the stories except Donna Hill. It was ok, but could have been done better
"Irresistable Attraction" by Brenda Jackson (Tyrone & Sydney) - was my favorite, it sizzles with blazin' hot love scenes. She takes the reader all the way from foreplay to orgasm...you can feel it, you're there! However, "Blind Date" by Francis Ray (Tanner and Ayanna) - was my least favorite. Her story left me feeling like I didn't experience that heart pounding feeling often found in foreplay and lacked the climatic sexual experience. This is a great read for all those who love romance novels and for those who are new to the romance genre. I'm anxious to read "Welcome to Leo's", the prequel to this book.
Let's Get It On is a really great four-story book. Each of the authors are amazing, they are four of my favorite authors and I recommend you read not only this book but also other books by these authors Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, Brenda Jackson, and Francis Ray.
I love books by these authors, especially those by Jackson and Alers, but I had to struggle to read this book. The dialogue made me want to gag, the stories didn't flow (Ms Alers kept adding unnecessary paragraphs)...I didn't even finish reading the book! All in all, it was a huge let-down. I'm very disappointed.
I enjoyed reading this story very much. I liked how you built the attraction between Tyrone and Sydney. I am glad that they came together and that he wanted her to be his everything.