Aliyah Burke and Taige Crenshaw
Unbreakable Bonds is a story about a woman who works in a bookstore, Ta-Mara LeBreaux. Her favorite book is one that has no author listed, nor an ending. It’s about a man who’s willing to go against the expectations of his place and time and stands up for the right to love the woman he wants, regardless of her race.
One stormy night, working alone in the store, Ta-Mara encounters a bleeding man from the back. Despite being afraid she takes him home to make sure he’s okay. This man who bears the same name as the hero she loves so much from Unbreakable Bonds, Levi.
Over the course of the story you watch them grow closer and see the modern times through Levi’s eyes. He learns that while color doesn’t separate people as much as it used to there are still those who believe the division is necessary. He settles into the time and Ta-Mara’s life, not knowing if he will be able to stay or if he’ll be yanked back into his own time in history.
For me, this story presented some challenges. Taking a man from the time just before the Civil War “officially” broke out and planting him in New Orleans in current times. Even though he had loved a black woman—this was different. The women dressed differently, talked differently, and were all around on a level he’d not been exposed to. Add to that all the modern conveniences and he was in for an eye-opener. Some of his first coherent thoughts were about her clothing, and how he wasn’t used to people wearing such attire—women that was. Of course, that was after he wondered about a black woman wearing gold. He has mannerisms from back then but has to learn to fit in so he’s not sticking out, including changing his language.
At the start, he wants to defend her and help her escape so she can be free. Ta-Mara is of the mindset he’s just an actor who got too deep into his role during some reenactment. It takes her a while to realize he is from where he claims and it wasn’t just an act.
Then there’s the fact that Ta-Mara doesn’t try to hide her relationship with him. She’s eager to be seen in public with him and doesn’t mind the looks people give them, some accepting, some not.
To me, creating a story that has a basis of hate from one side, based solely on the time they come from and tossing them into a situation that challenges how they used to handle things, was totally unique. This man is a Confederate and he’s used to people of a darker skin tone being treated in a certain way. While he didn’t agree with it, it was all he’d known for his life, so it was interesting to watch him learn how things were currently. While from Ta-Mara’s side, she’s faced with a man who came from a time that owned slaves, a time where she wasn’t even considered a person.
Yet, she sees the man. He is not who people assume him to be, for the mere fact he’s a Confederate and was from back in that time. They do have their struggles but are in it to get their HEA.
Thanks for having me here today and I hope you enjoy their story.
About Aliyah Burke:
Aliyah Burke is an avid reader and is never far from pen and paper (or the computer). She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached here. She can also be found on Facebook or Twitter: @AliyahBurke96. And Pinterest.
She is married to a career military man. They are owned by three Borzoi, and a DSH cat. She spends her days sharing time between work, writing, and dog training.
Beneath the Skin and Beyond Time
By Taige Crenshaw
When I write books I don’t think about the color of the skin. My thoughts are in the beauty of two people finding each other then falling in love. Love has no color and I love showing that in my books. Finding someone who is the other part of your “us” is priceless. I’ll admit I’m a romantic and shameless about reading or writing a great love story that pushes all my buttons. Writing a story about all those things with my co-author Aliyah was all things that, in my opinion, love is all about. Finding that one who is just for you and no one else. Loving them no matter what obstacles you face. Even the obstacle of time. In Unbreakable Bonds this is what our characters faces—time, love without reservation and finding your soul mate. This story is a time-travel and Levi—our hero—is from the Civil War era brought to modern times. Things have changed…oh boy have they changed. LOL. And Levi is in for culture shock but he quickly adapts to it. Levi enjoys the new environment but his heart is split in two between the woman he left in his past and the temptation of this modern woman called Ta-Mara LeBreaux. She draws him to her but his heart belongs to the woman he left when he came to this time. Can he possibly open his heart to another…
This is the premise of Unbreakable Bonds. How do you handle a past that to you isn’t complete, so that you can have a future? Levi is dealing with that throughout the book. During his time the race of the woman he loved made it necessary to be cautious while in this modern time it isn’t as taboo, yet still has its obstacles. One of which is his heart being split between his past and present. Yet Levi knows what he wants…or does he.
Ta-Mara fell in love with a story that transcends racial boundaries. A man and woman who went up against hate to be together. It’s heartbreaking, touching and passionate. She wants that kind of passion but never expected it would come from the same man who she read about. He is from a different time and his heart is taken. Yet she isn’t able to resist the desire she has for Levi. He was the man from the story she read but the real-life man before her is even more compelling, sexy and confident. The true man overrides the one from the book. He is real and she finds herself having to deal with it. She faces her own choices she must make.
Unbreakable Bonds has some twists and turns that affect both characters. Writing this book with Aliyah I was able to take parts of history and set some of the story within it. I love history and it was interesting working on a book with parts of history in it. The book goes beneath the skin and beyond time.
– Taige Crenshaw
…increasing the sizzle factor
About the Author:
Taige Crenshaw has been enthralled with the written word from time she picked up her first book. It wasn’t long before she started to make up her own tales of romance. With interracial and multicultural novels set in today, in alternate dimensions, or in the future she writes with adventure, fun sassy heroine’s, and sexy hero’s. Always hard at work creating new and exciting places Taige can be found curled up with a hot novel with exciting characters when she is not creating her own. Join her in the fun, frolic, interesting people and far reaches of the world in her novels.
You can find out more about Taige at her website: https://www.taigecrenshaw.com or blog: https://www.taigecrenshaw.com/blog. Also find her on facebook
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Taige-Crenshaw/110652119026620. Or twitter: @ https://twitter.com/TaigeCrenshaw.
Blurb for Unbreakable Bonds:
When fantasy becomes reality, it brings to life one who has traveled through time, and a woman finds a man who sets her body ablaze with passion.
Ta-Mara LeBreaux finds escape reading a love story of a couple who get together despite all odds. Yet she never expected to be caught in her own tale—the outcome of which will be up to the fickleness of destiny. A man appears in her life and all signs point to the fact that he is the same Levi from her book—a book she has read countless times. She must be crazy… However when the impossible becomes reality, Ta-Mara is faced with Levi who has come from between the pages to her world. He’s all her dreams come true. This man is all too real and sexy as hell. But is she living on borrowed time with Levi, who can’t possibly be hers?
Levi Jefferson Davis Madison doesn’t know what brought him to this time or this particular woman. He is sure of one thing. Ta-Mara is the light that fills his soul. He won’t let anything or anyone stand between them. Yes this present time is so much different than he is used to but he won’t let that stop him. By opening first her home then her heart to a stranger, she shows him the depths of her character. Loving her is easy but being able to keep her by his side is his greatest challenge. Or is it…? There are some things that go beyond time and space. When love meets time, nothing can get in the way of unbreakable bonds.
Excerpt from Unbreakable Bonds:
By reading any further, you are stating that you are 18 years of age, or over. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
Copyright © Aliyah Burke, Taige Crenshaw 2015. All Rights Reserved, Total-E-Ntwined Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
Ta-Mara LeBreaux sniffled and smiled to herself behind the counter of the used bookstore she worked in, Roberta’s Reads. She closed the book and fondly ran her hand over the front cover.
What better way to pass the stormy afternoon than by reading about real men and real love? This was one of her favorite books. A story of the Old South, where despite the laws, one man had stood up for his beliefs and openly admitted his love for a freed slave. And although they hadn’t been able to get married, he’d claimed he was married in the eyes of God to her.
Levi Jefferson Davis Madison, raised in the Deep South, had fallen in love with a woman known as Calliope Jones.
She sniffed again. How wonderful it would be to have a man like him—tall, handsome, dangerously alpha and yet totally in love with his woman, willing to stand up to the bigots and take whatever crap they dished out.
“The only thing that sucks about this is that I don’t know if he dies or not.”
Age had yellowed the pages and the final bit was missing. The only thing resembling a title was faded script on the front that read Unbreakable Bonds. She had asked her friend, Reginald ‘Reggie’ Carpenter—the store’s owner—about the book and had even gone to the library and checked online to see if she could figure out more about this mysterious story. Nothing came up. And she couldn’t find an author name anywhere on it either.
Reginald had given her the book for helping him out in the store. She carried it with her always and reread it when she had any free time like now, on this dark stormy afternoon in Louisiana. Not many people were out, so after cleaning a bit, she had hunkered down and begun to read.
The book wasn’t very thick, but the words resonated with the passion Levi and Calliope had for one another. “I wish I knew the ending of this.” Her imaginative mind had created lots of different endings for the story. Of course, she substituted herself in place of Calliope, but at least Levi found his love.
A loud rumble of thunder echoed through the small brick building but it wasn’t until the lights flickered that she looked away from the object in her hands. The hum of the lights, which normally filled her with familiarity, seemed odd and unsettling. Almost like they were still trying to catch up from the power surge.
“What I need is to turn on some more music,” she muttered to herself as she placed the book down on the now clean desk. “My imagination is beginning to make me think I’m crazy.”
She headed down the middle of the store, her eyes traveling over the numerous shelves packed with books. This place made her feel at home. Rounding the final shelf, she turned toward the entrance of the back room.
Numerous boxes of books were stored there—extra copies, books for donating to literacy programs and more. Nimbly avoiding them, Ta-Mara finally reached the CD player. She dragged a finger over the stack of CDs before she made her selection and pulled a disc free from its case. “John Legend is always good to listen to.”
Content all was set, she headed out of the stockroom to return to the front of the store. Ta-Mara frowned as the smell of dirt and rain hit her nose. Okay, I get it. No more wild daydreams. She shook her head to rid herself of the crazy trip her mind was taking.
Two steps then she stopped as the entire place went pitch black. Lightning flashed and in its eerie glow, Ta-Mara found herself face-to-face with a man—a man with blood and water streaking his face. A man who lurched toward her and reached out as if to grab her.
An inhuman scream left her before she crumpled to the floor.
* * * *
Ta-Mara stirred. She moaned as she rubbed her head. Damn that hurts. The lights were still out in the store, so she got up slowly.
“Hello?” she asked the dark.
Was someone there? She would swear she had seen a man, but on the off chance he remained, did she really want him to know where in the store she was?
Oh, get a grip, Ta-Mara. You imagined it. That’s all.
There was a soft groan in the darkness. A whimper of fear slipped out as she realized she wasn’t alone in the store.
“Hello? Is someone there?” She reached behind her to the shelf where they kept hardbacks and she grabbed a thick one. Ta-Mara gripped it before her and said with more bravado than she felt, “Answer me. I’m armed and…and I know karate.”
Okay, I thought about taking karate. Now I wish I had.
No answer. Not even another groan.
Gritting her teeth, Ta-Mara positioned her body to head back to the storage area and the fuse box. “I can do this,” she whispered to herself. The situation would have been laughable if not for the pounding of her heart and her sweaty palms.
Normally of solid character, panicking was so unlike her—and she didn’t like it. Moving carefully, Ta-Mara made her way through the blackness to where she knew the box was.
Sliding her feet along the carpet to make sure she didn’t trip, Ta-Mara hesitated as she brought up a mental image of the back room. What, if anything, sat on the floor between her and the wall supporting the fuse box?
Crack! Another lightning flash was followed immediately by more rumbling thunder.
She was ready to jump out of her skin, as tight as her body was wound. Ta-Mara felt the hum of electricity before the lights actually came back on. They flickered a bit but with a final surge, a sigh escaped her as the glow of florescent bulbs flooded the back room.
Closing her eyes in relief, Ta-Mara heard the sexy voice of John Legend fill the air and she turned around to see if anyone was behind her. Her hands remained curled around the heavy book and she was ready, just in case. She put the CD player on batteries so it wouldn’t skip again with the inclement weather.
She checked each aisle and didn’t find a single person. Wearily, she headed back to the spot where she had retrieved her hardback weapon and returned it. There was no one in the store aside from herself as she walked to the front desk.
Her book was gone.
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