Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Check Mate - Chapter 1

-Nine months earlier-


11:30 a.m. - Friday, August 15th
Andre’s head practically hung half way out the car window. He resembled a pet Labrador retriever as his wife of eight years drove along the mountain side.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this. How did I let you talk me into this mess? You’re crazy, you know that?” Andre slapped the glove box. “You need to calm down. I know that much,” Dionne said. Her eyes narrowed down to slits as she focused on the narrow winding road. She’d had enough of his complaining for one day.

The white Ford Escape whizzed past a sign that read: “Welcome to Grandridge, home of the Red Tornadoes.” The quaint town sat nestled in what’s called the foothills of the Smoky Mountain range, which cast its considerable shadow over the small college based community. The mountain filled spectacular views in the distance were a far cry from city noise and endless blocks of concrete they were familiar with.

North State University would never be mentioned in the same breath as Notre Dame, Michigan, or Duke, but still, a major university.

The professors at the school were paid well. Very well.

“I’m serious DeDe. I should have put my foot down. Give me one good reason to move here,” Andre said. His nostrils flared.

“For starters, you don’t even have a job. You keep up all that yelling and we gonna have some problems,” Dionne pointed at him. “Problems? Like what? Are you threatening me again? Don’t let that little professor title go to your head.”

“I’m not going to tell you again. Lower your voice. I’m not trying to argue with you on our first day here.”

“I’m not trying to argue either…I’m just saying.”

“Saying nothing, as always. You’re always talking. Why don’t you actually do something for once?”

“Whatever.” He folded his arms.

“Anyway Andre. I’m not letting you drag me down.”

Andre sulked in his seat. But inside he cringed. They would be living in a strange town, far away from home, in a house that dwarfed their former two bedroom brownstone apartment. It wasn’t the thought of a mortgage that scared Andre. It was the size of the mortgage.

The summertime heat offered little relief in the form of a breeze as they crept along through the sleepy town which seemed deserted with the students gone for summer.

“Look, there’s the campus where I’ll be teaching. Can you believe it? I’m a real professor,” Dionne said, pointing to her left.

“What’s that smell?” Andre wrinkled his nose and sniffed into the wind several times, ignoring her enthusiasm.

“It’s called fresh air. For real. I’m sick of your mouth. Nobody twisted your arm into moving here. You could’ve stayed in New York.” She sucked her teeth.

“It’s like that now?” Andre lifted an eyebrow.

“What do you expect me to say? I’m looking for a little support. I’m nervous about the move too. I’m looking at the positives.”

Andre closed his eyes and reclined in his seat.

No amount of negativity he dispersed would totally thwart Dionne’s state of bliss. If he was unable to partake in the delight and warmth she possessed for the relocation, too bad.

Ever since Dionne accepted to take the position to teach at North State all Andre heard about was how wonderful a place it was. Grandridge made the list as one of the top 100 places to live in America
by a recent online poll.

She’d shown him every website imaginable about this quiet college town. Charming. Rustic. Majestic. Pleasant. Those were the words used to describe this hidden gem of a community.

He used his own set of words. Boring. Expensive. Overrated.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Check Mate - Prologue


April 23rd

Who wants to deal with the hassles involved in a cross country move? How about undergoing the experience twice in one year? There exist some people in the world that would move anywhere to advance their career. Certainly any sane person would move twice in a year if it could possibly save their marriage. Anyone would definitely undertake such a move if they knew it could save their life…

Dionne Harper would handle that laborious task. As a matter of fact, she had to. She stood in the center of her kitchen and dropped a bomb on her husband. She’d received another job offer. A job offer more lucrative and prestigious than she ever imagined. One that couldn’t have come at a better time.

She told her husband the news and braced herself. She held her breath and anticipated a soured response. He would explode once he heard the news. She didn’t care. He sought a retreat to the east coast. But he couldn’t find a job fast enough. That left them with not much of a choice. Each day became more of a gamble. More pressured, more stressful, and potentially dangerous. He’d have an opinion, yes. But no choice.
“Michigan? Are you serious? Michigan? I never even heard of this place. Where’s Lansing?” Andre asked.

“It’s East Lansing,” Dionne said. She hoped his recently found supportive attitude continued as it had over the past six months.

It wasn’t his first choice in location, but better judgment convinced him that any news of an escape was a blessing.

War-torn Kosovo would be superior to Grandridge.

Andre sighed and reached out for her hand.

“I start next month. I signed on to teach summer classes in Trigonometry. I wanted to get my feet wet before the fall semester starts,” Dionne said while their fingertips made contact.

“So you’re saying we have to be there-”

“In about two weeks,” Dionne said as she placed her head against his shoulder. A hushed exhale escaped from inside of her.

“Two weeks?” Andre asked. That meant a hastened exit.

“I figured the sooner, the better…,” Dionne said.

“You’re right,” Andre whispered, “we’ve been through enough.” His tone softened even more as he rubbed her back.

“I’m going to go upstairs and keep packing,” she said.

Within seconds Dionne disappeared upstairs. Andre exited the kitchen after maneuvering past several dozen cardboard boxes, which littered the kitchen and hallway. He approached the garage and entered.

He stepped towards the black and white dart board that hung on the wall and plucked out a few darts. He took a few paces backwards and began to hurl the darts towards the wall. His stress subsided.

Moving again. This would be the second move inside of a year. Crazy. Just crazy. No other word could describe their life. Their marriage had been tested unmercifully and yet they survived the first horrendous move. Together, they could handle another. Once out of darts he opened the garage door.

The southern sunlight stretched inside the two car garage. He paced outside and shoved his hands deep into his pockets. His eyes never left the real estate sign in the front lawn. They’d just accepted an offer on their historic two-story home. A closing date was set. Eight more days and they’d be out of there. Good riddance.

He’d seen first hand how so-called quaint communities operated. You either get along with the right people or you could be blackballed, marked, and ostracized. If you didn’t assimilate the results could be deadly. Yes, deadly.

For more or to purchase: Click Here

New Release - Check Mate - RL Taylor


North State University has just hired their newest professor. Dionne Harper can't wait to start her assignment. Her unemployed husband is reluctantly along for the ride. They escape the New York city life and head south to small town Grandridge, located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. In Grandridge, the right circle of friends means everything...


Professor Harper fits into high class society, while Andre fights assimilation with firm resolve and flirts with deception. Their turbulent marriage is already falling apart when Andre crosses the line for the last time. Trust is a thing of the past. His interaction with an audacious new neighbor sparks a retaliation neither of them could imagine.


The community's most powerful citizen teams up with his pool of well-connected friends to teach outsider Andre Harper a lesson he'll never forget. On and off campus strong allegiances are formed. Professor Dionne Harper must choose to align herself with the towns upper elite or trust her husband one last time.


Allow me to introduce my latest release. Check Mate. It is my hope that you find this book entertaining and engaging. Each week I will begin posting a minimum of one chapter from this book. I encourage you to read along and join in a discussion. I hope to gleam from you, your likes, dislikes, suggestions and so forth. Please, feel free to give me feedback on this work. It would be an honor to hear from tasteful readers like yourself. Thank you for your time and interest. Happy Reading!
- RL Taylor

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There have been many changes to my official website. Please stop by and visit. Once there, you'll be able to read excerpts, hear me read excerpts from my books, and watch book trailers. You can learn all about the exciting changes and what's in store for the future...  Click HERE to learn more about RL Taylor's books.

It's been too long...

Hello all,

It's been way too long since I've posted. My apologies to those who noticed. To those that didn't. Shame on you...and me. I have been away tending to what we call the necessities of life. Job, family, responsibilities sometimes can slow us all down on our life journey. I've experienced many changes (all for the better) and now I've returned, ready to share once again. I hope you will join me on this journey as I strive to share my thoughts and my writing with you. I hope all is well with you and yours and I look forward to interaction and spirited discussions in the future. There are some new announcements I'll be making in the very near future. Stay tuned. As always, thank you for your time and interest.

RL Taylor