Author Spotlight ✦ Sheena Binkley

Today MRN is shining the spotlight on Ms. Sheena Binkley.  First, let’s wish Sheena a Happy Book Birthday for her newest release, Say That You Love Me (The Love Chronicles Book 2).  Live on Amazon now!  

Let’s jump right in and get to know Sheena…and read an extended excerpt from Say You Love Me.

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Hi Sheena! Welcome to My Reading Nook!  To begin, tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

I first discovered my love for storytelling when writing my first story for a class project at the tender age of nine. Since then, I’ve composed several short stories and numerous tales that are not only engaging, but simply entertaining. I’m also a freelance writer, penning articles on various topics including education and entertainment. In November of 2014, I signed my first publishing deal with Write House Publishing under “Tiece Presents”. My first series, Something Just Ain’t Right, was released in January.

In April 2016, I launched my own publishing company which focus strictly on romance books. Besides writing, I love reading, shopping, and spending time with family and friends. I live in Houston (where the weather is always unpredictable) with my husband and son.

What are you looking forward to in 2017?

I’m looking forward to releasing wonderful, quality stories to my readers as well as possibly having new readers learn more about my work (that’s always a good thing). I think that will happen with the stories that I’m releasing this year.

Describe yourself in 4 words.

Driven, ambitious, go-getter, and a romantic

Who/what inspires you and your writing?

I have a vivid imagination, so I think that’s what inspires me to do what I love. I’m also a romantic at heart, so I love to be able to write stories that slowly build a relationship from the beginning stage to their HEA. Of course, I have to write about their bumps in the road, because no relationship is ever perfect, but I want to incorporate what goes into a strong relationship, and I think I do that with each couple that I write.

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

The Road To Being A Survivor

Thus far, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an author?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced as an author is gaining reviews. I know this is probably a tedious thing for some authors, but for me, I feel that reviews are extremely important because it help readers, especially new readers, know if your book is good and if they want to give your writing a chance. Although I would receive messages from readers on social media about how great a particular story was, I don’t get that with reviews.

What do you read?

I mainly read romance novels: Contemporary, African-American, New Adult, Women’s Fiction; but it’s all ties to one genre and that’s romance.

What kind of music do you listen to when writing?

I can pretty much listen to any type of music, except for country. I even have playlists of all of the music I have listened to while writing particular stories. They are all available on Spotify.

If you could only take only one book on a trip, what book would you take? Why?

The Real Deal by Alexandra Warren. Alexandra is one of my favorite authors, but this book was one of my favorite. I loved everything about it.

What author, living or dead, would you like to have a night on the town with?

Carl Weber is one of my favorite authors and introduced me to the urban genre when I read several of his books, so I would have to say him and possibly Xyla Turner. I would like to meet her and ask questions about several of her characters, lol.

Do you have a favorite book or character that you’ve written?

This is a tough one, but I would have to say Love Unbroken. That’s the first book in the Love, Life, & Happiness series and to this day, I still love it. It’s all about putting your trust in love again and being happy, and with the main characters, I think they symbolize perfectly what love is all about. Not only that, but I’m truly in love with Riana and Shawn. I have always made that known that they are my favorite couple.

Describe your latest book, Say That You Love Me in 4 words?

Exciting, life-changing, romantic, love.

What/who inspired Say That You Love Me?

Say That You Love Me is the second book in The Love Chronicles series and it’s the continuation of the main characters’ lives as they transition to college. For those of you who have read The Love Chronicles, you would know about the main characters, Andie and Dexter, and how they relationship have grown from being friends to rivals, to dating.

Now, they’re in college and as their relationship progressed, they have to make a ton of decisions that could have a lasting impact on themselves and their relationship. I think for any young couple, they could relate to this as they determine what is best for themselves as for the person they’re involved with. It can be challenging, but also exciting as many embark on a new stage in their lives.

What next can we expect from you?

I will start on my next book, which is a spin-off from the Love, Life, & Happiness series, Real Love. This story centers around the first couple of the series, Riana and Shawn, as they embark on a new chapter in their lives. As the couple move to Atlanta for Shawn’s new position for a news network, Riana is getting ready to go on a book tour for her best-selling novel. While the two juggle their careers, they have to find time for their marriage and their son, which can lead to a lot of things that the two are not ready for.

Some of the decisions that are made by the two could lead to a long-lasting impact on their marriage.

Find Sheena on the interwebs:  

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SYNOPSIS

Since they declared their love for each other during graduation, Andrea “Andie” Williams and Dexter Robinson have been inseparable. They are now starting their first semester at Smith University and are excited for their new college journey, complete with dorm living, late-night studying, going to a party or two, and of course, no parents telling them what to do!

The two are having the time of their young lives until a huge opportunity comes along for Andie. It’s what she’s been working for since the start of her high school career, but with her newfound romance with Dexter, the opportunity could lead them to making decisions they never thought they’d have to make as a couple.

With new challenges and dilemmas, Andie and Dexter never imagined their first semester of college would be this intense, leading to changes in their personal lives and in their relationship.

Find out how far they are willing to go in the second book in The Love Chronicles series, Say That You Love Me.

Read the first chapter from Say You Love Me:

College. Some people say it is the beginning of your adulthood.  The time when decision-making is all your own and you have a bit of freedom.

So they say.

For me, college is that in some ways, but it’s also about knowing what you can handle. And I think I can handle it all. I was able to study and participate in activities in high school, so college shouldn’t be any different, right? Well, that was before Dexter.

Even though our relationship started a few months back, things between us changed over the summer, and now, we’re inseparable. I don’t think we’ve been apart from each other for even a second. We went out together, worked together at the neighborhood community center, and even volunteered together. If we had our way, we probably would even go to sleep together. But I’m sure our parents would have a fit if that ever happened. However, now that we’re in college, I’m sure that will change.

Maybe.

I pulled into the student parking lot of the Richardson dorms at Smith University. I looked around, taking in the entire campus as a huge smile spread across my lips. I have to admit, Smith is a beautiful campus. It may not be my dream college, Yale, but it’s close to it. Besides, it has the most impressive communication department in Texas, so that’ll be a plus for me.

“Will you stop daydreaming and get out of the car? I’m ready to see our room.”

I looked over to see my friend, Mashawn Peterson, grinning. The two of us have been tight since middle school. I still don’t see how we became friends since we’re so different, but as the saying goes, opposites attract. Despite our differences, we’ve always been there for each other.

“I’m getting out in a second. I’m waiting on Dexter.”

Mashawn rolled her eyes. “Damn, you two can’t do anything without the other. I wonder if you go to the bathroom together.”

“That’s just crossing the line.”

“Well, I have to wonder.”

“Why didn’t you drive down here? You do have a car.”

“Because it’s in the shop again. My parents are going to bring it down later.”

I nodded, wondering how that would go. The three haven’t had the best relationship before the summer, but things   really became rocky after they caught her and her boyfriend, Andrew Pierce, doing a lot more than making out on the couch.  Dex and I would have never done that in the living room, but that’s just us. Actually, Dex and I hadn’t even gotten to that point yet, so it’s not a concern with us. At least not right now.

“You’re not going to need reinforcement, are you?” I asked.

“Everything will be fine. Andrew just can’t come to the house anymore while they’re out. Doesn’t matter because I won’t be going there during break.”

“Where will you be staying?”

“I was hoping with you.”

I rolled my eyes and sighed. “We’ll see.”

I noticed Dexter’s car pulling up beside mine, which made me smile. As soon as he got out, my heart skipped a beat. I never thought I would say this, but I’m deeply, madly in love with him. I love everything about him, which   is a blessing, but it can also be a curse.  During the summer, we didn’t have too much to worry about, but now that classes start soon, I’m hoping it doesn’t affect our education. I was pretty sure that Dexter wouldn’t let it, but I was still a little worried that I would.

“I’m surprised your parents aren’t here yet. I’m sure they didn’t want you to go; they think you might go buck wild here.”

“You know that won’t happen, Mashawn.”

“Please; you have your boyfriend here, who, I might add, is looking delicious in that blue shirt. Do you really think you two will still be able to control yourselves? I don’t think so.”

I glanced over at his car, and he smiled brightly. He got out, came over to mine, and tapped on the window.

Mashawn side-eyed me, and I hit her arm.

“Resorting to violence now?” she joked.

“Shut up.”

He stood back as I got out of the car. He gently grabbed me and gave me a heated kiss. I slowly melted against him, enjoying the moment as I always did every time.

“I missed you,” he whispered in my ear.

“We just saw each other at your house.”

“An hour is too long to go without seeing you.”

I blushed and smiled.

“God, you two are sickening,” Mashawn teased.

“Don’t you have a boyfriend you can go bother?” Dexter asked.

“Do you see him here?”

“That’s your cue to leave,” Dexter said, smirking.

“Not until my roommate and I check out our room. We need to make our entrance together, so you can carry on until you’re finished.”

I smiled. “She’s not leaving, Dex.”

“Fine, we’ll just give her more to be sick over,” he retorted then kissed me again. We were still going at it when we heard several people clearing their throats. I didn’t have to look behind me to know who they were.

“Look at you two giving people a show,” Dexter’s sister, Regina, said laughing.

I looked between her parents and mine; they were giving Dexter and me funny looks. Mashawn giggled, but I was embarrassed.

“Leave them alone. They’re in love; it’s natural.” Dexter’s mom, Tia, said with a smile.

My mom came over and hugged me. “I still can’t believe you’re in college. I’m going to miss you so much.”

“It’s just an hour away, Mom.”

“I know, but this is your first time being alone without any supervision. Anything can happen.”

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Williams; with Dex and me here, she’ll be in good hands,” Mashawn tried convincing her with a smile.

“That’s not reassuring.”

“What are you trying to say?” Tia interjected.

“Nothing against you, Dex, but I just don’t want anything happening to my baby.”

“Mom, I’m not a child. I can take care of myself.”

My dad came over and put his hands on my shoulders. “We know, but you’re our only child. We know this is an exciting time for you, but it does come with a lot of responsibilities.”

“They think you two are going to have sex,” Mashawn whispered.

My dad glared at her and continued talking. “We just don’t want anything to get in the way of your studies.”

“And they won’t, Uncle Trevor. We assure you and Aunt Camille that our education is our top priority,” Dexter insisted.

“Absolutely,” I agreed.

“Why are you two so concerned? You know they have good heads on their shoulders. Nothing will happen,” Dexter’s dad, Charles, responded.

“We’ve all been to college, so we know what can happen.”

“That doesn’t mean these two will fall into that trap.”

“You never know. I’ve seen a lot of stuff happening at my art school. No supervision and access to anything you need can cause trouble,” Regina added.

“You’re not helping the situation,” Dexter interrupted.

“And that’s why you’re no longer there,” Her dad reminded her.

“Mom, Dad, I know you’re concerned, but we’ve talked about this; I’ll be fine,” I assured them.

“I guess you’re right. Besides, we can always visit,” my mom said.

I sighed, knowing they just might.

“We won’t let that happen,” Tina promised. “You two just enjoy your time in college. We were young once; we enjoyed our time, and you should, too”

“Thank you, Aunt Tia.”

“And if you two do try to sneak down here, we’ll take your keys away,” Tia said to my mom.

“That’s fine; we’ll just take yours. We know all of your hiding places,” my mom said as Tia smirked.  I popped the trunk, and everyone grabbed items to take inside. I looked around again, still in awe of the campus.

While Mashawn searched the room checklist for the room number, Dexter gave me an once-over, making me blush again.

“Your parents do have a point,” he finally said.

I stared at him, wondering what he meant. “What part?”

“We will be spending a lot of time together, and we won’t have to sneak around, climbing into each other’s bedrooms.”

I just looked at him, getting nervous about what he was implying. Was he thinking about us going to the next level? We’d talked about it a lot over the summer, and we both agreed to wait until the time was right. I’d been thinking about it a lot, though; I just didn’t want to jump into it and regret it later.

“I didn’t mean to make you nervous,” he apologized.

“It’s not that, Dexter.”

“Then what is it?”

“What are you two talking about?” my dad asked looking between us. I didn’t realize we’d stopped walking and were now standing in the middle of the hallway.

“Nothing, Uncle Trevor. Let’s go check out your room, Andie.”

I nodded.  We could finish this conversation at another time.

My dad turned to look when he saw a guy carrying his shower gear towards the bathroom. He looked back at me with a frown.

This is a co-ed dorm?!”

I sighed. I didn’t tell my parents because I knew they wouldn’t approve. Mashawn and I had planned to move to the Watson, the dorm in which we spent the weekend during our campus visit, but the housing department made an error, giving our room to someone else; therefore, we had to go with Richardson, which is, in fact, co-ed.

Of course, Mashawn didn’t have a problem with it.

“Dad, stop.”

“Why didn’t you tell us its co-ed?”

“Because you wouldn’t have let me stayed on campus. Housing made an error, so they found us a room here.”

“You don’t have an issue with this?” Charles asked Dexter.

“I trust my girl. Besides, I’ll be here all the time, so it’s fine.”

“That makes me feel so much better,” my dad snapped sarcastically.

“Enough!” my mom interrupted. “Trevor, Andie is right; we need to trust her. She’s always been wise beyond her years, so we don’t have to wonder about her. She’ll be okay.”

“It’s not Andie I’m concerned about; it’s everyone around her that has me on edge,” he said, glaring at Dexter.

“Even me?” Mashawn asked.

“Especially you.”

“Okay, stop! Let’s just check out our room,” I suggested. I was quickly becoming annoyed with this conversation.

I grabbed my key, which we’d picked up from the housing department a couple of days ago, and put it into the lock. Mashawn and I wanted to check it out when we received our keys, but the advisor informed us it had to be cleaned.

I slowly opened the door, smiling at how huge the room was. Instead of only one room, it was actually a suite with our rooms branching off from a common room.

Mashawn quickly dropped her bags and went to the kitchenette near the window. “Wow, this is like a mini apartment! This is really cool!”

“This is where our money went?” my dad asked, looking around. “We definitely didn’t have this in college.”

“Times have definitely changed,” Charles pointed out.

“Is this how yours and Andrew’s room is set up?” Tia asked Dexter.

“Ours is a regular room. You two definitely lucked out.”

“That we did. Hallelujah!” Mashawn exclaimed.

We were still looking around when Andrew walked in. “Wow, you girls got lucky. I guess I’ll be here all the time, then,” he announced, going to Mashawn. She kissed him, then he looked around at everyone.

“Thanks for giving me the room number,” he said.

“Of course. Glad you were able to find it.”

My dad sighed and asked which room was mine. I looked at Mashawn who shrugged. “Take whichever,” she said.

“On the right.”

He grabbed my things and went in.

“Don’t worry about him; he’ll be okay,” my mom told me.

“You’re worried, too.”

“Not as much as he is.”

“I can handle myself.”

“I know, baby; but as I mentioned before, get on birth control. And use a condom. Always.”

“We don’t have to have this talk.”

“We need to. You’re 18, but you’re still my baby,” she reminded me with a hug.

As we placed our items in the common room and our bedrooms, the suite was starting to look like home. Once everything was situated, Dexter, Andrew, along with Dex’s parents and Regina, headed to their dorm room, leaving Mashawn, my parents, and me in the suite.

“Did you two need anything while we’re still here?” my mom asked Mashawn and me.

“No, we’re fine, but thank you all for helping us.”

“Of course, sweetie,” my mom replied.

“But if there is anything, please don’t hesitate to ask,” my dad said.

“I know. I love you both,” I told them and gave them each a hug.

“Love you too, sweetie.”

“Call me when you get back home, okay?”

“We will.”  My mom hugged me again and whispered, “Remember what I said, okay?”

“Moooom,” I whined.

“I know, I know.”

They headed to the door, and Mashawn opened it. They acted like they didn’t want to leave, so she gently pushed them into the hallway.

“Thanks again. Bye bye,” She said then closed the door behind them.

“Mashawn!”

“What?!  They need to loosen up. You’re an adult, which means you can make your own choices. They can’t, and shouldn’t, baby you any longer.”

“You know they’re not going to like you after that.”

She shrugged. “Once I give them the old Mashawn charm, they’ll like me again.”

I shook my head. She was right about that.

“But seriously, I have to agree with your parents on one thing: Now that you and Dex have a bit more freedom, you have to know he’s going to want to take things a bit further.”

“What is it with everyone about sex? If we wanted to do it, we would have already.”

“That’s true, but now you don’t have to sneak around to do it. You have more opportunity to do what you want. Trust me, it’s going to happen.”

I looked at her as she grabbed her bag and went into her room. I looked down at the heart necklace that he’d bought me for my birthday. I took a deep breath, realizing she could be right. But was I ready to take that step?

Available for purchase or FREE via Kindle Unlimited!

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Find Sheena’s backlist:

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I hope you’ve found your next favorite book!

 

Xoxo,

Coco 💋

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