Today for “Feature Friday” let us welcome the awesome Angelica Kate and her book Scars of Yesterday.
We will have info about the book and Angelica. A great excerpt of the book and a interview with Angelica
Make sure to check everything out and go and show her some love and add the book to your TBR 😉
Happy Reading 🙂
Jordan Kuriel was tough as nails, immovable and unflinching which were the very characteristics that propelled her into a decorated military career serving multiple tours overseas, until the moment a bomb ended that trajectory and sent her state’s side for good. Upon her return home, she found her younger sister’s lifetime of bad choices come to a head making Jordan a single mother causing her life’s mission to take a drastic turn. Balancing her grief, healing and an infant Jordan finds peace with the past and focuses on building the life she desires for her new son. Over time Jordan comes to cherish her close-knit family, a career she loves and is making the best of all her blessings while never allowing herself to focus on the sacrifices her injuries forced upon her and ruin that peaceful existence. That balance is upended the day she comes home to one of the richest men in America standing on her doorstep demanding her name a number for her to turn over custody of her son.
Domninic Bansuelos runs his families multi-national company with firm but fair hands and puts his duty to the masses of employees and his family above his own happiness. The scar across his heart honed by hordes of people who only seek his company to better their bank accounts, company position or other selfish endeavors causes him to always feel alone even in the most crowded of public spotlights. He was raised by parents who only ever had eyes for each other until the moment his father passed on the reigns of their kingdom to him. His parent’s marriage provided him a blueprint of the ideal relationship that no woman has ever been able to attain and give him a reason to break his bachelor existence. When his mother demands he once again clean up his baby brother’s mess, and try to gain custody of the nephew he never knew existed he crosses path with the indomitable force that is Jordan Kuriel. He had hoped for a simple showing of force to back her down but soon finds out that where this woman is concerned nothing is that simple.
December 12, 2011
Jordan ran as best she could, despite the pain radiating from her leg caused by the clumsy limping. She had just finished her third round of physical therapy since her latest surgery and was not in a place where running was advisable yet. The phone call had come in seconds after she got into the locker room following that grueling experience and the ensuing plane ride had done nothing to stymie the shooting hot needles piercing her skin.
She hadn’t seen Jamie in person in close to two years, as Jordan focused on her own trauma and healing following the injury that ended her military career. That coupled with her sister choosing to live a risky lifestyle of drugs and partying had forced them down different paths and opened a chasm in their relationship Jordan hoped to repair when she had time. Military life had been good for her, given a purpose to her life she hadn’t felt possible and a serenity with non-judgement of others’ choices that had put her in a place of peace in the ensuing years since she had been around her sister full-time. She obviously had hoped the reunion with her baby sister would take place someone outside the sterile walls of a hospital, beggars couldn’t be choosers. Jordan paused for just a moment, conjuring a picture of her beautiful sister in her mind. Jamie had been granted the right genes that made her instantly popular with anyone she met, Jordan the brains and temperament to be a perpetual caregiver and a damn fine soldier to boot.
She and her sister had seen more in their lifetimes than most should ever have to experience. Their parents lost them to the foster care system before Jordan was in elementary school and Jamie still a baby. The loss had been the final blow to their fragile family. Murder-suicide fueled by the drugs that had seen their children removed, ended their story one fall day forever leaving Jamie and Jordan without blood ties to anyone outside of themselves. After numerous angry years bouncing from one family to the other Jordan and Jamie had finally landed with Mary Kuriel when the girls were eight and four respectively. The woman had held them during the nightmares, chastised their missteps and worked diligently to provide a semblance of stability their early years had taken from them. In the end, both had chosen different coping mechanisms. Jordan was the steady force who had picked her sister up time and time again, put energy toward her grades, kept far away from the law and eventually joined the military. Jamie ended up the party girl that utilized all the wrong venues for overcoming her pain. Dabbling in drugs, alcohol and a slew of bad relationships she had barely passed high school, and since had not held a stable job. Despite their mother and Jordan both trying to reach her, Jamie bucked them at every stage and finally disappeared into the wild blue yonder severing ties for a time. Jordan knew from her mother that her sister had come home tail tucked between her legs a few months ago, but she had been spared explicit details as their mother wanted Jordan to focus on her own physical healing.
As Jordan turned the final corner of the hospital floor that housed her sister, she stopped hand on the wall to inhale a few slow breaths. The worry had propelled her without sleep half way across the continent to this hospital, and moments from seeing the sister long lost to her many years previous. The fact that her mother had summoned her to a hospital already forewarned her this reunion was not going to be the one she had wished for in all those quiet moments she dared to dream of reconciling with her only living sibling. Drawing calming breaths, she attempted to prepare for whatever she found up ahead. Jordan rolled her shoulders bolstering her spine to take on the odious task of entering her sister’s hospital room. She needed a distraction from her own concerns these days she thought absently trying to rub the pain out of her leg.
Looking down at the ground Jordan closed her eyes and tried to focus. She needed to center before the big reunion.
“Jordan,” her mother’s gentle voice came from behind her a second before a hand found her back.
Jordan opened her eyes and turning wrapped her arms around the warm body belonging to one of the two most important people in her world. “Hi mom,” she whispered into the greying hair just below her chin.
“It’s good to see you,” her mother said with a light sniffle, “I just wish it was under different circumstances.”
Jordan backed up from the embrace, “Is it that bad?”
“In the realm of everything Jamie has put you through, this one will take the cake,” she said weaving a hand through Jordan’s arm. “How’s the leg?” she asked lightly as they walked.
“I will survive,” she said keeping the subject light. Sympathy was not something she required or wished for so she left it at that.
“Jordan – you don’t always have to the be the strong one.”
“Let’s focus on Jamie tonight,” Jordan said not turning to meet her mom’s eyes. Being tough and not letting people in were personality traits and career choices, not something she would change. Even if someone could figure out how to get over the walls she had spent a lifetime erecting, she was not sure she was worthy of the effort.
Turning into an open door her mother steered her toward, Jordan found her breath arrested in her chest as she alighted on her pale, sick looking sister asleep in a semi-upright position. Walking forward slowly, she found the frail hand laid out with an IV taped up along the appendage.
“Hey,” Jamie turned a weak smile her direction.
“Hey back at you,” Jordan said trying to keep the tears out of her eyes. This skeleton of her sister broke her heart. She did not yet understand what was wrong, but nothing had prepped her for this reality.
“Please don’t cry,” Jamie said softly gripping her hand.
Jamie looked back at her their mom for a minute, which caused Jordan to look back and forth between them. “Tell me.”
“They say that my drug use and an undetected heart issue was brought to a head by – “
A door opened drawing all eyes in a new direction for a moment, and in that breath of time, Jordan’s entire life shifted direction. The nurse that entered was carrying a sleeping infant in her arms as she walked toward the bed. The nurse crossed to go around the bed toward Jamie just as her sister spoke up. “No,” she squeezed Jordan’s hand. “Let his mom hold him,” she said looking up at Jordan.
“I don’t understand,” Jordan said as the tears rolled down her face. Being a mother had always been a dream, especially as she had passed her thirtieth birthday a few months previous. Her lack of male attention and other life choices had made the dream of motherhood a fleeting wish. Her brain was trying to put the shards of information into coherent order, but stress was continuing to stymie those attempts.
“I am not going to get better Jordie,” Jamie said. “Besides you can be the mom he deserves – you always took care of me. Even when I was a nightmare,” she said gratitude radiating from her shallow red-rimmed eyes.
The nurse came to a stop next to Jordan extending the baby toward her arms. As the weight of the tiny human transferred, Jordan couldn’t help but marvel at him. He was perfect, with a small heart shaped mouth, chunky cheeks and a shock of light brown hair peeking out from the tiny stretch cap on his impossibly small head. As she brought him flush up against her chest, she felt her heart flip over and for the first time ever. She falls completely in love with a human of the male persuasion.
Looking over at Jamie, “We are going to fight this thing,” she said knowing she would fight to protect her sister and this new little person fiercer than any battle she had waged to date. Considering she had survived a war, that was as firm a promise as any she could utter.
July 7, 2014
Damien walked into Dominic’s office as usual without any consideration that his brother might be in the middle of something more important than whatever petty concerns were coming with him. Dominic didn’t even bother looking up to acknowledge his philandering, easy going, charismatic pain in the ass only sibling. He was several paragraphs into a missive to a distributor in China and refused to allow himself to be sidetracked until finished. Damien had long ago figured out interrupting Dominic was never a good option, and thus he lowered his casual polo, short khaki wearing, tanned sporty looking six-foot frame into the chair opposite his brother drumming a finger on the arm but otherwise not making a peep.
Finishing the email, Dominic inhaled and braced himself as he looked up. “Good to see you brother,” he said trying to quell the worry roiling in his gut. “What brings you home?” Damien rarely visited these days, and mostly Dominic was kept abreast of his brother’s travels through media outlets reporting on his latest gossip rag worthy escapade.
“You know mother requires bi-annual visits, or she claims I will be disowned,” Damien said shrugging as glanced around. “Do you even know what fun looks like Coke Bottle Dom?”
Dominic riled at the childhood name that his thick glasses had earned him as a nearsighted child, and unfortunately, his brother still found amusing to jab him with whenever trying for a reaction. Dominic had outgrown his geeky and awkward stage into a powerful figure in business and person. He was a few inches taller than his brother at six foot three, and through hard work in a gym a good forty pounds of muscle heavier. His tailor did an impeccable job of matching his custom sewn seams to the lines of his body, molding his suits to cut a figure he knew spoke of his wealth and position. These days no one other than Damien felt a compunction to jest with him in any manner. Dominic did envy his brother’s freedom to travel and decision not to take a position with the family businesses. The weight of thousands depending on you for their livelihood, businesses on every continent and most importantly the high standards his father had settled upon his shoulders when he passed unexpectedly eight years ago, was all Dominic had the time to focus his attentions on these days. So, while he could comprehend the decisions his brother had made when provided a choice, it didn’t stop Dominic from wanting to see his brother do something with his life other than use the vast family fortune to bankroll a life of leisure crisscrossing the globe.
Their mother, Sophia Banuelos, favored her younger son as pointedly as their father had pushed Dominic toward stringent business ventures. Sophia Bansuelos oversaw the philanthropic giving of Banuelos Holding Inc. and worked just as hard as Dominic providing a better life for many of the downtrodden across the globe. Dominic knew she respected and loved him, but the joy in her face when Damien was around turned another shade more evident, a fact that like so many he could acknowledge but refused to allow to define him in any manner. She had allowed the boys their freedom in choosing their paths from an early age and never pestered them about the choices they each rendered.
“Damien, does this visit have a purpose?” Dominic sighed deeply, when Damien came in wearing that sheepish look on his face, there was a mess for Dominic to clean up somewhere close behind.
“Yeah, I need a good attorney,” Damien said flippantly as if ordering lunch.
Dominic’s ears piped up instantly, “Whyyy?” he drew the question out hoping Damien would jump in with an explanation that hopefully would not cause his trust fund a major hit. “What did you do?”
“I have a situation with a – baby,” he said after a moment’s hesitation and shrug of his shoulders.
“Geez, not again!” Dominic had survived three previous claims of paternity by various paramours of Damien’s, but his brother had been cleared by science in all those litigations. He had sworn to Dominic he was careful, and so far, all evidence was to that effect.
“This time is different,” Damien said clearing his throat as he leaned forward placing an envelope on the desk separating them.
Dominic raised an eyebrow at his brother, as he picked up the simply worded letter. “Any chance she is lying?” He asked as the contents fully registered.
“If you knew Jamie – “
“Which I don’t because you don’t bring any of your women home?”
Damien shrugged, “you know mother’s rule, she only wants to meet her future daughter-in-law’s and not every frivolous female wishing to marry into the Banuelos family for any reason other than love.”
Dominic nodded. He had heard the speech before and so to date neither him nor Damien had brought any female companions home. Damien, because he only kept them around for a month or less before moving on to the next flavor. Dominic had never found a companion worth pursuing much less keeping around to meet the family. He ensured his stress relieving activities were timed with out of town business ventures and singular visits in nature, the women always knew the score. It wasn’t that he hadn’t thought to someday have a family, but as time passed, he had yet to meet a solitary woman who didn’t look at him and see dollar signs. His parents had spoiled him on a match made for financial reasons. When they had met in high school both poor and surviving on government handouts, it had been love at first sight. Through the years as they built a life and amassed a fortune, his parents had done it all madly in love with each other evident in every glance, touch and decision they made together. Unfortunately, Dominic had been born into wealth and didn’t have the luxury of meeting anyone who didn’t know who he was, or didn’t want something from him. So, with the picture of what a relationship should look like painted by his parents at odds with the reality that was his life, he focused on that which he could shape and influence here at the office.
Inhaling, Dominic turned his mind away from his reverie and back to the problem at hand. “We need to initiate contact with her,” Dominic said reading true concern on his brother’s face. “I am assuming she didn’t deliver this to you in person,” he elevated the envelope.
“No, I found it in a stack of mail the staff had placed in my room at the house,” Damien said.
“So how old would this child be if in fact, it is yours?”
“Using my rudimentary math skills somewhere around age two,” Damien said with a shrug looking off at something behind Dominic for a long moment. “I could go talk with her,” Damien said averting his eyes.
“You didn’t burn that bridge,” Dominic asked his ears perking up at that fact. His brother always broke the women loose when they got too clingy. To date, he couldn’t recall a single relationship in which Damien had been the one being dismissed and his brother was so callous in his partings none remained friendly to Dominic’s knowledge. This appeared from his odd expression to be an exception though.
“Turned out she had a bit of a drug problem, and she left to go to rehab unexpectedly, and that was the last I saw her,” Damien said with pinched features.
“You liked her,” Dominic said cluing in on his brother’s unrest. “She made a dent?”
“She was different. Honestly, she just seemed to crave me. Never wanted to go out or get caught up in the hoopla like so many of them do. They always use me to launch movie careers, to model or just to become famous,” Damien said with directness both brothers had come by honestly. “Jamie, just wanted me and it was refreshing. But she had her own demons, and they never let her go,” he said finally making direct eye contact again with Dominic. “I would like to know that she is okay at the very least.”
“I can get you the address,” Dominic said picking up the phone.
“You mean Dean can?” Damien said with a half-smile referencing Dominic’s lead counsel for both the company and personal matters of the family.
Dominic shrugged turning over in his head how to go about this without letting his mother catch wind of the events unfurling. Sophia Banuelos had recently become enamored with the idea of grandchildren and the next generation. Her constant musings about Damien settling down, and not so subtle setups for Dominic at dinner parties and the like were merciless. If she caught wind of another possible grandchild she would once again get her hopes up, Dominic wanted to avoid a repeat of previous such scenarios until there was something to report. Looking at his brother, who once again was lost in his own head, he had to wonder at the woman who had his carefree brother so concerned it was showing on every inch of his face. Maybe this was the real deal he thought, trying to read on Damien’s features if that would be a good or bad thing for all of them.
Jordan tried to get all the thoughts racing through her brain into a steady order, and calm her frazzled nerves. She needed to pull it together before she got to the house, taking that kind of stress into Brayden or her mom wasn’t fair. She always used the 30-minute commute to resolve concerns from work and leave the day behind her so she could focus on the precious moments she was able to spend with her family each evening. Some days that was easier than others to accomplish this feat considering her job was to help the injured emotionally and physically soldier’s returning from duty to a life altered by their career choices. Trying to bring a family peace in the worst of times always took a toll.
She loved being a patient coordinator for the Veteran’s Hospital, the largest in the country. The unfortunate side-effect was dealing with people at their absolute lowest many times resulted in her being thrown back to similar days of her own. She knew the light was coming though, and having someone advocate for their health services was what each patient most fervently needed in those early days after a crisis and help set them firmly on a path toward recovery. That knowledge didn’t always mitigate the emotional strains of witnessing those initial days when a patient was brought in broken, battered and worse for the wear thinking that death was better than the alternative. Her job was to help their families, the patient and find tiny wins in the throes of battle to keep everyone moving toward a positive outcome.
Today, she had welcomed a new double amputee to the floor only six days post-surgery. The young soldier had refused to see his fiancé who wanted to join him as soon as the helicopter delivered him to the hospital. Jordan had spent time setting realistic expectations for the teary-eyed fiancé and gathered a smattering of family that had poured in throughout the day. Gregory Hasdin had come from a tight knit community, and it seemed everyone from his family to his football coach in high school wanted to validate he was going to survive the catastrophic injuries sustained defending his country. Jordan had spent hours along with other staff members getting everyone settled in, updated on Gregory’s condition and ensuring that a full resource plan was in place to help support their journey.
Finally, a few minutes after 6 p.m. she had entered her car to have a private sob session. Expelling that emotional dam, she turned the car toward her home. She knew what the family was facing and that her strength and steady guidance would make the difference in the end to some degree so NEVER allowing that family to see her waiver was critical. She wore the armor of calm, knowledge, provided the strong shoulder needed and only in her solitude allowed the true price to her own soul to surface. As she neared the end of the car trip home, she rolled her shoulders and vowed that everything was behind her for the time she got to spend with her family.
Pulling into the drive, she saw a large black luxury car with tinted windows in her drive. Before she alighted from the vehicle, she could see a man in a polo shirt, khaki shorts, and boat shoes turn to her from speaking with her mother. The man focused in on her direction and even from a distance his perfect features, short hairs all aligned, starched clothing and tanned skin told Jordan he was from a world far different than her own. He looked like money and was backed up by the chauffeured car confusing Jordan as to what he could possibly doing at her house. She lived in a working-class neighborhood that other than special occasions like prom never saw the likes of such vehicles. Having bounced from foster home to foster home with her sister Jamie for the early parts of her life, having found the security of this home she never wanted for more than she had and found contentment in the little things money could never afford. Scanning her memory, she couldn’t conjure one idea about what such a well-manicured man would be doing on her lawn, but she figured he was most likely lost. With that thought wrapped around her, she exited the vehicle and started toward her mother and the stranger.
Something about the white around her mom’s mouth and the worry lines lacing her forehead started Jordan’s nerves to jangling a warning throughout her system. It was as if slow motion the man pivoted grinning this smarmy smile her direction.
“Can I help you?” Jordan asked keeping her voice firm and even.
“I’m looking for Jamie Kuriel,” the man said causing Jordan’s heart to halt mid-beat.
Inhaling a steadying breath, “and you are?”
“Damien Bansuelos,” he said extending a hand, “and you?”
“Jordan Kuriel,” Jordan said quickly ignoring the hand extended her direction, “what do you need with my sister?”
Jordan was never one to lose her cool or let emotions take over in stressful situations. Today would not be an exception despite the pain in the region of her heart that just the simple mention of her sister was causing.
“I have personal business with her, and I need you tell me where I might find her.”
“St. Mary’s cemetery,” Jordan said softly. “She died a little over a year ago,” She couldn’t say anymore around the lump in her throat constricting air and vocal cords with the rising tide of sadness. Time hadn’t eased her loss.
“Oh,” he said looking at the ground for a moment. “Did my son survive?” he asked so quietly at first Jordan was convinced she hadn’t heard correctly. Her head would have bobbled back in shock had she not be trained to hid her emotions as part of her military regime.
“I’m sorry what made you think Jamie had a baby that was yours?” Jordan asked as calmly as her rattled nervous system could manage.
“I found a letter she wrote me,” he said with a slight shoulder nudge as if it was nothing.
“And you misplaced it for two years?” She heard her mother’s disgust in the question.
“Mom, it’s okay,” she said gently. “Damien, Jamie did have a son but no father was listed on the birth certificate and to be honest she never told me a name of the father. I am afraid we cannot help you,” she said keeping a firm reign on her growing unrest.
He made a slight move and progressed toward her, “how much?”
She was confused at his question. “How much?”
“For my son,” he asked with a curl to his lip that made him appear arrogant and smarmy at the same time.
“My son,” Jamie emphasized the statement, “is not for sale. Now, this is private property so if you don’t wish me to call the police – “
“My mother will ensure he has everything he ever needs, and she will dote on a grandson,” he said pushing the subject. “Obviously, we would need to do a paternity test to confirm his identify first. We will make sure you are compensated though handsomely for taking care of – “
Jordan held her hand up and temper in check, if only barely. “He has a grandmother and family already. He is not for sale,” Jordan said slowly. “Please go now.”
She inhaled and exhaled but didn’t budge an inch. She watched Damien’s face which was obviously not used to being told no, from the slight clench of his chin and color on his neck making his impossibly dark complexion darken.
“Do you think he is really mine?” He finally asked causing Jordan to bobble a bit; she couldn’t tell if it was longing or fear in the question.
“Jamie never told me the father’s name,” she said honestly.
“Does he look like me?”
Jamie examined every square inch of the man slowly, from the long, lean frame and medium complexion to the facial features, straight perfect hair and while she faltered here and there nothing screamed recognition as she catalogued his features against those memorized of her sweet son.
“Maybe, honestly nothing that would 100% make me without a DNA test telling me beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said a bit more sympathetic to his plight. It would be hard having a child and not knowing it.
“Well, I’ve dodged this bullet before, so maybe your sister was also just looking for a big payday,” he said as he turned.
Whatever charity she had felt for the man evaporated.
“If you don’t want him, then why even come here?”
“Family is family, and my mother is bugging both Dominic and I for a grandbaby. Besides,” he glanced around her humble yard, and his nose rose a notch, “if he is a Bansuelos he deserves to live like one.”
Jordan felt an urge to walk forward and punch the smug look of the arrogant visage. As her standard operating procedure dictated though she calmly asked him, “please go. And don’t come back.”
He sneered slightly, “I promise you will regret this if he is mine,” he said as he ducked his into the waiting car.
Only as the vehicle kicked up dust exiting her driveway did she exhaled the stress out of her shoulders. She had no doubt her drama free existence had just hit a speed bump, but as she turned toward the front door to see her chunky baby boy ensconced in her mom’s arms, she knew she would fight whatever they could throw at her to keep him safe. Especially if that arrogant horrid man was any indication of the other option.
Hello Angelica. Thank you for taking the time to stop in and chat with us, it is great to have you.
What are your hardest scenes to write? And what are what are the easiest to write for you?
I find dialogue scenes with multiple individuals the hardest to write. Ensuring that everyone’s unique voice, perspective and current emotional status is clearly depicted can be difficult for me personally to pen. The easiest are first person reflective scenes, getting inside the head of the character I find myself empathetically able to feel what my fingers type out going through the characters mind.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I try to write about contemporary concerns so like to read about issues driven news stories, research the issues, find varied perspective and many times talk to people that had been directly impacted by said situations. Since my books are historical in nature the most research driven books to date for me are military based, and delved into personal family and friend’s stories for the backdrop of that series of books.
Tell us something about you that might surprise people.
I try to do things that scare me to death, nothing that could hurt me but just make me stretch the limits of what I believe I am capable. For instance, I took up rock climbing when I am spent years fending off nausea from heights. After that I jumped out of an airplane and put that fear to rest for good.
If you could co-write a book or series with any author, dead or alive who would it be?
Erma Bombeck would be someone I would have loved to co-write a series with about contemporary issues. She had a way of lightening the darkest of subjects and making her words jump from the page and elicit an emotional (normally humor) response to her books.
What does literary success look like to you?
For me success is that reader that bought a second of my books because they enjoyed my writing so much. I love hearing from readers and seeing my passion for writing shared on a larger platform than I could have ever imagined.
This was fun,again thank you so much for taking the time to chat.
Angelica Kate (pen name for Angela K. Naff) writes contemporary and inspirational romances primarily, but occasionally likes to dabble in other genres. She is a lifetime scribbler who has always enjoyed writing as a release from the reality of life. In 2014 in keeping a promise to a friend that has since passed she published her first book Loving Abby through Amazon’s self-publishing tool and was bit by the bug. The feedback both positive and negative continues to propel her to hone her writing chops, and she still reads every review (even those that require a glass of wine to stomach).
In October 2015 Angelica’s family relocated from Stillwater, Oklahoma to the beaches of Sarasota, Florida. She is hoping that the change of scenery will keep her creative processes churning out new ideas. When she isn’t writing Angelica is spending time with her husband, two daughters, extended family or friends or on the road pursuing her quest for new adventures to write about in her next book.