Archive | April 2015

An Excerpt from The Balm of Love…


Serenity Inn 3 New Cover Promo


An hour later, Lindsay was smiling as Chad pushed her wheelchair out into the hallway. She’d been set free from one prison, getting home would determine what her privileges would be.  She sighed, one battle at a time.

He placed his hands beneath her legs to lift her into the Serenity Inn van that they used to transport guests.  As he leaned in, she cradled his face between her hands and brushed her lips against his.

His gaze met hers and he began to probe deeper. His heartbeat sped up and in that moment he knew it just wasn’t possible to love someone more than he loved her.

Everything about Lindsey made him want to be a better man brewing within him a strong belief that what they felt now was only the beginning of what it would be. These were the emotions he sought to convey to her with caress of his lips against hers.  They finally pulled apart and smiled at each other as they rested their foreheads against the others.

“It’s almost like old times, isn’t it?” she whispered thinking of life before pregnancy… when they would sneak into the van for intense but restrained make-out sessions.  Life before she learned pregnancy wasn’t going to be the romantic notion she’d always envisioned.

His eyes gentled.  “Linds, it will always be that way between us babe. But for now, I just want to make sure that you and our baby will be safe.”

“I know sweetheart, but if I stay one more day in that hospital, I’ll go crazy.  I have to be around my family home—at Serenity.  I need to know what is going on.”

“Listen, you have a crew at the house that you’ve trained very well. They love you and know how important their jobs are.  They want what’s best for you and our baby, too–”

Lindsey placed her finger against his lips.  “I don’t care. I need to be there. You of all people should understand that.” Dropping her finger she looked away from him as frustration began to build within her.

Chad gently grasped her chin. “If I didn’t understand that, I wouldn’t have allowed them to release you two days early. Where do you think we’re going? Huh?” he asked as he began to tickle her. As she pulled away from him giggling, he swatted her hip.

“Always gotta be so dramatic!” he fussed, humor playing in his eyes just before he carefully closed her door.

Tears lined his bottom lids. He whisked them away with a finger and shook his head.  He never thought he could feel like this about anyone, but Lindsay renewed his loved from day to day. Even when they didn’t agree, one look into her chocolate-brown eyes had him melting before long.

“And when we get home,” he continued as he slid beneath the steering wheel, “don’t think you’re off bedrest. In fact, I want some alone time with you. I need to hold you and put in some serious tummy talk time. My baby boy probably has forgotten my voice by now.”

“Oh please as if you would be quiet enough for that to happen,” she teased.

Chad chuckled, nodding.  He spared her a look and thought how hard it would be not to make love to his beautiful wife. He started the engine and then reached out to touch an escaped tendril of hair.

Their eyes met and for just a second nothing else existed. He missed her. Missed connecting with her, being one with her. Walking and talking with her on their days off—all the things that the sickness seemed to have curtailed.  He would never be able to get enough of his wife and there wasn’t a night he didn’t say a thankful prayer for her.

His eyes took in the shadows beneath her eyes and the gaunt, narrowing of her face.  She looked so fragile.  The pregnancy was really taking its toll. Whereas at first it opened up a freedom they hadn’t realized they’d not yet explored, the sickness began to tamper the activity they’d once enjoyed with passion and frequency. He ran his finger gently down her cheek before he turned from her and pulled out into traffic.

He felt her hand on his knee and he smiled at her as they got the green light.  His heartbeat quickened at her touch and he decided at the very next red light he was gonna steal a kiss from her succulent cherry lips, particularly the one she was worrying with her teeth.

He turned onto the next road and then heard Lindsay scream just before he felt the impact of something that sent them into a spin.  Chad tried to fight against the centrifugal force that held him in place away from where he sought, which was to protect Lindsay and their baby.

Her eyes were closed and a thin gash oozed blood on her forehead which the crack on the windshield explained.   His heart clutched as he saw them nearing the opposite side of the mountain road and he prayed they would stop hurtling before over the side.

Suddenly everything stilled. Chad was afraid to move. Where were they in respect to the edge? He unsnapped his seat belt and eased toward Lindsay. He touched her neck seeking the rhythm of her heartbeat along her carotid artery.  Slowly he let out the breath he hadn’t been aware that he’d been holding. There was a steady beat.

He was afraid to slide out of the truck away from her, even for the moment it would take to run around to the other side to free her. He felt for his cellphone and was grateful it had remained in his shirt pocket, removing it he made the 9-1-1 call. Just as he ended it the pungent odor of gas wafted toward him and now his heart began to bang against his ribs. What should he do?  The dispatch had assured him help was on the way and based on Lindsay’s condition advised them to wait, but now with new circumstances he had to make a decision.

Slowly, he opened his door and sighed with relief to see solid earth beneath them on his side. But as he moved, he could feel and hear dirt dislodging and falling down the mountain. He froze in place, even as his heart tap danced against his ribcage and he fought to control his breathing so he could think as he realized the front of the truck on her side must be over the edge.

Chad leaned more over to his side, hoping his weight could counter the weight of hers.  The van steadied but he knew it might only be a brief reprieve. A sooty scent and veil of smoke, permeating the air grabbed his attention.

Recognizing it was probably the result of the friction-burned tires and that it wouldn’t take much for the SUV to catch fire forced his hand. Deftly he unclasped her seat-belt before his hand grasped her arm and waist with all the power he could muster.

He snatched her across the seat, cradled her in his arms and ran, only just managing to slide in the ditch across the road as fire completely engulfed the SUV before it exploded causing the ground to rock all around them as it plunged over the side.

Just for a moment his eyes closed sending up a prayer of thanks as he continued to hold her against him. Suddenly, he went into doctor mode, barely conscious of the stinging scrapes on his arms and face as he lifted her out of the ditch and laid her flat before he checked her vitals.


Taking his jacket off, he covered the asphalt beneath her upper body. Her eyes were still closed but her pulse was good. He scanned the mountain road listening for the sirens of the ambulance that was supposed to be on the way.  But wait a minute. Where was the other vehicle? Had it driven away or—

Leaving, Chad went to the edge where their vehicle had gone over and peered down. Sure enough a sixteen wheeler had begun its descent down the side of the mountain before thick brush stopped it. He could see a man lying a few yards down on a ledge. Chad wondered if he’d managed to jump or if he’d been flung from the vehicle on its way down.

Looking around him, his heart sank in dismay. There was no way he could help the man, not with Lindsay laying on the road. He turned back toward Lindsay and helplessly again down as he searched to see if he was moving.

The sounds he’d been waiting for filled the air and finally he could see the ambulance crest the hill and then move toward them. He looked down the mountain just in time to see the truck restart its descent downward.  Before he could move, he was knocked flat.



The faces of the EMT’s were swimming in and out of his vision before him, one shining a flash light while he felt the soft fingers of another checking his vitals. He watched a sandy blond man’s mouth move, but he couldn’t make out what he was saying.  Chad wasn’t really interested. Did they get to Lindsay? Do they know about the man on the ledge? He wondered why he couldn’t stand up. Though that didn’t keep him from trying. The image of the truck rolling replayed in his mind. The truck must have blown up.

He felt hands gently attempt to restrain him from moving as a gurney was set beside him. Still, his eyes searched. Where was she? He should have never left her side. What kind of husband leaves his wife on the side of the road? What if they hadn’t seen her and drove over her? Panic filled his chest, his breath started to come in short pants.

As if reading his mind, he was now face to face with Soft Hands which belonged to a brunette woman who was smiling at him, her violet eyes gentle with compassion. “Sir, we have her. You can relax. Take deep breaths, you’re in danger of hyperventilating.”

The sandy haired Tech looked beyond him, “Give him a shot, Josie before he hurts himself or us trying to get up from here.” He then rested his hand on Chad’s shoulder and looked him in the eye, “Is it your wife?” Without waiting for confirmation he continued, “You’re about to see her in just a moment.  You both are being airlifted to the nearest hospital, okay? Blink twice if you understand me.”

Chad tried to lift and lower his lids in quick succession but found his lids didn’t want to lift again. They found Lindsay. That was his last thought. He exhaled, before darkness embraced him.


If you haven’t checked in to the Serenity Inn Series, catch up with

Her Guy-Friday Book 1 &  Love Embraced Book 2


Great Multi-Cultural Read for only $1!

She felt stupid as a warm tear slid down her face. Darn!  She reached for a paper towel as she tried to stifle a sob.

“Are you okay?” The accented voice came from behind her.

She jumped, startled by the sound.  She had forgotten she wasn’t alone in the house.  She rushed to recover enough to respond, but it wasn’t easy to stifle the pain from her memories.  She felt strong arms envelope her.

“Shhh, what’s wrong, London?”

It was the first time that she’d heard him actually say her name and the thrill that danced along her spine was purely involuntary.  She couldn’t explain why she turned into his shoulder.  She only knew in that moment it was where she needed to be.  The tears came easily and the ache from her heart, though surprising, lamented things she hadn’t thought of in years.  And there was no doubt the house, Edwina and Gianni’s aunt’s house had led to it.

Suddenly, she pushed against his chest.  It was only then that she realized it was bare.  Her hands had come in contact with the fine hair that sprinkled across it.  She felt heat begin to creep up her face.

“I uh, I’m so sorry that you, um had to see me like this.  I was just remembering something.  But I’m better now.  Thanks,” she gushed.

“I’m so sorry that you are feeling such heartache.  Is it a man?”

“A…man?  Um, no.  Definitely not.  No, it was a childhood memory.  And anyway, it doesn’t matter now.”  She turned away from him and went to flip on the kitchen light.  She was immediately regretful.  He stood before her in navy pajamas pants and nothing else.  Bare chested and bare foot, he was the epitome of sexiness.  She slowly let her eyes travel up his body until they connected with his brooding ones.  Her heart skipped a beat and she swallowed.  Did he notice that?  She wondered before she concluded Stevie Wonder could probably have seen and heard that swallow.

“Well I guess I’d better turn in,” she said finally.

“Really?” He tilted his head while he smoothed his fingers over his chin.

Really what?”

“I guess I never figured you to be so skittish a woman.

She looked down at the floor, the corners of her mouth lifting against her wishes.  “Wow! I’ve never been called skittish before.”

“Maybe you’ve never met a man like me before?”  He walked slowly toward her and it took everything in her not to step back.

She jutted her chin forward and glared. “Maybe I’m not running.  Maybe I just choose to walk away.  It could be you’re not my type. Has that not occurred to you?”


“Nope.  You’re awfully good at throwing out these one word replies.”

“There are a few things in this life that…I am, let’s say, a connoisseur of—women is one of those.  I am very familiar with women.  I notice everything about them.  The way the eyes soften with attraction.  The way the pulse leaps on the side of the neck.  The soft …feminine scent that is un-de-ni-able.”

She wondered if he meant to drag that last word out like that or if it was his accent playing against the vowels.  In any event, she couldn’t deny it was having an effect on her and the last thing she was going to do was concede in this moment to him.

“I think someone is having delusions of grandeur.  However, I am exhausted and don’t have time to stand here and continue to debate this with you.  Be sure to get the lights on the way out.”  She retorted as she slid past him and forced her gait into a slow and deliberate one.  She restrained the impulse turn to look over her shoulder.  But she didn’t have to.  She could feel his gaze on her like the caress of an old lover.

1-Click Loving Gianni! 😀

In case you missed it…


APR. 2015



Pampering Things Newsletter 

Pampering You Mind, Body & Spirit


Get Your Pampering In

with Nikki’s Soap of the Month Club!  



Life is so busy that sometimes we forget to restore ourselves. Pampering is a great way to remind ourselves we matter. After you fill out my form, I get an idea of what you like. Based on this you will get the customized scented soap and extra treat for the subscribed period you choose.
And what friend wouldn’t appreciate a soap gift subscription? Could you imagine how thankful to you they will be each time they pamper themselves?
If you’re looking for a unique way to ensure you get your pampering in, drop by Nikki’s Pampering Thingstoday!

This Month’s Pampering Tips


Bath Pampering with Potpourri or Aromatic Oils


A suggestion from the online gazette Chic Factor  is to use scent to relax. They suggest “using your favorite aromatic oil in your bath water or even your hair. An Hour Long Shower — Kick it off with a relaxing hour long shower. Fix yourself a nice bubble bath. Do the scrubbing, washing, moisturizing and all that. Once done here’ a small ‘oil’ tip (should) guarantee an invigorating whiff every time you move your head ;).”



  Feature of the Month:

Nzinga, Owner of Nzinga Designs 


Nzinga Designs is comfortable clothing for women from petite to plus sizes.  Bold colors, a mixture of different textures, and attention to detail, defines Nzinga Design.  All Nzinga Designs are hand-made originals.  Therefore, you will not see yourself coming and going.



I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-at-Whitewater. With a double major in Biology and English.  Originally, I wanted to be a writer.  Later, I switched to pre-medicine, then back to writing.  But, sewing has always been a part of my life.  I would sew when I wanted to create something.  I suppose it’s in my DNA.  My maternal grandmother made quilts and she sewed.  My mother’s oldest sister, Aunt Esther, was a professional sewer.  She worked at a company as a seamstress.   She would make all our prom dresses.  All we had to do was tell her what we wanted.  She could make leather purses and cover shoes with leather.  She was really good.  She could make anything.


I taught myself to sew while in the Army.  I bought a book and a $99.00 Sears Kenmore sewing machine.  I had taken the basics in Miss Jones’ 7th grade sewing class, where I learned to make a gathered skirt and apron.  My mother, however, felt that my older sister should be the designated sewer in the family.  She thought I didn’t know enough and couldn’t be trusted with making our school clothes.


So, when we went to Sears & Roebuck’s to look in the pattern books, and choose fabric, my sister did everything and came home and made everything.  She could only make gathered skirts, but I wanted so badly to make them too.  So, in the Army, away from home, I saw my chance.  I read that book from cover to cover and taught myself to sew.


I learned to sew quite well.  By the time I left the Army, and was in college, I could make men’s sports jackets, and all kinds of women’s clothing. People were always asking me to sew for them, but I would only sew creatively, when I felt the urge, and only for my husband and daughter. I started designing when as a young mother, I couldn’t find the pretty lacey dresses for my daughter when she reached around 12 years old.  They just didn’t make them.


So, I began designing and making the kind of dresses I wanted to see her in.  She would wear them to school for the Christmas programs and other special occasions, and everyone wanted to know where she got the dresses.

They wanted one.


After college, I stuck with the writing, becoming published.  I mostly wrote poetry, short stories, articles, and book reviews.  I was senior writer and editor for Thread the Needle, a cable television show in Chicago.  Becoming a writer was my focus.  I was going to write the great American novel.  So, when the Holy Spirit urged me to become a designer, I was shocked and scared.  But, I was obedient and began seriously designing and building my brand and business.


My beautiful and intelligent daughter, Kenya Kimball,  currently on the Dean’s List at Roosevelt University in Chicago,  is also my marketing manager and consultant at Nzinga Designs.  She does a brilliant job for me.


I will be posting my Spring 2015 Collection soon.  Right now, anyone interested in purchasing a Nzinga Design, please email me at


I am currently working on my website.  I would appreciate “likes” to my fan page at








Writers, looking for an editor?

Check out Karen McCollum-Rodgers, CEO of 

Critique Editing Services   


Since the age of four when she first learned to read, Karen McCollum-Rodgers has always been an insatiable word nerd. She chose her career based on her love of words, and honed her writing and editing skills, becoming a technical writer of information technology and information security documentation as well as creating content for computer-based training.


When reading for pleasure, she found herself cringing over some of the books due to numerous errors. She decided to parlay her writing/editing skills into a business to help authors alleviate the distraction errors cause.  She reached out to her first potential client, who responded with an enthusiastic, “You’re an answer to prayer!” and six books to edit and Critique Editing Services was born. Ms. Rodgers’ goal is to provide quality editing services at a low cost allowing authors to present their books in the best possible light.


Through word of mouth Critique Editing Services is still going strong four years later.


In This Issue
 Pampering Tips:

    Aromatic Oils


 Soap of the Month:

Cherry Almond Soap Bar


of the Month:






Karen McCollum-Rodgers, CEO  ofCritique Editing Services 




Pampering Gift Ideas


 Mini Travel

Soap Gift Tote



  Ultra Pampering Country Gift Basket




Spring Wraps











Cuddly Slippers




Soap of the Month:

Cherry Almond    Soap Bar

The classic blend of sweet cherries and nutty almond with a touch of cherry blossoms…

If you love crocheting or knitting with lovely chenille yarn, please check out my friend Jeanne Hommes

at the Chenille Shack

 my webstore:      

Pampering You Mind, Body & Spirit!

Published by  Nikki’s Pampering Things
Copyright © 2015  Nikki Walker Books & Products.  All rights reserved.