Countless thoughts bombarded Staci’s mind as she stared out the window. The gray clouds peeking through her bedroom window reminded her of the rain forecast from the previous night’s news weather report. She turned her head to the left, trying to decide which pair of leather boots she’d wear and where she’d last seen her umbrella. The outcome of the basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings the night before as well as what to get her father for his birthday puzzled her. She closed her eyes and remembered she needed to pick up her dry cleaning before her wardrobe dwindled down to jeans and sweatshirts. Then thoughts of her brother/boss nagging her for the quarterly report forced her eyes open once again. She placed her hands behind her head then rolled her eyes toward the ceiling, where a large spider web caught her attention. She made a mental note to spend Saturday morning deep cleaning her bedroom.
Staci shifted her body and began counting. Ten, nine, eight. . . . It was just a matter of time before the killer bear would roar. What did I ever do to deserve all this, Staci wondered. Five, four, it was almost over. Three, two, finally the killer bear roared then collapsed on top of her.
Staci quickly pushed her husband off of her and went into the bathroom and started the shower. If she hurried she could stop at Starbucks before going into the office.
Shivers that chilled to the bone caused Marlissa to reach for covers that weren’t there. Like the two previous attempts to cover herself, she came up empty. Frustrated, she tucked her bare arms inside her shirt and shook vigorously, hoping the friction against the musty carpet and her jeans would ignite some heat. Her frivolous effort resulted in a sore shoulder to go along with her already stiff back. Sleeping on the floor in a cheap motel definitely held its disadvantages. Yet, it beat a park bench or homeless encampment.
She moaned and turned her chilled body in the opposite direction to block out undisputed evidence that she’d lived to see another day in what she considered hell on earth. This had to be hell. Mentally, she’d died and gone to hell. She was just waiting for the physical manifestation. Desperately, she prayed that the demons assigned to transport her into the deepest, uttermost part of Hades would hurry. Just how long could a person survive on a diet of Hennessy, vodka, and Cisco, anyway? Hopefully, by evening the devil would be in desperate need of her company, since she didn’t have a dollar to her name and didn’t trust her luck at securing another bodily fluid–stained carpet to lay her head upon.
She grunted, thinking of her beloved husband resting comfortably in his king-sized bed on a pillow top mattress. Like bile, envy collected in her stomach and traveled up her esophagus. With force, she swallowed the melon-sized lump in her throat. It wasn’t Kevin’s fault that she preferred alcohol over him. She’d made her bed and now she’d lie in it, but next time she’d make sure she had an actual bed to lie in.
She peered at the snoring mass beside her and wondered how anyone could sleep so soundly on this filth. Obviously, her drunken comrade had more experience with this lifestyle than she did. The wrinkles and red hue of his skin were indications that he enjoyed the depressing effects alcohol offered just as much as she did, if not more. She wanted to wake him and thank him for the shelter, but first she had to remember his name.
Bryce, having been married for a little over three years, stared appreciatively at the bare woman before him. By all accounts, she was everything he physically desired in a woman; ample and curvaceous from top to bottom. Her honey colored legs seemed to go on forever. He could look at her perpetually and never get tired of the view she provided. Bryce had an arsenal of beautiful women at his disposal, but she was his favorite. He could drink the sweetness of her lips through eternity and still thirst for more.
Bryce often wondered how he ended up with such a beautiful and voluptuous woman, considering he was just an average looking man, and short at that. Bryce was only 5'9'' tall. He didn't house the physique of a body builder, but he did wear his 200 pounds well. Thanks to his love for Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia, Bryce didn't have a six pack, but a slightly budding pot belly. None of that mattered to the woman before him, though. To her, he was perfect. He was strong and secure. He was her king. Bryce was by far the best lover she'd ever had, and each time that they came together was always better than the time before.
Bryce blocked everything from his mind except her. He moaned deeply as his mind focused on the soft kisses she planted all over him and as her hands massaged him in places only known to her. He leaned back, allowing her full access to all parts of him. Bryce was hers and she could do whatever she wanted to do with him. The semi-sweet chocolate brother was all hers and she knew it. Bryce was so engrossed in his woman, he lost track of time. The knock on his office door brought him back to reality.
"Are you ready, Sir?" The voice on the other side of the door asked.
"I'll be right out," Bryce responded after steadying his breath.
He quickly closed the magazine and discreetly tucked it away in its hiding place between the wall and the tank of the toilet. After fastening his pants and belt, he washed his hands without looking in the mirror. He could never look himself in the face after an encounter with the woman he nicknamed, Daija.
Back at his desk, Bryce hurriedly put on his suit jacket and tucked his Bible and notebook under his arm then headed for the sanctuary. It was time for Pastor Bryce Hightower to preach the Word of God.
"Although fiction, Illusions not only exposes a very real secret addiction that many Christian men face, but also offers an insightful resolution that will point them to the road of recovery. It is an eye-opener that should be required reading for men's ministries everywhere."
~ Kendra Norman-Bellamy, national bestselling author of Crossing Jhordan's River, More Than Grace, and In Greene Pastures.
"Illusions is a definite page-turner which reveals the naked truth about the effects of pornography and church leadership. Wanda B. Campbell dares to bring this taboo topic true-to-life as she brilliantly describes the sexual struggles of a young, sincere pastor, and an initially hopeful but now seemingly hopeless and heartbroken first lady. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next!"
-Kim Brooks, author of, He's Saved...But is He for Real? and He's Fine...But is He Saved?
Illusions will have you on the edge of your seat. You will not want to put this book down until you find out what happens. Campbell has no problem digging deep into some of the troubles of today's church leaders. Although fiction, the situation is REAL. I definitely recommend this book to others. I cannot wait to see what else Campbell has in store for us.
Illusions is another winner for Ms. Campbell. She has taken a controversial situation and allowed the reader to walk in her characters' shoes and feel and see what they do. Courage, strength, faith and love are just a few of the characteristics we see. This is such a touching story of the perfect facade we can put up for others to see in spite of our broken spirits. You cannot help but think, learn and grow with this story as it unfolds. I highly recommend this and any other books Ms. Campbell writes. Her stories are that exceptional.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
The First Sunday In October
It's time to hear a word from the Lord. Let's all stand and receive our Pastor at this time. God bless you Pastor Pennington. The young minister smiled as Pastor Pennington stepped to the podium.
Julia was not prepared for what she saw next. Nikki had raved so much about how much she loved Pastor Pennington and how much she'd learned from him, Julia assumed he was a much older man. Nikki respected him as being a wise father figure who knew how to relate to his members in the areas they needed most. Pastor Pennington may be all of those things to Nikki, but to Julia he was the finest man she'd ever laid eyes on.
From her seat on the fifth row, she estimated him to be about six-three or six-four and about two hundred and fifty pounds. His smooth dark-chocolate skin matched perfectly with his dark brown eyes. His neatly trimmed goatee outlined a perfect pair of full lips that when parted revealed the sweetest smile she'd ever seen. His teeth were perfectly straight. She wondered if they had naturally grown that way or if he'd worn braces. His ministerial cassock couldn't hide his perfectly chiseled body. By the cuts in his massive upper body, she could tell he worked out on a regular basis. Looking at him was like looking at Wesley Snipes and Morris Chestnut all rolled up into one. His voice was deep and melodious. When he spoke he reminded her of a young Billy D. Williams in Lady Sings the Blues.
Nikki tapped her on the arm and asked if she was alright. Julia didn't notice that the rest of the congregation was already seated and she was the only one still standing.
Wanda B. Campbell has done a wonderful job with FIRST SUNDAY IN OCTOBER, her debut novel. She told a story of two people who had never experienced true love and how with forgiveness and reconciliation of past wrongs true love it is really worth waiting on. She pulled you into the lives of the characters and made you feel as though you knew them. I look forward to her next project. The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
In times when filth is all around, people are swimming in the muck and mire, it is refreshing to read a book such as First Sunday in October. Campbell tell a compelling story of how GOD's redemption and one's own personal self love/strength will always be enough to carry one through life's trials and tribulations.
Filled with honest and real situations that the reader can identify with, Campbell compels the reader to actually walk a mile in these characters' shoes. Campbell does an outstanding job of demonstrating real family dynamics and how important family is to one's personal growth. C&B Distribution
First Sunday in October is a realistic portrayal of Christians in love. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this realistically, portrayed book of how Christians date, while also seeing portrayals of real people and their struggles. Ms. Campbell penned a wonderfully, romantic, spirit-filled first novel. I recommend First Sunday in October to those who enjoy Christian Fiction and to anyone who enjoys a well-told romantic story. APOOO Book Club
Absolutely spectacular! First Sunday in October was the most moving book I have ever read. I cried many tears while reading it. What an emotional rollercoaster Ms. Campbell sets you on. The words run fluidly through you and you too will walk away with tears for the highs and the lows this couple goes through. This is a very inspirational read with many life lessons sprinkled in that make you stop and think. It is a well-thought-out concept of two beautiful, yet flawed people who follow their Christian beliefs. If I could award more than five cups to this story, I would not hesitate to do so. Coffee Time Romance
Right Package, Wrong Baggage
Wanda B. Campbell has done it again. Another explosive novel that'll take readers on an emotional rollercoaster. From cover to cover, Campbell delivers a captivating storyline that keeps the pages turning. Get ready to laugh, cry, become angry, and blissfully happy as the characters deliver nothing short of what we can always expect from the gifted author. I consider Right Package, Wrong Baggage to be one of the greatest novels I've ever read. Nikita Lynnette Nichols, Author of A Man’s Worth and Amaryllis
Right package, Wrong Baggage is an intricate tale that unfolds like an Alfred Hitchcock film. When Micah's past is revealed, the reader will not want to put the book down. Wanda B. Campbell has penned another captivating story. Dijorn Moss, Author of My Father’s House
Wanda B. Campbell has once again taken us beyond the veneer of Christian life and made us take a look at ourselves. Right Package, Wrong Baggage introduces us to Micah Stevenson, a great man of faith who has overcome his past to become a new creation in Christ. Micah is the perfect package for any sister including Pamela Roberts and it seems that the two are moving toward a common destiny until a disclosure by Micah threatens to derail his budding romance with Pamela. The innocent victim in this tale is Pamela's son Matthew who adores Micah and loves his mother. Micah must press on in spite of Pamela's perceptions. Pamela must be freed from a mindset that may cost her more than she realizes and the two must find unity for Matthew's sake as danger surrounds him. Bernard Boulton, Author of Do You Wanna Be Made Whole?