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When Love Calls (Arabesque) [Kindle Edition]

Celeste O. Norfleet
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Political lobbyist Alyssa Wingate sneaks into an exclusive reception, hoping for a chance to convince Senator Randolph Kingsley to support her foundation for improving elder care. The plan didn't involve ending up in a police station with him in the middle of the night—or becoming involved in a red-hot relationship that could jeopardize his career and her livelihood.

Randolph's life is charmed…but it's also empty.

Surrounded by ambitious social climbers, he's struck at once by Alyssa's understated beauty and poise, and by her passionate commitment to her cause. But in a cutthroat city like Washington, D.C., lobbyists and politicians shouldn't mix business with pleasure, much less fall in love….

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Celeste O. Norfleet, a native Philadelphian, has always been artistic but now her artistic imagination flows through the computer keys. With over 14 novels she continues to win rave reviews and critical praise for her spicy Kimani Arabesque romances reflecting strong sexy characters with unpredictable plots and exciting story lines. Although Arabesque is her heart Celeste is now lending her talent to TRU, Kimani’s young adult line. Celeste lives in Virginia with her husband and two teens.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"I'm going to jail."

"No you're not."

"Oh, yeah, I'm going to jail," Alyssa Wingate muttered as she readjusted her crooked name tag again. "I guess I can always plead temporary insanity. Yeah, that's it. I'm sure the courts will be lenient with me. After all, this is my first real offense, if you don't count that bat incident a few years back."


"I've always played by the rules, never broken any laws… well, except for that mattress-tag thing, but that wasn't my fault. I was only trying to see the price. And besides, I bought it anyway, even though I didn't really want a fourteen-hundred-dollar king-size mattress. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm getting tossed out of here and then I'm going to jail."

"Shh… You're not going to jail," Nina Hall whispered, as she stood beside Alyssa.

"Yep, I'm going to jail," Alyssa repeated with certainty as she glanced around, ready to be handcuffed and taken away.

"Would you please stop saying that? There's no reason we shouldn't be here. This is a major event and we were invited."

"Correction, our boss was invited and couldn't make it. We swiped the tickets, then snuck into the VIP reception."

"That doesn't matter as long as we're cool."

"Maybe I'll get lucky and just get probation and have to do, like, a million hours of community service. I could do that," Alyssa said, nodding to herself.

"And stop rambling on like that, people are beginning to stare," Nina hissed, smiling and greeting a passerby. "Good evening, how are you? What a wonderful turnout."

"I'm not rambling. I'm just practicing what I'm going to say, so that when I get arrested for stalking a U.S. senator, the judge will see that I'm truly sorry as I throw myself on his mercy."

"Oh, God, you're insane and overly dramatic. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were pretending, but your goody-two-shoes act is far too perfect."

There was a buzz of excitement across the room. Heads turned, but Alyssa looked the other way, straightening her name tag one last time. "I'm going to jail."

"Shh, and stop fidgeting."

"I'm not fidgeting."

"Then what are you doing?"

"It's not me. It's my name tag. It keeps drooping, slipping, flopping…"

"Whatever, enough with the seven dwarfs already."

Alyssa finally straightened her name tag, took a deep breath and looked up, smiling. Her pecan skin shone, her smile radiated and her almond-shaped, dark eyes sparkled with crystal clarity. She was the spitting image of her grandmother. "Okay, I'm ready."

"Good, you look fantastic. You need to smile more often."

"Thanks," Alyssa said, appreciating the compliment. It was something she had to teach herself to do. Compliments were rare growing up.

"You'll be great." Nina nodded her assurance.

"Yes, I'm calm, I'm cool, I'm collected and I'm relaxed. I know everything there is to know about the honorable senator from California. He's single, served two terms as a congressman, then was elected to the Senate at twenty-nine years old. He took office a year ago on his thirtieth birthday, making him one of the youngest senators in U.S. history. He sits on several congressional committees and subcommittees, inherited a vineyard in Napa Valley from his grandfather and, by all accounts, is drop-dead handsome."

Nina stared at her while shaking her head in growing dis-belief. "Wow, girl, you are obsessed."

"I prefer the term well informed," Alyssa corrected.

"Still, of all the politicians to pick, you chose the one who is firmly against lobbyists."

"It was a no-brainer. He may be staunchly against political lobbyism, but he's also pro universal health care and Social Security reform. And if I can pull him in, Pete will have no choice but to offer me a position as a lobbyist. And to clarify his position, he's not against political lobbying, he's against 'excessive lobbying and the perks that follow, which make politicians useless to the people they're supposed to represent.' That's a direct quote from his Web site, by the way."

"I have no doubt. But be that as it may, he's still a tough nut to crack. I heard that as soon as he hears the word lobbyist he calls security and has the person thrown out."

"I doubt that," Alyssa said.

"Well, you know him better than I do. Hell, you know him better than anyone does, probably even his assistant."

"You make me sound like some kind of stalker."

"If finding out everything there is to know about a person is stalking, then the shoe fits, dear."

"I did it to help others."

"Uh-huh, right."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Alyssa asked.

"You know what it means. You like him, you're attracted to him."

"Of course I like him. He's a good politician."

"Nah, not like that, you like him as a man and, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you more than liked him," Nina said as she stared at her friend suspiciously.

"Well, now, it's a good thing that you know better," Alyssa said sternly, hoping to end this conversation. She looked around, feeling Nina's eyes still on her. She was right, of course; her little investigation had turned into more than professional interest. She did feel something for him. She wasn't sure what it was, but she definitely felt something.

"Okay, I'm ready, let's do this. Where is he?" She smiled through clenched teeth.

"Umm—" Nina looked around the crowded reception area quickly "—it doesn't look like he's here yet."

"But he's got to be here. I'm ready now." She raised her voice slightly, drawing glances from those around her.

The he whom she referred to was Senator Randolph Kingsley, one of the most discriminating senators on the hill and one who personally vowed to limit the influence of special-interest lobbyists. He and another senator were cosponsoring a bill that would curtail influence by capping the amount of gifts, services and political donations lobby-ists could make. It was an uphill battle, but it was successful so far.

Most lobbyists stayed far away from Senator Kingsley. Approaching him at a public function was risky, but one that Alyssa was willing to make for her cause.

"Alyssa Wingate, would you please stop that and calm down? You're a nervous wreck. You'll do fine. Just relax. You know all the material.You practiced a million times on the way over here, so chill," Nina said, then jumped when a passing waiter startled her by offering her an hors d'oeuvre from his tray. He stared at her strangely. "Thanks," she said breathlessly, then grabbed a miniature crab cake off the tray and dropped it into her mouth before the waiter could even offer her a napkin.

"Now, look. You've got me all jumpy and nervous."

Alyssa adjusted her bogus name tag again and continued to look around, knowing that she didn't belong there. These were the powerful political elite, senators, congressmen, business executives and corporate heads, community leaders. And then there was her, no status, no family name, no money and no nerve. "I need to leave. People are staring at me," she muttered to Nina.

Nina smiled warmly and turned away. "That's because you're acting as if you don't belong here."

"I don't belong here. We don't belong here."

"Shh… Just relax and smile as if this is the most natural thing in the world, a simple after-work reception on Capitol Hill. We do it all the time." She smiled and greeted another person.

"Hello, how are you this evening? Wonderful turnout, isn't it?"

"Maybe he's not coming tonight." Alyssa looked around.

"He's coming, just relax. I spent all afternoon on the phone finding out his itinerary for this evening. He's got three events scheduled tonight—a Senate meeting, a photo shoot for a magazine, this reception and one other reception later on. So if we don't get a chance to talk to him here, we can catch him at the next one."

"Brilliant," Alyssa said. "I like to think so."

"What if he skips both?"

"He won't."

"Hey, that's not three things, that's four things."

"Whatever, he's coming, so stop stressing, and if everything I hear about him is only half true, he's probably half-a-second ahead of schedule."

Alyssa squinted and continued to look around. "Stop that. Just put your glasses back on. I swear, you're gonna get frown lines squinting like that."

"No, I won't, and I can see fine far away. It's up close that things get a bit blurry."

"Honestly, if you don't want to wear your glasses, then why didn't you just wear your contact lenses like everybody else?"

"I was too nervous to put them in."

"You should have done it."

"And intentionally poke my finger in my eye, are you kidding? Why would I want to do that?"

"How about so that you could actually see and not squint, maybe?"

"No, I mean, do you know all the things that could go wrong?"

"Only for you,Alyssa. Knowing you, you'd probably try to put the lens in and cause a blizzard in the Brazilian rain forest."

"Ha-ha, not funny."

"Actually I was going for reality and not so much humor." Nina looked around again, smiling warmly. "You know, what we need is a drink in our hands. Everybody has a drink. We'll blend in with a drink. Wait here, I'll go get us a—"

"What, are you crazy? I'm not waiting here by myself, looking like a nut. No drinks. I don't drink anyway. Well, maybe a glass of champagne to celebrate the new year and maybe a small glass on my birthday. Oh, and I did have a glass when my grandmother celebrated her birthday and—"

"You're rambling again."

"Okay, you're right. No rambling, got it."

"Relax, I'll be right back."

"Nina, no, wait…" Alyssa said as her friend walked away, and several guests turned and glanced at her. "Hi, how are you? Good evening. Miserable weather outside, isn't it?" She plastered a fake smile on and nodded until they turned away.

"I'm going to jail," she muttered again.

"Excuse me?"

Alyssa froze in place, hoping that if she didn't move and didn't breathe, the person tapping her shoulder wouldn't notice her anymore. She was obviously wrong.

"Excuse me, aren't you—"

"No, sorry, not me. You have the wrong person," she said, turning away slightly and looking desperately for her friend.

"Funny, I could have sworn that you were ...

Product Details

  • File Size: 331 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Kimani Arabesque (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0014BRMQY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589,495 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Love Calls February 17, 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great title and it said it all "When Love Calls" you gotta answer and for Randolph and Alyssa they did. If you are a Mamma Lou fan then you are going to love this book. You will get to meet Randolph brother to Juliet who is married to JT.
Randolph life is good he has a job he love and family and friend but it is missing something and until he see and meet Alyssa that's when it hit it all at once. The sparks are there from the very beginning. Alyssa and her friend Nina crash a fund reception to meet the man himself Senator Randolph and boy to she meet him. Alyssa spill her drink on him and it is on from then on. Celeste put a little twist in the story. Can't give to much away, but this is a great book and you will enjoying catching up with Tony & Madison, Raymond & Hope, Dennis & Faith, and Kennedy & Juwan and JT & Juliet. Of course we get to meet Trey sister sound like another book for us. smile..................

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars :0l March 29, 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
i'm gonna be the odd one out and say it was ok for me i like the story line and how they meet but it was just an ok read. I'm glad the other readers raved about it but take a chance maybe you will rave about it too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read from start to finish. May 22, 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I absolutely loved this book. I was glad that Alyssa and Randolph finally realized that they belonged together. They made such a beautiful couple every time they were alone. I felt sorry for Allie Granger though. I was glad that the truth about Allie came out and she finally came to her senses to allow Alyssa to be happy. This is wonderful book with wonderful characters throughout. You'll love reading this book to find out what happens.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Love Calls.... U Better Answer March 19, 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Momma Lou is too much. I can't wait for her to catch Trey.

This is such a great romantic story. I fell in love with both characters. I love Randolph because he knew what he wanted and didn't give up. I loved Adia because of the love of her grandmother.

Adia has caught Randolph the Senator's eye and he is doing whatever it takes to spend time with his Adia. Adia, not sure what to do, just goes with the flow and find that love can be as sweet as the next berry.

The book is a great read and if you have followed the Momma Lou series, you get to find out about previous family members.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Romance! March 6, 2008
By Scottie
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mama Lou does it again in When Love Calls by Celeste Norfleet. As with all the books in this series, there's great chemistry between the male and female lead, an excellent story line and an awesome romance. I absolutely loved Randolph - he was a man after my own heart. If you haven't read any of the previous books - get with it. You'll be hooked like me!! Great job Celeste!

Roshuane in TX
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4.0 out of 5 stars Points for Knowing What You Want May 2, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Senator Kingsley we met briefly in the Juliet Bridges and J.T. Evans story (Irresistible You). He is Juliets' half brother and the Senator is hot! Everyone seemed to want a piece of him including Alyssa Wingate. But she didn't want him for ill means. She just wanted him to fund and push for more money to go to elder care.

So Alyssa's plan was simple. Meet the Senator, pitch the plan and then let the chips fall where they may. She wasn't really a lobbyist, she hadn't reached that spot yet. She just was passionate about the cause. Having quit being a nurse to be at the forefront of change Alyssa was inspiring. At this event, that she snuck into, all she had to do was get a moment of his time. She knew he detested lobbyists but once he heard her pitch she was going to change his mind. The plan goes awry when clumsy Alyssa bumps into a man spilling her drink on his tie. Before she realizes what she is doing she is trying to rub it with her napkin and talking rapidly. Looking up she realizes exactly who she had been groping none other than the Senator himself. Embarrassed and feeling like a failure Alyssa beats a hasty retreat. Intrigued the Senator follows.

Senator Kingsley throughout the book made it very clear what he wanted...more of Alyssa. He was interested in the forever and even went as far as seeking out Mama Lou to get some romance advice, underhandedly though. Colonel Wheeler proved to be a bevy of help. the only problem that had Alyssa having to keep him a secret...her aunt. Her aunt had a passionate affair with a senator years ago and he never left his wife like he said he would. Her disdain for all politicians is palatable...and she will work hard to make sure he knows he is not welcome...putting Alyssa in a tough spot. Choose family or a love that may last a lifetime?....was there a third option?
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5.0 out of 5 stars what a great story December 9, 2013
By Indy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a fantastic book. It had me laughing. Comparing Alyssa as a cross between Halle Berry and Lucille Ball was excellent. Alyssa and Randolph were an excellent couple and soul mates. I have enjoyed this series.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It was ok August 24, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
It was ok nothing to write home about. It started off really funny with Alyssa being this goofy girl. I was excited because I like romantic comedies. That was short lived because by the middle of the book she wasn't funny or entertaining. She just got on my nerves by listening to her Grandmother.
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More About the Author

National best-selling author of over twenty-five critically acclaimed multicultural romance and young adult novels, Celeste O. Norfleet was a late bloomer to writing. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she is a graduate of Moore College of Art & Design. An art director and graphic designer for many years, Celeste now devotes her time to writing and creating novels letting her artistic imagination flow through the computer keys. Her romance novels, realistic with a touch of humor, depict strong characters with unpredictable plots and exciting storylines. Her young adult novels delve into dramatic fiction, reflecting current issues facing African-American teens. Celeste currently writes for Harlequin's Kimani Press Arabesque, Kimani Romance and Kimani Press TRU (young adult) lines. Celeste has won several prestigious awards including RSJ 2011 Best Sequel, 2011 Best Hero and 2011 Best Heroine. She has been nominated numerous times for her romance and young adult novels including the 2010 and 2011 RSJ Author of the Year Award, 2009 RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, 2009 Urban-Reviews Best Romance Award and the 2009 YALSA "Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers" Award. Celeste currently enjoys a quiet life in Virginia with her family.

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