Book 1 of the Once Series
Her first and also her Once.
Jonathan is studying to become a priest. He is three days from taking vows. He will not be a priest.
Rebecca’s major is pre-law. She is supposed to take over her father’s law firm. She will not be lawyer.
Their paths cross at exactly the right moment, when each most needs to hear what the other has to say. Jonathan’s structured life is turned sideways, but Rebecca also helps him learn how to forgive himself. It was self-defense, not murder.
Rebecca finds the strength to stand up to her father, to be the real her. If Jonathan likes her writing, it must be worth pursuing.
They must each struggle to forge a new path without each other’s comfort and strength, with only memories of the one day that changed everything.
Royal Palm Literary Awards: Winner second place in the 2010 Royal Palm Literary Awards, a statewide competition through the Florida Writers Association.
Book 2 of the Once Series (novella)
On her deathbed, Aiden’s mother asks him to find his father, who had left them and disappeared thirteen years ago, shortly after Aiden’s brother died. While searching the roughest area of Baltimore, Aiden meets Maylynn. After eight years of seminary and one year of priesthood, Aiden had thought he was capable of seeing beautiful women in only a platonic way. But Maylynn proves to be too difficult.
Seven years later, Maylynn shows up on Father Aiden’s doorstep for a premarital counseling session with her fiancé. Aiden soon realizes something is wrong, more than just his constant struggle against his attraction—Maylynn and her fiancé, Davis, are hiding something from him.
What readers have said (book 1)…
“So, yesterday I was sitting at my kiosk [at the VA], working on Once, and I got to the part where [spoiler deleted] and I don’t know why after everything else that’s happened, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t quite burst into tears, but I couldn’t breathe. And I’m sitting there gasping for air when a veteran comes up and needs my help. So, I’m like, ‘Oh…gasp…sure…gasp.’ Waving at the VA’s computer, turning red partly from lack of oxygen, partly from embarrassment, gasping like a beached fish, pointing at my computer and gasping out, ‘Really…gasp…good…gasp…book.'”
~Rochelle Weber, professional writer and editor
“What a taste of complete excellentness! I’m blown away… Your writing is incredible…flawless.”
~Diane Loftis, reader
“I absolutely LOVED it! It is a mix of genres of romance, suspense, and some humor. … This book did not have any “slow starts” or “slow parts”. My attention was kept from beginning to end. I had to force myself to stop reading at times (and reading is not on top of my favorite hobbies list). I loved everything about the book! The author did such a great job tying the characters together and making the reader feel like the actual character. I had mixed emotions of feeling happy, sad, frustrated, smitten, and excited while reading.
“I highly recommend this book to everyone. Even if you are not into the romance genre, the suspense will keep you wanting to read more.
~Kimberly K., Amazon Reviewer
What Readers have said (book 2)…
“The story moves along quickly and can easily be read in one or two sittings. (which I did). I enjoyed this book very much and can highly recommend it. It’s a romance yet has much more value than a simple romance. M. S. Kaye’s characters have depth, strength and honor.”
~MA, Amazon Reviewer
What readers have said (Book 3)…
“It is very rare that I finish a book and immediately want to reread it. I loved this book that much.”
Excerpt – Book 1
“What’s the answer?”
He paused. “A switchblade.”
With my fingertips, I reached out and traced the scar across his cheek. “Did you win?”
He removed my hand and closed his eyes. “Yes.”
I slid his Book back to him. “This says we can find forgiveness.”
His eyes still closed, his jaw clenched. He bowed his head. “It also says ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”
I took his hand in both of mine, petted his rough skin, and then brought it to my lips. He had a talent for guiding invisibly, but I didn’t know how to do that.
He watched me again. His eyes were intense, like the black of the night sky, and his forehead was furrowed, as if his emotions were scattered, as if he was shocked at my reaction, as if he had been sure his answer would drive me away. But I knew him. Already, I knew him.
“You’re still a good person,” I said.
His jaw clenched. “I’ve been trying to believe that.”
“I have faith in you.”
He continued to watch me. His forehead never smoothed, as if he was fighting for strength, but his eyes softened. He slid around the booth, closer to me.
I didn’t move, not sure what to do, what was right, what he wanted.
He leaned closer.
I only watched him.
He touched his lips to my cheek, the faintest pressure. I struggled to sit still, to keep my hands in my lap, not to grab hold of him. And then his lips were gone, such brief contact that I couldn’t be sure if he had actually kissed my cheek or if I wanted his contact so much that I’d imagined it.
He spoke in my ear. “You must be some kind of final test.”
My heart pounded into my ribs, against the point of the blade. “Are you going to pass?”
His lips brushed against my jaw. “I don’t know.”
He trailed to my neck, his mouth softly pressing. My hand curled into his hair, the other on his shoulder, holding, clutching. His mouth found mine, barely touching. His warmth invaded my head.
“God give me strength,” he murmured.
The door slid open, and the compartment filled with laughter.
He closed his eyes. Then he slid away from me.
Excerpt – Book 2
“You’re studying to be a priest?”
He made himself meet her eyes. “I am a priest.”
She let go of his hand and stepped back.
Her smiled was tight. “I’m glad you found your path.”
He couldn’t quite read her expression. The distance between them felt like a gorge chiseled into the earth.
“Are you all right, Maylynn?” he asked.
“I’m really happy for you.” Then she added, “Father Aiden.”
For some reason, her words stabbed him in the gut. He usually liked when people used his title—it seemed to imply a certain amount of trust.
“I’m sorry, Maylynn.” He wasn’t entirely sure why he was apologizing. He just didn’t like to see her uncomfortable.
“I’m happy for you,” she repeated.
Then he realized what the problem was. He hadn’t anticipated this.
He moved closer. “I’m so sorry.”
Her forced smile finally dropped. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“It didn’t occur to me…”
“That I might be attracted to you?”
“Why aren’t you wearing your collar?” Anger prickled the edge of her voice.
“My mother’s last wish was that I find my father. I’ve been following her notes. She was convinced he was somewhere in this area.”
“Wait… Your mother’s name was Adalina?”
He nodded. With the number of times the shelter was mentioned in the notes, he figured his mother and Maylynn had met.
Anger flashed in her eyes. “You still should’ve told me.”
“Why’d you play with me like that?”
“I swear that wasn’t my intent.”
“You knew damn well what was going on. Was it a game—see if you still had it? If you could still get the chicks?”
Under the anger in her eyes, he saw the hurt. He swore he could feel it exactly, as if it was his own.
He shifted even closer, just in front of her. “I’m sorry,” he said again. His voice lowered, quieted. “I didn’t see what you were feeling because I was fighting so hard myself. I still am.”
“What I felt the first time I saw you, what I’m still feeling.”
She waited, glaring at him.
“I’m attracted to you,” he said. “Intensely.”
Excerpt – Book 3
“You know what he did to git sent to prison?” one of the convenience store clerks murmured to the other.
Trace could just hear them over the horrible rendition of “Jingle Bells” playin’ through the speakers. He ignored them, like he always did. He tried to come into town late in the evening to avoid people as much as possible, but that also meant it was quiet enough that he could often hear what people murmured about him. Once he’d grabbed some protein bars and a can of beer, he headed up to the counter to pay.
The clerk with a buzz-cut told him the total, and Trace handed him some cash.
Neither of the clerks made eye contact with him, but they both hovered over the cash register as if he might snatch it and run.
Buzz-cut closed the cash drawer right quick and handed Trace’s change back.
“Thank you.” Trace stuffed the change in his pocket, took the bag of protein bars in one hand and his beer in the other, and walked out of the store.
He headed for the back lot toward the alley. He could get through most of downtown by way of the alley. This late at night it was almost too dark to see where he was goin’, but that was part of what he liked about it.
“Bitch,” someone growled. And then the sound of something—or someone—smacking into the brick wall of the back of the convenience store.
Trace moved more quickly and turned the corner, and he caught sight of a skinny, young woman punching a man in the face. His head snapped back. But then another man slammed his fist across her jaw. She looked so frail that the punch seemed like shooting a cannon ball at a piece of notebook paper.
“Hey!” Trace roared and ran at them. “Git away from her.”