Clennell Anthony

Clennell Anthony
Clennell Anthony was introduced to romance and its subgenres when she was given a book as a teenager. Shining Through by Susan Issacs was her first adult novel. From that moment on, she was an avid reader of romance and all its genres. Now, she enjoys telling tales of romance, suspense, and a bit of mysticism thrown in for spice. Her tells can be enchanting, somewhat chilling, but always filled with passion, desire, and love.

Clennell has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She more recently achieved a Masters of Science in mental health counseling from Capella University. Clennell lives in Florida with her family. When she is not writing, she is reading a good book, spending time with her family, and plotting new ideas to intrigue and entice her readers. She has a short eBook entitled, The Circle, and is currently working on the second installment of her Circle trilogy.
Award Category Finalist
Award Submission Title
Clennell Anthony
A woman with a visual impairment leaves her abusive fiancé and finds herself falling in love with a soldier struggling with PTSD. She nearly dies in the attempt to rescue her new love interest from her obsessive and dangerous ex- fiancé.
My Submission

Samira stood staring at her face in the mirror. It was the first time Jaydon had hit her. She hadn’t seen the closed fist coming. Blam, right in the cheekbone and she was down.
It was weird how things could change in an instant. She was tired, sick at heart, and scared out of her mind. All her training and well-worn courage gained over the years was thrown out of the window with a fist to the face. She felt ashamed and sick to her stomach. She looked at the blooming bruise on her cheekbone that was soon to be a shiner and promised, never again.
After hitting her so hard that she saw stars and fell to the floor in a near defenseless heap, he’d kicked her for good measure. What started it? What was the argument about? She tried to remember, as she listened to him slam out of the apartment. She lay there in an ignominious heap and wept for herself. It had taken her all of five minutes to decide that his first time hitting her would be his last.
She grabbed the suitcase from the closet and began methodically packing her clothes. She took the hanging bag out next and hung her nice dresses, slacks, and shirts. While packing, she called the police. She didn’t know when he’d be home, but she wasn’t going to be there alone when he got back. As far as she was concerned, the relationship was over. She wasn’t sticking around to be bullied.
“A man who harms me doesn’t love me,” she muttered, thinking she had experienced enough abuse over the years when she was passed from foster family to foster family to group home.
She went to the bathroom to retrieve her toiletries when the reflection of her face caught her attention. She stared transfixed by bruises she hadn’t seen on her face in years. She was smarter than this, she thought, as she started back into motion and the doorbell rang. No one called to let her know that someone was coming to the door, but she figured it was the police, but ever cautious, she asked who it was through the call box. The police officers gave their names and badge numbers.
“We got a call stating that someone was beaten,” the female officer stated when Samira opened the door to let them in.
“Yes,” she muttered, feeling foolish and ashamed all over again. She tried to martial her emotions, but she hadn’t tried to hide the marks on her face. There would be a time for that later.
She realized that the police officers were cautious. They hadn’t had the doorman call up because they didn’t want anyone to know they were there.
“He’s gone,” she said, softly.
The female officer stared at Samira's face with virtually the same expression Samira had, and Samira nearly smiled at the woman, but her lip was swollen and tender, so she nodded to acknowledge the officer's expression of sympathy and horror.
“I’m sorry but can y’all stay ‘till I get my things together. I don’t know when he’ll be back, but I don’t want to take the chance of being here alone if he gets back before I can leave.”
“Yes, ma’am,” the male cop answered.
“Ma’am,” Stricklin, the female officer, asked, “Do you want to press charges?”
“Yes,” Samira answered simply, as she continued to gather her belongings.
“Can you tell us what happened here?” asked Thomson, the male officer,
She told them the events of that afternoon while she continued the almost frenzied motions of folding clothes and placing them in suitcases and whatever bags she could find. Her hands shook. Tears ran unheeded from her eyes, and she was nearly hysterical in her haste.
“Ma’am,” Stricklin said, her voice calm with an undertone of pity, Samira didn’t want to hear.
“Hum?” she answered as she placed shoes in yet another bag. The cops were now following her around the apartment as she gathered all her devices and packed them in their cases to place them in more bags and cases.
“Is there somewhere you can go for the night?”
That sopped her mid-step. She stared at Officer Striklin as if the officer was the one who had struck her. Samira abruptly loss all the strength in her legs. She had given up her apartment months ago. She hadn’t talked to her best friends in months thanks to Jaydon. What was she going to do? Who could she call? She definitely didn’t want to call her parents. Her legs buckled on her at the prospect. She’d call the devil himself before calling her parents. If they saw her face like this…, she cut the thought off and tried to focus. She could call Avary and Will any time. She just had to find the courage to do it. Avary had warned her about Jaydon. Avary had tried to tell her what Jaydon was before their relationship started. Now, she had to call Avary and admit that she was wrong and ask for Avary’s help. She wanted to shake her head at the cop. She wanted to lie and say she had to stay in a shelter. She didn’t want anyone seeing her like this, but she needed help. She heard the clock in the living room chime the time. It was nearly six o’clock in the evening. She didn’t know where she would store her things. She sat on the floor of the living room she once thought was so elegant, but had over time become a kind of luxurious prison, and pulled her iPhone from her pocket. It was too late to turn back time. If Will and Avary wouldn’t help her, she’d go to a shelter, she thought, as she dialed the first number and listened to it ring.
When Jaydon Taylor arrived home, he found his fiancée, Samira Mathers, her clothes, and her belongings gone.
“She didn’t even leave a note, the bitch,” he grumbled, as he searched the rooms. Who had she gotten to come get her and all her crap, he wondered? Samira couldn’t drive. Hell, she was helpless without him. He searched the entire apartment for a note or something, saying where she went, but he found nothing. All her stuff was gone: TVs, all her talking gadgets, all her visual aids, everything that she thought of as hers. He tried to think of a way to get her back, to make her have to come back to him. He looked around the condo. She hadn’t taken a single thing of his, not even the things he bought her in the last year and a half that they lived together. The only thing he found that was not only a slap in the face, but was as good as a Dear John note, was her engagement ring. All over a little slap.
Damn, he hadn’t meant to do it. It just happened so fast that he hadn’t even realized that he’d reached out and tapped her. He couldn’t remember the whole sequence of events. Had he slapped her? What had truly happened? It didn’t matter because she wasn’t leaving him. He loved her. She was his. She would learn who she belonged to if he had to beat it into her. She wasn’t strong enough to resist him. He’d put on the charm.
I’ll tell her how sorry I am, he planned. I really didn’t mean to do it. Samira was just so serene. That face, that lovely face, in repose, always in repose. She never said an unkind thing to anybody, but he was somehow always wrong, he was always the one in the wrong. She never said it, never. He wondered who she would tell. He wondered if she had been going behind his back with some bastard, telling him about their relationship. Maybe that was why she had made a big deal about going out with that slut of a friend of hers. Well, he’d shown her, hadn’t he? Now, she was gone. What man had she called to help her move out of their home because it was their home, and soon she’d be back in it. She was going to find out that when she belonged to Jaydon Taylor she would stay put.
He was tired of that, oh, so, serene face. Her eyes always told a different story. They always blamed. They always looked so damn sad. What had happened to the woman he’d known? What had happened to her smile?
He looked down at his knuckles and stared. He saw the swelling in them and realized that he hadn’t slapped her. He had punched her.
So, what, that didn’t matter, he thought, waving his hand as if swiping the pesky incident away. She was going to take him back no matter what. Nobody could love her like me, and nobody leaves me, Jaydon Taylor, he thought, as he started to martial his strategy.
“Baby, I know you, and you’ll be back. No one else will want you and you know it, so you’ll be back,” he said silkily into the emptiness of their condo. That’s right it was their condo: not his, but theirs. She’d be back if he had to drag her, kicking and screaming. She thinks that little love tap was bad, wait until she saw what he could do to her life if she didn’t take him back.
The doorbell rang, and he answered it, not looking through the peep hole or using the speaker, thinking it was her. But it was the cops. He saw red, as they read him his Maranda rights and handcuffed him. She’ll pay, he promised silently. Oh, she’ll pay.
Chapter One

Samira sat on a bench in the Wal-Mart customer service section, waiting for someone to come help her shop. She was capable of shopping on her own, but it would take her hours to go up and down every isle in the store looking for the items on her list, and she just didn’t have the time or patience to try finding things herself. Her visual impairment wasn’t a hardship for her until she needed help. She loathed asking for help. She could do nearly everything by herself, but shopping in a timely manner and driving just weren’t two of those things. So, she was philosophical about it. She sucked it up and ask for help. She knew that most people didn’t really know how to deal with blind people. She wasn’t exactly blind, but the cane she used often made people do one of two things: they were either too helpful or ran in the other direction. She hated putting people in the position of being uncomfortable, but today, she was just too damn tired to walk around Wal-Mart trying to find everything when she couldn’t see the little signs at the top of the rows of items. She wanted to give someone her list and just get the hell out of the store.
Her best friend, Avary, kept telling her to sign up for the online Wal-Mart shopping thing. Again, she just didn’t feel up to it. Another reason to hate shopping at Wal-Mart, she thought, as she dug her iPad out of her bag and logged into the Silver Gym system to enter her notes for her patients that day.
She had both clients and patients. She smiled thinking of the elderly woman she was working with who had a heart condition, diabetes, depression, and a host of other health problems. Deborah Billings was a patient, but it was hard to keep a professional distance when she enjoyed the woman so much. Deborah was ornery with a sarcastic wit that kept Samira in stitches. She often had more fun than Deborah did, but that was the nature of the beast. She logged into work on her notes while she waited and listened to the snippets of gossip the customer service reps weren’t quite trying to hide from her. She wondered why people saw her cane and automatically equated it with deafness. She’d never met a deaf person who walked with a cane, but people either shouted at her as if she couldn’t hear them or decided she couldn’t hear them talking when she was right in front of them, so she didn’t think of listening to their conversations as eavesdropping.
“Did Sara say she was sending Sy up here?” the pretty brunette asked the blonde.
“So?” the girl called April said with a shrug in her tone.
“Sy, hates being touched.”
Hum, she didn’t much like being touched either, Samira thought, as she continued to listen.
“He’ll be all right; it ain’t like she can help having to touch him.”
“She, isn’t totally blind,” Samira commented under her breath.
“Well, he’s a sweet guy,” April said, “I’m sure he’ll get over it. She doesn’t seem like the type to cling.”
“He’s helping her shop, not asking her on a date,” the other girl snapped.
“Well, I’d hope not,” Samira muttered, still working diligently on her notes from her day’s work. At least she could get this done while she waited. Hadn’t they called him yet, she wondered, as a deep voice came from her left.
“Are you Sam?” a smooth baritone voice, asked.
Samira looked up and nearly swallowed her tongue. He was gorgeous even with the curly punk rocker hair that was uneven and shot out in all directions and scruffy thing he had going on with his cheeks, jaw, and chin. The man was beautiful, she thought, as she packed away her iPad and grabbed her gym bag, briefcase, and purse.
He stared at her out of those almond shaped moss green eyes, as if he’d never seen a woman before. His eyes, she noted, were surrounded by long, thick, black lashes any woman would fight for. He looked like some kind of hero on the cover of a romance novel, she thought, as she settled her things on her shoulder.

Chapter Two

“Sye, they need you at customer service. There’s a blind customer who needs help shopping,” Sara’s voice came, tinny, through the walky-talky.
She hates me; I know it, he thought, as he took the radio off his belt. “What’s the customer's name,” he asked.
“Roger that,” he replied, feeling his stomach roll.
He was hired to stock shelves and unload incoming trucks, not to deal with customers. He didn’t really like being around people much anymore. He didn’t like being touched, and Sara knew it, too. So, why the hell was she sending him to deal with some blind guy that was going to have to hold his elbow or shoulder to get around the store? He wanted to tell her to ask somebody else, but he thought about it as he headed toward the front of the store. What had the VA shrink said, he wondered, trying to remember her exact words. He thought it was something like the more he interacted with people, the better he’d get. A shrink going to see a shrink, he thought, grinning to himself, as he accepted his fate for the next hour or so. Sye wondered if the guy was smart enough to have a list or if they were going to play it by ear. The last blind guy he helped around the store clung to his arm so hard that he had a couple of bruises and indentations of nails in his skin afterwards. His mistake, Sye thought now, was admitting to Sara that he had a problem with being touched and asked her to assign blind people to someone else. Had that stopped her from requesting he help customers who had to touch him? No, it just made her call him nearly every time they had a blind person come in. He wondered if she did it to see if he’d flip out and have an episode in the store. He had one before in the back when a load of boxes fell off the back of one of the trucks. He had dropped to the floor and dragged another stock boy with him screaming, “Get down!” at the top of his lungs and pulling himself and the terrified stock boy away to find cover. Yep, that had been one of the best days of his life. He looked down at his hands, trying to gauge their steadiness and breathed deeply like the shrink taught him. Hell, he was going to school to be a combat counselor, but he couldn’t help some guy around the store without worrying about the way it felt to be touched by him. This was going to suck, he thought with the shake of his head.
When Sye stepped up to the customer service center section, he only saw one person waiting. It was a woman. A beautiful woman. Her eyes were looking down at the screen of the biggest iPad he had ever seen. Her fingers were clicking away at tiny keys as she muttered to herself, and her glossy black hair was up in a braided bon thing. Her shoulders were delicate, her breasts full, and the rest of her he could see was shapely. He caught the last words of one of the reps.
“– not asking her on a date.”
“Well, I’d hope not,” she said under her breath.
He looked up at the rep and back at the woman sitting with her fingers flying across the keys and gave a slight smile. The customer appeared completely focused on her work but was answering the rep’s comment. He shook his head in wonder at her ability to do that and decided to approach her.


B_Castle Sun, 30/08/2020 - 03:57

Nice writing! Polished and engaging. You're real competition. I hope you do well in this contest, your writing indicates you deserve to!

Good luck!

Mary D Mon, 31/08/2020 - 12:54

Great writing! Congratulations on your success Clennell -:)