Piper G. Huguley is a nationally recognized historical romance writer. I am so blessed to have her on my blog. Her stories capture the essence of the time period while being written from a fresh and unique perspective. Welcome Piper!
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About the Book
1935. Champion Bates left poky old Winslow, Georgia when he was seventeen years old. He had promised to elope with his childhood sweetheart, but pressured by other influences, he took an earlier train leaving his Delie behind. The pain at leaving her behind has tormented him for the seven years he fought as a ham and egg boxer, trying to make himself worthy of her. He had no chance for the big time until now. He has a fight with a contender boxer--a white man. However, he has been told more fighting will possibly blind him.
Back in Winslow, Cordelia “Delie” Bledsoe is out of luck. A teacher in the local school, she has the care of several children who have been abandoned by their parents. She’s offered $200 to take the children out of Georgia. She wants to take them to her family in Pittsburgh to live on a family farm, but Champion Bates shows up, insistent on helping her. She does not want to trust her old love, but has little choice.
Champion wants to redeem himself with his former sweetheart and doesn’t expect much, but the hair and eyes of one of Delie’s young children tugs at his heart. In this story of sacrifice, Champ and Delie struggle to learn about love and both must grow A Champion’s Heart.
Only one Negro, a man, had gotten off of the bus. He faced the hotel, and the first sight that hit her eyes was his delicious looking backside. Delie fanned herself as she crossed the street. Maybe she did have an itch.
His fine backside was encased in some nice new clothes, a rarity these days on a Negro man. He wore some silky-looking cuffed-off black pants with some city slicker type shoes and his shoulders, Delie could see from the middle of the dusty street where she stood, were very broad. She doubted this man could walk through any doorframe straight on. “Lord, have mercy,” she whispered.
That was wrong of her. She should not have called on the Lord in vain, but when she saw those shoulders, she didn’t know what else to say. From the back of his head, covered in tight jet-black curls, she knew he was a Negro. Best to do the Christian thing and let him know what he should do to get a good meal. “Mister.” Delie approached the man. “They don’t serve our kind in there, you know? You can go to Mrs. Saunders over in Mill Town and she can feed you a good meal if you are hungry. She won’t charge much.”
Delie’s ankles were never very strong, but they went and collapsed on her when the man turned around. Champion Bates faced her, with glasses on. With glasses? Since when? Her heart thudded in her chest very hard. The gray fox head on her wrap nodded up and down like it was alive and well again.
Champion gripped her by her arms to prevent her from falling down. The electricity between them when he touched her was even stronger today than when he had left her behind seven years ago. How was that even possible? “Cordelia May Bledsoe.”
Her head swirled at his strong, sure masculine voice. When he left Winslow, Champ’s body was thin, short, and small, like a banty rooster. Out of that slight, strong body came an impossibly deep voice…then.
Now, hearing him say her name sent shivers up and down her spine. A man’s voice boomed out, not a boy’s. She held her breath as the understanding came. He had been a boy…then. And, she had been a girl. He had abandoned her because he was a child, not yet ready to take on a man’s responsibilities. Now, he was grown up. His shoulders were proof. And just what was under that jacket? Stop it, Cordelia May. Lord, have mercy. With great effort, she pulled her arms away from his searing touch. “What?”
“You know I can eat at my mama’s house if I’m hungry.”
“Of course. I just didn’t know…”
His slow smile was the same. The smile crept across his tan features at a slow snail’s pace. “You didn’t know who I was, did you?”
“I don’t identify people from behind.” Delie snapped with some of that temper Em had warned her about. Em would not begrudge her now…maybe. Especially since she wanted to die remembering how she just now thought about his backside.
“Well,” Champion’s gaze up and down her gray swathed body was just as slow and appraising as his grin had been, even through the strange glasses. “If I had seen you from behind, I would have known you, Delie May.” His brown eyes took in every single part of her, from her gray fox wrap to her hips down to her slicked up Vaseline legs and scuffed gray Mary Jane heels with the razor blades she was sure was stuck inside of them.
About the Author
Piper G Huguley, named 2015 Debut Author of the Year by Romance Slam Jam and Breakout Author of the Year by AAMBC, is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist. and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters, published by Samhain Publishing. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015 and received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine.
Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. On release, the prequel novella to the “Home to Milford College” series, The Lawyer’s Luck, reached #1 Amazon Bestseller status on the African American Christian Fiction charts. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.
Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.
She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.