Zarayah Mello knows the love she dreams of is doomed from the start…
But the heart wants what the heart wants.
Thirteen-year-old Zarayah Mello knew she loved fellow karate class student Zaire from the moment she laid eyes on him. She also knew that her parents, siblings, and even her beliefs would never accept her love for him.
But after she turns fifteen, they cross paths more and more and form a friendship, her improper love for him only grows.
Torn apart by life and circumstance, she’s brokenhearted. Until she turns eighteen and he comes back into her life, sweeps her off her feet, and makes secret plans to propose to her on graduation day. But Zarayah doesn’t know that Zaire is hiding a secret from her—the kind of secret that rips solid marriages apart, never mind their budding love. Besides, will anyone forgive her for falling for her older brothers’ friend? And will she still love him when she learns the truth he’s been hiding from her?
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Aria Emend writes romance that’s close to her heart—diverse, culturally rich love stories. She’s always had a passion for reading romance, and writing one was a dream come true. As an avid reader, she’s devoured many, many books, but noticed a distinct lack of cultural diversity in mainstream romance novels. She hopes that there are plenty of readers who’d love to see a fresh, new kind of romance blossom on the page. Her stories are designed to resonate with readers, help them challenge their thoughts on love, and encourage them to open their minds to new ideas and concepts.
Born in the Cape Verde Islands, Aria traveled to the US at age eight. Though she currently resides in Massachusetts—and has for the last forty-two years—she adores her Cape Verdean roots and cherishes her rich, traditional family values. As a wife, mother, and grandmother, she’s passed those values on to the next generation and continues to teach that love conquers all. After all, love is diverse and beautiful, and our literature should be too.