Free to Love You by A.S. Wilson

Anthony “Roc” Carmichael is a free man. Having served over a decade in prison for crimes he didn’t commit, he is released from prison

filled with a fierce determination to get his life back on track. But when he encounters difficulty finding his footing, his world starts to fall apart.Leah Brighton loves her job as a Transition Specialist, assisting newly released individuals in transitioning back into society. But she faces an unexpected challenge when Roc bounds into her life. With her bright outfits and endless stream of cake pops and lattes, no one would know that she hides a tragic past. She’s determined to feel safe in a world that’s anything but.When their worlds collide, they are helpless to fight the fire raging between them. But obstacles soon arise that threaten to overwhelm them. Will Roc and Leah fall prey to the forces that oppress them or will they find the freedom to love?

Read an Excerpt:

How did we end up here? My eyes rolled across the blanket of stars overhead as my mind replayed the events of the last half an hour. After Leah and I left the building, I walked with her over to her car, just like always. She told me to get in, just as she had before—but that’s when things changed.

She took off, with low strains of Chaka Khan pelting through the speakers. And when she reached the edge of the parking lot, she looked over at me with the most dazzling sparkle in her eyes and challenged me to let her take me wherever she chose. Was I game? Hell yeah. I was down for anything that allowed me more time in her presence. She’d worked her way into my system, and I had zero interest in flushing her out. My existence was undoubtedly better with her in it.

So she drove, and I watched as the tree trunks glided by, faded by the darkness of night. Every time I looked over at her, I was mesmerized by the play of light across her skin. It seemed to pick up the tawny tones that underlay her complexion. It danced across the curve of her lips, accentuating the dip at the crease. It caressed the softness of her hair just as I wished to touch her there and everywhere.

But I didn’t.

Not yet.

I didn’t want her to think I was just some dude who’d just got out of prison and was looking for a good time. I wasn’t interested in anything quick or light with her. I could sense the depths of this woman, and I knew that I could go someplace deep with her. I just needed to take my time.

“You’re quiet,” she remarked abruptly.

“Yeah, I’m just thinking.”

“Whatcha thinking about?”


She turned to look at me, her eyebrows raised slightly. “What about me?” she asked.

I shook my head. “You can’t handle it.”

“What?” she balked.

“You can’t handle it—not yet. I’ll tell you when you’re ready to hear it.”

“Now, how are you supposed to tell me what I’m ready for?”

“I won’t. You’ll tell me.”

Her face contorted in confusion. “I think I’m lost.”

“Just don’t worry about it, baby. Worry about where you’re taking me—which is?”

“You’ll see,” she said, cagey as she wanted to be, and that was okay with me.

We passed through an intersection, and she began to slow. When she rolled into a parking lot, I noticed a sign. It was a park. My baby was smart as hell, but I knew she hadn’t figured out a way to stuff a picnic basket in that little bag of hers. What exactly did she have planned?

“C’mon,” she prompted me as she hopped out of the car. I followed, and we began to walk through the half-empty parking lot. I was surprised to see any cars, at all, in the parking lot of a park so late at night. It seemed to me there was nothing to do at a park in the dark but score drugs or get into some freaky shit. I raised an eyebrow at Leah. Perhaps I’d underestimated her.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” she asked, her gaze lifted to the sky.

I looked up and immediately noticed that the stars appeared more vivid and clear than they had from any other point. Although several clusters of trees surrounded the park, way off in the distance, the grassy patch where we stood gave us an unobstructed view of the sky.

“Let’s get comfortable,” I heard Leah say. When I looked over at her, she was lowering herself to the ground.

“Hey, wait!” I said, reaching around her waist to pull her back up. She said nothing but stared at me as I began to unbutton my shirt. When I reached the bottom button, I shrugged the shirt off and laid it down on the ground directly behind her. “There you go,” I said.

“Aren’t you gonna be cold?” she asked.

“I’m fine.”

I looked down at her and watched as her eyes trailed hotly from my lips, down my neck, and to my bare chest. She parted her lips as if to speak, but then she shook her head and ran her hands through her hair. “Thank you. That’s what I wanted to say. Thank you,” she uttered.

“No problem.”

She laid down on my shirt, folding her legs up, and I settled down on my back beside her. The grass was cool and crisp beneath my back, but I didn’t mind. If anything, I enjoyed having nature all around me. The air felt like freedom, and my pores were soaking it in. For the first time since I’d gotten out, I wasn’t thinking about the future. All I cared about was what I could touch and feel in that moment. Everything else dissolved.


From a young age, A.S. Wilson has been enthralled with the power that words have to shape identities, birth thoughts, and transform lives. Seeking to harness her own power with words, A.S. Wilson pursued a degree in English and became active in numerous literary organizations. Prior to her graduation from the university, she published poetry in a student-run, multicultural literary journal and assisted in editing an on-campus magazine. A.S. Wilson went on to obtain an advanced degree, but her passion for writing never waned. In 2019, she self-published her first novella, A Powerful Love, weaving paranormal elements into a tale of black romance. In early 2020, she tackled the issue of addiction in her novella Keeper. She currently resides in Georgia, where she continues to pen heart-wrenching stories of passion and love. 

Get to know A.S.:

(1) When did you start writing, and how did you become a published author?

I began writing at a young age. For many years, I mainly wrote poetry. One night I had a dream, and I woke up and jotted down everything I could remember of it. It eventually evolved into a novel. That novel and the one that I wrote after that are still sitting on my hard drive (unpublished)! In 2019, I self-published my first book, and then I signed to B. Love Publications in 2020.

(2) Why do you write black romance?

I was an avid reader of black romance for many years, before I started writing it. I was hungry for words and images depicting the beauty that I saw in black men and women and in the love that they can find in each other. I simply write what I love.

(3) What kind of topics do you deal with in your contemporary romance books?

I’ve covered domestic violence, wrongful imprisonment, grief and loss, and new beginnings after tragedy. I’m excited to keep adding to this list!

(4) Who is your favorite author?

Toni Morrison is my favorite author of all time. In the contemporary romance genre, Christina C. Jones is my fave!

(5) Are there any items that you must have when you sit down to write?

I love to handle a candle or some incense lit when I sit down to write. If I plan to write for a while, I’ll definitely gather some snacks. When writing sensual scenes, I might have a glass of wine!

(6) Which of your books would you suggest to someone who has never read an A.S. Wilson book?

Guard My Heart has been a favorite of my readers. For those who prefer a full-length novel, though, I’d recommend Forever With You or Free to Love You.

(7) What makes you and your writing unique?

My tagline is “crafting healing stories of pure love.” There’s a particular type of black love that I’m preoccupied with, and that’s the kind that promotes healing in both individuals. This is my guiding principle and something that I believe readers can count on when they pick up one of my books.

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