Troublemaker by Trice Hickman
Unexpected Love Series

Every joy has its challenges. . .

After twenty years, childhood best friends Alexandria Thornton and PJ Brightwood have reunited--and fallen in love. Alex's artistic nature as a spoken word artist, and PJ's success as a talented surgeon promise a bright future. But their happiness brings unexpected complications for those they care about most. . .

A devoted wife, loving mother, and successful businesswoman, Victoria Thornton is a pillar of her suburban Atlanta community. But when her daughter, Alexandria, becomes engaged to the son of Victoria's former lover, her past mistake threatens her orderly life. As the impending marriage reunites both families, it reignites old feelings that test all of their relationships--and all of their boundaries. . .



Alexandria smiled as she stretched her long, shapely legs across PJ's buttery-soft leather sofa. "Now that I've finished cooking, it's time to relax" she said aloud. She ran her fingers through the mass of thick curls atop her head and let out a deep breath of relief, glad she was finally able to relax after her long day. She'd been busy from the moment she'd stepped out the door this morning with a coffee mug in one hand and a toasted bagel in the other. Her life had been more hectic in the last year than she could ever remember. So much was changing so fast, but with that change she felt the hope and excitement of new possibilities that lay ahead.

She breathed a sigh of relief when she thought about the fact that this Friday would be her last day of work at a job she'd dreaded since the day she'd started. She was an attorney, on the fast track, employed with the prestigious downtown Atlanta law firm of Johnson, Taylor, and Associates. Alexandria had worked there since she'd interned with them while still in law school. Now, six years later, she was ready to step out of what she'd been academically trained to do, and take hold of the direction in which her heart had always led her, which was to pursue her passion as a writer and spoken-word artist.

Alexandria thought about her promising future as she lay on her back and flipped through one of her many bridal magazines. Even though her wedding day was just one month away, and all the major details had been planned to a tee, she still couldn't resist looking at pictures of happy couples, replete with bountiful flowers and their wedding parties in tow, all overflowing with nuptial bliss.

Alexandria smiled every time she thought about how happy she was and how much her life had significantly changed since this time last year. It seemed as though it were just yesterday that she'd broken up with her old boyfriend, Peter, and in less than twenty-four hours, fate, along with her grandma Allene's sage advice, had led her down a completely different path to peace, understanding, and true love. Now she was engaged to PJ, her childhood best friend who'd walked into her life and changed her world.

She could still remember her grandma Allene's words. Speak what's in your heart. Say what it is that you desire, and watch it walk into your life.

Alexandria had heeded those words and still lived by them today. She knew that speaking what she wanted, and then trusting and believing with indomitable faith that her desires would be met in abundance, was the reason PJ was in her life. As she looked at the beautiful gowns of silk and tulle, she raised her hand in the air, as if in praise, and gave thanks for her blessings. "Amen," she said quietly.

She was thankful for this joyous time in her life, and she planned to savor every moment because she was all too aware of the trouble that was lying in wait on the other side. Gritty realities and unpleasant truths were about to surface, not just in her life, but in the lives of family and friends whom she loved. She knew the road ahead was paved with detours, rough patches, and a few hazard signs. But she also knew she'd get through them thanks to her faith, her grandma Allene, and the amazing gift of prophecy she now embraced.

"Thank you, Grandma Allene," Alexandria whispered. "I love you for showing me the way."

As soon as her words floated into the air, Alexandria knew that her grandma Allene's spirit had entered the room. Whenever she felt a warm breeze, a gentle, unexplainable tug at her arm, or smelled the unmistakably sweet scent of magnolias—which had just wafted by her nose—she knew it was her great-great-grandmother communicating with her.

Alexandria inhaled the fragrant, uniquely Southern scent that always made her feel safe and at ease. That sense of comfort and security was very different from the turmoil and strife she'd experienced in the past whenever she thought about her gift.

Communicating with spirits and having premonitions were abilities that had burdened Alexandria since she was five years old. She'd always felt different and out of place, constantly trying to navigate where she stood in a world filled with uncertainty. Her lack of grounding and understanding of her gift had made her afraid of the supernatural powers she possessed. But all that had changed last summer when Allene had contacted her for the first time.

Initially, Alexandria had been leery, and she hadn't want any part of the mysteriously frightening world that had been haunting her since she was five years old. Many times she could remember waking up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat and covered with fear, terrified of the voices that belonged to spirits from another world that she couldn't see or touch.

She also recognized that the ability to know what was going to happen in a given situation before it took place wasn't always a good thing, and it had quickly become a heavy weight on her shoulders. She'd worried about things that kids her age didn't have to deal with. She'd witnessed accidents, death, and destruction, and it had made her fearful of doing something as normal as dreaming at night because of what she might see. She'd often stood helpless with her knowledge, not knowing what to do or in whom to confide, so she'd learned how to ignore her gift and block out visions whenever they threatened her peace of mind.

But once her grandma Allene had come into her life and shown her the beauty of her gift, along with the strength and infinite possibilities it held, a new world had opened up to her for the first time.

She'd been hoping that her grandma Allene would soon make contact with her again. She missed hearing the old woman's comforting voice and the soothing, down-home Southern accent it carried. Allene hadn't communicated with her in nearly three months, which had initially alarmed Alexandria. But then she remembered Allene's promise—that she'd always be there to guide and protect her. Alexandria knew she'd have to wait patiently and trust in Allene's words, which were solid and rooted in love.

The one thing that Alexandria longed for more than anything was to talk with Allene face-to-face, instead of speaking in whispered tones through visions that always seemed to end much too quickly. During one of their talks, Alexandria had asked Allene to appear to her in the flesh.

"Grandma Allene, I want to see you. Can you come visit me?" she'd asked.

( Continued... )

Excerpted from Troublemaker by Trice Hickman. © 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Trice Hickman. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

About the Author
Trice Hickman is a self-proclaimed Southern girl, and award-winning, bestselling author. Trice’s love of reading and the power she recognized in the written word inspired her to become a writer. After receiving rejection letters from every agent and publisher she submitted her work to, Trice was determined to bring her stories to life. She self-published her first three novels to great success, and shortly thereafter, landed a multi-book deal with Kensington (Dafina Books) where she is currently published. When she’s not busy writing and reading, Trice enjoys cooking, traveling, decorating, and meeting good people. Learn more about Trice at

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Intimate Conversation with Trice Hickman

Trice Hickman is a self-proclaimed Southern girl, and award-winning, bestselling author. Trice’s love of reading and the power she recognized in the written word inspired her to become a writer. After receiving rejection letters from every agent and publisher she submitted her work to, Trice was determined to bring her stories to life. She self-published her first three novels to great success, and shortly thereafter, landed a multi-book deal with Kensington (Dafina Books) where she is currently published. When she’s not busy writing and reading, Trice enjoys cooking, traveling, decorating, and meeting good people. 

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
The motivation to write, TROUBLEMAKER (which is the fourth book in the Unexpected Love Series) was inspired by the characters from, LOOKING FOR TROUBLE. I had to finish telling the story of these complicated, vibrant people who have given readers so much enjoyment throughout the series. Some of the things that happen in this book are also inspired by real life. This family saga explores the many facets of love, heartache, betrayal, and addiction, which are all things I’ve personally witnessed in my own family. I hope readers will take away a spiritual lesson from this book—that love and forgiveness can mend whatever is broken.

BPM: What motivated you to become an indie author?
I initially self-published my first book, UNEXPECTED INTERRUPTIONS, because every agent and publisher I submitted my manuscript to turned it down. I knew that if I wanted my story to be published and widely read, I would have to take control and do it myself. Self-publishing was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was a great learning experience and the insight I gained taught me so much about how the publishing industry works. Although I’m now signed with a publishing company, I still utilize many of the same grassroots marketing and promoting techniques I used when I was self-published.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  
My ideas for my books come from a combination of real life experiences, insight, and my vivid imagination. I love coming up with interesting twists on ordinary situations. I think that’s how most things unfold in real life. My books are definitely character driven and the characters carry the plot of the story based on their actions. I create a detailed biography for each one of my characters so that I know them inside and out, which also allow me to write in their voice and not my own.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
My current novel TROUBLEMAKER, takes readers on a fast-paced ride with the Small family during the course of a weekend trip that reveals hidden secrets, betrayal, blackmail, and an addiction that threatens to tear them apart. I believe one of the things that sets TROUBLEMAKER apart from many other books in the women’s contemporary fiction genre, is the setting. Most storylines in the genre are set against the backdrop of big cities and even exotic locales overseas. This book is set in a small, sleepy Southern town that has a personality all its own. As one who hails from a small town in the South I can attest first-hand that the juiciest twists and most salacious scandals take place in small towns…’cause folks don’t have much to do but cause or get into trouble! My books are available in paperback as well as ebook, and some are also available in audio.

BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
My main characters are beautifully flawed women and men who are searching for what we all ultimately want, which is love, happiness, and peace of mind. They are good people who sometime make bad choices, but in doing so they always search for the best way of recovery, as that’s what life is about. I believe the beauty of what makes my characters special is that they genuinely care about the larger world and have a deep love for humanity.

BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
One issue that the family in TROUBLEMAKER deals with is the struggle of addiction, and in particular, substance abuse. Christian, who is Victoria’s and Ted’s son, is struggling with drug addiction. He’s a functioning addict, and while he presents a nice looking package on the outside, he’s torn up on the inside. I don’t know one single family that hasn’t been affected by addiction of some kind, or know of someone who is struggling with it. I provide information in the back of the book that lists resources people can contact for help.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
The topics discussed in TROUBLEMAKER range from infidelity, to blackmail, to dealing with addiction. The primary topic or theme of this story that I believe readers will take away from the book is the ability to love unconditionally and forgive with an open heart.

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers? 
I always want readers to feel as though they were entertained while reading my books and when they finish, I want them to have gained a new or different understanding of how to look at life from with a broader view that dispels stereotypes. I love meeting new readers and I’m constantly seeking ways to grow my audience by utilizing social media and good ol’ fashion face-to-face hellos. I love attending book club meetings and literary events where I can meet people up close and personal. There’s nothing like the personal touch! 

BPM: Were there any challenges in bringing this story to life?
My biggest challenge in bringing this story to life was finding the time to write it. Writing a book requires discipline, daily commitment, and hours upon hours of uninterrupted time. Many days I didn’t leave the house, phone calls didn’t get returned, and errands were not done because I had to write. Exercising focused discipline is the only way you’re going to complete a book. When you have a busy life filled with activities that can easily distract you, it can be challenging to find the time to write each day. I had to prioritize and develop a writing schedule that allowed me to divide my time between living my life and writing my book. Balance is necessary.

BPM: What are your expectations for this series of books?
I would like to see this series become a #1 Book Club designated read across the country, and eventually make it to the big screen. The nuances of family dynamics, race relations, and class stratification all make for interesting discussion and jaw-dropping drama that I’m sure readers and audiences will enjoy. Also, I throw in a little steamy romance that adds spice to my stories.


Purchase Troublemaker (An Unexpected Love Novel)
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Unexpected Love Novel Series by Trice Hickman 
* Looking for Trouble
* Unexpected Interruptions
* Keeping Secrets & Telling Lies
* Playing the Hand You're Dealt

To learn more about Trice Hickman and her books, please visit her website at If you’re interested in taking your first step toward becoming a published author, please contact Trice for a one-on-one coaching session by clicking on the Writer’s Corner page on her site.



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