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Authors: E. Lynn Harris

Any Way the Wind Blows

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E. LYNN HARRIS
AND
Any way the Wind Blows

“E. Lynn Harris delivers juicy tales … laced with romance and spiked with sexual encounters. He also has a knack for creating characters that readers love to hate.”

—The San Diego Union-Tribune

“A gripping revenge yarn.”

—New York Daily News

“E. Lynn Harris … has been called the Luther Vandross of literature.”

—Entertainment Weekly

“ Harris’s books are hot, in more ways than one.”

—The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Harris is a great storyteller who knows how to tug on the heartstrings with wit and sensitivity.”

—USA Today

“[E. Lynn Harris] tucks in plot twists bound to keep his readers turning pages late at night.”

—The Washington Post

“Filled with sensuality, deception, friendship, and love.”

—Ebony

“Harris is a wonderful writer. His romantic scenes, whether between men and women or men and men, are always touching.”

—San Francisco Chronicle

“Harris’s ensemble of characters—gay or straight—are entertaining, outspoken, and colorful.”

—Black Issues Book Review

“What’s got audiences hooked? Harris’s unique spin on the ever-fascinating topics of identity, class, intimacy, sexuality, and friendship.”

—Vibe

E. LYNN HARRIS
Any Way the Wind Blows

E. Lynn Harris is a former IBM computer sales executive and a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He is the author of seven previous novels:
Any Way the Wind Blows, Not a Day Goes By, Abide with Me, Invisible Life, Just As I Am, And This Too Shall Pass
, and
If This World Were Mine
. His most recent novel is
A Love of My Own
. In 1996,
Just As I Am
was named Novel of the Year by the
Blackboard
African American Booksellers, Inc.
Abide with Me
and
If This World Were Mine
won the James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence. In 2000, E. Lynn Harris was named one of the fifty-five Most Intriguing African Americans by
Ebony
and inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Harris divides his time between New York City and Atlanta.

Also by E. Lynn Harris

Invisible Life
Just As I Am
And This Too Shall Pass
If This World Were Mine
Abide with Me
Not a Day Goes By
A Love of My Own

It’s All Love

This novel is dedicated in alphabetical order to a trio of three wonderful human beings who have impacted my life by sharing their lives with me. Troy Donato (a.k.a. my Jared) for being my most trusted friend for more than fifteen years, Charles Flowers for sharing his brilliance, friendship and kind, gentle spirit and Janet Hill for friendship, leadership and class second to none.

In Memory
Andrew Harvey (Grand-daddy)
Julian Richardson
Heath Williams
Donald Vincent Welcher

Acknowledgments

It’s a blessing to have a career that I love even on the tough days. I am thankful to my savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, for granting me this blessing and helping me to realize I’m not special, just blessed.

I am thankful to have a wonderful family who supported me when nobody knew my name. There are too many family members to mention here (you know who you are), but I must thank my mother, Etta W. Harris, who taught me to be grateful and humble; my most special aunt, Jessie L. Phillips, who taught me the power of love; and Rodrick L. Smith for support that can’t be described with mere words. My life is better because of these three very special people.

I have wonderful friends. Thanks for being so understanding when I go into writer’s hibernation: Troy Donato, Vanessa Gilmore, Lencola Sullivan, Blanche Richardson, Robin Walters, Cindy Barnes, Garbo Hearne, Debra Martin Chase, Dyanna Williams, Yolanda Starks, Ken Hatten, Regina Daniels, Carlton Brown, Rose Crater Hamilton, Lloyd Boston, Christopher Martin, Sybil Wilkes, Derrick Thompson, Deborah Crable, Brian Chandler, Brent Zachery, Anderson Phillips, Kevin Edwards and Reggie Van Lee.

I also must thank my new friends in Chicago who have welcomed me and offered me treasured friendships. Thanks, Vince Williams, Dexter Arrington, Linda Johnson-Rice, Bonnie DeShong, Desiree Sanders, Stella Foster, Sandy Matthews, Sonya Jackson and Juanita Jordan.

I have been with my publisher, Doubleday/Anchor, for more than nine years and they’ve become my family. I’m
proud to work with people who care deeply about the authors they publish. I extend my thanks to: Stephen Rubin, Michael Palgon, Jackie Everly, Bill Thomas, Suzanne Herz, Jenny Frost, Linda Steinman, Laura Wilson, Roberta Spivak, Pauline James, Gerry Triano, Jen Marshall, Judy Jacoby, Kim Cacho, Marni Lustberg, Amy C. King, Allison J. Warner, John Pitts, Anne Messitte, Luann Walther, Ari Jones, Rebecca “The Magician” Holland, and Emma Bolton, whose smile the first time I entered the building made me feel like I was home. I must offer a special thanks to Alison Rich, publicist extraordinaire, for her hard work, professionalism and friendship. Thanks also to the newest member of the family, John Fontana for his patience and a beautiful cover.

I must also give special thanks to my Doubleday Canada family, especially Adrienne Ball and John Neale, for their hard work and kindness during my Canadian tour.

Thanks also to Chris Fortunato and his team.

I have a tremendous support staff of talented people who make my life manageable, and who are wonderful friends as well: my assistants, Anthony Bell and Laura Gilmore; my agents, John Hawkins, Moses Cardona and Irv Schwartz; and my attorney and accountant, Amy Goldsend and Bob Braunschweig. Special thanks to Tony Hillery and his guys at TRZ.

There are several other people (good friends as well) and organizations that have offered me support and love for which I am most thankful. Shannon Jones, Sherri Steinfield, Smith & Polk Public Relations, Taurus Sorrells, Janis Murray, Bobby Daye, Tom Kochan, Yvette Cason, Matthew Jordan Smith, Susan Taylor, Deborah Gregory, Patrick
Henry Bass, Monique Greenwood, Stanley Bennett Clay,
Essence
magazine,
Ebony
magazine,
SBC
magazine,
The Doug Banks Morning Show, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, The Isaac Hayes Show, The CBS Morning Show, The Steve Harvey Show
, Frank Ski and his morning team, Ryan Cameron and his team, Skip Murphy and his crew, Donnie Simpson and his staff, Cliff and Jeanine. I also wanted to thank the numerous booksellers and book clubs, as well as Sigma Gamma Rho, Zeta Phi Beta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Delta Sigma Theta, the Links and the NAACP. I also must mention the staff at the Trump International Hotel, especially Suzy, Pamela, La Tanya, Dennis and Carlos.

Since I’ve had only two careers, I must turn to others for my characters. These people offered me their time and friendship, and for this I am thankful. Thanks to football greats Robert Bass and Sean James for the sports agent information. The novel benefited from details provided by Dr. Arthur Smith, Rosalind Oliphant and Michel, a young man from Motown whose card I lost but who was so helpful with information on the recording business.

I am proud to be a part of a writers’ community that would make James, Langston and Zora proud. I must make special mention of my mentees, talented writers R. M. Johnson and Bryan Gibson, for teaching me more than I could ever teach them, and Kimberla Lawson Roby and Tananarive Due for always being a smile and a phone call away. And Terry McMillan, Iyanla Vanzant, John Edgar Wideman and Walter Mosley for leading the way with talent and class.

I am thankful for two amazing people, Janet Hill, Doubleday/Harlem Moon Vice President, Executive Editor,
and Charles Flowers, Associate Director, the Academy of American Poets, to whom I dedicated this book, for their dedication to my novels and a friendship I depend on more than they know.

Finally, I thank each of you, the readers, for all your prayers, love and continued support. It meant so much ten years ago and means even more today. Thanks for letting me know that I am blessed, I am loved.

That’s it for now … e. lynn harris … New York City.

Side A
Yancey’s Big Reign

W
hen I walk into a room, other women either leave or gather into small groups. That’s the kind of woman I am. So imagine my surprise when that stopped happening when I moved to the West Coast. I was used to the seas parting for me. But I guess LaLa Land hadn’t been warned about me. About a month ago, my record company gave a listening party at one of Hollywood’s newest eateries, Reign, for my soon-to-be-released CD,
I’m Not in Love
. The party was swimming with members of Hollywood’s black elite and their flunkies and was a west coast version of a Ghetto Fabulous plush bash. It was a great event, but if I had to rank them, it was the second-best party where I was the guest of honor. The
best
party I ever attended was the day before I was
supposed
to get married. We had a spectacular party at Laura Belle, in New York City, and as delicious as that party was, my wedding day was an equal disaster. My groom-to-be dropped a full-tilt nuclear assault bomb on me: He decided the morning of our wedding that he would rather
spend the rest of his life flip-flopping between the beds of both men
and
women instead of sleeping with just me.

But when I really think about it, Basil and I had more problems than a college entrance exam. He had a difficult childhood. I had a miserable one. He lied about his past. I embellished mine. He wanted children, while the only thing I desired with the letter
C
was a Career. And not just any career, mind you, a C-A-R-E-E-R that would rival that of any diva, living or dead.

My name is Yancey Harrington Braxton, now known to the recording world as “Yancey B,” pop singer fabulosa. (Move over, Whitney. Step aside, Mariah. J-Lo, get outta my way.) I relocated to Los Angeles a day after being left at the altar, and it has turned out to be the
best
move I’ve ever made—that is, if you don’t count not speaking to my former fiancé and my mother.

I arrived in LaLa Land with no agent or manager, no permanent residence and very little money. Thank God the real estate market in New York was so hot; I was able to get a much-needed equity loan against my East Side town house. The L.A. weather was so inviting when I arrived that it was hard to close myself off from the world, as I had intended. I went to Malibu, did lots of window shopping and started reading the trades looking for work. The only contact I had with New York was a call every other day from my good friend Windsor, who was staying in my house until the right offer to sell came along.

One night I found myself having dinner alone at the hotel’s Polo Lounge restaurant. After finishing a chicken caesar salad, I went into the bar, had a drink and soon found
myself singing and confiding in the piano player. Turns out Bobby Daye was not only a talented piano player, but a wonderful songwriter as well. After he finished his set, he took me to several other clubs while I told him my life story. When he dropped me off, he looked at me and said, “I’m going to write some songs for that voice.” I thought it was the liquor talking, so I was shocked when he showed up a week later at my suite with five songs written just for me. Three weeks later, we were in a West Hollywood studio recording a demo. One month later, not only did I have a record deal with Motown Records, but an agent and manager as well. Who said dreams can’t come true in Hollywood anymore?

Right now I’m living right in the middle of Beverly Hills, in a lovely two-bedroom guesthouse behind the mansion of my manager, Malik Jackson. Malik (a.k.a. Roosevelt) stopped counting birthdays some fifteen years ago but looks to be in his early fifties. I get to live rent-free; I just have to perform a few duties for Malik every once in a while. Trust me when I say I’m not talking about cooking and cleaning.

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