It’s been an incredible year and I have so many people to thank for it. First and foremost is God. I thank Him for giving me the talent and courage to pursue my dreams. Second, I must thank my family. My husband, William, for his undying support. I could not do anything without his strong arms around me. When I told him I wanted to quit work, he took a deep breath and told me it was okay. That’s love. If I had one wish, it would be that everyone so inclined could experience the love and support of a good man. He has enriched my life and I appreciate him. My parents, Ivor and Judy, my children, Shannan and Estrell, and my sister, Theresa, are also a part of my support system. Without their help, I wouldn’t be here today. My wonderful in-laws—Nana, Mac, Meredith, Barry, Chelsea, thanks for a great Xmas!
As I’ve said before, the road to writing is rough. It’s solitary and I miss my friends. Big shout out to my lifetime friends Angela Simpson, Valerie Chapman, Andrea Tanner. You ladies knew me FOREVER and even though we don’t talk every week, I know if I call you will be there to listen. My Keough crew—Launa, Tami, Wanda, Lessia, Lilly, Muriel, Marie, Lois, April, and Cheryl. Thanks for the memories and the fun.
My editor, Oasis, and Jay much love to both of you as well. Oasis, you’ve been my ride or die and I love you, boo.
My other brother from another mother, Ricardo Mosby. Thanks for believing in me and giving me your hand in friendship. Talisa Clark, my sister from another mother, who has more love in her pinky than most have in their entire body. Kelvin, I promised I’d never mention you in another book but what you did was low-down and dirty! Can’t believe I called you a friend, silly me. God protects idiots and fools so I suspect you and the dingbat will be all right. Maceo Haywood and Marvin Meadows—my knights in shining armor still standing and showing me love after all this time. Dee Ford, Kim Floyd (sis, you know I love you to death), Patrice Harlson, Muriel Broomfield Murray, Lynel, Shontel, Monique Brewer, Barbara Morgan, my cousins, Donna, Laura, Tarcia, Michael, David, Kevin, Stevie, Crystal, Kim & Candi, Brenda, Denise, and Earl. I love you all. Okay, I’ve got to end this.
My writer friends, Nane Quartay, Sydney Malore, Peron Long, M.T. Pope, Dwyanne Birch, Lee Hayes, Terra Little, Shelly Halima, Jaize Brown, VJ Alexander, Gregory Townes, Dwayne Joseph, Darrien Lee, all of you continue to touch my soul and I thank you because this life is tough and we’ve survived the true test.
My Urban family, thank you Carl, Natalie, Brenda, Karen, and everyone else I forgot to mention. Here’s to another successful year!
Last but certainly not least, the book clubs and some special presidents, Tina Hayes (Between Friends), Carla Walker (Queens Book Club), Sonya Ward, Books and Beignets BookClub, Rose Wright (Savvy Book Club), TC Royal and my RAWSISTAZ (special shout out to Tee for the love she’s given all of us), Press & Curl, BMore Readers, and Lawd if I didn’t name you, please charge it to my head and not my heart. I hope I can continue to entertain you. And to all the readers who e-mailed me and gave me the strength to continue. Thanks so much!
I pointed my gun at Ramón, my lover’s brother. His head blew apart when I pulled the trigger. The gunshot seemed to reverberate throughout the house even though I used a silencer. I didn’t blink. It didn’t bother me that he was only seventeen and hadn’t had a chance to experience life. It didn’t bother me that he hadn’t even had a chance to experience busting a good nut let alone fish dive between some thighs. All that was irrelevant now. It didn’t even bother me that he never had a chance to experience love. He knew too much about me so he had to die. He didn’t even get the chance to question what was happening before I shot and killed him. Turning the gun on Victória, my lover, was harder than I thought it would be, but there was no way I could let her live. She knew too much.
Shock and fear paralyzed Victória but none of it mattered. Sadly, her fate was sealed the day she had met me. What she believed to be a chance meeting was actually contrived and part of a plan to get close to her family’s fortune. Her feet appeared to be rooted to the floor as fear infused her body. I was good until I gazed into her eyes. These were the same eyes that looked at me as we lay naked in bed, face to face. Our lips locked in a passionate kiss. I pulled the trigger again. One bullet. Point-blank range. Her body folded onto the floor. Warm droplets of blood sprinkled my face, searing my skin, and pierced my heart with finality. I could not bear to look so I averted my eyes and stepped over her. Part of me died when I did it—not because of love—but because this was the most heinous thing I’d ever done, and somehow I knew I’d never be the same as a result of it.
“Sorry, babe,” I whispered. I felt like shit as I prepared to leave the house. Victória was the only person I’d allowed close to my heart. Part of me wanted to sneak down to the basement and take care of Moses, but I wasn’t willing to risk it. The potential for it to backfire on me could ruin all of my carefully laid out plans. I would have to deal with Moses on an entirely different level. He would be on the lookout for me and wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger if he saw me coming. I’d originally planned on splitting the money with him, but he showed me that he wasn’t trustworthy and wasn’t worth the risk.
Tucking the gun back into the waistband of my jeans, I quickly gathered the money-stuffed envelopes Ramón and Victória had been holding. My fingers shook as I pulled them free, and I felt like I was about to be sick. I was almost out the front door before I realized I hadn’t wiped the place clean of my fingerprints. Inwardly, I wished things could have ended differently. But as I’ve always said: two tears in a bucket, fuck it. After thoroughly wiping everything I had touched, I quietly closed the door behind me.
Victória and Ramón had known where I lived and I wasn’t sure if they’d shared this with Moses. Every time I met with him, I’d always meet him at his office or in his home. So it was essential to take them out of the equation before I could move on to the next step, which was getting far, far away. Deception had a way of unraveling at the most unlikely times.