Authors: Candice Dow
The events and characters in this book are fictitious. Certain real locations and public figures are mentioned, but all other
characters and events described in the book are totally imaginary.
Copyright © 2009 by Candice Dow
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced,
distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written
permission of the publisher.
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As always, I would like to thank God for this journey; the obstacles and the blessings.
Special thanks to my readers for inspiring me to write a sequel to my first novel,
Caught in the Mix
. This book is for you. These characters seemed to have really resonated with you, and over the years many of you have shared
with me your own love stories and the resemblances to Clark and Devin. You wanted to know more about them, and you felt there
were unanswered questions. Your excitement kept them alive and made me want to finish their story. I hope that
Feelin’ the Vibe
is all you’d hoped for in Clark and Devin’s reunion.
Thanks to my parents, family, and friends for supporting me through everything. To my agent, Audra Barrett. To my editors,
Karen Thomas and Latoya Smith. Thanks for always making sure the story is all that it should be.
Special thanks to everyone who has offered me advice, encouragement, or inspiration along the way. You are truly loved and
fter my mother got over the shock that I was getting married again, to a girl she didn’t even know, she figured she would
do her part and plan the rehearsal dinner. She was all about custom, and she had to do the right thing whether she approved
or not. She and my father came into DC three days before the wedding. But judging by the looks of the window-enclosed banquet
room at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, she’d done a lot of planning over the phone. One hundred guests were invited to the rehearsal
dinner, and my boys took full advantage of the top-shelf open bar. They raised their cups to me multiple times.
To the rich boy
, they would say. That had been a running joke since we were in college.
Here I was, thirty-two years old, a successful political attorney, and my millionaire parents were still trying to make up
for lost time, mend our estranged relationship, do what they assumed good parents do. I know my mother at least regretted
that while they were building a multimillion-dollar law firm, I was being nurtured by the nanny, the housekeeper, and even
the gardener at times. I was off to college in a matter of minutes, as my mother explains. They had totally missed my childhood
and probably knew less about me than they would have liked. The plan was for me to go off to Hampton for undergrad, then on
to law school at Columbia and back to Arizona to work my way to partner in Patterson & Patterson, but I diverged from the
course. I got married during my second year in law school—big mistake, by the way. And I wanted a real relationship with my
daughter and I couldn’t allow her to be second to my success. So, I decided to find my own path and stayed in New York after
law school to give my daughter the security she deserved, even after her mother and I called it quits.
Despite the awkward relationship with my parents, they have always been my financial backbone, and I plan to follow their
professional path. The only thing I’d yet to master was to marry someone who could potentially be my business partner. However,
in my relationship, I planned to be the leader and not be like my father, who seemed to be led around like a puppy. My mother
was clearly the mastermind behind the Patterson & Patterson empire. My father always seemed to be along for the ride.
I looked across the room at my bride-to-be and smiled, hoping I had found that partner. She had all the checkmarks. She was
a successful attorney as well, daughter of a prestigious Baptist minister and effortlessly classy. I walked in her direction
and my smile got bigger as I got closer. Her fitted, green strapless dress accentuated her tall, shapely figure, and the color
made her maple-brown skin sparkle. She gave me her usual doublewide smile, and her plump lips glistened. Her big eyes squinted
and she batted her long lashes as I approached. Long, black, straight hair was weaved into her normally ear-length hair, and
it flowed down her back as if it belonged to her.
As I reached for her hand, I couldn’t help feeling lucky. Taylor was the baddest chick left in the game. By thirty, most women
were scarred and ruined by the bad selection of men out here, so they couldn’t recognize a good man with bifocals. Taylor,
on the other hand, was just one year younger than me, but she was uninhibited, carefree, and didn’t sweat the small stuff.
She was beauty, brains, and bedroom skills all packaged in one. When I met her, I knew she would look good by my side, professionally
My mother stood up, wearing a stiff baby blue business suit in the middle of June, looking like Hillary Clinton’s twin sister,
and chimed her glass with a fork to gain everyone’s attention. Taylor’s parents smiled, anxious to hear what she had to say.
I felt a little edgy, because my parents had invited several of their fellow Stanford alumni friends, and she was in her element.
Taylor’s guests looked around as if to say: Who the hell is this white woman? It wasn’t something that I had branded on my
forehead—or in my physical characteristics, for that matter—so people were always shocked to discover that I was biracial.
“I must say that this wedding came as a big surprise for me. I mean, I just met Taylor yesterday. Devin called me, it seems
like two weeks ago, and said, ‘I’m getting married.’ I said, ‘To who?’” she said, chuckling.
The crowd gasped, and Taylor looked like she could disappear. My eyes shot daggers at my mother, and I held Taylor’s hand
tightly and apologetically. She waved a napkin at Taylor and me to suggest we not be so sensitive. She continued, “But I’m
sure if my son picked you, you’re quite a gem. Devin has a heart of gold. I just hope that he is everything you dreamed of,
because he is truly a good man.”
She doesn’t even know what kind of man I am. Hesitant claps trickled throughout the room. Based on people’s confused expressions,
they probably wondered what was the purpose of her comment, but I knew my mother. She said exactly what she wanted to say
when she wanted to say it. The translation for what she was saying was, “I don’t even know this ho. Devin, is this just another
one of your public-service projects? Well, if it’s not, this chick better be good to you.”
She’d pretty much made everyone uncomfortable. I wondered if she was plain old oblivious to the way she insulted people or
if she was so used to being the boss that she was desensitized. What the hell could I do? She was my mother. As fucked-up
as she was, she was what God gave me. Shortly after, the guests began to bail out one by one. Taylor looked irritated, and
I held her hand to remind her of all the things I’d warned her about my mother. My parents lived between Arizona and Florida,
and with their busy schedules and mine I got to see them a maximum of twice a year, so her personality wouldn’t pose a problem
in my relationship.
On the other hand, I was glad my mother cleared the room. It was time for the bachelor party. All of my line brothers were
already drunk, and I knew it would be off the chain. I gave Taylor a long hug, kissing her bare shoulders. Her ever-glossed
lips pecked me on the cheek.
“Baby, I’ll see you at the altar.”
My hand rested on the small of her back, as I looked her up and down for the last time before she would be Mrs. Devin Patterson.
Her height made it appear that she always wore heels, so no one took notice of the casual flip-flops she sported. She claimed
she didn’t want to tire her feet before the big day. I kissed her again. “I wouldn’t miss it, TJ.”
I rounded up the fellas and we headed out of the hotel like twenty-year-olds who were on their way to visit a strip joint
for the first time. Most of them were married or in long-term relationships, so this would be the first time in a long time
that multiple chicks grinded on them at once. I couldn’t wait to be where they were: stable. I was tired of the game, tired
of dumb-ass girls. Which was probably why I was four months into the relationship and already tying the knot. One thing was
sure: My parents didn’t raise a fool. I didn’t plan on letting a good thing pass me by twice. Taylor was going to be mine
against all odds.
And boy, did we have odds. I met Taylor at the Congressional Black Caucus in DC a few years back. We danced at a party and
I was feeling her physically, but of course I was guilty of assuming she was a fine chick with nothing to offer. When I found
out that she was also a corporate attorney and worked for the Train Workers Union, I immediately thought we could be the next
DC power couple. She, on the other hand, couldn’t see the possibilities and kept telling me that she had a man. She never
told me much about him, just that he existed. A part of me believed he was just imaginary. Still, she wouldn’t give me what
I wanted, so I laid low for a while, opting for intermittent friendship.
At the time I was between DC and New York, so whenever I came to DC I’d give her a call and we’d hang out. If you want something
to happen bad enough, keep checking in. One day, I hit her up and she told me that she had broken up with that nameless, faceless
dude she’d been calling her man. I wasted no time making her my girl. It was right around my thirty-first birthday, and I
felt like she was my gift. I couldn’t wait to have her on my arm at the party I was planning. She and her best friend, Courtney,
came up to New York and arrived at the house a few hours before the party.
When we got to the club, all of my boys gave the head nod; she was a winner, and everyone could see. When my best friend,
Jason, and his girlfriend, Akua, walked in, it seemed like the entire club stopped moving, the music skipped a beat, and Taylor
looked like she’d seen a ghost. Jason scowled at Taylor. I was confused and my eyes shifted from Taylor to Jason to Akua.
Clearly, they’d all met before, and this definitely was not a happy reunion.