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Authors: Naleighna Kai

Open Door Marriage

BOOK: Open Door Marriage
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OPEN DOOR MARRIAGE

 

 

 

Naleighna Kai

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living, dead, or somewhere in between, is entirely coincidental

 

Brown Girls Publishing, LLC

www.browngirlspublishing.com

 

Open Door Marriage
© 2014 by Naleighna Kai

ISBN: 978-1-62-517369-0

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means including electronic, mechanical or photocopying or stored in a retrieval system without permission in writing from the publisher except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages to be included in a review.

 

First Brown Girls Publishing LLC trade printing January 2014

 

Cover designed by: J. L. Woodson www.jlwoodson.com

Interior design by: Lissa Woodson www.macrompg.com

 

Dedication

 

My mother, Jean Woodson

My grandmother, Mildred E. Williams

My brother, Eric Harold Spears

My niece, LaKecia Janise Woodson, a rising star who left us much too soon

 

To Leslie Esdaile Banks (L.A. Banks), one of the best storytellers the planet had to offer.

 

To Anthony “Green Eyes” Johnson, the real life “Dallas” who taught me what unconditional love was all about

 

You are missed more than I can say.

 

Contents

 

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Author’s Note

 

Acknowledgments

 

All praise is due to the Creator first and foremost. A special love and respect to my guardian angels, ancestors, teachers and guides.

To my spiritual mothers: Sandy Spears and Bettye Mason Odom; to my son, Jeremy ÒJ. L.Ó Woodson, who is the perfect example of determination and dedication. I love you more than words can ever say.

To the people who continuously inspire me: my publishers and editors: Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley for this wonderful opportunity; to my friends: Gretta Chamberlain, Debra Mitchell, Laverne ÒMissyÓ Brown, Ehryck F. Gilmore, Keisha Hester, Jerome Montgomery, Jr., Jamyi Joi, Joyce Brown, Martha Kennerson, Gregory Marshall, Janine Ingram, Valarie Prince, Chris Esbrook, Laura Riff, Chris Burrichter, Nikki Woods, and Renee Bernard.

To my personal editorial team: Janice Pernell and Katie Walsh.

To the book clubs and avid readers who support my work

I LOVE YOU!!! (there are too many of you to name!)

Thank you for everything you are to me.

 

Wishing you all

peace and love, light and joy.


Naleighna Kai

 

ÒThere’s no right way to do a wrong thing.Ó

—Janice Pernell, author

 

 

Chapter 1

Thanksgiving
- Chicago, Illinois

November 22

7:23 p.m.

 

 


You slept with my aunt?

The words still didn

t register, even though this had to be Tori

s fifth time saying them. She glared at her fiancé, still desperately trying to come to terms with the information her mother had blasted to everyone at the packed Thanksgiving dinner table.


Seriously? How is that even humanly possible when you didn

t know the woman four hours ago?

Tori shouted.


Tori, l-let me explain,

Dallas stammered.

Twelve pairs of eyes were now focused on the not-quite-blissful couple standing at the bottom of the stairs just off from the dining room.


But not here. Let

s go somewhere and talk. It

s not what you think.


What did you do?

Tori snapped, glaring up at Dallas.

Trip over the sheets, and your penis somehow landed in a woman nearly twice my age?

The drumstick in Uncle Bill

s hand paused in midair on its journey to his wide mouth. Cousin Tiny

s fleshy hand flew to her overexposed bosom and came to rest somewhere above her heart. Even Tori

s father

s frozen expression of alarm would have been Three Stooges comical if the situation weren

t so tragic.

Aunt Yoli was the first to recover.

Did they just say what I think they said?

In unison, everyone nodded.


Girl, shut the front door and run out the back!

A few bursts of nervous laughter sprang up around the table, but they were not nearly enough to chase away the unease that had flooded the room when Tori stepped into the house. She

d gone to drop off Aunt Rose

s drunk self at home. Tori hadn

t even been in the house good when her mother, Bernice, blurted out that she

d caught Alicia and Dallas together. Alone. In bed. In the nude. Tori had picked up from there and summed it up in one sweep.

You slept with my aunt
...”


Nothing happened, Tori,

Dallas said, his voice shaky.

I didn

t sleep with her.


So, my mama is lying?

Tori asked.

Dallas shifted uneasily.


Hell naw. I know what I saw,

Bernice snapped. She had moved from the dining room table to the end of the staircase, right next to her daughter, poised as if she was ready to go to battle.

Both of you were
in bed
butt-ass naked.

She jabbed a finger in her sister-in-law

s direction. Alicia hadn

t moved from her spot at the top of the staircase. Probably, because she knew what was best for her.

She was butt-naked. And he was
nut
-naked,

Bernice yelled.

Wasn

t an inch of space between them.

She flickered a gaze a Dallas.

Look at him. You can tell he just got dressed!

Tori closed her eyes and took deep breaths to calm the emotions that warred within her.


See, I told you Alicia wasn

t worth a damn,

Bernice, crowed with savage satisfaction.

And looks like Mr. NBA ain

t much better.
You thought he was all that and a side order of fries.

Dallas Avery was the NBA

s most valuable player, and a man most women would give their right and left ovary to call their own. But Most Eligible Bachelor or not, he had set Tori

s bitch meter into overdrive. Even with his chiseled, handsome face, towering muscular frame and million dollar bank accounts, he was now worth next to nothing in her eyes. Too bad her aching heart didn

t get that memo.

Tori didn

t know if she was more enraged or hurt that her mother had been all too willing to drive this stake through her own daughter

s heart in order to publicly disgrace Alicia.


Tori, we need to talk about this,

Dallas repeated before adding,

in private.

Bernice wore a satisfied smirk as she glared openly up at Alicia, who just kept staring stoically at them from the second floor landing.

The angel of the family has fallen,

Bernice said.


Hey, Bernice,

Bill taunted with a hearty chuckle.

Bet you won

t say that when Alicia comes downstairs. You know she

s gonna put a hurting on you.


You mean put
another
hurting on her,

Aunt Yoli added, doubling over with laughter.

Tori wanted to scream. Her life was unraveling in front of her and her family was cracking jokes.

Instinctively, Bernice inched away from the staircase and back toward the dining room table. Her hands went up to the small scar on her neck, probably remembering that a year ago on this very same holiday, Alicia had ended a vicious blow-for-blow fight with a knife at Bernice

s throat. Almost gave the woman a

Sicilian Smile

—an ear-to-ear slice across the throat.

Dallas reached for Tori

s hand.

It

s not what it seems.

She snatched away, parted her lips to give him what was left of her mind, but Cousin Tiny chimed in first.

Alicia had every right to take Bernice to the floor last year for that foul mess she said! I would

ve pulled out my own can of whoop ass behind that one.

Tiny

s husband, Thomas nodded his watermelon-sized head.

The rest of the family finally sprang to life, also chiming in at once to defend Alicia, the one woman everyone could count on in a time of need, to lend an ear when it was called for and to dry a tear when no one else bothered to care. That she would do something as low as sleep with her niece

s soon-to-be husband was unthinkable. So the family sidestepped that issue for as long as they could, finding it more comfortable to speak on the reason no one had expected Alicia home for Thanksgiving

especially since none of them had heard from her for an entire year.

Dallas maneuvered so he was in front of Tori.

Nothing.
Happened
.


If Bernice had said that bull to me,

Bill responded, still trying to tackle the last of the drumstick,

an ass whipping would

ve been the least of her problems.

He beckoned toward the last slice of sweet potato pie at the other end of the table.

That has my name written all over it.


Bernice is lying,

Martha said.

Alicia

s still got looks and all, but that young stud wouldn

t pick her over Tori.

She shot an appreciative glance toward Dallas, then leaned to her right and whispered loudly in Yoli

s direction,

But, girl, he is finer than frog

s hair.

Yoli gave him a lusty once-over.

I

d give him some my damn self. He

s the type of man who can make a woman put a for sale sign on one thigh and an open for business sign on the other. Yes, Lawd!

Tori tried her best to tune out her family. She didn

t have the stamina to deal with them right now.

How could you do this? You

re my fiancé.


You

re Tori

s fiancée?

Alicia finally spoke out. She eased down the stairs, looking first to Tori then to Dallas. Her panic-stricken expression gave Tori pause.
Could her aunt really have not known?

Alicia turned back to her niece.

Oh, my, God, Tori. I had no idea. I

m so, so sorry.

She didn

t give Tori time to reply as she brushed past Dallas, slipped into the nearest pair of shoes

her brother

s

and ran out of the front door, oblivious to the fact that she barely had on enough clothing to protect her from the chill in the room, let alone the sub-zero temps of a Chicago winter.

The whole crowd gasped in disbelief as Dallas grabbed his leather coat from the foyer closet.

She can

t go out there with nothing on,

he said as he stepped into his Timberlands.

I

ll be right back.

Tori was ready to spit fire.

Are you kidding me?

she
screamed as he quickly laced up his shoes, then darted toward the door.

You

re going after my aunt? My
aunt!

she yelled, following him.

My heart is bleeding all over the carpet and you

re going after her!

The front door slammed and Tori stood frozen, unable to believe what happened in the last ten minutes. Bernice

s voice snapped Tori out of her trance.

Girl, I taught you better than that,

Bernice yelled, gesturing to the door.

You

d better go get your man!

Tori snatched up a coat and scarf and braced herself against the frigid gust of wind that slapped her as she left the house. She trekked across the snow and barely reached Dallas before he pulled off. Banging on the glass, she demanded,

Where the hell are you going?

Dallas lowered the window.

She

s out there unprotected. None of this is her fault.


So now you

re speaking up for her
,
too?

Tori screeched, pummeling him through the opening.

What kind of bullshit is that?

Dallas flinched at her vicious tone and reached out to keep her hands from doing any more damage.

I

m going to say two things,

he replied in that businesslike tone that had landed him several million-dollar endorsement deals.

I

m sorry that your mother lied to you, but
nothing happened
.

His gaze swept the area, probably searching for the woman who was the center of the chaos.

And I

d be less of a man than you already think I am if I let that woman walk around in this weather without a coat.

BOOK: Open Door Marriage
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