Thursday, March 28, 2013

"War Angel" Update for March 28, 2013

War Angel
by Keith Kareem Williams

A preview of CHAPTER 7 - "Butterfly Effect"

butterfly effect (the phenomenon whereby a small change at one place in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere, e.g., a butterfly flapping its wings in Rio de Janeiro might change the weather in Chicago)

As I revise War Angel and re-read "Chapter 7 - Butterfly Effect" I realize that THAT particular chapter started off reading like a love song but ended with very unexpected violence. One seemingly harmless decision sets the entire, deadly, treacherous plot of the entire novel in motion. All that follows is a direct result of a character's decision to go left, when it probably made more sense to go right...metaphorically speaking of course. When you think about it, isn't life just like that? Small margins, two minutes early or maybe two minutes late...seconds even, can determine who we run into...or maybe not meet at all. Oh well, you'll see when you read it. Not for nothing but...I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!! It'll be ready soon, I promise.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Problems? Not Really

Problems? Not Really
by Keith Kareem Williams

As I continue on this road, in hot pursuit of my goals, I have decided to stop giving power to certain words and phrases. It might be my vivid imagination, or maybe I AM crazy but, I really am starting to believe that negative thoughts give birth to negative energy. What I’m trying to accomplish is difficult enough without unnecessarily adding to struggle. As an author, I probably know better than most that there is power in words!

I try not to even use the word PROBLEM too often, especially when I have every intention of conquering whatever is standing in the way of what I feel needs to be done. I prefer to use the term setback or obstruction. To me, a PROBLEM is: Something I can’t avoid, solve, ignore or get through. For me, there aren’t many things that fall into that category, except for maybe death and taxes, both of which happen to be things that a person has to deal with eventually, sooner or later.

I came to do one thing and that is to win! Folding up like a pair of slacks in difficult situations is not in my DNA. I come from a long line of people who fought for what they wanted and survived their share of horrors. Otherwise, I would not even be here to continue their bloodline.

“I also don’t pay attention to nonsense. It makes my skin itch. Whenever I encounter foolery, I lean my shoulders back, swing my arms as I strut and walk off like a BOSS!” -  #ReemLogic101




SPRING - 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I Miss You

I Miss You
by Keith Kareem Williams

                                                                                                                          March 7, 2013

Dear sleep, 

     I miss you so much. All of these nights without you are killing me. I don't mean to be apart from you but for now, I have to be. I have a screenplay and a novel to finish writing by the end of the month. I'm grateful for you because the dreams I had with you inspired me to write them both. It has been days since I last saw you but even with my eyes wide open, I'm constantly thinking of you. I just wanted you to know that. as soon as I'm finished doing the things that I have to do, I'll be right back with you. Wait for me. I won't be gone much longer, I promise.


I bet you thought that I was talking about a woman based on the blog title right? No, I'm talking about missing sleep....aren't I? 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Signing Books by Keith Kareem Williams

Signing Books

by Keith Kareem Williams

Since the very first book that I sold, face-to-face to a reader, I've never written the same message twice in any of the books I've autographed. That is A LOT of messages in a lot of books. I guess it's a good thing that I'm a writer or I would have run out of things to say. LOL I'm grateful for everyone that has spent their hard-earned money on one of my books. When I autograph one for you, you deserve my attention and appreciation. I can't keep in constant contact with everybody because I'm just one man. There are way more of you than me but, I can at least do that. Understand that it is sincere and that it comes from the heart. It is my way of saying thanks for all of the feedback, the emails, the tweets, the inbox messages, the letters, the reviews and the love.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

This Is Next

This is the complete cover for my next novel to be released this Spring. I would like to thank A-Marie Walter of for a gorgeous, iconic cover that has been getting awesome praise from readers. I'm also grateful for my good friend, Susie Henry, for giving me the stamp of approval for my back cover blurb. I would also like to thank everyone that continues to support my current novel, "Glass Goddesses, Concrete Walls."

To show my appreciation for the people who support my work and faithfully follow my blog, here are all of the samples that I've posted so far along with a NEW CHAPTER titled, "Warm Bodies on Cold Nights." (These are still the raw, unedited chapters. I have some edits and added material that I'm saving for the final draft because truthfully, I LOVE to keep you guessing.) Enjoy, leave comments and know that I'm working hard to have this ready for you real soon.


Chapter 0 – Blood-Smeared

ith his chest heaving and filled with the frosty evening air, Lenox frantically opened the car door and got in the back seat. Surprisingly, he still held a firm grip on the gun in his right hand that only a few hours before wouldn’t stop trembling. The clip was still fully-loaded except for the single round it had discharged just a few moments before. After that, it had jammed which forced him to improvise on the fly. In his left hand, he still held onto the kitchen knife he’d only seen for the first time that very night. Every nerve in his body felt raw and exposed, making it difficult for him to decide whether he was more alive than ever or disturbingly closer to death. He strained his eyes to examine the front of his black sweatshirt, wet with blood that wasn’t his own. Of course, in the dark he couldn’t see it but it was there and he was covered in it. After what he had just done, it would have been impossible not to be drenched in it. The sickening metallic scent of the gore clawed up his nostrils and nearly forced what little food sat in his stomach to creep up into his throat. He held his breath until the overwhelming wave of nausea passed. He felt feverish and even the winter chill wasn’t enough to stop the steady stream of perspiration that trickled down the sides of his face. The pressure in his temples pounded in perfect pace with his racing heart as part of a maniacal symphony in his pulse.
“Is it done?” Hector asked from the driver’s seat. He kept one hand on the gear shifter and the other on the gun hidden in his jacket. Carmen trusted Lenox but he didn’t. The jealousy that still pumped through his veins made him wish that Lenox would give him a reason to kill him.
“Yes,” Lenox murmured.
“Are you sure?” Hector asked again.
“I said it’s done. Now let’s go!” Lenox growled, annoyed by the hint of mocking sarcasm in Hector’s tone. There was something sinister and malicious in the question that served as the harbinger of very unpleasant things to come. There was a long, quiet, moment of tension before Hector grudgingly took his hand off of his gun, gripped the steering wheel and floored the gas pedal. The car skated down the icy, suburban road which was lined with beautifully leafless trees, decorated with snow-covered limbs; a sharp contrast to the bloody, crimson horror that Lenox had left behind in the house he’d just run out of. While Hector drove recklessly to get them out of the area as quickly as he could, Lenox breathed a sigh of relief and laid himself flat across the back seat. He longed for his own bed but for the moment, it would have to suffice. He lay on his back, let the gory knife fall from his hand and closed his eyes, feeling safer being low enough not to be seen. He attempted to wipe away the steady flow of sweat with his black-gloved hands but became disgusted when he realized that he had accidentally smeared blood all over his face. Even though the car swerved erratically down the dangerously slick roads, fish-tailing as hector sped around corners, Lenox drifted off to sleep. What he desperately desired was a respite from the evening’s awful events but instead, his dreams became nightmares that dragged him through all of the events that had led up to the monstrous thing he had just done.

Chapter 1 – What Eyes Don’t See…

f one more guy calls me Mami today I swear I’ll scream, Jahaira thought while embarking on her daily trek to her father’s bodega with the food her mother had sent for him in a brown paper bag. She was annoyed, almost to the point of rage by the men who had tried to flirt with her. She could feel their filthy thoughts crawl all over her skin as they undressed her with their eyes. She hated it. The only person she wanted looking at her like that was her man. She never desired or sought those types of stares from strangers. She couldn’t help how curvy her hips were any more than she could do anything about how big her butt was. Dark jeans were supposed to be slimming according to the fashionistas but in truth, they didn’t do much to hide her shape. Her short, black leather jacket stopped just above her waist and felt like a corset the way it hugged her and compressed her large breasts. It made her look at least a cup smaller but her thighs were still enough to catch most men’s eyes. It also didn’t help that she had a naturally sexy walk that had been turning heads since ever since she hit puberty. Over the course of the ten years since her fourteenth birthday, she’d heard every crude remark as well as every polite, pick-up line imaginable.
With a well-practiced scowl, she cautiously continued on her way with confidence but avoided all of their eyes because she knew too well the nature of men. If she looked directly in their faces or even worse, dared to smile politely, they would assume that it was an invitation to become more aggressive. To avoid the problems she turned her eyes to the ground.
The city was much cleaner than it had been when she was growing up but it was still filthy enough. Its discarded things and garbage told its ugly truth. The glitzy, glamorous images that seduced droves of tourists annually was actually the beautiful lie. Every person that had lived long enough within the confines of the decadent metropolis could see through all of the illusions. When she was little, her father walked her back and forth to school every day to make sure that his baby, his only child, got there safely. However, he couldn’t protect her from everything. There had always been an air of unwholesome corruption that crept through the streets like a living thing. Jahaira remembered stepping over dirty, discarded needles that had been used to pump heroin into the veins of people enslaved by the liquid demon’s embrace. In her teens, when her daddy had grudgingly allowed her to walk home alone daily, the needles had become scarce, replaced by tiny, empty vials that once contained crack-cocaine. During that era, there seemed to be even more drug addicts than before but these preferred to smoothly suck their heaven into their lungs through glass pipes. Now that she was all grown up, she often walked over the crushed, brown trash of gutted cigars that had been used to roll weed, the gateway drug, as they called it on the news. Apparently, it opened the doors for more dangerous vices for individuals already inclined to addiction. Most recently, those doors had opened up a Pandora’s Box that unleashed a plethora of pills, all seductively named, that granted many different kinds of highs. There were no traces of those to be found in the gutters or streets.
It suddenly started to drizzle which killed any chance of her mood improving. She hadn’t brought an umbrella with her when she left the house, even though the dark grey faces on the clouds had all suggested that they would weep heavily. She had already traveled too far to turn back so all she could do was pick up her pace and try to walk in-between the droplets. Fortunately for her, she reached her father’s store right as the light rain became a heavy downpour.
“Hey sexy,” Hector called out in Spanish from behind the front counter as Jahaira stepped inside, wet and grouchy.
“How many times I have to tell you not to talk to me like that? I don’t like it,” she told him through gritted teeth.
“You should let me take you out sometime,” he suggested as he tried to reach across the counter and touch her chin before she slapped his hand away. “Ouch,” he shouted before he pulled it back. He shook it as if it was hot and then ran it across his thick, slick, black hair tied up in a bun that almost made him look feminine. Jahaira thought that he could have passed for a girl if it wasn’t for his dark beard. He calmly subdued whatever anger he felt but she thought she saw a hint of it flash momentarily in the green of his eyes.
“No, and my answer ain’t changing so stop asking! For one, you work for my father. He’d fire you if he heard you talking to me like that. Secondly, I have a man already and I’m really tired of reminding you. Are you slow?”
“Yeah, whatever. You have a boyfriend that nobody has ever seen. You sure you ain’t a lesbiana?”
“You know what Hector? A woman has a better chance with me than you. Where’s my father?” she asked impatiently.
“He’s in the back with a client.”
“Client huh?” she repeated sarcastically. “Well, my mother sent his lunch. Since he’s busy, I’ll just leave it here with you then.”
Just as Jahaira put the damp, brown paper bag on the counter, her father’s client walked out from the back room of the bodega but she didn’t look like one of his regular customers. She was way too young and way too pretty; a sharp contrast to the old harpies that usually sought out his unique services. The girl tried to smooth her sandy-blonde hair back into place and straightened her blouse as she scurried past Jahaira who looked on in disgust. The girl’s brilliantly blue eyes never connected with Jahaira’s dark-brown eyes but she felt the venomous look of disdain which made her pale-as-snow skin flush pink. (Jahaira might have been cute but she was terribly intimidating when she wanted to be.) She was so used to her father’s infidelities and indiscretions that it hardly bothered her any more, or at least that’s what she told herself. She was more disappointed in her mother who was also aware of them and passively pretended that she didn’t. In her opinion, her father only did what her mother allowed him to. Before she left, the young girl stopped at the counter and collected a stack of singles wrapped in a rubber band from Hector. He grinned and held onto her hand until she pulled her fingers from his clammy grip. He blew her a kiss before she switched her hips as she sauntered away and left.
“Blankitas now too?” Jahaira asked, surprised to find out that her father’s taste now seemed to include young white girls.
“Every flavor sexy,” Hector answered.
“Disgusting,” Jahaira mumbled.
Hey Pumpkin!” Mr. Caesar Ruiz called out to his daughter as he appeared from the back room of the store with his belt unbuckled. His roundish belly, the result of too much beer-drinking, hung slightly over the front of his pants.
“Fix your pants,” she told him, handing him his soggy lunch. He took the food and opened his arms wide to hug her but she backed away. Her father was a handsome, incredibly charismatic man. They grey that was mixed in with his black, low-cropped hair and sprinkled in his perfect goatee didn’t diminish his looks in any way. She imagined how the women must have lusted for him in his prime. Even now, they seemed to have a hard time resisting him.
“What? No kiss for papi?” he asked.
“Hell no! God only knows where your mouth has been today,” she told him and moved the side of her face away from his lips. Without another word she turned to leave.
“You’re not gonna say anything, right Pumpkin? I mean, you don’t have to tell your mother,” he started to say.
“Of course not. I never do,” she answered. “Besides, I’m sure there’s nothing I could tell her that she doesn’t already know.” The bells above the door jingled as she pulled the handle and left.

Chapter 2 - …Hearts Don’t Grieve

t never took long for Jahaira to stop being mad at her dad. Just before she walked out of the store, she had glanced over her shoulder and caught a glimpse of his sad smile that always softened her heart. She knew that he prayed for the survival of her happiness and did whatever he could to shield her from the horrible things he feared could happen to her but never spoke of. The world is filled with more monsters than you would believe, he would whisper to her in quiet moments when she had stumbled on him at home on the couch, alone, tipsy, somewhere half-asleep and deep in thoughts he never shared. In the whole world, she might have been the only female that he loved in the purest way. For a long time she struggled to understand how that could be because of the way he seemed to view women as a species. From what she’d seen from him as a man, he was a womanizer and lusted for every woman in the world. As a father he was different. She was his only child and in her entire life she had never seen him express any desire to have any more. Although she hated her parent’s relationship, Mr. Caesar Ruiz always made sure that Jahaira knew that she was precious and treasured by him above everything else in his life.
“Did you see your father?” Mrs. Carmen Ruiz asked her daughter as Jahaira walked through the front door of their house, wet and already annoyed.
“Of course I did. It was all soggy by the time I got there but he got his lunch,” Jahaira answered, shivering as she took off her jacket.
“Was he alone?” Carmen asked, her eyes never leaving the enormous flat-screen television on the wall.
“Hector was there too, as usual,” Jahaira answered dryly as she walked across the living room as quickly as she could. Recently, she found that she purposely avoided eye-contact with her mother. It often felt as if they both harbored some secret shame that they feared would be revealed if they looked at each other for more than a few moments at a time.
“No, I mean…was he alone? You know what I mean.” There was always a split second when she asked that question where her heart beat pounded hard enough to reach the brink of breaking. Deep down she knew that if her daughter ever decided to be cruel enough to tell the truth, those words would pierce her like bullets.
“Every time you send me to the store, I come home and you ask me the same thing. Why don’t you ask Papi later? Whenever he decides to come home that is. Ask him what he was doing at the store when, and IF he even comes upstairs to your bed instead of sleeping on the couch,” Jahaira answered as she started to walk upstairs. She wanted to get to her bedroom and shut the door before she ended up in a heated argument.
“Forget it. Forget I even asked. You’re always defending your father little girl.”
“I’m not defending him. I just don’t care anymore. He does what YOU let him do and you’ve been letting him do it for years!” Jahaira snarled. Her knuckles turned white as she gripped the bannister tight enough to make the wood creak.
“What do you know about it?” her mother asked calmly, dipping a chocolate chip cookie in her glass of milk with her eyes still safely fixed on the television.
“Nothing!” Jahiara answered sharply. “I don’t know anything about it and I never will.”
“That’s what you think sweetie,” Carmen told her. She didn’t like that her brat of a child had the audacity to judge her. “You’re young and there’s a lot you don’t understand,” she scolded, her voice still even and calm which drove Jahaira to lose her composure.
“Like what? Like letting my husband cheat on me with every money-hungry girl that he sees” Jahaira asked, practically spitting venom. Her words were hurtful but Carmen’s expression remained unchanged. A very long time ago, she had learned to hide her love and hate behind a mask of indifference.
“One day you’ll understand. You think you’re going to be the prettiest girl your man has ever seen forever? No sweetie, that position is only temporary,” Carmen coldly warned her.
Hater! Jahaira thought as she stormed up the stairs, her footfalls louder than an elephant’s despite the plush carpet beneath her feet. The pictures on the wall shook on the nails they hung from when she slammed her bedroom door behind her. In a rage, she sucked in her belly and opened the top button of her jeans. They were slightly tighter than they had been a week before and she’d been telling herself that she needed to shed a few pounds. Her mother’s words felt heavier as she unbuttoned her blouse which was also a little tighter than when she had worn it last. She flung it across the room, jumped onto the bed and screamed into her pillow. Her mother always managed to effortlessly frustrate her to the point of madness. There was something deliberately foul about the way she smoothly passed passive aggressive comments with perfect timing to inflict mental harm. As soon as Jahaira stopped using her pillow as a silencer, she sat up and violently slapped all of the stuffed animals off of her bed. Every time she’d put them away, her mother would come into her room, call it cleaning up and put them back.
After she once again had her bed all to herself, she lay on her back rubbing her chunky tummy and realized that her bedroom looked like a grenade had gone off, sending fuzzy, colorful creatures in every direction. She climbed out of bed and started cleaning up. She crammed the stuffed animals into the closet, right in with the dresses her mother insisted on buying that either made her look twelve or sixty-five. She hadn’t worn anything that even closely resembled those outfits since the sixth grade but Carmen continued to consistently waste money on things that her daughter would never wear. It was her way of protesting Jahaira’s fashion choices which she felt were too revealing at times. All of her efforts were in vain of course. To Jahaira, her mother thought she was just a doll to be dressed up and played with, not even a real person at all. That was how it had been her entire life. It showed even in the way her mother usually talked at her and never really to her. She had made up her mind not to live in the fantasyland that her mother had tried to create for her. As it was, she believed that too many delusions dominated Carmen’s reality and it broke her heart as she helplessly watched the woman who was supposed to be her role model, allow life to blow her wherever it would as if she was a feather trapped in a perpetual breeze. She had never met another human being who seemed so eager to accept, ignore or casually brush off every bad thing that happened to her. A million times she’d told herself that she would never be that way.
Jahaira growled as she punched a pink bunny in the face and slammed it down on top of a gigantic stuffed elephant. A doll’s head at her feet got knocked off when she forced the over-stuffed closet door shut. She giggled then kicked it under the bed where, as a kid, she believed that monsters lived. The notion seemed silly as she sighed, sat on the edge of her mattress and smoothed her long, dark hair out of her face. Eventually she relaxed when she thought about where she was going to be later on that night and who she was going to be with. She reached under the bed for one of the suitcases where she kept her real clothes stashed. She only had a few hours to get pretty. She didn’t know what her mother was talking about because her man looked at her like he had just seen her for the first time, EVERY time he looked at her.

Chapter 4 – Mall of Mannequins

The only reason Lenox found himself in a crowded mall with the masses on a Friday evening was because she wanted to go dancing. For him, the perfect night would have been a quiet and intimate one spent entirely in a private space but he had given in to her request because he felt that she deserve anything she asked for. Make every woman jealous of the things you do for, with and to your woman was his philosophy when it came to his relationship. Jahaira was good to him, the best for him and everything he cared about. Some of his friends would ask him why he was so caught up which was understandable for the ones who were entangled with the worst kinds of women. For the ones who actually had wonderful women in their lives he would ask how come they weren’t. In his heart, it just made sense to treat the right one the right way and even long before her, he had treated the wrong ones fairly. In his mind, there wasn’t anything illogical about loving a woman that showed in everything she did that she loved him just as deeply. That was why he was racing around the mall, surrounded by swarms of strangers, shopping for something to2 wear so that he didn’t look out-of-place standing next to her. It wasn’t that she was materialistic at all. Her family was well-off so all of the nice things that she was accustomed to. It was all she had ever known. It was what she was used to. She wasn’t a victim of the hollow consumerism that poor people sometimes got caught up in, covering themselves in expensive things they couldn’t afford to hide the fact that they were ashamed that they didn’t have much. Later on that night, she was certain to be wearing some gorgeous designer dress that matched some expensive handbag that her daddy had bought her. Lenox hated feeling and looking out of place. Tonight he wanted them to look like a couple.
After he was satisfied with what he had picked out, he paid for everything and hurried to the parking lot to get his car. He navigated his way through waves of human mannequins caught up in emulating the plastic life they saw in music videos and felt guilty for being momentarily caught up in it himself. He quickly shook off the feeling. He still had to get cleaned up at the barber shop, take a shower, get dressed and finally pick up Jahaira from her grandmother’s house. She actually lived at home with her mother and father but even after being together for almost two years, she still kept him away from them. In fact, he had never met them at all. He meant to speak to her about that. He wondered if she simply wanted them far removed from her private life or if it was something else. Whatever it was, he meant to straighten it out, sooner than later. That weighed heavily on his mind as he drove up to the booth at the parking lot’s exit.
“Hi, how’s your day going?” he asked the parking attendant as he handed her two dollars and waited for her to raise the wooden arm. She looked into his backseat at the brands on his bags and was impressed by his taste. She smiled, pleasantly surprised that a polite person still existed in the world. Most people shoved their money at her through the booth window as if she wasn’t a living person.
“It’s going. Thanks for asking,” she answered. “Found everything you were looking for?” she asked.
“Yeah, I did,” he answered cordially. She was fairly attractive and obviously flirting but he swatted away the faint impulse to entertain it as he would swat a fly. That was how complete his dedication to his woman was. It was a rare thing in a world where no one believed in honor, relationships were open, love was lost and lust tore millions of confused hearts out of chests and dragged them down to their ruin.
“Too bad,” she mumbled as she hit the green button in her booth and raised the wooden arm so that he could drive away. Lenox sped off and raced through the rain that the weatherman predicted would become snow later on. He hoped that the barber shop wasn’t crowded because his barber talked way too much and worked way too slow. He was already running late.

Chapter 4 – Grandma’s House

enox sat in his car outside of Jahaira’s grandmother’s house and waited impatiently for her to come downstairs. She actually spent more time there than at her own home because her own mom made her uncomfortable. To her, Carmen was too secretive and delusional but in her grandmother’s aged eyes, she saw no secrets or lies. Her mother’s mother was a sweet, even-tempered, tolerant woman who warmly, eagerly took in all of the family’s wayward children. Eight of Jahaira’s cousins, ranging from ages nine to nineteen, currently lived there. Granny had always been a housewife and never regretted her choice to make keeping a home in order her full-time job. She was proud of all of the little ones she had raised including the ones who had turned out bad because if not for her, they would have turned out worse.
Jahaira had been text-messaging him all evening to find out how long before he picked her up and now that he was outside, she was nowhere to be found. She had him waiting so long that he had listened to an entire album in the car. He had sent her two texts that she apparently ignored which drove him absolutely crazy. Just when he was about to blow his car horn furiously and risk Granny’s wrath at the excessive noise, Jahaira strolled through the front door into the chilly night air with her coat tucked under her arm. She wanted him to get a good look at what she was wearing. He almost wanted to forget about the club and take her straight back to his place as he watched her walk down the stairs. Just when he thought she couldn’t surprise him, she completely amazed him instead. Her short, tight, black dress hugged her hips and barely covered her thick thighs. The thin straps that held it up showed how smooth and sexy her dainty shoulders were. His mouth almost watered when he saw the open back of her dress as she walked in front of the car to get into the passenger seat. She opened the car door, sat down and buckled her seat belt. When Lenox looked at her as if she was food, she thought back on her mother’s comments earlier and laughed inside. Jahaira clearly recognized the adoring, almost worshipful love and lust in her man’s eyes.
“You like?” she asked as she noticed how he stared at her cleavage right where the seatbelt strap sat, directly in-between her full, d-cup breasts.
“Do you even have to ask? You sure that we can’t just go straight to my place?” he asked.
“Just drive,” she giggled.
“You sure? I won’t take long. We can still go to the club after.”
“I worked too hard to look this good to let you drag this dress off and get me all messy already. Relax,” she told him while rubbing his thigh.
“Whatever!” she laughed. “Anyway, we both look good so let’s go make a whole bunch of people jealous,” she said and flashed the mischievous smile that always got him excited.
“I do look good don’t I,” he answered, checking his reflection in the mirror embedded on the inside of the car’s sun visor.
“Shut up and drive!”

Chapter 5 – Warm Bodies on Cold Nights

here were two separate lines outside of the club. One line was long and full of thirsty men who didn’t know how to keep their eyes to themselves as they used their imaginations to strip every woman that passed by naked. The other line was shorter than the skirts of the women who stood in it with their legs freezing in the night air, eager to get inside where the drinks purchased by their admirers would warm them up. The club’s security let the scantily clad women right in with minimal harassment but made the men wait like hungry dogs behind a waist-high metal barrier. This was to ensure that there were more females than males inside. Parties were more likely to remain fun and civilized that way.
“See anybody you like?” Jahaira asked Lenox as they stood in line together, holding hands on opposite sides of the divider.
“Of course I do,” he answered. Even though she was covered by her long winter coat, he had committed every one of her curves to memory.
“Who?” she asked. There was no shortage of fresh flesh all around them. She would never admit it openly but her mother had succeeded in planting a disheartening seed of doubt within her and the fear of her eventually finding herself in the type of frost-bitten arrangement her parents shared had begun to creep up on her. She really wondered if the day would really come when he didn’t believe that she was the most beautiful girl in the world.
“I’m holdin’ her hand right now,” Lenox answered, squeezing her fingers as she giggled. He loved the sound of her laugh and the genuine joy that flowed from her soul whenever she was with him. She was one of the few, truly good people he had ever known and it made him glad that he could make her happy. It was easy to love someone who loved him back just as passionately as he loved them.
“So, you think she likes you too?” she whispered, leaning over the waist-high barrier and pressing her breasts up against his chest. She knew his answer when gripped her waist firmly with both hands.
“I’m not sure but I know I’m gonna try to take her home with me later on tonight.”
“We’ll see. Maybe you’ll get lucky.”
“I hope so,” he answered, sliding his hands behind her so he could squeeze her ass with the authority of a man claiming what was his and she loved it. She blushed and her cheeks flushed pink when she felt the strength of his hands.
The club’s security, oddly and unusually large men dressed in all black attire, towered over the crowd outside of their establishment as they surveyed everyone that stood in their line. As soon as they recognized that Lenox and Jahaira were a couple, they took them off of the line and let them right in. The last thing they needed was for some group of rowdy hooligans to touch somebody’s girlfriend or say something disrespectful to ignite a fight that they would have to break up.
Inside, the music was so loud that it was almost impossible to hear anyone’s voice but the language of club was unique. People spoke with their eyes and bodies. The hard-hitting base that pounded from the speakers made the entire place vibrate. Women rotated their hips and made their bodies sway seductively as the men who danced with them matched their rhythm. The DJ closely monitored the crowd’s reaction to the songs he played in his rotation as he tried to work them into a frenzy. Bright lights from above flashed hypnotically to the same tempo as the music. Women’s hair lay flat against their faces from perspiration and men’s shirts were soaked with sweat. Both bars on both ends of the club were so crowded that people had to elbow their way through drunken bodies to get a bartenders attention. The men with money bought expensive bottle after bottle of premium liquor while the boys without watched them and tried not to choke on the hate they fought hard to subdue.
Jahaira and Lenox noticed none of this. In the middle of it all they managed to mentally create their own space where no one else existed. If they could have seen, immediately outside of that space, the crowd seemed to be various unmistakable shades of green. As the two lovers danced, women who had left their husbands at home wished that their significant others enjoyed partying with them and would dance with them, non-stop and passionately. For some, the men who were strangers looked at them with more desire than the men they were going home to later. Some of those women occasionally bumped their body parts against Lenox out of spite. He ignored the sea of legs, thighs, breasts, asses, pretty faces, short skirts and flirts who wanted to be Jahaira. Meanwhile, the gleam in many of the men’s eyes was greener than anti-freeze as they watched Jahaira move her body against her man’s. Even in the flash of the intermittent disco lights, they could see how soft the flesh beneath her dress was. They envied Lenox as his hands explored every voluptuous curve while she smiled and loved it. They couldn’t help but wonder how powerful her sex must have been to have her man so enthralled and seemingly blind to all of the other beauty around him.
Still oblivious to it all, Lenox and Jahaira kissed as they danced with too many drinks to count flowing freely throughout their systems. While caught up in their cozy closeness they couldn’t have noticed the man who watched them intensely from afar as he drank liquor at the bar. Although this man had never been introduced to Lenox, he clearly recognized Jahaira, even in the crowded club from way across the room. In truth, he even saw her when he closed his eyes sometimes. Watching her dance with another man made the hairs on his forearms and the back of his neck stand on end as he growled inside. Hector was not pleased. With every shot of liquor he gulped down, his skin tingled, his vision blurred and he turned into something different than what he usually was when he was sober. His playful jealousy, which was usually harmless, evolved into something way more dangerous.
“I gotta use the bathroom,” Jahaira yelled in Lenox’s ear so that he could hear her over the music.
“You’re gonna leave me here by myself?” he asked, looking around at the female opportunists in the immediate vicinity.
“Oh please. I ain’t scared of none of these bitches!” she answered with supreme confidence before she planted another wet kiss on his lips.
“That’s why I fuckin’ love you. You’re the baddest bitch in here.”
“I know,” she joked before she pushed her way through the crowd and disappeared.
The women’s bathroom line was a mile long. Jahaira waited with chicks that were filled with alcohol, unstable on their feet and covered with glitter mixed with sweat. Without a mirror, she knew that she probably looked the same. None of their cute outfits, make-up or hair looked quite the same as when they’d left their homes, neat and well put-together. One or two of them even stood barefoot. Their feet ached from dancing in shoes that were a few sizes too small. There was a silent sisterhood between them all as they stood in line, legs crossed in the struggle to hold their pee. Passed out on a leather sofa a few feet from the bathroom was a girl who seemed like she had sadly given up the struggle. Her friends seemed to be arguing over who was going to either wake her up or take her home.
Once Jahaira finally got to use the bathroom, she had to wait in line again just to wash her hands. Every sink and mirror was occupied by women taking cell-phone pictures of themselves to post online so they could prove how much fun they were having. When she finally escaped the gauntlet of bathroom mirror models she searched for Lenox as she bumped, squeezed and pushed her way through the crowd that seemed to have doubled in size. Just as she passed the bar, from the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of someone who made her heart pound hard enough to explode in her chest. Suddenly frozen in place, she turned her head slowly and made eye-contact with Hector. He raised his shot glass high to toast her. She wanted to run back to Lenox and fly out of the club but now that Hector had seen her, she couldn’t. He waved at her and signaled for her to come over. She wasn’t sure if she should but finally decided that it was best that she did, if only to see what he wanted. By the time she got to where he was, she was already disgusted by how many times she had inadvertently been felt up while fighting her way to the bar. That’s why Hector’s touch felt extra slimy when he grabbed her arm and pulled close enough to hear what he was about to say. His breath on her ear and neck as he spoke annoyed her.
“You look good tonight,” he told her, admiring her little sexy black dress. The compliment along with how he stared down her cleavage made her cringe.
“Yeah, thanks.” She put her hand up to her chest to cover up the exposed flesh of her breasts.
“What you drinkin’? Let me buy you a drink,” Hector slurred, waving to the bartender with the huge hoop earrings, neon bright make-up and the coke bottle shaped body packed tightly into her pink body suit. She bounced over to take his order but Jahaira waved the woman off.
“No thanks,” she told Hector. “I’ve had enough tonight already.”
“Oh, ok. Is that why you let that dirty, black muthafucka put his his hands all over you?” he asked, disgusted, confirming her fears. When she had spotted Hector at the bar, she wondered how long he’d been there and if he had seen her with Lenox. Her family, especially her father, didn’t know that the boyfriend they had never met was black. Now, because of Hector, it was only a matter of time before the truth came out. She also knew that before he let her secret loose, Hector would attempt to use his discovery as leverage against her with malice and sleazy intentions. However, she had no intentions of giving him that much power. Her initial impulse as she listened to him disrespectfully refer to her man was to viciously rake her nails against the side of the tan flesh of his face until she drew blood and ripped to the pink beneath. Instead, she violently grabbed him by the chin before he could speak again.
“Watch how the fuck you talk about my man!” she told him, her nose practically pressed against his before she shoved his head away from her. She flipped her hair in his face, turned around and walked away from the bar. His eyes smoldered like hot coals as he watched her blend back into the crowd in search of her man. She quickly found Lenox not too far from where she had left him. In her absence, two girls had decided to put on a show for him as they danced with each other, touched tongues seductively and winked at him. Jahaira stepped in-between them like a bully to break up the girl-on-girl action taking place. She put her back to him and pressed her butt up against his front as she gave them both the evil eye. She stuck out her tongue at them and smiled when turned away. Better had! They don’t want problems, she thought to herself. She had made it known that he was her food and not their prey.
“You like that?” she asked, referring to the lesbian-ish girls she had just ran off.
“Why would I like that when I have all of this?” he asked, grabbing her ass firmly with both hands. She reached back and put her hands on his hands, encouraging him to squeeze harder.
“Let’s get outta here,” she said.
“Right now?”
“Yes, right now! Let’s get our coats and go home.” Then, they kissed like lovers do and the world of the crowded club all around them faded.

***I hope you enjoyed these 1st six chapters. I'll continue to share smaller excerpts until the book is ready for release.***