Mother promo1From ‘MOTHER’:

Watching as she scooped up her hair and fastened it at her nape while opening the container of Singapore rice noodles, Jay smiled at his wife’s perfect double-cantaloupe ass. Wife. He rarely thought of her that way. She was still his girl—in all senses of the word, that was the way Jay tended to see her, something less than a grown woman, his homegirl, his lover, holding it down, and putting it down. His girl.

Walking directly into her backside, Jay pressed Keisha into the kitchen counter, loving the way she instinctively let her head fall to one side so he could kiss her shoulder and the length of her neck. Even as he did that, Keisha reached for the chopsticks and filled her mouth with the curried noodles.

“You don’t want to heat that up?” Jay asked against her skin.

“Nope. Too hungry. Too tired,” Keisha said, over a mouthful.

“Too tired, huh?” Jay reached around in front of her and slid his hand down into the front of her underwear.

“Uh huh.” Keisha widened her stance, making way for him and pressing backward a little.

She ate as he stroked her, eating and moaning, moaning and chewing. Jay laughed into her hair.

“You want to eat after, maybe?” he suggested.

“No. I’m going to sleep right after. So we have to multi-task.”

“Uh uh. I need your undivided attention.”

Jay reached around and took the chopsticks from between her fingers, dropping them on the counter and unzipping himself. He dropped his jeans and underwear only as low as was absolutely necessary and crouched slightly, angling so he could press himself between Keisha’s legs. Arching her back, she gave a sudden gasp as he entered her. She was already wet. It didn’t take much with them.

“You’re so full of it,” Keisha teased. “All you need is for me to open my legs and you’re good.”

“Nah,” Jay said tonguing the back of her neck and wrapping an arm about her waist. “I don’t just need your body. I want your mind … your … soul.”

Keisha gasped as he gave her a deep upward thrust. “You have all that,” she said.

You have me.

That was what she’d said to him one night when Jay had gotten into his head the dumb idea that he needed to take her out for a night on the town in the city. They’d been married only a few months, and he’d been concerned about her adjustment to small town life. The club excursion was a disaster. The minute she’d come downstairs in that halter top and tight jeans looking the way she looked when she dressed up, Jay should have torpedoed the whole plan.

As any idiot could have predicted, once they got there, dudes kept hitting on her. If Jay was more than five feet away, it only took a second and they descended like hyenas. He never had to step in because Keisha immediately rejected all advances, proudly displaying her simple gold wedding band. But it still bothered him in a way that was much more pronounced than it had before they were married.

Jay thought he’d contained his discomfort pretty well, and planned to hang in there for the rest of the miserable evening, not wanting to ruin Keisha’s fun with his irrationality. But before long, she was the one who was suggesting they go home.

In the truck, just as they’d pulled onto West Side Highway, she grabbed his arm without turning to look at him.

I don’t need all that anymore, she said, her voice loud in the silent cab. Nightclubs and parties and stuff? I don’t need it. I’d much rather stay at home with you.

And Jay had glanced at her then, wanting to see her eyes and assure himself of her sincerity. She’d smiled at him, and nodded.

Really, she said. And as for all those fools who try to talk to me? Jay, you don’t never have to worry about that. You have me. You have me.

SAMPLE SUNDAY: From ‘Mother’


Mother cover mistress FINAL

From ‘MOTHER’ coming Summer 2014


The word was out before Keisha could stop it. Before she’d even completely thought it. And from the look on Jayson’s face, it surprised him, too.


“I mean …”

“You don’t want to?”

“I meant not now,” Keisha amended. “Just not now, that’s all.”

Ignoring the hints had been simple enough, especially since she was sure he couldn’t possibly be serious. They’d been married less than a year, and things were still up in the air, with his new business, her new career.

“I don’t mean now either,” Jay said. “I meant maybe in a year or so. But you’re taking those shots and that’s for like, three months, right? What if we decide to do it sooner?”

And so there it was.

He might say he didn’t want babies now. He might think he didn’t want babies now. But once she wasn’t taking her Depo shots, all bets would be off.

Keisha lifted her eyes from her plate and focused instead on her husband. Standing in front of the fridge, reaching in for orange juice turning to pour them both glasses, he had no clue that he’d just dropped an atom bomb.

Having babies was not something Keisha was willing to contemplate. They were something she hadn’t been forced to discuss before they were married and she’d been operating under the vain and foolish hope that somehow, she could avoid the subject for, say, the next thirty or more years ‘til she was too old to have them. But that wasn’t true either, because even before the ‘I do’s’ Jay had mentioned wanting sons and she’d easily avoided talking about it because neither of them had been confident about taking care of themselves let alone children.

“Tea or a cappuccino?”

Jay had moved on to making the hot breakfast beverages. Following their Saturday morning routine of eating early at their kitchen table and talking about their week, Keisha was going with him to the store.

Almost a year ago, Jay had acquired a small photo business in town, a modest place that was barely enough for him to eke out a living at. But now it was taking off, because he’d turned it into a photo studio where he took family portraits and vanity shots, booked events and did natural light photography of engaged couples and women seeking glamorous headshots for dating sites.


It was the only way Keisha was able to have caffeine—with frothy, warm milk that almost masked the taste. Jay had gotten her a machine for her twenty-sixth birthday, his attempt at a joke about her past as a barista in a Brooklyn coffee shop. The real gift had been four days in South Beach, a belated honeymoon in a resort where all their needs were taken care of from sun up to sundown. Hands down, those days had been the happiest of Keisha’s life—just her and her man, thinking about no one and nothing else, wrapped up in the newness of being married, and in each other. The way it was supposed to be.

After eleven months of marriage, Jayson Holmes was still the most incredible stroke of luck to have happened to her in her entire life. Every day began with her staring at him, and wondering at the cosmic mistake had led to her finding him, and having him fall in love with her, of all the women in the world who might have had him.

“So what d’you think?” Jay asked looking over his shoulder. “You stop taking the shots and then take the Pill instead so that if we want to get pregnant sooner, it’ll only be a month before we can try for real.”

“I don’t know,” Keisha said, shoveling a piece of toast in her mouth to avoid giving a full answer.

“Or,” Jay said, “we could just … roll the dice.”

At that, Keisha almost choked on her bread. She swallowed hard, now eager to get some words out, because that ridiculous suggestion could not go unanswered.

“We’re nowhere near ready for something like that. Your business just got off the ground, I’m going to …”

“But you’re assuming it would happen right away. Sometimes it takes a while. And I read that when you’ve been on the shots, it sometimes takes longer.”

“Where have you been reading stuff like that?”

“The internet. I looked it up.”

He’d been looking up stuff about going off birth control and conception times? Holy shit.

Surprise Sample: From ‘Wife’

snow_covered_treesWaking up in a house, a whole, entire house—and not a row house, either—with a large backyard and lots of different rooms never got old. Each morning, Keisha stretched before she got out of bed and her arm collided with the side of Jay’s head; that was if he didn’t have one of his large arms draped across her, effectively pinning her to the mattress. Most of the time she didn’t want to lift it. The smoothness of his caramel-colored skin, the veins, the bulges—she liked everything about sleeping next to Jay but Keisha particularly liked opening her eyes, feeling the weight of her man’s large arm across her middle and realizing that she wasn’t alone.

This morning she lifted the arm because she needed to pee, and scooted to the edge of the bed, sitting up. Raking both hands through her hair, she padded to the adjoining bathroom, dropping the seat and falling onto it, listening to herself tinkle.
Through the bathroom window, Keisha spotted a branch, laden with freshly-fallen snow. The flakes had been so light when they’d fallen that the snow stacked vertically, the height probably a precise representation of the number of inches that fell. And with the pale morning sunlight, the white was that much brighter, the rays of sun creating prisms of color about the branches, like a halo.

Quickly wiping herself and then washing her hands, Keisha rushed back into the bedroom and jumped on the bed, careful to avoid Jayson’s injured hand. He turned and moaned in his sleep, but undeterred, Keisha grabbed his shoulder and shook as hard as she could.

“Go away,” he muttered. “I’ll break you off later.”

Keisha laughed. “Whatever, man. You’re the one who keeps jumpin’ me this time . . .”

“C’mere, then. Lemme ‘jump’ you some more.” With his good hand, Jay reached around and pulled her down on top of him, trying to plant a kiss on her lips.

“Stop,” Keisha said, turning her head. “I have mornin’ breath.”

“Me too, so it cancels out,” Jayson said chewing wetly on her neck.

“Ugh. No, it doesn’t either.” Keisha let him do his work on her neck nevertheless and squirmed, because it was making her feel a little tingly, in spite of what she said. Then she recalled what her mission had been originally. Jayson lifted her tank and was kissing her stomach, making it ripple and tremor involuntarily. His morning erection was pressed against her calf so she moved her leg, back and forth, stroking it that way.

“Why do I have to get up?” he asked against her stomach.

“I saw a picture you should take.”

Jay’s head shot up and he looked at Keisha with sleepy yet curious eyes.

“A picture I should take?”

“Yeah, c’mon, lemme show you.”

Without his lips pressed against her abdomen, lucidity returned and Keisha arose from the bed and headed back to the bathroom. Jay followed, a considerable protrusion from his groin preceding him. First, he took care of business, just lifting the toilet seat and peeing right there in front of her.

Keisha watched, fascinated, and Jay looked over at her as she watched, rolling his eyes.

“Never seen a man take a piss before?” he asked.



“No.” Keisha shrugged, feeling her face grow warm. “I never had, like, this kind of relationship before.”

All her prior boyfriends had been of the hit-it-and-run variety. Always having someplace to be almost immediately after sex. Jayson was the first one ever to want to just . . . hang out in bed with her before and afterward, and to even after that, drag her with him into the shower, or to the kitchen to get food to re-fuel. After four consecutive days together, she didn’t detect any signs that he was tiring of having her around, and even when she went out to the sun porch or some other part of the house to give him breathing room, he’d come looking for her within twenty minutes.

Jayson looked at her for a while and then smiled. “Okay, what’s the picture I should take?” He reached for her but Keisha danced out of his reach.

“Ew! Wash your hands, Jay!”

Complying with her request he turned to her once again. “The picture?”

“Look out the window,” Keisha said.

Jay looked. He looked for so long, Keisha thought maybe he didn’t see what she had seen, and wouldn’t get it. But after a minute or so, he turned and smiled.

“You have a good eye.”

“Want me to get your camera?” Keisha beamed back at him.

“Yeah, but I’ll need your help. My hand . . .”

“Sure, I’ll help.” She ran out of the bathroom and took the steps two at a time and grabbed Jay’s Nikon from the front entryway table where he’d left it, running back upstairs. Jay was still staring at the image he had yet to capture.

“I might’ve looked at this a million mornings,” he said. “And never seen it. You’re going to be a bad-ass stylist, y’know that?”

Keisha laughed. “I don’t see how this . . .”

Jay turned. “You have an eye for detail. That’s key, no matter what the visual art. And that’s kind of what styling is, right? A visual art, using fashion.”

Nodding, Keisha tried not to grin like an idiot again. She could have sworn Jay didn’t take her ambition to be a stylist seriously. That he thought of it as silly and frivolous. But to hear him call it a ‘visual art’? That just about made her entire day.

She helped him get the position he wanted, which would have him capturing the image of the branch, but framed by the window, so that the picture would be an exact representation of what they saw. Then he opened the window and took one without the obstruction of the windowpanes. The cold air blew into the room and Keisha squealed, jumping up and down before settling into the position Jay needed her to be in to hold the camera for him. Four more shots later, and they were done.

“Let’s look at them and see which the best ones are,” Keisha urged.

“Nah,” Jay said. He reached into the bedroom and rested the camera on the dresser. “Let’s take a shower.”

Then he reached for her, and even with one good hand, had her undressed within seconds.
After they were scrubbed clean with a minimum of shower hanky-panky, teeth brushed and breath fresh, Keisha felt her stomach beginning to rumble.

Today, no matter what, they were going into town for breakfast because she was sick of eggs, which was all she knew how to cook for breakfast food. She said as much, as she walked naked out of the bathroom. Jay had gotten out of the shower moments before her and she almost collided with him where he was crouched next to the dresser, fidgeting with the camera once again.

“How do they look?” she asked.

“How does what look?”

“The pictures of the branch.”

“I wasn’t looking at the pictures of the branch. I was setting something up.”

Keisha turned and saw that he’d positioned the camera on the edge of the dresser, pointing it at the bed, with its tousled sheets and askew pillows.

“I want to take a couple shots of you. And of us,” Jay said.

Keisha’s face fell.

Guys always wanted to do this. Get photographic mementoes. She’d done it for a couple guys and it always made her feel cheap afterwards. Now Jay wanted that as well. Inside her chest, the sadness that always lived there—though dormant lately—waited to rear its head.





KeishamorningKeisha loved snow.

It hadn’t stopped since late the previous afternoon, coming down in determined curtains, making it difficult to see even the buildings across the street. Around six p.m., the storm almost seemed to be losing strength, though the sky remained gray, and Jay had gone out to clean off his truck, preparing to get on the road so he wouldn’t have too bad a time of it later. Keisha remained inside, crossing her fingers and toes, hoping for more snowfall. Her wish was mercifully granted, and Jay returned only a half hour later when a new round made it impossible for him to remove snow as quickly as it took for the truck to become covered once again.

And so their evening had been spent watching television, eating take-out from one intrepid pizza place that was still doing deliveries, and playing cards. Keisha remained on alert, waiting for him to say he had to at least try to get home. But she knew he’d given up when around eight-thirty he took off his boots and shrugged his long-sleeved shirt over his head, leaving only his undershirt, and tormenting her with the view of his strong, tattooed arms and hard, broad chest.

Watching three movies one after the other, it was almost two in the morning when Jay finally helped her pull the sofa-bed back out, and Keisha showered and changed into a long tank, for sleep. Jay showered as well, emerged from the bathroom with a towel wrapped about his waist, apologizing for having to sleep naked, because he couldn’t put on what he called “stale drawers” after getting clean. He kept the towel on while he watched yet another movie, lying atop the covers while Keisha snuggled beneath them, trying to stay awake in case he decided he wanted to touch her.

She didn’t know what time it was when she finally fell asleep but it was very late, the snow was still falling and Jay still hadn’t touched her.

As the sun rose in the horizon now, casting a pale light into the room, Keisha was up with it.

Next to her under the covers, Jay slept on. All night he had remained carefully on one side of the bed, his back turned to her. Keisha knew because she woke intermittently, tired though she was, just to make sure he was still there. But now he was facing her. She liked this new haircut, the Mohawk that faded so his hair was low on both sides, but peaking in the center.

Wanting more than anything to lie there and stare at him, Keisha realized her bladder had other plans and slid out to go pee. She hoped he would remain asleep while she was gone, and stay asleep for many more hours. If he did, she wouldn’t wake him, and when he got up she would use as an excuse the fact that he had been up late, and she didn’t want him to be too tired to drive back upstate in bad weather.

But no such luck. As she was brushing her teeth, she heard the television come on in the other room, and the sound of changing channels.

“You up?” she called, trying to sound less disappointed than she felt.

“Yup,” Jay’s voice was hoarse. “Hurry up in there unless you want me to wet your bed, or piss in your kitchen sink.”

“God, Jay that’s disgusting.” Keisha emerged from the bathroom and almost swallowed her tongue.

Overnight, Jay appeared to have abandoned his modesty and was standing in the middle of her studio apartment stark naked, the indisputable evidence of his manhood straining to point due north, but bowing under its own weight.

“Sorry,” he said, putting down the TV remote and pushing past her. “Gotta go.”

Keisha stood stock still for a moment, trying to regain some semblance of composure.




MarcuspromoAThe building was quiet. As she made her way down to the ground floor, the chill seemed to enter Keisha’s very bones. Supposedly, it got slightly warmer once it snowed, but it sure didn’t feel like it.

“Hey, Miss Crawford, what you doin’ up so early?”

Keisha stiffened at the sound of the familiar voice, and the sardonic way in which, ‘Miss Crawford’ had been pronounced.

Marcus lived on the third floor. Tall, and brown-skinned with a trim, slender physique and a suave manner, he’d moved in a few months after Keisha had. All the women in the building, most of them married Moms, had gossiped about how much he looked like Blair Underwood. He looked nothing like Blair Underwood, but Keisha understood the comparison—he had the same kind of cool, that same quiet charm. And he exercised that charm very liberally, though usually not on her. With her, he was sarcastic.

Right now, he was standing at the mailboxes, wearing a suit, jacket in hand, shirt unbuttoned at the neck, tie hanging open. He’d clearly spent the night elsewhere and was just making it back. Smiling at Keisha, he looked her over from head to toe, the way he always did when he saw her, like he could see through her clothes, like he could see through her.

“Good morning,” she said. Glancing at him, she paused at the door to pull on her knit hat.

“Better pull that zipper all the way up to the neck as well,” he cautioned. “That Hudson Hawk is whipping up out there like nobody’s business.”

Keisha looked at him. Her father, Rey, called it that as well—the Hudson Hawk—the wind that came off the Hudson River during the cold months and made New York feel like Little Antarctica on the worst days.

“I’m just going across the street,” she said. “I think I’ll make it.”

“I’m sure you will,” Marcus said. “I got a feeling about you. That you’ve survived a lot worse.”

Marcus said things like this all the time. Like he knew her or something. It was among the many reasons Keisha didn’t like him. He looked at her, talked to her like he knew. Occasionally she wondered whether he’d heard something. But in New York, girls with pasts like hers were a dime a dozen, so she was probably being paranoid. Most of the time, she ignored Marcus’ tone if she couldn’t avoid him altogether.

Janine, who lived on the top floor, told her Marcus was a promoter or something like that. Wasn’t everybody? New York was positively overflowing with people who wanted to sing, dance, act, promote or manage celebrity clients. That was a world Keisha had tasted, and her memories of it were quite bitter.

“I didn’t see your man’s truck out there,” Marcus continued. “Snow kept him away? Wouldn’t keep me away.”

A few times—a few times too many for Keisha’s taste—she’d run into Marcus as she was entering or leaving her building with Jay and the two men had exchanged greetings the way men do. During those exchanges Marcus never looked at her the way he did when he ran into her alone. Probably because he worried that if he did, Jay would kick his ass.

“He’s not my man,” Keisha said.

As much as she didn’t like him, she always allowed herself to be dragged into these little verbal sparring matches with dude for some reason. And the minute she said it, she regretted telling him that she and Jay weren’t involved like that. Her new habit of telling the truth was often inconvenient.

“Is he gay?”

“No,” Keisha almost laughed. “He’s not gay. But he’s just not my …”

“Yeah? Good to know,” Marcus started up the stairs toward his floor. “Y’all look like a couple in a Macy’s ad, so naturally I thought … Anyway, good to know, Miss Crawford.”



I’m not sure I’ve ever actually met a “whole” person in my life, and I happen to believe that we can all give ourselves over to love even when we’re broken. And aren’t we all? Even just a little bit? The first time I tackled the ‘broken-and-in-love’ thing was with Tracy in ‘Unsuitable Men‘. Homegirl had some serious issues going on: knew she was beautiful but felt ugly, wanted a perfect man while knowing full well she was a very imperfect woman . . . But she still fell head over heels, deeper-than-the-ocean in love.

After her, I was hooked. And I did another broken character in ‘The Seduction of Dylan Acosta‘, and then again in ‘Secret‘. And now, in ‘Wife‘, there’s Keisha. Boy, is she ever broken. The things she’s done, the ways she’s undervalued herself–she should be a mess. And she was. Now, she’s beginning to put herself back together, and while she does so, maybe that leaves room to expose the ‘brokenness’ in the man she loves, Jayson.

As tempting as it was to write the kind of book where a “good guy” comes and rescues the “bad girl” from herself, I couldn’t do it. If you read ‘Mistress’, you know that there was no way Jayson wasn’t just a little bit broken himself, given what he’d been through, and furthermore, let’s face it, sometimes love is just the broken part in one person being drawn to the part of another person that they think will help them heal. I’m not saying that’s the healthiest kind of love, just that sometimes that’s just the way it is. And when that is how it is with a couple, how does it play out? When one of them begins to heal, and is a little less broken, what changes between them?

In ‘Wife’, that’s where I went with Keisha and Jayson. Expect no knights in shining armor from me. And no fair maidens either. I like the messy ones; the ones who’re broken. Hang with me a little bit–let’s see if they can put themselves back together.

Happy Reading.



Part I of the ‘Mistress’ trilogy.

Keisha Crawford is at a crossroads. Just when she thought she’d finally risen above the scandal in her past, her latest “sugar daddy” passes away, and now she’s being evicted from the luxury penthouse she thought was hers. Slinking home to her father’s house with her tail between her legs, Keisha’s only goal is to get out of Brooklyn and back to the lifestyle that she’s become accustomed to. But when you go home again, it’s that much harder to let go of the person you used to be.




Part II of the ‘Mistress’ trilogy. 

No longer a mistress to wealthy, much older men, Keisha Crawford isn’t certain who or what she is anymore. But one thing she is sure of is how she feels about Jayson Holmes, the handsome-as-sin ex-con who gave her a reason–and the courage–to change. Jayson’s going through an identity crisis of his own. He wasn’t the kind the man who was supposed to wind up in prison, and now that he’s out, he’s serving a different kind of time—living in regret for all that he’s missed, the relationships fractured and opportunities gone for good. 

Now Jayson needs to make some changes and build a new life. But when he does, he just may find that Keisha shouldn’t be part of it.