Evolution & Completion

mistresscover4I didn’t expect to feel this way.

Letting a character go, ‘finishing’ their story and moving on to the next is usually every easy for me. By the time I kick them out of my head and write ‘THE END’ I’m a little bit glad to see them go. Like a parent sending their kid off to college (which I’ve not yet done, so there is a strong possibility I don’t know what I’m talking about) there is sadness, but also eagerness to see what the next phase will bring.

This week, I finished my journey with Keisha, my main character in ‘Mother’, and I didn’t expect to feel so terrible about saying goodbye. I think it’s fair to say she’s my least-liked character. The backstory is, she did something in my book ‘Commitment’ that by some standards would make her an irredeemable human being. I’ve gotten numerous emails from readers saying some variation of, ‘I really love your work, but I can’t read about Keisha; I just can’t. I don’t even think she deserves a happy ending and I’m scared you’ll give her one.’

In ‘Mistress’, we see that there might be some merit to those strong emotions because Keisha has apparently learned nothing from prior experience and has gone on to live a life that other people would say only confirmed that she was “a bad person.” But I happen to believe that are very few “bad people” in the world. They do exist, I just don’t believe there are very many.

Wife Cover1f2In my other line of work as a lawyer, I often say about the people whose interests I represent (most of whom have broken some law, some of them in very hard-to-defend circumstances), “would you like to be judged in your totality as a human being on the basis of the very worst thing you ever did?” That question often causes people to become very pensive, thinking back to the time they, let’s say, told a vicious lie about someone, stole something, or committed some other act about which they are now very ashamed. And after thinking about it, they say something like, ‘no, I wouldn’t. I’m a better person than that act would indicate.”

And see, that is why I wanted to write about Keisha. In ‘Mistress’, ‘Wife’ and ‘Mother’ I wanted to write about the evolution of a woman who must learn not to judge herself on the basis of the worst thing she ever did, and not to define herself on that basis. She has to learn self-acceptance and self-love. And of course, there’s a little romance thrown in there as well, but Keisha’s romance is also about learning to love yourself enough to believe you deserve love from someone else; someone worthy. So for me, the more important love story is that which Keisha begins to have with herself.

How does a ‘mistress’ learn she can be more?

How does a woman who was a ‘mistress’ embrace the role of ‘wife’?

How does a wife who has no recollection of being mothered decide to become one herself?

Mother cover mistress FINALThat was what the ‘Mistress trilogy’ was really about for me. And so it stood to reason that once I had written ‘Mother’ I should be glad to let her go because from the standpoint of a writer, she has ‘evolved’ and is now ‘complete’. But Keisha’s complexity made it hard for me to end her story. And in fact, I couldn’t even bring myself to write the words ‘THE END’ as I customarily do.

Like that parent sending their kid off to college, I know they may never live with me again, but find myself thinking, ‘would it be so bad to just drop in for a visit?’ But that’s as far as I can go with that analogy because it would be a very bad parent indeed who never did drop in for a visit to their college-age kid. And sadly, in this case, I would be a very bad writer indeed if I could not simply let Keisha be … complete.

Happy Reading.


The Mistress Trilogy (based on the Commitment Series)

Mistress (Book One) On Kindle & Nook

Wife (Book Two) On Kindle & Nook

Mother (Book Three) On Kindle & Nook


comeup cover absolute final (1)THE COME UP

Jamal Turner is near the top of his game. Widely-known as the trusted right-hand man to music mogul Chris Scaife, he’s poised to become chief operating officer of his friend and mentor’s international recording conglomerate. But while his career prospects have never been better, Jamal is still plagued by the remnants of his humble beginnings, threatening to pull him back down just as he’s on the come up.

Makayla Hughes knows who she is and where she comes from, and she flat out refuses to allow working in the high-powered recording industry to change her. Just a simple girl from the South Bronx, she doesn’t care who knows it. But when she’s thrown into close quarters, working on a project with the notorious Jamal Turner, she begins to wonder whether her determination to ‘keep it real’ is also keeping her world very, very small.

Jamal is drawn to Makayla, but he can’t let the man he used to be stand in the way of the man he’s becoming. There’s no doubt she fits into the life Jamal used to have, but what’s not as clear is whether she belongs in the life he wants.

Mother cover mistress FINALMOTHER

The final part of the ‘Mistress’ Trilogy.

Married to Jayson Holmes, and managing school, an emerging interest in a fashion career, extended family and new friends, Keisha’s life has changed well beyond anything she ever imagined. But Jayson has even more changes on his mind–he wants to be a father.

But how can Keisha, who never believed she would even be a wife, come to terms with an even more challenging role? Will she rise to the occasion and embrace the joy, fear and uncertainty of motherhood? Or will she allow old habits–and old friends–to threaten the fragile peace she’s finally found?


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.


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.




Jay PromoA

It was dusk. All afternoon Jay and Keisha had been in bed, touching, tasting, teasing. He was pretty sure he fell asleep before she did. Reaching over next to him and feeling nothing, he sat up. Keisha was standing naked by the window, her back to him. Hearing the movement, she turned and smiled, but not before Jay detected the worry in her eyes.

Inclining his head he gestured for her to come back to him and she did. Pulling her close, Jay pressed his lips to her forehead, and Keisha leaned into him.

“What’s the matter?” she said.

“What d’you mean?” he asked.

“Before. When you picked me up, you weren’t talking. And then you were all over me and . . .”

“You didn’t like that?” Jay teased.

Keisha twisted her lips and sighed. “Jayson, you know what I mean.”

“No, seriously, you . . .”

“Okay, you need to hear me say it?” she asked. “No, I didn’t like it. I loved it. I love when you touch me. No matter how you touch me. Except . . .”

“Except what?”

“Except when you were behind me, at first,” she admitted. “I don’t like it when I feel like you don’t . . . see me.”

“Key,” Jayson turned her head, and looked her in the eye. “I always see you. What else would I see? Who else?”

At that her eyes flitted away and Keisha pulled in her lower lip.

“Now I should ask what’s on your mind,” Jay said.

“I just want . . .”

“You want . . ?” he prompted.

“To be the only one,” she said. “For once in my life, I want to be the only one.”

Jay hesitated. And not because the commitment of it frightened him. He liked women, and now that he was a man and no longer the boy he had been before prison, he realized just how much they liked him; but having played with the novelty of being physically desired over the past couple of years, Jay knew that his orientation was toward monogamy. Being with one woman didn’t scare him at all. Keisha, on the other hand, did.

She might think she was ready for him, for a relationship, but he wasn’t sure.

Whatever else Keisha had as positive attributes, she was still a little immature, a little selfish, and a lot spoiled. When they went grocery-shopping, Jay saw that she had no real sense of the value of money, and barely ever looked at prices; and when they watched TV, she was mesmerized by luxury items—cars, jewelry, ads for exotic vacations—she still had some traces of the girl who used to sleep with wealthy men just to earn access to the finer things in life. A woman like that might never be satisfied for long being with a man like him, who worked with his hands for a living and had a prison record that made it extremely unlikely he would ever have a traditional corporate career and the financial security that came with it.

Though he had no doubt that Keisha wanted him to herself, Jay just wasn’t completely sure why. It could be just natural territorialism, or it could be something more, the occasional flash of recognition in her eyes that told him they . . . knew each other on a deeper, more fundamental level. Maybe even more than anyone else knew them.

“When you were out there, on the road?” Keisha said. “Were there . . . like, women and . . ?”


“Like how many, some?”

There it was—her territorial nature. A woman used to sharing men with their wives shouldn’t have been this way, but it pleased Jay to know that with him, she felt differently.

“I don’t know how many.”

Keisha wrenched free of him and sat up, arms folded. “That many?”

“No. I just wasn’t counting or anything. A few, okay?”

“Are you in touch with any of them now?” she insisted. Her brow was wrinkled and her lips pursed into an angry line. Her jealousy was making him rock hard. He reached for her but she pulled back.

“No,” he said.

“And what about this chick up here? What’s her name again?”

“Key . . .”

“You don’t want to tell me?” she demanded.

“You’re not going to choke her out, are you?” he asked, referring to a run-in Keisha once had with a woman he was sleeping with.

Keisha rolled her eyes. “You’re not going to give me a reason to choke her out, are you?”

Jay laughed, in spite of himself. “C’mere. Crazy girl.”

He pulled her back down to him so that he was wedged between her butt-cheeks and reached around to touch her. She felt swollen, and Jay wondered if she was too sore, because damned if he wasn’t ready again. Keisha lifted her leg and moving it backward, hooked it around his so that she was open to him. Reaching around with his other hand, Jay cupped her breast. Keisha was ready for him within moments, and before he could, she moved slightly upward and forward then grasped him in her fist positioning him to enter her.

“If you don’t want me to be crazy, you won’t touch that bitch again,” Keisha said as he slid inside her.

“Uh huh.” Jay tried to form words, but couldn’t. She felt tighter than before, and was rolling her hips backward and forward, the motion almost hypnotic. He didn’t think he would last very long this time around.

Say it,” she insisted. “That you won’t touch her again. That you won’t touch anyone but me.”

“You want me to tell you whose dick this is, is that it?” Jay joked.

Grasping her about the waist, Jay took control of the situation and flipped Keisha over onto her back, pinning her arms high above her head and holding her in place. Using a knee, he parted her legs again and fell between them, avoiding her maneuvers as she tried to get him to enter her again, instead pressing himself upwards so he was gliding between her lips, stroking her with the underside of his erection.

Keisha squirmed and twisted beneath him, and Jay could see the combination of frustration and excitement in her features as she struggled against his firm hold.

“Stop playin’. . .

“I’m not playing.” Jay lowered his head and tongued the side of her neck, Keisha leaned into it, groaning now. “If it’s yours, don’t wait for me to give it to you, take it,” he breathed.

She tried, but still he held himself at bay, enjoying her contortions as she fought to get him inside her. Finally, pulling her knees up to her chest, managing to use his hold on her as an anchor, Keisha tilted her pelvis at the perfect angle for penetration. She opened her eyes then, and smiled her triumph. Jay had a feeling it would always be like this between them—a war between two strong, passionate natures. But just before she could bear down on him, Jay pulled back one last time.

“Look at me, Keisha,” he said.

She did right away, tilting her chin upward, her eyes meeting his, even as she continued to push against him. Jay was only just barely able to maintain his own control. But something needed to be said, and right now was the time to say it, when he had her complete attention.

“I’m yours, but you’re mine, too.”

“Yes,” she said, straining against him. Her hair was wild, her lips pink and bee-stung and her eyes frantic with need. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

“Now I want you to say it.”

“Nobody touches me but you,” Keisha said.


Wife Cover1f2You didn’t think I was done with Keisha, did you? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, get ‘Mistress‘ and get caught up before ‘Wife’ comes out later this winter.

SAMPLE SUNDAY is from ‘Wife’, COMING 2013!

Jayson was slowly extricating himself, sliding his arm from beneath Keisha’s head. She knew he was trying not to wake her because every Sunday evening it was the same thing—he had to drive back upstate, and she tried to persuade him to wait until morning. Then he would reason that it would make him late, she started a fight, and they sometimes parted on less-than-positive terms. Tonight, though, she’d promised herself not to be difficult about it. Instead she’d tried another approach—sex. Because she knew that he generally fell into a deep sleep afterwards, tonight Keisha had done her best to wear his ass out. Instead, she was worn out and Jayson still noticed the time and was now trying to make his getaway without the usual Sunday night dramatics.

“I’m not sleeping,” she said, just as he got to the edge of the bed and sat up. “So you may as well turn on the light and get dressed properly instead of sneaking out with your boots in your hand.”

Jay turned to look at her. “Don’t say it like that. I’m not sneaking out. You know I’ve got work first thing.”

“I hate that stupid job.” Keisha sat up, pulling the sheet up to cover her chest, and flipped on the lamp next to the bed.

Turning the lights out was to have helped ease Jay into Dreamland, but it hadn’t worked.

“That stupid job pays the bills,” he said, getting up and heading into the bathroom. He was still naked as a jaybird.

Keisha smiled. Naked as a Jay-Bird.

Every time she saw him naked, she couldn’t believe he was hers. It felt . . . indecent, that someone should be as lucky as she was, to have a man like that all to herself. And it wasn’t just the looks, either. Jay was that mythical creature that most women didn’t even believe existed—the total package. Not just handsome, he was also smart, ambitious, loyal, caring, and damned good in bed. That he would want her, after the things she’d done, was a minor miracle.

They’d met almost two years ago, when she made a temporary move back to her father’s house, displacing Jay from her old bedroom, which her father had rented to him. She was in a bad place and so was Jayson, having fairly recently gotten out of prison for a ten-year armed robbery beef. But even that hadn’t dimmed Jay’s appeal. Compared to the life she’d been living, as a mistress to wealthy, much older men, he seemed like an angel. And that’s what he’d turned out to be. He hadn’t saved her, but he sure as hell helped her save herself.