The Drama Continues…
The girls are back for Book #4 of the smart, sexy and heartfelt Company series about friendship, love and a whole lot of trouble in between. Things come to a head when the pain strikes closer to home. Renee, Danielle, Kayla and Nadine soon realize things are going to get worse before it gets better, but with friendship and prayer all things are possible. The drama has just begun! Start the series from the beginning:
In the Company of My Sistahs
Trouble Loves Company
Careful of the Company You Keep
“This book gives you drama, suspense, laughter and some very sincere moments.” Urban Reviews about the Company of My Sistahs
“A wild and crazy ride.” The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers about Careful of the Company You Keep
Enjoy a Sneak Peek
I sauntered into the ballroom well aware all eyes were on me. It took everything I had not to laugh.
That’s right! The bitch is back!
I had gone to a great deal of trouble making sure I had found the perfect black sequin gown, guaranteed to turn heads—off the shoulders, mermaid style, and it fit my new body like a damn rubber glove. No shame in my game. I had new 36C breasts and a flat liposuction-stomach, courtesy of my plastic surgeon. I looked good and everyone knew it.
As I moved across the ballroom floor in rhinestone-studded stilettos, I saw haters’ mouths drop and tongues wagging in disbelief. It took everything in me not to laugh because I knew what they were thinking.
I thought that bitch was dead.
No mothafuckas. I’m still alive and kicking better than ever.
Five years ago, I had gotten shot in the face by some dumb chick who thought I was fucking her man. Now mind you, I used to have a bad habit of dipping and dabbing with shit I had no business messing with. You know the saying, karma is a bitch. Well, she caught up with my ass. After battling temporary paralysis in my face and left arm, and years of physical therapy and surgery, I was brand spanking new. What mothafuckas tend to forget is that this bitch is rich, and with money anything is possible even if you have to fly all the way to Latin America to have surgeries performed you can’t get in the states.
Yes, the bitch is back!
As I sauntered across the ballroom feeling like girls run the world, small town folks whispered and stared. Go ahead! Check me out. Smooth caramel skin, hazel eyes, and shoulder length golden sister locs, I looked damn good!
I spotted my girls sitting at a table close to the dance floor, watching my grand entrance. Danielle rolled her eyes, Kayla shook her head, while Nadine was laughing. They know how I do, so I don’t know why they even try to act surprised.
“What’s up heffas!” I exclaimed once I reached them.
“About damn time,” Danielle mumbled.
“Hey girl,” Nadine chimed in.
“Hey mama.” Leaning down, I kissed her cheek then allowed my eyes to travel around the table as I was greeted by all the rest. Danielle was seated beside her husband Calvin. Nadine was with her wife Jordan. And Kayla was holding hands with Jermaine. There were two empty seats. I sat my ass down in one and put my purse on the other. Unlike the rest of them I had yet to find a man willing to put up with me.
“What I miss?” I asked.
“Not a damn thing,” Danielle muttered and I could tell she was bored. Good thing I had arrived.
I reached for a dinner roll, broke it and took a bite. “I figured as much so I decided to take a long, hot bath. The water felt too good I didn’t want to get out. When you’re not getting dicked down regularly, you gotta take what you can get,” I purred.
Danielle and Nadine laughed. The men cleared their throats. Kayla was rolling her greenish-brown eyes mumbling, “You’re ridiculous,” under her breath.
I didn’t give a shit.
“All you missed was a bunch of boring-ass introductions and ceremonial bullshit.” Nadine waved her hand clearly annoyed. “Dinner is about to be served and then it’s on to the dancing.”
With a sigh, I allowed my eyes to travel around the room. Everyone seemed to be booed up tonight. What the fuck! Hopefully, there was someone out this evening, dying to put his hands on me.
“Where’s all the single men? Calvin … Jermaine, I know y’all got some friends.”
They both looked uncomfortable, especially Calvin. Probably because I used to ride his dick long before he’d hooked up with Danielle. He knows firsthand my ass is a straight freak.
“Calvin, I thought some of your boys from the police squadron were coming?” Danielle asked.
He cleared his throat. “I think there are a few of them around here somewhere.” I found it funny that he was looking everywhere but at me.
I wouldn’t ever say this to Danielle, but after all these years I still think Calvin is attracted to me. Back in the day I would have used that knowledge to my advantage and done some scandalous shit but not anymore. Those days were behind me. But that didn’t stop me from admiring him. He’s fine. Tall, dark and sexy with eyes a woman could stare into for hours, and the icing on top was his slick bald head. Unfortunately, he had turned out to be just a tad bit too needy for my taste so our relationship had been short-lived. Now he was in love with my best friend. He stood by her when she needed him the most, and for that I would never get in the way of that shit.
I really wanted to find my own man because I’m scared of growing old alone. But men seemed to be intimidated by a strong, independent female and until I found a man who was up for the challenge, I would just have to get used to being by myself.
“We have exciting news,” I heard Jermaine say and noticed Kayla looking nervously up at him.
“What?” I asked.
“My beautiful wife was just promoted to Executive Assistant to the Dean.”
My eyes lit up. “Congratulations.”
“Thank you,” Kayla said and blushed, which is easy considering her complexion is so beige she could have passed for white if it wasn’t for her nappy-ass head. Kayla had been working at the medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia since forever. It was about damn time she’d gotten a promotion.
Congratulations went around the table and then food was being served. While I ate, I stared at the three couples sitting around the table who all appeared happy with their simple lives in this little-ass place. The only reason why I had even come back to my hometown was that after being absent for five years, I wanted everyone in Columbia to know I was doing better than ever. And what better opportunity than while attending the Black & White Ball to let the city know just how far you’ve come.
After I had recovered from the gunshot wound, I had moved away, deciding I needed a change of scenery. One of my writer friends lived in Virginia Beach. She’d raved about the place so much and once I’d visited the east coast, I was hooked. It was a military area and getting some good dick was never a problem. At first it was exciting and buck wild but after a while dating a new man each week had lost its initial thrill. My ass wasn’t getting older— just wiser—and I had reached a stage of my life where I was interested in finding someone who offered a bit of stability. It’s funny because at one point a man had been the last thing I needed. Now I wanted what everyone else at the table had. Even Nadine and Jordan were happy. If a lesbian couple can find happiness, hell, why couldn’t I?
During dinner, I glanced around the ballroom and noticed that some of the women were looking my way, sneering up their noses. Others were glaring at their men daring them to even think about glancing over in my directions. I found the shit hilarious because even after the accident, which left me with limited mobility in my arm, niggas were still drooling.
What can I say? I was a force to be reckoned with. People either liked me or couldn’t stand my caramel ass. Seldom was there any in between. Not that I really gave a flying fuck. Most of them had their own reasons for hating me. Hell, after all the shit I’d done over the years, I couldn’t blame them. But the others, were simply haters.
After dinner, I rose to mingle with friends I hadn’t seen in forever, determined to enjoy the Black & White Ball.
The three-day event which also included a barbecue in the park, was a kind of family reunion for high school graduates and former residents who came home every three years in August to socialize, see people they hadn’t seen in forever, brag about their lives, and show off their new man. I saw several former classmates, laughed, acted fake and then took photographs. The ones who had known I was coming had brought along a couple of my books that I was happy to autograph. Nothing had really changed. I’m serious. It was as if time had stood still. Mothafuckas were still doing the same shit they had been doing five years ago.
The ball was turning out to be a couple’s night and I’ll never tell them this, but I envied what my friends had, hell even Nadine. I’m strictly dickly, but it didn’t stop me from yearning for the fire I saw blazing in her eyes every time she looked at Jordan. What I would give for a man to look that way at me.
While they all bumped and grinded on the dance floor, I made my way over to the bar where a cute white guy was serving drinks.
“What would you like, pretty lady?”
“You keep talking like that and you can have me.” I knew I was flirting but shit I’m single. I can do that. But the way he suddenly looked flustered I knew he was not at all expecting that. Yeah, I know. I can come across a little aggressive at times, but I’m never going to stop doing me. “I’ll take a vodka and pineapple.”
“Coming right up,” he said and went off to make my drink.
“You need to leave that little boy alone.”
I swung around and my eyes widened at the sight of my favorite Columbia Police Officer. “Hey David!” I said and gave him a big hug. I drew back, but he tightened his arm around my waist.
“Hey beautiful. When did you get in?”
“This afternoon.” I had arrived in St. Louis last night and spent some time with my brother Andre and his family, then got up and hit the mall for the perfect dress because I refused to look like anyone else.
“Looking good.” He was staring at me like he wanted to lick me up and down.
David was definitely a consideration. He and I had history and I’d even given him some a couple of times, but the problem was I wasn’t looking for any more drama in this city. The last time had got my ass shot.
“Where’s your wife?” I asked.
His hold tightened even more. “We’re divorced.”
I gave him an exaggerated eyebrow raise. “Does she know that, because some women just don’t know how the fuck to let go.”
As he nodded his head he gave me this mischievous grin. “Yeah, she’s already married and moved to Kansas City.”
I felt myself getting excited about getting to spend my evening with Columbia’s finest down between my thighs.
“What about you? You ever get remarried?”
“Hell no,” I snorted rudely.
After my ex-husband decided he preferred dick to pussy, I spent the last five years trying to figure out who Renee was and what I wanted in my life so I could be a better woman when I did find Mr. Right. I knew in my heart David could never be the one, but maybe I was wrong. While I was here, it didn’t hurt to find out.
“Who you here with?” he asked and finally loosened his hold enough for me to wiggle away and get my drink.
“Danielle, Nadine, and Kayla.”
“Your crew.” He smiled knowingly as he paid the bartender.
“Pretty much.” I was pleased to see he was still the gentleman.
“How about saving me a dance?”
“I can do that.” I took that as my cue to leave and headed back across the room, swaying my hips suggestively. All eyes on me. I looked to my left, and right, then did a double-take when I spotted one of the last persons I wanted to see. Oh shit! It took everything I had not to laugh as I made my way back to the table and flopped down onto my seat.
“Kayla, is that your cousin and his wife over to the right, staring at me?”
I already knew the answer, but I waited until she followed the direction of my eyes and groaned. “Ugh, yes, and I’m never going to hear the end of it.”
Danielle met my eyes and we shared a look.
Kenny Johnson and his wife Reese. They had been engaged back when he was also fucking me.
I’m a best-selling author who has written dozens of books that were keeping my pockets fat. While I was messing around with Kenny, I had been writing a new book. Somehow during all that sucking and fucking, too many details about him and his fiancée ended up in the story. Hell, a lot more than I realized. Once the book had been released, the town’s reaction had been like a scene from the movie, The Help. I kid you not. Jaws dropped and tongues started wagging. Damn, I know I’m a good writer, but I hadn’t realized just how well I was able to describe members of our community until someone started identifying similarities to the main characters. I personally thought the shit was funny. Let’s be honest. I write fiction. Therefore, no one would have known I had been writing about her ass if she hadn’t told anyone her private business.
“Is he the one you wrote about in your book?” Nadine asked. She was the one who hooked me up with Kenny in the first place. He worked part-time as a mechanic and had repaired my daughter’s car.
It was Danielle’s turn to laugh. “Hell yeah, that’s them. I thought you knew that?”
I took a sip from my glass and faked ignorance. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t remember seeing that man or his wife’s name referenced anywhere in my got damn book.”
I would have said more if everyone at the table wasn’t looking confused and turning up their noses. Calvin knew me well enough to know I had done some dirty shit. Jerome looked as if he knew as well. There’s no telling how much about me Kayla had told him. Probably more than he cared to know. Personally, I believe divulging information about my past should strictly be done on a need-to-know basis.
I decided to change the subject. “How come you didn’t tell me David Lavell was single?”
“I didn’t think you would care.”
“David?” Calvin said and then frowned.
I was ready to say something smart, but the music changed and the couples jumped up and hit the dance floor again. Jordan excused herself and went to the bathroom.
Nadine nudged me in the arm. “You want to go to the boat after this?”
I could see the excitement in her eyes. Personally, I couldn’t understand why folks were so excited about going to the casino. But I guess when there’s nothing else to do what do you expect?
“Sure, why not?” I might as well have some fun while I was here.
David came and took my hand, leading me out onto the floor. I pulled him close and knew haters were watching. I didn’t give a fuck. Bitches keep your men close. Everyone knew my hot ass was liable to steal him. At least that was the person I used to be, but folks weren’t going to believe I changed so what was the point of trying. All they saw was a beautiful rich bitch with a history of man stealing.
“How long you here for?” David was staring down at me with this dreamy look in his brown eyes.
“Long enough,” I replied and smiled.
“Can I occupy your time?” David was licking his lips, all sexy and shit.
“Maybe.” There were no guarantees. Although I had always been attracted to David, we’d all changed in one way or another.
Danielle was dancing beside us and I caught Calvin looking over with disapproval. I didn’t give a fuck. I still remember the day Danielle walked in on him eating my damn pussy. Men were a trip.
I made it back to our table in time to see my son, Quinton, walking into the ballroom. I grinned. He was definitely a heart-breaker at six-three, dark-skinned with way too many tattoos, but that was apparently what everyone was doing to their bodies these days.
“Is that Tyra Morrison?” Kayla whispered and pointed.
I noticed the woman walking beside Quinton and frowned. “What the fuck he doing with that old skinny bitch?” Now mind you, she’s three years younger than me, and looked homely as hell.
“Nae-Nae, you didn’t know your son was fucking her?”
I could see Danielle thought that shit was funny. My son was just about to turn twenty-four, so you know I was not feeling that shit at all. It was bad enough he had a son he barely spent two seconds with.
“He called me last week at about two in the morning.”
I whipped around, eyes wide. “My son called you. For what?”
Kayla sucked her teeth. “Q was like, ‘Aunt Kayla can I get twenty dollars until payday’?”
I groaned. He could be so damn embarrassing. “I hope you cussed his ass out for calling you.”
She gave a dismissive wave. “Girl, no. I met him at the mall the next day and gave it to him.”
Danielle released a rude snort. “He still owes me the twenty-five I gave him last month. He’s been dodging me ever since.”
I would have to remember to give them back their money before I returned home. Otherwise, I’d never hear the end of it. “That’s your fault. Y’all need to stop giving him money.”
“You’re right, especially since Kenya says Q was high as a kite when she last saw him. Eyes all red and slurring.” Kayla’s gossiping ass had Calvin and Jerome looking at me like it was my fault or some shit.
“That’s all the time,” Danielle mumbled under her breath.
I hated listening to them talk about my son. Didn’t he know he had to represent? I couldn’t have him running around begging like a homeless drunk, making me look bad.
He finally made his way to our table with his old bitch beside him. Quinton walked over to me, dimples flashing. He was a mama’s boy. I loved his ass, but he knows I have no problem cussing him out if needed.
“Hey Mom. I was wondering if you’d made it.” He was grinning and looking like the little boy I had adored. I rose, smiled and gave him a big hug. The stench of weed and something I couldn’t identify was all over his clothes.
“Q, you stink,” I mumbled as I kissed his cheek. He tried to look offended but I wasn’t paying him any attention. My eyes were on Tyra. We’d gone to high school together. As I was going out she had been coming in. Three years. What the fuck was she doing with Quinton?
“Hello Tyra.” I didn’t even try to hide the fact that I didn’t approve.
Hey Renee? I figure anyone who could call me by my first name was too damn old.
“Hey Tyra,” Danielle called, grinning and shit. She was a retired cougar so the two had a lot in common.
I had a serious problem with it. I could see a year, maybe two, but we’re talking about a fifteen year age difference and the fact she knew I was Quinton’s mother should have been enough for her to have said hell no.
I stared at her tired outfit. As far as I was concerned, the only women who messed with a man that young had self-esteem issues. As for my son … he was just looking for another mama.
I looked from her to him. “I didn’t know you were coming tonight.” And bringing this old bitch.
“Yeah, I tried to hit you up earlier and tell you. Mom, let me holla at you a sec.” Quinton took my hand and led me away from the table.
I already knew what he wanted before the words had left his mouth.
“You think you can help me out?”
“With what?” I decided to play dumb.
He was looking down at me with those big puppy dog eyes of his. “I need to help Tyra with her rent. She’s short a hundred.”
I knew his ass was lying. His ain’t never been in the habit of helping some female with bills. In fact. The second she asked for a dime was the day Quinton was going to pack up his shit and move out.
I was definitely going to have to give his father a call, and see what the hell had been going on because the last time Mario and I spoke, he’d said Quinton was doing good.
I frowned but heard myself saying, “I guess. Call me tomorrow.”
“Thanks Mom.” You should have seen the way Quinton’s face lit up like I had promised to buy his broke ass a new car.
I went back to the table while he and Tyra moved to sit with her family. I just stared over there and wondered where the hell I went wrong. My son should have been graduating from college. Not working at Missouri Book Store riding a forklift. I know it was honest work, but when you have a child who’d had so much potential, you expect greatness. Tamara was getting ready to graduate with a degree in elementary education. That’s the shit I was talking about. High expectations for your kids.
“What the fuck?” I mumbled under my breath and couldn’t do nothing but shake my head.
Nadine was laughing. “I can’t believe Q is with her crusty ass.”
I wanted to snap back, “at least my son likes pussy” since her son was gay. When she first told me about Jay I fell out laughing. Nadine was married to a female and her son was engaged to another man. It definitely ran in the family. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against the LGBT community. They are still human beings and God’s children. I loved Nadine and simply adored Jay. I just found it humorous because I told her when he preferred Barbie to Tonka, she’d better get prepared, but Nadine had refused to believe me.
“I’m going over to say something to her,” I suddenly said.
“Uh-uh. Hell nah!” Kayla exchanged looks with Nadine.
“I’m serious. What the hell is a grown woman doing with someone practically the same age as her daughter?”
Danielle started laughing. “Do I have to spell it out to you?”
Even Kayla was getting a kick out of my misery. I didn’t see shit funny.
“Fuck all y’all!” I spat.
“Seriously, you need to chill,” Kayla said as if she had any control over the way I behaved.
“I want to know what he sees in her,” Nadine said and I knew her ass was just instigating because she knew it didn’t take much.
“Because he’s always trying to find someone who reminds him of his damn mama.” I was practically muttering.
“I don’t know why,” Kayla muttered. “One of you is more than enough.”
“No you didn’t.”
I guess Calvin knew I was two seconds away from going the fuck off because he rose and signaled for Jermaine to join him. “Man, I need a drink.”
Danielle waited until they were both gone before she glared across the table at me. “Leave the shit alone.”
“Not gonna happen! Did you see the way that thirsty bitch was smiling all up in my face as if to say, ‘yeah, I’m with your son, now what’?”
Nadine started laughing. “I thought I was the only one who saw that shit.” Jordan nudged her in the arm and mouthed for her to be quiet, but it was too late for that.
Danielle was trying her best to contain the situation. “Girl, just ask Q what the deal is before you get all bent outta shape?”
“I’mma ask his dumb ass, but in the meantime, I plan on talking to her woman to woman.” I was up out of my seat and strutting across the ballroom. I didn’t even have to look over my shoulder to know that Danielle was following. Kayla too. I think I had overheard Jordan telling Nadine to sit her ass back down. We all knew who wore the pants in that house.
“Bitch, where the fuck you going?” Danielle called after me.
“Come see.” I didn’t even break stride.
I kept on strutting. Some light-skinned dude tried to holla at me, but I smelled his breath before he could even get the words out. I halted him with my hand and didn’t miss a beat. I stepped out into the hall, looked left then right and caught Tyra’s anorexia ass stepping into the ladies room.
“Renee, stop!” Danielle grabbed my arm, but I jerked free of her hold.
“I’m just going to talk to her.” I took off, burst through the door and stepped inside.
Renee and the girls are back!
Misery & Company