Genres: African American Romance, Contemporary Women
Looka herr, @NicoleFalls, I’m posting a Sample Sunday JUST FOR YOU!
As per normal– this sample is unedited and subject to change before publication. No release date as yet, but sometime this spring for sure!
“Who did you hire to do your divorce, Vanessa? Sylvia Kincaid stripped Dennis to. the. bone.” Karen made slicing motions with her hands, then laughed maniacally. “He probably can’t buy toilet paper right now.”
I wanted to roll my eyes, both at the mention of Sylvia and at Karen’s ex-husband Dennis. Karen was the stereotypical “dancing to put herself through school” dancer. She was just there for the paycheck, not romance, so she resisted advances from the older, handsome gentleman for years. When her financial aid fell through one semester, Dennis stepped up to the plate. He swore he wasn’t trying to change her, wasn’t trying to rescue her. But, like Warren, he eventually expected her to be a Stepford Wife. Stay home, have babies, join the PTA, volunteer. Entertain his corporate buddies and be the pretty, sexy, chocolate thing on his arm.
The divorce was bitter and brutal and dragged on and on, due in part to Sylvia going for the jugular at every turn. I knew exactly how she worked and how much it cost to retain her because of Karen.
“I had a consultation with Sylvia, but… well, she rejected me.” I mumbled the last part under my breath.
“Rejected you. As a client? How does an attorney do that?”
“She found out I don’t have any money, and neither does Warren and basically kicked me out of her office. If you don’t look like a million bucks and aren’t swimming in diamonds, she’s not interested.”
“Uhm… okay….” Karen paled, as much as a caramel toned woman could pale. She pawed at the rocks in her ears, then the pendant dangling from her neck. The diamond encrusted watch she wore was blinding when it caught a ray of sun just right. “Is that a dig at me? You think I was wrong for going after everything I could?”
“Don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t say that.”
“You may as well have. If you have a point to make, come on with it.”
“Karen.” Sonja glared until Karen huffed, rolled her eyes and tossed her napkin on the table, then pushed her chair back and got up. We all watched her shapely hips sway side to side, her extra high Louboutins striking a rhythm so strong that the entire deck vibrated with each step.
“Did I sound like I was coming at her? I wasn’t saying—”
“We know,” interrupted Evin. She rolled her eyes and propped an elbow on the table, resting her fingers on her temple. “Ever since the divorce hit the paper, her phone’s blowing up with bloggers trying to get interviews, her Facebook page is a mess and Twitter has named her Karrine Steffens, Jr. She’s about to have a nervous breakdown.”
“You were saying,” Sonja said, gesturing me to continue with her fork before spearing a syrup soaked slice of waffle. “Your attorney.”
“Well, I did end up hiring a Kincaid. One of her sons. I ran into him while I was trying to get out of that office. He asked if I was a client. I said no and he seemed surprised. He gave me his card and told me to call him.”
I lifted and lowered my shoulders in a that’s that shrug. Karen stomped back to the table and resumed her seat. She was obviously still fuming, but didn’t say a word. She picked up her knife and fork and proceeded to eat chicken and waffles as furiously as I’d ever seen a person eat.
“Which of her sons is doing your divorce?” Tania was on her mobile phone, her long fingers clicking through screens. “There’s Garrett, Greggory, Gabriel and Gibson.”
“Gibson,” I answered. Karen snorted, almost choking on her food. “What did I say, now?”
“Nothing,” she answered. “It’s just… Gibson is cheap.”
“Okay, I don’t care how cheap he is; bro is foooiiinnneee,” Evin, swooned, grabbing Tania’s phone from her hands and enlarging the photo. She handed it around to everyone but Karen, who obviously knew what Gibson looked like. “All that pretty brown skin, looking like a Hershey bar. Wanna lick him up!”
“Sop him up with a biscuit, my mama used to say,” said Tania, taking the phone back. “How many of them are single? That one on the end looks like he has a steel rod up his ass.”
“That’s Garrett,” said Karen. “He’s married and not even worth tempting away. He’s so bland and boring. The other three are single but the two in the middle are so close they might be fucking each other.”
“Karen, what do you mean, Gibson is cheap? How much money does it take to file some papers?”
Karen shrugged, obviously still bristling and not in the mood to talk to me. “He just is. He takes a lot of…” She paused, making gestures with her hands before going back to her meal. “I don’t know. He’s like… a community lawyer. Nothing like everyone else at the firm.”
“That’s why I like him. He’s charging me based on what I can afford. He’s not spending a ton of money on things I can’t pay for, like private investigators and looking for money that isn’t there. I don’t care if Warren has a Swiss bank account. I just want to be his ex-wife sometime this decade.”
“Well, let’s not be hasty, honey,” said Sonja. “If he has money somewhere, you need some of that.”
“He’s talking about bankruptcy. He barely has a pot to piss in and the IRS is about strip him to. the. bone.” Despite being mad at me, Karen sent me a wry, sideways smile. And winked in my direction.
“I might get married, just so I can get a divorce and hire Mr. Gibson Kincaid,” said Tania, before closing the browser and tucking her phone away. “He’s nice to look at, at least.”
“He is more than nice to look at,” I admitted. “The day I met him he was wearing this amazing dark blue tailored suit. He was all broad shoulders and pretty smile and nice to meet you ma’am and manicured fingernails and good smelling cologne. The other night he brought my contract and paperwork to me at Sam’s and at one point he gave me this… look. It was probably innocent— I mean, I’m a client and he’s a professional. But it was all I could do to not climb over that table and into his lap. I almost wish he wasn’t my divorce lawyer.”
“Why?” Evin, her eyes growing wider when we all laughed at her question. “What?”
“Unh-unnnh,” Karen grunted. “Never sleep with the divorce attorney. It’s the oldest cliche in the book.”
“But… why?” Evin asked again.
“Think about it, Ev,” said Karen. “A divorce isn’t exactly a celebration. Every process, every court date, every argument is a reminder that you sucked at keeping your marriage together. You’re completely vulnerable, and on top of that, who knows how long it’s been since someone worthy has been close to the kitty. Somebody shows up, ready to make all your problems go away? And makes you feel like a winner? And don’t let him be even a little bit good looking.”
She shook her head, her lips in a downturn. “You’re just trying to get your rocks off and he’s ready to don his Superman cape.”
“Besides, I fell for that good lookin’, smooth talkin’, I’m here to rescue you mission ten years ago and look where I am now. Trying to divorce this shady motherfucker.” I gulped down a swallow of ice water, my gaze landing on the flowering Magnolias behind the cafe stirring in the light breeze. “No more men with an “S” on his chest for me.”