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Can't Get Enough of Your Love
By J.J. Murray
KENSINGTON BOOKSCopyright © 2007 J.J. Murray
All right reserved.
Chapter OneI am not a whore.
I am not a lady of the evening. I am not a floozy. I am not a harlot. I am not a hooker. I am not a pickup. I am not a skank. I am not a nymphomaniac. I am not a pavement princess.
I am an average, ordinary woman.
I just have needs, and because of these needs, I have several men in my life. That doesn't make me a player, nor does that make me nasty. I have ... friends.
Friends with benefits.
It is a natural human need to be wanted, to be held, and to be caressed. I need to want a man, I need to hold a man, and I need to caress a man. I like to be wanted by a man, I like to be held by a man, and I love to be caressed by a man.
In fact, I like it so much that one man just isn't enough for me. I need a great deal of love, even if it isn't love at all. And while many people may disagree, it isn't all physical, this friends-with-benefits thing. We don't always end up in the bedroom.
Sometimes we end up in the kitchen, in the tub, in the shower, in the car, outside ...
Let me first make one thing perfectly clear: I am not addicted to sex. I lived more than half my life without sex, so I can live without it. I was not molested as a child, and I was not raped as a teenager. I did not sleep around in middle school. I do not need therapy. I do not have a screw loose. I am not nor have I ever been on medication other than an occasional aspirin. I am, as far as I can tell, a normal, healthy human being who likes to have sex.
There, I've said it. I like sex. It's one of God's greatest inventions. I like the way I feel when I'm having sex, and I love living forever in the time it takes to have sex. Why is it so wrong for a woman to enjoy what got us all here in the first place? My men obviously like to have sex with me, I feel sexy as hell (and I'm not any magazine's definition of beauty), and for a little while at least, I feel immortal.
As a normal, healthy human being, I was one of those people who used to think, Nah, that kind of thing would never happen to me. I'll be lucky to get and keep one guy. I believed in all that one-man, one-woman monogamy hype. I believed that it was not possible for a lady to see two or more men at the same time and remain a lady.
I don't believe any of that anymore. I'm all about breaking traditions and stereotypes, and I know I'm not the only woman out there doing it.
At least I hope I'm not the only woman doing it.
I can't be the only woman who enjoys the chase, the anticipation, the foreplay, the pawing and gnawing, the raw emotion, the grunting, and the sweaty sighing. And if I am the only one, so be it.
I know that I'm not supposed to enjoy sex because centuries of conditioning (I paid attention in my psych class at Virginia Western) have taught women not to enjoy sex. Just lie back and take it, we've been told.
I do not just lie back and take it because I do not live in the past.
I do not live in a past that said women could not own land, testify in court, vote, smoke, drive, play sports, have their own orgasms, get jobs, run corporations, or campaign for president. To people who think that way I say, "Get over yourselves. The twenty-first century is the century of the woman. We still need equal rights in the boardroom and the bedroom. We still need equal rights in the workplace and the sleeping place."
I doubt that Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report will see it that way and run nice cover stories on my new sexual revolution, but ... that's how I feel.
So who are these men in my life? I call them Earth, Wind, and Fire. Roger McDowell ("Earth"), Karl Henderson ("Wind"), and Juan Carlos Gomez ("Fire") are friends first and lovers second, and a person can never have too many friends. A friend in need is a friend indeed, right? Even the Bible says that a friend loves at all times.
I just get more, um, friendship than most women I know.
Men who do this kind of juggling get nothing but praise and envy from other men and even from some women. They get called "Casanova" or "Don Juan" or "Prince Charming," or, well, Hugh Hefner. They get to be called "studs" and "wolves," not "pavement princes." Not all men act this way—now, not even a majority—but I guarantee there are a lot of men who wish they could keep three women on a string, and not just for the physical excitement. They all crave the praise of their peers. They want to hear, "Look at him. Look what's he's got. That man has got it made in the shade."
I guess I crave praise, too, but not from other women. I get praise from the three men I "hang and bang with," according to my best friend, Izzie. As for other women—or other people, for that matter—let's just say they don't know what I'm doing (not even my mama!) because so far I have kept everything quietly under control. Oh, Izzie knows everything, but she keeps her big trap shut as a best friend should. Izzie seems to live all of her sexual fantasies through me, and I can't let her lose those fantasies, can I?
Anyway, if my men (did I mention I have only three?) want to see other women when they're not with me, that's okay. As long as they wear condoms every time with every one of their hos, I'm cool with it. They have needs, too, right?
Just think: If all of us had friends with benefits, what a better world we could have. For one thing, we couldn't have Republicans or Democrats anymore. They don't want anyone to be friends. Two, the Society of Friends would increase its membership rolls. The Shakers or Quakers or whatever they're called could finally have some fun on Sundays. And three, the TV show Friends would still be on the air. Wasn't that show what "friends with benefits" was all about? Hmm? Who didn't do whom on that show?
I would have done Joey, Chandler, and Ross—in that order.
I have my standards.
I have three friends who, let's say, entertain me, who make me feel like a natural woman for a couple hours a week. Roger is my earth brother, my soul, my Mr. Meat 'n' Potatoes, who likes good conversation before, during, and after good and often kinky sex. Karl is my wind-brother, my roots, my Mr. Hot Wings 'n' Corn Bread, who has to do it loud, proud, and rowdy. And Juan Carlos is my fire brother, my passion, my Mr. Salsa 'n' Pinto Beans, who likes to make fierce, passionate, hot love to me. Put them all together and I have a man who doesn't drink, smoke, or do drugs around me; has curly hair, dark eyes, six sets of hands; speaks two languages; loves to make love to me; always wears a condom; and weighs over five hundred pounds.
Just kidding. They average maybe one seventy, one eighty each.
And no, I do not entertain them all at once. That can never happen, nor is it even one of my fantasies. Okay, I do have the fantasy involving Roger and chocolate whipped topping (the fat-free kind) and the one with Juan Carlos involving long-stem roses. Oh, and one with Karl and some chocolate-covered strawberries, but that's neither here nor there.
When I really think about my situation, I realize that I'm doing all three of my men a favor. I don't require their love and devotion, I don't require a commitment, I don't require their money (just their time), and I don't even require their faithfulness. Why ask a man for what he cannot, does not, or is unwilling to provide? Why ask a man to do what he is not wired or programmed genetically to do?
Oh, I used to want all that commitment stuff, as if my stuff was so good that a man would want only me morning, noon, and night. Four bad relationships in a row after high school taught me otherwise. My stuff is good, and I know how to entertain. But the men I was committed to back then had fifteen-minute (or less) attention spans. Oh, they said the right things, like "You're my one and only boo, Lana," and "Lana, you're my everything," and "I only want to be with you, Lana," but their body language always said otherwise. They had one foot out of the bed, one hand grasping a pair of boxers or drawers, and one set of eyes looking for the bathroom, the kitchen, and the exit, usually in that order.
Why three? Why not three? Four might be a little hard to juggle. There are only seven days in a week, leaving me six days to entertain and one day to rest. Three men work out just fine. Even God rested after six days, you know.
And Sunday is when Izzie usually shows up. If the world could hear what Izzie and I talk about, we'd be the most scandalous kind of reality TV. But it's not as if my three amigos are that consistent and I'm getting some every night. It works out to maybe twice a week (just under the national average) with at least one earth-shattering, window-breaking, make-the-bullfrogs-wanna-holler-at-the-moon orgasm. I get their friendship, their warmth, their focus, and then ...
Goodbye. Adios. See ya. Aloha. Ciao.
Not one of them stays the night, not one of them has a drawer of his very own, not one of them leaves a toothbrush in my bathroom, and not one of them has a special shelf in the refrigerator.
They're here, they're not.
I even use air freshener to cover the scent of their various colognes. I prefer to use Oust, since it completely eliminates their odors.
As a result, I'm never lonely. How can I be lonely when I have my space, I allow them to invade mine (twice if they're nice), and they're cool with the leaving part? And as far as I can tell, none of my men has grown tired of me.
Don't knock it—or me—until you put your fantasies to good use and try it.
Chapter TwoI have always had more male friends than female friends, and for that, I can blame my parents.
Earl Davidson and Lana Cole hooked up one foggy night in Norfolk (Nah-Fuck), Virginia, when they were in their early twenties, and made me, Erlana Joy Cole. There has always been more "Earl" in me than "Lana." As for "Joy," well, I believe you have to make your own joy in this world, and "Joy" makes an appearance every now and then. I have never been girly enough for my mama or boy enough for my daddy. I'm in between, though I lean Daddy's way. And after twenty-five ... ish ... years (I can still pass for twenty-three on a good day), I realize that my pug nose, wide light brown eyes, and peanut head are not what Mama envisioned when she started messing with my daddy.
Yes, I have a peanut head, and I've grown to be proud of it. Mama had to have a C-section when she had me, and the doctors didn't squish my head down far enough after I was stuck for three hours inside Mama's vagina. They could have molded my head as round as Mama's or made it squarish like Daddy's, but no—they made me into a peanut. I don't look like either of my parents because of that, and the shit I took from my classmates in elementary school was brutal. They called me "Peanut Head," "Mrs. Peanut Head," and "Nutty." One kid even called me "Mrs. Potato Head," but he was one of those kids who rode the short bus and also thought he was the black Power Ranger. Eventually, I became "Peanut," which wasn't so bad except that I wasn't as small as one. I was born big, and I still kind of am. Only Karl calls me "Peanut" now. Roger and Juan Carlos call me "Lana," though the way Juan Carlos says "Lahhh-na" is so much sexier.
My daddy called me "E," and he was smoof. I mean, any grown man who could watch The Smurfs all the way through with me had to be smoof. Daddy had a voice like Sugar Bear from the Super Sugar Crisp commercials and he could mimic Papa Smurf perfectly.
It's smoof to have a daddy who can do that when you're a kid.
After he popped Mama's coochie and popped in and out of my life until I was eight, he popped into thin air, which was hard for him to do. The man was huge and had absolutely no neck—just shoulders and a head with a rectangular jaw, piercing dark brown eyes, a curly kit—and big hands, like a boxer's hands, with big old ashy knuckles. He didn't have a pimp stroll, chains, flared plaid pants, or Adidas sneakers. My daddy wore jeans, a stained hooded gray sweatshirt, and kick-ass black steel-toed boots every day. But that was because of his job as a welder for NorShipCo. He'd come home with dirty nails, dirt streaks on his face, and the smell of the sea mixed with sweat and Hai Karate aftershave after working on Navy ships, cruise ships, and even long oil tankers. He would take me to a park near his house on West 29th Street (when The Smurfs weren't on), and we would play football.
And my daddy hit hard.
I didn't actually tackle him—you know, take him completely down—until I was seven, and I didn't score a touchdown on him until I was eight. Four years of shutouts, tears, bruises, cuts, and Band-Aids. Mama didn't like it, mainly because my teachers were forever calling home to accuse her of child abuse, but I loved it. I lived football, and I know more about football than most guys do. I can tell you the results from every Super Bowl since 1982. I know the difference between an H-back and a cornerback. I know that a cover two isn't what a bra does to your girls, I can tell if it's going to be a pass play just by watching the guards pull or stay home, and I have a pass-rushing swim move that would make any defensive end in the NFL green with envy.
I even play semi-pro football for the Roanoke Revenge in the National Women's Football Association. That's right. We're women wearing pads more than once a month, but only in the springtime. We don't get a paycheck—and we actually have to buy our own equipment—but at least I get to play the sport I love.
And no, I am not a wide receiver. I am a defensive end and tight end (and it is true!) on a lesbian team of white women ranging in age from eighteen to fifty. I am five nine and one hundred sixty pounds of black muscle, and no one says a damn thing about my peanut head when I have my helmet on.
Oh, the Revenge are horrible this year. We're 1–5 after two 70–0 losses to the D.C. Divas, two butt-kickings by the Pittsburgh Passion, and a thrashing by the Baltimore Burn. But I put my hand in the dirt, I get in my licks, I break some kneecaps, and I swim move and get my sacks. And if our prima donna quarterback would pass the ball to me more than to the women she wants to sixty-nine with, we might actually score a few more touchdowns before the season (mercifully) ends against the Erie Illusion, the only team worse than we are. That probably makes Erie the worst team ever to play professional football in American history.
Playing for the Revenge is like playing one-on-one football with my daddy. We'll be down 40–0 before halftime sometimes, beaten, bloody, and gasping for oxygen, but we have heart. Though we really, really want to sneak away at halftime to spare the fans any more misery, we always go back out for the second half, and (thank God!) no one has scored triple-digits on us.
I think I'm the only heterosexual on the team. I have been hit-on by almost every player, not that there's anything wrong with it. Live and let live, right? I mean, I entertain three men. So what if they entertain each other. Big deal. What I don't understand is that I'm not a "dime" (Who thought up that shit? You can't get anything with a dime now!), yet I get these looks from my teammates, even while we run through drills at practice. Imagine seeing a big white woman wearing shoulder pads, elbow pads, and knee pads, and with black grease marks under her eyes. That's scary enough. Now imagine those grease-painted eyes making eyes at you during a tackling drill. I take these looks as compliments, and then I take my butt home completely clothed and sweaty instead of hitting the showers after a practice or a game. I've seen those women-in-prison movies. I know what could happen.
Izzie wants me to hang around after practice, just to see what might happen.
Excerpted from Can't Get Enough of Your Love by J.J. Murray Copyright © 2007 by J.J. Murray. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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