A sexy and dramatic tale of friendship and revenge with an urban twist from bestselling author Donna Hill.
“A page-turning tale of murder, intrigue, and revenge…. With its zippy dialogue, ruthless yet vulnerable women, and quickly escalating plot, this romp offers satisfying fantasy.” Publishers Weekly
“Lust. Danger. Revenge. What more could you want in a fast-paced summer mystery? Donna Hill delivers it all in Getting Hers.” Daily Republic
“Hill writes with razor-sharp intelligence, witty humor, and a flair for can’t-put-it-down storytelling…. As satisfying as a sinfully rich dessert---pure indulgent fun!” Courier-Post (South Jersey)
- St. Martin's Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.72(w) x 8.46(h) x 0.94(d)
Read an Excerpt
In My Bedroom
By DONNA HILL
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2004 Donna Hill
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJUNE. A SAVANNAH JUNE. H0T. Lush. Rich. Damp, like a satisfied woman. Even in this place of unreality where the trio held court, that fact could not be denied.
It was an odd assemblage they made, yet commonplace, at least here at Cedar Grove, where fractured minds were prodded and patched. One walked tall, cloaked in a posture of importance, willowy flame red hair brushing swaying shoulders. The other, a birch brown and catlike in grace, appeared cover-girl stylish, pushing the third, silent bronze-toned beauty in a wheelchair. Yet the trio appeared to move almost seamlessly across the lush green grounds of the Savannah, Georgia, facility-embraced by rose bushes, towering magnolia trees, and jasmine vines-wrapped up, it seemed, in the tranquillity of their surroundings. In truth, that was a lie.
A closer look revealed two pairs of eyes, one brown set, one green, both intent and serious, their dual voices barely carried by the feeble breath of the afternoon breeze. It was the third who was their concern, the focus of their hushed conversation. From time to time, they ceased speaking to look mournfully upon Rayne Holland as she sat motionless in the chair, her gaze fixed and unseeing. So they believed. I know why I'm here, Rayne thought, listening to her doctor and her best friend discuss her "illness" as if she were invisible. They think I'm crazy because I cut my wrists, because I won't talk. I don't talk because they can't hear me. They won't hear me, they never have. I'm just tired, that's all. Tired of all the talk, the emptiness, the betrayals by people who claim to love you. That doesn't make me crazy, just fed up, she concluded, beginning to unfasten the buttons of her pale peach cotton blouse, the tiny white buttons taunting her nut brown fingers with slippery elusiveness. She knew Dr. Dennis would stop her, because for some reason she couldn't stop herself.
"We've discussed this, Rayne," Pauline Dennis said, speaking with a calmness that chilled Rayne, stilling her shaky fingers. "Button your blouse, Rayne."
Rayne released a long, deep sigh, heavy enough to drop to the ground, hitting it like a rubber ball and bouncing back into her chest, until next time. She did what she was told, as she'd always done.
Periodically, as the trio meandered down the paved pathways that ran the circumference of Cedar Grove Medical Center, Gayle Davis, Rayne's lifelong friend, would stroke Rayne's mane of black, crinkly hair with a slender brown hand, almost as you would a pet or a small child who'd wandered into your space in the midst of an adult conversation. Absently.
Rayne hated when Gayle did that. Hated it. It infuriated her so much that she'd almost shouted the words: Stop it, dammit! I'm not that stinking cat of yours, or your neglected daughter. But she didn't. She'd never been able to express her feelings, the emotions that swirled within her. So instead, she screamed the words-in her head-where they bounced around, echoing over and over: Stop, stop, stop ...
Inside her head was as far as she could go these days-most days, actually. Lately, though, she'd wanted to crawl out, back into the world again. But thought better of it. It was safer just where she was. She gathered her hair in her hands and dragged it in front of her makeupless face, effectively escaping.
"Why does she do that?" Gayle whispered harshly, moving to brush the hair out of Rayne's face.
Dr. Dennis stopped her. "Fix your hair, Rayne," she instructed in a cool monotone.
Rayne emitted another baleful sigh and did as she was told.
"These are all manifestations of Rayne's trauma, Mrs. Davis, her unspoken need to hide, to disappear, get away from whatever is haunting her. They'll slowly stop when we get to the core of her problem."
Gayle shuddered despite the warmth. "What is her problem? It's been two months, Dr. Dennis," she complained, her voice taking on that clipped tone that often grated on Rayne's nerves. Rayne never told her about that, either. "I don't see any improvement." She adjusted her fitted gray linen jacket over her round hips. "Paul and Desi have been gone for almost six months. She was coming to terms with it. And then ... this. You came highly recommended-as the best." Gayle's voice hitched a notch as if she no longer believed in the laundry list of recommendations attached to Dr. Pauline Dennis's name, Rayne mused, as Gayle patted her head again and continued to push the chair.
Stop, stop, stop ...
Pauline nodded in doctorlike agreement. "I appreciate your concerns, Mrs. Davis. But you must understand that recovery from a mental breakdown is not like a broken limb where the doctors can give you a timetable for healing. At this point, I'm not quite sure what triggered Rayne's break. She won't talk. I do believe, however, that Rayne's problem dates prior to the deaths of her husband and daughter. Something that was never dealt with. The car accident was only a trigger for her suicide attempt at her father's house."
Gayle stopped short, jerking the chair to a halt. "I've known Rayne almost all my life, Doctor. If there had been some ... some underlying problem, something wrong, I would have known. She's always been well adjusted, hardworking. Everyone loves Rayne. You've got to do something to help her. We're closer than most sisters."
We were until I found out you were sleeping with my husband, Rayne reflected absently. But it doesn't matter much now-since Paul's dead. She blinked and her thoughts snapped to other things, their voices fading into the scenery.
What was worse than being patted on the head? Rayne wondered. Oh, yes-being spoken about as if you weren't there, she thought, and heard her laughter as the realization chimed in her head. They think I don't hear, I don't feel, don't think. It's not true. It isn't. I write it all down in my journal, every night when everyone is asleep and the nurses are busy skulking in the corners with the doctors ... whispering, always whispering. Giggles ... sometimes.
The soothing tones of Dr. Dennis drifted to her, scattering her disjointed thoughts. "Unfortunately, in cases like these we usually discover that the patient, over time, has developed the ability to function quite normally in society, developing a barrier against the world to hinder discovery of what is truly going on with them or often to protect themselves emotionally from further harm." Much as I have done, Dr. Dennis thought as she gazed across the landscape of the mentally ill.
"I just don't understand it. If something had been going on in Rayne's life, some secret or whatever, she would have told me. I know she would." She breathed heavily. "Has her father been here to see her?" Gayle asked as they rounded another curve.
Rayne sighed again.
Pauline stuck her hands into the pockets of her starched white smock, so stiff it barely moved. "No. He's called several times to check on her progress."
They came to the end of the path, the wrought-iron gates, like swirling black storm clouds, the cutoff point for insanity.
Gayle turned to Pauline, the honey brown of her eyes shimmering in the sunlight. "Please, Dr. Dennis, whatever you need to do to make Rayne better, just do it. You don't know the Rayne that I know, that the world was beginning to know. She's a wonderful, caring person with a brilliant filmmaking career ahead of her." Her voice faltered momentarily with emotion, like the sound of a stereo losing an instant of power.
Emotion, real or imagined-Rayne couldn't tell.
"Please help her," Gayle pleaded.
Pauline, reading her assurance cue from the watery look in Gayle's eyes, placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. "We're going to do everything we can for Rayne, believe me. Time and patience are the great healers," she said, the line memorized from more than a decade of practiced repetition. "Give Rayne that," she added, the solemnity of her tone calming the jangles in Gayle's stomach.
Rayne almost believed the words. Time and patience. Almost.
Gayle blew out a breath, her bangs responding with a slight flutter. "I suppose none of us have a choice," she said. She came around to the front of the chair and bent down, placing her newly manicured hands on each side of Rayne's face.
"Rayne, honey, it's me, Gayle. Just say something, Rayne. Let me know you hear me."
You hurt me, Gayle, she screamed in her head. You were supposed to be my friend. I trusted you with my secrets, my fears. And you used them to screw my husband. You bitch. Did you hear that?
"We all love you, Rayne, and want you to get better. Your goddaughter, Tracy, misses you terribly."
I had a daughter once, Rayne recalled. Her name was Desiree. My baby. She loved me. But she's gone, too.
As Gayle leaned forward to kiss Rayne's cheek, she frantically raked her fingers through her hair from the nape of her neck, bringing the thick bush forward to shut out Gayle's face. But not before that instant of clarity beamed in her eyes. That instant of pure hatred and pain that reached down with cold fingers deep into Gayle's soul and squeezed, sending shockwaves of ice coursing through her veins. Gayle shuddered, rocking back on her haunches. A feeling of physical violation permeated her.
On shaky limbs she stood, forcing a smile.
"Fix your hair, Rayne," Pauline instructed.
Rayne did as she was told.
"Uh, I'll be back ... next week," Gayle muttered. "If you need anything, you have my number."
Pauline studied her for a moment. "Are you all right?"
"Yes, fine." She wanted to run. "I've got to go." She turned and hurried down the last few yards toward escape.
Pauline gripped the handles of the chair, turned it around, and headed back toward the facility. "Gayle's a good friend, Rayne," she said in that cool voice. "She loves you a great deal. And she's very worried about you."
Rayne sighed heavily.
Pauline learned from the weeks of working with Rayne that her sighs were an indication that she was tuning out a comment or situation. It was the only outward sign that she understood, or had any feelings about what was going on around her. At least it was a start. Although this case was difficult, Pauline was intrigued by Rayne Holland, intrigued in a way she was not with her other patients. She knew Rayne heard and understood, was aware of the world. Why wouldn't she speak? What had so traumatized her that she'd rather be silent, shrink into a tiny dark corner of her mind to hide? From what? Who? There was something about Rayne, a familiarity of spirit that drew Pauline to her, a part of her that understood the torment and fear. It was as if they were joined in some intangible way. Pauline shrugged off her moment of frustration and continued down the path, even as her resolve to uncover what lay beneath Rayne's veil of self-protection grew.
By degrees the natural light, the sounds of nature, the scent of flora and sweet rich earth began to diminish to a trickle, like a hose almost shut off but not quite. If Rayne squeezed her eyes shut and thought really hard, she could hold on to her piece of serenity for a few moments more. A few moments before the baby blue walls and the rustling of white stockings brushing against thick thighs, the metallic clang of medicine carts and food trays, the irritating sounds of Muzak pumped in from some unseen source and the cloying scent of disinfectant-a few moments before they overwhelmed her with the weight of their existence.
The moment was gone.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Rayne, for our regular session," Pauline said, pushing the chair back into Rayne's private room. Her haven.
Her room was located on the sixth floor of the facility-as it was called-a corner room that overlooked the garden below. Spacious, and painted in a soft peach-her favorite color-the perimeters at the top and bottom of the smooth wails were covered in a riotous fabric of bursting flowers that matched the short curtains, camouflaging the protective mesh that pressed erotically against the window.
In the morning, when the sun first rose above the trees, the light filtered through the mesh, casting shadows of boxes and diamonds across the walls. Sometimes Rayne would imagine that they were small, secret passageways. Passageways to freedom.
An oversized chintz chair, hugged by several throw pillows, sat on the gleaming wood floor. There was nothing in the room that was personal. No photos or mementos from her life. It was almost as if Rayne Holland's existence began when she entered Cedar Grove. But of course that was not true. She had a life, or at least she thought she did, until it came apart.
Rayne moved languorously across the room toward the window where a row of potted plants sat on the sill. Picking up the water jug, she meticulously watered each one.
Pauline watched, her hands hidden in the deep patch pockets of her smock. Sighing, she turned and quietly closed the door behind her. Rayne heard the click of the metal against metal. She lowered her head.
I know you're trying to help, Dr. Dennis, she thought, looking up to stare out across the sea of green below. I want you to help. I want to feel again, rise above the dark clouds that push me down, smothering me in nothingness. I'm tired of being tired.
Chapter TwoTHE DRIVE BACK TO THE center of Savannah took less than twenty minutes. To Gayle it felt like forever. Each visit to Rayne depleted her in ways she could never explain or understand.
Some days it took all she had to walk through those gates, face her friend, and see her ... that way. Oh, God. Her throat burned and tightened, her eyes filled as she drew closer to her home.
They'd been so close once, sharing everything, Gayle reminisced, a sad smile shadowing her coral-tinted lips. They'd met in fifth grade in Ms. Hubert's English class. They were both ten years old. Gayle hated English. Rayne was the brightest one in the class. Outside of class she was so quiet, hardly said a word to anyone. But there was something about Rayne that drew Gayle. Everyone said Rayne Mercer was weird, at least when she was younger. Gayle didn't think so. She just needed a friend.
One day at lunch in the school cafeteria, Gayle spotted Rayne sitting alone. As usual, the cafeteria was in a state of bedlam with the student body of three hundred making good use of their free time. The cacophony of raised voices, banging, slamming utensils and trays competed for superiority. Yet Rayne seemed oblivious to it all as she nibbled on her peanut butter and jelly sandwich and sipped her milk right from the carton, peering sporadically over its red-and-white top to the sea of faces that swirled around her.
Excerpted from In My Bedroom by DONNA HILL Copyright © 2004 by Donna Hill. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Donna Hill has twenty-eight published novels and has been featured in Essence, Daily News, USA Today, Today's Black Woman, and Black Enterprise, among many others. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes full time.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Donna Hill presents an urban suspense fill of questions yet, a powerful intriguing story. When three women met in a doctor's office they all, realize they are from different lifestyles but need each other to regain the lives that they had all become accustomed to without being linked to the solutions of the problems. Tess McDonald is use to running her world with what makes her a women, but when things start slipping through her hands she decides to take matters into her own hands. Nikki Perez was a woman of the streets and knew how to take care of herself, but when she spends time in the pen, she knows its her time to get revenge. Kim Sheppard-Bennings led two lives but, when her husband comes after business and after her lover, she plans to strike back. With the pact formed and the names distributed, everything starts to fall into place, but not before premature deaths start to take, place and emotions get involved. This is one of the Donna Hill's best ever books I truly enjoyed the suspense and creativity of the story. Reviewed by Milestone Gregory of Platinum Reviewers
Loved this tale of these three women getting together to take care of business. Tess was off the hook! She was smart and her word was her bond! This book takes you on an unbelieveable ride from the meeting in the elevator to the pact that these women who didn't even know each other made. This was a page turner for me. From the first night that these ladies spent together to the end ,I was trying to guess who did what to whom, who did'nt have to do anything. When you first start this book it almost sounds like a joke..."You have a black woman, a white woman and a latino woman who meet at the OBGYN's office" ...... But the black woman, Tess was that top chick running things as a Top Madam and who had a plan and knew how to execute it with the help of those who followed her. That white woman, Kim was Just as bad running a very successful business that she built and to whom money was no object. She fell in love with the wrong woman, and was married to the wrong man, but in the end she landed on her feet. The latino woman, Nikki, was the young one of the bunch and she was down for who she thought was her man, she did time for him and once she was out, he kicked her to the curb. She was a hustler who wanted for her family to be alright, it didn't work out that way, but meeting Tess took her on a journey. You have to follow this up with the second book Wicked Ways, to see how it all played out for these women!!
A wondeful tale of how three different women, Tess,Kim, and Nicole is brought together by chance and then joined together by their desire of revenge. In the dark these women share a look into each others dark thoughts.'Getting Hers' is a must read for all who ever thought what it would be like to make that person pay.
This book has action from the very beginning. I couldn't put it down and looked forward to reading it every chance I got! Highly recommended!
Put simply, Getting Hers is a tantalizing story of revenge. However, when you're dealing with vengeance, nothing is ever really simple. Three women with completely different personalities and backgrounds are stuck in an elevator during a citywide blackout. After being trapped for hours they realize they do have one thing in common: they have been wronged and it's payback time. Tess McDonald is an educated black woman who exudes class and sophistication. With exemplary business savvy, she has built an empire in the escort service business as Madame X, but one phone call changed her life. She lost almost everything and she wants it back. The assistant district attorney who's responsible must pay. The famous Kimberly Sheppard-Benning, a no-nonsense blonde bombshell, is a powerful executive with a secret. Unfortunately, her husband has discovered her indiscretion and is blackmailing her, threatening to ruin everything she has worked so hard to get. Of course, she cannot let that happen. Then there's Nicki Perez, a beautiful but sassy around-the-way Latina who has been recently released from jail after serving time for her boyfriend. While incarcerated, she endured unthinkable acts, and her man never once visited her. The anger she feels toward him can only be relieved by revenge. After being trapped in the elevator, the odd trio decides to avoid the hassle of New York traffic after a blackout and checks into a nearby hotel where Kimberly always has a suite waiting. They continue to get to know one another and before you know it, an interesting game is proposed. The names of the people who have wronged each of the women are put on slips of paper. Each randomly takes a name, but cannot reveal whose name they have. The object of the game is to get rid of the person named on the slip of paper. Can you say homicide? Lastly, the three women can have no further contact with one another. The interesting part of the game is that you can never be sure if all the women are indeed capable of murder. And what if one of them cannot or will not go through with it? Let the games begin! Getting Hers is a literary thrill ride. While reading, you simply don't know what will happen next. With heightened suspense, you eagerly turn pages as your mind is racing and your heart is thumping. Kudos to Donna Hill for crafting such a clever and unique storyline. She developed believable characters that readers honestly can feel empathy for. However, the cliffhanger ending was a bit of a letdown. To this reviewer, the best part of a mystery type novel is finding out if your hunches and guesses are right. With Getting Hers, you never really know, unless there's a sequel. Personally, I feel a little gypped. I didn't exactly 'get mine.' 3.5 rating
the book is very good it is a great story and i read it in to days. It is a very recommended book the only thing that i didnt like was the end the book needs a sequel
This book was so good I read it in 4 1/2 hours could not put it down, I hope that she comes out with a 2nd installment to this book I am so curious to know who killed Tess sister.
The three successful business women had never met when they were at the top of their respective game. Tess McDonald managed a highly respected escort service Nikki Perez was a sleuth Kim Sheppard-Benning had built the successful Sheppard Enterprises and had a wonderful spouse. --- All three meet after their lives already crashed when the elevator in the building housing their gynecologist gets stuck for several hours. They exchange names and tales. Tess lost her business to her twin who arranged a police raid Nikki was convicted of a crime her former lover committed and spent time behind bars Kim¿s husband is suing for divorce and demands control of their business or else he will reveal her deepest secret to the media. The trio forms a sisterhood to avenge the affronts they suffered from so called loved ones. --- These three tough sisters from different walks of life and races make a bond that will intrigue the audience as they avenge the wrongs done to each of them. The story line is driven by the trio as their exchanges are fun to follow starting with the chocolate incident in the elevator and ending with one more item to clean up. Fans will enjoy this fine tale of merciless hurt women fighting back after facing a near ten count. --- Harriet Klausner
Donna Hill returns with a thrilling novel about three women who want to get even and recliam what's thier's. Hill cleverly takes 3 very different women from 3 very different walks of life and brings them together through one common denominator. The main character Tess is so persuasive, she talks two strangers into committing murder in the name of retribution(now that's gangsta!) The story was so captivating, I read in a matter of a couple of hours. If you like stories filled with suspense and several twists and turns, do yourself a favor a read this one.
Donna Hill presents an urban suspense fill of questions yet, a powerful intriguing story. When three women met in a doctor¿s office they all, realize they are from different lifestyles but need each other to regain the lives that they had all become accustomed to without being linked to the solutions of the problems. Tess McDonald is use to running her world with what makes her world with what makes her a women, but when things start slipping through her hands she decides to take matters into her own hands. Nikki Perez was a woman of the streets and knew how to take care of herself, but when she spends time in the pen, she knows its her time to get revenge. Kim Sheppard-Bennings led two lives but, when her husband comes after business and after her lover, she plans to strike back. With the pact formed and the names distributed, everything starts to fall into place, but not before premature deaths start to take, place and emotions get involved. This is one of the Donna Hill¿s best ever books I truly enjoyed the suspense and creativity of the story. Reviewed by Milestone Gregory of Platinum Reviewers