Ghetto Princess [NOOK Book]

Overview



Barely eighteen, Kanika has everything to look forward to. She's fine, smart, and strong—qualities she inherited from a momma who made sure her little girl had every privilege—courtesy of Tony, one of Brooklyn’s most powerful crime lords. Born to the life, Kanika knows the hustle from the inside out, but her future holds college and some quality time with Tony's second-in-command, Tyrell...

Then Kanika's world explodes in a hail of bullets ...
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Ghetto Princess

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Overview



Barely eighteen, Kanika has everything to look forward to. She's fine, smart, and strong—qualities she inherited from a momma who made sure her little girl had every privilege—courtesy of Tony, one of Brooklyn’s most powerful crime lords. Born to the life, Kanika knows the hustle from the inside out, but her future holds college and some quality time with Tony's second-in-command, Tyrell...

Then Kanika's world explodes in a hail of bullets and blood when a hit takes down both the man who raised her and the mother she adores. Alone, shattered, and possibly a target herself, Kanika lets Tyrell convince her to attend college in Virginia and move in with her birth father. Down South has a whole other rhythm than Brooklyn, and the parent Kanika barely knows is a different kind of mobster than Tony was. Shon is angry and unpredictable...

Determined as she is to make things work, Kanika is equally committed to finding out who killed Tony and her momma. She’s not about to forget Tyrell. But nothing can prepare Kanika for what she's about to face: from temptation to danger to revelations that will call all her loyalties into question—and put her life on the line...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429903929
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 342,156
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

MIA EDWARDS resides in Brooklyn, New York, where she is at work on her next novel.

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Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

"Mmmm, I wanna be the cream in the middle of that chocolate." Kanika soaked up all six feet, 4 inches of Tyrell standing at the other end of the bar.

"Girl, you know you can't even handle that grown-ass nigga. Plus, he roll wit' ya mama's man and you know he into some real shit out there," Peaches said as she slurped her drink. They watched Andre try to talk to two women standing near the dance floor. With the quickness they both dismissed him at the same time. Kanika and Peaches cracked up laughing.

"Andre couldn't catch a woman wit' a ten-million-dollar NBA contract." Kanika laughed as she watched her former classmate kick game to another girl against the wall at Crystal Palace. Tonight was a celebration of Kanika's mother, Waleema, and the "business" expansion of her man, Tony Black, who just took down his rival Cee-Lo and took over an extra $5 million in "work."

Kanika nodded her head to the beat and wrapped her long French-manicured nails around her glass of Henny and Coke. She was well aware of all the drama that had taken place in the streets the last few weeks, and though everyone seemed footloose and fancy-free, she was on-edge. She sipped her drink and gazed at her mother, who always seemed cool under pressure, even with a 9mm in her Chanel bag.

Waleema was only 105 pounds and five feet, 4 inches of rounded hips, a trim waist, melon-sized breasts, and cherry lips. Her Asian-shaped eyes gave her a sexy, mysterious look and disappeared when she smiled. With her black licorice skin, Waleema looked like an African China doll, dressed in a skin-tight black kimono-style minidress and her cornrow-braided hair cascading down her back. She sat on Tony's lap, momentarily rubbing his bald head as she chatted with a crew of her friends, mostly other "wives" of Tony's friends who looked up to her for her style, status, and the respect she enjoyed. Amid all the loud music and goings-on, everyone's attention was focused on Waleema's conversation as they laughed and edged her on while she told one of her many stories. But if Waleema was the queen, Kanika was the princess.

Only a few weeks away from turning eighteen, Kanika never felt more like her mother than she did now. As she watched Waleema entertain the grown folks, Kanika admired the way her mother worked a room. They both had the same features, too. Distinctive eyes, long "good hair," and bodacious frames, except Kanika was taller at five-seven. Tony and her mother's friends were always reminding her how she and Waleema looked alike. Sometimes people wondered why a woman like Waleema would be with a man like Tony. He wasn't that good-looking, fifty pounds overweight, with a glass eye from being shot when he was sixteen, a potbelly, and acne-prone skin at forty-two. He was five feet, five inches short but had more bank than the Federal Reserve. He treated Waleema well, too, hardly ever raising his voice at her, and keeping Kanika and Waleema safe out of harm's way. Tony had enough street cred, for coming up with some of the most notorious Harlem hustlers in the eighties, and now was the "head nigga in charge" during a time when the drug game was gasping its last breaths. But besides that, Kanika respected him as a father. His was the calming voice when she and her mother would go at it about Kanika's coming in late from school or a party. Sometimes, when her mother couldn't make some of her parent-teacher meetings, Tony would come dressed in one of his pin-striped Italian suits and have Kanika's female teachers swooning. She often wondered if he was the reason that she got preferential treatment. He wasn't a tall man, but he had a big presence when he walked into their home. Kanika understood when Tony was around everything was all good.

She respected Tony most of all for taking her and her mother in when they had no place to go. After Waleema had left Shon, Kanika's father, and traveled to New York City, they went from one friend's house to the next. Kanika remembered nights traveling against the cold, hard winter winds, kept warm by her mother's arms, when it was time for them to move on to the next place. Until one night Kanika remembered her mother leaving for a party with friends dressed in black and coming back in the morning dressed in white and gold. It wasn't too long before Tony took them into his four-family home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Since then, he had done everything for them. He sent clients and cash to Waleema's strip club, and she played the role of his "wifey," making sure his home was in order, his body satisfied, and his parties beautifully hosted.

Tonight was a celebration of Tony reaching the top of his game. Cee-Lo was gone, and that meant more money, more problems. But there was no time for stressin', as the Dom P. flowed as free as the bodies moving to the music in the lounge area. Top neighborhood ballers dropped Benjamins like hot potatoes on bottles of Cristal and the baddest girls and their friends. Waleema and Tony danced as Waleema showed off all her latest moves to a Jay Z hit. Kanika and Peaches did the same when they took their champagne-filled glasses back to the dance floor.

The DJ spun one of Biggie's hits, "One More Chance," and Kanika flung her hand and her drink in the air to her favorite jam. Her shapely hips swayed from side to side as she and Peaches waved their glasses in the air with everyone else. Kanika was at her best this evening: she had her family and friends around her, her mother and Tony were looking happy, and she was about to graduate from high school any day. She couldn't think of anything else that would top this but a kiss from Tyrell. He was twenty-four and Tony's number-two man.

While she danced, Kanika kept her eye on him in case some other female tried to push up. Kanika had heard he was seeing some professional chick who used to roll with Cee-Lo or at least be his jump-off in between his baby mama drama. Kanika didn't know much about her, only that she was older and had a college degree and a good job at the bank. It was that job that helped Cee-Lo get loans to open his sneaker store and record label and hide his money in secret accounts. But she wasn't part of "the life" like Kanika was. Kanika was born in the game, like Tyrell, and if there was any woman who knew what Tyrell needed it was her. She remembered when Tony first brought him to the house. She had only been twelve and he had been eighteen. All she could remember was this tall, black, skinny guy with eyes so deep she could swim in them. Any time he walked by, her skin erupted in goose bumps. He didn't seem to pay her scrawny twelve-year-old frame any mind, but he teased her about her Asian-looking eyes, which she now understood meant he liked her even then. But they both had grown a lot since then. He was still over six feet, more muscular, and his dark, creamy black skin still made her want to lick him from head to toe.

"Girl, I can't believe high school is ova'. I am so tired of messing with those lil boys."

"Why are you so into older cats? They die soon, you know," Kanika said, bringing her hips down to the floor. She glanced at Tyrell, but there was a light-skinned, red-lipsticked woman on his arm. Kanika snapped back up. It's that bitch.

"Not that old. And any woman I see who got something got an older man. Look at your mama," Peaches said as they danced together.

Kanika tried to remember a time when Peaches was not talking about some older cat. Even when they were fourteen and in the eighth grade, she was checking for dudes out of high school. It was too much. But she knew it had a lot to do with the fact that Peaches' father left before she was born. Chick was looking for daddy in the face of every older cat she had ever gotten with. At least she had Tony to fill that void. "Well, thank God you gonna be eighteen soon; then it can be legal."

"That kind of takes the fun out of it, but I'll live." Peaches' eyes stayed glued to one of Tyrell's older friends.

"Mine is only ten days away, and a bitch can't wait," Kanika said, as both of the girls laughed. But Kanika was fixed on Tyrell, as he stood all close to this girl.

"Excuse me," Kanika said abruptly, as she marched off the dance floor about to make her presence known to Tyrell.

"Uh-uh, where you think you going with that nasty look on your face?" Waleema asked as she stopped her daughter cold. Waleema gripped Kanika's shoulders. "You look like you about to go off. Something happen?"

Kanika didn't want to make a big deal. "I was just going to the bathroom."

Waleema followed Kanika's line of focus and smirked when her eyes landed on Tyrell. "Honey, don't tell me you about to go make a fool of yourself because a man is just being a man?"

Kanika tapped her foot impatiently as she cut her eyes away from Tyrell and his female companion. Waleema gently pulled her to a dark corner, away from the music and the noise. "I get a feeling that you got something more to say to Tyrell than hello. Am I right?"

Kanika ran her hands over her wavy black weave. "Mommy, I just wanted to say hello, but he's with that trick again," Kanika said, frustrated with herself. She had never gotten a chance to have a real conversation with Tyrell because he would always tease her about his being locked up because of her age. She wanted to show him that age was just a number when it came to her feelings for him.

"Baby, you gonna be eighteen soon. You gotta start acting more mature. You can't just storm over there and interrupt the man just because. You gotta do that with class, honey. Remember, a ho in the sheets and a princess in the streets. Understand?"

"I guess so," Kanika said, as she forced a smile. Her mother was never one to mince words. "So what do I do? I really like Tyrell and I know he's feeling me."

"He is, but be careful. If you want his attention, act like you don't care if he comes or goes. Don't you think he got enough women trying to get close to him? Be different. Walk on right by him," she said, emulating a sexy strut with her hands on her waist, "swinging those hips your mama gave ya, and don't take your eyes off him for one second." She spun around on her heels. "And get yourself a glass of the most expensive champagne at the bar," she said, handing Kanika a stack of bills.

Kanika stood alone as Tony swept her mother back up in his arms. She thought they looked cute, the way her mother stood taller than him in her four-inch gold Chanel stilettos. Kanika stuffed the money in her Prada bra and glided her way toward Tyrell. Her heart was in her mouth as she inched up closer to him. His back was against the bar and the chick was standing between his legs. As soon as Kanika turned the corner, Tyrell's eyes met hers. That gave her the extra confidence she needed; her skin-tight green and gold sequined Gucci dress did the rest. She pulled the V front down some to show off her cleavage. There were lots of people passing in front of her, but she made sure she followed her mama's rules. Kanika's eyes zeroed in on his face with a tempting look and a dash of attitude. There were his deep brown eyes again. In her mind, Kanika was already swimming in their depths. She was in a trancelike state, moving in slow motion with no one around but her and Tyrell. He was dressed in all-black linen slacks and shirt with a thick platinum chain and spinning hubcap pendant dangling from his neck. The strobe lights made his tea black skin radiate with a mysterious power that made him look good enough to jump. He diminished every other man in the room with his thick, muscular build and wide shoulders. His closely shaved head and beard made him look a few years older, with a handsome ruggedness. All Kanika could think of in those few seconds was sucking on his thick, brown lips. His gaze traveled from her breasts, to her hips, to her shapely legs as she glided right by him, careful not to even give his chick any recognition. Kanika slid into a space a few stools down and ordered her glass of champagne. Tyrell winked at her and smiled. The chick he was with turned his face toward her and Tyrell slapped her hand away.

Kanika snickered to herself. It was only a matter of time before she got Tyrell for herself, she thought. He always acted like she was too young for him, but she planned to show him soon that she could get as nasty as he wanted her to be.

Kanika walked back through the crowd to the dance floor, somewhat satisfied, to where Peaches was still carrying on with a group of other girls. "I can't wait to start college. As soon I get down to Atlanta, I'm gonna regulate on all dem prissy bitches," Peaches said out loud, and flung her weave to the other side of her face. "I'm gonna get me an older man, and take him for all his money."

Kanika laughed at they both got back into their groove with the others. "Where you disappear to?" Peaches asked.

"I just got me a little somethin' to wet my throat," Kanika said as she faced Peaches, who was working up a sweat.

"And your panties." She laughed. "I seen Tyrell over there, too."

Kanika rolled her eyes and laughed also. It was no secret how she felt about Tyrell; everyone knew, including Tony, who wasn't too crazy about them hooking up. Tyrell was what Tony called "a young cat" and too wild for his own good, but he kept him in his crew for those very reasons. He thought that Kanika was way too smart to be with a man who made his green on the streets, even if he was steep six figures. Kanika wondered if Tony had anything to do with Tyrell keeping his distance. But Tyrell was his own man. She couldn't imagine another man telling him who to date. And if her mother approved of him, Kanika thought, hooking up with him couldn't be so bad.

As the music changed to some eighties Prince and Cameo jams, Kanika wandered off the dance floor. When Kanika walked off, she noticed Peaches and a group behind her. It was a few of her classmates from school, but she wanted to be alone to find Tyrell. She turned around, looked at her diamond-studded Jacob the Jeweler watch, and said, "Listen, y'all can go and do your thang. I'm gonna chill for a few."

Peaches said, doing a fake karate stance, "If you need anything let me know, OK?"

"I will," Kanika said as they all walked away. She didn't know what she could possibly need. Somehow, girls liked hanging with her, because at school it bought them all the right attention from the right guys and made them look "cool." Little did they know that Kanika had her mind on bigger things than a school reputation. She had mastered school with good grades and exceptional performances as head of her cheerleading squad and school debate team. Her mother put heavy emphasis on studying, including a mandatory three hours of studying every Sunday. Sometimes Kanika had to find stuff to study, because she had already aced most of it. At this point, just days away from graduation, she was ready for life's bigger challenges.

Kanika slipped away from the party. She knew where to find Tyrell and she had to talk to him. She didn't understand why he was ignoring her all night, except for his little glances. She touched herself up in the women's bathroom and glossed her lips with cherry red color and dabbed her eyes with a touch of silver eyeliner. Her hair was still neatly styled, despite the heat and sweat.

She dabbed some Vaseline, a trick her mother had shown her, on the tops of her breasts to make her skin look dewy. Her mother had taught her to always accentuate what came natural. When Kanika left, a short brown-faced girl she had never seen before slipped her a note:

Tyrell is in the cigar room. Classy, sexy first.

---Mommy

Kanika tore the note up, adjusted her dress, and thanked God for a mother like hers. Sometimes she felt Waleema was more like a sister and that she wanted to see her with Tyrell more than anything. Perhaps Waleema knew how happy that would make Kanika, as Waleema was always looking for a way to please her.

Kanika walked into the cigar room just a few doors down from the ladies' room. She knew he had to be alone, but even if he wasn't, she was still going in. "Have you seen Peaches?" she said, slightly opening the door to the smoke-filled room. She could care less where Peaches was, but she had to play the game.

"Nah, her ass probably still out there dancing," Tyrell said, standing up and quickly opening a window. Her eyes fixated on his fat diamond T-initialed pinkie ring.

"Oh, OK," Kanika said, lingering by the door. She closed it behind her.

Tyrell put out his cigar and asked, "Keeping me company?"

"I just want a place to chill; it's kind of noisy out there," she said, leaning forward and sitting down.

Again she caught Tyrell's eyes on her breasts, but he looked away. She carefully crossed her legs, showing the curves of her healthy thighs. She sat across from him and waited.

"Yeah, I was saying that to myself. Too many fake motherfuckas out there," he said, sipping his glass of Henny. "Half them niggas I don't even know."

"They all our friends and Tony."

"Tony think he got friends now. Man, since that nigga Cee-Lo went down, all hell 'bout to break loose. Watch how many friends he gonna have in a few weeks."

"If you talking about Tony, you talking about all of us."

Tyrell shook his head like she didn't get it. "Listen, I just can't be relaxing when I know shit is hot out there right now with Cee-Lo gone. This ain't time for celebrating; heads about to roll."

Kanika was frightened by Tyrell's concern. He was also an intelligent person, and though she didn't admit it, she, too, was nervous when she first heard Cee-Lo was killed. But no one else seemed to care, like her mother and Tony. Everything seemed normal. "How you know all that? That chick you was talking to earlier?"

"Man," he said, lighting another cigar. "That trick may play dumb, but she knows a lot of shit. She told me that Cee-Lo's people ain't go down without a fight. Just because Cee-Lo gone don't mean a hundred motherfuckas is gone with him," he said, then laughed. "But their money sure is."

Tyrell passed the cigar to Kanika, who took a healthy pull. Tony had shown her how to smoke them just last year. She didn't like the taste, but she loved how she looked holding one between her fingers. As much as she wanted to believe Tyrell, she thought he was overreacting. Cee-Lo had been gone for weeks, and the streets were calm. Not too quiet, because that was when trouble was most suspected, but calm enough to know the winds had changed. Kanika wasn't too worried. "So who is this Cee-Lo chick? You fucking her?"

"Come on, Kanika. A grown-ass man like me," he said, flashing his handsome white smile, "is not gonna be explaining his sex life to a little girl."

Kanika walked over and looked down at him as he sat on the plush leather couch. "Does this look like the body of a little girl?" she asked, taking a drag from the cigar.

Tyrell licked his lips and marinated in her curves.

She blew the smoke in his face and straddled him with her legs. She sat on him, face-to-face, and touched a healed stab wound under his left jaw.

Tyrell maintained a serious demeanor, keeping his body relaxed and his hands to himself.

"Tyrell? You don't ever think about us? Or me? One day?" Kanika parted her lips and let them graze the edge of Tyrell's closed mouth. The softness of her lips invited him to taste. She took his hand and placed it on the voluptuous curve of her behind and pressed her breasts into his chest. Finally, he opened his mouth, and so did she, and they kissed hard, his tongue overpowering hers.

She reached down to touch below his belt, but he grabbed her hand and stopped her. He pushed her away.

"Whatsup?" Kanika said, confused and feeling silly for putting herself out there.

"Yo, chill wit' all that, Kanika," he said angrily. "I don't play games. And in my eyes, you will always be like my lil sista'," he said. He laughed uncomfortably. "Besides, Tony said your mama ain't having it."

Kanika's suspicion was proven. Though her mother was encouraging her to holla at Tyrell because he was a "good catch," all the while Tony was putting salt in the game. She planned to have a little talk with her mother.

Tyrell glared at Kanika, but when she stared back into his dark eyes she saw that familiar softness behind them. It spoke what his mouth wouldn't. He wanted her despite his tough-man talk, she thought. And she knew there was always next time. Her eighteenth birthday couldn't come soon enough.

Copyright © 2006 by Mia Edwards
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First Chapter

Chapter One

"Mmmm, I wanna be the cream in the middle of that chocolate." Kanika soaked up all six feet, 4 inches of Tyrell standing at the other end of the bar.

"Girl, you know you can't even handle that grown-ass nigga. Plus, he roll wit' ya mama's man and you know he into some real shit out there," Peaches said as she slurped her drink. They watched Andre try to talk to two women standing near the dance floor. With the quickness they both dismissed him at the same time. Kanika and Peaches cracked up laughing.

"Andre couldn't catch a woman wit' a ten-million-dollar NBA contract." Kanika laughed as she watched her former classmate kick game to another girl against the wall at Crystal Palace. Tonight was a celebration of Kanika's mother, Waleema, and the "business" expansion of her man, Tony Black, who just took down his rival Cee-Lo and took over an extra $5 million in "work."

Kanika nodded her head to the beat and wrapped her long French-manicured nails around her glass of Henny and Coke. She was well aware of all the drama that had taken place in the streets the last few weeks, and though everyone seemed footloose and fancy-free, she was on-edge. She sipped her drink and gazed at her mother, who always seemed cool under pressure, even with a 9mm in her Chanel bag.

Waleema was only 105 pounds and five feet, 4 inches of rounded hips, a trim waist, melon-sized breasts, and cherry lips. Her Asian-shaped eyes gave her a sexy, mysterious look and disappeared when she smiled. With her black licorice skin, Waleema looked like an African China doll, dressed in a skin-tight black kimono-style minidress and her cornrow-braided hair cascading down herback. She sat on Tony's lap, momentarily rubbing his bald head as she chatted with a crew of her friends, mostly other "wives" of Tony's friends who looked up to her for her style, status, and the respect she enjoyed. Amid all the loud music and goings-on, everyone's attention was focused on Waleema's conversation as they laughed and edged her on while she told one of her many stories. But if Waleema was the queen, Kanika was the princess.

Only a few weeks away from turning eighteen, Kanika never felt more like her mother than she did now. As she watched Waleema entertain the grown folks, Kanika admired the way her mother worked a room. They both had the same features, too. Distinctive eyes, long "good hair," and bodacious frames, except Kanika was taller at five-seven. Tony and her mother's friends were always reminding her how she and Waleema looked alike. Sometimes people wondered why a woman like Waleema would be with a man like Tony. He wasn't that good-looking, fifty pounds overweight, with a glass eye from being shot when he was sixteen, a potbelly, and acne-prone skin at forty-two. He was five feet, five inches short but had more bank than the Federal Reserve. He treated Waleema well, too, hardly ever raising his voice at her, and keeping Kanika and Waleema safe out of harm's way. Tony had enough street cred, for coming up with some of the most notorious Harlem hustlers in the eighties, and now was the "head nigga in charge" during a time when the drug game was gasping its last breaths. But besides that, Kanika respected him as a father. His was the calming voice when she and her mother would go at it about Kanika's coming in late from school or a party. Sometimes, when her mother couldn't make some of her parent-teacher meetings, Tony would come dressed in one of his pin-striped Italian suits and have Kanika's female teachers swooning. She often wondered if he was the reason that she got preferential treatment. He wasn't a tall man, but he had a big presence when he walked into their home. Kanika understood when Tony was around everything was all good.

She respected Tony most of all for taking her and her mother in when they had no place to go. After Waleema had left Shon, Kanika's father, and traveled to New York City, they went from one friend's house to the next. Kanika remembered nights traveling against the cold, hard winter winds, kept warm by her mother's arms, when it was time for them to move on to the next place. Until one night Kanika remembered her mother leaving for a party with friends dressed in black and coming back in the morning dressed in white and gold. It wasn't too long before Tony took them into his four-family home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Since then, he had done everything for them. He sent clients and cash to Waleema's strip club, and she played the role of his "wifey," making sure his home was in order, his body satisfied, and his parties beautifully hosted.

Tonight was a celebration of Tony reaching the top of his game. Cee-Lo was gone, and that meant more money, more problems. But there was no time for stressin', as the Dom P. flowed as free as the bodies moving to the music in the lounge area. Top neighborhood ballers dropped Benjamins like hot potatoes on bottles of Cristal and the baddest girls and their friends. Waleema and Tony danced as Waleema showed off all her latest moves to a Jay Z hit. Kanika and Peaches did the same when they took their champagne-filled glasses back to the dance floor.

The DJ spun one of Biggie's hits, "One More Chance," and Kanika flung her hand and her drink in the air to her favorite jam. Her shapely hips swayed from side to side as she and Peaches waved their glasses in the air with everyone else. Kanika was at her best this evening: she had her family and friends around her, her mother and Tony were looking happy, and she was about to graduate from high school any day. She couldn't think of anything else that would top this but a kiss from Tyrell. He was twenty-four and Tony's number-two man.

While she danced, Kanika kept her eye on him in case some other female tried to push up. Kanika had heard he was seeing some professional chick who used to roll with Cee-Lo or at least be his jump-off in between his baby mama drama. Kanika didn't know much about her, only that she was older and had a college degree and a good job at the bank. It was that job that helped Cee-Lo get loans to open his sneaker store and record label and hide his money in secret accounts. But she wasn't part of "the life" like Kanika was. Kanika was born in the game, like Tyrell, and if there was any woman who knew what Tyrell needed it was her. She remembered when Tony first brought him to the house. She had only been twelve and he had been eighteen. All she could remember was this tall, black, skinny guy with eyes so deep she could swim in them. Any time he walked by, her skin erupted in goose bumps. He didn't seem to pay her scrawny twelve-year-old frame any mind, but he teased her about her Asian-looking eyes, which she now understood meant he liked her even then. But they both had grown a lot since then. He was still over six feet, more muscular, and his dark, creamy black skin still made her want to lick him from head to toe.

"Girl, I can't believe high school is ova'. I am so tired of messing with those lil boys."

"Why are you so into older cats? They die soon, you know," Kanika said, bringing her hips down to the floor. She glanced at Tyrell, but there was a light-skinned, red-lipsticked woman on his arm. Kanika snapped back up. It's that bitch.

"Not that old. And any woman I see who got something got an older man. Look at your mama," Peaches said as they danced together.

Kanika tried to remember a time when Peaches was not talking about some older cat. Even when they were fourteen and in the eighth grade, she was checking for dudes out of high school. It was too much. But she knew it had a lot to do with the fact that Peaches' father left before she was born. Chick was looking for daddy in the face of every older cat she had ever gotten with. At least she had Tony to fill that void. "Well, thank God you gonna be eighteen soon; then it can be legal."

"That kind of takes the fun out of it, but I'll live." Peaches' eyes stayed glued to one of Tyrell's older friends.

"Mine is only ten days away, and a bitch can't wait," Kanika said, as both of the girls laughed. But Kanika was fixed on Tyrell, as he stood all close to this girl.

"Excuse me," Kanika said abruptly, as she marched off the dance floor about to make her presence known to Tyrell.

"Uh-uh, where you think you going with that nasty look on your face?" Waleema asked as she stopped her daughter cold. Waleema gripped Kanika's shoulders. "You look like you about to go off. Something happen?"

Kanika didn't want to make a big deal. "I was just going to the bathroom."

Waleema followed Kanika's line of focus and smirked when her eyes landed on Tyrell. "Honey, don't tell me you about to go make a fool of yourself because a man is just being a man?"

Kanika tapped her foot impatiently as she cut her eyes away from Tyrell and his female companion. Waleema gently pulled her to a dark corner, away from the music and the noise. "I get a feeling that you got something more to say to Tyrell than hello. Am I right?"

Kanika ran her hands over her wavy black weave. "Mommy, I just wanted to say hello, but he's with that trick again," Kanika said, frustrated with herself. She had never gotten a chance to have a real conversation with Tyrell because he would always tease her about his being locked up because of her age. She wanted to show him that age was just a number when it came to her feelings for him.

"Baby, you gonna be eighteen soon. You gotta start acting more mature. You can't just storm over there and interrupt the man just because. You gotta do that with class, honey. Remember, a ho in the sheets and a princess in the streets. Understand?"

"I guess so," Kanika said, as she forced a smile. Her mother was never one to mince words. "So what do I do? I really like Tyrell and I know he's feeling me."

"He is, but be careful. If you want his attention, act like you don't care if he comes or goes. Don't you think he got enough women trying to get close to him? Be different. Walk on right by him," she said, emulating a sexy strut with her hands on her waist, "swinging those hips your mama gave ya, and don't take your eyes off him for one second." She spun around on her heels. "And get yourself a glass of the most expensive champagne at the bar," she said, handing Kanika a stack of bills.

Kanika stood alone as Tony swept her mother back up in his arms. She thought they looked cute, the way her mother stood taller than him in her four-inch gold Chanel stilettos. Kanika stuffed the money in her Prada bra and glided her way toward Tyrell. Her heart was in her mouth as she inched up closer to him. His back was against the bar and the chick was standing between his legs. As soon as Kanika turned the corner, Tyrell's eyes met hers. That gave her the extra confidence she needed; her skin-tight green and gold sequined Gucci dress did the rest. She pulled the V front down some to show off her cleavage. There were lots of people passing in front of her, but she made sure she followed her mama's rules. Kanika's eyes zeroed in on his face with a tempting look and a dash of attitude. There were his deep brown eyes again. In her mind, Kanika was already swimming in their depths. She was in a trancelike state, moving in slow motion with no one around but her and Tyrell. He was dressed in all-black linen slacks and shirt with a thick platinum chain and spinning hubcap pendant dangling from his neck. The strobe lights made his tea black skin radiate with a mysterious power that made him look good enough to jump. He diminished every other man in the room with his thick, muscular build and wide shoulders. His closely shaved head and beard made him look a few years older, with a handsome ruggedness. All Kanika could think of in those few seconds was sucking on his thick, brown lips. His gaze traveled from her breasts, to her hips, to her shapely legs as she glided right by him, careful not to even give his chick any recognition. Kanika slid into a space a few stools down and ordered her glass of champagne. Tyrell winked at her and smiled. The chick he was with turned his face toward her and Tyrell slapped her hand away.

Kanika snickered to herself. It was only a matter of time before she got Tyrell for herself, she thought. He always acted like she was too young for him, but she planned to show him soon that she could get as nasty as he wanted her to be.

Kanika walked back through the crowd to the dance floor, somewhat satisfied, to where Peaches was still carrying on with a group of other girls. "I can't wait to start college. As soon I get down to Atlanta, I'm gonna regulate on all dem prissy bitches," Peaches said out loud, and flung her weave to the other side of her face. "I'm gonna get me an older man, and take him for all his money."

Kanika laughed at they both got back into their groove with the others. "Where you disappear to?" Peaches asked.

"I just got me a little somethin' to wet my throat," Kanika said as she faced Peaches, who was working up a sweat.

"And your panties." She laughed. "I seen Tyrell over there, too."

Kanika rolled her eyes and laughed also. It was no secret how she felt about Tyrell; everyone knew, including Tony, who wasn't too crazy about them hooking up. Tyrell was what Tony called "a young cat" and too wild for his own good, but he kept him in his crew for those very reasons. He thought that Kanika was way too smart to be with a man who made his green on the streets, even if he was steep six figures. Kanika wondered if Tony had anything to do with Tyrell keeping his distance. But Tyrell was his own man. She couldn't imagine another man telling him who to date. And if her mother approved of him, Kanika thought, hooking up with him couldn't be so bad.

As the music changed to some eighties Prince and Cameo jams, Kanika wandered off the dance floor. When Kanika walked off, she noticed Peaches and a group behind her. It was a few of her classmates from school, but she wanted to be alone to find Tyrell. She turned around, looked at her diamond-studded Jacob the Jeweler watch, and said, "Listen, y'all can go and do your thang. I'm gonna chill for a few."

Peaches said, doing a fake karate stance, "If you need anything let me know, OK?"

"I will," Kanika said as they all walked away. She didn't know what she could possibly need. Somehow, girls liked hanging with her, because at school it bought them all the right attention from the right guys and made them look "cool." Little did they know that Kanika had her mind on bigger things than a school reputation. She had mastered school with good grades and exceptional performances as head of her cheerleading squad and school debate team. Her mother put heavy emphasis on studying, including a mandatory three hours of studying every Sunday. Sometimes Kanika had to find stuff to study, because she had already aced most of it. At this point, just days away from graduation, she was ready for life's bigger challenges.

Kanika slipped away from the party. She knew where to find Tyrell and she had to talk to him. She didn't understand why he was ignoring her all night, except for his little glances. She touched herself up in the women's bathroom and glossed her lips with cherry red color and dabbed her eyes with a touch of silver eyeliner. Her hair was still neatly styled, despite the heat and sweat.

She dabbed some Vaseline, a trick her mother had shown her, on the tops of her breasts to make her skin look dewy. Her mother had taught her to always accentuate what came natural. When Kanika left, a short brown-faced girl she had never seen before slipped her a note:

Tyrell is in the cigar room. Classy, sexy first.

--Mommy

Kanika tore the note up, adjusted her dress, and thanked God for a mother like hers. Sometimes she felt Waleema was more like a sister and that she wanted to see her with Tyrell more than anything. Perhaps Waleema knew how happy that would make Kanika, as Waleema was always looking for a way to please her.

Kanika walked into the cigar room just a few doors down from the ladies' room. She knew he had to be alone, but even if he wasn't, she was still going in. "Have you seen Peaches?" she said, slightly opening the door to the smoke-filled room. She could care less where Peaches was, but she had to play the game.

"Nah, her ass probably still out there dancing," Tyrell said, standing up and quickly opening a window. Her eyes fixated on his fat diamond T-initialed pinkie ring.

"Oh, OK," Kanika said, lingering by the door. She closed it behind her.

Tyrell put out his cigar and asked, "Keeping me company?"

"I just want a place to chill; it's kind of noisy out there," she said, leaning forward and sitting down.

Again she caught Tyrell's eyes on her breasts, but he looked away. She carefully crossed her legs, showing the curves of her healthy thighs. She sat across from him and waited.

"Yeah, I was saying that to myself. Too many fake motherfuckas out there," he said, sipping his glass of Henny. "Half them niggas I don't even know."

"They all our friends and Tony."

"Tony think he got friends now. Man, since that nigga Cee-Lo went down, all hell 'bout to break loose. Watch how many friends he gonna have in a few weeks."

"If you talking about Tony, you talking about all of us."

Tyrell shook his head like she didn't get it. "Listen, I just can't be relaxing when I know shit is hot out there right now with Cee-Lo gone. This ain't time for celebrating; heads about to roll."

Kanika was frightened by Tyrell's concern. He was also an intelligent person, and though she didn't admit it, she, too, was nervous when she first heard Cee-Lo was killed. But no one else seemed to care, like her mother and Tony. Everything seemed normal. "How you know all that? That chick you was talking to earlier?"

"Man," he said, lighting another cigar. "That trick may play dumb, but she knows a lot of shit. She told me that Cee-Lo's people ain't go down without a fight. Just because Cee-Lo gone don't mean a hundred motherfuckas is gone with him," he said, then laughed. "But their money sure is."

Tyrell passed the cigar to Kanika, who took a healthy pull. Tony had shown her how to smoke them just last year. She didn't like the taste, but she loved how she looked holding one between her fingers. As much as she wanted to believe Tyrell, she thought he was overreacting. Cee-Lo had been gone for weeks, and the streets were calm. Not too quiet, because that was when trouble was most suspected, but calm enough to know the winds had changed. Kanika wasn't too worried. "So who is this Cee-Lo chick? You fucking her?"

"Come on, Kanika. A grown-ass man like me," he said, flashing his handsome white smile, "is not gonna be explaining his sex life to a little girl."

Kanika walked over and looked down at him as he sat on the plush leather couch. "Does this look like the body of a little girl?" she asked, taking a drag from the cigar.

Tyrell licked his lips and marinated in her curves.

She blew the smoke in his face and straddled him with her legs. She sat on him, face-to-face, and touched a healed stab wound under his left jaw.

Tyrell maintained a serious demeanor, keeping his body relaxed and his hands to himself.

"Tyrell? You don't ever think about us? Or me? One day?" Kanika parted her lips and let them graze the edge of Tyrell's closed mouth. The softness of her lips invited him to taste. She took his hand and placed it on the voluptuous curve of her behind and pressed her breasts into his chest. Finally, he opened his mouth, and so did she, and they kissed hard, his tongue overpowering hers.

She reached down to touch below his belt, but he grabbed her hand and stopped her. He pushed her away.

"Whatsup?" Kanika said, confused and feeling silly for putting herself out there.

"Yo, chill wit' all that, Kanika," he said angrily. "I don't play games. And in my eyes, you will always be like my lil sista'," he said. He laughed uncomfortably. "Besides, Tony said your mama ain't having it."

Kanika's suspicion was proven. Though her mother was encouraging her to holla at Tyrell because he was a "good catch," all the while Tony was putting salt in the game. She planned to have a little talk with her mother.

Tyrell glared at Kanika, but when she stared back into his dark eyes she saw that familiar softness behind them. It spoke what his mouth wouldn't. He wanted her despite his tough-man talk, she thought. And she knew there was always next time. Her eighteenth birthday couldn't come soon enough.

Copyright © 2006 by Mia Edwards
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 3, 2010

    GREAT

    this is a great book. it teaches you about the street life. Also there is a part 2 it is called Love Lockdown.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Great read!

    Read it in one night. Couldnt put it down! Can i get a sequel?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved it!

    I loved the book, it was amazing. The characters were on point, and they were easy to relate to. It was more about Nika holding her own instead of depending on men to do it for her, that is one of the things I loved. Great and easy read. This is the first book that I re-read entirely. That says something. Go get this book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 5, 2009

    Great Book

    I read this book in one night. It really has m wishing that there will be a part 2 just to see what happens between Kanika and Tyrell. I think she has it in her to take over her fathers business. I also hope that Tiffany will get it together and not tr to do anything stupid to her sister because they are all they have now. If anyone knows if there is going to be a part 2 please post the information.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2008

    CRAZYYY

    I loved this book i couldnt put this book down. This is a good and crazy book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2008

    Book you can't put down!!

    i loved this book it surprised me so much at the end! there should be a second one coming out because it needs one

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2008

    This is my Fave Book

    This book was so surprising i thought tyrell and Kanika would be together 4eva I passed the book throughout my 8th grade class and all my class mates loved it in the Chi'Chicago'lolz

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2007

    very good urban book

    this book was really good kinda sad and surprising still waiting for the sequel because it really needs one...but other than that loved the book

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    ugh

    This book will not open y

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2007

    IT WAS GOOD

    I THOUGHT THE BOOK WAS GOOD. IT WASNT THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ BUT I WOULD SAY THE ENDING WAS PRETTY SUPRISING. MIA EDWARDS REALLY NEEDS TO GET TO WORK ON A SECOND BOOK FOR THIS NOVEL. I FELT THAT IT LEAVES IT READERS HANGING AT THE END

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2006

    Action Packed Novel

    I loved this book, I've been waiting on a sequel, I happened to buy the book in May, so I've been waiting quite some time! This novel kept me guessing, and I cried with Kiara, it's like you can really feel what she's going through, MIA...GOOD JOB!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2006

    This Book Was Cute

    It was a good book it had a really cute ending to it

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a strange but entertaining romantic suspense

    Eighteen years old Kanika has lived the life of an African-American princess because of Waleemawho is her mom and a strip club owner who has a close relationship with powerful Brooklyn drug lord Tony, who also treats her like she is royalty. Kanika sets her sight on Tony¿s top lieutenant Tyrell, but he considers her more like a younger sister than a lover.------------------- However, before Kanika can begin her plan to seduce Tyrell, a rival gangster tries to kill Tony. During the firefight, Waleema is killed. Tyrell persuades Kanika to leave Brooklyn to live with her biological father Shon in Virginia while attending college there. However neither Tyrell nor the former GHETTO PRINCESS is aware of Shon¿s mob ties making her move more dangerous than if she stayed with Tyrell to protect her.---------------------- GHETTO PRINCESS is a strange but entertaining romantic suspense in which relationships are everything, but Kanika who trusted several people with her soul will soon learn how easy one can become a victim of betrayal. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that Waleema is killed and never slows down until the final confrontation that readers know is coming yet will appreciate. Kanika is a fascinating protagonist holds the tale together as she changes from GHETTO PRINCESS to dethroned royal still hoping to be Tyrell¿s queen. ---------- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2011

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    Posted September 6, 2009

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    Posted May 31, 2013

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    Posted November 7, 2011

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    Posted August 26, 2012

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    Posted November 4, 2011

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    Posted August 3, 2011

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