- Travis Hunter, author of On the Come Up
Hold Me Down (Coleman High Series#2)by Calvin Slater
Xavier Hunter's dreams of graduation and college are even more crazy-impossible this sophomore year. Flipping on his former BFF has put more than one target on his back. And thanks to vicious baby-daddy lies, his dream girl Samantha Fox has quit him for good. The only person who seems to understand what he's going through is Nancy Simpson. She's a gorgeous chance
Xavier Hunter's dreams of graduation and college are even more crazy-impossible this sophomore year. Flipping on his former BFF has put more than one target on his back. And thanks to vicious baby-daddy lies, his dream girl Samantha Fox has quit him for good. The only person who seems to understand what he's going through is Nancy Simpson. She's a gorgeous chance to make things rightbut she's more dangerous drama than Xavier has ever seen.
Samantha isn't going to let heartbreak break her. Maybe Xavier wasn't the down-deep-decent guy she thought. And maybe what they had wasn't as true as she hoped. But there's something about his new boo, Nancy, that's screaming bad news. And exposing what's real means she and Xavier must face some hard truthsand survive.
- Travis Hunter, author of On the Come Up
Read an Excerpt
Hold Me Down
By Calvin Slater
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Calvin Slater
All rights reserved.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 28 5:30 A.M.
The alarm clock app went off on Xavier's cell phone. It was the first day of school and Xavier was thanking God for it!
Right on cue his father yelled from somewhere in the house, "Praise God! Xavier, get up and wash yourself. It's time to give God the first fruit of your day, boy!"
Noah, Xavier's father, was light-skinned, stood six-six and had crazy upper body strength. It seemed like he'd done his prison time in the gym, getting ripped. The dude's legs looked like massive tree trunks and his shoulders were huge and full of muscle.
But the guy was getting on Xavier's nerves, real bad. He hadn't been home one full month and already Xavier was over him. Once his father was out, he and Alfonso left Billy's and moved in with Noah. But it was just like he'd thought when he'd gone to see the old man in the joint. Up there Xavier had only received a microscopic dose of his father's fanatic religious beliefs. The dude was now home from prison, and with him he'd brought the wrath of God. When Noah wasn't talking about the Lord, dude was humming his praises around the house, and when he wasn't singing praises, he was voraciously racing through the pages of the Bible as if the book was set to spontaneously combust into flames if he didn't read it fast enough.
Noah said from behind Xavier's closed bedroom door, "Let's meet the sunrise by worshiping the Lord, son. Get up and hurry!"
Xavier couldn't do anything but shake his head. All of these new changes. But this "prayer before sunrise" was the icing on the cake. Though Alfonso had serious issues with the change of pace around the crib, the boy couldn't voice his opinion. Besides, he was too happy to see his father home. He'd been an itty-bitty baby when the old dude went off to prison, and had no memories of him. But to a cat like Xavier, the junk wasn't gonna fly. He was down with God and everything, but not the way that Noah was getting down. The way he'd been acting Xavier would've thought that Noah was hiding angel wings underneath his shirts.
Noah knocked on Xavier's door. "I can hear your alarm still ringing. That means you're not moving around in there, son! God hates laziness."
Why don't you shut up? Xavier thought.
The darkness outside of his bedroom window reminded Xavier of what the upcoming school year could bring if he wasn't careful. He'd pissed a few folks off last school year by snitching on Zulu—under the watchful eye of a fat cat named Slick Eddie. Working side by side to accomplish the deed was his number-one road dog Romello Anderson. Together with Slick Eddie's army of Zulu goons, the two boys had pulled off a miracle and cleaned up the school and got rid of all the scumbags. But unbeknownst to Xavier, Slick Eddie had a different plan for when the two boys had gotten rid of all the competition at Coleman High. When it was all said and done Romello obeyed his boss, Eddie, and went back on his word and double-crossed Xavier. In pursuit of the almighty dollar, Romello Anderson flooded Coleman High with dangerous designer street drugs. Once Xavier found out about the plan, it was too late to stop it from happening. Plus, Romello tried to have Xavier smoked because he wouldn't get on board. Playing rat was the only ace Xavier had in his hand. When he played the card, Slick Eddie's entire criminal empire crumbled. The last words out of Romello's mouth before he was arrested were that Xavier had better watch his back.
Rolling over, Xavier grabbed his phone and shut off the alarm. He had closed his eyes for a few seconds when his bedroom door opened.
Noah stuck his head in to say, "Xavier, it's time to get up. You know we have to start the day by praising God's holy name."
Xavier defiantly pulled the covers up over his head.
"Did you hear me, son?"
"Yeah. I'm good. Getting up right now."
"Also, you and I have to have a little talk about the expensive clothes you wear."
Xavier huffed. "What about my clothes?"
"You shouldn't put too much emphasis on material things. Besides, it's a distraction from your true calling, and that's worshiping God."
After the door closed, Xavier could hear Noah joyfully humming as he went to the next room to wake up Alfonso.
Noah said to Xavier from the hallway, "And don't forget to go and see your probation officer today."
Damn, he'd forgotten about the old, fat, bald white guy named Oliver Meyer. His office was in a smelly, semi-abandoned building six blocks from his high school. This would be the second time seeing his probation officer since getting into trouble last June. On the first visit, Oliver had seemed angry and irritable, and had warned Xavier to toe the line.
"Xavier, are you up yet?" His father's voice came from somewhere on the other side of the door.
This dude is so irritating, Xavier thought.
Xavier took the covers down and sat up on the side of his bed.
Dude was pure crazy if he thought that Xavier was giving up his designer wear because it interfered with worship. The old man had gone so far as to suggest shopping at Kmart for gear that would be less distracting. Xavier thought that his father had been playing when he made the suggestion. But it got real when the old man had pulled up to the parking lot of a Kmart a couple of days ago. He said as long as he was buying clothing for them they would wear what he purchased. Xavier and his dad immediately butted heads. There was no way Xavier was wearing the cheap stuff. He was a designer head and flossed only the best. His pops could kick rocks. The scheme to get Xavier into the cheap stuff was dead on arrival.
Xavier had stayed in the car while his father took poor Alfonso in and came out with shopping bags.
Noah might've been out of his mind at times with his faith, but Xavier had to give him credit. As soon as he'd gotten released, he'd hit the ground running. He managed to find a job and a half, and thanks to a good word from Billy, Noah was able to rent a bungalow from an Arab man, two blocks from the Dearborn city limits. A factory on the east side provided Noah with a full-time gig working days, while he delivered pizzas for a small pizza joint in the evenings. But that's where the respect stopped. The man had another thing coming if he thought that Xavier was coughing up the fancy gear he'd paid a pretty penny for last school year.
Xavier stood from his bed and stretched. He went out into the hall closet and grabbed the ironing board. A crispy pair of True Religion jeans, orange Nautica polo shirt, and white Air Force 1s, trimmed in orange, would be proper for the first day. He set up the board and plugged in the iron. As he put a killer crease in the jeans, Xavier peeked at the eight-by-ten picture of Samantha that sat in a nice frame on his dresser. Despite what they had gone through last semester, Xavier loved that girl. And he couldn't wait to see her in school.
* * *
After breakfast, Noah had asked if he could drop them off at school, but Xavier was adamant about doing things his way. Of course Noah could've pulled rank and taken them anyway. But he fell back, allowing Xavier the proper respect that the boy deserved. In Noah's absence, the reality was that Xavier had become the man of the house. There was no way that Noah was going to step on Xavier's toes. So he went to work and Xavier and Alfonso walked three blocks up to Alex Haley Middle School.
After watching Alfonso, wearing his Scarface backpack, safely file into the school with the rest of the kids, Xavier stood at the bus stop across the street, where he waited for the bus that would take him directly to Coleman High.
The Warren Avenue bus pulled up and Xavier boarded. He took a seat in the rear of the partially filled bus.
He knew damn well that his name still held power, but Zulu wasn't going to have his back this semester like they had done the last. But Xavier still had a few cats willing to stick their necks out and go hard for him if need be, like some of the guys from the football team: Felix Hoover, the top dog of the Second Street gang, and of course Xavier's homeboy Dexter. Yeah, Xavier might've been wearing a leash around his neck in the form of probation, but chumps better step to him correctly. So far, he hadn't heard any gossip about people finding out that he had snitched on his former best friend Romello Anderson. But that didn't mean jack. Somebody had to know something.
When he arrived at school, Xavier was lucky when he went to pick up his course schedule. Just a few students stood in line in the main lobby, so it wasn't a long wait. Four tables were lined up, where three large, plainly dressed women distributed the course schedules for all of the students at Coleman High.
As he climbed the stairs to the third floor, Xavier stole a peek at his schedule: calculus first hour, followed by world history, lab biology next, with a fourth period lunch. English 10 was fifth period. Xavier didn't like phys ed, but it was sixth hour and he had a seventh-hour art appreciation class.
He was rather eager to start this new school year. Put all the craziness he'd been through behind him. A few girls passed him as he walked through the double doors on the third floor. The ladies coldly looked him off. He couldn't believe it. These were the same girls who used to be all up on him, super thirsty to be around him as he walked by them in the hallway last school year. Now they were looking at him as if he was a nobody. Xavier paid them no mind and headed straight to his locker.
If he'd had any questions about students being aware of him snitching on Romello, the answer had been scrawled out in bright red spray paint across the military-green door of his locker: Snitches Get Stitches! Xavier's reputation for being hotheaded was probably the only reason that students were not standing around gawking at his locker, like motorists slowing down to get a better look at a freeway accident. But regardless of how many students were walking by, stealing a glance at the warning in red while keeping it moving, none were foolish enough to be all up in his business—except for his homeboy Dexter.
"Not exactly a proper greeting for Coleman High's favorite son," Dexter stated, standing behind Xavier. It seemed that the boy was sporting a fresh look for the new semester—expensive vintage Cazal eyeglasses, some kind of loud, solid orange shirt, and a red bow tie. But the damn skinny jeans had to go. They hugged him so tight that he'd split his pants with any sudden movement.
Oh yeah, his feet were covered by shiny brown penny loafers too.
When Xavier turned around he almost fell to the floor laughing. "Damn, homeboy, who dressed you this morning—Big Bird from Sesame Street?"
"Ha ha ha ha," said Dexter, removing his glasses and running a small cloth over the lenses. "Don't get jealous, my brother. I'll have you know that this is the new style this fall."
Xavier chuckled. "For who ... Kanye West?" He couldn't do anything but shake his head. "Last school year you wanted to be a thug, so you dressed accordingly. I swear, this is ridiculous—I'ma start calling you Kanye Wrong."
Dexter put on his glasses and focused his attention back to the locker. "Enough about me, chuckles. Who the hell is your new fan club?"
"Some prankster looking to get a beat-down."
"Man, you've stepped on a lot of toes. Ain't no telling who's trying to send you a message, homeboy."
Xavier examined the many curious faces of boys and girls walking by.
"Let me get my hands on the fool with the spray can," Xavier said in growing anger. "I'm going to give him something to remember me by."
Dexter asked, "Who do you think did it—Dutch Westwood, Dylan Dallas and his Straight Eight goons?"
Xavier shook his head. "Don't know."
Dexter paused for a second before saying, "Or do you think Romello had anything to do with it?"
"Don't know. But it's gonna be a wrap for homeboy, whoever it is."
At that moment Xavier's sworn enemy Sally Peoples walked up with a sly grin. Xavier couldn't stand her after she tried to embarrass him in Ms. Gorman's English class last year. Surprisingly, Sally looked to have lost a few pounds over the summer break. The girl was wearing her signature bird-nest hairdo, blue jeans that fitted her righteously in all the areas where it counted, and a colorful Nike T-shirt that matched her sneakers.
"Wow, hero," she sarcastically said to Xavier. "I thought you were the man around here. Looks like I don't have to waste my precious time getting my brothers to beat you anymore." She gazed up at the locker. "Somebody is about to do it for me." The heifer walked away giggling.
When Dexter figured out that Xavier was gonna give the witch a pass, he put Sally on blast. "Miss us with that garbage, you sea lion-looking troll. I hope a mother eagle nests in your hairdo and raises babies."
Xavier laughed at Dex. "'Mother eagle nests in your hair'?—I told you, something's wrong with you."
The truth was that Xavier had no time to waste with Sally. The girl hated him as bad as an alcoholic despised drinking water, but this wasn't her MO. She didn't have the heart for this type of job. This semester Xavier would have to grow eyes on the back of his head to ensure his survival. Looking at his locker, he burned with anger. Somebody had violated his space. But somehow he knew that this was only the beginning.
Xavier asked Dexter, "What hour do you have lunch?"
Dex went into his pocket and grabbed his schedule. His mischievous smile said it all. "Fourth hour."
"Cool, that's my lunch hour too. I'll holler at you then, homeboy."
Dex said, "I know you ain't fazed"—he nodded his head toward Xavier's locker—"by this nonsense."
"Man, I'ma have calculus problems this semester that'll come harder than the cowards who wrote this." Xavier rolled his shoulders. "But all the same, I gotta find a janitor to clean this crap up."
Throughout the school day Xavier had been noticing odd looks from other students. Whether he was in class or walking the halls, he would catch them staring at him like he was a marked man—or better yet, a straight-up rat. Last school year, swarms of his classmates used to be all up in his grill, like he was LeBron James signing autographs at a local mall. But the atmosphere around him had totally changed, like everybody already had him dead and buried. Xavier wasn't going out like that. Whatever, he thought.
It was weird for him to be all by himself at a corner table in the lunchroom, drinking a vanilla milkshake.
Kids sitting at other tables were trying to be slick with low-key glances, but Xavier always managed to catch them staring. He simply shook his head. These were the fools that he had protected last year from bullies, thugs, thieves, and outsiders looking to get inside the school and prey on them.
So far he hadn't seen one Zulu member in the lunchroom, or anywhere around the school for that matter. Because he read more than just the required classroom reading, Xavier had a great deal of understanding about the enemy. The Art of War by Sun Tzu had taught him that just because one couldn't see the enemy, that didn't mean they weren't present. He wasn't tripping nor was he scared.
Students were everywhere in the cafeteria, looking fresh in their new school clothes, trying to impress each other with tough talk and even tougher attitudes. Xavier simply laughed. A bunch of phonies. Clowns. If somebody shouted "boo" loud enough, the majority of them would run so fast they'd leave their skeletons behind to get their flesh to safety.
It was strange how life had flipped the script on his boss-dog status, though. It seemed like only yesterday Xavier was walking around carrying absolute power and clocking mad dough, wads of cash stuffed in his pockets making his pants look like they had the mumps. He'd been able to buy all the finest clothes made by the hippest designers.
Samantha walked into the cafeteria through the east doors. She was simply gorgeous. If Beyoncé Knowles ever had a twin, Samantha Fox was her. She approached him, smelling all kinds of good. Her hair was down around her shoulders, and she was wearing a cute black figure-hugging top with bebe spelled out across the front in pink rhinestones. Her perfect booty was wrapped up in low-rise jeans from Lucky Brand, and she was wearing white Nikes trimmed in pink.
"You must really like what you see, Xavier," Samantha said with a bright smile. She leaned in to hug him, but Xavier surprised her by suddenly standing and holding her in a powerful yet tender embrace, planting a kiss on her lips.
When the two of them broke contact they found that they had an audience. Almost everybody in the cafeteria stopped to watch, like they were being entertained by the tender side of some drama-filled, high school reality television show.
"Wow, babe! You must have really missed me, huh?"
Xavier's smile was as charming as ever. One of the things that had made Samantha fall hard for him.
They sat right next to each other at the table.
"You know I did. It's like I haven't seen you in years."
"Stop clowning. It hasn't even been a week."
"Year, month, week, day—hell, it's all too long when you're not near me, girl."
Samantha cracked up. "Was that supposed to be deep? You're a regular Shakespeare from the hood."
Excerpted from Hold Me Down by Calvin Slater. Copyright © 2015 Calvin Slater. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Calvin Slater hails from Detroit—where he was born and raised. He has written adult fiction titles under a different name, which gave him the opportunity to provide motivational talks in Detroit's public school system and one of his adult fiction titles was made required reading in some Detroit-area high schools. Readers can visit him online at slaterboyfiction.com.
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"Hold Me Down" is a well written novel by Calvin Slater. This book will keep you on edge! Just when I thought I had the story figured out, Mr. Slater threw in a curve ball. This book was hard to put down, anxiously waiting for the next book in the series. Awesome reading!