Love Don't Live Here Anymore

( 9 )

Overview

Randy Murphy and Mikki Chance-Murphy are a contemporary couple whose marital bond is tested by the demands of their emerging professional lives. He is an ad executive who has temporarily relocated to Paris to pursue a prestigious account. She is a fashion designer living in Brooklyn, trying to move her struggling bridal boutique into the black.

Unfolding in alternating chapters from each of their points of view, Love Don't Live Here Anymore tells the story of what happens to a ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (23) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $2.99   
  • Used (20) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$2.99
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:

(45)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
0525946411 Excellent Buy!!!

Ships from: Pleasant View, TN

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$8.98
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(66)

Condition: New
New New-clean, pristine, shiny-new-Ships from legendary independent online bookstore in Murrieta, California. Thousands of satisfied customers. We ship promptly and worldwide. ... We work hard to earn your confidence. Orders are normally shipped the same business day. We use bubble wrap heavy Kraft envelopes. Reliable customer service and no-hassle return policy. Why pay more? Read more Show Less

Ships from: Diamond Bar, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$58.77
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(215)

Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Randy Murphy and Mikki Chance-Murphy are a contemporary couple whose marital bond is tested by the demands of their emerging professional lives. He is an ad executive who has temporarily relocated to Paris to pursue a prestigious account. She is a fashion designer living in Brooklyn, trying to move her struggling bridal boutique into the black.

Unfolding in alternating chapters from each of their points of view, Love Don't Live Here Anymore tells the story of what happens to a marriage when infidelity and distance-both physical and emotional-enter the equation. As Mikki finds herself powerfully drawn to her husband's best friend, it will take some major shaking up-not to mention faith, understanding, and lots of love-to put the pieces of their marriage back together. If it's not too late.

A novel about the choices that shape our lives and relationships, this is a moving and captivating addition to contemporary African-American fiction.

Author Biography: Denene Millner is the author of The Sistah's Rules and is a Senior Editor at Honey magazine.

Nick Chiles is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Dallas Morning News and New York Newsday, among other publications. Together, they are the Blackboard bestselling authors of What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know, What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know About Sex, and Money, Power, Respect: What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The husband-and-wife team who penned the successful What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know nonfiction series take their interpersonal skills to a different level in this entertaining first novel. Using a he said/she said approach to chronicle the affectionate dueling of advertising exec Randy Murphy and his wife, Mikki, a successful wedding-dress designer, the writing duo examines a contemporary African-American marriage. The challenge of juggling hot careers with lukewarm personal lives takes center stage when Randy is given the chance of a lifetime to do a three-month business stint in Paris. Mikki, steeped in her own business, keeps the home fires burning, but going it solo while her husband is on the other side of the Atlantic is not her idea of a good marriage. Temptation and frustration inevitably lead to adultery, and though the scenarios are not new Randy has an office affair; Mikki cheats with her husband's best friend the authors' use of alternating viewpoints helps to keep things interesting. The plot is generally weighed down by overwriting, and some scenes such as when Mikki's personal problems become fodder for her readers' group to analyze could have been jettisoned altogether. But apart from some goofy observations (a faithful husband is "like a long-surviving deer"; a relationship unravels "like a ball of catnip-laced yarn at the claws of my nutty, mischievous cats"), the authors offer an insightful look at modern marriage. Agent, Victoria Saunders. (Mar.) Forecast: The sassy jacket should woo readers, particularly those already charmed by the nonfiction successes of Millner and Chiles. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From a husband-wife team specializing in relationship guides geared to African-Americans: a first fiction that itself reads much like a guide about what not to do-in romance and storytelling. Taking turns in alternating chapters, Mikki and Randy spin out their story, although, even with the first-person narratives, their motivations seem a bit dim. Randy, in Paris for a few months on business, is thrilled when he hears of his promotion for good work done but frightened of his wife's reaction when he tells her he'll have to spend another few months in the City of Lights. Mikki, back at their home in Brooklyn and taking care of her thriving business as a bridal designer, resents Randy's having left and will no doubt fume at an extension of his stay. Or so Randy thinks. Little does he know that Mikki has found her way into the arms of someone else, none other than Marcus, Randy's best friend. When Mikki goes to Paris to rekindle their relationship, the two barely get along, each hyperbolically blaming the other for minor transgressions. Back at home, Mikki continues her affair with Marcus (and Randy is no angel in Paris), certain she's in love and ready for divorce. Intuitive enough to know his marriage is in trouble, Randy goes home and asks his best friend for advice. The road gets only more crooked from there on. The team's depiction of this tangled web (echoed in a subplot featuring Mikki's adulterous father) is candid and uncompromising, though it falters in the endless repetition of scenes that do nothing to clarify the characters' behavior. Instead of elucidating, the alternate narratives simply read like bickering voices, deaf to any other, and consequently exhausting to listen to. Aclever idea, filled with hip references and attitudes-but no new perspective on love or marriage.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525946410
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Read an Excerpt

HE

As I walked from the conference room, I had to struggle with an overpowering urge to scream. Of course the eyes of my new colleagues were following me closely, even if they were trying to pretend they weren't. They were looking for some sign that I had been surprised by those lovely words that floated through the small speaker and settled over the room as dramatically as a summer storm. But I was trying to cultivate an image as the cool, unfazed New Yorker—my ever-present cool brother pose—so I couldn't let these Paris folks witness my joy. I wanted them to think this kind of stuff happened to me all the time—no big deal.

"We want Randy to stay on in Paris to see this thing through." That was the first stunning announcement to the conference room. The sentence was rife with ambiguities that would take me hours to decode, but Peter Webber, the senior vice president of Trier-Stanton, wasn't through with me yet.

"When you come back, Randy, if everything goes according to plan, we're making you the director of creative. That comes with a title of vice president, as you know. But there'll certainly be more discussion on this."

I had glanced quickly around the room; my glance repelled the stares like a fan. Though most of the people in the large conference room were Parisians, and I couldn't be sure they'd have anything more than an envious curiosity about Webber's words, it was the eyes of my four fellow New Yorkers that held the most interest for me. What were they thinking, particularly the aloof and blonde Eliza, who was the closest thing to an equal that I had in the room? That just as easily could have been her name falling from Webber's lips.

Catching no eyes with which to lock, I looked around the outer environs of the conference room, even managing to notice for about the 20th time how remarkably bare this showcase meeting place looked to my untrained eye. I didn't have to ask to know staggering sums of money had been spent on its decoration. Big money, with not much to show for it outside of a large irregularly shaped conference table—I thought it looked just like the shape of the African continent, but maybe that was just me—and some extremely comfortable leather chairs. Not even any artwork—not even in Paris. It was that minimalist thing again. So understated. As with the entire city and its people, never had so much effort gone into looking like there had been no effort at all. I was from Brooklyn. By itself, that was a biography. I didn't at all think of myself as tacky or low-class, but if something was expensive as hell, I thought it should look expensive as hell. Otherwise, what was the point?

It wasn't until I was about to step, or skip might be more accurate, through the threshold of my little office that I even thought about Mikki. How weird was that? A dramatic promotion and my wife doesn't even cross my mind? Was this a sign of some type of transformation taking place in my marriage—a severe turn for the worse? But it wasn't the promotion that triggered the somersaults in my stomach when the image of Mikki's round smooth face flashed across my mental monitor. It was that first sentence Webber spoke: "We want Randy to stay in Paris and see this thing through."

I had already been away from my wife for nearly two months. Exactly how much longer was "see this thing through?" Did I even have the option of declining? Of course I would never consider not accepting Webber's assignment, but I wasn't sure how I should feel about the effect it would have on my marriage. Though there had been very little passion and longing between me and Mikki in the months before I left, I had started to get some pretty sturdy erections of late when my mind wandered to my wife. That was evidence of some feeling, wasn't it?

What I was being offered had the sound of a Faustian bargain of sorts: kiss your marriage goodbye and you'll get the job of a lifetime. If I squinted hard enough, I could imagine ghastly little horns poking out of Webber's head as he grinned and spoke into the speakerphone. Mikki had been unhappy enough when I accepted the three-month transfer to Paris. The memory of those long, silent weeks in our Brooklyn brownstone leading up to the trip made me shudder. She was even reluctant to drive me to the airport, though she finally relented. I felt a small tug of pleasure when I saw alarm, or maybe surprise, cross her face when I pleaded for her to drive me.

"Come on, Mikki. I need to see the face of someone I love right before I step on an airplane and go halfway around the world." I laid it on with just the right touch of whine in my voice—and about as much as my ego could stand. What I wanted to add, but held back because I found excessive melodrama more than a little distasteful, was that something terrible could happen to me and I'd never see her again.

Mikki knew those pleading words from me were about as theatrical as a love confession would ever get. I could tell that by her abrupt change in attitude. She even smiled, something I hadn't seen probably in weeks. Do you understand how painful it is to live in a house with another person for weeks without a gesture as modest and easily conjured as a smile? I hated the silent treatment—at which Mikki excelled. I needed human interaction, conversation, contact. I wasn't exactly what some would call a "people person"—in fact, I despised that expression; the people who described themselves as such seemed quite a bit too proud of it for my tastes. But I just couldn't take cohabitating with someone while pretending they were non-existent. When Mikki denied me those basics, I truly suffered.

"Mr. Murphy? Will you be needing me any longer?"

It was my secretary, Claudia, interrupting my meditation to ask in her heavily accented English whether she could go home. I smiled to myself. I still hadn't gotten used to her politeness. Back in New York, my secretary usually announced when she was leaving.

"Sure, Claudia. Have a nice evening," I said.

"Thank you, sir. Bonne nuit."

"Yeah, bone newee to you too."

I heard her hearty laugh through the open doorway. I knew she enjoyed my painful attempts at French enunciation. For a place with such an historic reputation for rudeness, Paris was about as ornery as a monastery compared to the New York I had just left. I had been braced for hostility but instead found gentility. But I suspected it might be a black thing: my white colleagues from New York had taken to complaining bitterly about their treatment, even as they absolutely cherished the idea that they were actually living in the world's most storied place. I spoke not a bit of French beyond the basic greetings, yet waiters and shopkeepers greeted my arrival with welcoming smiles and sincere courtesy. And the women. That was the biggest shock of all. There had been not a word from any friend or foe stateside to prepare me for the aggressive interest of these Parisian chicks. My God, it was enough to make me gaze into the mirror and wonder if I looked any different. White women openly staring at me on the street? I had no clue what to do with that. That just did not happen where I came from. They might steal glances when they believed no one was looking, but a bold-faced stare? And a welcoming smile? What was THAT all about?

I knew that quite a few black Americans over the years had reveled in the different treatment they found in Paris, from James Baldwin to virtually every bebopper of note. It was a popular destination for disaffected black folk—particularly males. This I knew—and could now fully understand. But still, to see it in the flesh was breath-taking.

When I glanced back down at my note pad and saw it was covered with doodles, I decided I was too juiced to get anything more done. I gathered up my things and hurriedly strode out of the office before my relatively early slide attracted too much attention from my New York colleagues. The Parisians didn't seem to appreciate the long hours that were put in by the New York team, but me and my colleagues had grown so accustomed to eating dinner at the office that we had a difficult time turning it off. Of course, nothing appalled the Parisians in the office more than the idea of eating dinner at the desk.

As had become my recent custom, I walked home to absorb more of this intriguing city. I considered it part of my job to study the French, to observe the things that pleasured and angered them, to know what set their pulses racing. I was an ad man, a creative director at one of the world's largest, most far-flung advertising empires. Selling was what I did. It came as easily to me as breathing-or at least that's what I liked to think about myself in my most self-indulgent moments. Finding those clever, original, memorable phrases and ad campaigns that would move product. Or sell tickets, in this current assignment.

My last project had been hugely successful—I was the creative force behind the ad campaign that launched the Women's Professional Basketball League, which vastly outpaced projections in ticket sales and television viewership in its debut season. Impressed, the executives at Trier-Stanton gave me and my "team" an even more challenging assignment—sell the French on a women's professional soccer league. Or "football" league, as I had to learn to call it in Paris. Beneath its elegance and "joie de vivre"—ha, I already knew that one!—France had a rigid belief system about who did what. Women could do many things—and did—but play football was not one of them. It was the same in many parts of the world, of course—how else could you explain the fact that the U.S. of all places had the world's best women's soccer team? But a group of European billionaires had gambled very large sums on the hope that this mindset could be changed. Trier-Stanton had been hired to pull off the miracle.

The company had sent essentially two competing teams from the New York office to Paris—my team and Eliza's team. We were supposed to be working together, but everyone knew we wouldn't. Couldn't. It was an office joke in New York before we left-people snickering about which one of us would come back to Manhattan still breathing. We had such a long and sullied history of competition to make cooperation possible. Eliza's success had come a few years earlier when she convinced every child in America that they just had to own a silly little chirping bird that fit in a pocket or the palm of a small hand and flapped its mechanical, velvety wings whenever someone petted its head. Called "Flap-happies," the birds had caused near-riots in some toy stores when parents feared the dwindling supplies would leave their little Sam or Lisa in the cold.

By promoting me to vice president, Webber was acknowledging that my team had "won" in Paris. I couldn't help it but to stroll down Boulevard St-Germain toward my hotel and gleefully watch the Parisians on the streets and in the cafes put on a show of seeing whether they were being seen while pretending to be indifferent to it all. It was this studied indifference that I had skewered in the ad campaign for the women's soccer league. My commercials had shown beautiful, fashionably dressed Parisians sitting at cafe tables and whispering to each other, the camera zooming in to catch the pretentious, superior looks on their faces, their unapproachable glamour. Then the narrator knowingly, conspiratorially, asked in French, "Haven't you always wanted to know what the hell they were talking about?" Long, pregnant pause... "Well, now you do." A soccer ball then was featured in close-up, flying directly at the screen, coming at the viewer—then the camera pulled back to show a lovely, sweaty woman in the blue-white-and-red French colors grinning as the crowd wildly cheered her goal. Eliza and the other New Yorkers had tried to warn me that the Parisians didn't like to be made fun of—but the Parisians loved the ads, as I knew they would. The people in this city were too damn smart not to get it—surely they understood how ripe they are for gentle ridicule. And the point was proven: Tickets for Opening Day sold out in the first six hours—about a week faster than the Women's Professional Basketball League had. I knew it was these walks down Boulevard St-Germain, gazing into the cafes and watching the parade of beautiful women gliding down the streets, that had been my inspiration.

Swimming deep in my thoughts, I almost collided with a woman who was coming out of a clothing store. I was thoroughly embarrassed, and we both wound up apologizing simultaneously.

"Oh wow, excuse me, ma'am," I said hurriedly.

"Ca va, monsieur," the woman said abruptly, telling me in French that everything was okay. I looked into her face and was quite startled to find myself staring at a tall, stunning black woman. She had the narrow face and lush cheekbones of a model. And she was scowling at me. This was the kind of public face I was accustomed to from beautiful women.

"Uh, well, have a good day," I mumbled, chastened by her expression. The woman nodded, her angry eyes flashing like emeralds. I hoped I wasn't the cause of her saltiness. Damn, it wasn't like I had knocked her over.

"I hope your day gets better," I added as an afterthought, flashing what I considered my most charming smile. Evidently it worked. The anguish melted off the woman's face like frost. She even managed to smile back.

"I'm sorry," she said in clear, slightly accented English. "I wasn't upset at you. It was the women in that damn store." She cut her eyes at the small boutique, whose French name I didn't recognize and couldn't pronounce.

"They act like their damn clothes are on display in the Louvre or something."

I laughed, though it came out like a feminine little giggle that briefly embarrassed me. Where the hell did that come from, I wondered. This beautiful woman had moved from scary to engaging in seconds. Something about the way her eyes glinted when she talked —she made everything appear to be a secret—reminded me of Mikki. Strangely, that comforted me-but it scared me stupid at the same time. That little voice that acted as my marital conscience told me I better get away from this fetching woman, whose fingers were noticeably free of wedding bands.

So why then, 15 minutes later, was I seated at a table in one of those preening cafes I enjoyed ridiculing, smiling up in the face of this lovely woman, whose name happened to be Marie? I guess my little voice needed to have the volume adjusted. In minutes, I had found out Marie was originally from Haiti and had lived in Paris for the past eight years, since she was 21. And yes, she was a model. Or at least part of the time, when she found modeling work. The rest of the time she was a secretary at a music company. She was also hoping to get a record deal. The reason I already knew all this was because Marie liked to talk. I knew instantly that I could listen to her talk for hours and never get bored. That realization also frightened me; I told myself for about the 30th time in the past 15 minutes that I needed to leave.

Marie was responding to me in obvious ways, smiling at my observations about Paris, looking down and blushing when my eyes caught hers for too long. I was thoroughly shaken by what was happening, but I was not locating the energy or the emotion that would allow me to stop and flee. Admittedly, I was enjoying myself too much. Despite the stares and entreaties from all the stunning white women over the past weeks, this was still more flattering and gratifying. I knew a black woman's attention was different, more meaningful. The sister was responding to my words, my personality, my essence—not some prepackaged notion of what I represented. With the white women, I suspected they could care less whether I had any game, any rap, anything to say. With them, it wasn't unlike the Mercedes Benz salesman who doesn't even have to open his mouth to sell the car—the image, the outer package, the aura, had done all the work already. He might like the rewards for awhile, but ultimately how much job satisfaction was Mr. Mercedes going to get?

"So, where did you say you were staying in Paris?" Marie asked, trying to make it sound casual. I wondered if it was casual, or if she was boring in on those vital facts.

"Oh, Hotel St-Germain. It's not far from here. It's near the Museum D'Orsay."

"Do you like it?" she asked. I wasn't sure if this was more small talk. What if I didn't like it? What then?

"Yeah, it's pretty nice. The room is kinda small, especially for the amount of time I'm supposed to be here, but it's alright."

She nodded. Our eyes locked again. This time she held it slightly longer, then she looked down again with an even fuller blush.

"Why do you keep blushing? A shy fashion model—is that what you are?" I asked, teasing just a little.

"Models can be shy, you know. Most of them are." She said this a little too seriously. I realized my comment might have offended her a bit. She hadn't yet succeeded as a model, so she wouldn't be taking kindly to any suggestion that she might be ill-equipped for the job.

"Anyway, you're married, and you're quite good-looking. I probably shouldn't even be talking to you." She blushed again when she said it. I could almost feel my head expanding, filling with the drug of her compliment, which I fixated on so intensely that the second part of her statement barely registered. My ego was getting the gassing of its life. Sitting in an oh-so-fashionable cafe in Paris with a beautiful model telling me I was good-looking? What more could a man ask for? As far as I was concerned, Paris was Disneyworld for grown-ups.

"You DID say you were married, right?" Marie said, staring at my wedding band for effect.

I quickly remembered the point she had been making. It wasn't about my looks, not really. She threw that part in to soften any blow I might feel from the I-stay-away-from-married-men brush-off. But even if the compliment was a throw-away, I was running with it anyway. Months into the future, I knew I'd still savor it whenever I happened to glance into a mirror.

"Yeah, I'm married," I said matter-of-factly, trying not to give away any information revealing how I felt about it.

"Well, maybe we should be going our separate ways, then," Marie said. I noticed a small amount of hesitation in her voice, like she was hoping that I'd contradict her. But I knew she was right; I needed to get away from this woman. What every married man needed was a good pair of track shoes and the instinct to flee at the right time, like a long-surviving deer. Without those, his marriage was doomed. Unfortunately, the married man was first a man, and his DNA was likely to contain a strong predilection to run toward beautiful women, not away from them.

I visibly struggled with my DNA at the cafe table. Marie even noticed.

"Why are you looking so pained?" she asked. Her English was precise, but it sounded heavily French-inflected—and quite lovely to boot.

"My wife is coming to visit in the next week. I'd love to see you again, but I know I shouldn't. I can't." I knew from my three years of marriage that honesty was best in these situations. It usually took the hard work of fleeing out of my hands because the woman would get the message and run away herself. Usually.

"Okay, Mr. Randolph Murphy. You be a good boy and go home to the St-Germain. I enjoyed your company very much."

I raised my wine glass. "I enjoyed your company too, Miss Marie Bautista. Here's to the best of luck in your career. Cheers."

She beamed back at me. "Thank you. A votre sante."

I frowned. "What's that mean?" I asked.

"The same as what you said. Cheers."

As we were about to separate on the sidewalk out front, she threw me one more meaty, irresistible bone.

"By the way, Mr. Randolph Murphy, in case you wanted to know, my company is called Chaud. That means hot." I could have sworn there was a twinkle in her eye as she turned around with a little wave. She didn't even say goodbye—as if she knew we'd see each other again. I watched her round ass twisting under the short skirt. Her smooth light-brown legs stretched for days. Oh God, I thought, I better run like hell.

Once I touched down in my room, I would desperately search for activities to keep me busy so I wouldn't think about it, but I usually failed. Inevitably my wandering would bring me right back to Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and Mekhi Chance-Murphy, my wife of three years. When I thought about Mikki, the name by which she is widely known, I felt a peculiar mix of anger and confusion that combined to produced helplessness. I just did not understand what had happened to my marriage, to my unabashed loving. Our beginnings could have fit comfortably in a fairy tale: we met on a commercial shoot, me on the set to make sure it ran smoothly, Mikki as a stylist ensuring that the actors had the right "look"; the wildness of the early courting, like sex on a subway car—that wasn't empty—sleeping in Central Park for a night to see what creatures lurked in the dark, paying a horse-drawn carriage to gallop through Harlem; and my kicker—proposing to Mikki across the sheltering sky of New York City with a sky-writer airplane painting the words for all to see, "Marry me, Mikki."

Mikki's initial response will never be forgotten: "Look, Randy, that airplane pilot is asking me to marry him!"

I wasn't sure if things had started to go bad before the Baby Wars. I suspected that they had. But maybe that was just my wish, to place the blame elsewhere, not on my own doorstep, because I knew I had pushed too hard with the baby thing. The conventional wisdom said that women were the only ones equipped with a biological clock, but I knew the truth—men could just as desperately crave the moment when the world's promise and possibility multiplied exponentially because it had been joined by your own human creation. Ever since I had entered adulthood—actually, even during my teen years—I had wanted a baby. It didn't even matter if it was a little boy or a little girl; I just wanted to cherish and nurture a tiny, helpless reflection of myself, showering it with as much love and protection as I could manage. I loved everything about them—their smell, their little whines, their grasping need, their velvety softness.

But Mikki wasn't having any of it—at least not now. She wasn't ready, she said over and over again. Wait! she virtually shouted to me. But I didn't want to wait, and I said some pretty awful things to her to make my point. Questioning her womanhood, her commitment to our marriage, her love for me. Things I wished I could take back. I had tried to apologize on many occasions, but the damage appeared to be done. Mikki had shut down on me, or so it seemed.

She would be in Paris in less than a week. That thought frightened me from my nearly cleanshaven head to my raggedy toenails. I had grown comfortable without the pressure, the stress, that had started to accompany us whenever we were together. It had started to become unbearable—which was a major reason I had jumped at the chance to come to Paris. Actually, considering how unpleasant our Brooklyn home had become, I was surprised that Mikki had reacted with such anger and bitterness at the announcement of my three-month stay in Paris. In fact, I wondered now for the first time, her reaction had been so extreme, so over-the-top, maybe she had been faking it. Maybe she was glad to see me go and she felt so guilty about it that she put on an Oscar-worthy performance for me—and even herself. Why had there been so little contact between us since my departure? The communication had dwindled to once or twice weekly e-mails that were perfunctory in message and tone. It was almost like we no longer had anything to say to each other.

The more I thought about it, the more I dreaded Mikki's arrival. What would we talk about? I had an elaborate week planned, but would any of it matter? And now I had the extension of my stay to worry about. How would that go over? How should I break the news to her? Somehow, e-mail didn't seem sufficient. But it certainly was easier. Perhaps waiting until she arrived would be best, so I could tell her face-to-face. If I gave her forewarning, it might put a splash of cold water on our romantic Paris rendezvous before we could get around to "doing the do," as I used to jokingly say to her in our coupling's early days. She'd laugh and tell me that I was "soooo corny," but she'd add that "the do always needs doin'." Usually I'd giggle happily at how lucky I was to have found such a sexy, sensuous woman.

I had invested in a modem for my laptop so that we could exchange e-mail whether I was at work or at "home" in the hotel, but I hadn't yet even connected the modem to see if it worked. Thus far I had done all my e-mailing from the office. As I threw off the last of my work clothes, my eyes settled on the laptop across the room and I felt a flash of inspiration pass through me. Like a zap of the same kind of energy I felt when I had just thought of a clever ad campaign or slogan. I was going to sit down and construct the sexiest, most romantic, toe-curling e-mail love letter for my wife. After reading it, she'd want to sprint to JFK Airport and hop on the first thing to Paris so she could hop on me.

Like most married men, my love-missive writing skills had grown rusty from disuse. I made my living as a writer of sorts-though I'd never make that claim around authors or journalists—but ad writers always went for the cute and clever, which was almost the opposite of the earnest, heart-rending tones you needed in a good love letter. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got. Stripped down to my briefs for maximum comfort, I placed the computer on my lap and turned it on. As I listened to the familiar grunts and hums of the computer, I considered what message I wanted to get across here: Was this going to be some sort of apology? If so, for what was I apologizing? If not, was I trying to wipe the slate clean and pretend none of the unpleasantness ever happened? Was it possible for us to start all over?

Yeah, starting over, I thought, nodding my head. That's the tone I would go for. I'd ask Mikki if we could jog back to the starting line and correct our mistakes. We could treat Paris like a week of those sexy, exciting nights we used to share racing around Manhattan from one hot spot to the next, hardly stopping to take a breath, sucking in the intoxicating scent of each other's company in the most scintillating place on earth. Well now we were really going to be together in perhaps the most exciting place on earth. If Paris wasn't more exciting than New York, it certainly was more romantic. By a landslide. Romance had a tough time sustaining life in the cynical air of the five boroughs.

Twenty minutes later, I still hadn't gotten the modem to work properly. Wasn't that just so typical of my marriage—get in the mood for romance and things just can't seem to proceed according to plan. As I tried to get the computer to recognize the modem card for about the 12th time, I considered stopping the whole production and pulling out some paper to write her an old-fashioned letter. Talk about a bygone era. When was the last time I had written anybody a letter? I couldn't even remember the feel of my hand sliding across the paper, trying to avoid the fresh ink. But if I had only six days until Mikki's arrival, what assurance would I have that she'd even receive the letter before she got on the plane? That would be a major drag—pen the most affecting letter ever written, only to have her arrive in the City of Lights without reading it and that scowl still on her face. I knew a letter was too risky. I needed to hurry and get the damn computer working; I felt the romance bug slowly seeping from my body.

When I finally figured it out and opened up the message, a gigantic case of writer's block sat down on my lap, gazing back at me through the computer screen. I had no idea how to start. There had been such a long-standing impasse between us that I wasn't sure how much I needed to acknowledge it before trying to move the thing forward. I couldn't simply pretend that the past six months or so hadn't happened. The marathon arguments over babies and my late hours at the office and Mikki's growing distance—would she allow me to jump over all that stuff with not a word of explanation or apology? I didn't think so, but how could I get through the unpleasantness without bogging down my love letter with negativity? A love message had to be inspirational, emotive, poetic. Not whiney and pathetic. How do you achieve the former when your entire being was suffused with the latter? I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, letting my tired bones sink back into the pillows. Maybe I should go to sleep first, take a nap before I tried this writing business. But that seductive thought forced me into action-my eyes flew open and I pushed my fingers across the keyboard. I couldn't afford sleep right now. I had a marriage to save.

-Reprinted from Love Don't Live Here Anymore by Denene Millner and Nick Chiles by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Putnam, Inc. Copyright © 2001 Denene Millner and Nick Chiles. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced without permission

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2005

    THIS BOOK WAS OFF THA HOOK!!!

    I loved this book it is truly one of my favorites. To all the people out there lookin for a good book to read this is it I'm tellin you!

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

    Posted January 31, 2004

    I Loved It

    I finished this book in 2 days, couldn't put it down! I loved all the hidden facts and meanings. I didn't want the story to be over, I found myself wanting to know what happened next! Great work and what an entertaining way to excercise my mind and my heart! Thank You!

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

    Posted November 3, 2003

    I Had to Work Too Hard

    The storyline was good, but it was easy to get bogged down in the descriptiveness of the authors. I guess my reading style just differs from the authors' writing style.

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

    Posted August 27, 2003

    Squared it off.

    They squared it off in this one. I rather enjoyed it. I wanted to bust them both upside the head. But you know its good when you look at words on a page as people in real life. I enjoyed it!!!!

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

    Posted July 16, 2003

    Excellent!

    This book was such a good read. It was smart of the authors to write it in alternating he-said/she-said chapters. Being able to see the story from both points of view was important and made it easy to apply their issues in every day life.

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

    Posted May 6, 2003

    Relationships in the Y2K and beyond

    This book was hard for me to put down. I loved the format of giving each major character a chance to tell you what they were thinking and feeling. As a early 30 something year old married woman, I know I have no clue how to make my relationship work and often wonder how my parents kept theirs together for 37 years before my father passed away. This book clearly demonstrates the frustrations felt by my generation. We long for the happily ever after but have no clue on how to get it because our parents made and make it look effortless or in some of our cases, we never saw a marriage work so we don't have one to model ours after so we are still clueless. We are just expected to know how to handle all the major relationships in our lives and this book, althougth entertaining, let's us know that is ok if you mess up and don't know which way is up. No is born knowing how to love someone and allow themselves to be loved. We have to take a deep breathe, exhale and take each day as it comes and remember why we chose, yes, chose, to marry that man or woman in the first place and throw out the thoughts of divorce and moving on and put your nose to the grindstone and communicate and make it work as if you had no choice, because you aren't suppose to have another choice, unless you loose your spouse in death or adulturery.

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

    Posted January 9, 2003

    A Wonderful Book!!

    This book is not your average love story this book is better than that! This is a must read do not put this book down!!This book also have a nice plot, not the average boring ending. Praise to the authors.

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

    Posted February 7, 2002

    he said...she said

    What a great way to tell the story. Including both perspectives is what i believe makes this book, allowing the reader to understand both characters.

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

    Posted December 29, 2001

    I loved the book!

    The book was very entertaining. I thought it cleverly depicted african-american relationships from both the male and the female point of view. I would definitely recommend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)