Love Frustration [NOOK Book]

Overview

Have you ever been frustrated because you are in love with someone you can't have?

Jayson Abrahms wants nothing more than to settle down. Thankfully, in less than a week he will marry Faith Sheppard, the love of his life. But there is one issue -- Jayson's best friend, Asha Mills. Not only is she gorgeous, but Asha and Jayson also used to be lovers. Concerned about Asha's intentions, Faith delivers an ...
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Love Frustration

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Overview

Have you ever been frustrated because you are in love with someone you can't have?

Jayson Abrahms wants nothing more than to settle down. Thankfully, in less than a week he will marry Faith Sheppard, the love of his life. But there is one issue -- Jayson's best friend, Asha Mills. Not only is she gorgeous, but Asha and Jayson also used to be lovers. Concerned about Asha's intentions, Faith delivers an ultimatum, forcing Jayson to make the toughest decision of his life: Either Asha goes, or Faith will.
Jayson cannot bring himself to end the friendship. When he lies to Faith and tells her Asha is out of the picture, he never expects Faith to learn his secret, but when she does, she decides to get even. Jayson, still believing that things are as they should be, plans to meet Faith at a hotel room for her surprise party. Instead, it is Jayson who receives a horrible shock. He soon learns that not just Faith has been harboring secrets; Asha turns out to be a very different woman from the one he fell in love with years ago.
Sexy and real, Love Frustration candidly confronts what happens when people have what they don't want and love what they can't have.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After turning out several relatively staid novels about the Harris family, Johnson changes directions with this randy sexual soap opera, in which half a dozen young Chicago professionals try to bed-hop their way to the perfect partner. The story starts optimistically with protagonist Jayson Abrams and his fiancee, Faith, about to wed, but jealousy threatens the relationship when Faith feels threatened by Jayson's ex, a sexy, multiracial massage therapist named Asha Mills, and orders him to terminate his close friendship with her. In the fight that follows, the wedding is canceled. Asha, it turns out, has problems of her own when she receives a marriage proposal from her rich boyfriend, Gill, just after she discovers that she has a preference for female partners. Her first tryst is a successful liaison with a sexy older client named Angie, but Asha's next offer is an unwelcome pass from a co-worker, a bossy lesbian named Big Les who catches Angie and Asha in the act and demands a piece of the action. Jayson, meanwhile, discovers Faith in flagrante with her married lover, launching the still-besotted couple into a series of head games as each amps up the jealousy factor. Johnson writes serviceable prose, but rather than develop credible romantic situations, he consistently chooses ludicrous, over-the-top sexual subplots in a narrative that rarely goes more than a chapter without a sex scene or romantic intrigue. The lurid, nonstop booty action dilutes the quality of the story line as well as the erotic power of the novel, making this effort a disappointment from an author with a solid track record. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The course of true love does not run smoothly for Jayson, whose relationships with women always come to a bad end. Even Faith, a beautiful social worker who promises to marry him, is only using him. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sex and more sex among the buppies of Chicago.

Black businessman Jayson Abrahms is madly in love with fiancée Faith, a social worker, but he can’t stand her best friend Karen, who has no manners at all, even offered him the chewed-up remnants of the last breadstick on the table when he complained about the way she helped herself to it. Guess he’ll have to accept Faith’s friends whether he likes them or not—damn, he’d do anything for that woman. His friend Asha, a beautiful half-Japanese, half–Native American, privately thinks Jayson lets Faith walk all over him but she keeps quiet. Asha, a masseuse, has troubles of her own. She’s attracted to the women she rubs down at the spa, but she doesn’t believe she could possibly be gay. After all, she’s engaged to Gill, a handsome brown brotha and successful investment banker from North Carolina who loves to spoil her with trinkets, attention, and pounding sex in the shower. Yet Asha can’t stop fantasizing about the luscious breasts, perky nipples, and rounded buttocks. Meanwhile, her latest love, Angie, can’t come out of the closet because of her young son. She doesn’t want him mashing naked Barbie dolls together at school and announcing that he has two mommies. So Asha pines for Angie, who enjoys her sensual ministrations—until huge, mean Leslie ("Big Les") tries to come between them, hoping the beautiful masseuse will perform oral sex on her. Spurned, Les plots revenge—as we segue to Faith, having an affair with studly Gary, who’s married. Clueless Jayson can’t believe the videotape, thoughtfully provided by Karen, of Faith enthusiastically fellating Gary. Does Karen want to supplant Faith in his affections? Is she just a bitch? Well, nomore than Les, who subjects Asha to a lesbian gang rape with a monster dildo wielded by a few of her prison pals. And so on.

Lubricious trash, the fourth from the bestselling author of The Harris Family (2001).

From the Publisher
E. Lynn Harris RM Johnson explores the most significant issues in our society today with a respect, a poignancy, a knowledge that make him, undoubtedly, the writer for the new millennium.

Eric Jerome Dickey RM Johnson's writing is powerful and bold. He deals with serious issues in prose that evokes all of the senses. His writing is from the heart, thought-provoking, and life-changing; he moves the reader from the first word.

Colin Channer RM Johnson has set his sights on becoming one of the most daring and insightful novelists of his generation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743238700
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 413,141
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

R.M. Johnson is the author of nine novels, including bestsellers The Harris Family and The Million Dollar Divorce. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Chicago State University. He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I was getting married in less than a week, I thought, as I sat in Ozzio's, an expensive, dimly lit Italian restaurant in downtown Chicago. I was there with my fiancée, Faith, and a couple of other people. I had brought along my best friend, Asha. My fiancée gave me sideways looks for claiming her as such, but we went way back, and whether Faith liked it or not, Asha was my girl. Then there was Faith's best friend and soon to be bridesmaid, Karen. I wasn't crazy about her ass, but then again, she wasn't too fond of me either. I'd asked Faith a thousand times why she even planned this dinner, trying to squirm my way out of it, because I knew what was in store.

"Whether you like it or not, Karen's my best friend, and this will be a good opportunity for you two to get to know each other better."

"Sure," I'd said, conceding. "We'll see."

"What is your problem? Why are you looking at me like that?" And now, here was Karen talking to me from across the table, catching me giving her the death ray stare as she stole the last bread stick.

"Maybe it's because you took the last bread stick out of the basket, like you did the last basket. There're three other people here. Maybe somebody else wanted it. Ever thought of that?"

"Yeah," Karen said, taking a bite out of the very bread stick I was talking about. "And if they did, they would've grabbed it. Ever thought of that?"

"Maybe they didn't have time, because you grabbed at it like there was a prize for getting it first."

"Or maybe you're just mad because you didn't get it first."

"Just have the waiter bring some more," Asha said to me, softly, nudging my elbow.

"Yeah. Listen to your girl. Have the waiter bring some more," Karen said. She was no longer eating the bread stick, but holding it like a cigar, waving it in my face, teasing me with it. I didn't really want the thing at first, but now that she had it, she made me feel as though I really did want it, and badly.

"No, I won't have the waiter bring some more. We shouldn't have to race and eat fast every time we eat with Karen, because we're afraid she'll steal all the food from us."

"Okay, Jayson, cool," Karen said. "You want the bread stick? Fine." And then she stuffed the entire thing in her mouth, churned it around in there a few times, then let it ooze out into her cupped hand, and extended the gooey mess out toward me.

"Here's your bread stick, if it means that much to you."

Man, I was boiling at that point, but I remained as calm as I could and said, "You better put that back in your mouth, or else I'll do it for you."

"All right, all right," Faith said, standing up. "I don't care if you two can't stand each other, this weekend, you're going to be best friends. Jayson and I are getting married on Sunday. Can't you two please act like you have some sense until the damn wedding is over?"

I looked at Faith and knew my soon-to-be wife was right. Then I looked at Karen. I could act civilized if that's what Faith wanted, even though it'd be a stretch, considering Karen tried to do everything within her power to keep me and Faith from getting married, from even staying in the relationship.

"Faith is right," Asha said.

Asha and I were like brother and sister, although five years ago, we were involved for almost eight months. And even though I'd told Faith on countless occasions that there was nothing going on between us now, she still seemed to watch me suspiciously when I was around Asha. Faith didn't like the idea that I rented my downstairs unit to her, and didn't like the fact that I was so adamant about remaining friends with her. The truth was, I could kinda understand, because Asha was the most beautiful woman I'd ever set eyes on. She was like half Native American and half Japanese. Hell of a combination. And what resulted was a gorgeous woman with a beautiful copper complexion, like a shiny new penny. She had silky, straight black hair that she always parted down the middle and wore in long braids on either side of her head. She had a perfect body, generous-sized breasts, not huge, but definitely large enough to have fun with. Her hips and ass were shapely and tight, and her waist was so tiny, it looked as though a man could wrap his hand entirely around it.

Women were jealous of Asha, spreading all sorts of rumors about her, trying to belittle her in an attempt to make themselves feel more significant. Especially women who had low self-esteem, were less than attractive, and had to pal around with a fine girlfriend just to get men to look in their direction, which was exactly what Karen did when she hung with Faith.

"You two need to chill," Asha said. "Especially you, Karen."

"You have no place telling anybody who needs to be chillin'," Karen said, rolling her head around on her neck. "And why you always feel the need to defend Jayson. He's a grown man, or is this how things worked when you two were kickin' it?"

"Nobody's defending Jayson, and it's none of your business how we did things when we kicked it."

"Oh, I was just wondering, because the way you all up under him, it looks like you still kickin' it with him," Karen said, looking over Asha harshly, then passing a glance at Faith. "Your little ass needs to let the past alone, and start calling the date line to find yourself another man."

My entire body tightened up. I looked over at my girl, Asha, as she slowly stood up, her hands closing into fists at her sides, looking like she was about to leap over the table to get at Karen. And then, as if she read my mind, she lurched forward, lunging across the table, clawing out, desperately trying to grab any part of Karen.

Faith whipped her head in my direction, telling me to do something, with her wide-eyed, angry glare.

"I got a man. You the one who's screwing a dirty ass, busted vibrator," Asha yelled.

I shot out of my seat, grabbed Asha around the waist and wrestled her back.

"Asha, Asha! What the hell are you doing?" I said. People dining in the restaurant were craning their heads, trying to get a look at what was happening.

"Let her go! We can do it right here," Karen said, shooting up from her chair, whipping her cloth napkin out of her lap and throwing it to the floor, as if implying the same fate would happen to Asha if she were bold enough to make a move. "She's disrespecting my girl just days before she gets married, all up in your face all the time. We can go right here."

"Nobody's going anywhere," I told Karen, holding an arm out toward her. And while I was trying to make sure that Karen didn't try anything, Asha was fighting to get away from me, whispering in my ear, "Jayson, just let me go. Just let me go for a minute, so I can kick that bitch's ass once and for all. Please, Jayson."

"No, Asha."

"C'mon, Jayson. You heard what she said to me. I let that stuff go without an ass whoopin', people'll start believing it. C'mon, for one minute," she pleaded again, still struggling to get loose.

"I said no!" I raised my voice.

"Well, fuck you then!" She broke away from me and hurried toward the door.

"That bitch better leave," I heard Karen say.

I shot her a stare that if Karen read correctly said, if you say another word, I'm gonna stick both my feet so far up your ass, I'll be using you for a sleeping bag.

She looked away and I ran after Asha. I caught her just outside the front door and grabbed her by the arm.

"Where are you going?"

"Don't talk to me. And let me the hell go," she said, staring down at my hand around her arm.

"Why you trippin'?"

"You see how Karen's always coming at me, and what do you do? Hold me back. I thought you were supposed to be my boy, and you hold me back."

"Why do you even care what she says, Asha? Why do you always let her bother you?"

"I'm just tired of her shit. Every time I look in your direction, or say two words to you, she act like I got my hand down your pants. What's up with that? I'm sick of it," Asha said, looking angrier, and more upset than I felt she should've looked, considering the circumstances. There was something more going on than what had just happened in the restaurant. I just knew it by the sadness in her eyes.

"I don't know what her problem is. Maybe she's jealous of me and Faith and you and Gill. She's mad that everybody has somebody but her. But that's her problem, not yours. You can't let that get to you, you hear me?" I took her chin in my hand. She looked up into my eyes. I felt her hurting, so much more than she was letting on, and she meant so much to me that I would've done anything at that moment to stop it.

"You hear what I'm talking about, girl? Don't let her get you down. She's just jealous, is all. We both have people we love, and all she's got is that, how'd you put it...Dirty-ass busted vibrator."

Asha smiled, and that was all I wanted to see. I was happy. She grabbed me in a hug, kissed me on the cheek, right on the corner of my lips.

"I love you, Jayson," she said, leaning away from me, smiling.

"I love you back. So what, you coming back in?"

"Not if you don't want to see that booga bear's eyes on the end of my fingernails," she said, pretending to claw at me.

"Okay, maybe you're right. You want me to drive you home?"

"No, Jayson. Everybody's in there celebrating your wedding."

"But you came with me. I should take you back. Besides, they probably haven't even noticed that we've been gone. Faith and Karen are probably in there cackling like hens. I'll take you back," I offered again.

"Naw. You go on. I'll be all right," Asha said, turning toward the curb where there was a cab waiting.

"All right, but when I get home, I'm going to knock on your door to check on you."

"Okay, I'll be up. But really, don't worry about it. I'm fine." She got in the cab, and closed the door.

I stood there just watching as the car drove down the street and made a left. She was okay, she said. But I had known her far too long and far too well to believe that. Something was bothering her, and though I wasn't going to pry to find out what it was, I would make myself available to her whenever she was finally ready to let me know. Comparing Asha and my fiancée, Asha was the one I'd known longer, the one I'd been through the most with, and friendships were very important to me, considering I'd been deprived for so long.

I was feeling good that I'd made Asha feel better, and when I turned around I was smiling. But that smile quickly dropped from my face when I saw Faith standing outside the restaurant, by the door, not ten feet from me.

"Is everything okay in there?" I asked, walking toward her, unable to think of anything else to say, hoping, praying that she wouldn't ask questions about what had just happened, that is, if she even witnessed it.

"Is everything okay out here?" she said, looking at me weirdly, like I should've felt guilty about something.

"Yeah. Everything's cool. Everything's fine." I stopped in front of her, wrapped my arm around her waist and prepared to walk back into the restaurant, but she didn't move, just stood there, staring at me, that same weird look on her face.

"What?" I said.

"What do you mean, what? How do you think I feel? Days before I'm supposed to get married, and I'm putting up with these accusations that Karen makes about you and your girl. Accusations that you claim aren't true — "

"They aren't true," I interjected.

"If they aren't, why do I have to come out here and see what I just saw?"

"Faith, baby," I said, caressing her face in both my palms, looking deeply into her eyes. "She's my friend. That's all. I've told you this a thousand times."

Faith turned her eyes down, looking sadly away from me. "Sometimes, I just think she means more to you than I do."

"No, no, no," I cooed. I grabbed her hand, kissed her finger, very near the diamond I'd given her. "You're the one that's wearing the ring. You're the one I'm marrying, the one that'll be having my children. Now tell me who means more to me."

I saw a smile start to emerge on her lips, and when I lifted her chin, her anger and uncertainty seemed to have disappeared.

"So is everything cool?" I asked, smiling myself.

She looked at me as though she was considering the gravity of the question, as though there was more to it than just a yes or no answer.

"Yeah," she finally said. "I guess everything's cool." She grabbed my hand, almost tight enough to break the bones in it, and pulled me back toward the restaurant.

"C'mon."

Copyright © 2002 by R. Marcus Johnson

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First Chapter

Chapter Two

Asha jumped out of the cab in front of the downtown brownstone she lived in. She had been renting the downstairs unit from Jayson for four years now. If things had gone the way they had planned, instead of living below him, she would've been living in the same apartment with him by now. But five years ago, when they were dating, something wasn't right. She loved Jayson, loved him more than she could remember loving any man in her past, but there was a reluctance to fully commit to him. For some reason, she couldn't imagine themselves five or ten years into the future, being husband and wife, handful of kids running around the house, the two of them growing old together. She loved what they had, but knew it wouldn't last longer than the few years just ahead of them. There was just something, some feeling, acting as a partition, a barrier, not allowing her to love him like she wanted to, like she felt he should've been loved.

Asha was worried about hurting Jayson, but there was no way to tell him that they were unable to continue. She couldn't give him a good reason, because she herself didn't really know what it was.

"We just can't," Asha imagined herself saying a million times, tears spilling over her cheeks, as she broke the news to Jayson. "But why not?" she imagined him asking. Her mind would be blank, and although she would be mentally groping for an answer, there wasn't one in sight.

But thankfully, Asha never found herself having to break his heart like that. They eventually began naturally to move apart from each other, and Asha didn't know if Jayson sensed her hesitation, somehow knew that she was unable to fully give herself to him, or if he too, was unable to commit for some reason. It was probably a combination of the two, Asha told herself. Jayson had issues. Issues with commitment. Not because he wanted to be with women other than Asha, but because it seemed, he was fearful of getting too close. He was scared of investing too much, and then her pulling away, hurting him beyond repair. He had reason to fear that, she admitted to herself.

Days before Asha was set to move in, it seemed they were both better able to see their situation for what it was. They loved each other, and promised they always would, but as friends. Mutually, they ended the relationship, but this was after Asha had given her landlord notice that she was moving out. By the time she told him she'd decided to stay, the landlord had already arranged for someone else to move in.

"So what are you going to do?" Jayson said.

"I don't know. I guess I have to find a place, and fast, hunh?"

"Well," Jayson said, "the guy downstairs is moving out on the first. You're welcome to take it. That is, if you want it?"

"So you don't have anything open in the four other buildings you own?"

Jayson looked at her and smiled, shyly. "Well, I have a couple of units open here and there, but I'd rather you be closer." He looked down at his hands, then back at her. "There. I'm busted."

"Well, I'm busted too," Asha said, smiling as well. "Because I'd rather be close to you too."

Ever since then, Asha could not imagine her life without Jayson in it, but she knew that Faith had been having talks with Jayson about her. He never mentioned it to Asha, but she was aware, could just tell by the way Jayson acted with her when Faith was around. He wasn't himself, so withdrawn, not smiling as much, laughing, or touching her the way he would normally do when it was just the two of them.

But Asha could understand. Jayson was a beautiful man, with that brassy hair, those hazel eyes, and a body that looked like it was chiseled from granite. Jayson was compassionate, sweet, and shy, like an innocent child, and owned enough real estate to start his own little town. So Asha knew that any other woman who had him would probably act the exact same way. She just wished Faith would understand that she had nothing to worry about. Jayson was devoted to her. On the day that he proposed, he ran back to Asha yelling, jumping around, hugging her, frantic because Faith had accepted, and he was finally getting married. Asha knew Jayson cared for Faith, but then again, sometimes she had to wonder if he was more excited about getting married to Faith, or just getting married, period.

"Is it her?" Asha asked, while Jayson was still hugging her, just after he told her the news.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, if it was anybody else you were marrying, would you be as happy? Would it even matter as long as you were still getting married? Because I know marriage is really important to you."

Asha felt Jayson's embrace weaken. He pulled away from her a little, looked at her, a serious expression on his face.

"Why are you asking me that?"

"I don't know. I guess I wanted you to be sure that she was the one, that this was what you wanted," Asha said, hoping she hadn't hurt his feelings, but judging by the look on his face, she knew she had.

"Well, I want to be with Faith. Getting married to just anybody wouldn't make me as happy, okay."

"All right," Asha said, but it still seemed as though what Jayson felt for Faith was somehow more like gratitude than love. He felt gratitude toward her for saving his life, taking him out of the game of chasing and cheating, of trying to desperately convince women to consider him as someone worth seeing, worth going out to dinner with. Jayson hated dating. Asha didn't know exactly why. Maybe because he sucked at it. Maybe because regarding women, his self-confidence was buried so low that he'd never be able to find it, or maybe because of those deep-rooted family issues that caused problems with the relationship that he and Asha were in.

She had always asked him about those issues, tried to get him to open up to her, resolve whatever was going on, but he would always close up, say he didn't want to talk about it.

One evening three years ago when Asha came home from work, Jayson was sitting on the sofa in his apartment, his hands folded between his knees, staring blankly at the wall in front of him.

"What's up, baby?" Asha asked, closing the door behind her.

Jayson didn't reply, didn't turn around, didn't even acknowledge her.

"Hey, baby. What's going on?" Asha asked again, setting her purse on a chair, and moving over toward him, sitting beside him. She'd moved in to kiss him when she noticed tears in his eyes. She grabbed his face in her hands and said, "What's wrong? What's going on?"

"My mother has gotten worse. I'm going to have to put her in a home."

Asha moved in front of him, sat just below him on the carpet for a long time after that as he told her about his mother, told her a little bit about their dysfunctional relationship. She didn't know for sure, but she believed his problems had something to do with her. Now Asha wondered if Jayson had ever opened up to Faith, told her what was going on with him.

Faith should've felt lucky to be with Jayson, because he surely felt honored to be with her, and it was a damn shame that she was just too blind to see that. Asha would've liked Faith, could've even seen her as a friend if she wasn't so dead set on believing that Asha was still in love with Jayson. Faith was nasty to Asha, and every time she tried to talk to Faith, start up a conversation, she would cut her short, or simply ignore her. When Asha tried to offer her some suggestions about the wedding, saying that she'd help out in any way she could, Faith would tell her that she didn't need her help or her suggestions. "Thank you, but no thank you," she'd say, her nose turned up.

So this evening, when Asha, out of the corner of her eye, saw Faith step out of that restaurant while she was talking to Jayson, she didn't stop Jayson from hugging her. And yes, she would've kissed Jayson anyway, as she always did, but it maybe wouldn't have been so close to his mouth. And the "I love you" thing, well, she did, and she would've said that anyway, too, but maybe not quite so loud. Yeah, she knew Jayson would get an earful and have to deal with that evil witch's attitude. But Faith deserved to feel threatened, considering how she'd been treating Asha.

As Asha slid her key into the front door, she heard the muffled sound of her phone ringing. She quickly pushed open the door, ran through the large, open apartment, her heels cutting against the hardwood floor, and stopped in front of the phone. She placed her hand on it, about to pick it up, but then reconsidered. It's Gill, she told herself, still standing there, her hand on the phone, as it continued to ring. It's Gill, and this is probably his tenth call of the night, checking up on me to see if I'm feeling better or not. How she wished she had Caller ID at that moment.

The phone stopped ringing, and the immediate silence shocked her out of her thoughts. Gill was Asha's boyfriend. A good-looking, brown brotha' with an MBA from Duke, and a huge loft the size of a basketball court, looking out on the lights of downtown Chicago. He was an investment banker, went to work in beautiful suits with lovely colorful silk ties, and drove a brand-new, champagne-colored, S-type Jaguar. Gill got his hair cut every Wednesday, a manicure and pedicure every Thursday, and his teeth cleaned every first of the month. He made a ridiculous amount of money, not that Asha ever asked, and not that he made a point of disclosing just how much, but it was apparent in the way he dressed, and the things he bought. He was well versed in the arts and music and had a flair for fashion. He was perfect, outside the fact that he was from North Carolina and country as hell. He spoke country grammar like he'd just fled the state via swamps and vacant train box cars. But he "loves me some Asha," as he put it, and when he said that, he would smile so brightly, that all Asha could do was laugh even though he sounded like Chicken George.

Gill and Asha had been dating for eleven months now, but he preferred to say, "Damn near a year." It made their relationship sound so much more concrete, Asha suspected he thought.

After their first month of dating, Asha sensed the man was in love with her, although he didn't come out and say it. Asha knew it was a bad idea being involved with Gill, especially if he did truly love her. When she first met him, she told herself she needed a man, a man to make everything seem the way it was supposed to seem, to make her appear normal, and possibly, hopefully, to make her feel normal. But it didn't work, and why did she even think that it would? It didn't work when she was with Jayson, so why would it be any different with this man?

Asha was in no way ready to face her demons, to deal with what had been plaguing her for so long, and Gill managed to keep her mind off those things, at least most of the time. When people saw them together, they thought exactly what she wanted them to think. "What a sweet couple. You two must be so happy, and blah, blah, blah..."

It was working, and Asha would continue to let it work, as long as Gill didn't try to get too serious, try to take this thing farther than Asha knew it could ever go.

But Gill was raised in a family where the mom and dad had got married right after high school, still were married, and would remain that way till they died. They'd probably even be buried in the same damn coffin. He was one of six children and always mentioned how he wanted a litter of his own. And then there was the fact that he was thirty-four when they met, thirty-five now, and there must be some sort of expiration date on men's asses or something, because after a man turns that certain number, thirty-two, or thirty-three, he immediately flip-flops from that guy who's just looking for a piece of ass for the night, to the man who's looking for a wife.

Of late, all Gill could do was talk about what their kids would look like once they had them, the type of house he would buy for her, and how he wanted her big and pregnant and barefooted and not to think about going to a job. "And when I come home from work, I'll just lay next to you watching TV, and rub that belly of yours," he said, smiling happily. "I just can't wait to have some kids."

Kids! What kids? Asha thought. She had never once made mention of marriage, of getting engaged, of their relationship even lasting past another Christmas.

But Gill was insistent, as he was with everything he did, and that's why Asha had been forced to lie to him tonight about being sick. He was really feeling the idea of getting married, and the last thing he needed was to be around a couple who were on the verge of that. If he'd seen how enamored Jayson was of Faith, how happy they were talking about their future life together, Gill probably would've dropped to his knee right there on the restaurant floor and proposed, slipping a napkin holder on her finger till he could run to the store and get a ring. That is, if he hadn't bought one already.

Not a week ago, she had spent the night at his place. The next morning, when she was somewhere between awake and asleep, her eyes barely open, Asha saw Gill tiptoeing around. He was up to something, and Asha wanted to know what that was, so she lay there as if still knocked out.

She heard him moving over toward the bed, felt his weight settle beside her, and then she felt him touching her hand, her left hand. It tickled slightly, and she had to bite the inside of her cheek to stop herself from laughing. She opened just one lid slightly to see Gill with a fabric measuring tape, measuring her ring finger.

Damn! Asha thought to herself, biting down harder on her cheek and twitching in pain as a result. Gill quickly looked up to see if she had awakened. Asha shut her eye and let out a bit of snore for good measure. Gill turned away, pulling the tape gently from around her finger.

Yeah, if she knew this man like she knew she did, he had already gotten the ring, and it would be something ridiculous, like six karats, a rock that he'd gone to Africa and dug up himself with the aid of some local tribesmen. That's how Gill was, always out to impress the woman that he loved, his "Suga'puss." That's what he called her, regardless of Asha's persistent objections. It was just a damn shame that she didn't feel the same way he did, couldn't feel the same way. Because of this, she'd have to let him go.

But Asha was scared, and not just about hurting him. She knew once she let him go that she would be alone. And alone, there was no one to hide behind, no one to stick in front of that mirror while she cowered in his shadow so she wouldn't have to look at herself, wouldn't have to face up to who she really was.

That's what scared the hell out of Asha, finally facing up to and then having the world discover who she really was. What would her mother think? Were there even people like her in Japan? Of course there were, but she was sure with her mother's old world ways, she wouldn't understand. And what about Jayson? What would he think after being deceived for all these years?

Asha couldn't let her secret get out, but then again, she knew she could not continue leading Gill on like she had been doing. She would tell him, tell him that it was off, that everything was over between the two of them, and she would tell him tonight. She would just have to work on keeping her business private without using Gill as a diversion any longer.

Asha placed her hand softly back on the phone with intentions of calling Gill that very moment, when the phone started ringing. She was startled. It was Gill again, she knew, so when she picked up the phone she didn't even use his name, just said, "Baby, I have something to tell you."

"You do? Is it that you were wrong? You changed your mind?" the voice said back. But it wasn't even a man's voice.

"Why are you calling me?" Asha asked, her tone, harsh, serious.

"Because I wanted to talk to you. Because I thought we were friends, Asha," the voice said, a raspy tinge in it.

"We were friends," Asha said angrily, tightening her grasp on the phone. "Until you pulled the shit you did." And Asha thought about that night, the night last week when she was hanging out at her friend Jackie's house. She had only known Jackie, a thin, chocolate sister with a cropped hairdo, for a few months, but they had grown tight, going shopping together, hanging out at clubs, and on Thursday nights, getting together to have drinks at her house with a couple of other girls.

This particular Thursday, Asha had much more to drink than she should've and felt herself becoming drowsy, seeing through blurry eyes. Before she knew it, she was sleeping. The next thing she remembered, she was waking up, her head spinning, but not with intoxication, but with pleasure. Her head was still cloudy, but she felt euphoric, her entire body tingling. She looked down at herself, her vision still hazy, baffled to find herself massaging her own breasts. But what shocked her even more was when she looked down farther to find her lower half draped over Jackie's lap. Jackie had pulled Asha's jeans and panties down and was slowly, sensually sliding her middle finger in and out of Asha.

"Hey, sweetheart. I see you're liking this as much as I am," Jackie said, in her raspy, seductive voice, looking down at Asha's fingers trying to squeeze her nipples through her blouse.

Asha couldn't believe what she was seeing at first, thought she was dreaming till she felt the eruptions start to build, thought she would lose it, have an orgasm right there. Because of that, she knew that this was actually happening, no way a dream. Asha started to kick wildly as she pushed herself up on the sofa, trying to dislodge Jackie's finger from inside her.

"What the fuck are you doing to me, you sick bitch!" Asha screamed, still squirming away from Jackie, reaching down, grabbing for her jeans.

"Just let this happen," Jackie pleaded. "You were enjoying it. Just let it happen."

"No!" Asha yelled, rolling off the sofa, hitting the carpet.

"But you were enjoying it," Asha heard Jackie say over the phone.

"I was asleep. I wasn't enjoying a goddamn thing," Asha said.

"Then why did you almost come?"

Asha was quiet, couldn't say a thing for a quick minute. "I'm not like that," she finally said.

"Why don't you just accept who you are and stop fighting it. I know who you are. I can sense it, feel it. I knew the first minute I met you. So if I can tell, why is it so hard for you to see it?"

"You don't know shit about me. You hear me!" Asha yelled, pulling the phone from her ear and yelling directly into the mouthpiece. "You don't know a damn thing about me, so stop fucking calling me!"

"Fine, Asha," Jackie said, sounding somewhat hurt. "I was trying to help you through this, make things a little easier. But if you want to be like that, I'll let you do it the hard way. Good-bye Asha."

"Good-bye, sick bitch!" Asha yelled, slamming the phone down into its cradle.

Asha didn't know why, but there were tears falling from her eyes. It was because she let that queer bitch upset her was what it was. Nothing more. There was nothing more going on than that, she told herself. But she couldn't really believe that. She was crying because she had to let go of Gill. She could no longer use him as an excuse not to face the truth about herself. But after speaking to Jackie, Asha feared she just didn't have the strength to do that. It would be too painful.

Asha picked up the phone and dialed Gill's number. When Gill picked up and heard Asha's voice, he said, "Suga'puss, I've been calling you all night." His voice was very caring, very attentive.

"I've been asleep. I had the ringer off," Asha said, already feeding off his affection.

"How are you feeling? Are you all right?"

"I am now," Asha said, batting her eyelids quickly, trying to hold back more tears. And then from nowhere, she said, "I love you, Gill."

"I love you too, Suga'," Gill said, meaning every word of it.

"Good," Asha said, feeling a little better, smearing the drying tears from her face. "You don't know how much I needed to hear that."

Copyright © 2002 by R. Marcus Johnson

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I loved this book. Hope he writes a sequel. I would love to know

    I loved this book. Hope he writes a sequel. I would love to know what happened to the relationships.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Great read....

    I'm addicted to Mr. RM Johnson style of writing.....I would have to agree that it required more.....would have wanted more added to this book.....left me wondering....I hope Mr. Johnson decides to right a sequel to this book to let us know how their relationships ended....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2011

    good

    a very good read. the end of the books make you want to know more!! I love RM Johnson's style of writing

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2006

    Awesome Book

    This is my third book that I have read by R.M. Johnson, I just couldnt get enough. This book just tells you at you should never give up on love.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 12, 2013

    Dawnstorm

    "fatalstrike!" She yelled at her friend as she an down the path. She was panting from running. "Whats wrong?"

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

    Posted November 10, 2007

    A reviewer

    The story line was interesting but not enought to hold my attention.

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

    Posted July 25, 2007

    Just Okay

    While this book did hold my intrest, the ending was disapointing. It just was not believable. Especially after indicating the character had a chance to reevaluate the situation, and would still make that choice

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

    Posted August 4, 2004

    The greatest book I've read on love written from a male perspective

    That book was really good. One of the best books I've ever read. It hit on a lot of things that make love so frustrating especially in the Black community. Trust me I know firsthand. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. Just when you think that it's gonna end one way another thing happens to change you're mind about how it's gonna end. It's ends like you don't expect it to but hope it will. It hit on a lot of stuff that happens or the way people feel during love but it's explained so well coming from a male point of view. It made me realize that men do have feelings and from reading the book I understand how they feel and I see how they express them. I think R.M. Johnson is a great author and even though that was the first book I read by him I see myself reading plenty more of his books. I would recommend this book to anyone who can read but is not under the age of 11 cause I'm 15 and I enjoyed it myself.

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

    Posted June 8, 2004

    Amazing Book!!!

    This book was one of the best books that I have ever read...and I read a lot of books! Drama began from the very beginning...and just when you thought you had predicted what would happen next something twisted and unexpected would happen! I really enjoyed reading this book and I would definitely recommend other readers read this! It is worth your time!

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

    Posted April 26, 2004

    NOT WHAT I EXPECTED

    THIS BOOK WAS NOT WHAT I EXPECTED AT ALL I READ IT IN 3 DAYS BUT I WAS DISAPPOINTED!!! I READ OTHER REVIEWS AND I'M SORRY TO SAY THAT I WASN'T THAT ENTHUSED I MEAN THE TOPICS WHERE GREAT AND DIFFERENT BUT WEREN'T ATTACKED RIGHT. I WON'T GIVE ON MR JOHNSON I'LL WILL TRY ANOTHER BOOK!!!!

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

    Posted December 31, 2003

    Weird...

    I won't lie to you and tell you that I liked this book all the way through and everything was peachy. I learned a couple things about myself while reading this book. For example, for a minute, I thought I was a little homophobic. But it was weird because I didn't feel this way when I read E. Lynn Harris' books. It was wild to me to read about two lesbians try to find love because I had never read it before and being a heterosexual woman, it went over my head at first. But then I blew the chip off my shoulder and read the doggone book and I liked it. There were mixed feelings of pity, delight, comfort, curiosity, and disgust but many more where I laughed out loud (Big Les was totally vivid) and I have to give credit where credit is due. This book was controversial, organized, and the end was uncomfortably realistic. Read it.

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

    Posted November 16, 2003

    a must have

    i enjoyed this book from beginning to end. He hit every aspect of best friends and being foolishly in love.

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

    Posted June 23, 2003

    This Book Was Great

    I really enjoy this book alot. The writing was excellent. I would recommend this book to my friends. I can't wait for the next book.

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

    Posted December 10, 2002

    Wonderful Read

    Unfortunately, this is the first novel that I've had the opportunity of reading by Mr. RM Johnson. I found it to be very fulfilling from beginning to end. The reviews did not do this story any justice. I found it to be very well balanced with just enough of everything to keep you interested. All of the characters were very realistic. I look forward to reading all of Mr. Johnson's novels, the ones that he's written and have yet to write. He's an authentic storyteller and I recommend this book to anyone who has, is, or will fail in love. It gives you hope to believe in and love yourself, then it will find you. You go R. Marcus Johnson! Your writing skills are absolutely exquisite.

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

    Posted November 21, 2002

    LOVED IT !!!

    This was an excellent book. I read it on one day, I could not put it down. Please go out and get this book, it tacked everyday issues of this day and age. I was really impressed. One of the best books I have read in a long time.

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

    Posted September 22, 2002

    An amazing and well written book!

    Once again R M Johnson has written another amazing book. Though this book is unlike any of his other books, it is an irresistibly well done novel about love and romance. A real page turner that is worth every cent.

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

    Posted October 23, 2002

    EXCELLENT

    This book was very enjoyable. Many deep issues that keep you interested as they unravel.

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

    Posted October 18, 2002

    Well written

    This is the first book that I've read from R.M. Johnson. It was good from the begining to the end. I enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to reading more of his work.

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

    Posted September 11, 2002

    Steamy relationship novel filled with ups and downs

    Love Frustration is an appropriate title for RM Johnson's newest novel. If you want to read a story about how interwoven relationships can be, this is the book for you. The novel's strengths include breezy dialogue and action, page after page of sensual scenes, humor, and eloquent writing. The pacing is fast which will make for an easy read. The twists that the relationships experience will also keep a reader engaged. This was my first RM Johnson read and he had me hooked.

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

    Posted April 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews

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