Player Hatersby Carl Weber
National bestselling author Carl Weber returns with another page-turner full of family drama. The Duncan family are no strangers to sibling rivalry, heartbreak, or the high price of getting playedeven when it's by one of their own. But when the outside world becomes just as tumultuous as the home front, the Duncans are going to have step up and grow up.
Trent Duncan did a good job holding his family together after his dad died. He'd kept his little sister out of trouble and taught her about life. It's just too bad he couldn't do the same for himself. Now he's the man your momma always warned you about: charming, smooth talkingand jobless. He's got a phony business card and a line for every situationand every conquest. But the ultimate player is about to play himself right outta the game. Because a couple of Trent's ex-girlfriends are about to make him wish he'd listened to his momma.
The only person Trent can't seem to get around anymore is his big brother, Wil. Wil's got problems of his own. He thought he was happily married, until his wife, Diane, stopped being intimate with him. She's got her reasons, but if she doesn't explain herself soon, she may lose her husband to his voluptuousand lustynew secretary.
Meanwhile, little sister Melanie is all grown up and sure she's met her princeliterally. Prince may be a friend of Trent's, but the two men are like night and day. Prince is the kind of man Melanie would like to have kids with. Trouble is, she's not alone.
Pretty soon, these three very different siblings have something in commonthey're all in hot water. And they need to find a way to help themselvesand each otherbefore they get burned.
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By CARL WEBER
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2004 Carl Weber
All rights reserved.
I pulled in front of my house and cursed under my breath when I saw my brother Trent's black Mercedes parked in the driveway. Trent didn't show up very often, but when he did, he always found some way to piss me off. Today was no exception. I'd told that fool a thousand times to leave space for my car when he parked in my driveway. But no, his arrogant ass always had to park in the middle of the driveway so no one would scratch up his precious Mercedes-Benz. I felt like taking my keys and carving my name in the black paint. Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to hate on my brother for having a Mercedes, but his inconsiderate behavior was just one of the countless reasons Trent and I didn't get along.
When I walked into the house I got this eerie feeling that something was seriously wrong. I'd been having this uneasy feeling all day. I know it sounds crazy, but I had the same feeling right before I found out my pops had passed away. And again, right before 9/11. That's why I'd decided to leave work early today and come home to my family.
Now that I was home, there was no sign of them. The only sound I heard came from a radio playing upstairs. In my house, that just wasn't normal, 'cause I had a five-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. You just don't keep kids that age quiet unless they're taking a nap. And it was way past nap time.
"Teddy! Katie! Di!" I shouted their names, but got no reply. I wondered where Trent was, too. That's when I heard this creaking sound coming from upstairs. I couldn't be positive, but it sounded like it was coming from the direction of my bedroom.
By the time I got to top of the stairs, the creaking and the banging had gotten louder and steadier, and it was definitely coming from behind my bedroom door. There was no doubt in my mind that someone in there was gettin' his groove on. I was just praying that it wasn't with my wife. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she'd gone out with the kids and my brother was taking advantage of the empty house with one of his hootchies. Why he would do it in my bedroom instead of the guest room beats the hell outta me. Except for the fact that he's nasty. He's the type who'd do it and then leave without cleaning up, letting Di and me sleep on those nasty ass sheets.
I stood outside the door for a few seconds, listening for voices. I still wasn't sure if it was Trent in there or not. Whoever was in there sure wasn't the vocal type, 'cause except for the creaking and some heavy breathing, it was pretty silent for a while. When I finally heard a few words, I almost lost my lunch. There was no mistaking that it was my wife's voice I was hearing. Weak-kneed, I forced myself to listen to her as she coached her partner.
"Come on, you can do it."
"You can do it! Just don't stop!"
"That's it. Just a little bit more."
"You're almost there!"
"One more time!"
"That's it!" she shouted.
And she was right, that was it. I couldn't take it anymore. The creaking and banging had come to a halt, and all I could hear was Diane's unmistakable heavy breathing. Things were finally starting to make sense. Now I knew why she'd been refusing to make love to me the last few weeks. She'd been sleeping with my brother. Without thinking, I walked into my son's room and snatched his Little League baseball bat out of the toy chest. Then I busted into my bedroom like I was on an episode of Cops.
Diane jumped back so fast she tripped over her StairMaster and landed right on her ass. "Oh, my God, Wil! What are you doing home?"
"What do you think I'm doing home, goddamnit! I live here. Or did you forget?" I raised the bat.
It took everything I had not to use her head for batting practice. But my brother Trent, he was a different story. I was gonna kill him. The only problem was that he was nowhere to be found. And for that matter neither was any other man. And now that I took a good look at Diane, she sure didn't look like I'd expected her to either. She wasn't anywhere close to being naked. She was dressed in her workout clothes, which meant she hadn't been having sex with Trent at all. She'd been working out on her StairMaster. I felt like a moron.
"Wil, what the hell is going on? And why are you carrying that bat?"
I didn't answer her. I was too embarrassed.
"Goddamnit, Wil Duncan! I asked you a question. Are you gonna tell me what the hell is going on?" She placed a hand on her hip.
I lowered my head and examined the bat in my hands. I didn't wanna tell her the truth, so I said something stupid to lighten the mood.
"Um, would you believe I'm thinking about trying out for the New York Yankees?"
Unfortunately, my little attempt at humor only succeeded in pissing her off.
"Hell, no, I don't believe that shit. What kinda fool do I look like?" She stepped away from the StairMaster and pointed a finger at me defiantly. "Now, I wanna know what's going on, Wil. And I wanna know now."
"All right," I told her. I knew the truth was probably gonna get me in more trouble than I was already in, but it wasn't worth lying. My wife could smell a lie from a mile away. So I sucked up my pride and admitted what an idiot I'd been.
"Well, when I got home I saw Trent's car parked outside. Then I heard all the noise the StairMaster was making. And, well, to be honest, Di, it sounded like someone was having sex in —" She cut me off before I could finish.
"And you thought ... you thought I would do something like that in your bed, with your brother?" I could tell by her tone that she wasn't just insulted. Now she was hurt. "What kind of woman do you think I am, Wil? You know I wouldn't cheat on you. And you know I can't stand Trent."
"I know that, Di, and I'm sorry." I tried to reach out to her but she pulled away.
"Sorry ain't good enough, Wil. Not after what we've been through." Her eyes got misty. I felt like I was shrinking in front of her. "How could you, Wil? How could you think I would mess with your brother?"
"I don't know, Di. You know how Trent is, and it really sounded like you were having sex in here."
"Sounded like?" She snapped as tears began to run down her face. "You couldn't open up the door and find out before you went and got a baseball bat? After everything that's happened in the past, I can't believe you're still jumping to conclusions."
I had to bite my tongue to stop from saying what I really wanted. See, Di knew a little herself about jumping to conclusions. In the past, it was she who'd nearly ended our marriage over some shit I didn't even do. She found some pictures of me in compromising positions with a few strippers, and the next thing I knew, all my shit was on the front lawn and the police were ordering me to leave my own property. But it's not what it sounds like. I was passed out in every one of the pictures, and I didn't even know the pictures had been taken. My boys, Kyle and Allen, thought it would be a harmless joke at Allen's bachelor party to get a few shots of me and the girls with my own camera. They figured I'd get the film developed and get a kick out of their little joke. What they didn't count on was that my wife would be the one to take the film to the pharmacy and find what she thought was enough evidence to put me out on the street and threaten to move my kids down South.
The time that I was living away from my wife and kids was the worst time of my life, and it took some creative payback from my boy Jay to convince Diane that things are not always what they appear to be on film. So obviously, we'd gotten back together since that crazy misunderstanding and for the most part we were a happy little family again. But whenever something threatened to dredge up memories of the incident, things could revert to shaky ground in a heartbeat. That's why Di was standing at the doorway, arms crossed and lip poked out, obviously still very hurt and angry.
"Oh, and for your information, Trent borrowed the van so that he could take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese. He called himself, giving me a break from the kids," she said with a smirk as she left me standing there, still clutching the bat like an idiot.
I waited about half an hour before I came downstairs and looked for Diane. I found her watching TV in the den. I was hoping that she'd cooled off a bit by now. As I explained before, Diane's been known to hold grudges. Long, drawn-out grudges. I really didn't want this to be one of those times. Especially since I was still having that eerie feeling that something bad was about to happen.
"Di," I called from the doorway.
"What?" She never looked up from the television. It was obvious she still had an attitude, but her voice was a lot more civil than it had been upstairs.
"You still mad?"
"What do you think, Wil?" She finally looked up from the TV.
"I think we should go get something to eat and put this behind us. I saw the crab man set up over on Farmers Boulevard. I was thinking about going over there and getting some crab legs. You want me to get some for you?" There was no question that Diane was upset, but if there was one thing that could help me get back in her good graces, it was crab legs. She loved them.
"You really think you're slick, don't you?" She stood up and stepped in my direction.
"Look, Di. I don't wanna fight. I made a mistake, all right? I jumped to conclusions. It's not something I'm proud of, but it's not like you never jumped to conclusions." There, I'd said it. And to my surprise, she didn't go on the defensive. She just pursed her lips together and looked away. I would've expected at least a little fight out of her.
"Look, Di," I pleaded, "I just wanna get past this."
"You think buying me crab legs is gonna get your ass past this?"
"No." I sighed. "I just ..."
She picked up her purse and spoke to me without any trace of emotion.
"Let's go, Wil." She stood and looked at me. Her face didn't give any clue about her emotional state.
"You mean you're not mad?" I asked hopefully.
"Oh, I'm still mad. But I can't be mad forever. I heard you up there on that StairMaster. It does sound like someone having sex." She spoke quickly, like she hated to be saying it at all.
I couldn't believe she was admitting I might not be such a jerk after all. After she'd left the bedroom, I'd gone to the StairMaster and tried it out, needing to understand how I could have been so stupid. The stepping motion was a pretty steady rhythm, but being the one on it, it seemed pretty ridiculous that I could have mistaken this sound for a creaking bed. I felt even more stupid after my little experiment, but now Di was confirming that from the first floor, it really could be confusing. The corners of my mouth started to curl into a smile, but Di stopped that in a hurry.
"That still doesn't mean you're right, Wil. You should have trusted me more than that. Had a little faith."
"I know. You're right." And she was right. After our past experiences with infidelity that really wasn't infidelity, we both had to learn to be a lot more trusting.
She walked past me into the hallway and I followed. We hadn't even got halfway down the hall when the doorbell rang. I opened it, and there was Trent, holding my son Teddy, half asleep in his arms.
"What's up, player?" He smiled at me with that devilish grin of his.
"I'm not a player. And where's my daughter?"
"Brenda's getting her outta her car seat." He handed me my son.
"Brenda? Who's Brenda?" I glanced at Diane.
"Don't look at me. When he left this house it was just him and the kids." Diane folded her arms across her chest and glared at my brother. "I done told you about bringing strange women around my children, Trent. Where'd you meet this one? At a gas station? Or was she hitchhiking?"
"Damn, Diane. That was cold." Trent shook his head. "But for your information, she owns her own travel agency in Long Island. Matter of fact, she just got me two first-class tickets to Hawaii for my birthday. Those damn things are worth fifteen hundred dollars apiece."
"Oh, and I should trust someone stupid enough to give you free airline tickets with my children? Ha! You must be crazy." Diane shot Trent an evil look, pointing her finger in his face. "I'm not gonna tell you this again, Trent. Don't be bringing strange women around my children if you wanna spend time with them again." She pushed him aside and headed toward the van to get our daughter.
"Yo, player, wait until you see the body on this one," Trent whispered confidently. "Baby got back, front. Shit, she's got the whole damn yard."
He wasn't lying, either. When Brenda walked around the van behind Diane, I had to do a double take. She was wearing a skintight minidress that had to be at least one size too small and when she walked, everything important moved. She was a cute, thick sister with a cocoa face and a slamming body. For a second I was almost envious of my brother.
"Trent, aren't you gonna introduce me?" Brenda approached us, shaking her head playfully at his rude behavior.
"Oh, my bad." He placed his arm around her. "Wil, Diane. This is Brenda. Brenda, this is my brother Wil and my sister-in-law, Diane. Teddy and Katie's parents."
She shook Diane's hand, then I extended my hand, and she took it gracefully.
"Nice to meet you, Brenda."
"It's a pleasure. You have beautiful children," she replied with a smile.
"Why thank ..." I never finished my sentence, because that's when I got a look at her teeth for the first time. Those damn things were going in four different directions, and believe me when I tell you at least two of them were missing. I swear, with that cute face and those messed-up teeth, she looked like somebody out of the Addams family.
"Wil." Diane nudged me back into reality, which was a good thing, 'cause not only was I still holding the woman's hand, but I was staring at her messed-up grill like she was on fire.
"Yes, Di?" I finally took my eyes off Brenda and looked at my wife.
"Why don't we go in the house so that we can put these kids to bed?" That's when I realized we were still on the front porch.
"Oh, yeah. That's a good idea. Trent, why don't you take Brenda in the den and make her a drink while Diane and I put the kids to bed?" I tried my best not to look at Brenda, 'cause if she opened her mouth I probably would have dropped Teddy trying to keep from laughing.
"A drink sounds good, big brother. Especially a free one. But why don't me and you put the kids to bed and let the girls fix the drinks? I got something I need to talk to you about."
I hesitated before answering. I knew he was going to curse me out about my rude behavior toward his date. Not that I didn't deserve it.
"Aw'ight." I waved. "Y'all come on in the house, 'cause this boy is falling asleep in my arms."
Diane handed Katie to Trent. He followed me into the house and up the stairs. Surprisingly, he didn't say a word until after both the kids were in the bed.
"Wil?" Trent tapped my shoulder as we walked toward the stairs. I sighed. I thought I was almost home free.
"Look, Trent, I know what you're gonna say. I'm sorry if I embarrassed you out there."
"Embarrass me? Embarrass me how?"
"You know. Staring at Brenda's teeth. I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry. If you want, I'll apologize to her."
He chuckled. "Apologize? Apologize for what? Please, Wil, that girl knows she needs a good dentist. Why you think she's messin' with me?"
I had no idea what the connection could be between her crooked teeth and my brother. But knowing Trent like I did, I probably didn't want to know the answer. So I didn't ask.
"Well, if it's not about me staring at her teeth, then what did you wanna talk to me about?"
"Man, I wanted to know if you could lend me a hundred bucks so I could take Brenda out."
"A hundred bucks? Are you crazy? You already owe me three hundred bucks from last month when you were short on your rent. If Diane knew I gave you money she'd kill me."
"I know that, Wil. And I'm gonna pay you back. Shit, I wouldn't even be asking you for this if I hadn't spent my last fifty on your kids at Chuck E. Cheese. Not that I'm complaining. You know I love them kids."
Damn, why'd he have to go there? I wasn't gonna give him shit. But now I felt bad that he spent his money on my kids. Trent was an ass, but if there was one thing I had to give him credit for, he was a good uncle. He'd do anything for my kids. I reached in my pocket and pulled out my wallet.
"I only got sixty on me."
He snatched the money outta my hand. "That'll do," he said before heading down the stairs. I looked at my empty wallet and a little voice in the back of my head whispered, He got you again, didn't he?
I sighed quietly to myself as I followed my brother down the stairs.
Trent and I walked into the den and found Diane sipping on a glass of wine.
"Hey, where's Brenda? She in the bathroom or something?" Trent looked around the room.
Excerpted from Player Haters by CARL WEBER. Copyright © 2004 Carl Weber. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Carl Weber is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels and short stories. A life-long reader, Weber wanted to write stories about ordinary people who have crazy things happen in their lives. Now, when he's not connecting with readers through his books, Weber is finding new talent for his publishing company, Urban Books. He graduated from Virginia State University with a bachelor's in accounting and has an MBA in marketing from the University of Virginia. Connect with Carl on Facebook at IamCarlWeber or on his website, CarlWeber.net.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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CARL WEBER GIVES US A LOOK INTO THE SO CALL PLAYERS HANDBOOK. SOME OF THIS STUFF THAT TRENT WAS DOING I COULD NOT BELIEVE, BUT THERE WAS ALOT OF STUFF I WAS SHOCKED TO SEE REALLY DOES WORK FOR SOME OF THESE GUYS. TRENT WAS A TRUE DOG IF EVER THERE WAS ONE. AND I FEEL THAT TRENT GOT JUST WHAT HE DESERVED AT THE END OF THE STORY. NOW FOR HIS BROTHER WIL, THAT IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT CASE ALL TOGETHER. MAXINE OR MIMI WHICH EVER YOU PERFER, IS ONE CRAZY NUT. HOW CAN YOU JUST SETUP SHOP AND START PLOTTING TO TAKE SOMEONE ELES HUSBAND AND THINK YOU WILL GET AWAY WITH IT????? OH, THAT'S RIGHT SHE HAS DONE IT BEFORE. WELL THIS TIME IT DIDN'T WORK. AND SHE GOT JUST WHAT SHE HAD COMING TO HER. WHAT A CRAZY BOOK. ENJOY...........
I loved the surprise ending. I am also happy to report that Michelle's character was brought back for his other novel, So You Call Yourself A Man. She is a hot mess! I liked Trent's character, because there are men out there like him. The Crazy secretary added just the right amount of guilty pleasure to the story. Carl Weber is a fantastic writer.
I'm not much for drama, but this book is great! Excellent and creative writing. I look forward to reading his other books. By the way, loved the ending. Who knew?
this book caught my attention the whole time and i dont even like to read my best friend gave me the book to read after she read it and i am not a reader but i loved this book
This book was so tight. I loved how he gave each characters point of view. I never could tell what was going to happen next especially with Mimi. This was the first Weber book I have read but I wont stop here.
Go to our book
I want this book soo bad
Carl Weber has a way with words to keep you glued to the pages. Another good boo from him.
This was more of Carl Weber's humurous books, it will have you laughing at some parts of the book! But overall good book, everyone got what they deserved!
Great book, you wouldn't want to put it down
A page turning! A lot of drama. I though i was watching a movie.
I enjoyed this book. Couldnt the pages fast enough. I recommend it to anyone wanting to try out a Carl Weber book.
weber does a great job with grabbing your attention and keeping it.