Miami defense attorney Yoshi Lomax bribes, manipulates, blackmails and uses her body to win cases and a promotion at her firm, but her physical assets and flexible morals end up doing her more harm than good in this undistinguished potboiler. Yoshi's singular and clichéd motivation is money, and it drives her to, among other things, sleep with her boss, betray her DEA agent best friend and make some questionable calls about what clients she takes on. Then her lucky streak ends: she gets demoted at work, loses her bid to get a case dismissed, gets arrested for drug possession, gets abandoned by her best friend and is framed for murder. The convoluted plot is thick with overblown revenge schemes, and while the characters are about as strong as wet cardboard, the action is unrelenting and over-the-top. Readers looking for pure grit will want to take a look. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Playing Dirtyby Kiki Swinson
"Kiki captures the heat of the streets." Wahida Clark
Essence® bestselling author Kiki Swinson keeps it coming with a gritty drama about one cunning sistah playing a very dangerous game with the law.
Playing dirty is a skill that Yoshi Lomax has perfected. By bribing cops and officials, sleeping with her boss, and convincing her friend in the/i>… See more details below
"Kiki captures the heat of the streets." Wahida Clark
Essence® bestselling author Kiki Swinson keeps it coming with a gritty drama about one cunning sistah playing a very dangerous game with the law.
Playing dirty is a skill that Yoshi Lomax has perfected. By bribing cops and officials, sleeping with her boss, and convincing her friend in the DEA to make evidence disappear, Yoshi has become a top criminal defense attorney. And she has the multimillion-dollar Miami pad and Aston Martin to prove it. But when she takes the case of badass Haitian mob boss Sheldon Chisholm, her usual way of doing businessby any means necessarydoesn't work. Someone has gotten to the people on her payroll and an unknown enemy is sabotaging her every move. With the list of people she can depend on dwindling, Yoshi's got to toughen up if she's going to survive. . .
More praise for Kiki Swinson
"Kiki Swinson is unstoppable. Whether she's writing about life in the 'hood or living the fabulous life, one thing is for sureKiki always delivers a sizzling read." Crystal Lacey Winslow, Essence® bestselling author
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Read an Excerpt
By KIKI SWINSON
Copyright © 2009
All right reserved.
Chapter One From the Beginning
"Okay, Yoshi, it's your time," I whispered to myself. I ran my hands over my Chanel pencil skirt to smooth out the wrinkles. Then I turned toward the large bathroom mirror and checked my ass-along with my silver tongue and beautiful face, it was one of my best assets. I stood in the old-fashioned marble courthouse bathroom, making sure I looked as stunning as always before I made my way to the courtroom. My assistant had just texted my Black-Berry to tell me the jury was back with a verdict. The jury had only deliberated for one day. For a defense attorney, that could spell disaster. But that rule stood for regular defense attorneys-and I'd like to think that I was in a class by myself.
The trial had had its moments, but through it all I shined like a star. On the second to last day, I had all but captured the jury in the palm of my hand. I used my half-Korean background and my native Korean tongue to appeal to the two second-generation Asian jurors. My mother would've been so proud. As a proud Korean, she always wanted me to forget that I was half Black. She spoke Korean all the time. It had everything to do with the volatile relationship she had with my father before he packed up and left New York to go back to his hometown in Virginia when I was only eight years old. Him leaving the family devastated my mother, but I was okay with it. I got tired of listening to them fuss and fight all the time. And it seemed like it always got worse on the weekends when he came home drunk.
That wasn't the life my mother's parents had in mind for her after they emigrated all the way from Korea to Brooklyn, New York. I'm sure they felt that if she was going to struggle, then she needed to struggle with her own kind. Not with some African-American scumbag, alcoholic, warehouse worker from Norfolk, Virginia, who only moved to New York City to pursue his dreams of making it big in the music industry. My mother, unfortunately, picked him to father me. When I got old enough to understand, my mother told me that as soon as my grandparents got wind of their relationship, they disowned her. But as soon as my dad packed his shit and left, they immediately came to her rescue and wrote her back into their will. They were so happy that nigga left, they got on their knees and started sending praises to Buddha.
I couldn't care one way or the other. I mean, it wasn't like we were close anyway. From as far back as I could remember, I pretty much did my own thing. After school I would always go to the library and find a book to read, which was why I excelled in grade school. After graduating from high school, I thought about nothing else but furthering my education in law. I had always aspired to be a TV court judge, so I figured the only way I could ever have my own show was to become an attorney first. So here I was defending my client, the alleged leader of the Fuc-Chang Korean Mafia, who was on trial for murder, bribery, and racketeering. Now I knew he was guilty as hell, but I pulled every trick out of the bag to make the jury believe that he wasn't.
"Ms. Lomax, the jury returned its verdict after just one day of deliberation. Are you worried?" a reporter called out as I made my way down the hallway toward Judge Allen's courtroom. A swarm of reporters surrounded me, shoving microphones in my face. I never turned down an opportunity to show up on television.
"A fast verdict is just what I expected. My client is innocent." I smiled, flashing my perfect white teeth and shaking my long, jet black hair. And right after I entered the courtroom, I switched my ass as hard as I could down the middle aisle toward the defense table. All eyes turned toward me. I could feel the stares burning my entire body. My red Chanel suit was an eye-catcher. It showed off my curves and it made me look like a million bucks. When potential clients approach me for representation, they are not surprised to learn that I charge a minimum of $2,500 an hour. They don't even blink when the figure rolls off my tongue. The way they see it, you never put a price on freedom, and with my victory rate, how can they lose?
Right before I took my seat at the defense table, I looked at my client, Mr. Choo, who was shackled like an animal and guarded by courtroom officers. He appeared cool, calm, and collected, unlike the men in black across from him. The prosecutors sat at their table and fiddled with pens, bit nails, and adjusted ties. They looked nervous and frazzled, to say the least. I was just the opposite. In fact, I was laughing my ass off on the inside because I knew I had this case in the bag.
The senior court officer moved to the front of the jam-packed courtroom, ordered everyone to stand, and announced Judge Allen. I looked up at Judge Mark Allen, with his salt-and-pepper balding head and little beady eyes. Mark is what I call him when he's not in his black robe. As a matter of fact, it gets really personal when he and I get together for one of our so-called romantic interludes. Last week was the last time he and I got together, and it was in his chambers. It was so funny because I let him fuck me in his robe with his puny five-inch wrinkled dick. He thought he was the man, too. And when it was all said and done, I made sure I wiped my cum all over the crotch of his slacks. Shit, Monica Lewinsky ain't got nothing on me. I wanted him to know that I had no respect for his authority or his courtroom. After I let him get at me, and I bribed a few of the jurors, all of the calls in the courtroom went my way. The prosecutors never had a chance.... It was amusing to watch.
The judge cleared his throat and began to speak. The courtroom was "pin drop" quiet.
"Jury, what say you in the case of the State of Florida versus Haan Choo?" Judge Allen boomed.
The jury foreperson, a fair-skinned Black woman in her mid-fifties, stood up swiftly, her hands trembling. " 'We, the jury, in the matter of the State of Florida versus Haan Choo, finds as follows: to the charge of first-degree murder ... not guilty.'"
A gasp resounded through the courtroom. Then the scream of some victim's family members.
"Order!" Judge Allen screamed.
The foreperson continued without looking up from her paper. "'To the charge of racketeering ... not guilty. To the charge of bribery ... not guilty. And to the charge of conspiracy ... not guilty.'"
Mr. Choo jumped up and grabbed me in a bear hug. "Yoshi, you greatest," he whispered in broken English.
"Order!" the judge screamed again. "Bailiff, take Mr. Choo back to booking so he can be released." He had to go through his motions to set Mr. Choo free. I looked over at the prosecutors' table and threw them a smile. I knew they all wished they could just jump across the table and kill me. Too bad they hadn't taken what I had offered them after the preliminary hearing. Both assistant district attorneys were new to the game and overeager to take on their first high-profile case. Out of the gate they wanted to prove to their boss that they both could take me on, but somebody should've warned them that I was no one to fuck with. With a smile still on my face, I strutted by them and said, "Idiots!" just loud enough for only them to hear. Then I threw my hair back and continued to strut my shit out the courtroom.
After I slid the city clerk's head administrator ten crisp one-hundred-dollar bills, it only took about an hour to process Mr. Choo's release papers. Money talks and bullshit runs the marathon! And before anyone knew it, Mr. Choo and I were walking outside to greet the press. He and I both were all smiles, because he was a free man and I knew that in an hour or so, I was going to be $2 million richer; that alone made me want to celebrate. But first, we needed to address the media. Cameras flashed and microphones passed in front of us as we stepped into the sunlight. Mr. Choo rushed to the huddle of microphones that all but blocked his slim face from view. "Justice was served today. I am innocent and my lawyer proved that. I no crime boss, I am family man. I run my business and I love America," he rambled, his horrible English getting on my nerves. I waited patiently while he made his grand stand and then I took over the media show.
"All along I told everyone my client was innocent. Mr. Choo came to the United States from Korea to make an honest-" Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang! The sound of shouts and then screams rang in my ears. Then I heard someone in the crowd yell in Korean, "You fucking snitch!" The shots stopped me dead in my tracks; my words tumbled back down my throat like hard marbles, choking me. I grabbed my arm as heat radiated up to my neck.
"Oh shit, I'm hit!" I screamed. I dropped to the ground, scrambling to hide ... and saw Mr. Choo, his head dangling and his body slumped against the courthouse steps. His mouth hung open and blood dripped from his lips and chin. Before I could figure out what to do next, someone snatched me up from the ground. I didn't know where we were headed-my thoughts were on my throbbing arm and my racing heart. Then suddenly my vision became blurry and the world went black.
My career changed after Mr. Choo's trial. Shit, after having almost lost my damn life, I would not accept anything less than the best.
After the shooting, the law firm of Shapiro and Witherspoon was thrown into the media spotlight like never before. I became known as the "ride-or-die bitch attorney" that would take a bullet to get a client off. I became the most sought-after criminal defense attorney in Florida. Sometimes I didn't know if that was good or bad. But one thing was sure, my life changed and my appetite for money and power grew more and more intense. I started living each day as if it were my last.
Years ago, I never thought I would have turned out to be the way I was today. When you look at it, I had become a heartless bitch! I could not care less about anyone, including my own damn mother. Even when having a nightcap with my flavor of the night, I never let my feelings get involved. Once I put the condom on him, I reminded myself that it was only business and that my client's freedom was on the line, so everything worked out fine. That's how I kept men in line. After the shooting, I vowed that my heart would remain in my pocket forever.
Chapter Two Baller Status
My life was great. Hands down, I was really doing it big. After my brush with death, I was propelled into the firm's million-dollar club. Yes, I did say million-dollar club-a club at the firm that was usually reserved for prestigious White men. But I broke through that glass ceiling. I had become a giant and I was continuously growing.
After the incident and the media rush, I was promoted to junior partner at the firm, which sent my bank account swelling. I was waiting for senior partner, but this would do for now. I purchased a split-level penthouse for $5.2 million, right in the heart of Collins Avenue. I had a beautiful view of Miami Beach. At the firm, I was given one of the best offices in the building-an executive suite. My office was like a second home, complete with a dressing room and a granite-tiled full bathroom. I could sleep there if I wanted. There were a lot of haters at the firm after that.
My reputation spoke for itself. Not only did I have a 98 percent acquittal rate, most of my clientele were rich, I mean fucking wealthy-and most, if not all, were high-level crime heads. I wasn't representing any petty thugs or hand-to-hand street hustlers; they could never afford to pay even my retainer. Trust me, I had my shit together and I couldn't be touched, because I maintained a license to practice law in New York, Arizona, Florida, and Nevada-not bad for a thirty-four-year-old daughter of a Korean immigrant. I was single, but I got my fair share of dick. I was married to dead presidents; I didn't need a fucking man locking me down or trying to share my dough. And I damn sure didn't need any kids. Speaking of which, I had my brush with almost becoming a mother; but I got rid of that fucking baby so fast, it wasn't even funny. I wasn't about to let a baby slow me down. I had a lot of shit going on, so a newborn baby did not fit into that equation. Not only that, the asshole I was pregnant by had a wife, so that would not have worked anyway. I am not into sharing someone else's husband and calling the bastard my fucking baby daddy. Come on, now, how does that shit sound? Ridiculous, if you ask me, so I wasn't about to take myself through that unnecessary drama.
Shit, I was Yoshi Lomax. Wherever I went, I commanded attention. Everyone and their mother knew who the fuck I was. And it wasn't because I was a fucking beautiful woman; it was because I was a TV whore. I was one bad bitch and I knew it. I'd learned as soon as I got to the firm of Shapiro and Witherspoon that I could either work hard or work smart. Needless to say, I chose to work smart. I'd see these little lawyers running around doing tons and tons of research for a case, but I said the hell with that! I mean, what the fuck was the point? I'd rather go to the judge, DA, or police officer, and offer them a big payoff in exchange for my client's acquittal. And if they're attractive enough to fuck, I'd throw in a quickie or a one-nighter, depending on how high the stakes were. Speaking of which, half of everyone I had working on my team preferred to fuck me over the cash, so I'm like, hey, that works for me. Shit, I didn't mind keeping the cash in the bank. I was all for it. And since that was how the game was played, I played my cards very well.
* * *
I stood on the balcony of my Miami Beach penthouse and inhaled the fresh scent of the ocean. It was the middle of January and I watched the sun rise; the hint of orange and streaks of purple that laced the sky and glinted off the sea's horizon made me feel good inside. The seventy-degree air was brisk and blew open my silk and lace La Perla bathrobe. I flinched as the air brushed across my rock-hard nipples. I started to rush to close my bathrobe but decided to let my perfect C-cup breasts catch the sunrise.
I turned and peered through my glass patio doors just in time to see Paul stirring in my bed. My stomach turned. I hated his fake tanned body and his jet black greasy hair. A fake-ass Al Pacino is what he looked like. I watched him stroke his dick, getting it ready for yet another round with me, which was something I was totally dreading. Not only was his fuck game on zero, this guy's dick was a mess. If Viagra wasn't on the market, he would be up shit's creek without a paddle.
Paul Shapiro was my egocentric boss at the law firm of Shapiro and Witherspoon. He wielded his power like an ax, chopping down anything that got in his way. When I first arrived at the firm, fresh out of law school, I could not get a break to save my life. Although I had been assigned some of the most challenging cases and had an almost perfect acquittal rate, I still could not get the respect I deserved. My praises were minimized to meager bonus checks and a pat on the back. It seemed like I couldn't break into the good ole boy network that dominated the firm's culture. Hard work was a curse at Shapiro and Witherspoon. I learned that lesson very quickly.
After I rebuffed thousands of sexual advances, sleeping with Paul was not a decision I made easily. My career relied on it. I finally obliged and gave him some ass, but I had other things in mind when I did it ... like making partner. Well, you know what Malcolm X said, "By any means necessary!" I was a true believer in that shit, especially if it meant keeping me in the most expensive jewels, designer clothes, cars, and vacations. A few minutes of sweaty fucking meant a lifetime of money, jewelry, cars, and trips. It also meant making my mother proud. She'd worked like a slave cleaning up after people-just like Paul-to send me to college and law school.
I walked inside and flashed a halfhearted smile at Paul. "Listen, I have a meeting with a new client, so we have to cut this short," I lied.
"What, you gonna leave me and him high and dry?" Paul asked, pointing to his hard dick.
I sighed. "Look, Paul, I have a meeting," I said dryly, walking into my master bathroom. I clicked on the twenty-seven-inch flat-screen TV that hung over my Jacuzzi tub; I wanted to drown his voice out. I was also trying to get up the gumption to tell his silly ass that our fucking sprees had come to an end.
Excerpted from Playing Dirty by KIKI SWINSON Copyright © 2009 by Kiki Swinson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Kiki Swinson was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia. She discovered her flair for writing after completing her first novel, Mad Shambles, while serving a five-year sentence at a federal prison. After being released in December 1996, Kiki later went on to self-publish Mad Shambles. Her passion for writing didn't stop there. Writing feverishly into the wee hours of the night, she completed her second novel, Wifey, which was published by Melodrama Publishing. After the success of Wifey, Kiki penned the sequels I'm Still Wifey and Life After Wifey, as well as The Candy Shop and A Sticky Situation.
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