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Somebody Pick Up My Pieces
     

Somebody Pick Up My Pieces

4.1 16
by J. D. Mason
 

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Six months ago her three daughters walked out and left Charlotte Rodgers to fend for herself. Charlotte is resentful and bitter towards her children, Clarice, Connie, and especially Camille, for leaving her to face the memories of her painful past. What Charlotte doesn't know is that the past will soon catch up with her once again.

Justin and Clarice Braxton

Overview

Six months ago her three daughters walked out and left Charlotte Rodgers to fend for herself. Charlotte is resentful and bitter towards her children, Clarice, Connie, and especially Camille, for leaving her to face the memories of her painful past. What Charlotte doesn't know is that the past will soon catch up with her once again.

Justin and Clarice Braxton are struggling to hold on to their marriage. Justin's affair has taken its toll, and Clarice (Reesy) has to decide once and for all, if she can finally forgive him, and move forward, or if the lure of giving Justin a dose of his own medicine is too tempting to ignore.

Camille Rodgers has lived her whole life under Charlotte's critical eye, struggling to be the perfect daughter and giving in to Charlotte's whims. When she steps out on her own for the first time, Camille quickly spirals out of control.

Connie Rodgers has fallen in love with her new son and things are going strong with her son's father, John King. Then John finds out that his father is on his death bed. Unwelcome blasts from the past resurface, putting their new family to the test.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The fierce fourth appearance of the Rodgers women (after You Gotta Sin to Get Saved) finds matriarch Charlotte Rogers confronted with her worst nightmare: the reappearance of Uncle Lamont Williams. Twenty-seven years earlier, Uncle killed Charlotte's lover and savagely beat her. Now he's out of prison and eager to reconnect. Turns out, years ago, Uncle used young Charlotte to pay off a debt, and now Charlotte is a bitter woman whose youngest daughter, Cammy, recently lost a child in a car accident. Unable to cope, Cammy leaves her husband and moves to Denver to be closer to her older sisters, Connie and Clarice, who are having romantic problems. Mason vividly explores the roller-coaster relationships the chronically unhappy Charlotte has with her daughters and captures Charlotte's desperation as she contends with Uncle, leading to a bone-chilling if paradoxically uplifting ending. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

Somebody Pick Up My Pieces is a fantastic read.” —RT Book Reviews

“Mason delivers with an unpredictable plot and well-drawn characters, perfectly balanced with action.” —Fresh Fiction on Somebody Pick Up My Pieces

“...fast-moving and fascinating...” —Publisher's Weekly on Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It

“Effortlessly leaves no stone unturned in the lives of these tormented characters. Mason will take your breathe away.” —Romantic Times Book Reviews on You Gotta Sin to Get Saved

“[J.D. Mason's] stark portrayals of her characters and their innermost thoughts bring the readers right into the emotional center of the story. Those who enjoy Carl Weber and Eric Jerome Dickey will add Mason to their list of favorites.” —Booklist on That Devil's No Friend of Mine

“[M]asterfully told.” —Fresh Fiction on That Devil's No Friend of Mine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429929714
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
02/01/2011
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
663,417
File size:
390 KB

Read an Excerpt

Somebody Pick Up My Pieces


By J. D. Mason

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2011 J. D. Mason
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-2971-4


CHAPTER 1

"Miss Rodgers?"

There was a cop standing at her door. Charlotte eyed him wearily through the screen. "Yes?"

"Miss Rodgers, your daughter, Clarice Braxton? Called the station saying that she hadn't heard from you and was worried. She asked us to check on you."

Charlotte didn't say a word.

"Are you alright, ma'am?" he eventually asked.

"I'm fine," she said tersely.

The officer didn't look convinced. "Are you sure?"

No, she wasn't sure. Her children had turned on her and left her here all alone. How in the world could she be alright after her children had dismissed her the way the three of them had done?

"I'm fine," she said, more convincingly.

He shook his head. "Call your children, ma'am," he said, annoyed, before leaving. "They're obviously worried about you."

Charlotte slammed the door shut, sat down in her recliner, put her feet up, and stared at the television screen. The volume was turned down so low she could barely hear it. That was how she preferred it. After Camille, her youngest daughter, had moved out and left with Connie and Reesy, that house had felt like a tomb, cold, empty, and too quiet. Always quiet. Charlotte had learned to live with it, and to wallow in it as a reminder to herself that nobody gave a damn about her. They never did.

Less than ten minutes after that cop had left her front porch, the phone rang.

"Mom?" It was Clarice. "Mom, it's me, Reesy. I know you're there. The policeman said he saw you." She sighed, irritably. "Mom, please. Don't be like this. We're worried about you. You haven't spoken to me or Cammy since we left. You're being silly."

Silly? Charlotte was being silly? She angrily snatched up the receiver. "I'm being silly," she huffed. "Silly is putting your nose in where it doesn't belong, Reesy! Silly is making somebody believe with all their heart that you care about them when deep down, you know it's not true!"

"Mom ..."

"Silly is beating on your own mother, Clarice!" she said, letting go of bitter tears. "You're never supposed to hit your mother! God saves a special place in hell for children who beat their mothers!"

"I didn't beat you, Mom," Reesy said, defensively, "and you know why I did it," Reesy responded sheepishly. "I'm sorry, Mom. I am so sorry."

Charlotte's lip quivered. "I'm sorry too! Sorry I ever laid eyes on you again!" Charlotte hung up as abruptly as she'd answered.

She had loved Reesy more than the other two put together, until Connie, Charlotte's oldest, finally managed to turn Reesy and Cammy against her with her lies and her ugly ways.

"You're the one, Connie! Why the hell did you bring your black ass into my house?" Charlotte screamed.

"Momma!" Reesy tried stepping between Charlotte and Connie, standing toe-to-toe like two boxers.

"I always hated you!" Charlotte glared at Connie.

"I always hated you too, so that makes us even!" Connie shot back.

"You ain't better than me, Connie!"

"Shit, Momma!" Connie smirked. "Who the hell isn't better than you?"

Charlotte closed her eyes, recalling the rage she felt surging through her whole body as she swung her arm in the air, bracing herself to knock the shit out of that girl. And all of a sudden, she felt the sting and the heat from the slap across her face, not from Connie, but from Reesy.

Those girls had all expected for Charlotte to be perfect, but of course, she wasn't. No mother is ever perfect. She'd only been fifteen years old when she'd had Connie, and what she learned about taking care of children, she learned on her own. She'd made mistakes with all of them. Charlotte could admit it to herself and to them. Charlotte had thought too much of herself when she was young, and had put her needs before the needs of her girls, but she had atoned for her selfishness. Charlotte had atoned for everything she'd done from taking off with Sam and leaving her two oldest girls behind to maybe being a little too hard on Cammy. She had paid for the things she'd done a hundred times over in ways they could never imagine. And she was still paying for it.

Hell is living twenty-seven years and not knowing if your children are alive or dead. She had had Cammy in that time, but there was no replacing her golden girls, Connie and Reesy, who she'd left behind in Denver. Charlotte had come to terms with the fact that she'd never see her girls again, until she got a letter in the mail from Reesy. Her baby had hired someone to find Charlotte, and for the first time in nearly three decades, she had finally had a prayer answered and a chance to go home again. But just as quickly as it had been given to her, those girls had brutally snatched it away from her. Lynn Randall had brought Charlotte to Murphy, Kansas, to save her life. Lynn had saved her, but she'd condemned her to this place, and Charlotte's children had taken the key and left her here, like garbage, to rot.

CHAPTER 2

For the first time in her life, Cammy lived on her own. She had lived with Reesy when she first moved here to Denver, but after a few months, Reesy's husband, Justin, helped to get her a job as a receptionist at the accounting firm where he worked, and Cammy quickly found a place of her own. Reesy and Justin had their own problems to deal with, and besides, she needed to be alone and away from Reesy watching her all the time, constantly urging her to talk about something she couldn't put into words.

"You just need time. You'll be fine before you know it."

How much time?

"You're young. You can have more children, Cammy."

But what should she do about the child she'd lost?

"If Tyrell really loves you, and if it's meant to be, the two of you will get through this together."

And what if ... she didn't love him anymore?

It was easier for Cammy not to think about these things. Inside, she was quietly falling apart, but outside, Cammy smiled, and worked, and did what she'd always done better than anyone else. She pretended to be fine.

She'd lost her baby in a car accident six months ago, and there were times when she wondered why she hadn't died too. Cammy moved to Denver, with her sisters, Connie and Reesy. She had never even known her sisters until just before her accident. Charlotte had talked about them, but they'd never been more than fantasies to Cammy until Reesy's letter came in the mail and turned Cammy and Charlotte's small, intimate world upside down.

"My babies found me, Cammy. After all this time, they found me."

She had never seen her mother so happy and Cammy had never felt more nervous and unsettled than when she had first met Reesy.

Charlotte always had a knack for being able to flip the switch on Cammy at a moment's notice. One minute her mother loved her with all the passion a mother could feel for a daughter, and the next, Cammy might as well have been some stranger off the street. But until Reesy showed up, Cammy had been able to make excuses for her mother's unpredictable behavior. When Reesy came, Cammy could've been swept up in a tornado, and Charlotte wouldn't have even noticed she was gone. It was painful facing the truth that she'd loved her mother as much as she did, only to find out that Charlotte never loved her back.

When Cammy found out she was pregnant it was the happiest day in her life, and in Tyrell's life too.

"Shit," he said, grinning from ear to ear. "Ain't no reason you can't move in with me now, Cam. We can be a family, and get married, and have even more kids, girl."

"You wanna go be with that fool, then go!" Charlotte had said when Cammy told her about the baby, and that Tyrell wanted to get married. "But don't come crawling back here when he gets sick of you, Cammy, and dumps your ass when you get round and fat. I know his kind. He's fine as long as he's getting his, but after that baby comes and you too tired to throw you legs up in the air for him, he'll send you packing! Ain't no revolving doors around here. You leave, you stay gone. I mean it."

Charlotte played tricks with her mind, the way she had since Cammy was small. One minute she was pissed, and the next, she cried, begged, and convinced Cammy that her place was with her mother, because the truth was that all they had was each other, and nobody should ever get in the way of that.

"We can take care of the baby together." The softness in her mother's eyes and voice was like a siren to Cammy, pulling her in to that warm place in her mother's heart that always felt so good. "I'm your momma, baby. You're all I have, and without you here, what will I do, Camille? I live for you. I always have."

Reesy had her babies. She didn't know what it was like to lose one. She had her man too, even though she wasn't really speaking to him. Reesy had a home, and people who loved her, who had always loved her, and she knew exactly where she fit in the world.

"We're sisters, Cammy," she kept reminding her. "Connie and I are here for you now. You're not alone anymore, sweetie."

It wasn't as simple as that, and Cammy wanted to tell her that, but all she did was smile and nod. "I know, Reesy."

She sat on the small sofa in her quiet apartment. All day long, she'd been surrounded by the noise of phones ringing and people constantly asking her questions at work. Cammy savored the quiet and dulled the noise in her head with glass after glass of wine. People from work would ask her to lunch or happy hour, but she always declined. Reesy found any excuse for "the sisters" to get together once a month, and Cammy would begrudgingly oblige.

Connie, the oldest of the three, just had a way of looking at Cammy that made her feel uneasy, because Connie looked at her as if she could see everything that was going on inside Cammy. She wasn't sure how to feel about that. Cammy was more comfortable with keeping her feelings to herself, and with trying to sort them out for herself, or justify them. Connie had no place being in her head like that, and neither did Reesy, because neither one of them could ever understand what it was like to be Camille, and, sisters or not, they were strangers.

CHAPTER 3

"I keep telling myself that I'm here because of what he did." Never in a million years did she ever dream she'd be the kind of woman to have an affair. Avery Stallings held her in his arms, and listened quietly as she spoke. "Justin cheated," she continued explaining, "so why shouldn't I?"

He sighed, contentedly, squeezed her closer, and then kissed her exposed shoulder. "That's not why you're here, and you know it, Reesy."

Even if she'd wanted to argue with him, she couldn't, because he was right. Her being here now, in his arms, in his bed, had nothing to do with her husband. "I need for that to be the reason, Avery," she said softly.

"Would that make it easier for you? Make you feel justified for being here with me like this?"

She let her eyes close. Yes.

Avery Stallings was the detective she'd hired two years ago to find her mother, Charlotte. And while everyone else condemned her, and told her that she was crazy for even bothering to look for that woman, he was the one person who understood her need to find the woman who she'd loved more than anything when she was a child. Avery understood what Justin never even tried to understand, as far as Reesy was concerned.

"You're becoming obsessed with this, Reesy," he'd argued. "It's all you think about, morning, noon, and night, and the kids and I are becoming more of an afterthought to you. Not to mention, it's costing us a fortune to find this woman, who by all accounts isn't even worth finding."

Justin felt slighted and left out and abandoned, and found solace with someone else, a stripper who he paid money to for sex. Good money. Hard-earned money, and money that took away from his beloved family. He had no room to complain to her about what finding Charlotte was costing them.

Avery had been the one to reveal Justin's affair to Reesy. For her husband to betray her like that was unforgivable, and for six months the two of them lived apart, and she couldn't even look him in the eyes without seeing images of him and that prostitute together in the photos that Avery had taken and shown her. They separated, and Reesy even went as far as to hire a divorce lawyer, before finally giving in to the pressure from Justin, her parents, his parents, and the lost and confused expressions on her children's faces to try and work through their problems. He'd only been back home for a few weeks, suggesting counseling and prayer to help heal the wounds of their marriage. Reesy agreed, reluctantly, to talking to someone about their marital problems, but it hadn't happened yet. At least, not the way Justin had probably intended. She did talk to someone, and she'd lied to her husband tonight, telling him that she was going to see a movie with friends, so that she could spend time with that someone.

She'd showed up at the door of Avery's apartment with every intention of telling him that the two of them couldn't see each other anymore, and that she and Justin were going to work on their marriage for the sake of their children. As soon as he swung open the door, Reesy knew she'd lied to herself and that if she set foot inside his apartment they'd end up making love.

"I shouldn't be here," she whispered.

He reached out to her, took hold of her hand, coaxed her inside, and closed the door behind her. Avery pulled her closer, into his arms, closed his eyes, and grazed his lips against the side of her face. She closed her eyes too. Her heart raced. She wrapped her arms around his waist. Her fingers traveled up the length of his spine, and she pressed her body deeper into his.

Avery's lips pressed against hers, and he slowly parted her lips with his tongue. And she welcomed him. Reesy drank in his kisses. She let her mind drift from her husband's face until it vanished, but only for a moment. Justin's image flashed behind her eyes, and abruptly, she pulled away from Avery. He saw the panic in her face, and before she could utter a word, he held her tighter, and shook his head. "Don't, Reesy," he said, calmly, reasonably. "It's alright." Coming from him, it sounded like truth. A small voice inside her whispered that it wasn't alright, and warned her to leave. But Avery kissed her again. His anticipation for her swelled against her hip and that small voice disappeared in the deafening sound of the desire building between them.

Avery filled her with more than just his body. Easing slowly and meticulously in and out of her, Reesy welcomed each thrust with the sad realization that once this was over, it would always be over. But before it was, she wanted her fill of him. He seemed to sense what she was thinking and slowed his stroke, then lay motionless on top of her, planting soft kisses on her lips and neck. She resisted the urge to move, knowing that it would be too much for both of them.

Reesy closed her eyes and willed away images of her husband's face. She erased the sound of his voice whispering in her heart. Yes, she loved Justin, and she would always love him and she'd come here believing that she wanted her marriage to work. Lying here with him, she was ashamed to admit to herself that she didn't regret one moment of her encounter with Avery.

"What are you thinking?" he asked softly.

Reesy hesitated for a moment before answering. "You don't want to know." Tears threatened to fall from her eyes, but she wouldn't let them. Not tonight.

He rose up and gazed deeply into her eyes. "Then let me believe that you're thinking about me." He tried to smile.

She raised her hand to his face and touched his cheek. "That's not so far from the truth, Avery."


* * *

"How was the movie?" Justin asked groggily, as Reesy climbed into bed. He turned over on his side, kissed her cheek, and draped his arm across her waist.

She hated him touching her, and being so close to her. Could he tell she'd been with someone else? And even though she'd showered before coming to bed, could he smell him on her? Reesy took a deep breath to calm her nerves and ease her guilt.

"It was good," she lied. "Not the best, but good."

"Mmmmmm," he moaned. It wasn't long before he'd drifted back off to sleep, much to Reesy's relief. As much as she wanted to, Reesy couldn't sleep, and she couldn't stop feeling ashamed for thinking about Avery.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Somebody Pick Up My Pieces by J. D. Mason. Copyright © 2011 J. D. Mason. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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

J.D. MASON is the author of Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It, That Devil's No Friend Of Mine, You Gotta Sin To Get Saved, This Fire Down In My Soul, Don't Want No Sugar, And On The Eighth Day She Rested, and One Day I Saw A Black King. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her two children.


J.D. MASON is the author of That Devil's No Friend of Mine, You Gotta Sin to Get Saved, This Fire Down in My Soul, Don't Want No Sugar, And On the Eighth Day She Rested, and One Day I Saw a Black King. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her two children."Mason's contributions to African American literature have dealt with life's problems head-on..."--American Library Association "Mason has become a major name in African American fiction. Her stark portrayals of her characters and their innermost thoughts bring the readers right into the emotional center of the story. Those who enjoy Carl Weber and Eric Jerome Dickey will add Mason to their list of favorites." --Booklist

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Somebody Pick Up My Pieces 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Obee50 More than 1 year ago
Great read!!! Waiting for more info on Charlottes' oredeal. All the books that relates to the Roger's WOMEN WONDERFUL.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for the next book. Charlotte got exactly what she deserved!!
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Diane Meadors More than 1 year ago
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OOSABookClub More than 1 year ago
"Somebody Pick Up My Pieces" picks up the pieces (pun intended) six months later where "You Gotta Sin to Get Saved" leaves off. Bitter in Murphy, Kansas , best describes Charlotte Rodgers. The tables are reversed as it's her daughters that leave her behind this time. To Charlotte's dismay, she won't be alone long. In Denver , Colorado, Clarice is still reeling from the breach in her marriage. But her husband Justin isn't the only one in default. Now the mother of a three-month-old, Connie is adjusting seemingly well to motherhood and things are good in her relationship with John King. But an early morning phone call may change all that. Cammy has lived her life for her mother Charlotte. Now, many miles away and finally in control of her own life, Cammy is having trouble living without her mom. "Somebody Pick Up My Pieces" is a light read that will probably please most J.D. Mason fans, although the content is not as strong as her previous releases. It's quite readable, easily showing Mason's skill as a storyteller. Initially, I was surprised to learn this book was a continuation as I thought "You Gotta Sin to Get Saved" was the concluding chapter. Though it was nice to revisit these characters again, I do hope that this is the final installment. Reviewed by: Toni 3.5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kdmcalester More than 1 year ago
JD Mason never fails at delivering realistic and sympathetic characters. She always includes someone you just despise. She continues the story of the three sisters dealing with a self-centered mother that she started in One Day I Saw a Black King. The book was enjoyable but the plot was little on the weak side. It appears from the author's dedication that she is finally going to put the characters from this series to rest. Which makes me very happy because I believe she has explored majority of these characters and there has been no stone left unturned. I still feel that One Day I a Saw a Black King and Don't Want No Sugar were the best in the series and continue to be JD's best works out of all of her novels. I was sad to see that the so call goody two shoes sister commits an affair although I understand the reason for this story line. I was hopeful that the oldest sister has finally come to terms of being love and realizes love is not perfect. It was a shock to see the youngest sister not able to shake her mental abuse by her mother. The book delivers a couple messages. One message is children have unconditional love for their mothers no matter if the mother is abusive or absent. The other message tells us we are not perfect and love is not perfect. JD Mason is wonderful story teller. I love reading about places in my home town and seeing a hometown girl becoming a bestselling author. I am avid reader of Ms Mason books and am currently reading her novel Take Your Pleasure where you find it. I look forward to seeing what life after the Roger's series brings in her new novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
Almost three decades ago the worst day in her life occurred. Her Uncle Lamont Williams killed Charlotte Rodgers's lover and beat her to a pulp. She survived the brutal hammering while he went to prison. Now twenty-seven years since that horrific day, Lamont has been released from jail and wants to rejoin his family. His niece, now the family matriarch, wants nothing to do with the relative who also paid off a debt with Charlotte as the remittance. Her three adult children have left Charlotte isolated in Murphy, Kansas as they are frustrated with their acrimonious mother who abandoned them as children years ago and now struggle with their own problems. Her daughter Cammy lost her child in a car accident. She cannot move passed her grief so she leaves her husband. She moves to Denver where her two older sisters, Connie and Clarice "Reesy", reside. Connie loves her newborn. She and the baby's father John seem ideal for one another until he learns his father is dying. The third sister Clarice remains angry at her spouse Justin for cheating on her. The latest Rodgers women saga once again makes the same case that the child is the adult. The four females have new tsuris to compound their psychological defense mechanisms caused by more traumas than Job faced. The impetus this time that exponentially spirals the unhappiness of the foursome is the return of odious Lamont who demands retribution from his niece who he blames for his imprisonment. Although somewhat feeling repetitive to the previous tales (see One Day I Saw a Black King and You Gotta Sin to Get Saved) in spite of the latest tragedies, ironically there is a sense that finally somebody is picking up the pieces of her soul. Harriet Klausner
MzLegette72 More than 1 year ago
All I can say is WOW!! This book is a MUST read. J. D. Mason truly did her this with this book. I enjoyed getting reacquainted eith The Rodgers Women.