Read an Excerpt
That Devil's No Friend Of Mine
By J. D. Mason
St. Martin's Press Copyright © 2009 J. D. Mason
All rights reserved.
WHO DO YOU LOVE
HE'D CHAIN-SMOKE HER IF HE COULD
Tauris Diggs sat in the back of the room, cloaked in darkness, sipping on gin and tonic, taking her in an inch at a time. Rayne was built like rhythms, with flowing lines curving into hips, thighs, and ass. She didn't have much on top, but it didn't matter. Tauris glanced around the room wondering if anyone in that audience could see his fingerprints on her skin. Could they see the impression his lips had left on hers? No. And it was all well and good, too, because these people weren't grown enough to bear witness to the kind of shit he and Rayne did in private.
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Addictions were dangerous. Addictions to a woman like Rayne Fitzgerald were lethal and he figured out months ago that he was a lost cause beyond salvation, destined to go belly up at her feet when the time came. Her shit was that good. Rayne was hell to deal with sometimes, but that bad- ass attitude of hers just seemed too much like right paired with the rest of her. She was a walking, talking, blues ballad. The kind that made you cry and left you wanting more just so you could cry again. Tauris was a fool over her, and she knew it. And that was the worst part.
Your lips are laughable
She was breathtaking in white. White against her blue-black skin looked sacred and mystic. Rayne worked the hell out of it, too, swaying her hips slowly back and forth, as the light bounced off each and every sequin on that gown, hypnotizing and lulling people into the spell that was her. Rayne's long locks were piled high on her head like a crown, and full, moist lips circled every syllable that came from her mouth.
"People want magic when you get up on that stage," she'd explained to him. "They listen for it and look for it. Sequins, a sick-ass melody, some soul coming up from your gut and out of your mouth — throw in some booze and the whole scene unfolds like a dream right in front of their eyes," she winked and smiled. "That's what I do for a living, baby. I make dreams come true."
She sure was making his come true when she wasn't treating him like a reject. Hot one minute, cold the next, Rayne dismissed him when she was through, then snapped her fingers and whistled when she needed him. Tauris swore he wasn't going to keep putting up with her, but of course he did. And he would keep on until she decided to stop snapping fingers and whistling for him. They both knew that.
He wouldn't have taken that kind of behavior from any other woman, but then, Rayne wasn't just any woman. Standing back watching the crowd, he caught more than one man salivating at the sight of her. Hell, even a few women in the room stared at her like she was a meal.
"I want you to wait for me after the show," she'd told him earlier. Rayne's gritty and worn voice was deep and Southern, even when she wasn't singing, and it comforted him and seduced him, drawing him in like a lullaby.
He didn't respond, thinking he could outplay her in this game between them where she made up the rules as she went along. Play it hard, man, he told himself. Don't be a punk and give in so easily. Make her sweat. Tell her you've got something to do.
She seemed to sense this small internal war he waged inside himself, and she turned from her reflection in the mirror, walked over to where he stood, and ran her finger lightly across his lower lip, then kissed the corner of his mouth. "Come on, Tauris," she whispered. Rayne took his lip between her teeth, and bit down slightly. "I need you tonight, baby. What? You gonna make me beg for it?"
Women like her were a luxury. The best most men could ever do was to jack off to the fantasy of her. Rayne was that rare exotic jewel that few would ever get to put their hands on, and here she was, practically begging for him. He didn't need to bother saying yes. She saw his answer in his eyes and felt it in his pants. Rayne laughed mockingly, patted his cheek, and left him sitting in her dressing room.
"This next little number is dedicated to a good friend of mine," she spoke to the crowd, and then winked in his direction. "It's off my last CD, a song written by Joel Lewis and Tammy Jacobs, and it's called, 'Too Much Woman for You.' "
The audience howled and clapped. Tauris shifted uneasily in his seat.
"But don't worry, baby," she smiled at him, making it obvious to anyone who was paying attention that he was on her radar. "I promise to take it easy on you."
Everyone in the room laughed. Rayne laughed the loudest. Tauris didn't laugh at all. He just took another sip from his glass, and tried not to look offended.
Rage was sexy. Nora James got off on pissing him off. She pushed his buttons when she needed her husband to do what he did best — fight. She started shit with him because he'd never dream of starting it with her, and sometimes, that's exactly what she needed from him.
The imperfection of routine drove her crazy sometimes, and Cole drove her mad with his ideas for order and his need for everything to be just right. He had notions about marriage she could never fully buy into, and ideals about her that she could never live up to. Hell, she didn't even want to. Despite what he thought he wanted whenever he looked at her, Nora wasn't the perfect little wife he believed her to be. She knew exactly which buttons to push to get him going, and when she did, the fight inside their palatial Prince George's County home was on, and Nora was exhilarated.
He had a handful of her hair, and had pushed her down to her knees. Nora could taste the blood in her mouth. "You push me too damn far, Nora! And your ass isn't happy until I put my fist in your fuckin' mouth!" Cole was barefoot, and wearing only a pair of white pajama bottoms. Her blood smeared on one pant leg. Every muscle on his body tensed and squared as he held her head back.
"Go ahead, mothafucka!" she said, commanding him to do it, daring him to do it. Nora's voice strained in her throat. "Hit me, Cole! But you'd better make sure you knock my ass out this time, because if you don't, as soon as I get up from here, I swear I'll kill you!"
He'd knocked out men in the ring with a single blow. He could've shut her up with one. She didn't understand how powerful he was, and if he didn't love her, Cole easily could have killed her.
In her bare feet, she stood six feet tall. Nora's mother was Scandanavian, her father black. Her golden complexion and exotic features had graced the covers of fashion magazines around the world when she was younger. She strutted runways with the best of them: Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum. Nora left the catwalk for him.
Breathtaking and gorgeous, he could hardly keep his eyes off her one minute; the next, all he could think about was beating her to a bloody pulp. It took every ounce of restraint he had not to follow through and break her fucking face, but if he went too far, he knew he could shut her up forever and lose everything he'd worked so hard for his whole life, including her. In disgust, he pushed her down hard onto the floor, and started to walk away.
"It's not worth it!"
She watched him leave the room, and slam the door shut behind him. Nora managed to crawl over to the bed, pull herself up, and sit on the edge. She spit blood from her mouth from where he'd hit her.
"Don't worry about where I've been," she'd told him smugly as soon as he walked through the front door. He called her while he was out of town, but Nora never answered her phone. He'd left messages, and she never returned any of them. If anything, he was concerned about her and questioned her for that reason when he returned home. It was Nora who'd taken his concern and twisted it into accusations, and she used it as a means to an end. Nora had been with another man, and it wasn't the first time. It certainly wouldn't be the last time. She squeezed her eyes shut, appalled by things she'd done. She stifled a sob, tormented in her own twisted emotions for loving him with her heart and soul, and needing something from him so badly, it nearly killed her to pull it out of him.
"They've got a name for people like you," her lover told her once. "Sadomasochist. If it doesn't hurt, then it doesn't feel good." He had laughed, and then smacked her hard across the face.
"Not the face, lover," she scolded him softly. "You know better."
Cole would never understand. Cole would never give in to her needs that way. And Nora hated herself for needing him to. Her imagination reeled with images of what she wanted him to do to her. Those thoughts pooled warm and moist in her panties, and before she realized what she was doing, Nora followed her husband downstairs and found him sitting defeated and exhausted in the dark in their living room, staring at the fire burning in the fireplace. Cole never even heard her come into the room, and he never saw what she hit him with.
He fell to the floor, clutching his head, then looked at his hand and saw that it was covered in blood. Nora pounced on him, screaming and scratching at him like a wild animal.
"Do it! Be a man, Cole!" she screamed over and over again.
He grabbed her by the wrists, then rolled her over and pinned her underneath him. "What the hell — Stop it, Nora! Fuckin' stop ..."
Cole could never understand that Nora could never stop. She wanted him, needed him too badly to stop. And no matter what it cost either of them, Nora was determined to get him to do what she needed most.
She wrapped her long legs around his midsection, and thrust her hips up to his. Nora had peeled off her panties and left them somewhere on the stairs. Blood dripped down the side of his face, and the more she struggled to get free of his grasp, the more turned on she became.
"Come on, Cole," she whispered, breathless. Nora used the strength in her legs to pull him toward her. She ground herself against him. "Be a man," she said, gritting her teeth, and glaring at him, daring him not to fuck her. "Be a got-damned man, Cole."
The look on his face broke her heart, but if she needed to break his heart to get this from him, then it would be worth it. "You're insane."
"Yeah, and you're a fuckin' pussy," she rolled her hips against him, and Cole's body responded the only way it could. "Put it in, Cole. You know you want to. You know you want to, fucker!" Nora raised her head, met his lips with her own, and pushed her tongue into his mouth.
She managed to break free of his grasp, and then reached down and pulled out his rigid penis. Nora guided it into her, and moaned her satisfaction as he pushed inside her. "Hard, Cole!" she commanded. Nora wrapped her arms around him, bit down hard on his ear lobe, and ordered him again. "I said, hard ... harder, baby! Give it to me, Cole! Give it all to me!"
They were one of the world's most stunning couples: Nora James, supermodel, the face of Opulence cosmetics and a runway consultant, and Cole Burkette, making his run for the middleweight championship of the world for the second time. Their faces were on the covers of magazines, they walked down Hollywood red carpets, and at international fashion events, and had even done a spread in Vogue magazine as a featured couple showcasing Karl Lagerfeld's newest collection, while discussing the challenges of being married and holding it together in a world that wouldn't give them an inch of privacy.
But if the world knew the lengths to which she had to go, to get sexual satisfaction from her man, the world would turn on its ear.
GRITS AND BISCUITS
There were some things in life that were just breathtaking to behold, like a handsome black man lying bare-assed naked in her bed. Rayne stood in the doorway of her bedroom for several minutes just taking him all in, relishing the long, exhaustive, fulfilling night they'd shared together. After the bout of good loving Tauris had given her, the least she could do was to repay him with a good, decent home-cooked meal.
Some of her memories growing up were good ones. Like the ones of Nana, her grandmother, who rose before dawn to fry thick strips of peppered bacon and mix a batch of dough for those homemade biscuits of hers. That smell of breakfast cooking sweetened her dreams and made her stomach growl long before she opened her eyes in the morning. Rayne smiled warmly at the memories.
"Wake your ass up, T. Diggs," Rayne said seductively, pressing soft, warm lips against his. "You know you can't sleep through all that Southern, home-cooked deliciousness."
"What can't I sleep through?" he asked groggily.
"Inhale," she said seductively. "Anything that smells that good will drag you out of bed by your ear, if you ain't careful."
Tauris wrapped his arms around her, and rolled her underneath him.
Rayne laughed, and turned her face from his. "Ewww, nah!" she grimaced. "I ain't giving up no sugar to that bad-ass breath you got." She playfully slapped his behind.
Tauris Diggs was handsome, and knew it. Six feet tall, muscular, cinnamon brown complexion. He had a movie-star smile, with teeth bright enough to blind a sister if the sun hit them just right. He could have his choice of just about any woman he wanted. And the one he wanted most lay pinned beneath him, wearing a forest-green apron that read "Kiss the cook" on the bib, a champagne-lace teddy beneath that, with pink and purple fuzzy socks on her feet.
"What's for breakfast, baby?" he asked, inhaling deep enough to almost taste it.
"Let's see," she cleared her throat. "Ham steak, grits, scrambled cheese-eggs, and my grandmomma's famous homemade buttermilk biscuits just waiting to sop up some thick, sweet country molasses."
He looked surprised. "Damn! What time did you wake up?"
Rayne smiled sensuously, and ran a manicured finger along the side of his face. "I woke up with the sun, lover. Rayne Fitzgerald is phenomenal. I thought you knew."
"Oh, I know now, sugar." He kissed the mounds of her small breasts. "How about another go round before we eat?"
Rayne sucked her teeth and pushed him off her. She scooted off the bed and headed out the room. "I'll be damned if I'm fucking before breakfast." She swished her entire ass, wiggling like Jell-O out of the room. "Wash your hands and brush your teeth before you sit down at my table."
You can take the girl out of the South, but she'll damn sure bring it with her no matter where she goes. Rayne didn't cook much these days, and she missed it.
Tauris smacked his lips, licked his fingers, and never raised his head more than two inches from his plate. She cringed when he doused hot sauce on her eggs. "Why the hell you messing up my cheese-eggs like that, fool?"
Rayne snatched the bottle from him, and he smiled like a mischievous kid. "You put your foot in this meal, baby. And I don't even like grits." He heaped a fork full in his mouth. "Mmmm."
There were moments, like this, when she appreciated Tauris Diggs. Moments when she felt almost normal and free to be like any other woman having breakfast with her man. Moments when she wasn't afraid, or defensive, or tormented by her past, and it was okay to care, maybe even to love, a man like him.
As she watched him enjoy every bite of the meal she'd made, Rayne couldn't help but to smile inside. Tauris called himself being in love. Every time he said it, it pissed her off. And it hurt her down to the core because she was too fucked up to let herself say it back, let alone feel it.
"Love is reserved for people who don't have as much to lose as I do, T. Diggs," she'd told him once. He stared at her like she was crazy when she said it. Maybe it didn't make sense at first, but it would make perfect sense if he'd been through what she'd been through.
"Who the hell doesn't have a lot to lose, Rayne?" he'd asked. "Shit, we've all been hurt. We've all been burned. So, you've been burned by drugs and a husband who didn't give a shit —"
"Don't go there!" She wouldn't let him talk like that about J. T. Rayne wouldn't let anybody talk about him that way. "Be careful, Tauris. I swear to God —"
He never brought up J. T.'s name again.
In another life, she could see herself letting go, and falling for Tauris Diggs. The sex was good. The man was good. Tauris was that dependable type. The kind a woman could count on to make the money and pay the bills. The kind who would do his best to be supportive and generous to a fault. He might even be a tad bit bossy, though, the take-charge type who thought he could fix everything and take care of everybody in the house. It all sounded good in theory, but in real life, Rayne knew that just wasn't for her. Or maybe, she just felt that she didn't deserve it, but that was a conversation for the Dr. Phil show.
Of course, after breakfast, Rayne found herself straddling him on the living room floor, riding that big, black pony for all he was worth. Dick in the morning was the breakfast of champions, and Tauris was the man to beat.
Excerpted from That Devil's No Friend Of Mine by J. D. Mason. Copyright © 2009 J. D. Mason. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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