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Zane's The Other Side of the Pillow: A Novel

Zane's The Other Side of the Pillow: A Novel

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by Zane

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The New York Times bestselling Queen of Erotica, Zane is back with a new novel about a testy love affair that emerges between a woman who’s had enough and a man who’s had it all.

Jemistry Daniels is a bitter woman and not trying to hide it. Even though she is beautiful, intelligent, and makes six figures a year as a high school principal in


The New York Times bestselling Queen of Erotica, Zane is back with a new novel about a testy love affair that emerges between a woman who’s had enough and a man who’s had it all.

Jemistry Daniels is a bitter woman and not trying to hide it. Even though she is beautiful, intelligent, and makes six figures a year as a high school principal in Washington, DC, one man after another has failed her. So she decides to give up and join the party by adapting the entire “friends with benefits” mentality with a couple of men that she beds on the regular but refuses to hold any kind of real conversation with, in fear that she might actually catch feelings.

Everything is going according to plan until she meets Dr. Tevin Harris, a prominent vascular surgeon, one night at a poetry slam. Tevin listens to her deliver her male-bashing poem and instead of steering away from her like most men with any common sense would do, he asks her out. Tevin has been casually dating for years, ever since his failed marriage to Estella. They had suffered several miscarriages and the emotional pain had become too much for either one of them to bear and still wake up with each other every morning.

Opening up, gaining trust, tearing down barriers, and ultimately, having the audacity to love again is not easy for either Jemistry or Tevin. It takes a lot of transparency, emotional honesty, and patience to even begin to build a life together by helping each other rebuild what has been broken. The Other Side of the Pillow examines, explores, and exposes what it means to truly fall in love. It proves that true love stories do not have a happy ending. True love stories never end at all.

Product Details

Atria Books
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Other Side of the Pillow

  • “People put up walls. Not to keep others out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”


    Poetry night at The Carolina Kitchen near the Rhode Island Metro station was packed. There were a handful of people there that I recognized from Howard, but most were strangers. That gave me a feeling of relief. I had never recited my poetry live before. Actually, I was not a poet at all; I was a venter.

    I had placed my name on the list to read a piece that I had appropriately titled “Bitter.” It was the way that I felt, so it made all the sense in the world to select it for my first—and probably last—time reading in public. I was nervous, but sipping on a chocolate martini was helping.

    There was a young Rastafarian up at bat reciting something about women with big booties who believed that their sex was their best asset. He was going on and on about how women need to stop acting like a THOT—That Ho Over There—and needed to demand respect for themselves. I was feeling him and wished that my roommate were there to hear it. I was far from celibate, but Winsome was straight wilding out the majority of the time.

    He finished up his piece to mass applause and finger snapping. I was hoping that they would call at least two or three other names before mine so I could finish my drink. Even though I spoke in front of my students and faculty all the time, this was different. My words would be personal and from the heart.

    Queen Aishah, the comedic host for the evening, came back on stage working her fabulous hips, rocking her attention-getting hairstyle, and grabbed the microphone. “That was hot, Brother Hakeem. I hope some of the young ladies in this joint tonight take heed of your words.” She shielded her eyes and glanced out at the audience like she was trying to find someone in particular. “Yeah, I see some chicks dressed like THOTs tonight. Ya’ll advertising, and that’s all I have to say about that.”

    Most of the audience laughed but I noticed some of the scantily clad chicks were offended. I could barely keep up with all the terminology meant solely to degrade women. THOT was a new one. Ho, chickenhead, bird, and the good old-fashioned whore were tossed around on the regular. The sad part was that a lot of women had started to embrace the monikers and often called one another those names.

    Thank goodness that I had chosen a simple outfit: black jeans, black boots, a black sweater, and a black beanie studded with little silver stars. I was in a militant mood so my clothes reflected my attitude.

    “All right, we’re going to move on.” Queen Aishah looked down at the tablet in her free hand. “Next up is Jemistry. Damn, love that name.”

    So much for finishing my martini. I sighed and navigated my way to the front as people looked at me strangely, as if to say, “You’d better bring it after Brother Hakeem put it down!” No doubt he was a tough act to follow.

    I took the stage and Queen Aishah handed me the microphone, grinned, and sashayed off. She was so confident in herself; I wish I could have said the same.

    I cleared my throat and tried to imagine that the room was empty, that I was simply practicing like I had done several times at home earlier that day.

    “This piece is called ‘Bitter.’ It’s for all the sisters out there who have been hurt, despite giving their all and being all that they can be for men who do not appreciate them.”

    Several women yelled out things like, “That’s right!” “Amen, Sister!” and “Preach!”

    Several men hissed and booed and acted like I had called them out by their government names.

    I cleared my throat again and then start spitting out the words—slowly, concisely, and from the pit of my soul where all of my own personal pain and bitterness collided.





    That is how I feel as a woman

    A woman who has been










    It makes no sense . . .

    No sense at all

    I am a good woman

    A brilliant woman

    A compassionate woman

    A loving woman

    An educated woman

    A beautiful woman

    A romantic woman

    A unique and special woman

    So why do men overlook me?

    Or come into my life and play games?

    Use Jedi mind tricks?

    Spit out bullshit lies?

    Expect me to share dick?

    Expect me to tolerate their shit?

    Say one thing and do another?

    Call me names and expect me to be their lover?

    Hit on me and then try to kiss me?

    Talk shit behind my back?





    Those are the words that describe me

    Those are the terms that define me

    Now it is time for me to find me

    Before it is too late

    And my heart can no longer participate

    In what people call love

    In a true relationship

    Bitter . . . that’s me

    I opened my eyes, which I had clamped shut at some point halfway through, and there was an eerie silence over the entire place for a few seconds. Then there was mass applause and cheers . . . from the women. A few men clapped and many were shaking their heads and crossing their arms in defiance. Their egos were bruised, but they knew that I had spoken nothing but the truth. They were going to learn that day.

    As I walked off the stage, Queen Aishah came up to announce the next poet. She grinned at me and whispered, “You said that! That was some real shit right there!”

    When I returned to my seat at the bar, there was a man sitting on the stool next to mine. I hadn’t noticed him before. I wondered if he had come in while I was performing. He was almost like a giant—at least six five compared to my five-two height. Even though he was sitting, I could tell that he was like a tree. He had a smooth, dark-chocolate complexion, eyes the shade of almonds, a polished fade, and he wore rimless eyeglasses.

    The bartender came over to me. “Need anything else?”

    “Can I have another chocolate martini, please?”

    The guy kept staring at me and I wondered if he was about to go off on me about what I had said onstage.

    After another minute or two, once my fresh drink was in front of me, I could not take the stares anymore. There was an older woman onstage reciting a poem about the joys of menopause and moving on to the next stage of life. He was not paying attention to her at all. He was too busy watching my every move.

    “The entertainment is that way.” I pointed toward the stage. “I’m finished with my performance.”

    He grinned and exposed a beautiful smile and straight teeth. “I enjoyed your piece. ‘Bitter,’ wasn’t it?”

    I rolled me eyes. Here it comes! “Yes, it was called ‘Bitter.’ That’s what I am.”

    “I kind of figured that, and it’s such a shame.”

    He looked me up and down like I was on display. I was hoping that my face wasn’t shiny from having been underneath the hot lights, even momentarily.

    “You’re too beautiful, sassy, and intriguing to be bitter over a man from your past.”

    “Actually, you stand corrected. I am bitter regarding several men from my past. All of the men from my past. Not a single one of them appreciated any of the goodness in me until after I was gone.”

    “So now the rest of us men can forget it, huh?”

    I took a sip of my drink and analyzed what he was implying with his question. The Virgo in me kicked in. One thing is a definite trait among Virgos—we overthink and overanalyze like crazy. On the one hand, I was sick of men to a degree. At least the whimsical fantasy that one man could make a commitment to one woman and do the right thing by her. On the other hand, I loved sex and the specimen sitting beside me was most certainly a candidate for some freaky sex.

    He kept looking at me as the menopausal broad left the stage. “Well?”

    “I never said that no man has a chance with me. All I’m saying is that I’m not going to be so quick to throw my heart on the line again, unless a man presents himself correctly and is done with playing games. You feel me?”

    “Somewhat.” He took a long guzzle from his draft beer. “But you have to realize that not all men have to be done with playing games. Some of us have never played them.”

    I smirked. “That’s what you all say. All of you proclaim to be honest, trustworthy, and interested in settling down, up and until you get into a woman’s panties and move on to the next one.”

    “Wow, someone has really hurt you!”

    “Several someones have trampled all over me. They’ve treated me like a piece of disposable pussy or a deer that has already been hit in the road. Instead of picking me up and trying to resuscitate me, or better yet, leaving me the hell alone to suffer in silence, they run over me again and try to finish the job that the previous dude started.”

    He shook his head and frowned. “It would probably be in my best interest to move to the other side of the bar and wish you a good evening.”

    I shrugged. “Probably would be.”

    He sat there for a few more seconds, still staring.

    “Probably would be,” I repeated.

    “Yes, probably.” He chuckled. “But instead, I’d like to pay for your drinks and ask if you’d like to head someplace quieter so we can continue this fascinating discussion.” He reached out his hand. “I’m Tevin Harris.”

    I shook his hand. “Jemistry Daniels. I’m not so convinced this is a fascinating discussion, though.”

    “I’m fascinated!”

    I smirked and continued drinking. Another brother had taken the stage but I was really drowning him out. He was talking about some kind of impending “race war.” That always amused me when people said things like that, as if we were still in the 1800s. I had always wanted to ask at least one person spouting that foolishness whom they planned to start a race war with, considering that most families were mixed with several different ones.

    “So, Jemistry, would you like to take me up on my offer?”

    He is not giving up!

    I hesitated to respond. He seemed harmless enough, but so do most serial killers. Most are also charming as all get-out.

    “Um, tell you what. I’m not trying to hurt your feelings or anything, but I’m not the most trusting person, as you might suspect.”

    He chuckled. “Yeah, that’s kind of evident.”

    “I prefer to close out my own tab. I ordered the drinks, so I’ll pay for them. It is kind of noisy in here to talk so I can meet you somewhere else.” I held my index finger up in his face. “But I’m not getting in a car with you. Nor are you getting into mine.”

    I already had it in my head that the only thing that talking could possibly lead to was fucking. I would make “arrangements” with him as I had with two other men at the time to come over and have some “drive-by sex” when the urge hit me. I was attracted to him. He was tall and had big feet, so I was guessing that he had a big dick.

    What the hell!

    “Fair enough.” He threw a twenty on the bar for his beers. “Do you have a place in mind?”

    “How about Oya over on Ninth and H?”

    “Never heard of it, but I’ll meet you there in a few.”

    He stood up. Yeah, he was a giant, but a fine one. I could not help but drop my eyes to see his dick imprint in his slacks. I suppressed a smile.

    “Would you allow me to walk you to your car, Jemistry?”

    “No, no thank you. I’ll be fine. I’m going to pay for my drinks and then head that way.”

    He walked off as he said, “I hope you show.”

    I watched him leave out and wondered to myself if I would show up. The key to the entire thing would be to make sure I didn’t catch any feelings. That was always the hard part: having a big heart, desiring to be loved, and trying to avoid falling too hard for a man, especially a man like him. People always said that you have to judge each person by their own character, but it was not easy to keep tossing my heart on the line all the time. Most men I could brush off without a second thought, but there was something different about this one.

    Heaven help me!

  • Meet the Author

    Zane is the New York Times bestselling author of Afterburn, The Heat Seekers, Dear G-Spot, Gettin’ Buck Wild, The Hot Box, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Nervous, Skyscraper, Love is Never Painless, Shame on It All, and The Sisters of APF; the ebook short stories “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and “Everything Fades Away”; and editor for the Flava anthology series, including Z-Rated and Busy Bodies. Her TV series, Zane’s Sex Chronicles, and The Jump Off are featured on Cinemax, and her bestselling novel Addicted is a major motion picture with Lionsgate Films. She is the publisher of Strebor Books, an imprint of Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. Visit her online at

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    Zane's The Other Side of the Pillow 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
    The-Book-Diva More than 1 year ago
    I am completely and totally convinced that a ghostwriter stepped in for the busy Zane and threw this book together. The author (whomever they may be) missed class the day the writing teacher gave the "show don't tell" lesson. As a result, this is an episodic summary with convenient characters that do convenient things with little to no motivation for doing so!  Keep in mind that I own all of Zane's books. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. I love Zane's writing soooo much that I literally don't even read the jacket copy of her books before I throw them in my cart or upload them on my NOOK. That's definitely not the case here. Zane's voice, style, and characterization usually grabs her readers on page one and never lets go. Not the case here. Something about the sequencing of the opening scenes won't allow you to connect with the story's protagonist. The erratic jumps kept pulling me out of the story. So did the implausible character actions. For example, the love interest confesses his love on page 59, but then says on page 63 that it's their time to get to know each other. Huh? Not to mention that Tevin is so one dimensional it isn't funny.  Jemistry (Gym + Chemistry? Play on principal thing? Fail!) , who hated men so much she uncharacteristically performed a poem about them, suddenly just falls in love with the man with very little prompting. She's also too self aware throughout the book for the reader to enjoy her character arc, and seems like merely a puppet the author uses to sound off about various rants. A good editor would've taken the best friend character out of the story completely as she serves no purpose and doesn't impact the story at all! My advice to Zane... immediately fire the amateur writer who threw this together and don't  allow publishing deadlines pressure you into turning in a rough draft. My advice to fellow readers...skip this and buy Nervous instead.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was a great read. I found myself relating to the personality of the main character and fell in love with her.immediately. I laughed out loud and shed a few tears. It is definetly a must read for all. I won't give anything away but have your thinking cap on and be ready to look at things from different perspectives.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    good from the begining to the end
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Great Book
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book was AMAZING. Yeah there was a concern about Tevin last name but not a big deal. For those who have given up on love and need hope there's good men out there, then this is definitely a great read. It took me 2 days to complete the book thats how much I was intrigued. Definitely not the average Zane erotica, but will definitely make a WONDERFUL movie.
    Cleavester More than 1 year ago
    Move over Dr. Phil; Iyanla, Fix My Life; and Steve Harvey. There is a new love doctor in town and she goes by the one word name Zane. After being away from the literary scene for 4 years, she is back and she is not taking any prisoners. The Other Side of the Pillow tells the tale of Jemistry Daniels a woman who has been through hell in her relationships, and she is left feeling bitter and doesn't want anything to do with men. Unless it involves sex only. One night that all changes when she decides to do a reading of her poem, about being left bitter from some relationships. Little do she know there is a wonderful man in the audience by the name of Dr. Tevin Harris. Who will change all of those feeling and in the famous words of Tamia 'Put A Move On Jemistry's Heart.' Once again Zane has crafted another brilliant story, that will capture your mind and heart. I laughed, cried, cussed, had a full on conversation with myself on my morning commute to the office. This novel will stick with you for sometime after reading it. The characters are just that rich. P.S. Zane's letter to us in the back of the book will have you testifying like you are in church. I sense a real         non-fiction relationship book is on the way.
    Beverly_D More than 1 year ago
    After reading and loving one of Zane's novella's I was excited by the opportunity to read this ARC via Netgalley. Set in Washington, DC, Jemistry (love that name!) is a high school principal, and a bitter survivor of domestic violence. Tevin is a man without flaws, a vascular surgeon whose only marriage ended after three miscarriages made his now ex-wife pull away. Zane can and does write some hot sex scenes, but the most interesting moments happen with the conflicts between him and HER friends, her and HIS friends, not the romance between these two. We know she was formerly the victim of domestic violence, because that's TOLD in dialogue, but we aren't SHOWN it. Does Jemistry wince away when Tevin serves her peas, because she has a memory of an ex mashing peas into her face and hair? The big emotional turning points - when Jemistry decided NOT to be a victim anymore, when she decides to let herself open to love with Tevin - all happen offscreen or before the story starts. As a reader, I want to BE there at the turning points, told in flashback or whatever. Tevin... his only flaw seems to be that he doesn't rat out his cheating best buddy to said buddy's wife. He's gorgeous, earns bucketloads of money, is able to take time off on a whim (not like any surgeon I ever heard of, but whatever), AND he's really hung.  I know some A-A men are, but that's so stereotypical it made me grit my teeth. I would've liked Tevin better if he was a little insecure about that, if he's compared himself with other guys in the locker room and worried that he was lacking (even though flaccid size has nothing to do with erect size), even if Jemistry tried to reassure him he filled her just fine. Without the headings and the slight switch in perspective, I could not tell Tevin's "voice" from Jemisty's, without the chapter headings. I didn't need him to be a Neanderthal, but I did need him to sound more like a guy, when I was supposedly in his head. This novel read kind of preachy and ranty, and never convinced me that either Jemistry or Tevin were real people or had a real romance.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I haven't read a Zane book in a while but this was great. I am getting married soon and love the quotes at each chapter and how to communicate. great read especially for young women who have given up on love
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I can honestly say, I was definitely engrossed in this book that I finished in less than 24 hours. I wish there was a sequel to this.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I couldnt put it down. Loved the back and forth chapters bewteen the two. It felt like i was inside their minds. Love love!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Ummmm....where to start I go to Zane for certain type of entertainment, not saying one can not venture out, I just waa waiting to read the pivotal Zane book! Good story, kind of lost me in the middle with the had to skip.thru which I never do with her books!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    MegaMeg More than 1 year ago
    When I first got word that Zane was releasing a new book, I rushed and pre-ordered my book. Then I waited impatiently for it to arrive for two months. Shortly after I got the book, the excitement started to fade. Like all of Zane's books I hardly found myself putting the book down so that I could take a rest, but that was simply because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. The plot of the book was understandable, something relatable and something a bit new coming from Zane. Domestic violence is an issue in relationships today and it is increasing in awareness. But, the book lacked the detail and character personality of a wounded woman. Also the relationship that is illustrated in the book between the two main characters seemed a bit fairy-tallish. Jemistry is a battered woman scorned and not interested in finding love, and Tevin is this magical man with the money, house, cars, job, looks, etc. I wished the book would of slowed down a bit and delved a bit deeper into Jemistry's past relationships, actually show the audience how and why she wrote that poem. Overall the book was a quick read, there were some high points, but it does not measure up to Zane's past work such as: Addicted, Nervous and Shame on it All.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I really liked to storyline of this book. The book was addicting to me to read. I like that she gave good mena voice. Good men like Tevin do exsist. My only concern is that around page 84 of the book when Tevin contacts his ex wife, his last name is Daniels, but through out the rest of the book, his last name is Harris.
    Lost-N-Love-N-Hopeless More than 1 year ago
    NOT Impressed!!! I have to be honest with myself. I am a bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong this is most certainly a more adult related story than any of the other Zane books that I have read. In this couple, they both have real jobs with, real issues, problems, drama the whole nine. This is a big plus for me. I feel like I am interacting with the adult crowd during this read. I admit that I just felt like the male bashing took place and then out of no where if felt as if they (hero/heroine) were all in love. I wanted to see this happen. I wanted to see how it evolved. I was feed up with stereotypes that plague most books of an erotic nature or AA books, ie. . . angry black women, black men with really big sticks. . . ect.  I did enjoy the overall plot even if I felt it did not quite come together in the end. There are aspects of this plot that got lost along the way.