On the run from a broken heart—and the police—Zaria has fled south from New York City to Philadelphia. With a rich new man, a sexy new look, and an overflowing bank account, she’s never felt hotter—or more hell-bent on revenge. Because the past isn’t so easy to escape, and when things don’t go her way, nothing can quiet the ruthless voice in Zaria’s head that tells her every day is payback time, and everyone is out to get her—unless she gets to them first…
Praise for Kendall Banks
“Can you say crazy? Zaria is over the top and out of control. Her outlandish character yanked me in and never let me go!”
--Miss KP, author of The Dirty Divorce series
|Product dimensions:||4.10(w) x 6.50(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Another One Night Stand
By Kendall Banks
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2011 Kendall Banks
All rights reserved.
Angry ... My adrenaline pumped.
My car hit 80 mph on the dark New Jersey Turnpike. No seatbelt—driving crazy and sitting without constraint. I needed to be free to move about, hoping nothing would pop off to make me snap, stabbing a muthafucka in the jugular. Besides, I needed the ability to rock back and forth in my seat. It calmed me ... slightly.
Clutching the steering wheel with both hands, my knuckles pressed tightly against my skin. The highway's white lines disappeared underneath my car in a quick blur as my eyes remained locked on the night's surrounding darkness. The night air splashed my face mercilessly from the opened window, pissing me off even more, but I never budged as it tore against my skin.
"That sneaky bitch thinks it's a fucking game," the voice in my head spat, instigating my actions as it spoke of my aunt Lisa. Just a mere mention of her name made my blood boil like lava. "But you'll show her ass tonight, I hope.... You chump," the voice added.
"This is one of them new E350 coupe joints, huh, Zee?" my cousin Kenneth asked loudly from the passenger seat. He tried to project his voice over the newest Rick Ross song playing from the radio. "Ran you about sixty G's, huh? It had to."
I heard his voice but was too caught up in my own thoughts to comprehend his questions. From the moment I arrived at his apartment and he told me that my bitch-ass aunt had gone to Atlantic City for some damn slot tournament, I had tunnel vision, seeing nothing but tearing her ass apart. Nothing else held even the slightest interest. Unfortunately, my cousin had no clue of my intent. He assumed I had been in touch with my aunt since she abruptly moved from her place. The only reason Kenneth was with me was because he had refused to tell me what hotel she was staying in unless I brought him along and paid him a few hundred to gamble with. That was no problem. Money wasn't too much of an object for me anymore. The only thing I hated about bringing him was that my true intentions for catching up with his mother would soon surface.
Surely, killing her dead would break his heart and shatter his world, just as mine had been when Aunt Lisa set this chain of events in motion decades ago. I loved Kenneth and his sister, Sonia, more than the air I breathed, but spilling their mother's blood tonight had to be done. She couldn't walk away from what she'd done.
Although my face masked my anger, adrenaline sharply rampaged beneath my skin, and my heart rate thudded loudly and quickly inside my chest. The anticipation of me confronting my aunt was almost unbearable, but I remained calmer than the normal Zaria and slowed down a bit, not wanting to get pulled over by the police. That was the last thing I needed since I was already on the run. Despite the fact that every single mile seemed to run on forever, I had to stay patient. Revenge would be coming in due time.
"Naw, this muthafucka is fully equipped," Kenneth continued, admiring my platinum-colored Mercedes. "What did it run you, Zee? Fifty G's?"
"Nah," I muttered.
"You bullshittin' a nigga," I thought I heard him say. "Tell me how much."
I've got to take my meds soon, I thought to myself, still too shrouded in my own thoughts to pay attention to Kenneth's ranting. My meds had been holding me down and keeping me calm for the past five months faithfully, causing me to depend on them. They'd been making my life a whole lot more bearable. As long as I took them regularly, most of the voices in my head disappeared and my urge to lash out at people remained tamed.
"What's his name?" Kenneth asked, punching one fist into the other, like he was really thinking hard.
My eyes were on a set of glowing red taillights in front of me.
"Zee!" Kenneth called, his seat reclined so far back he was nearly laying in the backseat.
"Huh," I answered, snapping back into reality.
"What's the nigga's name?"
"What nigga?" I asked, having absolutely no idea who or even what he was talking about.
Since we'd been on the highway I wasn't sure if I had even said more than three or four sentences to him. My mind had been totally on his mother. My one and only enemy.
"The nigga who got you out here looking like a new person these days," he said as if I should've already known whom he was talking about. "You rockin' contacts now, hair straight from some girl's head in India ... anddddddd you keeping your nails done, and driving a new Benz. I mean, damn, nigga. Not to mention this plastic surgery thing you did to yourself. I mean, I know you did it to look better, but I like the old Zee."
"The changes are slight, Kenneth. Just improvements that make females feel better about themselves."
"Yeah ... but usually when a woman switches up like that, there's some dick involved."
"Not necessarily," I told him. "Sometimes a woman just gets tired of trying to make everyone else happy and realizes that it's time to make herself happy."
The answer was more of a belief and philosophy rather than the truth. In all actuality, my changes had been made in an attempt to stay low and hidden in plain sight. Too many people knew the old Zaria as a jeans- and sneakers-wearing tomboy who bit her nails and was always down to kick off her shoes and mop a bitch in the middle of the street. If I wanted to remain a free woman, I had to bury that Zaria and become a new one.
"Whatever," Kenneth said, not believing my explanation. "All that sounds real slick. But get to the part where you tell me the nigga's name."
"There's not a name to give," I lied. Actually, there was a new man in my life now, but under the circumstances I knew that it was best to keep him a secret.
The bright lights of Atlantic City's hotels and casinos began to brighten the night as we paid the last toll. The scent of the aligning ocean filled my nostrils. "So, what hotel is she staying in?" I asked, exiting the highway and pulling onto the main strip.
"The Showboat," he said, pointing me in its direction. "To the left."
Blazing with anticipation and desperate for revenge, I weaved quickly through traffic and pulled in front of the Showboat Casino. Without even waiting for the valet guy, I grabbed my new oversized Chanel hobo bag from the backseat, opened my door, and stepped out into the night. I quickly made my way around the hood of the car and tossed the keys to the young, skinny valet guy who was approaching.
"Damn," Kenneth said, climbing out of the car and admiring the ass of a Puerto Rican girl headed inside. "She got a fat one on her."
I fumbled through my heavy purse. "You sure she's here?" I asked, taking out three hundred dollars and passing the cash to Kenneth.
"Hell yeah," he said as he stuffed the money into his pocket. "Come on. Let's go find her. I'm pretty sure she's still at the slots."
"No-no," I told him quickly. "You go on and enjoy yourself. I'll find her."
"You sure?" he asked.
"Yeah, go ahead. Have fun. I'll text you when I'm ready to roll out."
"A'ight, I'll be at the blackjack table," he said, rushing inside.
Two men admired my frame as I walked through the front doors in my Louboutin red bottom heels and form-fitting black shirt that I wore as a dress. I didn't pay the slightest bit of attention to them or their stares. My mind was completely on finding my aunt as I began to make my way between body after body to the slot machines. Over all the hustle and bustle, I heard my cell phone ring and snatched it quickly from my purse.
"Hello!" I shouted over the loud voices of dealers and gamblers, my eyes never blinking or deterring away from my search.
"Milan," the angry voice sounded.
Damn, now was not the time for me to deal with pretending to be someone else. I needed to be Zaria, so I could be angry and kill me a bitch.
"Milan," Tyson's anger-filled voice blared through the phone. "It's two o'clock in the damn morning. Why aren't you here where you're supposed to be? Don't no man want his woman out this time of night!"
"Tyson, I'm in the middle of handling something real important," I said, rounding the end of a long line of slot machines and making my way slowly down the aisle. The machines were making so much noise I thought for sure he would say something about it.
"Unless it's life or death, nothing is supposed to be more important than giving me some pussy right now," he said, not going for my half-ass excuse. "What are you handling at two in the damn morning?"
"Sweetheart, I'll tell you later," I said. "I promise."
"Look-a-here, Milan ..."
Just hearing that name always made me wonder why I chose that name as my alias. Of all the bitches I could've chosen to imitate, why her? Was it because she was thin and I wasn't? Was it because she reeked supermodel status and I didn't? Immediately, my thoughts were interrupted. Tyson was still babbling ... but I heard none of his words. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw her huge frame sitting on the stool several yards ahead of me slipping bills into the slot machine. Tyson's voice on the phone no longer registered to me at all. Nothing around me registered. For ten seconds everything and everyone around me disappeared. All that still existed was me and Aunt Lisa.
My heart rate increased heavily. My breathing accelerated. The room began to spin. My mind flashed back to the past. Her words, her smile, her love ... It had all been a façade. Her words had been lies. Her smile had been fake. And her love for me never truly existed. It had all been nothing more than the building blocks of a scheme she and my father had concocted to get my trust fund money. In reality, she never loved me or even cared for me. It had all been a fucking game to her, a game that she thought she would be handsomely compensated for until my sorry-ass father exposed their secret just before he killed himself right in front of my eyes.
My world had always been a dark place. It had been that way since my mother's death, its torture aggravated by my molestation at the hands of my own father for so many years. I'd always felt nothing could torment me more. Nothing could break me down to my knees any worse. Nothing, until my father told me that my aunt Lisa had been the birth of all my pain. She'd killed my mother.
I couldn't believe it. Life had always had a way of punishing me for whatever its reasons, but I had never been kicked in the stomach by life so hard. The woman I would have died for had turned out to be the devil in drag. And it was time for Aunt Lisa's conniving ass to receive death.
"Milan!" Tyson called again through the phone, abruptly awakening me to reality just in time to see my aunt slide off her stool and walk her wide frame around the end of the line of slot machines. I wasn't sure if she'd seen me, so I panicked.
"Tyson, I'll call you back," I told him quickly and hung up the phone, tossing it back into my purse.
Immediately, I charged after my aunt, huffing and puffing along the way. When I reached the end of the slot machines and turned the corner, I saw her making her way quickly through the crowded casino to an exit door, never once looking behind her. I gripped the shoulder strap of my purse and chased her like a lion after its prey, determined not to let her get away. She'd eluded punishment for my mother's murder for far too long.
Making my way across the room to the exit door seemed like a lifetime, each step not seeming to get me to it fast enough, although even in heels I was jogging quickly. When I reached the door, I let my body and the palms of my hands slam against it, opening it wide enough for me to charge through without breaking my stride. My heels began to click loudly on the floor of the parking garage, echoing as I caught sight of my aunt Lisa's back ahead of me. The large garage was filled with only cars, no people or the loud chattering voices we'd just left behind. The pillars and snow-white-colored walls had quickly become the boundaries of our own world. Only the two of us existed here, no witnesses. Just the way I wanted it.
"Aunt Lisa!" I shouted, gaining on her with each step.
She didn't answer, but her speed dramatically slowed second after second, her size making it pretty much impossible to keep up the pace she'd started with.
I was only several feet behind her. "Aunt Lisa!"
She finally stopped and turned to me, realizing that her weight wouldn't allow her to get away. "Zaria?" she said as if unsure of who I was but fear clearly registering across her face.
I caught up with her and looked directly into her eyes, standing just inches away. Knowing what truly lay behind her pupils sickened me.
"Zaria?" she questioned me again, looking more closely, as if wondering if it was really me.
Her days of fooling me were over the second my father blew her cover. I knew that even with my drastic change of appearance she recognized me in the casino. That was why she ran, I was certain.
"Girl," she said, her face brightening with false joy as if she really gave a damn about me. She looked me over from head to toe. "I didn't know that was you. You look so different. What did you do to yourself? You look good, baby."
My eyes saw through her lies easily.
"I missed you," she said, stepping toward me with open arms as if expecting a hug.
Ain't that a bitch?
"Don't touch me," I sneered angrily, my body tensing and my teeth grinding against one another.
Aunt Lisa stood surprised. "Why are you acting like that?"
"How could you do that to me?" I spat, my heart filled with the pain of her betrayal.
"Do what, Zaria?"
"You killed my mother, your own sister," I said through gritted teeth. My eyes welled up with tears, blurring my vision. It seemed like my heart was breaking all over again. The pain seemed fresh.
"Child, what are you—"
"Bitch, don't try to lie to me!" I screamed, sending hatred flowing through my veins. "My father told me everything. He told me about my mother's murder and the cover-up. He told me about Sonia. He told me about the fake psychiatrist and the attempt to get my money. He told me everything."
Aunt Lisa couldn't speak. She knew it was all over.
"You took my world from me," I said. The tears wouldn't stop falling. "How could you?"
"No, I didn't. You got this all wrong, Zaria. Baby, I've been looking for you."
"Stop it!" I shouted. "No more lies. You think I'm crazy?" I asked with hunched shoulders and a deep scowl. "You fled your house and left nothing behind. You know why!" I screamed. "Because you knew I was on to you and your fake psychiatric partner."
She began to shake her head. But it was obvious to me that she wasn't shaking it out of sorrow or shame for what she'd done. She was shaking it out of disapproval for my father finally exposing her for the manipulative, murdering liar she really was.
"All I had been was a payday for you," I said.
Aunt Lisa smirked. "What do you want me to say, Zaria?" she asked. "That you weren't?" I stared at her.
"That I really loved you like a daughter?" she continued. Her voice was now full of spite and sarcasm, a far cry from the voice that used to comfort and console me.
My tear-filled eyes stared deeply into hers.
"Child, please," she said dismissively, as if genuinely caring for me was nonsense. "No one can love you. Don't you understand that, girl? You're twisted. You're a reject. Who can love a reject?"
The words stung like a swarm of honeybees. Hardy's face flashed throughout my memory. His words "Third-Rate Ho" echoed in my head along with Milan's and Jamal's abandonment. It was all just as bad as my aunt calling me a reject. Their opinions of me and what they truly thought of me hurt more than just my feelings and my heart, they hurt my soul.
"And where do you get off judging me?" Aunt Lisa asked, placing her hands on her hips.
"You're a murdering bitch! And the police WILL eventually find you for killing that boy and your father. I was hoping they would get you when you went to the bank to withdraw that trust fund money from your account. But they were too slow, too stupid."
Excerpted from Another One Night Stand by Kendall Banks. Copyright © 2011 Kendall Banks. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book may have been even better than the first one. I can't believe Zariah is still crazy, but this time she's not the only one. I was completely shocked the way things went down. Waiting for book 3....
Pretty good, always leaves you wanting more. But i dont understand how Zaria and Tayvia hooked up.
action filled and drama. this was a great story.