Baller Dreams

Baller Dreams

by Tasha Macklin

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Overview

Readers first met Tasha Macklin in New York Times bestselling author Wahida Clark's Thug series. Now, in this explosive debut, Macklin tells her own gritty story of a young man on the come up and his fateful choice.

Fresh out of high school, John "Dre" Dodson's got brains, looks, and a chance to work his way through college. But the call of Detroit's Eastside streets and the fortunes that can be made there are too hard to resist. Deciding he wants to be a baller, Dre hooks up with a gorgeous, wealthy, well-connected grown woman named Destiny. With her help, Dre will create the Eastside Syndicateand set a hustle in motion that no one can match. But Destiny has her own game in mind . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936649327
Publisher: W. Clark Distribution & Media Corporation
Publication date: 12/01/2013
Pages: 306
Product dimensions: 8.60(w) x 5.60(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Tasha Macklin came to life in the pages of Wahida Clark’s bestselling Thug series. As one of Wahida’s most beloved characters, Tasha Macklin is part of Wahida Clark’s growing literary empire. Wahida began writing fiction while incarcerated at a women’s federal prison camp, and has written a dozen novels and short stories. After creating the New York Times bestselling Payback and Thug series, Wahida opened her own publishing company, Wahida Clark Presents, through which she publishes adult and teen urban fiction.

Read an Excerpt

Baller Dreams


By TASHA MACKLIN

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2012 Tasha Macklin and Wahida Clark
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-936649-32-7



CHAPTER 1

1999


"Stop that shit before it be a problem," the menacing bully threatened as Dre beat his pencil against his desk in an agitated manner.

Dre peered at the oversized bully and the clock on the wall. "Three minutes left on the last day of school and you wanna take a beat down home with you for the summer," the guy known as Big Mike said.

"What?" Dre replied with a frown.

Everyone in the classroom, including the teacher, shifted their eyes toward the bully with the pair of arms that bulged from his crisp white T-shirt.

"This is a class and it's almost over," the teacher said. "But it is possible to get expelled on the last day of school."

Dre's eyes still beamed at the bulky looking dude, sizing his opponent up. Big Mike outweighed Dre's tall, lanky body by fifty pounds and his frame was as twice as thick. Images of the last two people the beast had knocked out flashed in his mind.

Big Mike tucked his gold chain in his T-shirt. "I'm getting left back again, so I don't give a fuck about being expelled. I might fuck around and drop out."

"Or get knocked out," Dre said, masking the fact he was leery about fighting.

The bully smirked, looking at Dre's dusty Air Force ones. "Bum ass nigga," he spat, glaring at Dre. Then he turned to the class and started cracking jokes about Dre's clothes.

"Look at his dusty ass shoes. This nigga wearin' biscuits. Broke, bum ass!"

"All right, this is not a comedy club," the teacher said, gazing at Big Mike condescendingly.

Dre was furious. He grinded his teeth, tightening his jaw while quickly tapping his right foot. It wasn't the first time his impoverished upbringing had become a distraction for him striving to make his way in the streets of Detroit.

The bell rang and the class began dispersing. Dre stood as the bully winked and began cracking his knuckles. As Dre took a step behind the bully, his teacher stopped him. "What's up, Ms. G?" he huffed.

"You've got a brain, so use it," she said.

"Sometime you have to act off of street smarts," Dre replied, glaring at Big Mike's back.

"There are plenty of youth who thought like that. You know where they are now?"

Dre shrugged his shoulders.

"Cells and caskets. There's never a shortage of prisons."

Dre shook his head, thinking of his mother being murdered on the streets and his father being in prison. "Can I go now?"

"You still planning on going to college for computer programming? Your math scores are impeccable."

"I don't know," Dre said. His love of numbers was dwindling, with the exception of counting money. Going to college would be a pricey bill on his back that would only worsen his financial strain.

"Don't throw your life away, Dre." The teacher pointed at his head. "Use it." She stepped from in front of him.

He walked off, happy to be finished with high school and the teacher trying to run his life. If Ms. G was genuinely concerned, she would try and do something to help him and his grandmother overcome poverty. Dre stepped out of class, his eyes roaming the hallway in search of the bully. He elbowed his way through a throng of students who slowed his motion to put school behind him. His sneakers beat against the dark waxed floor as he heard someone call out his name. Dre slowed down and peeped over his shoulder in the direction of the voice.

"I know you weren't planning on breaking out without me," his best friend Nut said, walking through the crowded hall with the confident swagger of a young gangster. The lit Black and Mild dangling from his mouth was proof of how little he cared about school or rules.

Dre smiled and gave his man a pound. As he embraced Nut, he could smell a slight stench emanating from him and assumed Nut hadn't taken a shower. Damn, his old girl must have let the water get turned off again. He could have taken a shower at my spot. "I wasn't trying to leave you, nigga. I just ain't used to you being here in the damn first place." Dre shook his head at the foolish scowl Nut wore.

"Pssst ... whatever, nigga. I'm here now, so let's bounce," Nut said, exhaling a cloud of smoke and walking off to lead the way.

"I got beef," Dre said, staring at Nut.

"What?"

Dre hesitated in telling Nut about the bully, because he knew Nut was going to ride for him. Although Dre wanted to handle his drama alone, he knew he would need help.

"Just point the motherfucker out and we giving it to him!"

Dre looked at the demented sparkle in Nut's eyes. Damn, I got his crazy ass ready to go in, Dre thought.


"Where the fuck this clown ass nigga at?" Nut asked, looking around the chaotic scene around them. People scurried in all directions in an attempt to leave the school grounds by any means.

"I don't know." Dre stood on the stairs in search of his target. Students rushed toward waiting buses and filled them up quickly. Used and new cars pulled up and took off after eager students jumped inside. Twice Dre spotted his dream car, wishing he had a whip parked in the lot, so he and Nut could ride out. Although Dre was used to walking, he was ready to ride in many ways.

"You still don't see that nigga?" Nut asked.

"Naw. I still don't know—" Dre's words were cut short by a wild haymaker that collided with his cheek.

Big Mike got off a second sucker punch from behind before Nut landed two quick blows to his jaw.

"Bitch ass nigga!" Dre barked as he followed up with a punch that knocked the bully down the steps.

Nut's foot came crashing down on Big Mike's head and face without remorse. Within seconds he was bloody, and a circle of students had formed around the assault.

"The principal coming!" one of the students yelled.

Dre looked up, noticing the principal in the distance. "Come on!" He grabbed Nut's arm.

"Fuck that!" Nut said, jumping in the air and crashing both his feet down on the bully's face, leaving him unconscious. He continued stomping him.

"We gotta go!" Dre shouted, pulling Nut as the principal closed in on them. They ran off through the crowd, leaving the bully with blood dripping down his face and splattered on his white T-shirt.

"Motherfuckers gonna respect us!" Nut declared.

Dre wanted the respect Nut spoke of, but he knew that in addition to issuing out beat downs, it would take money to earn respect on the streets.


Dre was halfway through the next block when he noticed a hottie he had been checking for since he was a freshman. "Come on, man," he said, hitting Nut before making haste to catch up to the pretty girl on the move. He picked up his pace and searched for some surefire game worthy of him spitting at her. Ducking through the small crowd, he found himself a few feet away from the gorgeous brown skinned honey. "Tagier," he called out as he darted behind her, catching her attention just as she stepped off the curb.

Somewhat surprised that he had called her name, Tagier glanced over her shoulder at her boyfriend Dante, who was engaged in a cell phone conversation. The last thing she needed was for him to catch her talking to another nigga. Seeing he was busy, she returned her gaze to Dre as he made his way toward her. She had to admit that his appearance embodied perfection. Tall, slim, with some of the longest, silky braids she had ever seen on a nigga. Those characteristics, along with his flawless brown complexion enticed her.

Dre reached Tagier before he could come up with any lines worthy of using.

"Umm ... I've been seeing you a lot in traffic for a while now and ... I ... um ... was kind of wondering if maybe we could get together or something," he stuttered, eyeing her short, curvaceous frame.

"I can't, Dre. I'm sorry, but my boyfriend wouldn't like that," she replied with downcast eyes.

As Dre opened his mouth to respond, his words were cut short by the loud outburst indirectly meant to disrespect him. "Tagier, get your ass over here and I don't plan to say it again!" the angry voice blared.

He shifted his eyes from Tagier to the candy painted purple Impala and glaring jewelry of the individual with the ice grill. Tagier nervously jumped at the sound of the command. "I have to go, Dre. That's my man." She turned to leave and then added, "I guess I'll see you in traffic."

Dre watched her sexy frame as she hurried across the street. He couldn't help thinking that it had to be a big, bear-looking nigga's money that had Tagier speeding away from him. She looked too good to be with an ugly nigga. Dre returned the mean glare Dante shot at him. But Dre's jaw dropped when dude's hand connected with the side of her face. Tagier dropped to his feet in shock and a plea for help in her eyes.

"Faggot ass nigga like to hit women!" Dre exclaimed in anger, stepping from the curb on some saveaho shit.

"Yo, what you doing kid?" Nut asked, following Dre. "Let that nigga discipline his bitch."

Dre wanted to smack the smug grin off the punk nigga's face. The bear-of-a-man pulled a silver revolver from his waist and pointed in Dre and Nut's direction, angering Dre more as he and his friend stopped.

"No the fuck he didn't!" Nut blared. "That nigga done lost his damn mind."

Dre was silent, engaging the man with an unwavering stare. The thug was far more dangerous than the bully Dre and Nut had just pounded out. So Dre knew his position in relation to him, and therefore, he held his composure as Dante yanked Tagier by the hair and tossed her in the car. The humorous look he gave Dre as he got in the car and pulled off infuriated Dre more. Dre knew if he and Nut were on top of their game, Tagier would be his and no one would have dared pull a tool on them. At that moment, Dre made up his mind that shit was gonna change. He was tired of being just another nigga in Motor City, and he was determined to become someone who would demand respect by any means.


Dre's mind went into overdrive as he and Nut reached their neighborhood. He had been silent, plotting their next move. To take things to the level he desired would require deep thought and an intricate plan. But Dre had always been a thinker.

Dre and Nut came upon a crowd huddled around a dice game at the corner of their block. Nut jumped into the game, tossing money on the ground and taunting a gambler. "You got something on ten or four, nigga? I'll gladly give you six and eight."

Dre continued walking and scanned the block in a wide sweeping motion. His mind flipped crazily in an attempt to formulate a plan. Then he realized that throughout the years his neighborhood had virtually remained the same. The faces had changed, but his block still held the reputation as one of the country's most prosperous dope strips. It was sad, but Dre had no doubt that the same street he stood on would fuel his rise to power.

The harsh reality of his environment reminded him of his father, who was serving time in a federal prison. Dre experienced a slight tinge of doubt. He had always imagined his father's suffering over the last ten years. The man now imprisoned had become a legend on the same streets his son stood on contemplating an identical lifestyle that could land him in prison.

Dre sighed at the realization of what he had to look forward to if he failed. He took a closer look around him, summing up the scene once more. Crackheads and dope fiends lined the block, while rats paraded through the trash strewn about the multitude of burned-out lots. Dre laughed to himself to ward off the sadness of the situation. But ironically, he loved his neighborhood, regardless of how disheveled its condition. It was the only home he had ever known.

"What up, doe? Holler at your nigga, baby," Jamal said, snapping Dre out of his thoughts.

Dre was immediately reminded of what he loved most about his hood: his niggas. "What up, Jamal?" he responded, thinking that his dog walked, talked, and generally carried it as raw as any Eastsider he knew.

"You know me, baby. I'm just trying to make moves and stack this cheddar," Jamal said, staring up the block.

"Yeah, I feel you. With all these pipeheads running around, cheddar shouldn't be too hard to stack at all."

"That's exactly why I'm out here on the prowl." Jamal grinned. "Have either of my cousins been through here, playboy?"

Even as big as Jamal's family was, Dre didn't have to guess which of his cousins he spoke of. Nut, Gaines, and Jamal were the tightest out of the family. "I just left Nut up the block at a crap game. I haven't seen Gaines though."

"Cool. I'll catch up with you later." Jamal gave Dre a pound before heading up the block.

Dre began walking home, thinking of his own business plans. Succeed or fail, he knew his grandmother would be there for him. Just the thought of the woman who had raised him and given him everything within her means softened his heart. His love for her was indescribable, and he had never done anything to hurt her. She was all he had, and as much as he hated to admit it, his decision to hit the streets would crush her.

Dre wanted to turn away from his block as he reached home, spotting the dilapidated buildings and debris strewn around. He held his breath as the stench of trash dumped in the yard of an abandoned house hit him. Everything he was experiencing on his simple trek home told him he had to act soon to change his living conditions. He leaped up the steps of his house and made it inside.

"Grandma, I'm home," he yelled, heading upstairs.

"I'm in the kitchen," she responded in her usual jovial voice. "Come here, baby."

Dre stopped, backpedaled down the stairs and strolled into the kitchen. The sweet aroma resonating from the oven enticed his nostrils. He gave his grandmother a kiss on the cheek. "What's that in there smelling so good?"

She grabbed a dishtowel and nonchalantly replied, "Oh, it's nothing but some ribs, macaroni and cheese, deviled eggs and some homemade buttered biscuits." She began wiping the counter. "Why you ask? You hungry, boy?"

"You already know I am, lady." Dre quickly reached for the oven door.

"Oh, no you don't. Get out of my food and wash your hands, John, Jr. You know better than that."

As his grandmother began preparing a plate for him, Dre dragged his tall, lanky frame to the sink. It dawned on him that no one but her called him by his government name. He grinned at the thought and then wiped his hands on the dishtowel and reached for his plate.

"I'm so proud of you, John, Jr. Graduating in the midst of all the things you've had to deal with on a daily basis in this poverty ridden neighborhood is no small feat. For you to have stayed focused and never fallen victim to the streets like your father makes me a very happy woman." She reached out to hug him. "Enjoy your meal, baby. I love you."

Dre was tongue tied as he embraced her. After letting her go, he watched her head to the door. Right before she opened it, she turned to him and said, "Ford, Chrysler, or General Motors will be honored to give you a job. But if you decide to go to college I'll gladly find a way to scrounge up the money." She strolled proudly out of the kitchen with a smile.

Dre plopped down at the kitchen table. No longer hungry, he pushed his plate aside, thinking about the truth in his grandmother's statement. One of the Big Three would gladly hire him if all he aspired to do was work on an assembly line making cars like thousands of other Detroit natives. But that wasn't the life Dre had in mind. He needed to control his own destiny, even at the risk of hurting the woman who cared for him more than anyone. Dre had only one life to live and he was going to live it to the fullest, no matter who tried to stop him at home or on the streets.

CHAPTER 2

Dre lay in bed, having spent all evening trying to figure out his next steps toward making his existence more worthwhile. After what seemed like forever, he had arrived at no more of a solution than he had prior to beginning his brainstorming session. Sadly, it became clear that a broke nigga couldn't really accomplish anything. Dre refused to be deterred from his goals. So instead of wallowing in disappointment, he decided to play it by ear and keep his eyes peeled for any opportunities that might arise.

"Dre. Hey, Dre!" a voice called from outside.

Dre rose from his bed and made his way to the window. Practically all of the streetlights on his block had been shot out, but he was still able to see his friends standing on the sidewalk, looking upward.

"Nigga, bring your ass down here and hang out with your peeps," Nut stated, waving his arms in a sweeping motion to show their whole crew was in attendance.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Baller Dreams by TASHA MACKLIN. Copyright © 2012 Tasha Macklin and Wahida Clark. 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.

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Baller Dreams 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was actually pretty good. I enjoyed the read. Wish i knew the out come of dres girlfriend,but i guess not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OOSABookClub More than 1 year ago
Seventeen-year-old John ‘Dre’ Dodson has just graduated from high school. His grandmother raised him because his father is doing life in prison. She is extremely proud that Dre never fell victim to the streets like a lot of other young men. She told Dre that any of the automobile factories would be proud to hire him, or if he chose to go to college, she would find the money for him to go. Either way she would support him 100% whatever his decision was. Unfortunately, Dre decided on an entirely different path than his grandmother wanted to see for her grandson. Dre wanted to make quick money with power and prestige. When Dre meets Destiny, a beautiful older woman, she knows who Dre is. He is John Jr., the son of the man that brought her up in the game. When she sets eyes on him, she is determined to make him hers. She opens doors for Dre to claim the streets. When Destiny finds out that Dre has been keeping time with another young lady and has feelings for her, Destiny’s emotions make her do the unthinkable. Will Dre get out the game before it is too late? Will Destiny get her revenge or will it backfire on her? And who will be left standing? “Baller Dreams” by Tasha Macklin is your typical street-lit story. Young man has the world at his fingers but instead decides to take the illegal route and gets caught up with the money and fame. Along with the drugs, flashy cars, sex and money, it makes for an unoriginal storyline. Some parts of the story made me literally shake my head. The story also lacked the depth and description how Dre started in the game and established his crew to claim the streets. “Baller Dreams” is just an okay read. Reviewed by: LeonaR
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
robra More than 1 year ago
Can someone please tell me how it is that a character from her Thug Series books is the author of this title? I am confuzzled. Please and thank you:0)!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it would be a good book being that ms Clark brought them out but i don't like it at all hate i spent my10.00 dollars on it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ok so this book reminds me of thugs and the woman who love them stacy & dre reminds me of tasha and trae love there relationship i knew when dre and destiny first got together it was going to be so drama that chick shoulda got her ass kicked by naiza for the whole nut drama this book was hot