The holidays are coming, and this year there's more in the air than gifts and bling 'cause these relationships are hitting bumps. So get ready for two stories that dish on what it means to forgive, forget, and move on. . .
So Over It Nikki Carter
It may be winter, but there's nothing colder than getting dumped on Facebook! That's exactly how Zoey discovers her boyfriend, Mario, is now with Dorie, the most popular girl in school--or so he thinks. ‘Cause Dorie has other plans. And when Mario comes crawling back into Zoey's forgiving arms, her BFFs decide it's time to prove he's a dog, and show Zoey that she deserves better. . .
Swag Kevin Elliott
Zori Neal is torn between two very different guys: DeMarco, a cool thug from the 'hood whose swagger excites her, and Jay, a smart, cool athlete from a good family. All Zori knows is that she's looking for fun, not a husband. So she decides to date both guys. But when DeMarco gets in some very serious trouble with the law, Zori realizes there's a price to pay for swagger--and her choices matter a lot more than she thought. . .
About the Author
Kevin Elliott wrote his first novel, Entangled, in 2003, and turned down several signing deals in order to found Urban Lifestyle Press, his own publishing company. Since then he has written dozens more books, earned a spot on Essence magazine bestseller list, and coauthored a book with rap superstar 50 Cent, The Ski Mask Way.
Read an Excerpt
The Break-Up Diaries
By Nikki Carter Kevin Elliott
DAFINA KTEEN BOOKSCopyright © 2011 Kensington Publishing Corporation
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSO OVER IT NIKKI CARTER
Now this is news to me. Yesterday it was not complicated at all. Just this morning, I was at the mall shopping for my boyfriend's Christmas gift. Last night, we decked the halls and sang Christmas carols at our glee club concert, and then we shared a dessert at Applebee's. It was a brownie sundae.
None of this was complicated!
So why are these two words in my boyfriend's Facebook profile instead of In a Relationship? I am perplexed, befuddled, and utterly confused.
I refresh the browser on my EVO. Yep. The offensive words are still there. Doesn't it make sense for a boyfriend to let his girlfriend know if things had become ... complex? My eyes are wet with tears, but I won't cry yet. Not yet. I have to talk to him first.
The him that I'm referring to is my boyfriend, Mario. He is my first official boyfriend, and I can't think past a time when we won't be together.
We met our sophomore year of high school, when we both tried out for the last spot in our glee club. In my opinion, I beat him out, but our director, Ms. Rochester, couldn't decide between us, so she kept us both.
All of the other girls in glee club were immediately digging Mario, once they heard him sing. To look at him you would think he'd come with some Jonas Brothers type sound, but he's so much more soulful, like a teenage Usher. Every time he opens his mouth to sing a solo, the girls swoon.
This was okay before he became my boyfriend. It really isn't that cute now that he's my boyfriend. Well ... I guess he's my boyfriend still.
I check my phone for missed calls. Maybe Mario was feeling some kind of way last night and couldn't get in contact with me. Perhaps he wanted to share something big and I wasn't there for him.
No missed calls.
I text my best friend, Cheyenne. Like five seconds after I click send she calls me right back. Cheyenne is not a fan of texting. It's not organic enough for her. And no, I have absolutely no idea what that means.
"Hey Cheyenne. OMG! Have you been on Facebook? Have you seen Mario's page?"
Okay, I'm going to need my bestie's excitement level to match my frantic rave! I have an emergency going on here, and she responded like I told her that I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. This requires exclamation marks after sentences!
"What do you think that means?" I ask.
"Are you crying?"
"No ... almost ..."
Cheyenne sighs. "I think it means you need to have a conversation with Mario."
"But why do we need a conversation? Huh?"
"Your whining is excessive, Zoey. May I please wake up before I have to endure your meltdown?"
"I'm coming over. This is an emergency."
"Okay, Zoey, but we knew this was coming, right? Mario is kind of ... a douche. You want Todrick to come too?"
Todrick is our other bestie. He's much more sympathetic than Cheyenne, so I'm thinking that, YES, I need him to come over too. Cheyenne is being way too nonchalant about this.
"Yes, Todrick is absolutely invited. Can you ask your mom to make breakfast? It feels like a French toast kind of Saturday."
"I'll ask her, but I won't make any promises."
"Okay, I'll be over in about an hour."
"Please get your whining out before you get over here. We're going to look at the situation rationally, and then make a winning game plan."
I scrunch my nose up in confusion. "Who are you? I thought I called my best friend and not some infomercial life coach."
"I really feel bad that Mario broke up with you on Facebook, and you know I love you."
Is that what this is? A Facebook break up?
"Maybe we're not quite breaking up," I say with a hopeful tone in my voice that matches what I'm feeling.
"Okay. See you in a bit."
"Where are you off to so early?" my mom asks as I walk through our kitchen.
"Going over Cheyenne's for breakfast."
"Why? You can eat breakfast here."
Voting no. My mother's idea of a yummy breakfast is a wheat grass smoothie with blackberries, a banana, and protein powder. Incredibly healthy and absolutely disgusting.
I'm in the mood for something that tastes good. Yummy food will help me to feel better in case Mario really is breaking up with me.
"No thanks, mom. Mrs. Landry is making French toast. Where's dad?"
My mom frowns. "Your dad is out running. All of that sugar is not good for you Zoey."
I give her my typical blank stare. "Sugar is the world's most perfect food."
"Honey, you look sad. Is everything all right in Zoeyville?"
"Zoeyville is ... complicated."
My mom gets up from her olive green beverage to encircle me with a hug. She's good at hugging the pain away, but for some reason it's not working this time. Mario is my first boyfriend. I don't think I can hug this away.
Even in my mind, I can't make him past tense, as in "he was my boyfriend."
"Is it Mario?" my mom asks, as if anything else could make me this sad.
I nod. "I think he's trying to break up with me on Facebook."
"You think? Have you talked to him?"
"No. I'm afraid to call. What if he says that he doesn't like me anymore?"
"It's always better to know than not to know."
"I was going to wait to call him until I have Cheyenne and Todrick together with me. I need them."
"I think you should do it without an audience. He might say something that you don't want to share."
My mom always has the real talk!
"Okay, I'll call him on the way over to Cheyenne's house."
I pull on a light jacket because even though it's one week away from Christmas break, I live in Texas and it is warm. Holla! That's one thing to be happy about. The temperature is about seventy degrees and the sun is shining brightly. Not swimsuit weather by any means, but there definitely isn't any snow in the forecast.
Cheyenne's house is a five minute walk from mine, but I don't mind walking because the weather is so nice.
I hesitate to call Mario, but then decide that my mother's advice is usually the best.
I press his name from the Call Log, and his phone only rings once before he answers.
"Hey Zoey. I know why you're calling me."
"Yeah, and we kinda need to talk."
I desperately, frantically search for some friendliness in his voice, but it's not there. He sounds almost mean, like he'd rather be doing anything other than talk to me.
"Okay ... what do we need to talk about?"
"I think we should start dating other people."
I feel my steps quicken and my heart race. Is this what an anxiety attack feels like? I'm too young for those.
"And do you already have someone in mind?" I ask.
Mario pauses. And it's way too long. Whatever he's about to say next is probably a lie.
"My dad says a boy in the eleventh grade shouldn't be tied to one girl."
Wow. This is worse than a lie. This is a mini-speech and a poorly constructed one at that.
"I thought your dad liked me."
"He does, but he thinks you're clingy."
He thinks I'm clingy. What in the world? I think I can be described as many things, but not clingy.
"So he thinks you should date someone else?"
"Yeah, pretty much."
"So are you breaking up with me?"
This comes out sounding like a whine. Like something a clingy girl would say. But I can't help it. Tears are streaming down my face, but he's so cool about this! How can he be so cool about this?
"I think we just shouldn't date. I don't know if it's officially, like, a break up. I'm not mad at you or anything. But I agree with my dad."
"Can I ask who you're going to start dating?"
I can hear his sigh through the phone. He's got no right to be frustrated. He's the one breaking up with me. I should be the one with the angst.
"Come on Zoey," he says. "You don't want to do this. Let's just see one another at school and stuff."
But I just spent a large chunk of my Christmas money buying him a Fossil watch and two T-shirts from Hollister. It's a good thing I kept the receipts.
I bet he didn't even buy me anything.
"Um ... Zoey, can I talk to you later? I've got basketball practice, and ... really ... I don't have anything else to say."
Then he just disconnects the call, like we haven't been dating since the summer. My chest feels heavy, like I've got an elephant sitting on me.
My tears form a nasty combination liquid with my snot that dribbles down my chin. I just want to sit on this curb and bawl my eyes out. Maybe if I cry loud enough and hard enough, Mario will hear me and change his mind about this foolishness.
But Cheyenne sees me sitting outside. She's looking from her living room window. I can see her expression of concern from where I'm sitting. Next thing I know she's running across her yard, with her wild, curly golden brown afro blowing in the wind.
"What's wrong?" Cheyenne asks. Then she answers for herself. "You talked to him didn't you."
I nod. "He said he wants to date other people."
The tears that had started to slow begin all over again.
"Come inside," Cheyenne says. "The French toast is ready and we don't want Todrick to eat it all."
A little smile graces my face. I'm not surprised that Todrick beat me here. He lives next door to Cheyenne, and he loves breakfast.
As soon as I step into the house, Cheyenne's mom, Ms. Brandi (she only lets us call her by her first name) sits a plate in front of me. My empty stomach grumbles with anticipation of the perfectly golden French toast, carmelized bananas, and pure maple syrup. The entire house smells heavenly from the sweet and sugary breakfast treat.
I take a huge bite of my food. It is sooo good! So good that just for a second I forget all about Mario's torturous activities.
Todrick grins at me as he takes the last bite on his plate. "Delicious, right?"
"Ridiculously so. Ms. Brandi, you should open a restaurant," I say. "All French toast all the time."
"Don't forget the scrambled eggs with cheese!" Todrick exclaims.
Ms. Brandi laughs. "This is why I love you two. Cheyenne never lets me feed her properly."
Cheyenne fakes a gag. "I will take a fruit smoothie over that lard filled mess any day." I tilt my head to one side, so that my perfectly trimmed, pin straight hair swishes. "Ms. Brandi, I think Cheyenne and I were switched at birth. My mom is drinking seaweed and spinach right now, as we speak!"
Ms. Brandi frowns. "Yuck."
"Exactly," I reply.
"Are we going to cease with the chit-chat about unhealthy versus healthy breakfast and get to the reason why we're here?" Cheyenne asks impatiently. "Mom can you please leave us? This is not fit for your ears."
Ms. Brandi bursts into laughter. "Y'all drama is not even that serious! I got some real drama for you."
"Unfortunately, right now we've got to deal with the mess of devastation that is Zoey," Cheyenne responds.
Wow. Way to bring me back to reality. I was enjoying the pretending! I'm pretending not to even think about Mario and break up in the same sentence. Boo, Cheyenne! Boo!
"I heard on Friday," Todrick says after Ms. Brandi exits, "after the glee club concert."
I drop my fork. "You heard my boyfriend was breaking up with me on Friday and you didn't say anything? How could you Todrick!"
Todrick gives me an apologetic look as he runs the hand not holding the fork through his thick, black curly hair.
"I didn't want to say anything until I knew for sure. I didn't hear Mario say it. It was Dorie."
Dorie McMichael. Grrrr. She's the basketball cheerleader/honors student/glee club soloist that all the guys want.
Did Mario break up with me for Dorie? This would make it even worse! I'll never be able to show my face in school again.
"She's dating him now?" I ask.
Todrick shrugs. "At least it's not a downgrade. That would be worse."
Cheyenne says, "Stop. We don't care who Mario has chosen to date."
"We don't?" I ask.
I'm confused. How am I going to get him back if I don't know who he's dating now? Although if he's dating Dorie, my chances are basically slim to none. What am I going to do?
"No. We don't care because he no longer matters. He is the past," Cheyenne declares.
Just this morning, he was the present. What a difference a few hours and a random Facebook post make.
"But I don't want him to be the past," I say. "I want to know how to get him back."
Todrick asks, "Why do you want him back if he played you?"
"He played me? Are you saying that he got with Dorie before we broke up? I'm up here thinking he's breaking up with me to go out with Dorie!"
Cheyenne gives Todrick an evil glare and he stares down into his plate. The red tone creeping up his neck to his cheeks tells me that he's embarrassed by his diarrhea of the mouth.
"Todrick ... you better tell me. Who do you want angry at you? Me or Cheyenne?" I ask.
"Actually, I'm more scared of Cheyenne. She hits like a man."
Cheyenne interjects. "You know what, Todrick? Tell her. She needs to hear the dirty truth. I have a feeling she's not going to get over this crap or that loser until she knows everything."
"Mario is not a loser. You take that back, Cheyenne!"
"Zoey, I will not take it back. And you'll agree with me once you know the truth. Spill it, Todrick!"
Todrick looks at Cheyenne skeptically before he begins. I know why, too. She's been known to change her mind after making one of her declarations.
"Well ... I heard that he started light weight kicking it with Dorie over Thanksgiving."
I feel my mood darken further if this is even possible. Thanksgiving was when I went with my parents and bratty little sister to Houston. We had dinner at my non-cooking aunt Tina's house. While I was eating dry turkey and lumpy mashed potatoes, Mario was getting with whore-y Dorie.
"So he's probably lying about his father saying that I'm clingy ... huh?"
"Probably. I think he's been lying about everything," Cheyenne says.
Lying about everything? Does that include all the times he told me that I'm pretty or that I could be his best friend? What about when he gave me this bracelet with a key charm and told me, "Now you have the key to my heart."
Were all of those lies too?
Tears start again and splash down into my plate. It doesn't matter anyway because I couldn't eat another bite if I tried.
"What am I going to do now?" I ask between sobs.
"First, you're going to stop crying," Cheyenne says.
"Yes. You are."
I take in a huge breath and try to sit up taller in my seat. I want to be able to follow these instructions. Maybe they'll make me feel better.
"Then," Cheyenne continues, "you're going to purge yourself of all things Mario."
I'm not sure I know what she means by purging. Purging sounds drastic and final. I am not ready for purging. I don't care what Cheyenne says.
"I don't want to purge him! I love him!"
Cheyenne grabs my wrist and unsnaps my bracelet. Then, she tosses it in the trash can.
"Cheyenne! Mario gave me that for my birthday!"
"Oh, stop with the crying!" Cheyenne fusses. "He spent three bucks on it at Claire's!"
Todrick swallows another bite of food and says, "This is going to be a long day."
I agree with him. This feels like the longest, most awful, incredibly heartbreaking day of my life. And it's only ten o'clock in the morning.
How am I going to make it through the rest of the day?
Chapter TwoCheyenne, Todrick, and I are back at my house. We're in my bedroom, staring at a pile of gifts from Mario. Cheyenne is holding a box in her hand and wearing a scowl on her face. I think she's still mad that I fished the bracelet out of her trash. What-the-heck-ever!
"Okay, hand over all of the Mario paraphernalia," Cheyenne says.
I am utterly skeptical of this. "What are you going to do with it?" I ask.
"Well, since you dang near put me in a choke hold to save that cheap bracelet, we're just going to put everything Mario related in this box."
"Then what?" I ask.
"Then we will store the items in a neutral location until you are willing to be rational about Mario."
Excerpted from The Break-Up Diaries by Nikki Carter Kevin Elliott Copyright © 2011 by Kensington Publishing Corporation. Excerpted by permission of DAFINA KTEEN BOOKS. 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.
Table of Contents
ContentsSo Over It Nikki Carter....................1
Swag Kevin Elliott....................119
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I vote diffrent results ill be ing the next one.
I finaly read this and now i really want to read the rest of it.i only got to read the sample
The point bis u cheted