Veron Darcey is tired of being some man's side dish, or worse, being stuck in the friend zone. She's ready to have it all--tender love, hot sex, commitment, and an upscale lifestyle. Fed up and frustrated, she turns to her gorgeous best friend and man magnet, Demetria, for advice. But when Demetria decides to demonstrate her secrets on Veron's real-life dream guy, it's a game changer.
Much to Demetria's surprise, seducing Seaphes Hill will require every wild trick in her steamy book. Even more shocking, it turns out she wants him so bad, there's one major secret she won't share with Veron. Soon what began in fun turns into an all-out rivalry, filled with mind games, sex games, and dirty lies that leave a friendship in the balance--but may give Veron a whole new outlook on just how powerful she can be--without changing a thing. . .
Praise for the novels of Cydney Rax
"The book we can't put down." --Essence® on My Husband's Girlfriend
"Fascinating, witty, and thought-provoking." –Zane on My Daughter's Boyfriend
|Product dimensions:||4.11(w) x 6.74(h) x 0.94(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Born and raised in Detroit, Cydney graduated from Cass Technical High School and earned an undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University. She resides in Houston. Visit her online via Facebook, at www.cydneyrax.com, or email her at email@example.com.
Read an Excerpt
By Cydney Rax
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2008 Cydney Rax
All rights reserved.
It's Saturday, February 14th, and I'm home alone. It's sad, but I'm perched at the computer desk in my modest but comfortable apartment, debating if I should log on to MySpace to see if I have any new friend requests. I last logged in twenty minutes ago.
I bite my tongue so hard I nearly taste blood when the phone rings. Unexpectedly, it's Ferris Landers.
"What you doing?" he growls in that slow, sexy tone that I love.
"Uh, what's going on with you?" I dodge Ferris, not wanting him to know I'm not doing a doggone thing.
"I know we ain't seen each other in a couple months, and I ain't called in a while, but I was thinking ... I know you love sushi ..."
"Yeah," I say, impressed that he remembers, "among other things."
"And does your 'among other things' include second row tickets to see John Legend perform at the Aerial Theater?"
"Oh yeah, it does!" I smile, barely keeping a delighted squeal from reaching Ferris's ears.
"So, if you wanna ride with me, let me know." Man, if you only knew how much I wanna ride you, I think to myself. Ferris is the first man to introduce me to the wonderful world of doggy style, and I've wanted him to ram my back bumper ever since. I love the feel of his sculpted, hairy chest slumped across my backside, him accurately banging my G-spot like a pro, us moaning and bobbing up and down while waves of pleasure consume us till we're happily exhausted and ready to cuddle for the rest of the night.
"You know, all of that sounds great, Ferris. I'd love to go. When is the concert?" I ask, thinking about what we could be doing after that concert.
"Tonight," he replies in a barely audible voice. I'm dateless. It's Valentine's Day. But still. Men aren't supposed to ask a girl out with this kind of notice.
"Tonight?" I huff.
"Mmm hmmm." His voice sounds so mushy and gentle my anger doesn't last.
"Ferris," I softly remind him. "I usually prefer to be asked out days in advance—"
"I know, baby girl. I know."
"And normally I don't accept last-minute dates," I firmly state, lying my butt off. "But for you I'll make an exception. As it turns out, my schedule has opened up tonight, and I probably can squeeze in some sushi and Legend."
"Whew," he exclaims in an overexaggerated fashion.
"I was worried you'd turn me down, so let's go chill out and enjoy each other's company."
My ears warm at just hearing Ferris's commanding voice. I love it when a man takes charge; it makes me feel like he's strong, and I definitely prefer to have a strong man by my side, instead of one who only wants to do what I want to do because he's not smart or confident enough to make his own decisions.
"So what time will you pick me up?" I ask in a sweet voice.
"Uh, can you meet me at Miyako at six?"
"Meet you? As in driving myself to a date?"
"Ye-ah," he says. "So you gonna meet me?"
And for the millionth time, instead of telling a man how I really feel, instead of showing my disappointment, I bite my tongue, and I sullenly reply, "Sure."
Miyako is a popular Japanese restaurant located on Kirby Drive, about five minutes south of downtown Houston. It's not a lavish spot, but the small dining room doesn't make me as mad when I remember that its small booths invite intimacy. I love sitting hip-to-hip with a man who I love, accidentally rubbing elbows or feeling his leg bump into mine and making me shiver. Ahhh, yes.
So I shove my anger aside about what I feel was disrespect. You know, the man wanting me to meet him somewhere instead of making an effort to pick me up.
It's almost like some guy agreeing to kiss you on the lips, but only if he's certain that no one else sees us. It just upsets me. But when my mind paints a portrait of Ferris and me huddled together, feeding each other fresh, salty raw fish, and laughing it up while we toast and sip on sake, I let anticipated joy stamp out any negative feelings. Plus, it'll be great to brush up on my doggy style skills.
* * *
I'm relieved Ferris arrived at the restaurant before I do. I see him waiting in a U-shaped booth next to the window. He's just like I remember: he loves to sit with his jaw slightly tilted, like he's cooler than cool. He's wearing a dark brown soft leather jacket that looks wide enough for me to squeeze into in case I get chilly later on.
"Hey, baby girl, you look nice tonight," he says, leaving the booth and rising to his feet.
"I do?" I ask, hoping Ferris isn't saying something just to be saying it. You know how some guys do: they push those buttons and say the right thing so they can gain a woman's favor, but their words may not always be heartfelt.
Ferris nods slowly as he sits back down. He gazes deeply into my eyes, penetrating me, a gesture that always gives me wobbly knees. A surge of warmth rushes through my veins as I sit down, and I know it's okay to truly relax. Enjoy. Get rid of the gritty edge that threatens to overtake my spirit.
"Look, baby girl, if I say you look fierce, you look fierce."
"But you didn't say I look fierce."
He laughs and taps his tiny white porcelain cup against mine, tilts his head, sips sake, and moans as it slides down his throat.
"I see you've ordered drinks for us already."
"I know what you like, baby girl."
All I can do is smile, savor good feelings, and thank God I'm doing something fun for a change.
"Well, Ferris, thanks for being so thoughtful. But I have to ask you—why haven't I heard from you in a while?"
"Because you ain't called."
"Don't even try it," I say, pouting. "I called you quite a few times with no response."
"Well, you must've dialed the wrong number, because I didn't get the calls."
"Did your number change?"
I just stare at him.
"No, seriously, I've been busy working. Working so hard that all I do is fall in bed at night and catch some sleep. So I'm sorry 'bout that."
Nothing I can say to that. I shrug as if to say okay. "Tell me, how were you able to get second row tickets to this Legend concert?"
He coughs and clears his throat. "Just well connected. You know how I do."
"Ah, well, good for you ... and me."
I nibble on some eel unagi, which tastes both salty and sweet, and I listen while Ferris updates me on the soap opera drama of his manager job at Verizon. I try to sit there and just listen and hang out, but eventually I have to ask. "Ferris, whatever happened to us? It seems like you were feeling me at first, then you kinda disappeared. Usually I don't like to ask men these kinds of questions," I hurry to explain, "because I'm not sure they want to answer them. But I'm trying to do something different," I continue. "So let's talk about what happened."
He pouts and frowns. "I was feeling you, Veron, for real, though. I loved kicking it with you, kissing you, making sweet love to you." I squirm in my seat and try not to grin too idiotlike. "You were everything I wanted—"
"I were? I mean, I was?" I say, my eyes glazing at his kind words and the thought of our new possibilities.
"You had it going on, baby girl. You got ass and class," he jokes. "But it was me. I wasn't ready for a woman like you."
His kind words were supposed to soothe my heart, my ears, and my anxiety about why Ferris would wait till the last freaking minute to secure a date with a woman he supposedly likes, even though he hasn't called her in months. But although he was saying all the right things, I sensed coldness inside his warmth. It felt as if I was sitting inside a bubble bath of lukewarm water, whose bubbles were turning icy and numbing, rapidly dissolving. And I was aching to trust what I was hearing and feeling what Ferris was telling me.
"Hello, hello," Ferris says, but he's not looking directly in my eyes.
"Mmm hmmm," I pout.
"No, man, I am just hyped we hooked up again, especially tonight. Wooo, boy."
"Oh yeah, why is that?"
"Well, you know, I was just aching to see my girl ... from the front and the back."
I sit up straight in my seat and cross my legs.
"I've missed you, Veron. Some women out here, man, they can't get with the doggy style, acting all Holy Ghosty and stuff, like they too good to turn they asses around."
My cheeks glow, and I giggle in spite of myself.
He smiles, knowing he's won me over. Then he continues offhandedly, almost muttering. "Plus, shoot, even though I have connections I had to pay out the ass to get these good seats. And since Shelly and me got into it last night, ain't no way I'm—" His voice lowers to a murmur. He grabs his cup and swallows more sake, some of which spills clumsily from his mouth, as if he has no muscle control.
"What did you say?" I slide up out the booth and stand up. "Who is Shelly?"
"What nothing," I say loudly, towering over him.
"Who the fuck is Shelly?"
"Sit down, Veron," he says calmly. "You know you don't curse. You're starting to lose cool points with me."
"I don't care about cool points," I lash out, my vision getting blurry.
I'm standing so near this man that I smell the coconut-scented moisturizer spread throughout his thick hair. I'm torn between popping him in his eye and kissing him on his sake-flavored lips.
Ferris attempts to grab my right hand. I jerk away, my face burning.
"Look, baby girl," he mutters.
"Nothing to look at. How could you do this to me, Ferris? Don't you have anything to say for yourself?"
"Why would I have to say anything? What are you talking about?"
His fake innocent look feels like a loud slap. Then I do something I wouldn't have done six months ago. I abandon an entire tray of uneaten California rolls. I leave a good-looking employed man sitting alone in a restaurant. I leave behind the old Veron. I am determined to find a new one.
My heart is searching for answers, for peace, for a man who truly wants the best for me. Why didn't my woman's intuition kick in about the last-minute date thing? Why was I so afraid to tell Ferris no? This incident just reminds me of many encounters I've had with men. It's time to self-reflect and admit the mistakes I've made, and there have been many. But just because I don't always make the best decisions, does that mean I can't still have joy? A perfect day? Someone there to care about me, to understand me, to be solid so I don't have to be constantly worried that I'm not his number one?
This is why I've got to have a serious one-on-one with someone who is successful in the areas of life where I fall short. This is why I must start listening to, observing, and maybe even emulating my best friend/ babe magnet Demetria Sparks.
Demetria, who's a little older than me at thirty-something, is the only woman I know who has men competing to take her on dates. Men who smile when they walk close beside her in the shopping mall just because they're associated with her. Guys falling all over themselves to treat her right, to win her over.
Now mind you, Demetria has it going on in the looks department. She is African American mixed with Brazilian, and her exotic features always have men craning their heads to take extra long looks. Her dark brown eyes are about as wide as those of an elegant gazelle. And her eyelashes are so long and fluttering, you can't help but stare and get lost in her allure. So sure she's cute. But these days, with so much affordable cosmetic surgery available, who isn't considered cute? That's not all it is—she's got something else, something that keeps these men crazy about her. I want to know what it is.
Demetria and I met when I was studying for an associate degree at Houston Community College and she was working in the Communications Department as an assistant to the department chair. But then she snagged a better job as an administration manager for the City of Houston. By that time I'd earned my degree and was antsy for something challenging, so she told me about a job opening as an administrative coordinator and arranged for me to be interviewed. I got the job and we've hung out and grown even closer while working for the city.
The more Demetria has excelled in the workplace, the more her confidence has grown. She began meeting all kinds of men, upgrading from the normal scrubs she used to kick it with—and she started hanging around upper-class establishments where the men were restaurant owners instead of struggling waiters, architects instead of construction workers. And I always quietly sat in the background, observing. I was patient at first, thinking her being on a roll with men would last about as long as Paris Hilton's so-called boyfriends. But I'm starting to accept the truth: Demetria Elayne Sparks has everything I need.CHAPTER 2
Veron invites me to tag along with her while she does a little bit of shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond in the Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center. I guess she had a bad date last night, plus she told me she wants to buy two sets of sheets and some big-ass fluffy pillows for her bed. Her big, lonely bed. No, let me stop—that isn't a righteous way to think. Lord knows I could be Veron, couldn't I? But thank the same Lord that I'm not. I don't roll like her, and I guess that's why she needs to pick my brain.
"Anyway, Demetria," Veron says, "seconds after I left Ferris sitting alone in Miyako, he called on my cell. He kept calling me all night, but I didn't answer. I gave him the Busy button at least ten times." Veron smiles. I guess she wants me to pat her on the back and tell her "You go girl" for being strong, but not answering a man's call ain't nothing. In my book, a consistently strong woman has to do much more than ignore a man's pestering calls for one night.
"Okay, so you didn't pick up his calls. But what did you do the rest of the night, Veron?"
She hesitates, then sputters, "I wailed. Hollered. Called on Jesus. That's why I need new pillows."
"Crying about a man won't do any good, Veron."
"Are you saying you've actually cried over—"
I frown and raise my voice, interrupting her. "I'm saying that tears aren't going to move a man. Some men get to sweating under the arms and looking like they're about to vomit when a woman soaks her face with tears. And although some men may want to try and help, have you noticed that's one of the rare times when they really don't know what to do with their hands?" I shake my head in amazement. "So in my opinion, you gotta scrap the tears. Ya feel me?"
"Demetria, you have all these cold, hard rules, but I just can't understand why a man would be attracted to women who have zero emotions, like we're just robots."
"Girl, not crying all the time doesn't mean you're a robot. Not all women roll like Veron Darcey."
Veron runs from me so fast I'm paranoid that my breath stinks worse than sour milk. I pop one long stick of mint flavored gum inside my mouth and figure the girl has major issues. Veron starts sifting through a bin of striped sheets in the linens section, but before she can dig in good, I place my hand over hers.
"Mmm, nope, Veron, don't you even know how to pick out sheets?"
"You need to upgrade from that cardboard feeling one-eighty thread count and get at least four hundred or five hundred."
"They cost a grip, Demetria."
"Quality usually does. And these more expensive sheets will last until your kids are grown," I assure her. If you ever have kids, I think to myself.
"Hmmm, I dunno, girl."
"Look, I'll buy them for you. Well, I'll buy one set. You pay for the other. How's that sound? I just want you to know how it feels to live your best life."
"You sound like Pastor Joel Osteen."
I laugh. "Vee, believe me, Osteen and I don't have a thing in common, except I do care about you; you're my girl and I want to see you happy. I want to see you smile. I don't want to see you have a spaz attack 'cause some NGM acts foul."
"No good man," we say at the same time and highfive each other.
"You crack me up every time you say that," Veron tells me.
"Well, as long as NGMs exist you're going to be hearing me say that," I tell her. "Don't forget the characteristics of an NGM: Men who always blame their problems on 'da White Man' instead of taking responsibility for their own decisions. Men who act like they gots to be the head of the house, yet they don't even have a job, they won't pay any bills, or don't earn head-of-the-household money. Men who put the ring on ya finger but here they are, still slipping out in the streets doing their thing the minute they don't think you're looking. And men who only go out with you because another heffa bailed out," I add, to remind her that she needs to kick sorry-ass Ferris to the curb.
Excerpted from Scandalous Betrayal by Cydney Rax. Copyright © 2008 Cydney Rax. 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.
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