When Bishop Fontaine passed away he left behind more than a list of good deeds. He was known as a caring friend and doting father. . .but he was also manipulative and controlling, especially to those he loved. His death begins to unravel deep secrets and shocking desires among the people he cared about the most. . .
His daughter, Kristine, feels that with her father's death she is finally free. His best friend and business partner, Lamar, feels that now can finally have what he has longed for all these years: Kristine. His prot�g�, Cole, the boxing champion and rising star, married a woman Bishop never approved of and may have been right about. Rayne, the blues singer and ex-junkie relied on Bishop to keep her clean and is now slipping down a dark path without him. And Rhonda, Lamar's wife, is determined to ignore what has been unfolding in front of her if it means that her predictable life will go unchanged. And then a newcomer steps onto the scene and threatens to turn everything upside down.
Five very different people whose lives are only connected by Bishop suddenly find themselves up close and personal as desires, dreams and passions collide.
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St. Martin's Press
March 15, 2009
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Excerpt from That Devil's No Friend of Mine by J.D. Mason
HE'D CHAIN-SMOKE HER IF HE COULD
Tauris Diggs sat in the back of the room, cloaked in darkness, sipping on gin and tonic, taking her in an inch at a time. Rayne was built like rhythms, with flowing lines curving into hips, thighs, and ass. She didn't have much on top, but it didn't matter. Tauris glanced around the room wondering if anyone in that audience could see his fingerprintson her skin. Could they see the impression his lips had left on hers? No. And it was all well and good, too, because these people weren't grown enough to bear witness to the kind of shit he and Rayne did in private.
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Addictions were dangerous. Addictions to a woman like Rayne Fitzgerald were lethal and he figured out months ago that he was a lost cause beyond salvation, destined to go belly up at her feet when the time came. Her shit was that good. Rayne was hell to deal with sometimes, but that bad-ass attitude of hers just seemed too much like right paired with the rest of her. She was a walking, talking, blues ballad. The kind that made you cry and left you wanting more just so you could cry again. Tauris was a fool over her, and she knew it. And that was the worst part.
Your lips are laughable
She was breathtaking in white. White against her blue-black skin looked sacred and mystic. Rayne worked the hell out of it, too, swaying her hips slowly back and forth, as the light bounced off each and every sequin on that gown, hypnotizing and lulling people into the spell that was her. Rayne's long locks were piled high on her head like a crown, and full, moist lips circled every syllable that came from her mouth.
"People want magic when you get up on that stage," she'd explained to him. "They listen for it and look for it. Sequins, a sick-ass melody, some soul coming up from your gut and out of your mouth--throw in some booze and the whole scene unfolds like a dream right in front of their eyes," she winked and smiled. "That's what I do for a living, baby. I make dreams come true."
She sure was making his come true when she wasn't treating him like a reject. Hot one minute, cold the next, Rayne dismissed him when she was through, then snapped her fingers and whistled when she needed him. Tauris swore he wasn't going to keep putting up with her, but of course he did. And he would keep on until she decided to stop snapping flngers and whistling for him. They both knew that.
He wouldn't have taken that kind of behavior from any other woman, but then, Rayne wasn't just any woman. Standing back watching the crowd, he caught more than one man salivating at the sight of her. Hell, even a few women in the room stared at her like she was a meal.
"I want you to wait for me after the show," she'd told him earlier. Rayne's gritty and worn voice was deep and Southern, even when she wasn't singing, and it comforted him and seduced him, drawing him in like a lullaby.
He didn't respond, thinking he could outplay her in this game between them where she made up the rules as she went along. Play it hard, man, he told himself. Don't be a punk and give in so easily. Make her sweat. Tell her you've got something to do.
She seemed to sense this small internal war he waged inside himself, and she turned from her reflection in the mirror, walked over to where he stood, and ran her finger lightly across his lower lip, then kissed the corner of his mouth. "Come on, Tauris," she whispered. Rayne took his lip between her teeth, and bit down slightly. "I need you to night, baby. What? You gonna make me beg for it?"
Women like her were a luxury. The best most men could ever do was to jack off to the fantasy of her. Rayne was that rare exotic jewel that few would ever get to put their hands on, and here she was, practically begging for him. He didn't need to bother saying yes. She saw his answer in his eyes and felt it in his pants. Rayne laughed mockingly, patted his cheek, and left him sitting in her dressing room.
"This next little number is dedicated to a good friend of mine," she spoke to the crowd, and then winked in his direction. "It's off my last CD, a song written by Joel Lewis and Tammy Jacobs, and it's called, `Too Much Woman for You.' "
The audience howled and clapped. Tauris shifted uneasily in his seat.
"But don't worry, baby," she smiled at him, making it obvious to anyone who was paying attention that he was on her radar. "I promise to take it easy on you."
Everyone in the room laughed. Rayne laughed the loudest. Tauris didn't laugh at all. He just took another sip from his glass, and tried not to look offended.