My integrity is so important to me because it is the backbone of who I am as well as what I strive to be in this industry.
I have two books in my queue this year. The first is somewhat autobiographical, aimed at encouraging and motivating my brothers within the LGBT Community. The book is entitled, "45 Years of Darkness" and chronicles what I went through (and to some degree continue to experience) as a sexual abuse survivor.
I had to dig deep for this. It was painful in some ways and liberating in others. Some will come away enlightened while others will think that I got what I deserved. It wasn't written for sympathy. It was written for a group of people who may be hurting and not even know they are. I make no apologies for this. As a survivor, I shouldn't have to.
The second book is entitled, "Second Chances." It wraps up the "Bruthas" family saga. In this last book we find out what really happened to Nate (the youngest brother), what's going on with Jai (the oldest brother) and if Ryan's relationship with Ethan will survive the trials and tribulations of issues from Ryan's past that have come home to roost. Once again, it is tied around another murder mystery taking place in Philadelphia. Who shot and killed Ryan's upstairs womanizing neighbor to death?
I'm getting ready to change the website carrier for Four Brothers Publications. With that being said, it may be down for a little while. But rest assured that it will be back up with a new look that will compliment the direction that I choose to take my company in.
EXCERPT FROM "SECOND CHANCES"
“Second Chances and Do Overs”
The thumping was faint initially, like the bass in a car’s stereo system that cruised by with the windows rolled down. Ryan turned onto his side while scratching his clean-shaven head absently. He glanced at the digital clock on his side of the bed. It was just a little after four in the morning. He yawned, which gave way to a series of unexpected coughs, and then he fluffed his pillow in the hopes of trying to find a comfortable position that would allow him to go back to sleep.
“You okay?” The male voice said drowsily from beside him.
Ryan turned onto his back, glanced in Ethans direction but could barely see him. Ethan was on his stomach, his face buried into his pillow, but the spikes of his reddish hair stood out, begging for a comb and some styling gel later that morning.
“Yeah babe.” Ryan ran his hand over his own muscular chest. “Just this damn cold. Go back to sleep.”
“Alright.” Ethan reached for him absently and rested his hand on Ryan’s shoulder. “If you need something…” He stifled a yawn.”
Ryan glanced down at Ethans hand, a stark contrast against his brown skin. He smiled to himself. They didn’t come any whiter than Ethan and they didn’t come any better.
The thumping sounded again, louder this time. A man’s voice yelling something inaudible made Ryan sit up abruptly. Ethan turned on the lamp that sat on his side of the bed and rolled over onto his back. A woman’s voice shouted something back at the man but they couldn’t tell if what they were hearing was fear or anger.
“The bullshit’s starting again.” Ethan said with a glance at Ryan who had already bolted out of the bed and was rapidly pulling on a pair of jeans. “Rye, you can’t just go over there and stop the asshole from beating up on this …”
“Baby, I can do anything I want. You just call the cops.” Ryan said as he buttoned the top of his jeans and reached for a tee shirt in the closet. “This bullshit’s gotta stop and it’s ending tonight.”
“Fuck!” Ethan swore under his breath as he reached for the phone that sat beside the king sized bed that they both slept in. The king sized comforter slipped down to his hips as he reached for the phone, dialing 9-1-1 frantically. The woman’s shouting became louder, but the mans voice rolled over hers like black thunder.
Ryan whipped open the front door of his apartment and raced barefoot down the steps taking them two at a time until he reached the first floor landing. He rushed down the concrete walkway, making a sharp left before he hit the sidewalk, cutting across the lawn that been so meticulously kept by the owner of the twin duplex that he lived in. His eyes fell on the small form of a woman standing in the middle of the adjacent walkway looking up at the window of the second floor apartment. Ryan recognized her as his neighbor that lived on the first floor of the twin. She lived underneath the couple that was fighting. Now what was her name? Charmaine? Shelby? It didn’t come to mind.
“Did you call the cops?” She asked as he neared her.
She was shorter than he remembered. Short hair cut close to the scalp…almost boyish. It kind of reminded him of Jada Pinkett-Smith in the earlier stages of her career. She was small, maybe all of five foot three if that. But there was something about her that made him think that she wasn’t someone to mess with. It was in the eyes. Her eyes were huge, doe-like but full of expression topped with long lashes that gave her a soft femininity that her wiry body betrayed. She was wearing a pair of flannel lounge pants, pink slippers and frilly tank-top underneath a nearly floor length peach colored bathrobe.
“My buddy did.” He said and then looked upwards. The man was yelling at the top of his lungs and the only thing that they heard was the words. “fuck” and “bitch”.
“Fuck this shit!” the woman marched towards the side entrance and began to ring the bell. Before giving the couple a chance to answer, she began banging on the door. Ryan rushed to her side in case the man came downstairs and wanted to swing on someone. Since he obviously didn’t have a problem with hitting his girlfriend, he probably wouldn’t have a problem popping his neighbor; that’s if she didn’t pop him first.
Still, if he was going to hit someone, then he wanted him to try his luck with him. He would quickly find out that Ryan wasn’t some little woman that would take his punches without giving one back. And no matter how hard he thought the little woman that was banging on the door could hit, he was certain that he could do more damage than her.
“Open the fuckin’ door!” The woman yelled as the thumping from upstairs increased.
Ryan glanced at his neighbor and then at the upstairs window. As if by magic, the thumping and the cursing stopped.
“Yeah, I thought so.” The neighbor muttered under her breath, and then she took a step back from the front door as she listened to the upstairs door open. “Punk bitch only likes hittin’ on women. I got sumthin’ for him.”
The tread of heavy feet echoed in the hallway and then the front door whipped open. For a second, no one said anything. The man stood big, shirtless and angry. He stood all of six foot four with a clean-shaven head and a thick bush of beard that fell to just about an inch beneath his chin. His small eyes blazed hatred, but Ryan’s neighbor seemed to be completely unfazed. Time seem to stand still for all of them as they each regarded each other. The man was huge, muscular and he had a tattoo of several bullets over his abdomen. His huge hands flexed as if he wanted to grab someone by the throat. The woman looked at him thinking that he probably already did that to her neighbor at some point in the morning.
“What the fuck you want!! Bangin’ on my door at this hour in the muthafuckin’ mornin!” He growled.
“So, I finally get to see for myself what a woman basher looks like up close and personal!” The woman snapped while looking him up and down. “I’m not impressed. I expected more.”
Ryan cut her a look and then turned his attention immediately back to the man that stood in the doorway. He didn’t know what the man was going to do, but whenever he made his move, he knew for a fact that he wouldn’t give no kind of warning.
“Bitch, I’ll fuck you up!” He took a step out of the doorway and Ryan stepped forward at the same time that the woman stepped back, reaching under her robe . “Oh, you the punk bitch that live next door!” The man looked at Ryan.
“And I’m the bitch that lives down stairs, now you want to come for me?” The woman whipped out a straight edged razor. “’Cause I’ve danced with niggas bigger and badder than you!”
"Second Chances" is due out in late Spring 2014
~ J.L. Whitehead