In Wild Cherry by K'wan, Gina is married to a man who more than takes good care of her, but her life of luxury comes with a price that she's not sure she can pay anymore. Princess' man doesn't see her as any more than dollar signs—as long as she keeps using her body to bring in the stacks. When Gina and Princess meet and realize that they share a common problem, they sent into motion an unforgettable plot that will solve all their problems…
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
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About the Author
K'WAN is the #1 Essence bestselling author of Welfare Wifeys, Section 8, Gutter, Still Hood, Hood Rat, Eve, Hoodlum, Street Dreams, Gangsta and Road Dawgz. He has been featured in Time, KING, The New York Press, MTV and Big News.
K'WAN is the #1 Essence bestselling author of Welfare Wifeys, Section 8, Gutter, Still Hood, Hood Rat, and others. He wrote his first novel, Gangsta, as a therapeutic release, and it went on to become an Essence bestseller and a part of urban-lit history. In 2008 he received the Black Author of the Year Award from Black Press Radio. He has been featured in Time, KING, The New York Press, and on MTV and BET. Besides an author, K’wan is also a motivational speaker, a mentor to at-risk children and the C.E.O of Black Dawn, Inc. He lives in New Jersey.
Read an Excerpt
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2009 K'wan
All rights reserved.
"Gina, where the hell is my beer?"
The sound of his voice startled me so bad that I dropped the bottle I was holding, shattering it all over my freshly mopped tiles. Beer splashed on my cabinet doors and all over my new Max Studio Frida sandals. The damn things cost too much for me to be lounging around the house in them, but I wanted to represent for Jackie. I always tried to look good when Jackie's friends came over. Not because I wanted them ogling me — which they did anyhow, whenever they thought Jackie wasn't looking — but because I was a reflection of my man and liked to carry myself accordingly. To me, there was nothing worse than a clean-cut man with a busted female at his side. The snakeskin exterior of the shoes would survive the drenching, but the interior would end up smelling like mildew from the beer soaking in.
"Two hundred dollars down the damn drain."
"Gina, what the hell was that!" he barked from the other side of the door.
"Nothing, baby," I lied.
"Then bring yo ass on, a nigga thirsty!"
"Okay, I'm coming. One mess in the living room and one in here," I muttered to myself. "Relax, Gina," I said under my breath. The words sounded convincing enough, but I still didn't believe them.
I pulled open the right side of my stainless steel refrigerator to get Jackie another beer, and to my dismay we were out — at least out of Heinekens. Apparently the one now pooling on my kitchen floor was the last of the Mohicans. Thankfully, I had a Corona stashed in the vegetable bin. I was saving it for myself, but it looked like I'd be paying the house with it. Trying to ignore the beer drying on my feet and soaking into my instep, I sliced a lime for the lip of Jackie's beer and put my game face on.
When I stepped through the swinging door and into my living room, my heart sank as I beheld the mess Jackie and his stooges had made of it. The weed and cigarette smoke was so thick that my eyes stung. It would take weeks for me to get the stench out of my furniture. I hadn't taken two steps when I heard the crackle of a chip that had escaped from the bowl, pulverized beneath my soggy heels. I didn't even have to see the Cheez Doodles stains in the soft cream carpet to know that I'd have to have it professionally cleaned ... again. Beer bottles and cups were sitting on everything with a flat surface, including my autographed Best of Patti LaBelle CD box set. For all the hell I went through to get it signed, there wasn't a court in the land that would convict me if I went postal on those Negroes.
A card table was erected in the middle of my living room, with Jackie and his shiftless-ass friends huddled around it, engaged in a game of poker. If you added all of them together, Jackie's friends weren't worth a bucket of piss. They were loud, disrespectful, and just overall pains in the ass. But as the saying went, birds of a feather. In the center of the chaos sat Jackie, my husband and keeper of the last five years.
Jackie, for as much of an ass as he can be, is a prize catch. He had baggage, as most men do these days, but he kept his baby's mother at a distance, and spent time with his daughter. That turned me on about him. My dad was in and out of my life, so I really can't respect a man who isn't doing what he has to for his children. Back in those days, Jackie was working as an associate publicist for a major house during the day and working in the mailroom at another house at night. Considering that he had degrees in law and business management, I thought he was selling himself short. About nine months into our relationship, he made me eat my words. Jackie had taken the contacts he made — and stole — while working at the two houses and opened up his own literary agency. One by one, he started picking off authors and buttering up editors. By the time the industry even realized what was going on, Jackie had signed three of the top authors in urban fiction and was negotiating book and film deals for a former member of the 1925 New York Rens, whom everyone thought was dead. If you wanted talent, you had to see Jackie, and when you sat with him, you had better have your checkbook.
From the money he made off his clients, Jackie started flipping real estate. He bought a block of burnt-down row houses in Newark and opened up a book-distribution center and an hourly motel. If it had value, Jackie would buy and sell it. My man was making serious moves in the world, and he made sure I was at his side.
When he got his businesses up and popping, he made an honest woman out of me and threw a ring on my finger. Jackie went hard for the wedding. The cute little R & B singer with the funny face even came through to sing my wedding song. A bunch of hating-ass broads from the projects where I'd grown up were there, drinking my liquor and shooting me prisons. One of them even ended up throwing up all over one of the Porta-Potties we'd rented for the event. They tried to say it was from her drinking on an empty stomach, but I know the bitch was just sick with envy.
Once I jumped the broom, it was a whole different ball game. Jackie was good to me when I was his girl, and better when I became his fiancée, but when we got married, he made me feel like a queen. I was shopping two to three times a week and getting my hair done twice a week. Me even thinking about getting a job was out of the question: Jackie wasn't having it. He wanted me to rest, dress, and do away with stress, and I was content to do so. He insisted that if I wanted to work, it would have to be at one of his businesses. I did bookkeeping for the distribution and the agency from home, and time to time I'd act as the manager down at the club. Other than that, I didn't do much other than daydream and stay fly.
Don't get me wrong — I've been working since I was twelve years old, without missing a day. Like I mentioned, my dad was in and out of our lives between prison terms, so I had to help my mother hold it down for me and my little brother, Randy. My mother always drilled into me the importance of being independent, and until Jackie, I had lived by it. But I can't front. Being that I had worked for the last fifteen years of my life, nonstop, it kinda felt good to have somebody take care of me for a change.
Jackie was both a blessing and a curse in my life, which is probably true of 99 percent of husbands. He made sure life was good for us, and as his lady, I always stood in his corner, even when I might not have agreed with him. There was something about Jackie's character that made it hard for you to say no to him. He had that effect on most people. My Jackie is quite the character ... and did I mention that he is fine as all hell!
Six feet tall, with chocolate skin and a low-cut Caesar, real throwback Harlem. Jackie was sexy, but in a clean-cut sort of way. He carried himself like a businessman but had plenty of thug in him, especially in the bedroom. Jackie knew how to split me just the right way. Damn, I'm getting moist just thinking about it. When his brown eyes land on me, I feel the hunger stirring low in my kitty, wanting to gobble that thick pole he calls a dick. As soon as he opens his mouth, the moment is ruined.
"You gonna just stand there, or you gonna give me my beer?" he asked, with a joint dangling from his mouth.
Jackie was never much of a smoker, but when his friends came around, he felt the need to step into character. From the way the air smelled, I knew they were blowing piff, not that crunchy shit, but that sticky-ass Broadway. I wasn't much of a smoker either, but I'd take a toke or two off the haze when Jackie brought it home on those rare occasions. There's something about that Barney that made me wanna get busy. Jackie usually bent me over and fucked me like a project bitch on those nights, but when he smoked heavy with his friends, I'd be lucky if he stayed awake long enough for me to suck him off, let alone bust mine.
"Here you go, baby," I sat the Corona on the table in front of him. I make sure I lean in a little extra when I do this so he can get an eyeful of the 36C's under my silk button-up blouse.
"What the hell is this?" He completely ignores my attempt at seduction, eyeing the beer as if it's something foul.
"Your beer, sweetie," I say in my sexy way, but it didn't seem to move him.
"Maybe you should've brought him one of them cherry smoothies his ass loves so much instead," Moe teased.
"Watch that — you know how I feel about them smoothies!" Jackie snapped. Lots of people had fetishes for weird things; Jackie's was cherry smoothies. What probably only me and José knew was the reasoning for Jackie's loving the fruity drink. Jackie's father was a notorious womanizer, which led to him and Jackie's mother splitting up every six months. The separations never lasted more than a week, but whenever Jackie's father would come back, he would take the family out for smoothies on Coney Island. Cherry smoothies represented a piece of his childhood that Jackie wasn't quite ready to let go of.
"Sorry about that, boo, but it was the last beer in the fridge," I explained.
"Damn, baby, you know whenever I drink this Mexican shit, I get gassy," he complained, but still wrapped his lips around the beer.
"That's the last thing we need in here, wit ya rotten ass," Bilal joked. He was the youngest of their little clique. A reformed knucklehead from the block, Bilal proved to be the only one of Jackie's comrades at the time who had a little sense. Instead of blowing his money frivolously, waiting for Johnny Law's other shoe to drop, he made a little paper and dumped it into a business. Bilal was doing quite well with a dot-com he'd established with a college professor of his.
He was the portrait of a young dude who felt like because he had a little money in the bank, it made his dick bigger. Bilal was brash and had a mouth like gutter trash, but he was definitely eye candy. That afternoon, he wore his shoulder-length dreads twisted into three large braids that snaked over his head and tickled his neck. The blue Calvin Klein shirt he was rocking could've used a once-over with the iron, but he still looked neat. Without me really thinking about it, my eyes wandered the length of his body and stopped at the print of his baggy jeans. Had it been a few years ago, I might've given his ass a little taste, not because he was cute, even though he was, but because there was no greater joy to me than making a so-called player recognize the power of the pussy. But those days were behind me. I was a married woman, and the only dick that my pussy would curve to was Jackie's.
"Fuck you, you fake-ass Rasta. Why don't you take your lil ass back up on the corner with the rest of them niggaz and grab a forty!" Jackie shot back.
"Nigga, don't play ya self, you know I ain't seen a corner in years." Bilal poked his chest out. "And while you're talking all reckless, you need to be glad she even brought it to ya lazy ass. I don't see a damn thing wrong with your legs."
It felt like all the sound was sucked out of the room. Seeing the fire burning in Jackie's eyes made me take a step back. I'd seen that stare enough times to know what came with it. Bilal had touched on a very sore subject, and he knew it. If you wanted to pluck Jackie's nerve, comment about how he ran his house or his woman. Jackie was one of the smartest men I had ever met, but he had a very Neanderthal way of thinking when it came to his possessions, including me.
Jackie leaned forward on his elbows and stared up at Bilal. "What, nigga?"
"Be easy, Jack, you know the nigga ain't mean it how he sounded, did you, Lal?" José tried to downplay it. He was a burly Puerto Rican whom Jackie had been friends with since high school. He now worked as head of security at Jackie's club, Paradise. José outweighed him by easily a hundred pounds, but even he didn't want to have to deal with Jackie if he was in one of his moods.
"Nah, I was just playing with you, Jackie, I didn't mean no disrespect," Bilal said in a less-than-sincere tone.
I knew it was a lie, and so did everyone else. It seemed like every time Jackie and Bilal got together and added alcohol to the mix, it became a dick-measuring contest. Bilal always went the extra mile trying to see how far he could push Jackie before he snapped. The young man didn't realize that he was threatening to open Pandora's box with his antics.
"Yo, pass the blunt." Moe spoke up, turning everyone's attention to him and away from the argument. He was a medium-built yellow cat who wore his head shaved. He definitely had his moments of ignorance right along with the rest of them, but overall, he had to be the most level-headed of the four.
"Do y'all want me to make some sandwiches or something?" I asked, trying to do my part in keeping the peace. When I saw Jackie's angry gaze turn on me, I knew I'd fucked up.
"Hell nah, these niggaz don't want no sandwiches!" Jackie half snarled at me. "This ain't Subway, if a nigga hungry, then he should've ate before he brought his ass over here." Jackie let his eyes sweep his crew, but in a flash they were back on me. Jackie frowned, before leaning in to sniff me. "Gina, you been drinking? And what the hell do you have on? Button that damn shirt!" he snapped.
When I had put the top on, I thought it was sexy, but the look of disgust on his face said I was wrong. As if the wet feet weren't bad enough, I really felt like a hot mess now. I could feel every eye in the room on me, and I suddenly knew what the whore of Babylon felt like. I tried to slink off to hide my shame, but Jackie grabbed me by the arm.
"Where the hell do you think you're going?" he asked.
"Upstairs to lie down." I tried to free my arm, but he held firm. Though nobody could see what he was doing, Jackie was digging his thumbnail into my forearm. He had that look in his eyes that I hated. The look that told me he'd had too much.
"Well, before you run upstairs to hop on the phone and talk our business to one of your hoodrat-ass friends or your faggot brother, go make a beer run."
"And some more blunts, ma," José added.
Jackie was trying to show his friends that he was the boss in the relationship — and the way I felt, I was in no mood to dispute it. The sooner I went and got the beer, the sooner I'd be away from them and Jackie. "A'ight, Jackie. Just let me go throw some sweats on, and I'll take care of that for you."
Jackie cast his bloodshot eyes back to me.
"Nah, ain't nobody got time to wait for you to primp and all that, Gina. You felt comfortable enough in ya little getup to flaunt it in front of my niggaz, so you'll be a'ight. If a nigga try to snatch ya ass, hit me on the speed dial." He looked me up and down as if I had just crawled in off the street.
I just looked back at him from under hooded eyes. I go and spend four hours in the salon and a thousand dollars on Fifth Avenue, and he all but calls me a whore for it? Excuse the hell out of me for going the extra mile to make my man seem like he has good taste. A bum bitch would've greeted Jackie's company in hoochie shorts, no bra, with a scarf on her head, but I catch the short end because I want to keep my marriage spicy. ... Are you fucking kidding me?
A man can be good for holding you down or knocking the lining out of your pussy sideways, but they tend to be on the dull side when it came to dealing with things that they should've already figured out by a certain age. The comparison someone once made about men being so akin to animals because of their base natures was right on the money. They moved off instinct rather than rational thoughts. You show me a man who has 100 percent control over that little bell that goes off when a chick with a nice ass walks by, and I'll show you a closet homosexual.
"Don't trip, Jack. I'll go with her," José volunteered.
Now, of all Jackie's people, he trusted José the most. For as long as I had known him, he and I had always had a brother-and-sister relationship. Jackie knew all of this and was generally cool about it, but tonight it was about stripes.
"What, you trying to fuck, too?" Jackie asked venomously, cutting his eyes at Bilal before going back to José.
"Jackie, I don't give a fuck how much you had to drink or smoke, but don't come at me like that on some stunting shit, dawg. You know how me and Gina get down, homey," José told him. His tone wasn't hostile, but the words carried far more weight than when he normally spoke.
The two friends glared stone-faced at each other, neither moving, only glaring. A situation was fast on the horizon, and as usual I was in the center of it.
My rational brain told me to just go get my car keys and skate, but the devil got the best of me. "Look, nobody has to go to the store with me, I'm a big girl. Jackie, you'll get your beers, but I'm taking these damn shoes off first." I made sure I flung my hair extra hard when I turned to sashay toward the stairs. About eight and a half seconds later, the world exploded into brilliant white stars.CHAPTER 2
Yo, I've never been a dick rider — well, at least not in the metaphoric sense, but I loved Harlem. Don't get me wrong, I was born and raised in Brooklyn, so my heart is always gonna be on Nostrand Ave., but I very much enjoyed my trips Uptown. Be it hopping off the A train, or out of some lame nigga's whip, I always felt a tinge of excitement when I touched these Harlem streets. In my mind, it was like the spirits that had passed through here were reaching out to the rejected and abused child within me, telling me that it got greater later. I've always held on to that belief, though I have yet to see it.
Excerpted from Wild Cherry by K'wan. Copyright © 2009 K'wan. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Well, I am a Kawan reader amd I couldn't wait until this book drop. But I'm glad to know that this book is worth the money and then some. I don't want to tell you what the book is all about, but its a good story. Happy reading Nook Lovers. Devotion143
K'wan never disappoints! Just when I thought I knew how the story would end , he surprised me! I feel that there will be a part 2
The ending is jaw dropping! Kwan is a master!
What is God’s name did I just read. That ending is a complete hot mess. Avoid this book at all costs.
Great story but it left off on a cliffhanger! I need to know what happened between Gina and Randy now that she knows Jackie was booty chasing after her brother. And what bout the bodies? Did Gina ever get caught? What about her life after all this?
I never seen this book. Wow. I should of known that brother was up to something.
IT SEEMS LIKE I'VE READ THIS STORY BEFORE !!!
Are king &kings
Why does it say that I'm 12 moons old? Wut? -Midnight
Name:cherrystar age:27 moons anything else ask
Wonks at Noah and smiles as she sits on his lap
UGH. FINE. I choooooossseeeee myyyy Baeeee. Jordan. ^-^