LaShanta Charles was born and raised in the small town of Orangeburg, SC. She has always been an avid reader of all genres, but Urban / African American Fiction has always been her true love and is what inspired her to pursue a writing career. In high school, she began letting her classmates read the short stories that she would write and based off of their feedback, her passion for writing pushed her to become a published author. She published her debut novel, Lovely Lies, in 2013 and is currently working on the sequel, Lovely Lies 2, along with other projects. In recognition of her work, LaShanta was recently named National Black Book Festival’s 2013 Best New Author and has been nominated for 2013 Breakout Author of the Year through the African American Literary Awards Show.Currently she lives in Killeen, TX, with her husband and two children. She is pursuing a degree in English at Drury University and also serving in the US Army. Her hobbies include spending time with family, traveling, eating, and of course, writing. Her motto is “strive to excel, not to equal.”
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Makynzee has spent all of her life being dependent on people who’ve always disappointed her, especially her abusive mother. Everyone lies to her – her sister, her uncle, even her beloved father. When her mom strips her of her one true love, gymnastics, she’s determined to find and maintain her independence. There’s only one little problem…money. She sets out to find a job as a dancer at a gentlemen’s club, but finds Kalil instead. With his looks, money, and charisma any woman would be crazy not to want him and Makynzee’s no different. Falling for him fast she soon discovers some things just aren’t adding up and Kalil may not be the man she thought he was. He wants to be with her and provide for her, but can he protect her? When a love-struck fan becomes obsessed and begins attacking and stalking Makynzee she questions Kalil’s ability to be her protector. Makynzee has no idea who he is, where he came from, or why he’s here, but he’s determined to have her even if that means eliminating everyone she knows and loves. By any means necessary, right? She belongs to him and he’s claiming what’s rightfully his, no matter the circumstances. When truths are revealed, they threaten to tear Makynzee’s soul apart and chaos becomes her life. Will she be able to escape this temporary insanity or will she become a permanent victim?
Kalil wants a baby. Maybe even babies. Thinking about babies makes me think of Riley and Patience. I know Riley held on to her demons, but what she did makes no sense to me. There’s something Marcus isn’t telling me. I call him and ask if I can stop by when I’m done here. He sounds excited to hear from me. I finish with Amber and as I’m leaving Stanley walks in. He asks if I’ve given any thought to changing my mind about coming to the wedding. I ignore him. When I get to Marcus’s house, he’s outside. I don’t know if he was waiting for me or if he was already outside. It’s too hot to just be sitting outside.
“Hey, I’m glad you called. I wanted to talk to you about a few competitions I heard about.”
I walk onto the porch and immediately stop. I hate this porch. I’m not even sure how he can be so calm while he’s standing here. I walk backwards until I’m on the lawn. “That’s not why I’m here, Marcus.”
“I can’t stop thinking about it. I need to know. What set her off?”
His expression changes. He doesn’t look happy to see me anymore.
“I mean it’s just so weird. She lived with all that for so long and then just out of the blue with no explanation she goes and does this.” I don’t elaborate on what this is. He knows exactly what I’m talking about, but he doesn’t respond. I watch as he goes back up to the porch and opens the door to the house.
“I got arrested.”
What!? I start to ask why, but he answers before I do.
“Soliciting a prostitute.”
He doesn’t say anymore. Riley needed someone to talk to. Someone she could trust. The one person she thought that was betrayed her. Why didn’t she come to me? Thoughts of her flood my mind as I go to the car, but everything goes blank when I see Nyeem’s reflection in the tint of the car window.
“Hello,” he says.
Hello? Seriously? I go for the panic button on the keypad. I’m not sure how he knew what I was thinking of doing, maybe my eyes gave it away, but he grabs my hand and squeezes my knuckles together. My keys slip from my hands as I cry out.
“You should be happy to see me.” He’s behind me, using his body to pin me against the car. His hand is around my neck and I’m struggling to breathe. “You’re making this harder than it has to be, all you gotta do is talk to me!”
Trying to pry his hand away would be useless, so I go for his neck instead. He lets my neck go, but doesn’t move away.
“I knew you’d be a fighter.”
I can feel his lips at the nape of my neck, his erection growing in the small of my back. The pleasure he’s getting from this disgusts me.“What do you want? Why are you doing this?”
“Because you act like you don’t remember me!”
“I only worked at Sirens for a few months, how could I remember you?” I yell.
“I was here long before Sirens! I’ve been here since all you cared about was freestyle, since day one and you get with Kalil and forget everything else that matters!”
My mind threatens to shut down as I try to figure out what he’s talking about. I have no idea who he is, but he obviously knows me well. He slides his hand over my left breast then tries to slip it between my legs. I scream and push against the car, but he’s too strong. I reach behind me again, this time going for his face. His eyes are my target, but he’s taller than I thought. My thumb slips into his mouth and I dig all five of my nails into his jaw. He backs away just enough for me to turn to him. I thought this would make it easier to fight him. I realize how wrong that thought was when I feel the back of his hand across my face. It doesn’t sting like the slaps I’ve felt from my mom or anyone else. It hurts like hell and I’m dizzy. I can’t tell if my vision is blurry because of the blow or my tears. I can hear him yelling at me, but I can’t focus on what he’s saying. I grab my keys just as he grabs me. He’s hovering over me; choking me again. I push the panic button and the alarm goes off.
“The cops are on their way, get off of her or I’ll shoot,” Marcus says.
Nyeem ignores him.
“I’m serious mister, let her go!”
“Marcus, what’s going on?” a distant voice asks.
Another yells, “What are you doing? Get off of her!”
I think the neighbors have started to come out because of the car alarm, but I can’t understand why hasn’t Marcus shot him yet?
A female yells, “Help them, get him off of her!”
Marcus chambers a round and yells, “I won’t ask you again!”
He didn’t even have the gun cocked?!
Nyeem kisses me and says, “Think long and hard, you can’t just erase me. I’ll see you soon.”
I can breathe again. By the time I catch my breath and look around he’s lost in the crowd of Marcus and his neighbors as they check to see if I’m okay.