by Lloyd Johnson
How far would you go to get what you want?
After receiving an indecent proposal, Armando must decide if he’s willing to do anything in the name of love. Or, will his girlfriend’s insecurities about his past drive him away for good?
Tired of living under his wife’s shadow, Gary is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Can he go the distance? Or, will his wife’s ambition ruin them both?
Cabrien falls in love with his client, a man who knows how to pull everyone’s strings. But Cabrien makes a discovery that threatens to destroy the lives of those involved!
Everyone has an angle, and deception and manipulation are the laws of the land. In a time of instant gratification, TRICKS FOR A TRADE asks: Does the end always justify the means?
Chapter One: Tricks for a Trade
Friday, June 6, 2008
“You on your period, now? Really?” Karen turned her back to Armando in bed. He didn’t know why she would even bother telling that lie. Was a time when I’d bring the thunder in the bedroom, and ol’ girl would be so tired, she couldn’t fuss or ask a lot of questions, he thought to himself. Now, Armando was getting nonsense excuses AND no sex. He wondered if he was losing his touch.
Karen wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous, but she was cute to look at. Medium brown, with long-lashed, warm eyes. She kept her hair done–always permed and together. None of that new-growth-busting-through stuff.
There was a gap between her two front teeth, but it didn’t make her teeth look wrecked. You had the feeling her smile wouldn’t have been as beautiful if she ever got her teeth fixed. God must’ve skipped out on her in the self-esteem department, though. It seemed like everyone but Karen knew she was a good woman. Sure, she’d tell you that she was, but it’s not like she really believed it. Every time Armando stroked her hair, he was stroking her ego. He was a good man who’d found his good woman. He was just waiting on her to believe it too.
“So, I guess I can’t get none before work, huh?” Armando asked, his thick arms crossed, his gray eyes seductive.
She sat up in the bed, intentionally allowing the bed sheet to fall. “Boy, you better stop playing with me,” she said, unfazed by his eyes’ magic. She’d seen them before.
Armando jumped from the bed and stared at Karen with both anger and lust in his eyes.
Determined to remain strong she asked, “Have you given any more thought to what we talked about?”
“Karen, don’t start that again, all right?”
“No, Armando. I’m going to keep on it. I’m getting tired of hearing my mama suck her teeth, telling me how I’m living in sin.”
“I don’t know why you gotta tell your mama everything in the first place,” he said.
“Because she’s my mama!”
“Oh, please. Y’all don’t even get along.”
“Don’t try and change the subject,” Karen said, shaking her always well-manicured hands and rolling her neck. “When are we getting married?”
“I gotta go to work.”
“Yeah, that’s right. Take your black ass to work. But we ain’t finished with this conversation. Believe that. But I know one thing; I better not find out that you’re sleeping with some other woman, Armando. Because if you are, you better take a good look down below, baby.”
“What, you’re gonna go Lorena Bobbitt on me?” he asked with a chuckle, trying to lighten the mood.
“Hell yeah. But in your case, they won’t find it in no bushes.”
“Why is it every time you hear something you don’t like, I gotta be messing around?”
Karen didn’t care how many times he claimed his whoring days were over. He hadn’t proposed to her yet, so he must be out laying every female who would let him. She gave him the iciest of stares, her arms folded, like she was expecting a full confession to some bogus stuff he’d been doing.
Instead, Armando went to the bathroom; his jet stream of piss turned the toilet water yellow as Karen stood in the doorway. Her words began sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher’s “Wah wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah!”
Armando flushed the toilet, hearing her say, “Enough of the dumb stuff!” He slammed the door in her face, which was met with angry pounding. He locked the door and turned on the shower, jumping in quickly. She didn’t deserve his thunder anyway.
After his shower, Karen had quieted down. But he wasn’t going to risk starting her up again, so he avoided eye contact and put on his underwear, undershirt, black work pants, and white golf shirt in record speed. Karen sat on the side of her bed with her back toward him.
Karen had told him a thousand times–she felt used and abused. He got it. And he was sorry she felt that way, but it wasn’t going to change who he was. He did want to marry her…someday. But since leaving home at eighteen to get away from his mother and her boyfriend drama, he’d been in survival mode, always thinking, “Be loyal to yourself. Everything and everyone else comes after.” Freedom pulsed through his blood, and Armando wasn’t ready to give that up.
Why couldn’t she just relax and enjoy the orgasms he put on her? But maybe that was the problem. Maybe she wasn’t strong enough to handle it. It spun her around and left her all out of breath…and paranoid.
Armando walked up to Karen, kissing her on the side of her temple. “I’ll call you later,” he said.
He left for work, not feeling too badly about any of it. She was twenty-seven, just like him. They were both grown and she knew how he was. Armando had to do things on his own timetable. He had told her that a thousand times.
( Continued… )
*NOTE* The following excerpt has been modified from its original text and is suitable for general audiences. © 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Lloyd Johnson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
Purchase Tricks for a Trade by Lloyd Johnson