A wife has had enough of her husband’s cheating ways, but he isn’t willing to let her go without a fight.
Paula Smith Harris has learned that the man she thought was her true love isn't exactly who he vowed to be. After enduring countless affairs, among other things, Paula decides that it is time to move on. However, getting away from her crazy, obsessed husband isn't going to be as easy as she hoped it would be.
Meanwhile, Michael is fighting for his right to stay married. With the secrets that have been revealed and the pain that was caused, is there any chance for a reconciliation?
Release date: April 25, 2023
Publisher: Urban Books
Print pages: 288
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When she pulled up, she parked in the Lowe’s parking lot across from the house and waited. Sure enough, not even ten minutes later, she saw Michael and a female she had seen several times with his sister walk out and sit down on the porch. He sat down on the porch, and the girl sat down next to him, and they appeared to be engrossed in conversation. A little boy who appeared to be around 5 ran out and started wrestling with Michael. Paula cringed inwardly, realizing that the boy had to be Michael’s. He had been screaming that he wasn’t ready for kids, yet he was playing daddy to another bitch’s kid. Paula laughed aloud as she thought about the several times she had dropped his damn ass at this very house because he claimed she was his cousin. Paula never really clicked with his family and barely knew half of them, so she never doubted that the female was his relative.
“I got yo’ bitch ass,” Paula said aloud to herself. She didn’t want to be seen, so she sat in the parking lot and waited for Michael to walk back into the house with his ho. When she finally pulled off, she called her cousin Tasha, who had sent her the screenshot.
“Bitch, I’ma fuck that nigga’s world up. He is fucking with some bitch while I’m sitting at home like a good housewife. Fuck that nigga. Come over and help me pack his shit up.”
“I’m on my way, cuz,” Tasha replied.
Paula hung up and turned her music up with the bass booming from her speakers.
Paula was 26 years old and the vice president of one of the most prestigious day care centers in North Carolina’s tristate area. Because of her “go get it” attitude and business ethics, she was one of the main reasons the company was so successful. She played no games. She made six figures a year between her bonuses and pay. She stood at five foot three and weighed 230 pounds. She was a big girl with class. She dressed appropriately for her size but always had a sexy flair to her style. She had brown skin and beautiful hair. She wore it natural, no chemicals at all. It was dreaded up and styled beautifully. She had nice, full lips and slanted light brown eyes. She had no children and had no desire for any kids until she had gained everything she desired in life. She knew that once she made the decision to have a child, she would be a full-time mother. It made sense to her to make all the money and life’s mistakes before bringing a child into the world.
She grew up in the quiet suburbs with her mother. When she was a baby, her father had been killed in a car crash that took not only his life but four others. Paula didn’t have any memories of him, but she had heard so many details about him, and what stuck most was that he was a great provider and loved her more than anything else in the world.
Because the accident was the fault of a tractor-trailer driver, Paula’s mom received a settlement of $1.5 million, which, along with the $75,000 of his insurance money, left them well-off. Her mom put her in private school, and Paula’s academic achievements soared.
Although Paula’s dad was gone, Maria Smith kept Paula in touch with his family, which was how she and Tasha became close. Anytime Paula went out of town for vacations with her mom, she would always include Tasha, and vice versa. Tasha’s family wasn’t rich, but they were well-off enough that they lived in the suburbs also. When Tasha invited Paula to her school dance, Paula was excited because she had never been to a dance before. As soon as she hit the floor, her fate was sealed with Michael, and the rest was history. A year later, her mother fell ill and died, which left Paula the only option of living with her mother’s mother, who moved into their home and managed the finances until Paula came of age.
Paula pulled up to an Exxon to get some gas before she ran out. She hadn’t paid any attention to the gage earlier because she was heated, but her car beeped, alerting her that her car was close to E.
When she got out of her car, a young Mexican man was parked next to her. “Mami, you have a lovely car.”
“Thank you,” Paula replied, smiling. She loved getting props on her baby. She had a brown Tundra as well, but when she rode through the city to relax, the Vic was her choice.
“The driver is sexy as hell, too,” he told her and winked.
“Thanks,” Paula replied and walked into the store. She shook her head. It was too early in the day for foolishness, especially that day.
While Paula was standing in the checkout line, the door chimed, and she looked up to see the Mexican man walking over to her. He said, “Listen, I’m not trying to be rude or stalk you, but I wanted to give you this.”
He handed her a flier that read:
“This is in South Carolina?” Paula asked.
“Yes, but I can guarantee that you will have a ball. There will be free food, plenty of contests, and an after-party. Shit, you might win the ‘Rumpshaker’ contest, also. Damn,” he said, looking at Paula’s ass.
Paula shook her head and brushed off the man’s last comment, but after the day she was having, she was going to seriously give it some thought.
Paula told the guy she would think about it and walked off after paying for her gas. She filled her tank and drove home. “Now to get this nigga’s shit out of my house.”
“Get the fuck out of my house, you sorry-ass piece of shit. How fucking dare you come back here like everything is cool?” Paula yelled as she threw Michael’s clothes out the door.
“Girl, what the fuck are you doing? You tripping for real. Put my muthafucking clothes back in the room.”
“Fuck you and these li’l raggedy-ass clothes. Get the fuck out for real.”
“What the hell are you tripping about? I ain’t did shit.”
“Where the fuck you been, Michael?” Paula asked.
“Man, you know I was at the bando trapping.”
“Really? Really, nigga? Is that your final answer?” she asked, standing with her hands on her hips.
“Man, I’m telling you that I haven’t been with no other bitch. That’s on everything.”
Paula grabbed her cell phone and showed him the picture of him and the woman he had just left. “Oh, yeah? Well, what the fuck is this?”
“Ma, where the hell did you get that from? You been spying on me?” he questioned angrily.
“You mad now? Get the fuck out of my shit. And to answer your question, yo’ bitch shared this on her Facebook page, and someone sent it to me, asking me if we had broken up. So check that ho, not me. I can’t believe that you would do this shit to me. Lying, telling me that’s your cousin. Hell, even yo’ dumb-ass sister was in on it, but fuck all y’all. Straight like that.”
Paula started getting angrier and angrier. “And that li’l bastard of yours, yeah, I saw his ass, too. You can have all that. As a matter of fact, you can have your name back and this ring. I want out.”
“You want what?” Michael asked as he stepped toward Paula.
Paula laughed and stepped closer to him. “What, ngga? You thought I was going to tremble or retreat? I will kill you, bitch, right where the fuck you stand. Like I said, I want out, meaning a d-i-v-o-r-c-e.”
Michael stood stone-faced. “Paula, please don’t do this. Please.”
Paula shook her head as hot tears threatened to exit her eyes. She wiped angrily at them, refusing to let Michael see her pain. “Get out,” she growled, staring him blankly in the eyes.
Michael shook his head. “I’m leaving, but I will be back.”
Once Michael left, Paula sat down on her couch and allowed all her emotions to seep out. She cried, screamed, and cried some more. She threw objects against the wall and screamed some more until finally she was drained. She walked into her bedroom and lay across her bed, thinking about the first time she’d laid eyes on Michael.
Paula met Michael Harris at her cousin’s school dance when she was 13 years old. She spotted him watching her when she was walking to the bathroom with Tasha. When they walked out of the restroom and started back to their table, Michael was waiting for her at the door.
“Hey, love. I’m Michael Harris, and you are?”
“I’m Paula, and this is my cousin Tasha.”
“Yeah, I think we are in the same science lab,” Michael replied, nodding his hello to Tasha.
Tasha barely spoke back, which caused Paula to give her that “don’t be mean” look.
He walked them to the table and then asked Paula to dance. They danced to the Kids At Work song “Singing Hey Yea,” and they were inseparable from that night on. Tasha didn’t like the fact that her cousin was with him and voiced her concerns only once and never again thereafter. She decided that she would support her cousin’s decision to date and then marry Michael and would be there to pick up the pieces when he broke her heart. In her mind it was inevitable.
Paula cringed as she remembered her cousin’s warning and laughed, “I should’ve listened to Tasha.”
She soon fell asleep and awoke the following morning ready to seize a new day. She had to find a divorce attorney and quick.
After Paula called Chandra, her boss, and explained what had happened three days before, Chandra gladly gave Paula the day off. She was the kind of boss who held strong beliefs about love, marriage, and relationships. Paula loved working for her because she made her job enjoyable. Paula did have to promise to do some work from home that was time sensitive, but only after she spoke to an attorney. Chandra referred an attorney who had helped her out in her divorce, and she swore to Paula that she was one of the best. Paula thanked her, and after she got off the phone with Chandra, she took a shower, put on her best Armani suit, and drove to Tasha’s house to see if she would ride with her to locate the perfect divorce attorney.
She was halfway there when her phone bleeped with a Facebook notification. She decided to wait to look at it until she pulled up at Tasha’s. As she set the phone back down, she caught sight of the flier that the guy had given her at Exxon the day before.
“I might just have to check this shit out.” She sighed.
When she finally pulled up in front of Tasha’s house, she parked and got out. The sun was shining bright, and the warmth from it kissed Paula’s skin. As she began walking to Tasha’s door, she groaned, “Damn, I forgot my phone.”
She walked back to her car, reached in through the window, and grabbed her cell. It was lit up, alerting her to another notification that had just come through.
“I almost forgot.” She laughed.
There were two digital messages waiting for her in her Facebook Messenger from a contact she didn’t know. She opened the attachments, and the smile on her face disappeared. The message Last Night followed each picture of her husband lying in what Paula assumed was Nicki’s bed, asleep, with her lying under him with her arms thrown around his neck. Paula slumped back against her car, staring at her phone, tears clouding her vision. She began to shake and slowly slide to the ground. She felt so raw, like her insides were exposed to the nastiest disease.
A few seconds later she was being pulled up. “Girl, what’s wrong with you?”
Paula held her phone out as she stood to regain her balance. The two ladies walked into Tasha’s apartment, and Paula sat down at the bar.
“You know what’s fucked up?” Tasha asked as she looked closely at the picture on Paula’s phone.
Paula didn’t respond as she sat on the couch with her left leg jumping uncontrollably fast.
“This nigga left you, his wife, in the state you were in and ran to his baby momma. Sorry-ass piece of shit,” Tasha argued, not giving Paula the chance to respond.
“Tash, fuck that shit. I came over here to see if you would ride with me to check out a few divorce attorneys. The first firm I want to check out is the one Chandra suggested. She said that they helped her a lot,” Paula stated.
“You know I’m down to ride. Let me go get myself together,” Tasha replied.
Once Tasha walked to the back room, Paula got up and walked outside and got in her car to wait for her.
Paula was disgusted and felt that the life within her had been sucked out of her. A few minutes later, Tasha emerged, and they drove out in search of the perfect divorce attorney. They soon pulled into the parking lot of Howard and Manchester Law Firm twenty minutes away from Tasha’s residence.
They parked, and as Paula unclamped her seat belt and opened the car door, Tasha stopped her. “You sure you want to do this, Paula? You two have been through a lot.”
Paula stared at Tasha, confused. “Tash, of all people I figured you would be okay with me doing this. You never liked Michael, and now you are questioning me about my decision? Listen, I’m not making any decision yet. I’m just really weighing my options.”
“Okay, cuz, you know whatever you decide to do, I’m behind you. Come on, let’s go talk to a man about a dog—your dog.”
Tasha started laughing, and Paula shook her head. “Corny ass.” Paula walked into the building with Tasha by her side.
The receptionist greeted them. “Welcome to Howard and Manchester Law Firm. How may I help you ladies?”
“Um yes, I was referred to you guys by Chandra Witherspoon. She said that this firm handled her divorce case,” Paula said nervously.
“We do handle those, but do you have an appointment to speak with anyone?” the receptionist asked.
“Oh, no, I don’t,” Paula whispered, shaking her head and feeling kind of silly for not doing that first.
“Unfortunately, all of our attorneys are busy today, but I can set you up with an appointment with one of them for next Thursday,” she informed Paula.
“Well, do you have any material I can look over?” Paula inquired. “After I read it, I will call you to set up an appointment.”
“Yes, ma’am, we do have a packet here, and you call when you are ready, okay?” The receptionist handed Paula a light packet and gave Paula her personal card. “Call me if you have any questions. You ladies have a fantastic day.”
“Thank you, and you do the same,” Paula replied.
The two ladies walked out and got back in the car. “Where to now?” Tasha asked.
“Shit, let’s just ride.” Paula laughed as she started her car and pulled off.
“I’m always down for that. Let’s go get Angela and chase the wind.”
Paula knew what Tasha was speaking of. Hell, she needed something between her legs, so why not make it a Ducati?
“Shit, let’s get it,” Paula agreed.
After Paula dropped Tasha off at home, she decided to call it a day. She drove home, and upon arriving there, she was unhappy and surprised to find Michael’s car in her driveway.
“What the hell?” She sighed as she parked her car and turned it off. She sat there for a few minutes trying to calm her nerves because she knew if she laid eyes on Michael right then, there was no telling what would occur.
Finally, she got out of the car and walked into the house. An aroma greeted her. Michael was cooking. He must have heard her walk in, because he immediately advanced into the living room.
“How are you?” he asked.
“Michael, what are you doing here?” she asked, rolling her eyes.
“Like I told you earlier, we need to talk.”
“Talk about what? I have really nothing to say to you,” Paula said as she set her purse and folder down on the barstool and headed for the bathroom.
Michael began to follow her, but his eyes were drawn to the folder that she had set down. He walked over and picked it up and set it down quickly as if it were on fire.
“Paula, what the fuck?” he yelled.
“What are you talking about, Michael?” Paula asked as she walked out of the bathroom, drying her hands off.
“What’s that?” he asked, pointing to the cream-colored folder with the Howard and Manchester Law Firm emblem imprinted on it.
“What do you think that is? I refuse to deal with a cheating, lying, sorry-ass man. I—” Paula began.
Before Paula knew what had happened, Michael slapped her with a force that sent her flying backward onto the side table, and then falling hard to the floor.
Paula screamed out loudly from the shock and the sting of the blow.
“Baby, I’m sorry. Please forgive me,” Michael cried as he rushed forward and knelt down to help her up.
Paula jerked away with her eyes glazed. “Get the fuck out of my house.”
“Paula, this is my house too. I’m not going anywhere,” Michael yelled back.
Paula stood up, holding on to the chair as she steadied herself. Once she was securely on her feet, she grabbed her cell phone.
“So you gonna call the cops on me now? It’s not enough that you are trying to take everything I love from me, but you want me behind bars, too? I’m sorry, Paula. You know I’ve never hit you before. Dammit, I’m sorry.”
Paula stared at Michael with a look that Michael had never seen before. “I’m taking everything you love? Nigga, if you loved me, we wouldn’t be where we are right muthafucking now. You did this to us, and to make it even worse, you ran straight to the bitch who’s in the middle of all this shit. Yeah, she sent pictures of you laid up in the bed with yo’ son lying next to you.”
Michael cringed as Paula showed him more damaging pictures of his wrongdoing, but technically he had done no wrong.
“Paula, yes, I went over there, but it was to confront her about why she put those pictures on Facebook. I haven’t slept with her in years. You got to believe that.”
Paula sneered, “And yet you keep getting photo-bombed at this bitch’s house in her fucking bed. Nigga, you ain’t shit. Get the fuck out.”
Michael walked to the kitchen and a few seconds later walked back out. “It’s not what you think, and I’m sorry that I put my hands on you, but this isn’t over, Paula. Not by a long shot.”
After Michael left, Paula fixed a chicken and shrimp salad and grabbed her peach tea out of the refrigerator. As she ate her dinner, she started reading over the material that she had gotten at the attorney’s office. Thirty minutes later, Paula sighed and tossed the folder to the side and decided it was time to get ready for bed.
Paula took a shower and, afterward, put on her lace blue bra and panty set with a matching robe, fixed herself a cup of wine, and went to her office. She sighed as she flipped open her laptop and started working on the files that her assistant, Brea, had sent her.
She tried to keep her mind on what was in front of her, but she couldn’t. She sighed and lay across the bed and closed her eyes, but she couldn’t seem to shake the image of Michael lying in another bitch’s be. . .
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