Three of Urban Books’ bestsellers have joined forces to tell a sinful tale chronicling the lust, violence, and cunning of street life.
Lust by Treasure Hernandez
Amira James has always had everything she ever wanted: the home, the clothes, and the rich daddy. However, there was a fire deep inside of her that wanted more and more . . . and more. So when she stumbles across the entrance of an underground sex club, she welcomes the new kind of high. Secretly, out of the gaze of the watchful eye of her prominent lawyer father, Amira slips deeper and deeper into this new and exciting life, taking on the name Lust and enjoying every ride. However, when her father loses a big case, and his debt comes back to bite, it’s Amira who will end up with teeth marks.
Greed by Katt
Jamia Greedy is the niece of Jamaul Greedy, the leader of an organized crime group in Chicago. He’s the only father she’s ever known since her own father was mysteriously murdered when she was a child. Her lavish life comes to a halt when Jamaul is critically wounded and is put on life support. His son, Adron takes over the game. But when it becomes clear to Jamia that Adron doesn’t want her around, she begins to undo a web of lies weaved by the ones who are supposed to love her most. In the end, she learns that it’s her life in the middle of a fight fueled by greed and power. Can she make it out alive?
Wrath by Marcus Weber
Hell hath no fury like Candace “Wrath” Davis. Seeing her mother ruthlessly killed at the ripe age of ten turned her cold inside. After that, the streets were the only thing that kept her warm, especially with all of the blood on her hands. Some called her a monster, but the people who paid her to clean up their messes called her the Calvary. It isn’t until she rekindles the flame of an old love interest that she thinks of putting her guns down. However, everything that glitters isn’t gold. While she’s falling in love, someone else is just getting closer to their target.
Release date: October 31, 2023
Publisher: Urban Books
Print pages: 288
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Girls from Da Hood 15
Amira James was in the middle of sneaking back into her room on the second floor. She had fallen to the floor with a thud, and she tried to stifle any more noise threatening to come from her lips. Her hip was on fire from the minor fall, but she knew there wasn’t much time if someone was coming to check and see what the racket was about. Limping, she stood up and closed the window. She kicked off her shoes and began to tiptoe to her bed, but a light flipping on in the room stopped her in her tracks. Thinking that her hotshot lawyer father caught her red-handed, she feared the worst. However, Amira sighed with relief when she swiveled around and saw who was sitting in the lamp chair.
“Winnie,” she said, addressing the family’s housekeeper, “you scared me. I thought you were Daddy.”
“Mmm, and if I had been, you wouldn’t be able to leave this house for weeks,” Winnie exclaimed. “You know I had to talk the man out of putting bars on your window.”
Winnie had been with the James family since before Amira could walk. She was a beautiful, wide-set woman in her early sixties and more like family than a housekeeper. When Amira was just 5 years old, her mother ran off with the gardener, so Winnie stepped up to help raise her. Amira’s father, Aramous James, was one of the most prominent lawyers in Georgia. So that meant he was a busy man. Sometimes too busy to spend time with his daughter. Winnie did all she could to keep her in check, but once Amira turned 18 and graduated high school, she became even more rebellious. In her mind, she was grown and couldn’t wait to be off to college out of state. But to Winnie and James, she was just a spoiled girl who had never grown up.
“Even if he did, it’s not like it would matter. I’ll be gone in a few months anyway,” Amira said with a shrug.
She stripped out of the cute pink, two-piece skirt outfit she’d been wearing and tossed it in the hamper inside of her large closet. Next, she grabbed an oversized shirt from her drawer and put it on before climbing into her pink canopy bed. Winnie just shook her head.
“I really wish you would reconsider going away to Florida for college. I almost lost my mind sitting here waiting for you to return to this house. I can’t imagine how I will feel when you’re somewhere you don’t know anybody.”
“Winnie, Daddy treats me like I’m a kid. You said it yourself. He wanted to put bars on my window. Who wants to live like that? Plus, I won’t be alone. Meka is going to the same college, remember?” Amira said, bringing up her childhood best friend.
“Lord, how could I forget?” Winnie rolled her eyes. “That girl is trouble. And I bet she’s the one you were with tonight. Let me guess, some party with cute boys.”
“Yes, and I had a ball,” Amira said with a grin, but when Winnie cut her eyes at her, she cut it short. “If I would have told Daddy, he wouldn’t have let me go.”
“And with good reason. You know, with your father’s job, he’s always worried about you. Especially with this new case.”
“Well, nobody told him to defend criminals, did they?”
“You watch your tone with me, girl. I may be 60, but I can still beat you down if I have to.” Winnie pointed a finger at her.
“I’m sorry. I just . . . I just want to have a normal life.”
“Look around you, girl.” Winnie motioned around at the spacious room and expensive décor. “This and that Range Rover you drive comes with a price. Now, if you had friends that enjoyed doing wholesome things, I’m sure your father wouldn’t mind you leaving the house. But you want to run around in the bad part of town with hoodrats.”
“Aht! Hush now, and get some sleep. It’s nearly two in the morning. I’ll think about letting your father know about this.”
She got up and left the room quietly. Amira smiled to herself because she knew Winnie wouldn’t tell. She never did. She rolled over on her side and grabbed her phone. The first thing she did was check her social media post from the night. One thing she could say about herself was that she had it going on, from the pretty face to the body bodying the way it was supposed to. The blond skunk stripe in her twenty-two-inch transparent lace wig had set the entire outfit off, and her post was already at 500 likes. Her phone vibrated with a text from Meka.
You made it home, best friend?
Amira responded quickly: Yeah, I did. Winnie caught me, though, but it’s cool. She won’t tell my dad.
Good. Can you meet for brunch in the morning? Those fine-ass boys we met want to take us for some food.
Amira smiled, remembering the tall, caramel-complected sexy thing from the house party. He hadn’t said too much to her, but she knew he was feeling her because he was staring from across the room.
Yeah, that’s cool. Just send the address.
Amira sent the message and closed her phone. She put it on the charger under her pillow and closed her eyes because all princesses needed their beauty sleep.
The next morning, Amira hummed as she moved around her closet, trying to put together the perfect brunch outfit. She didn’t know if she wanted to go with a Hilary Banks or a Fran Drescher vibe. Ultimately, she felt she was more of a Fran girl that day. The square-neck orange body con dress accented all of her curves, and the white mule heels made them sit up properly. After brushing out the curls in her hair, Amira put on a white beret and grabbed her white and gold Gucci top handle bag to match. She was very much into fashion, and looking good every day was a must. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t a model. Being magazine cover-ready made her feel good.
She left her bedroom in the large mansion and went down the hallway to the spiral staircase. She knew that Winnie must have been making breakfast from the smell in the air. Amira had already made up her mind that she would eat at home first. That way, she wouldn’t have much appetite at the restaurant. She felt it was unbecoming of a lady to gorge on food in front of boys. But then again, it was also unladylike to scale up the side of a house to climb through a window.
When she made it down the stairs, she went into the kitchen. She found Winnie standing over the stove and her father seated at the dining table. He was scrolling through his phone, no doubt looking at the stock numbers as he did every morning. Like his daughter, he was dressed to impress in a nice-fitted suit. Aramous was in his early forties but looked a decade younger, even with the trickle of gray on his head and beard. Growing up, it used to work Amira’s nerves how all her friends had crushes on her “fine” daddy. And she also had to admit that he was quite the lady’s man. She’d lost count of how many women had come and gone in his life. Through it all, he remained loyal to only one thing—his work.
“Good morning, Daddy,” she said in a singsong voice, kissing his forehead.
“Good morning, baby girl,” he replied, not looking up from his phone.
Winnie made Amira’s plate and loaded it with French toast, bacon, and eggs. The smell went straight to Amira’s nose and made her mouth water. She hurried to sit down and eat. While she dug in, Winnie poured her a glass of orange juice and set it in front of her.
“Where are you headed, beautiful? Paris?” Winnie asked.
“Meka and I are going to hang out.”
Upon hearing Meka’s name, Aramous finally looked up. Once his eyes fell on his daughter, his brow furrowed.
“And where is Meka dragging you today?”
“We’re just going to brunch,” Amira told him.
“But you’re eating now.”
“So? I could be hungry again in an hour.”
“There’s gonna be boys there, huh?” Aramous shook his head, and Amira smirked. “The last time Meka had you around some boys, they were thugs. You remember what happened?”
“I know you remember. Tell me the story.”
“It’s not Meka’s fault the guy robbed that gas station. How were we supposed to know he was going to do that?” Amira groaned.
She remembered the horrid night a year before when they’d gotten a ride from some hustler Meka knew. The bad thing was, Aramous had been furious. The good thing was, it was the reason he bought her a Range Rover, so nothing like that could ever happen again. However, he never let it go, and it just added fuel to the fire of his not liking Meka.
“Why can’t you make better friends? What about Don’s daughter across the street? She seems like a good girl.”
“Who, Amanda?” Amira made a face. “Daddy, that white girl is more coked out than the plug.”
“At least she comes from good stock. Meka comes from trash.”
“If I’m not mistaken, Meka lives in Lakewood Heights. The same neighborhood you come from.”
“And if you think I did everything I could to make it out for my child to go running back, you’re out of your mind.” Aramous slammed one of his palms on the table. “That girl is trouble. She’s going to lead you down the wrong path.”
“I’m not hungry anymore.” Amira threw her napkin and silverware on the table. She stood up, and before she could storm out, she glared at her dad. “I see why my mom left.”
Once the words were out of her mouth, she rushed out of the kitchen, ignoring her father angrily calling for her to return. She didn’t because even if she did, he was out of time for her that morning anyway. It was like any quality time they spent. All he wanted to do was scold her. It was annoying and the reason she couldn’t stand being around him, especially when he got to talking about Meka. He hadn’t liked her since they were kids. And when he put Amira in a private school, he thought that would end their friendship. However, he hadn’t counted on Meka getting a scholarship that paid for her tuition. Their friendship was the one thing in Amira’s life that he seemed unable to control. And that was what it appeared to be about to Amira. The control of it all. It was probably why her mother ran off and abandoned her. She pushed him out of her mind just like she knew he would her when he got in front of his high-profile clients at work.
She let out a loud sigh when she was behind the wheel of her pink vehicle and grabbed a pair of shades from the middle console. Before pulling off, she checked her phone for the address of the brunch spot. It was almost ten o’clock, and that was the time they were supposed to meet up. She put the location in her GPS and let it lead the way. As she drove, her phone kept ringing in her lap, and she kept ignoring it without looking. She knew it wasn’t Meka because she had a unique tone as a ringer. Amira assumed it was her dad trying to talk, and she was done talking to him for the day.
When she got to the restaurant, she could see Meka sitting on the gated patio with two handsome men. Amira instantly felt herself grow lighter as a grin came to her face. She parked the Range Rover and sprayed on some perfume before leaving the car. Meka waved to her when she saw her approaching the restaurant. Amira walked inside the busy restaurant, where the host greeted her.
“How many?” he asked.
“My friends are actually outside on the patio waiting for me. Is it okay if I just head out?”
“Of course. Just go down this hallway, and the door leading outside will be on your left,” he said, pointing in the direction.
Amira followed his instructions and found the patio door. She held it open for a woman walking back with a few trays in her hand and then headed out herself. An empty seat next to the caramel-skinned guy from the night before awaited her, and he stood up to pull it out for her.
“Thank you,” she said when she sat down.
“Mmmm, we like a gentleman,” Meka teased with a wink.
He smiled down at her, and that was when she remembered that his eyes were hazel. Maybe it was the shots of alcohol she’d had because she didn’t remember his hair being braided in singles either. Actually, when she thought about it, she didn’t even remember his name. He was dressed casually in a flannel shirt and jeans. He gave her a dashing smile and took her in.
“You look amazing,” he said in a deep baritone voice, making Amira’s stomach fill with butterflies.
“Thank you, so do you,” she responded.
“Girl, you really do look fire. That orange is hitting,” Meka added.
One thing her girl was going to do was hype her up. But Amira had to give Meka props too. She was sitting very pretty that morning. The sleeveless black top, houndstooth skirt, and black pumps with thigh-high socks were definitely a look. In high school, people used to call them the Barbie Twins because they were always put together. Meka had a very light complexion because her father was Puerto Rican, and all the boys thirsted over her because of her exotic features.
“Thank you, baby. You knew I had to step because I knew you would be here looking all good.”
“You know it.” Meka giggled and pointed at the guy sitting next to Amira. “So Tevin was just telling us about his trip to Malibu a few weeks ago.”
That’s his name, Amira thought. She just knew she would embarrass herself by asking, but Meka came through in the clutch.
“Oh, really? That sounds fun,” Amira said, turning to him.
“It was. Me and Pete are planning our next trip. Maybe if we get to know each other better, you can come. If that’s cool with you.”
“Who’s Pete?” Amira asked, confused, and caught Meka shooting her a glance from across the table.
Amira looked and noticed her friend slightly jabbing her head toward the guy sitting next to her and realized that he was Pete. She giggled in spite of herself and was happy when the others joined in.
“Damn, were you that lit last night, shawty?” Tevin joked.
“I wouldn’t say lit, but I was on my level,” she said. “I’m glad you asked us out for brunch, though. I would hate for someone as handsome as you to get away from me so easily.”
The two shared a look right before the waitress came to take their orders. Since Amira hadn’t finished her breakfast at home, she was hungry. But all she ordered was a muffin and a mimosa. When asked to show her ID, she pulled out the fake ID she’d made. The waitress barely looked at hers or Meka’s before nodding and scribbling down their orders. She didn’t even bother to check the boys’ IDs when they ordered their drinks. When she left, Tevin and Pete excused themselves to the bathroom, leaving Meka and Amira alone. Amira used the time to check her phone, and when she did, she groaned loudly.
“What is it? Your daddy tripping on you again?”
“I thought that’s what it was, but no, girl. Somebody was blowing my phone up on the way here, and I figured it was my daddy. Girl, it’s Jerron.”
“Jerron, as in your crazy-ass ex-boyfriend Jerron?”
“That’s the only Jerron I know,” Amira said, shaking her head.
She and Jerron had dated most of her senior year of high school. He graduated a year before her, and they seemed like a match made in heaven. He was her first love. He also was the first and only person she’d given herself to sexually. When he graduated, he opted not to go to college. Instead, he made a name for himself in the streets. Things were fine at first, but it soon grew too much for Amira. She didn’t want to be with someone who, at any second, could die or go to jail. And when he asked her to stash some of his drugs for him, she knew it was time to break things off. So she did, and he hadn’t taken it well.
“Have you seen him since he—”
“No.” Amira shook her head.
“Mmm. Girl, I still think you’re crazy for not putting him in jail after he put his hands on you. Hell, that’s something you should have told your daddy.”
“I just wanted it to end after he did that to me. I didn’t want to drag it out,” Amira said.
She shook the quick flashback of Jerron’s hands around her neck out of her head. They’d been outside Meka’s house when she told him she wanted to break up. He went berserk.
“You’re never gon’ leave me, you hear me, bitch?” he’d said.
She could still feel the heat from his breath on her face as he choked the life out of her. She still smelled the stench of alcohol on his breath. He might have killed her if Meka hadn’t run out to stop him. She cleared her throat and put her phone away, hoping Jerron would eventually get the point. It was over between them.
Moments later, Tevin and Pete came back to the table. Amira saw that their eyes were way lower than they had been before. She didn’t smell any marijuana, but the vape pen sticking out of Tevin’s pocket clearly indicated they were high. She didn’t see anything wrong with it. Lots of people she knew got high. She was more of an occasional drinker but didn’t really fool with drugs.
When the food came, they all dug in. The rest of the morning was filled with laughter and them all getting to know one another better. When it was time to go, Amira was feeling bubbly and cheesy. The two mimosas she drank had her feeling herself. Meka rode there with them but was leaving with her. The guys walked them to the Range Rover, and Tevin raised a brow, impressed.
“Nice whip,” he complimented.
“Thanks. It was a gift from my dad.”
“He must be rolling in cash, huh?”
“I guess you can say that.” Amira shrugged. “He’s a lawyer.”
“Word? Is that what you’ll be studying in Florida? Law?”
“Hell no.” Amira turned her nose up. “I want to be a journalist. Maybe start my own magazine.”
“Dope,” Tevin said, staring at her in wonder. “I guess it’s time for me to get out of here. You have my number now. Make sure you use it.”
“I’m for real, Amira. I’m trying to keep this vibe rolling.”
“Okay,” she giggled and hugged him.
Damn, he smells good, she thought as she stepped on her tiptoes to bury her nose in his neck.
It felt so good being in his arms that she didn’t want to let go, and he felt the same by the reluctant way Tevin stepped back. He slowly backed away and gave an awkward wave be. . .
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