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They Got Me: The Hood Love Romance Collection

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"Love in the hood summed up in one collection!" Secrets One-night Stands Hood Bosses Hood Queens Good Girls Side Pieces Baby Mama Drama Baby Daddy Drama Freaks And much more... "This book is a collection of stories featuring African American relationships in ways that are not always romantic - with all-complicated situations. There are unsuspecting partners and not everyone gets a happy ending. Prepare yourself - this collection brings the drama and heat!" - PWO (Drama and Heat)

Chapter 1

“I can’t do this, Malik. I just can’t.” Deja clutches her hands, playing with the gold band and twirling her engagement ring. “It doesn’t feel right. I thought I could—I tried honey, I really did.”

Malik bites his lower lip not sure what to say. Deja and Malik’s relationship has been on the rocks ever before she had their first child.

“I know it’s been hard, but—” Malik looked around the bedroom and then back.

“I know, Malik. Trust me, I know. But this ain’t for—” Deja shallows and tears began to appear. “I never really got a chance to love you.” Deja slides her engagement ring off then the gold band and places them on the coffee table. “I’m sorry.”

Jasmine, their four-month-old baby, is in her crib sleeping peacefully, unaware of what is happening steps away in the next room.

“Baby, don’t do this. I love you. And Jasmine does also. We need you.” Malik reaches for Deja’s hand and she pulls away.

“Deja—”

“Malik, this thing of ours happened too quickly. I know it ain’t right but I need some space.”

A thousand thoughts are bouncing around in Deja’s head and she knows this will hurt. If she stays, it won’t get better and she won’t either. Long days and as long as Malik’s away from home, she’ll be depressed. Deja thought it would change once Jasmine was born; the depression would be replaced with unconditional love to care and protect but it didn’t. Instead, she slipped further and further away. She loves her baby more than she ever thought she could love a human being. but underneath love is a fear and a sinking feeling that just won’t leave. Countless nights dealing with Jasmine’s crying were chipping away at the last strings of Deja’s soul.

“I have to go, Malik—”

And just like that, Deja gives in making her shoulders hunched.

“No, baby,” Malik said reaching for Deja. Malik’s lost and the only thing he can do is try to fix the situation. “We have a baby to care for—”

“Malik, you just don’t get. I don’t want to be with you anymore. You can’t make me.” Deja glances at the pictures on the wall as her tears run down her cheeks. “I’m sorry if I led you on.” Deja then gets up and heads off to the bedroom and closes the door. Malik hold his head to stop his world from spinning out of control.

Minutes later, Deja drags out her suitcase and stops to see Malik hunched over. “The Uber’s outside. Make sure you give Jasmine her bottle when she wakes up and use the crème on her rash.” Her brown eyes meets Malik’s for one last time.

“I’ll call when I get settled in. Well—kiss Jasmine for me and tell Mommy I love her.”

“Day—“

Malik watches as she walks out and cries silently when the door closes.

***

Fourteen months ago before Deja walked out, Malik was having the time of his life at his twenty-third birthday party.

“Go say something to the girl for God’s sake, Malik.” DeShawn slaps his brother upside the head, making him spill beer. “You’ve been watching her since she got here.” DeShawn is right. As soon as the girl showed up, their friend, Logan told Deshawn that his brother couldn’t take his eyes off this fine honey. He was following her every movement as she went from section to section, always a few steps behind her friends. While her friends were talking and giggling, she kept to herself standing out as the best looking one among them.

“Yo bro, she looks like she’s lonely,” DeShawn said.

Malik waved his hand her direction showing DeShawn how how much she was paying them attention.

“Malik, you’re funny. The girl’s just shy—like someone else I know.” DeShawn grabs Malik’s head. “Go get her, birthday boy.”

“I don’t know, bro. She might have a nigga or something.”

“Come on bro. Shawty ain’t showing up to a birthday party unless she’s by herself.”

“If you say so.”

Malik walks over to the mini-bar and shoots his game.

“Hey… dope party, right? I’m—Malik,” Malik stutters.

She looks up as he towers over her. “Yeah, it’s cool.”

“It’s my birthday—“

“Yeah, I know. I can read.” She said pointing at the banner with Malik’s picture on it above.”

The banner was as big as day, extending all the day to his patio. DeShawn had ordered and hung it that way for everyone to know whose party they were attending.

“Ok—”

“I’m Deja and sarcasm is my default setting.” She extends her hand after finishing her drink. “I’m not good at small talk.“

“Yeah me, either. Hey, thanks for coming.” Malik peeped Deja was bit conceited but he had to have her.

“I was talking the small talk thing, you know? Not—”

“Yeah, I get you.” Deja smiles. “By the way, nice place,” Deja said gesturing with her cup towards the patio.“You have a good view of Downtown.”

“Yeah, I go out there at night after work.” Malik clears his throat. “So, I see you ain’t from around here?”

“My dad’s is but I’m from Cali.”

“I can tell,” said Malik.

“How?” .

“Black girls around here don’t have tans.”

They laugh seeing everyone having a good time. Guests are constantly walking up to Malik, shaking his hand, embracing and saying,“Happy Birthday.”

“Hey, let’s go to the backyard. We’ll have a bit more privacy back there.”

“Ok.”

* * *

“This is my favorite spot. I like to come out here on the weekends with my boys and—” Malik stops knowing he’s about to say something he’ll regret but Deja gets it.

“Looks like that what it’s here for.”

“No, I meant—for barbecues.”

“Oh-kay, I get that but—“

“I’m not like that. Just focused on work and paying the bills.”

“Oh-kay.”

Malik doesn’t say much more as they sip on their drinks, watching the lights in the downtown Atlanta sparkle. The sun’s setting and the DJ got the party lit inside.

“What’s your name again? I want to make sure I say it correctly.”

“Oh my God! You forgot it already.”

“Nah, I just—”

“Save it, Malik. It’s Deja by the way. Day—ja is how you pronounce it. Now you won’t forget it.”

“Haha, I’m Malik again. Maa-leek is how you pronounce mine.”

“So, it’s your birthday?” Deja points to the banner again. “I think we’ve already covered that.” Lord, is he this stiff or what? I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a virgin.

“Yeah, I think.”

Deja reaches over and nudges Malik in the arm. “Again, it’s your birthday—” Deja smiles. “We’re pretty bad at small talk, aren’t we?”

“I think so. Let’s go in. Grab another drink? I’ll show you around. Show you the inside of my—”

Deja puts her hand over her mouth, holding in her laughter. However, she’s more scared her friends will see her with prince charming than falling into something with Malik. “Is there another way around besides going through the front?”

“Of course, follow me.”

* * *

Malik holds the kitchen door for Deja, which has a staircase to the second floor of the duplex.

“Nice.” Her eyes roam over the furniture, pictures on the wall, and the entertainment center. “Looks comfy.”

“Thanks.” Malik spent a long time according to DeShawn, who went along, for Malik’s journey for the right sofa. Malik was complaining about the right amount of cushioning and his brother was irked. Deja checked out Malik’s wall art of Atlanta and was impressed.

Deja then made her way over to the kitchen, resting her elbows on the counter while checking out the mail, t-shirts, and empty Hennesey bottles splattered all over the table. “Don’t eat in here much, huh?”

“Nah. Not much sense in setting a table for one. You know?” Malik said. “Just Uber Eats or heat up leftovers.”

“Yeah, I feel you.”

Malik reaches into the fridge to pull out two beers. “C’mon, I’ll show you the rest of the place.”

Deja follows as Malik escorts her down the hallway, pointing out the bathroom on the right (thanking himself that he remembered to clean up and for once to put the seat down). “That’s the bathroom.”

“I know.”

“This is the guest room.” Malik opens the door. “My brother usually comes up once a month, so this is where he stays.” Malik is embarrassed by his brother’s baseball caps and t-shirts littering the floor.

“He’s downstairs, right?”

“Yeah, he came through.”

“I saw a boy that looks like you. Were you with him earlier looking at my booty?”

“Hmm, maybe!”

Deja taps Malik and they seem to be enjoying each other’s company. Malik likes when Deja smiles and finds her sexy the way she laughs. “So, here’s the last room—my bedroom.” He steps back out in the hallway, unsure if it’s cool to show her. He doesn’t want Deja to get the wrong impression.

“Ok.” Deja seems open to the idea as she comes out into the hallway next to Malik whose hand is hovering over the doorknob. “Are you gonna open it? Or will I have to use my x-ray vision?”

Malik laughed like a dork which causes Deja to crack up, too.

“There’s an unmade bed. Check! A hamper that’s spilling over. Check! Yep. This is a guy’s room.”

“C’mon, it’s not that bad.”

“Whatever.”

Chapter 2

It’s been a busy week for Malik. With DeShawn in town and preparing for the party, he wasn’t expecting company. Deja looks around, raising her eyebrow as she looks over at his bed, and then hamper. “I told you I had x-ray vision.”

Malik rolls his eyes and Deja taps him again causing Malik to fake being hurt. “Aw, did I hurt you?” Deja leans and wrapping her fingers over Malik’s arm. “I have superpowers, too.” Malik tips his head, catching his breath when their gazes meet. Deja’s brown eyes crinkles from her smile. Malik bites down on his lower lip. The tip of his tongue darts out and over the bow of his upper lip and just looks at Deja. Her facial expression changes; that smile seconds ago transforms into mischief.

“Oh—I” Deja says with an awkward sound. They look at each other. Malik seizes on the moment and closes the gap between them and kisses. He feels Deja’s fingers tighten around his bicep, as he brings his other arm up and places it against the curve of her ass.

Heroes

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