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Deception

    Description:

   Greg O'Brien is studying to take the CPA exam while still working at McDonald's for over a year, and it's taking a toll on his relationship with his fiancee, Jennifer Mason. Greg's gut is telling that Jennifer's cheating on him, and everything comes to a head one Friday night in October. They put all of their cards on the table, and subsequently, he packs his stuff and leaves their apartment never to return after he learns the truth about her indiscretion. He then moves in with his famous sister Jessica O'Brien, a popular radio personality in the Atlanta area, and he tries to put the pieces of his life back together. Meanwhile, his best friend Horace Shingles is planning a wedding with his fiancee, Sasha Mays, and he's chosen to be Horace's best man. However, things start to fall apart for Horace and Sasha as they soon discover that Sasha's cousin Ramona is harboring a dark secret that will ultimately affect everyone's life.

Amazon Kindle Price: $3.99













    Excerpt:

    It was half past midnight on a chilly Friday night in October of 2017, and the food on the kitchen stove had gotten cold. Greg O’Brien was cooking dinner before his fiancée, Jennifer Mason, had called and said she had to work late. He opted to finish preparing dinner anyway and had decided to wait until she got home so that they could eat together. He subsequently fell asleep on the couch after watching television once he finished cooking, and he hadn’t received a call or text from her since they had spoken several hours earlier.

    He tried to ignore his growling stomach but decided to heat up a plate of chicken, rice, and green beans in the microwave instead of waiting any longer. He also tried to ignore the fact that Jennifer had been coming home late night after night for months and wondered what was really going on. She was up for a promotion at her job, and this required early mornings and late nights six days a week.

    The long days and nights didn’t bother him as much as the fact that he barely saw her anymore. They used to make an effort to see each other in the beginning of the relationship, when they took undergrad classes together at Clark-Atlanta University. She had become very distant, and he didn’t fully understand why.

    They’d had problems in their relationship in the past, like their constant disagreements about their financial problems and her initial refusal to cut back on her excessive spending, but they’d always managed to work through them. However, this time was different.

    She might have thought that he wasn’t paying attention to the sexy underwear she started wearing underneath her business attire on her shapely, five-foot-three frame recently, or the fact that she’d stopped wearing her engagement ring. Their relationship had lost its zeal, and they didn’t know how to get it back.

    He heard the lock of the front door click, and he dropped his fork on the living room table. Jennifer shut the door behind her and said nothing.

    “What took you so long?” Greg asked. “I’ve been waiting on you for hours.”

    “Something came up at work that needed my full attention,” Jennifer answered.

    “At twelve thirty in the morning?”

    She began rubbing her nose excessively and said, “My goal is to get the promotion that I’ve worked so hard on, Greg. When there’s a problem at work, it’s my job to fix it.”

    “You can’t fix everything, Jennifer. Maybe you should work harder at fixing the problems at home.”

    “Love isn’t going to pay the bills.”

    “We’re in a good place now that you’re not spending money like there’s no tomorrow anymore.”

    “No, I’m in a good place, and you’re nothing but a leech…”

    “Some things are more important than money, baby. You used to know that.”

    “What happened to all that ambition you used to have, huh? We were supposed to be living the dream, but you’d rather settle for a job as a lowly shift manager at McDonald's.”

    “You know that I’m still studying to finish taking the CPA exam early next week, don’t you? You’re a damn snob.”

    “I’m a boss…not some grunt or peon like you. I’ve been extremely patient with you, Greg, but if we can’t get back on the same page, maybe we should go our separate ways.”

    “Maybe we should go our separate ways because you’re not the Jennifer I used to know.”

    “Pack your stuff and move out, then…”

    “Just like that, huh? My name is also on the lease, or did you forget?”

    “You can’t afford this place by yourself. The sensible thing for you to do is move into a cheaper apartment since you hate spending money so much.”

    “You can’t afford it, either. You need to stop living beyond your means.”

    “I’ll be just fine with my new salary once I get my promotion. You’re content with cooking burgers and fries for a living and making a measly twenty-five grand.”

    “You act like I’m some bum sitting around and doing nothing, Jennifer. I’m sticking to my plan whether you like it or not.”

    “Your plan is taking forever. You’ve been studying and taking the CPA exam for almost two years now, and it took you six years and two schools to finish undergrad. Hell, I would’ve had my Ph.D. by now if I were you.”

    “Remind me to never tell you anything ever again—all you do is throw stuff back in my face whenever you get the opportunity. Look, I don’t have rich grandparents footing the bill for me like you did—having a full class load and working full-time ain’t easy, sweetheart.”     

    “You’re such a damn loser—you already failed half of the test once. Why are you gonna waste your time studying for it again?”

    “I’m not a loser, and I’m not giving up, either. Did you forget that I’ve passed two parts of the test already? I couldn’t care less if you don’t believe in me.”

    “Let’s keep it real—you barely passed the two easiest parts of the exam with a 76 and 77. The REG and AUD separate the men and women from the boys and girls.”

    “I will do just fine, if you must know, and nothing about that exam is easy.”

    “No, you’re just slow. I have two sorority sisters who passed it on the first try.”

    “I’m not slow—fifty percent of the people who take the exam fail on the first try.”

    “Stop making excuses, Greg…”

    “Whatever.”

    “Loser!”

    Jennifer motioned toward their bedroom before saying, “I don’t want to continue this relationship anymore.”

    “Is there someone else keeping you out late every night? Come on, Jennifer, I’m not blind.”

    “That’s none of your concern.”

    “The hell it isn’t. Come on, keep it real with me.”

    “Yes, there is someone keeping me occupied every night.”

    “Who is he?”

    “He’s more of a man than you’ll ever be.”

    “That’s not telling me anything…”

    “I’m going to take a shower.”

    “No, you’re not. We need to finish this conversation.”

    “As far as I’m concerned, the conversation is over. You can do whatever you want to do because I have to get up in a few hours.”

    Jennifer went upstairs, and Greg continued to sit on the couch in disgust before pounding his fist on the living room table. He’d gotten burned once again by a woman he loved and was tired of being disrespected.

    He then quickly packed an overnight bag while she was in the shower and left their apartment. He saw that her shiny black 2018 BMW was parked next to his car—a midnight blue 2015 Nissan Altima—when he went downstairs to the parking lot located on the ground floor of the complex. He had noticed a gradual change in Jennifer’s behavior and was willing to work through the storm of their relationship; but he couldn’t tolerate the secrets, the cheating, or the disrespect. He didn’t want to spend another night in that apartment, so he decided to call his sister Jessica to see if he could crash at her place. Jessica answered her phone on the third ring.

    “Hello,” Jessica said wearily.

    “Sorry I woke you,” Greg said. “I need a place to stay for a while.”

    “Is everything all right?”

    “No, Jennifer and I broke up. I just found out that she’s cheating on me.”

    “Damn, I’m so sorry to hear that, Greg. Sure, you can stay with me as long as you want.”

    “Thanks, sis. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

    “Okay, bye.”

    Greg ended the call and left the parking lot of the complex. Jessica O’Brien was his older sister by eleven months and always reminded him of that fact. She’d graduated from Spelman College with a degree in communications and landed a job with the hottest radio station in town after interning there for a summer.

    Jessica lived only a few minutes away, so he decided to stop at McDonald’s. He hadn’t finished the dinner that he’d cooked and was still hungry.

    The lights inside of McDonald’s and the sign were off, and he looked at his watch and saw that it was already after one o’clock. He sighed and proceeded to continue in the direction of Jessica’s place, which was in the Emory Village area, and she was sitting by the front window of her apartment when he parked in the lot.

    Jessica was a slim and shapely five-foot-nine caramel beauty who looked more like a Victoria’s Secret model than a popular local radio personality. She buzzed him in, and he walked briskly toward her apartment door on the first floor of the complex.

    “Hey,” she said, as she stood in the cracked door frame.

    “Hey, sis,” he said. “Thanks for letting me crash here.”

    “You’re welcome. Wanna talk about it?”

    “No, thanks. Don’t you have to get up in the morning?”

    “Nope, I’m off from the station on weekends, remember?”

    “Oh, yeah, that’s right. I must have mistaken you for my ex-fiancée…she seems to work every day of the week.”

    “What’s her deal, Greg? I saw her out with her sorority sisters at the Hard Rock Café a few weeks ago, but she didn’t even acknowledge me when I spoke to her.”

    “I wish I had an answer for you, but I don’t. She’s not the same girl I used to know.”

    “She had us all fooled with the nice girl act. I’m so glad I didn’t pledge Sigma at Spelman because I would’ve had to break bread with her and her snotty soros.”

    “She called me slow because I failed half of the CPA exam the first time—I graduated with a 3.3 GPA in accounting, so I’m far from being dumb. And to add insult to injury, she called me a loser and said her lover was more of a man than I would ever be. I can’t believe she said that garbage to me.”

    “You’re not dumb or a loser, Greg, so don’t even sweat that. She’s just trying to push your buttons, that’s all.”

    “I know, but it still hurts just the same.”

    “Don’t worry about her. You can stay here as long as you need to. Besides, you wouldn’t be cramping my style, because I don’t have a man these days.”

    “What you got going on this weekend?” he asked, changing the subject.

    “I have a promotion party to do at that new club in Buckhead,” she answered. “Everybody who’s somebody is gonna be there.”

    “I guess I’ll just chill and watch Netflix.”

    “That sounds boring—you should come to the party.”

    “Thanks, but no thanks. I wouldn’t know how to fit in at a party like that.”

    “Rosalyn will be there.”

    “So what?”

    “We’ve really gotten close again in the last year since we’ve been during the morning show together, and she really misses you.”

    “I’m never going down that road again, Jessie, and besides that, what happened to the real estate guy?”

    “His name is Bill.”

    “Whatever.”

    “She broke it off with him because he wanted to marry her, but she didn’t feel the same way.”

    “Well, at least she was honest with him.”

    “Yep, you can always count on Roz’s honesty.”

    “You got anything to eat?” he asked, putting an end to the Rosalyn conversation. “I didn’t get a chance to finish the food I cooked for Jennifer and me.”

    “You cooked? Since when?”

    “Tonight. I may not be able to burn like you or Mom, but I can cook.”

    “You can’t even boil an egg…no wonder Jennifer came home late. She was trying to avoid your cooking.”

    “Whatever.”

    “Look in the fridge…I have some leftover Hamburger Helper, and you’re welcome to it.”

    “Thanks.”

    “Clean up when you’re done. I’m going back to bed.”

    “I got you.”

    “There are some sheets and a comforter in the linen closet. You’ll have to make up the bed in the guest room yourself.”

    “No problem, and once again, thanks for everything, sis.”

    “That’s what family’s for. Good night.”

    “See you in the morning.”

    Greg warmed the food up in the microwave while Jessica went back to bed. He then took off his jacket and plopped down on the living room sofa, and he grabbed the remote and turned on the television. He sighed and rubbed his head while flicking channels, and he found Fast & Furious 6 before the microwave stopped. He had to settle for a wind down with Vin Diesel instead of the hot and passionate sex he craved from his now-ex-fiancée, Jennifer.

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