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   Brock Lane goes to a club with friend and teammate Malik Thomas to wind down and put the robbery and kidnapping of his stepfather behind him. He then meets a girl that could potentially be competition for Naomi to win his heart and affection, but he sees through her web of deception. He also runs into his ex-girlfriend Michelle Jackson at the bar of the club, and she reveals some eye-opening information that could blow the case against the kidnappers wide open and bring them to justice. Brock's sisters Nicole and Jasmine come to town for Mother's Day on Sunday and spark drama among the entire family. Jasmine reveals her feelings for Malik, but he doesn't quite know how to respond to her advances. Will Malik and Jasmine get together? Will Brock bring down the thugs responsible for the heist or will his life be danger once again? Frenemy is the second book of the series.

Amazon eBook Price: $3.99


    The ride home from Chili’s restaurant was quick and painless, as the Friday rush hour traffic had dissipated somewhat. The thought of Naomi had eased my tension somewhat and had me looking forward to calling her later on that night. My stepdad’s words also resonated in my mind—someone in my inner circle probably leaked information to the kidnappers, and that was how they were able to track us from the airport. But who? I still felt restless and couldn’t figure out who might have double-crossed me as I analyzed every friend and associate I’d known in the last five years.

    The Uber driver had conversed with me initially but quickly realized I was tired and didn’t feel much like socializing. The ride was quiet and peaceful as the radio was tuned into a station that played classic songs from the eighties and nineties. The driver also knew who I was and was dying to ask me for an autograph. However, he only had a few minutes to do so because we reached the Manteno exit.

    “Excuse me for asking, Brock,” Tony the Uber driver asked, “but aren’t you Brock Lane of the St. Louis Trojans?”

    “That would be me,” I answered.

    “Can I have your autograph? I’m a huge Trojan fan and fan of yours, too.”

    “Sure, no problem.”

    The driver handed me a small notebook and a pen, and I opened the book and signed it on the third page. I then handed the driver the notebook back and said, “I see I’m not the only autograph in here—that’s really dope. How long have you been driving?”

    “For a little over two years,” Tony answered. “The other two celebrities I had the pleasure of driving around weren’t as friendly as you. Thanks.”

    “No, thank you for making the ride nice and peaceful, Tony,” I said.

    “My pleasure,” Tony said.

    Tony pulled up in front of the house moments later, and I got out. I rated Tony five stars and gave him a twenty-dollar tip on the Uber app. My stepfather and Junior were in their respective rooms when I stepped inside, so I tried to make as little noise as possible so that they weren’t alerted to my presence because all I wanted to do was sleep once I got settled in. However, Junior came downstairs once I stepped in the kitchen for something to drink.

    “What’s up, bro?” Junior asked.

    “I’m exhausted, man,” I answered. “What’s Dad doing?”

    “He crashed about a half-hour ago. Thanks for getting him home safe.”

    “You don’t have to thank me—I’d put my life on the line for each and every one of you.”

    Junior paused and asked, “So, what’s our next move? I know you’re not gonna let them get away with this.”

    “You’re right. I’m not gonna let them get away with this,” I answered. “Dad has a friend from the military who’s a detective with the CPD, and he’s gonna help me track them down.”

    “I hope so. A million dollars is a lot of money, but they might be bold enough to try us again.”

    “Time will tell.”

    “No doubt it will.”

    “I’ll see you in the morning—I’m about to crash, too.”

    “Okay, talk to you in the morning.”

    My room was one of the two rooms on the first level of the house, and Nicole, Jasmine, Junior, and Dad each had a room to themselves upstairs. The second room on the first level was primarily used for guests who visited from out of town or friends who spent the night. I changed into a pair of Nike shorts and a wife-beater and plopped on the bed. I then grabbed my cell phone and called Naomi.

    “Hi, Brock,” she said. “I just walked through the door.”

    “You want me to give you a minute?” I asked. “I can call you back if you need a wind-down or to get settled in.”

    “No, don’t be silly,” she answered. “I’m so happy to hear from you.”

    “It’s good to hear your voice, too. I often wondered if I’d ever see you again.”

    “Really? Because I was thinking the exact same thing.”

    “So, why did you leave school?”

    “My mother couldn’t afford the tuition after she lost her job, so I had to drop out of school before the start of junior year and get a job of my own.”

    “I was always curious about what happened—I had the biggest crush on you, but you had a boyfriend.”

    “Devon—things changed between us once I got accepted at Union, if you remember—I guess he couldn’t indulge in his sexual escapades as much with me around.”

    I paused and said, “Yeah, I remember hearing the rumors about him around campus.”

    She sighed and said, “And as you know, things got worse once he pledged Alpha. We broke up at the end of sophomore year, and things kind of went downhill for me afterwards.”

    “Once again, I’m really sorry he treated you like that.”

    “Don’t be—everything happened for the best and thank you for being there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on.”

    “You’re welcome. I’m just happy that I could be some of help to you.”

    She paused and asked, “Whatever happened to Autumn? I thought you two were going to get married someday.”

    “Me, too,” I answered, “but things change. Let’s just say that she saw a better opportunity and took it.”

    “She left you for another guy, huh?”

    “Yes, an investment banker. And can you believe that she called me a few days ago as if nothing ever happened and wanted to pick up where we left off in college?”

    “I’m so sorry, Brock. She’s got some nerve, and you didn’t deserve what she did to you, either.”

    “It’s cool, and I’m over it.”

    I took a deep breath and said, “Look, I’m just going to put it out there because I don’t want to waste your time or mine. I have something to share with you that might change your mind about going out with me.”

    “Oh, no,” she said, “you don’t have a venereal disease or something worse, do you?”

    “No, nothing remotely close to that,” I answered.

    “Then what is it?”

    “I’m celibate, and I haven’t been with anyone since being with my fiancée, Megan.”


    “Because I’m a born-again Christian, and I’m not having sex again until marriage.”

    “Wow, I never would’ve guessed that in a million years—a professional athlete who’s celibate. So, tell me, how is that working out for you?”

    “I’m just taking it day by day. Some days are harder than others, you know, but I’m good for the most part. I haven’t met anyone special—well, no one like you, Naomi.”

    Megan Gonzales had been a beautiful and curvaceous flight attendant for Southwest Airlines from Orange County, California; and we’d met after my first year in the NBA. She’d flirted with me the entire flight to St. Louis from Los Angeles—giving me special attention over the other passengers on the plane. I’d been visiting my friend and teammate Mike Brown from college after the season was over for a week, and he’d shown me a great time because I’d never experienced the city much except for being in town to play the Lakers or the Clippers.

    Megan and I hit it off instantly, and I was ready to marry her after dating for only six months. However, I later learned that she wasn’t completely over her ex-boyfriend, so we mutually agreed to break off the engagement. I was disappointed, but I wasn’t heartbroken—Autumn’s stunt in college prepared me for what was to come. I was grateful for Megan’s honesty even though we parted ways, and she eventually went back to her ex. She could’ve married me, gotten pregnant, and hit me up for child support and alimony; but she didn’t. I learned from my canceled engagement to Megan to completely vet the women that I dated from that point on and take no shortcuts, no matter how much I liked any particular one of them.

    Most of the women I’d dated since being with Megan lost interest after a certain point—some were honest from the gate and said they couldn’t wait until marriage, but the vast majority of them tried to fake the funk for several weeks until they couldn’t keep the lie going anymore. The only reason they dated me in the first place was because I played in the NBA, but by the time I figured out that they weren’t sincere, I’d already wasted weeks of my time.

    I’d also had more than a couple of women try to seduce me—to see if I were really about that life. One woman even called me gay because I refused to have sex with her after she completely disrobed in front of me in her apartment. The last woman I dated was a beautiful salesclerk at a big and tall clothing store I frequented who was always available to talk to me during the day, but I could never reach her at night. She would come up with excuses like she forgot to turn the ringer of her phone back on, or that she was asleep. It turned out that she was heavily into the club scene and was dating multiple men, but she tried to come off as a church girl to get my attention.

    “Well, like you, I’m a celibate, born-again Christian who has only been with one guy since Devon,” she said, “and I almost got married also. We realized a month before the wedding that neither one of us was ready to walk down the aisle. Needless to say, I’ve basically compared every guy I’ve met in the last five years to you, Brock.”

    “Man, I don’t know what to say, Naomi,” I said. “I guess the spark I felt at freshman orientation wasn’t a figment of my imagination after all.”

    “No, it definitely wasn’t. There was an undeniable spark between us, but, of course, I was with Devon at the time. I’m not the type of girl who cheats on her man.”

    “I know you’re not, and that’s why I backed off once you told me you weren’t available when we first met. However, seeing you almost every day afterwards was tough for me.”

    “I know, and I’m sorry. I regret giving Devon chance after chance knowing that he was stepping out on me. If I had it to do all over again, I would’ve left him for you. I still think about our kiss to this day…”

    “I haven’t stopped thinking about it, either.”

    I’d seen Naomi at the quad sitting on one of the benches, crying, one night. It had been almost the end of the second semester of sophomore year at Union, and she had just found out that Devon had cheated on her and gotten another girl pregnant. To make a long story short, I’d tried to comfort her as best I could, and we’d ended up sharing our first and last kiss. I’d felt a spark with her I’d never felt with any woman before or after that, and I’d never seen her again until that Friday in Chili’s.

    I took a breath and said, “There’s no sense in having regrets or dwelling in the past, okay?”

    “Okay. So, where do we go from here?”

    “I feel like this is our opportunity to really get to know each other—the opportunity that we were denied in college. My only question is: can you handle a long-distance relationship? You know that St. Louis is four hours away.”

    “Yes, I can. Every other guy I dated since college couldn’t handle no sex before marriage, but I feel like you and I are meant to be.”

    “That’s great to hear, because I believe we’re meant to be, too. Hey, do you want to go out to dinner tomorrow?”

    “I would love nothing more than to go out with you tomorrow, but CeCe is in town for the weekend.”

    “Oh, yeah? How’s CeCe doing?”

    “She’s fine. She just finished her residency program in Grand Rapids, Michigan.”

    “That’s great—calling her Dr. Daniels is gonna feel kind of weird.”

    “I know, right?”

    “Well, tell her I said hello.”

    “I most certainly will. Perhaps we can go out Monday after I get off work in the afternoon?”

    “Sure, Monday afternoon is fine. Do you like seafood?”

    “Yes, I love seafood…”

    “This restaurant at Navy Pier has the best seafood in town.”

    “Great. I’ll be home around four on Monday.”

    “Where do you live?”

    “I live in the Sandridge Apartments complex right off 159th and Greenwood. I’ll text you the exact address.”

    “Okay, Naomi, I’ll see you tomorrow at five o’clock. And there’s one more thing I want to tell you…”

    “What is it?”

    “You were always my first choice—I wanted you from day one, but I settled for Autumn instead.”

    “You’re giving me goosebumps, Brock—I can’t wait to see you.”

    “I can’t wait to see you, too. Bye, Naomi.”

    “Bye, Brock.”

    I disconnected the call and smiled. I couldn’t believe my sudden good fortune of running into Naomi at the restaurant and couldn’t wait for our date on Monday. My endorphin rush was immediately followed by extreme drowsiness, and I was fast asleep once my face hit the pillow.

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