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If you are in my group, K's Korner (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1880839412236568/) you already read this sample but maybe you want to read it again :-)

Hasim

“Duke!” I dapped him up. I almost didn’t recognize him I hadn’t seen him in too long. He’d been running the streets like me, but I’d gotten out just in time and Duke? He hadn’t been so lucky.

I’d visited him some while he was locked down but it had been a little awkward, like we were both looking at the Ghosts of Future Almost. That awkwardness had kept me away—and I wasn’t proud of that. I’d still kept money on his books and tried—when she’d let me—to help his grandmother and sister out.

He looked good though, prosperous. He’d broadened out from the kind of working out that was a part of prison life and cut the wavy cut that I’d remembered completely off, but he looked like money and we were in the kind of exclusive event that required it. I hoped that he’d learned enough from his time away, that this time the money was legal. We’d buried enough friends that I was willing to put a lifetime of distance between us before opening myself to that kind of hurt again.

"What are you doing here?” I asked. I glanced around, spotting Zahira in that white dress that hugged her every curve. She looked like she was cool so I turned back to him, but his eyes had followed mine and his green eyes were cocky and amused when he looked back at me.

“That’s finally you?” Duke asked. Anyone else, I would have told to mind their business or iced them out, but we’d been through too much together and he was my brother without blood because of that.

“Yeah.” I felt how goofy my grin was but h didn’t tease me, just nodded thoughtfully.

“So what are you doing here?” I asked again. I was happy to see him, but my life with Zahira was too important for me to allow my old shit around as much as I loved him.

“This is all me.” Duke spread his arms wide and the cockiness that was a part of him tripled.

I’d known that The Coco brand of chocolate bars and spa products were black owned but I didn’t know it was him.

“Shit. That’s why you look fresh in this suit!” I lowered my voice. “All legit?”

He sobered immediately and nodded. “Yeah. Yeah. I gave all that up after Mama Grace’s last visit.”

I hadn’t even known that she’d been going to see him so my surprise must have been all over my face because he nodded.

“Yeah. She came up all the time to make sure I wasn’t lonely and shit. It’s so lonely in there that I looked forward to her visits like I used to look forward to posting up in the club. Or her sweet potato pie.”

We both chuckled at the memory but the sound was as sad as constantly missing her. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t feel that and it felt good to talk to someone besides Zahira and Alaia who felt the same.

“Yeah. She told me that she loved me, but she’d heard that I was still in that street shit even from the pen.” Duke nodded to confirm that her suspicions had been right. “She swore she’d never see me again since I insisted on ruining my life and embarrassing her with my behavior. She’d looked so broken when she’d said that, man. She’d said it before, but her love was so deep that I’d known she hadn’t meant it, but that time—she had. I left the game completely and had my right hand start legal investments while my lawyer lied to get me out. I thought I’d have time to prove to her that I was on the up and up, that I wasn’t trying to embarrass her no more or ruin anybody’s life but—“ His voice broke then and I pulled him into a quick hug and pounded his back.

I’d had the same talk with her. But, at least she’d lived to see me change. I understood if he never got over not making it in time.

“Fuck.” His voice sounded wet, but he pulled away and his eyes were clear when I looked at him. “It’s just bullshit and you know I can’t find my sister anywhere.” He sounded disappointed and furious at fate and himself.

I’d been looking for her too, but no dice and sadly his grandmother wasn’t as well as she’d been. I swore then that I’d do my best to help find her.


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