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The Pantheon Collective (TPC)

Chapter 1 Girl, I need to holla at you for a minute ’cause a sista has serious issues. Well, actually, one major issue. You’re probably gonna look at me like I’m crazy after I tell you all of this. You don’t mind sittin’ back for a minute while I spill it, do you? I’ll tell you straight up, I’ve been known to yack folk’s ears off. Mouth be running at times, so you might wanna grab a caffé latte and somethin’ to munch on, all right? Well, my issue comes in a dark chocolate-delight package of 100 percent testosterone ... damn ... with a body built like an NFL wide receiver, firm rock-hard Terrell Owens-ish ass ... lawd! And he makes damn near six-figures as a computer analyst! Okay, okay. Stop right there. You probably got your lips all twisted up, rolling your eyes, about to slam the book on me and what not. Talkin’ ’bout, “yeah, right, here we go again. The men in these books are always off-the-charts fine.” I hear you and all, but I’m telling you, it’s true! I’m talkin’ bleach-white teeth, a damn near Barry White voice, and the smoothest bald head I’ve had the pleasure of rubbing my hands on. Quite simply, the man can trigger a dozen microorgasms with a simple smile and “hello.” But even though he’s an Ebony Man of the Decade candidate, I’m debating on seeing him again. I just don’t know if I can stand him anymore, let alone make our relationship work. That, girlfriend, is the issue. You’ll see what I’m talkin’ ’bout later on. But before I say anything more about him, let me tell you the crazy scenarios I found myself in before I met him. ***** I hadn’t been to a nightclub in months. Just got tired of the scene, ya know, same ol’ faces, same ol’ routine, same ol’ bullshit. Every time I stepped foot inside a weekend hot spot, I felt like worm bait among a sea of piranhas. Screw that. I’m nobody’s bait, so I kept my ass home. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the attention men showered on me. What woman wouldn’t? But the shit just got old after a while, ya know. Well, at least for me it did—especially since I knew most men in meat markets disguised as nightclubs just wanted a piece of my sirloin steak for a midnight snack. Horny toad freaks. It got to a point where weekend dates with Netflix and pizza became the norm for my oh-so solo life. Not that I was complaining. Just got used to that pattern.

One Friday after work, I found my girlfriend Charlotte standing against the door of my Subaru, blocking my entry. The way she had her arms spread against the window glass, I thought she was hiding something. This heifer done lost her mind, I thought. I set my hands on my hips and said, “Ho, what the hell are you doing?” She stared at me with beady, dark-brown eyes. Wrinkling her forehead, she crunched her eyebrows together, trying to look mean and shit. Had this crazy look like a woman determined to make a point. Charlotte took in a deep breath. “Look, Michelle. I’ve been trying to get you to go out with me for I don’t know how long now. I’m tired of my girl tellin’ me she don’t wanna go out. You know I don’t have long before my next pregnancy test has that plus sign on it.” I shook my head. How this girl gonna play the pregnancy card? Charlotte and her husband, Greg, had been putting in work for the past two months to knock her up. She was trying to get the clubbin’ out of her system before the nine-month wobble. Charlotte rambled on. “You need to get your ass out and have some fun. Why you all stuck in your apartment all the damn time, messin’ around on Facebook? You know I don’t like hangin’ with —” “Aw’ight, aw’ight!” I threw my hands up in surrender. “Damn! I’ll go out with you tonight!” As you can see, I didn’t put up much of a fight. I had actually gotten the itch to wiggle it on the floor again, but let Charlotte think she had convinced me. Homechick adjusted her stance and exhaled with an exaggerated “you rescued me” look. “Woo!” she said. “Thank you! ’Bout time!” She wiped her forehead, even though it didn’t show a lick of sweat. So damn silly. Always acting the fool, crackin’ me up. That’s my girl, though. Best friend for five years. After we ironed out the details, I drove to El Cajon, got my hair braided, then headed home. I looked good with my shoulder-length braids, but after four hours of my hairdresser twisting my hair and yanking my scalp, mini-headaches pounded my cranium with the throb knob on high. I thought about lazing in front of the TV and calling it a night, but didn’t want Charlotte having a fit. I took a couple of aspirin and sucked it up. Couldn’t punk out on my girl—I’d never hear the end of it. At my Mission Valley apartment, hip-hop jams from 90.3 restored the boogie in my hips and snap in my fingers. I ordered homegirl in the mirror to have a good time tonight. I showered, ransacked the closet, and grabbed the tan mini dress that cuddles all my goodies. I had to make sure

the brothas checked me out until their eyes hurt, ya know? And, shoot, why not put my hourglass on blast? My mama gave it to me! I wiped the dust off my brown pumps, slapped on a touch of blush, and coated my thick lips with Red Seduction. A dab of Chanel perfume around my neck, arms, and the slit between my two babies blessed my body with a classy fragrance. Once I put in my diamond earrings, I checked out the finished product in the mirror. Hell, I shot through the Richter scale, I’m not gonna lie. I felt like a woman about to break a few hearts and crush an army of egos with my fine self. It had been a while since I got dressed up like this for a night on the town. Charlotte came by my apartment around 10:45 and we rode in her black Navigator. My girl rocked a black halter and purple skirt with a slit on the side. Never one to wear a lot of makeup, she only needed a hint of diamond-shine lip gloss to complement her baby-smooth, honey-coated complexion. Her bump-n-curl showed every bit the hundred or so dollars she paid for it. That’s one lucky girl. She can go to a meat market with her single friend looking so fresh and so clean and her husband doesn’t even flinch. Greg’s a mature, laid-back brotha who’s got it together—a sales supervisor during the day, aspiring novelist at night. Charlotte’s clubbing doesn’t sweat him ’cause he knows where his wife will be by two in the morning. Of course, her three-to-four hour absence gives him plenty of quiet time to bang out the novel he’s been working on for half a year. The ultimate marital win-win. We got to the club fifteen minutes later. Soon as I heard Usher’s jam “OMG” vibrating the room, it was on! As we made our way to the bar, brothas eyed Charlotte and me as if we were two plates of Roscoe’s chicken and waffles. A few brave ones stepped to us, trying to get their MackDaddy-Pimp game on. The bling from Charlotte’s two-carat rock clearly publicized her marital status, but some dudes still tried to slip weak lines like “Where yo’ man at?” or “Why he let a fine woman like you out by yo’ self?” Same ol’ bullshit. Fools that pushed up on me too hard saw the back of my head or palm of my hand. Charlotte and I found a table by the dance floor and sat down amongst a pack of horny twolegged hounds. Among the canines, I met my first mistake.

A Hard Man Is Good To Find  

A young woman meets a man straight out of a romance novel, but he refuses to meet her sexual needs. When she finds out his "secret," she rea...

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