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The Hood Life: A Bentley Manor Tale

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In the third and final installment of the Desperate Hoodwives trilogy, a pimp, a killer, a playa, and a drug dealer struggle to get their game right in a sizzling novel where leaving the life and trying to go straight is a deadly option.

Tavon, better known as “Sweet,” would pimp his own mother—and he does. Convinced that the prostitution game chose him, Sweet loves his high-rolling life. But when he unexpectedly becomes a father, will Sweet be able to choose between the family trade and his grown, not-so-innocent daughter?

After ten years in prison, the drive-by Demarcus committed still haunts him. Determined to stay above the law, he’s found Allah, promised to change his ways forever, and finally do right by his girl, Zoey. But when an opportunity arises that will set him and Zoey right for life, Demarcus may have more faith in his killah reputation than the Koran...

Kaseem runs every single drug going in and out of Bentley Manor. His empire provides clothes, cash, and his satisfaction of his wifey, Quilla—along with the company of other ladies, of course. But when Kaseem’s crew becomes more violent, will he be able to escape the life—and the gangsters—he created?

The best playa on the block, Rhakmon can get a woman to do anything he wants. His latest girlfriend, Shaterica, lets him steal, lie, and cheat—smitten to be under his spell. But when Rhakmon’s devious deeds are finally brought to light, the revenge Shaterica plans may ultimately be more horrible than anything he could have imagined...

From the ladies who brought you Desperate Hoodwives and Shameless Hoodwives, the streets of Atlanta are hotter than ever with drama, sex, and danger—profilin’ four men desperate for anything but their hood life.

ISBN-13: 9781416577096

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Touchstone

Publication Date: 01-06-2009

Pages: 320

Product Dimensions: 5.32(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.61(d)

Series: Bentley Manor Tales

Meesha Mink is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty books written under three names, including the Real Wifeys series and co-authoring the explosive Hoodwives trilogy. She was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, and lives in South Carolina. De'nesha Diamond is the award-winning, national bestselling author of more than twenty previous novels. She lives in Georgia.

Read an Excerpt


Miz Cleo

Summertime is hell in Bentley Manor. The Georgia heat is enough to drive you mad and folks around here start actin' like they's ain't got no sense. I've seen a lot in my seventy-three years and I've experienced pain I wouldn't wish on my worse enemy. But heartache is nothing new in Bentley Manor. In fact, it comes with the territory.

As I sit out here on this stoop with my best friend Osceola Washington by my side, I look around this U-shaped complex marveling how it's getting harder and harder to tell the days apart. I've been living here since June of '69. Lost my husband in '71. After raising four children, one grandchild, I'm now strugglin' to raise my great-grandbaby.

It's hard.

And I'm tired.

Over the years, or rather, over the decades, Atlanta has gone through some changes. Bentley Manor started off as regular apartment complex, but in the late '70s it was the ghetto, in the late '80s the projects. Now, it's the hood.

This place is crawling with the worst of the worst and I've seen my fair share of pimps, dealers, playas, and killers. Too many, in fact.

Some wonder how people survive places like Bentley Manor. To that, I can only shrug my shoulders and ask "what choice do we have?"

The hood life is all we know....

Copyright © 2009 by Niobia Bryant and Adrianne Byrd


The Pimp

Pussy is big business.

And I'm a businessman — a damn good one. Yeah, I dibble and dabble in a few other things. Who doesn't? If a nigga wants to carve himself a piece of the American pie, he's got to get his hustle on. You feel me? I'm sure you do. Tavon Johnson is the name and pussy is my game.

'Course, on the streets they call me Sweet Diamondtrim Johnson. Diamonds are my trademarks. So much so that each of my girls keeps their pussy shaved and sport diamond tattoos inches above their clits. I want my customers to know they're getting diamond quality.

If you're wondering how I got into this business, I guess you could say I sort of fell into it. I popped my first cherry at twelve. Her name was Renee Collins. I swear to this day that she has the sweetest pussy a nigga ever tasted. And 'course I bragged this shit to my best friend Destin. Bragged so much that he promised to give me his allowance for a full month if I let him have a go at Renee himself.

Being an entrepreneurial nigga even at that age, I took the deal — only if I was allowed to watch. Hell, Destin's parents gave him five dollars a week, and in '82 you have no idea how many hours of pinball that gave a nigga.

Renee was pissed, but it had been easy to convince her fuckin' Destin was her chance to prove how much she loved me. I gotta tell ya: watching her in action with my best friend was an incredible high. Watching her do a few more boys behind the schoolyard and under the gym bleachers convinced me that I really did love her.

All in all, it was just another reason in a long list of why I married her. For the record, she still has the sweetest pussy I've ever tasted.

So what's your fantasy? I have every kind of ho you can imagine: Black, white, Puerto Rican or Asian. You name it, I got it. You want a streetwalker, a glamorous escort, a porno star, or maybe you're one of those down-low brothers. Don't matter. I got a few dicks on the payroll, too. It's all pussy to me.

Being in the biz for a quarter, I've seen it all. You can whip them, tie them up, and you can even piss on them, if that's your thing. It's all negotiable. But don't get it twisted; pimpin' ain't easy.

From time to time I catch whiff of a few girls talking 'bout how they're going to leave. I laugh at that shit. Where the fuck are they going to go? What are they going to do, shovel fries at McDonald's, convince one of their johns to marry them? C'mon. Once a ho always a ho.

Besides, they're not going to find another nigga that's going to treat them better than I do. Like the Disciple Curtis Mayfield said: "I'm their momma, I'm their daddy, I'm that nigga in the alley."

I'd be lyin' if I said from time to time one doesn't leave the nest...but they come back. They always come back. Bottom line: they love me, they hate me, they love me. I can live with that.

As long as the bitch has my money.

That's the key to my success. While all these ashy Negroes scramble around tryna turn everybody and their momma into crackheads, I'm building an empire off the best commodity there is — and I do mean the best.

From rap stars to government officials, I keep the juices and the money flowing.

I grew up poor and I ain't never going back. Fuck that shit.

Of course, I don't whine and moan like most. A sad story in Bentley Manor is a dime a dozen. We don't need anyone to tell us that we got the short end of the stick. The question is: How are you going to play the hand you were dealt? Me? I didn't choose pimpin'. Pimpin' chose me. The first girl I had to protect was my own damn momma.

Now, some men have a problem havin' a ho for a momma. Not me. I recognize my momma did what she had to do to put food on the table for five children (all of us with different daddies), and I ain't got nothin' but mad respect for her game. Of course, for a long time, she lied to us and to herself by telling us that the men who marched in and out of our apartment were good friends of the family — friends who left money on the bedside table after they "wrestled naked in her bed."

Once, my older brother, Kadrian, and I hid under her bed and found out what really went on in that room when she closed the door. And let me tell ya: Momma had skills. Niggas would call out her name like she was Christ Almighty. A lot of them brought her gifts and some even thought to bring us something, too.

For a few years, we were the envy of most our friends: sportin' the new canvas sneaks, rockin' the latest dookey rope chains and carrying the biggest boom boxes imaginable. Then crack hit the streets and Momma got hooked.

First, she tried to maintain, but that didn't last long.

Soon, thugs and drug dealers replaced the niggas with money. Our fly-ass gear disappeared about as fast as the food in the refrigerator. Within three months, Momma was out on the streets, offering to suck dicks just for a hit. Some started beating on her. The strange thing was she acted like she didn't care. All she wanted was to get high.

Well, I cared. And nobody was gonna whup my momma's ass right in front of me or my hood. So me and my brother started looking out for her — collecting her money, making sure that she got paid.

Hell, we had to eat.

This arrangement pretty much went on through our teen years. But all our protecting couldn't prevent her from coming up HIV positive a couple years ago. That fuckin' sex fiend Junior spread that shit to a lot of girls when he was stayin' up at Bentley Manor. If his wife hadn't capped his ass, I sure the fuck would have.

But live and learn. All my girls get tested on the regular and I screen their johns like the motherfuckin' FBI. What can I say? I have to protect my investment.

My three sisters, Candy, Brandi, and Cherry, followed our mother's footsteps. They call themselves Video Vixens now, but you know, a ho by any other name...

Me, I keep doing what I'm good at: protecting and selling pussy.

My big brother, Kadrian, didn't make it out of his teens. He got caught up in gangbanging and took a couple of bullets to the chest. Not a day goes by when I don't think about him, wishing he was here counting this money with me.

Pimpin' ain't like what you see in the movies. Sure there are some guys who walk around draped in gaudy jewelry, iron-pressed curls, and dress like it's 1972, but those are little boys fulfilling their Superfly fantasies. Pimpin' is a business and I dress like any other CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Ten-thousand-dollar suits from William Fioravanti, Caraceni, and Oxxford, with a little tasteful bling from De Beers and my ass look ready for the cover of GQ every day.

"I'm sorry, sir," Anderson, my driver, says over his shoulder. "Doesn't look like this traffic is gonna let up anytime soon."

I pull my gaze from a So-So Def billboard to meet his eyes in the Bentley's rearview mirror. "Take your time. I'm not in a hurry."

He nods and I return my attention to that ridiculous billboard and continue reflecting over my life — all thirty-seven years of it.

It wasn't easy, but I finally got my girls off the street corner. Found safer ways for us all to do our jobs. Yeah, I own a couple of private strip clubs, book a couple of booty-shaking dancers for rap stars and keep a hefty amount of city government officials sexed up so good that they stay off my back.

All of this is good money, but it all pales in comparison to what I make off the Red Light District Web site: videos, CD-ROMS, DVD, Video on Demand, and sex toys. Again, name your pleasure and I can hook you up.

After all, I'm a freak, too.

At long last, my nut sack starts tingling. I close my eyes and loll my head back to give the mouth around my cock a little more room.

"That's it. Don't stop," I moan and pump my hips. Out of all my girls, including Renee, no one sucks my dick the way Destiny does. No one. I place my hand on the back of her long flowing weave and bob her head down to a faster rhythm.

Shit. I'm ready to come and I know this trick is gonna swallow my full load and then keep sucking until my toes curl.

"Aw, shit. You nasty motherfucker," I growl as I hold her head down and finally explode into that wonderful mouth.

Like a true sex soldier, Destiny keeps going and I start to inch up the leather upholstery because my shit is suddenly sensitive. Finally, I have to shove her off and try to catch my breath.

Destiny chuckles and reaches for her purse to retrieve her compact and lipstick. "I don't know how Renee is still number one when she can't deep throat like I do."

I tuck my dick back into my pants and stare at her as she fixes her makeup. Well, technically, she is a he and quite possibly the best damn transvestite I've ever seen.

I don't question my sexuality — and nobody else does either. I do whateva gets me off. The world would be a better place if everyone did the same.

Destiny snaps her compact closed and smiles. "Feel better, baby?"

"As always," I say and catch Anderson's nosy gaze in the rearview mirror. For a fleeting moment, I'm sure I see disgust reflect in his eyes.

"Destiny," I say, maintaining eye contact with my driver. "Climb up front and hook Anderson up for me."

"That's not necessary, Mr. Johnson," Anderson sputters immediately.

"I know it's not necessary, but what can I say, I'm a generous guy. And I don't like it when people turn down my generosity — especially people who work for me."

Without a doubt this nigga understands that his options are to get his dick wet or get the fuck out in the middle of rush-hour traffic.

Destiny watches the exchange in amused silence and when I give her a small wink, she climbs over into the front seat and unzips Anderson's pants.

"Well, you ain't got much to work with. Do you, honey?" Destiny asks.

Anderson's face darkens.

I can't help but laugh. "And make sure you don't wreck my shit."

This time, horror covers Anderson's face and I keep on laughing.

A couple of slurps and this motherfucker lays on the brakes and starts cumin'.

"Damn, man. I barely got started." Destiny drops her fake feminine voice for a sec and her masculine bass fills the car.

Anderson looks as if he'd just been raped or some shit. Maybe he's stunned that he enjoyed the experience. Like I said: Destiny's the best.

Nearly an hour later, we roll through Bentley Manor's wrought-iron gate. My attention is instantly drawn to the trembling crackheads and hustling dope dealers. And sure enough, sitting out on their concrete stoop, in the center of the U-shaped complex, are Miz Cleo and Miz Osceola. Hell, I can feel their glares before I even get out of the car.

Fuck 'em. They don't like me and I sure as hell don't give a shit about them.

Ain't a damn thing changed about this motherfucker since I grew up here. It's just as dirty and grimy as ever.

Anderson hops his fat ass out the driver's seat and quickly opens my back door. I climb out, pose a bit so everyone can take their time eyeing my summer-white suit and customized bling.

What's the point of having money if you can't show it off?

A few dealers bob their heads in greeting and way too many underage girls try to catch my attention. But I ain't lookin' at shit that ain't eighteen.


Destiny starts to climb out of the car, but I quickly tell her, "Stay put. I'll be back in a sec." I clutch the head of my silver-handled cane (one stereotype I won't give up) and stroll like the pimp I am toward my old childhood building.

When Momma answers her door, I have to hand it to her: she's looking pretty good. It's clear that she's been keeping up with her HIV cocktails.

"Hey, baby." She tightens the belt on her robe and leans up on her tiptoes to deliver a kiss against my cheek. "I didn't know you were coming by today."

"I always come by on the fifteenth," I say, strolling through the door. I'm not the least surprised to see a john sitting on the couch. After all, Momma is always gonna be Momma.

"Well, I guess I better get going," the dude says, jumping to his feet and scrambling toward the door.

I stop him cold. "Aren't you forgetting something?" I ask.

He glances at Momma and then back at me while getting all flustered.

"Uh, yeah." He reaches for his wallet in his back pocket and peels off a couple of Benjamins. "My bad."

I just nod, but I make sure he reads in my expression that shit wasn't cool.

"I catch you later, Angel," the man says and quickly races out the door.

I turn my gaze toward Momma. "Angel?"

"What? Don't I look like an Angel to you?"

I just laugh at that shit. Momma ain't ever gonna change. And neither will I. "All right, Angel. You got my money?"

Copyright © 2009 by Niobia Bryant and Adrianne Byrd