What are you willing to sacrifice for love? Your family? Your freedom? What about your life?
She’s a wealthy, forty-three-year-old Upper East Sider with a PhD – He’s a twenty-three-year-old Dominican drug dealer from Washington Heights.
Kate Champion always did exactly what was expected of her. She was the perfect wife, the perfect mother – until the day she met Jaylee Inoa.
Their journey travels a path riddled with danger, deceit, scandal and loss – where nothing is as it seems. Yet Kate and Jaylee’s passion for one another remains nearly unstoppable.
Will this daring pair of lovers from two different worlds triumph over circumstance? Can they deny the past in their quest to be together? Or is fear the ultimate navigator - a force more powerful than love?
A woman who has everything meets a man who can offer her nothing but trouble. They bring each other to a height of desire neither thought possible, but is it enough to overcome the differences that tear them apart?
Kate Champion, a forty-two-year-old, married mother of two, leads an enviable upper class life of luxury. Her comfortable path takes an unexpected detour after a chance encounter at a neighborhood playground.
Jaylee Inoa is a twenty-two-year-old, second generation New York Dominican with close ties to the Heights and the gangs that run them.
Her life of privilege is no match for the code of the streets he navigates with ease. When a crime of the heart leads to a crime in the flesh, how far will she go to redeem him? Can she risk all in her life that is golden for the love of her golden-eyed man?
Rikers Island, East Elmhurst, New York
My stomach growls from the shit lunch of bologna and American cheese. I’ll die before I’m twenty-five in here from all the crap they been feeding me. I need more calories because of my workout routine, and the commissary just don’t cut it. Half the time I probably burning muscle, but what the fuck you gonna do about it? You can’t change this fucked-up machine. What I wouldn’t give for some Spanish food—just a goddamn plate of my grandma’s rice and beans.
“He’d love to hear anything about you. Why don’t you tell him about basket-ball?” As if it was easy, when you hadn’t talked to him in years. An’ my ma bent over the kitchen table with cried-on love letters to my dad, praying on lighted candles and over special oils to Dios Santísimo, that he don’t get sent to Sing Sing.
We couldn’t afford the trip up there, so we saw him less and less. The sound of his voice just became a memory to me, and when we did get up there, I pitied the man I saw. Couldn’t get past the fact that he fucked up. I felt like he let them put him away. I swore to myself if I ever got there, I’d be smarter than he was. That I’d get revenge before I’d let ‘em make me live my life behind bars. Now look at where I am.
Love letters. Kate wrote me one once. There’s a trick to them, right? You gotta try to convince a woman that you’ll love her forever. It’s not just about the first time she reads it, she’s gotta see it every time she looks. Try doing it on jail-issued stationery. I had to earn the privilege to use a pen. How the fuck you tell someone they everything you got—when all you got is a page? How do I tell her how much I want her to have my kid? I love knowing that he’s inside her, that there’s part of me with her. Thing is, I can’t control the lies she’s being fed; she’ll choose the lawyer over me.
How do you say all that on paper when all you ever got through was public school? She got everything she needs—or at least that’s how it’d seem to anybody looking in. But I know—I know—how much Kate needs me.
I crumple up the last sheet of the ones they gave me and toss it onto my bunk. I don’t know how to put my heart on paper. I can’t make her understand why I did what I done.
On Friday they call me out for a visit, though I’m not expecting nobody. Mamá, Janinie, and everybody coming next week—or that’s what we said on the phone. I’m never expecting Kate again. I have no idea what she decided to do with the baby. I don’t know if he still here with us or gone already. The baby’s the only thing I ever cared about more than her, but I’m not gonna let myself hate her for it. She shouldn’t a’ had to go through it by herself - either way. If I’d watched my back, I wouldn’t a’ ended up here.
I stick my hands out the drop door in the cell so they can cuff me. The corrections officer calls me “Dorado,” ‘cause that’s what they called my pops when he was here. I try not to get involved, but it ain’t easy when your ties run deep like mine do. My old man spent a minute in Rikers; he up the river now in Sing Sing. He’s spending his days at the big house, but he got connections all through the whole system. He got his reputation too, and I’m expected to keep it.
Probably an ex or somebody I was messing around with before Kate who come to see me. Girls got something about visiting guys in jail. They love the drama. They love the attention they get from everybody else. Girls that won’t even give you the time of day on the outside start writing you letters about how much they miss you when you in the box. It’s bullshit. But I admit—it do make the time go by faster. And right now I got nothing but time.
I get stuck in the hall for the count—which means whoever waiting for me is stuck too. The guard I’m with lets me do wall push-ups after he cuffs me to a door. I go at it, hard as fuck, until I’m dripping sweat and my muscles are burning. Working out helps me not to think about her—or the baby. The burn is good. It shuts up the furia. There ain’t shit I can do anyway, so why make myself crazy playing it all over again in my head?
The count takes forever and I’m betting whoever’s out there waiting is regretting this. First and last visit. Nobody want to see me that bad.
When we finally walk into the visiting room, my eyes catch her before anything else, even though the place is packed. I’m a homing pigeon. I can’t see nothing else.
She’s Kate, but she ain’t Kate. Same black hair, same pale face. Same scared blue eyes. Her body is slamming too, less hip, more tit, and she a little taller. Maybe it’s the heels. She looks good. But I know who she is.
It’s the sister. Arriving like the grim reaper. She come repping for the other side. I gotta smile that this mina got herself into Rikers. I can tell she’s shitting herself, even worse than Kate. She ain’t never been in no place like this before, that’s for sure. All dolled up to come see a criminal like me.
Now she’s starting to work her hands like she in full-blown panic mode. I guess I take pity on her. She looks too much like my girl. Shit, it’s messing with my head—and my dick.
I pull out a chair and sit down, drilling my eyes into the back of her head. She spinning around, looking across the whole room. She don’t know who the fuck I am. She turns and stares, her eyes taking everything in. I can practically hear her heart pounding from over here. She like a baby bird—ready to flip out and fly into the fucking window. She looks at me and I gesture to the chair across the table. Relief hits her whole face and her shoulders relax. She smiles quick and then it disappears and she look scared again. She marches over to the table and sits down fast.
Why she gonna ask me after she already sit down? I’m tempted to say no, but I just stare at her instead. I can see how much they look alike, but I can also see how they different. She got doubt all over her face. She wanna fly the fuck out of here. That makes two of us.
“Emily,” I say not giving anything away. I’m gonna make her work hard for it.
“Oh, Kate told you about me?”
“She didn’t tell me much. ‘Nough to know you exist. Otherwise I’d think I was seeing ghosts.”
“Have you talked to her?”
“Pfft. Naw, not since she came in here to tell me she was pregnant. Not that it’s your business. They send you to come tell me she got rid of it?”
“I came on my own, Jaylee.”
She stops and looks down.
“Kate’s missing; I was hoping you could tell me where to find her.”
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I’m a reader, a writer, and a lover of all things romantic. I’m also a coffee, hot sauce, ink, telenovela and Bikram Yoga enthusiast.
I live in New York City with my husband and two children, and I spend a lot of time on the playground.
Thank you for the post!!!
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