Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Class of Its Own

Well, it's that time again!  Yall know what this is~~AAMBC in da House!
After seven long years in state prison, Tameka Williams is being set free. Unfortunately, all of the anger and resentment that she's lived with during her incarceration are being freed as well.
While Brook Mansfield-Banks was not pleased with the idea of her mortal enemy being released, she was ready to defend her family and show Tameka that she was no longer the na├»ve pushover that she once was. But, Brook has forgotten just how deep Tameka's wickedness runs. Now the fate of her child will once again be determined by Tameka Williams.
Mia Purcell has always been the loving and supportive friend. She was there for Brook through all of her trials and tribulations. Now with her marriage falling apart, she's the one that will need the strength of a true friend. There's only one problem, her marital issues have a strange connection with Tameka. Mia and Tameka find themselves working together in order to uncover the truth about the men in their lives. But is this unlikely duo more than Brook can stand? She will have to dig deep and put her hatred for Tameka aside if she wants to be the friend that Mia desperately needs.  
The Knife In My Back II – Preview Chapters
            Tameka was a little excited about the remainder of her day. She was looking forward to a visit from Wayne and her mother. This would be one of her last prison visits. Tameka’s time was winding down and her parole was looking very promising. Apparently, there would be no one from the victim’s family to oppose her release, but she still had her mom and Wayne to speak on her behalf. No, it wouldn’t be long now before she was tasting freedom.
            There was a knock at Warden Kemp’s door, and she knew that it was Officer Todd coming to get her for her visitation. She jumped up from her seat and headed toward the door, but she was stopped by the warden just before she could pull it open. He firmly placed his hand over the door knob and looked Tameka square in the eye.
            “Baby, don’t get too excited. I hadn’t let you do your thing lately, but that doesn’t mean that your chance isn’t coming around soon. Before you leave this place, you will do me right over and over again. I’ll need to get my fill of you, enough to keep me going long after you’re gone.”
            He pressed his body against Tameka’s and nastily licked the inside of her ear. It was enough to make her vomit, but she suppressed the feeling long enough to get out of the office and safely into Officer Todd’s custody.
            “How was your work detail today?”
            “You know, Todd, it was fine until you knocked on the door. That’s when that sweaty pig reminded me that he was going to let me do him before my release. These last few weeks will be difficult to say the least.”
            “You don’t have to do that, Tameka.”
            “You and I both know that I do if I want to get out of here. If I refuse him now, he’ll make sure that my chance for parole gets revoked and that I never get out of this place. So I’ll just have to do what I have to.”
            “I’m so sorry, Tameka, you don’t deserve his abuse.”
            “Apparently something in the universe feels that I do deserve it.”
            As they turned the corner and entered the visitation room, Tameka seemed to forget all about Warden Kemp. She smiled widely as she approached Wayne with open arms. His embrace was so comforting. He was indeed her rock. Seven years in prison and he was still waiting for her, still loving her unconditionally. She stepped out of Wayne’s embrace and began looking around for her mother.
            “Where is my mom? Did she have to go to the restroom?”
            “No, sweetie, she wasn’t able to come today. She’s been a little under the weather.”
            “What’s wrong with her? She has never been too sick in the past to make her visitation.”
            “I know, but she’s actually in the hospital. It seems that her cold progressed and developed into pneumonia.”
            “Oh my goodness... I can’t believe that she’s stuck down there in that nasty county hospital by herself.”
            “She’s not in the county hospital, Tameka; she was admitted into Emory.”
            “There is no way my mom could afford that, not even with her Medicare. Are you paying for her to be there?”
            “Baby, you know that your mom and Brook have remained very close over the years. Apparently Brook was very concerned for your mom when she became ill. She took your mom to a new physician and is picking up the tab for her care.”
            “So, Brook saves the day…again.” Tameka’s expression was not one of appreciation.
            “Just be grateful, babe, that your mom is receiving excellent care. I did talk to her before I came here and she sends her love. Your mom can’t wait to speak on your behalf to that parole board. She desperately wants you out of here.”
            “Yeah, I can’t wait to be with her. I really want to be in a position to take care of her myself. I’m her daughter; I should be the one providing for her.”
            “You’ll have your chance very, very soon.”
            The remainder of Tameka’s visit with Wayne was very enjoyable. They spent their time making plans for the future and fantasizing about her first night of freedom. She could hardly wait for the opportunity to be with a man that actually loved and respected her. She wanted to be with Wayne because she knew that his love for her was real. She was his woman, not his whore. Once she was released, she’d never be another man’s whore.
            An hour later, Wayne was gone and she was escorted back to the block. Dinner was over and she was now preparing for lights out. Before she could finish putting her personal items away, one of the night guards came to get her. Unfortunately, Warden Kemp had decided to work late and needed her assistance.
            She was escorted through the halls in complete silence. But once they were outside the warden’s door, the officer grabbed her rear and suggested that she let him be next. Tameka pushed his hand away; she had no fear of him. The only good thing that the warden ever did for her was keep her protected from those lecherous night guards.
            Tameka stepped into the office and closed the door. The warden walked up to her, kissed her softly, and clicked the lock; she was trapped. But something about him seemed very different tonight. He was usually cold and forceful, but now, he was soft, gentle, almost caring. Even the atmosphere was different; it seemed almost romantic. The lights were dim and there was actually music playing. It was barely audible, but yes, it was definitely music.
            “Tameka, this is our last time being together like this. I’ve got to adjust to not having you around anymore. I’m going to miss you.”
            “Please, warden, we both know that you’ll have me replaced within the month. You’ve just got to take time and walk the blocks to find your new assistant.”
            “You’re wrong, Tameka. I’m being moved to a men’s facility next month. Besides, no one could ever replace you. All these other women have never been anything and will never be anything. You are different. You’re smart, talented and will rebuild your life into something to be respected.”
            On some level, Tameka was actually flattered. She felt as if he really meant what he was saying. But none of that talk could make up for the years of abuse. Despite the music and lighting, Tameka had no romantic feelings toward this man what so ever.
            The warden led Tameka to the couch. He began to kiss and fondle her. With every stroke of her body, he became more aggressive, became the man that she knew him to be. The kindness and gentleness were gone. He pushed her down and forced himself into her. Tameka laid there with tears running down her face and prayed for it to be over soon. And finally, he stopped pushing and collapsed on top of her. She nudged him until he finally rolled off.
            How ironic that the warden gets transferred at the same time of her release. If she never knew it before, Tameka realized now that you had to pay for the wrong that you put into universe.  
            The next day, Tameka was escorted to Dr. Lamb’s office for an unscheduled appointment. Tameka couldn’t imagine why she had to see the good doctor today. Officer Todd was unusually quiet on their walk to the office, and he even went inside Dr. Lamb’s office with her. This couldn’t be good.
            “What’s up, doc? I’m not supposed to see you until tomorrow.”
            “Have a seat, Tameka.”
            “I’ll stand, what’s up? Have they revoked my parole?”
            “No, dear. I don’t know if you’re aware, but your mom has been quite ill.”
            “Yes, I’m aware.”
            “Unfortunately, she passed early this morning due to complications from pneumonia.”
            Tameka passed out cold.  
            Unexpectedly, Tameka arrived at the church on Wayne’s arm. Walking in behind them and taking a seat on the last pew was Officer Todd. Yes, Tameka was supposed to be escorted by police and shackled at all times, but Officer Todd couldn’t bring himself to make her mourn while chained like an animal. He and Tameka met Wayne around the corner from the church where he, to Tameka’s surprise, unchained her and turned her over to Wayne. Officer Todd was betting his career on the fact that Tameka wouldn’t try anything crazy.
            Tameka stood over her mother and silently wept. She gently stroked her mom’s face and admired her beauty. Her mother was wearing a lovely white dress for her eternal rest. She was lying in what had to be an $8,000.00 coffin that cradled her in soft, yellow satin with praying hands embroidered in the top. As Tameka made her way to the front pew, she looked around with admiration at the dozens of yellow roses and other plants that filled the church. The sanctuary was also packed with friends and family. Tameka was pleased to see her brother making his way down the aisle to view their mother’s remains. He stood briefly with his mother and then went to seek comfort in his sister’s arms.
            As the minister was preparing to begin the service, Tameka spotted Brook and Eric out of the corner of her eye. There they were, looking like the millions that they were worth, making their way to the front pew across the aisle from Tameka. Turning to Wayne, Tameka begin to shake with anger. “What the hell are they doing here?”
            “Tameka, look around, who do think paid for this service? You’re mother had no
life insurance. You should be grateful.”
            “I don’t understand why she couldn’t let me have this time to say goodbye. She has had my mom for the past seven years,” Tameka whimpered. Then suddenly with venom in her voice, she glared at Brook and shouted “Can I not have this time without having to be in her presence?”
            “Lower your voice and show some respect,” Wayne reprimanded. “Like I said, you should be grateful. You know that you would not have wanted some state funded burial for your mother. Brook is honoring your mom’s life by sending her out like this.”
            “Sis, I have to agree with Wayne on this one. You need to chill and be grateful,” chimed Tameka’s brother.
            The service lasted for about forty-five minutes and many wonderful things were said about Lucille Williams. The recessional began, and as they were walking out of the pews, Tameka and Brook were face to face for the first time in seven years. Tameka glared with disdain and marched out of the church. Officer Todd met Tameka and Wayne at the door and escorted them to his patrol car around the corner. Tameka and Officer Todd followed the recessional to the cemetery and of course, Wayne was not far behind.
            The internment was brief. As the crowd began to disburse, Tameka thought that a little appreciation might actually be in order and made her way over to Brook and Eric. “Brook, I just wanted to thank you for all of this. Thank you for everything you’ve done for my mother over the years.”
            “Your mother was a good woman, she deserved this,” stated Eric. Brook never spoke a word to Tameka; she simply turned and walked away.
            “So it’s like that, Brook?” Tameka shouted at her ex-friend’s back. “You can’t acknowledge my words, my presence? I’m not invisible,” she cried out.
            Tameka turned and reached for Wayne. He took her into his arms and comforted her. He kissed her gently and then she moved to her brother’s embrace. “I love you guys,” she whispered, and then she was escorted away by Officer Todd. They rode for about an hour in complete silence. The only noises were the sniffles that would occasionally escape from Tameka as she continued to mourn.
            “We should be there soon, Tameka. When we get a little closer, I’ll have to stop and handcuff you, okay?”
            “Yeah, I know.”
            “Do you want to stop and get something to eat?”
            “No thanks.”
           They rode for another thirty minutes before Officer Todd pulled over to the side of the road. He got out and opened the door for Tameka. He proceeded to place shackles on her feet and cuffs on her hands. Before getting back in the car, Tameka stood on her tip-toes and kissed Officer Todd on the cheek. “Thank you for not humiliating me today.” She then bent down and wiggled into the backseat of the car.

Q: What inspired you to write The Knife In My Back series?                                
A: I wanted to shine a light on the dynamics of female friendships. These are very important relationships that can inspire us or sadly, hurt us deeply. And while the hurt may not be as extreme as the ones portrayed in my books, everyone will surely be able to relate on some level.
Q: In your first novel, Mia was a devoted friend that for many became a favorite character. Does she return in The Knife In My Back 2?
A: Absolutely! I was surprised by how many readers were drawn to Mia, and they will be pleased to see her take a more prominent role in this novel. With her marriage on the rocks, it will be Mia in need of a devoted friend. The question is will Brook be there for her?
Q: Was any part of this series based on real life experience?
A: I think that we have all had to deal with a troubled friendship at some point in time, but fortunately I’ve not had a friend in my life that has presented me with the evil and deceptive ways that Tameka possesses.    
Q: Will all of your future novels focus on female friendships as well?
A: I think it would be very difficult to tell a realistic story where some type of friendship didn't play a roll. However, you will start to see other issues, such as abuse and addiction, take center stage in my writing.
Q: As an author do you feel an obligation to tackle social issues?
A:  My main objective is to entertain. However, writing about sickle cell disease, spousal abuse, and other social issues not only lends validity to my work, but hopefully raises awareness about the struggles of others. To have readers become involved in the prevention or education of such issues would be an amazing blessing.
Q: Will there be a The Knife In My Back 3?
A: I think it’s safe to say that The Knife In My Back 2 is the last in the series. I’m excited to move on and introduce readers to new characters and storylines.
Q: What can we expect from you in the future?
A: I’m very excited about the release of The Knife In My Back 2 as well as my third novel that will premier late 2013, early 2014. In the meantime, look for me at various literary events and signings throughout the southeast. You can see all of my scheduled events at  

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
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