Series: Seven Deadly Sins #1
Author: Victoria Christopher Murray
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books
From the NAACP Image award winner and national bestselling author Victoria Christopher Murray, a novel inspired by the seven deadly sins about a woman caught between an entertainment mogul with a shady past and his childhood friend who is out for revenge.
Tiffanie has lived a sheltered life in a very strict household with her pastor-grandfather and grandmother in Washington, DC. But when she meets Damon King, she falls for the successful entertainment business man despite his history as a drug dealer. Everyone sees nothing but the brightest future for the couple—but there’s one person who wants to destroy them.
Trey Johnson is Damon’s childhood best friend with whom he built quite a successful drug business. But when the game got hot and Damon decided to leave, Trey stayed and continued to sell drugs, until he was arrested and spent seven years in prison.
But now he’s out and able to attend the wedding. While Damon is thrilled to have Trey back and hopes to bring his best friend into his business, Trey has other plans. He blames Damon for his demise and plans to ruin him, even if that means bringing Tiffanie down as well.
Trey is sure he will succeed, but he doesn’t know that there will be deadly consequences. And at the end, there will only be one man standing…
Please enjoy this excerpt from...
The Seven Deadly Sins
It felt like we were in the middle of an earthquake, the way the bed trembled beneath me and Damon.
This was the christening of our brand-new mahogany sleigh bed—the designer piece that I saw in a magazine and just had to have for our new house. Even though it cost almost ten grand, Damon, my boo, hadn’t even blinked when he saw the price.
Last night, the bed had been delivered and assembled, and although I had wanted to wait and share this bed for the first time on our wedding night, not even an hour had passed after the delivery men were gone before Damon and I were hitting the satin sheets.
Now, as the first rays of the new day seeped through the windows, bringing along the fragrance of the azaleas on the balcony, I was being treated to Damon’s early-morning “good good.”
“You like that, don’t you?” Damon leaned over and whispered in my ear.
“Yes,” I breathed with as much enthusiasm as I could push into my voice. A second later, he cried out, and a moment after that, I mimicked him.
Damon was breathless as he fell on top of me and all I did was glance at the clock. Thank goodness that hadn’t taken too long. Damon rolled away, still trying to steady his breathing. “Thank you, bae.”
“What are you thanking me for?” I did my best to sound as out of breath as he was.
I twisted until I was on my back and glanced up at the ceiling, wanting to reach my hands to the heavens. Damon was thanking me? I was the one who needed to be thanking him . . . and God . . . for all that I’d been given.
There wasn’t room, not in time or space, for me to count all my blessings. First, I’d just made love to my fiancé, a man who’d given me love when I’d never wanted this kind of love in my life, a man whose business filled his bank accounts with money but a man who made it his business to please me always. From the fifty-year-old Victorian-style home in the center of DC’s gold coast, to the Harry Winston ring that I rocked on the second finger of my left hand, I was living a life that I’d never believed would be possible.
When I heard Damon’s soft snores, I rolled onto my side. I just wanted to watch him for a moment before I had to shake him awake.
My Damon was such a beautiful, scrumptious dark brown man with full lips and a square and strong jawline. I often teased him about having a little Indian in his family because his closely cropped beard was a soft, smooth, jet-black layer of satin. His eyes were close to being catlike, and then there were the two, yes, two dimples that deepened in his right cheek whenever he smiled. All of that, all of him made me shake my head with pleasure every time I set my eyes on him.
I never thought it could be like this. Never thought I’d know a love like this. I sighed as I thought about all the years that I’d let pass by with Damon, but then I shook that thought away. I was here now, we were engaged now, five days away from being husband and wife. No more time wasted.
Slowly, his eyelids fluttered and when they opened and he looked at me, I saw nothing but lust in his eyes.
“Oh, no.” I shook my head and giggled. “We have to get ready for church.”
“Come on, Tiff.” He pulled me close. “One last time before you cut me off,” he said, referring to the fact that I told him I was going back to my place right after church.
“Don’t be so dramatic.” I scooted out of the bed, then strutted across the Berber carpet. Not that I wanted to trouble the waters—no, I’d had enough sex with my fiancé to last me more than awhile. But I was still a girl and I wanted my guy to want me. “I’m not cutting you off,” I said, when I got halfway across the room. “I’m just trying to make our wedding night more special.”
He propped himself up on his elbow and drank me in with his eyes. “Every night, every morning, every noon is special when I’m with you.”
Dang! That was just another reason to love him. Because not only did he show me how much he loved me, he told me all the time.
“Why can’t we just keep this going?” Damon said with a tinge of begging in his tone. “Why can’t I make love to you every day and every night until we say ‘I do’?”
I stared into his bedroom eyes and almost wanted to run back. Because he’d done so much for me, I always wanted to satisfy him. But I wasn’t going to give in.
I’d already broken the promise I’d made when I was fourteen to remain chaste until marriage, even though, at the time, it was really my pledge to remain a virgin for life. But I’d told Damon that I was going to stay at my place because I was hoping that maybe with a few days of celibacy between now and “I do,” not only would I feel like I’d done something right, but I was praying that these few days of abstention would make our wedding night special . . . for both of us.
Eyes glazed with lust, Damon reached his hands toward me. “Please!”
Inside this moment, all of his gangster was gone. There were no important people to meet, no celebrities to impress, no paychecks to sign, no Glock on his hip.
He was just a man who loved a woman.
“Tiffanie, please,” he begged again.
My eyebrows rose just a bit hearing him call me Tiffanie. Though everyone else in the world addressed me by my full name (my grandfather demanded it, since Tiffanie meant Manifestation from God and he was the one who’d given that name to me), Damon was the only person who called me Tiff. And he only did that when my grandfather wasn’t around.
So, using my full name right now meant that Damon was in full pleading mode, and I shouldn’t have, but I laughed.
He tossed a pillow across the room, hitting me in the calf.
“Ouch!” I hopped, pretending to be wounded. Turning, I rushed back to the bed and jumped on top of him. He wrestled until he was on top, pinning my hands above my head. Then, with the gentleness of a gentle man, he kissed my forehead. Then my eyelids. Then my neck. “I love you,” he said, his tone thick with a desire that I knew was only for me.
It was an instant fever, the way his words heated my skin.
“I need you to do me a favor,” he whispered.
With the way he had me pressed beneath him, I could only imagine what Damon wanted me to do.
“Can you pick up Trey at the airport tomorrow?”
I blinked. “Trey?” I couldn’t believe that in this moment, he was talking about the man he still called his best friend. “I thought he was coming in on Thursday.”
“Change of plans. He’s coming in early to see his grandmother. This will be the first time he’s seen her in seven years, you know what I’m sayin’, and he wants to spend some time with her.”
I’d met Ms. Irene and visited with her a few times over the years whenever I went with Damon, so I didn’t want to begrudge that sweet woman a visit from her grandson. But still, I just couldn’t make myself happy about Trey coming to town. And now, he was coming days early?
It was weird ’cause I’d never met Trey; but on the real, even sight unseen, I did not like this man. Yes, he was my man’s best friend, but he was part of my man’s past, an underground past that had landed Trey in federal prison with a sentence of twenty years for possession of drugs. And I just had a feeling, because of Damon’s and his history, that he could interfere with Damon’s and my future.
But how could I fight their connection? Damon King and Trey Taylor had lots of times gone by. They were childhood friends who’d met in kindergarten in one of DC’s Southeast schools. Then two years after Damon graduated (but Trey didn’t) from high school, they’d moved to Atlanta to celebrate the new millennium and to wreak major havoc in the streets and make major money in the game.
Damon’s kiss pulled me back to his request. “So, can you do that?” It must’ve been because I didn’t give him a quick response that he added, “I’d do it, but I have that call with Jaleesa Stone and her people; she wants to make sure I have everything in place for her red-carpet event. Remember, that’ll be just a little more than a week after we get back, so I need to set it up as much as I can before we leave on Saturday.” A pause. “So, please?”
My first response: No! Why can’t you send one of your drivers or have him take Uber? My second response: I have so much to do for the wedding; I don’t have that kind of time. My actual response: “Sure,” because what else was I going to say to the man who would do anything for me?
Then he asked, “Can you do something else for me?”
Lust, once again, glazed his eyes and thickened the sound of his words. I almost wanted to do it again to see if this would be the time when Damon would finally satisfy me, but I had to shut this down.
He still had my hands pinned above my head when I said, “No, we have to get ready for church. You know how my grandfather is.”
Damon chuckled. “And, I don’t want to tangle with Reverend CJ Cooper.”
“Then, you need to get your fine . . . naked . . . behind up off of me.”
Damon leaned his face closer to mine. “What would your grandfather say if he heard you talking like that?”
“Probably the same thing he’d say to you if he found out that I won’t be a virgin on my wedding night.”
My words made Damon release me. “Hey, hey, hey! You can’t blame that on me alone; you were there, too.”
I laughed. “I’m just sayin’, my grandfather would kill you if he knew about the things that you did to his innocent granddaughter!” I paused, tilted my head, and gave Damon one of what I called my not-so-innocent glances. “So, do you still wanna . . .”
Damon didn’t even let me finish. “Nah, you ruined it; I’m good.” He pouted as he twisted completely off me, though he pulled me into his arms. “Let’s just get ready for church.”
“Great idea,” I said.
“But after church . . .”
“Mr. King, you are a mess!” I shook my head as I pushed him away. “Remember . . . our wedding night. Special.”
Damon poked his lips out even more.
“Please don’t be mad.” I leaned over and kissed him the way he’d kissed me: On his forehead, his neck, and I finally settled my lips on his. And right beneath me, I felt this man melting.
That’s when I started melting, too. How could I not? This man showed me that I, Tiffanie Cooper, had his heart and would have it forever. And for the rest of our lives, Damon King would have my heart, too.
Victoria Christopher Murray's Lust is the first offering in her Seven Deadly Sins series. And has proven itself to be a book that one can easily come to form a rather involved love / hate relationship with.
There are several aspects of this novel which are very well executed. The first of which being the urban power couple. Self made man from the streets engaged to good Christian college girl plot line.
As portrayed by Damon King and his lady love Tiffanie.
It is in fact a pared down version of a very similar plot used by a little television show by the name of...
Oh, what was it again?
With Damon being a near twin to Power's Ghost. Sans drugs, of course.
The obviousness of the "snake in the garden" role of Trey Johnson. Damon's "fresh from jail" best friend with a secret.
The man doesn't even get to put two feet on the ground in D.C. Before becoming the "Big Bad Wolf" to Tiffanie's innocent "Little Red..."
The fact that Damon is a compassionate and loving leading man. Willing to do all that he can to help and care for those he loves at all costs.
-The fact that Damon and Tiffanie have such a huge blind spot, when it comes to Trey.
Where is the common sense here?
When a man comes into your office making references to how "fine" your fiance is.
And can't seem to tear his eyes away from a PICTURE of her.
-Tiffanie's reaction to Trey is just completely over the top; from their first meeting.
I mean, I understand instant attraction. But to say that a man makes you orgasmic with nothing more than the mere brush of his lips to your cheek.
You know they have medication for that right?
-Trey and Tiffanie together are just as unbelievable.
For two people who find each other so undeniably irresistible
They find more ways to have "almost sex" than an angsty adolescent in a "first love in the suburbs" YA novel.
She's an adult and he's an adult.
Can we have a little ADULT behavior.
-Can we please talk about the fact that Damon spends so much of the book being nothing more than a sacrificial lamb to EVERYONE and EVERYTHING going on around him.
He finally gets the information he needs to FINALLY put the pieces of the "three piece puzzle together.
Lastly. There is the "resist the devil and he will flee" Tiffanie epiphany.
Otherwise known as "the place where common sense goes to die. "
I'm just as much of a "come to Jesus moment" fan as the next person.
But Tiffanie NEVER tries talking to Damon about her lack of passion. Instead choosing to fake orgasms and be happy with all the material and social advantages of the relationship. While at the same time. Many times in fact, trying to have an illicit affair with his best friend. Without one thought to the moral ramifications. Only to quote scripture at the very moment that you seem to be losing the battle of resistance for good. All the while telling where to will listen, how understanding your man is. And how willing he is to do anything for you.
My oh my!
How very Tyler Perry of you.
This is a very enjoyable read. In much the same way that an episode of Judge Judy or Jerry Springer are enjoyable.
Good for their drama and entertainment values. Able to provide a very relevant, though somewhat stereotypical dash of commentary on very troubling issues.
But not quite making the grade in the way of intellectual or emotional maturity.
Drama - common sense + good quality writing + come to Jesus moment a la Tyler Perry = Lust.
Which will mean a good start to what will hopefully prove to be a wonderful series.
Victoria Christopher Murray is the author of nine Essence bestselling novels, including The Ex Files; Too Little, Too Late; and Lady Jasmine. Winner of the African American Literary Award for Fiction and Author of the Year (Female).
She has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being a pioneer in African American Fiction. Since 2007, Victoria has won nine African American Literary Awards for best novel, best Christian fiction and Author of the Year — Female. After four nominations, Victoria finally won an NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Literary Work for her social commentary novel, Stand Your Ground.
Victoria splits her time between Los Angeles and Washington DC.
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