Happy 2019 everybody! This year, I'm going to be starting off with a BANG. And a GANG. Okay, I know some of you aren't into the uber-bad boys, so you'll need to be a little patient. If you're a lady with a dark side who loves kinky sweet romance and a black woman taming a white gangster into exposing his heart of gold, you'll LOVE the story of Sierra St. James and Ollie Cook. As you may have guessed, this new release is set in London — perfect for BWWM fans who want romance novels set in England or romance novels set in London.
The London Brotherhood Books #1, #2 and #3 are the first three books in a LONG series that will have TEN books and completed by June of this year. Book #1-#3 are interconnected mafia romance novellas, but Book #4 will be a standalone Navy SEAL Romance novel so that the angels and good girls among you can get some love too.
For now, I invite you to indulge in this free romance novel excerpt of a mafia romance for black women who love romantic stories, read BWWM online for free and may enjoy stories from inspiring authors like Amarie Avant or Theodora Taylor.
If you have any questions about this series, please leave a comment below and I will answer any and all questions as soon as possible.
Before diving into this free sample, consider checking out the trailer. Click here to watch the trailer.
SIERRA ST. JAMES
“He took my mate’s girl, you get me? So I ‘ad to do something about it. I pushed ‘im up against the wall and ‘e started squealing like a pig. I took my knife and I pressed it up to him. He started shaking, scared like a little girl. I leaned in and laughed. I couldn’t ‘elp it. ‘E looked so weak. How am I supposed to respect ‘im. I didn’t do nothing though. I walked away. ‘E was scared enough.”
“Do you think there was any other way to handle him, Malik?”
“‘E disrespected me, innit? I ‘ave a right to defend myself.”
“I understand. It doesn’t feel good to be threatened, does it?”
“No Miss St. James. It doesn’t. I ‘ad to teach him a lesson, innit?”
“Was there any other way you could have handled him, Malik?”
“Let me tell you something, alright? Niggas like him get mad hench and think they can talk any way they want on the estate. You can’t show them weakness, innit.”
“I understand. But Malik, you have to remember what we discussed last time. It isn’t always the best response to jump straight to violence.”
“You think these pagans understand conversation?”
“Well, have you tried?”
“Miss St. James, I’m sorry, but it just wouldn’t work. I’m dealing with niggas darker than you could imagine.”
I paused, scribbling a note about Malik’s latest encounter in my record book, filled with accounts of tens of similar incidents, which had become progressively worse, not better throughout the course of our counseling.
“For example,” Malik continued, unprompted by any of my questions, “I’ve got bare problems on the estate. I’ve got beef. Real beef. I can’t show weakness. Last week, Butcher got my sister up against the wall with a gun to ‘er ‘ead. What do you think he’d do if I showed weakness.”
“So you’re doing this for your sister?”
“Yes. Maybe. Sort of.”
“You think if your sister got free of her boyfriend you would feel safer?”
For a child who raced to violence and responded emotionally to any perceived slight, I could always be surprised by Malik’s calm and rational nature that breached his estate programming during our sessions every once in a while.
“Is there anything you can do to get her away from him?”
“I could shank him.”
“Aside from that.”
Malik shook his head.
“No. He wants me to join…”
I raised an eyebrow. Malik had always been cautious with me not to reveal what I’d suspected since we started our sessions together. The brotherhood had been circling. My manager at the centre had warned us to look for the signs, underestimating the fact that our wards knew what we were doing and maintained a deep self-interest in keeping any potential gang activity far out of our sight.
Malik trusted me, and he’d just let his guard down enough for me to get information that I wanted. If the brotherhood was closing in on a new recruit, I’d have to tell someone.
“Malik, you can talk to me.”
“Oh I can, can I? So you won’t rat me out to Gemma?”
“You can’t lie to me. You’re too good.”
“I’m obligated to report to my superiors. That’s never been a secret.”
“Fine. Report me. But you don’t ‘ave to worry.”
“Mandem can’t make Malik join a gang if ‘e don’t want to, innit?”
“Then nothing to worry about.”
“What sort of pressure are you under? Do you think you can withstand it?”
“Me an’ Butcher ‘ave an understanding. That’s about it. I help ‘im out, sure. But ‘e knows I’m only doing it for my sister, you get me?”
“Of course. If you need any help, Malik, that’s why we’re here.”
“Why are you here Malik? You don’t have to come in for counseling. What do you want from us?”
“I want to make sure my sister is alright. I don’t want to do anything that gets me killed. I don’t want to do anything dangerous. I want to be the man she needs. I want her to get away from that Irish bastard.”
“Violence won’t solve anything with him. The brotherhood’s pockets run deep. Remember that.”
“Right, but you just told me about how you handled things before. Something like that won’t fly when you’re dealing with dangerous, dangerous men.”
Malik smirked and put his feet up, a cocksure grin plastered across his seventeen year old face. His russet brown face was too wise for his age. He shouldn’t have had to deal with the cards he’d been dealt — seventeen, living on the estate with his sister and a crazy asshole who would have the brotherhood circling Malik like vultures if they could find any good use for him at all.
“What do you know about dangerous men?” Malik taunted me.
“I know enough to know that you don’t want to mess with them.”
“Something’s different about you, Sierra,” Malik said, using my first name and leaning forward, his chin propped up on his hands as he stared at me, “You ain’t like the other counselors in this joint. You’ve seen things.”
“We aren’t here to talk about me.”
“I’m right though, ain’t I?”
“If I tell you something about me, will you answer my question honestly?”
“I had a brother who was involved in gang activity.”
“No. But you’ve had your answer, so now it’s time for you to answer my question.”
“When they come knocking, when they come calling for you, will you tell me the truth? Can you promise me that, Malik?”
“Fine. I promise.”
“Our session is finished today,” I announced, glancing at the old, loud clock in the corner of my office.
I rose and stuck out my hand to shake Malik’s. He lunged forward, embracing me in a tight hug. Hugging him made me realize how skinny he was for his age, how frail he was, and how a boy so young should never have his childhood on the line the way that Malik did.
“Can I walk you to your car?”
He wanted to talk more, I could sense it. One hour a week was hardly enough to push past all the barriers he had rightfully erected around people like me — people he saw as posh, people who didn’t understand the life he’d been born into on the estate.
“Do you have more to say to me?”
“Only about Butcher and what ‘e’s doing to ‘er.”
“Sure. Tell me.”
“Promise you won’t make things harder on her?”
“I’m only obligated to disclose gang related activity as it pertains to you.”
“Right. But you ‘ave morals innit. If you get all offended, maybe you’ll think about calling someone and make life harder for her.”
“I promise you, Malik. You can trust me.”
“Fine. Butcher ‘as gotten worse. It’s been harder to deal with, and I don’t know what to do about ‘im.”
“He could really kill her, Sierra.”
I didn’t stop Malik when he called me by my first name. Accepting any bit of relatability those teens could throw my way was the only way I could relate to them. The more comfortable they felt with you, the better. That’s what I’d found out throughout the past five years.
“What is he doing?”
“She’s terrified of him. ‘E keeps saying ‘e wants her to convert for ‘im, and ‘e’s more than willing to force her to.”
“Your sister is Muslim, right?”
“She converted for the last wasteman, I don’t see why she ought to convert for this one.”
“Butcher is a total idiot. He doesn’t get it and she’s out of her mind in love with him. She doesn’t care that he’s dangerous. That he’s a gangster. Last weekend, they got into an argument about ‘er scarf and he threatened to send her to Russia on a spaceship. ‘E’s fucked in the head.”
“Has he hit her?”
“Not recently. But she’s been behaving. It will start up again, mark my words.”
“Is he using?”
“Yes. MDMA, pills, everything ‘e can get ‘is ‘ands on.”
“He’s meaner when he isn’t using?”
“’E’s a mean bastard all the time.”
I walked towards the door of my office with Malik in tow. He held the door open for me, and we poured out into the centre. Hymns spilled out into the youth centre hallway, off-key, as usual. The choir director’s screech followed a particularly horrible note in Amazing Grace.
“NO, NO, NO! YOU HORRIBLE IDIOTS, WE’VE BEEN OVER THIS!”
“’E’s got a bee in ‘is bonnet,” Malik muttered with a grin.
“I’ve got to pick up my things at the locker. You coming?”
“Sure thing, Miss St James.”
We walked for a few feet down the hallway before Malik tapped his hand on my shoulder.
“Miss St James?”
“You mentioned your brother was involved in the gangs.”
“Will you tell me what happened to ‘im?”
“Will it scare you off joining if I did?”
“Right. Then I don’t see the point in bringing it up.”
At my locker, I slipped into my peacoat and changed my short heels into plain, black converse sneakers. Malik held my purse as I dressed.
“Same time next week, then?”
“Good. I’ll talk to Yasmin, then.”
“Keep in mind, she’s scared, and no matter what he’s done to her, she loves him.”
“I don’t get it.”
“How can she love a pig like ‘im? ‘E’s done horrible things, and ‘e’s an absolute bastard to ‘er.”
“Human beings aren’t logical creatures. We struggle to defy our conditioning.”
“That’s all there is to it then? You grow up on the estate, you end up with a roadman?”
“We all make our own choices, but some of us are more prone to certain choices than others.”
“You ain’t makin’ any sense, Sierra.”
“It’s complicated. People are complicated.”
“Can I ‘elp you with that?”
I handed Malik my purse, which he slung over his shoulder without a second thought. How could this child be so sweet to me, yet tell stories about the horrors he inflicted on other people, from holding them up at knife point, to selling MDMA at raves, or ganging up on teachers after school to steal money and cellphones. Malik was two people at once: a child who wanted to fit in, and be kind and loved and excepted, and a man on the verge of making the decisions that would influence his entire life.
He stood at a crossroads, and I stood with him with the power to influence his choices. The weight of his decisions kept me up at night. He wasn’t the only teen I counseled at the centre, but he was the most vulnerable — not because he was weak, but because he had a fierce sense of where he had landed in the world and he was braver than most. He was more willing to press a knife to someone’s gut or to jump into fights with fists flying madly.
Malik held the door to the centre open and the frigid London air blew stiffly through the doors, whipping my wig nearly clean off my head. I wrapped my coat tighter around my waist. The weather in London was always a bit shit this time of year. Chilly October rains left a slick wet coat on the sidewalk. Puddles formed outside the centre, stinking of hot piss and cold mud.
Malik held my arm as I stepped around a puddle.
“Where’d you park the whip today?”
“A few blocks up. Let’s hope the meter didn’t run out.”
“I’ll sort it if it has,” Malik offered, a smile cracking across his dark, face.
“You don’t have to Malik.”
He pulled his hood up over his head, and for a moment, I saw the Malik from East London, feared by his peers at school and stalked by gang members who saw his terrifying potential.
“No. I do. I want to thank you, Sierra.”
“I’m only doing my job.”
“No. You get it. You may be posh, but you get what it’s like so when you talk to me, you don’t look down on any of us. With Gemma, it’s hard. She’s from the North end. She doesn’t get what it’s like in my ends, you get me?”
“Gemma tries her best,” I replied, defending my coworker publicly, but in secret agreement with what Malik said.
He was correct about Gemma. She didn’t get it. I, on the other hand, was raised like Malik. I understood how he thought the way he did, and I understood why he couldn’t see a way out of the life he’d been raised into, especially without a mother or father to guide him, and with a sister so wrapped up in her own drama that she couldn’t see the pain of the young blood she was responsible for.
“Gemma’s right peng, but she’s stupid,” Malik continued.
I stifled a chuckle, and instead chided him for his comment.
“Malik! She cares — about all of you. She’s only a bit naive.”
“A bit daft, rather.”
“Come on you,” I laughed, linking arms with Malik.
He smiled as we stepped over puddles and braced ourselves against the city cold. Businessmen raced past us, shiny suits and shinier loafers carrying them into their Beemers and Audi cars. They lived in a different London from the one that we lived in. They lived in a London of cocaine, money, riches, and relative ease. Life on an estate like the one where Malik was raised didn’t feel real to them. They lived in the London shocked by Grenfell Tower. We lived in the London where we knew it could happen to any of us, and the city council would hush it all up and cover it up with excuses and blames.
Two cities, two groups of people. The city’s diversity could feel like a myth.
As we approached my car, Malik continued to chat me up about Gemma, and the other youth counselors. Effie, the drug counselor had made a fool of herself recently since she’d shown up to a rave where a few of the teens had seen her drunk as a skunk and high off her ass on MDMA. Taking her seriously had become much more difficult after that. Nick, the athletics director, had made himself an enemy of the brotherhood recently, and according to Malik, rumor had it that one of the enforcers showed up at his house and forced him to back off their latest recruit.
Outside of my office, Malik spoke more freely than he ever had. He kept his walls up around himself, and even as we approached my car, I got the distinct sense that he might never open up to me. No matter how hard I tried to reach him, there would always be a wall between me and him which would lead to him joining the brotherhood. I could lose him the same way I’d lost my own brother. The thought settled in my stomach with unease.
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