Authors: De'nesha Diamond
Welcome back to Memphis, where the sun goes down, shit starts popping off. The three major female gangs ruling the gritty Mid-South are the Queen Gs, who keep it hood for the Black Gangster Disciples; the Flowers, who rule with the Vice Lords; and the Cripettes, mistresses of the Crips.
The stakes are higher now, but the rules never change in a city where blood paints the concrete. Surviving is not guaranteed, even if you drop your head and mind your own business. Memphis's street divas are as hard and ruthless as the men they hold down. Their biggest mistakes happen when they fall in love.
Also by De'nesha Diamond
The Diva Series
(with Eric S. Gray and Nichelle Walker)
(with Kiki Swinson)
A Gangster and a Gentleman
(with Kiki Swinson)
Fistful of Benjamins
(with Kiki Swinson)
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp.
Kensington Publishing Corp.
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
This is dedicated to those surviving the Memphis struggle.
I really want to take this moment to thank the overwhelming support I've received for
.The evolution of this series has taken me by surprise, and I'm just so thankful of the many e-mails and Facebook and Twitter messages I've received. I apologize for the delay of the release; it has been an unbelievable year, and one can't plan for all of life's curveballs. Much love and thanks to the Creator. To Granny and my baby Alice, who continue to inspire me from Heaven above. My sisters Channon and Charla. My beautiful neice, CourtneyâI love you. To Kathy and Charles Alba, absolutely the best. To Tu-Shonda Whitaker for keeping me sane, Evette Porter, Brenda Jackson, and Maureen Smith. Again to Selena James for still having the patience of Job.
And, of course, the Byrdwatcher family and The Diamond Girls Book Clubâyou lift me up. To anyone I forgot, it's the alcoholâreally.
Best of love,
Detective Melanie Johnson
is the daughter of the most decorated and crooked cop on the Memphis Police Department payroll. Unfortunately, the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. She has her own skeletons in the closet, but none bigger than being the lover of both leaders of the dueling gangs, Python and Fat Ace.
was once a straight-A student with dreams of getting the hell out of Memphis, but she took a detour on her dreams when she fell in love with Raymond “Profit” Lewis, the younger brother of Fat Ace. The war between the Vice Lords and her sister's set, The Gangster Disciples, puts her between a rock and a hard place. When she failed to take her sister's warning to heart, she was unprepared for the consequences.
is Queen G for the Memphis Gangster Disciples. Not only does she love her man, Python, but she loves the power her position affords her and there is nothing that she won't do to ensure that she never loses any of it; that includes doing whatever it takes to keep her younger sister in line and handling the many chicken heads pecking at her heels.
Yolanda “Yo-Yo” Terry
is an ex-drug mule turned stripper turned Python's latest baby momma. Convinced that she's the smartest chick on the block, her ambition has led her to cross paths with Python's real wifey, LeShelle. Her recklessness has already cost her her best friend Baby Thug, but this time, she stands to lose a whole lot more than she bargained for.
Willow “Lucifer” Washington
is Fat Ace's right hand and as deadly as they come. A true ride-or-die chick to her core. The latest explosion between the sets will have her true feelings bubbling to the top, and when she's forced to step up to lead, she proves that you don't need a set of balls to wash the streets with blood.
, Ta'Sharra Murphy's best friend and once the lone voice of reason, now finds herself tripping over the same pitfalls that snared her friend. Of all things, she finds herself a pawn between the two biggest bitches in the game . . . with just a hope and a prayer of getting out alive.
Maybelline “Momma Peaches” Carver
, Python's beloved aunt, believes and acts as if she's still wildin' out in her 20s. With an arrest record a mile long, Peaches is now confined to her shotgun home under house arrest. That doesn't mean that cards, fish fries, and blue light parties have ended. But when old family secrets start coming home to roost, her partying days may be well behind her.
'm seriously fucked. That shit hits home the second I see Python, my baby's daddy and the leader of the Black Gangster Disciples, kick down my door to see his arch enemy, Fat Ace, head nigga of the Vice Lords, giving me a good dicking down.
I'm stunned and can't move.
“WHAT THE FUCK?” Fat Ace jerks out of my pussy and makes a dive toward the nightstand for his piece.
“YOU'RE A DEAD MUTHAFUCKA!”
Python's gun sounds like a cannon.
I blink out of my trance to dive in the opposite direction just as Fat Ace starts returning fire. Right now, I'm wishing that I didn't keep my own weapon locked in a safety box at the top of my bedroom closet. Judging by the look on Python's face, Fat Ace and I aren't walking out of this muthafucka alive.
POW! POW! POW!
Python ducks and twists away from the door before Fat Ace's bullets tear huge chunks out of the door frame. Unfortunately, that leaves me in Python's direct line of vision. Time crawls the second our gazes connect, while death skips down my spine and wraps itself around my heart.
“No, Python. Wait,” I beg. I even foolishly lift my hands like a stop sign as if that's really going to enforce a time-out. Python's black, empty, soulless eyes narrow. At this fucking moment, I'm no different from any other nigga on the street: disposable. I'm already dead to him, and my tears are nothing but water.
Fat Ace squeezes off another round.
POW! POW! POW!
Wood splinters from the door frame inches above Python's head, but that doesn't stop him from lifting his Glock and aiming that muthafucka straight at me. I'm a cop and I'm used to plunging headlong into danger, but I don't have a badge pinned to my titties right now, and my courage is pissing out in between my legs.
Fat Ace misses again.
“Please. I'm carrying your baby.” As a desperate act, I clutch the small mound below my belly, and I succeed in getting his eyes to drop.
To my left, Fat Ace's head whips in my direction. His voice booms like a clap of thunder.
“WHAT THE FUCK?”
I spin my head back toward Fat Ace. Why does it suddenly look like this muthafucka can pass for Python's twin? Anger rises off of him like steam. I open my mouth but my brain shuts down. It doesn't matter. There are no words that can save me.
“You fucking lying bitch!” Fat Ace's gun swings away from Python and toward me, while Python's gat turns toward Fat Ace. Both pull the trigger at the same time.
The bullets feel like two heat-seeking missiles slamming into me. I propel backward, and my head hits the wall first.
Across the room, Python's bullets slam into Fat Ace's right side, but the nigga remains on his feet and squeezes out a few more rounds.
Shocked, it takes a full second before the pain in my chest and left side has a chance to register. When it does, it's like nothing I've ever felt before. Blood gushes out of my body as I slowly slide down the wall and plop onto the floor.
Python shoots the gun out of Fat Ace's hand.
POW! POW! POW!
“What, nigga? What?” Python roars.
Fat Ace clutches his bleeding hand but then charges toward Python real low and manages to tackle him to the ground before Python is able to squeeze off another shot. They hit the hardwood with a loud
and Python's gun is knocked out of his hand.
I need to get help. There's way too much blood pooling around me.
I'm dying. Me and my baby.
“Is that all you got, nigga?” Fat Ace jams a fist into the center of Python's face. Blood bursts from Python's thick lips and big nose like a red geyser.
Tears rush down my face like a fucking waterfall.
I'm sorry, baby. I'm so sorry.
It's all I can tell my unborn child.
“Your ass gonna die tonight, you punk-ass bitch,” Python growls, slamming his fist into Fat Ace's jaw.
My head snaps up. My son, Christopher, is in the other room. How can he sleep through all this noise? An image of Christopher, curled up in the bottom of his closet, trembling and crying, springs to my mind.
I have to get to my baby.
I slump over from the wall but lack the strength to stop my upper body's falling momentum. My face crashes into the hard floor, and I can feel a tooth floating in blood in my mouth.
Covered in sweat and blood, Python and Fat Ace continue wrestling on the floor. Fat Ace, still naked, gets the upper hand for a second and sends a crushing blow across Python's jaw. A distinguishable
reverberates in the room. To my ears, the muthafucka should be broken, but Python ain't no ordinary nigga. And sure enough, in the next second, Python retaliates, landing one vicious blow after another. A tight swing lands below Fat Ace's rib cage. Its force not only causes another
but it also lifts Fat Ace up at least a half foot in the air and gives Python the edge in repositioning himself.
The punches flow harder and faster. The floor trembles as if we're in the middle of an earthquake. Python is shoved against the side of the bed, and the damn thing flies toward my head. Lacking the energy to get out of the way, all I can do is close my eyes and prepare for the impact. The bed's metal leg slams into the center of my forehead with a sickening
and a million stars explode behind my eyes.
The scuffling on the other side of the bed continues; more bone crushes bone. When I finally manage to open my eyes, Python is trying to stretch his hand far enough to reach for a gun, but it is a few inches too far. Fat Ace is doing all he can to make sure that shit doesn't happen.
Watching all this go down, I realize that I don't give a fuck if they kill each other. Why should I? I'm already sentenced to death. I can feel its cold fingers settling into my bones.
More tears flow as I have my last pity party. It's true what they sayâyour life does flash before your eyes. But it's not the good parts. It's all the fucked-up shit that you've done. Now that judgment is seconds away, I don't have a clue what I'm going to tell the man upstairs. That's a good sign that my ass is going straight to hell.
I have to say good-bye to Christopher.
Sucking in a breath, I dig deep for some reserved strength. Determined, I drag my body across the floor, crawling with my forearms.
To my right, the bedroom window explodes, and shards of glass stab parts of my body.
Python and Fat Ace wrestle for control of the gun.
“Fuck you, muthafucka,” one of them growls.
Still, I'm not concerned about their dumb asses. I need to see my baby one more time. However, I only get about half a foot before sweat breaks out across my brow and then rolls down the side of my face. How in the hell can I be cold and sweating at the same time?
POW! POW! POW!
More glass shatters. I turn my head in time to see Fat Ace's large, muscled ass dive out the window. Python runs up to the muthafucka and proceeds to empty his magazine out the broken window.
“CRABBY MUTHAFUCKA!” Python reaches into his back pocket and produces another clip. He peers out into the darkness for a minute. “I'ma get his punk ass,” he says, and then turns and races out of the bedroom in hot pursuit, nearly kicking me in the head as he passes.
Relieved that he's gone, I drag myself another inch before my arms wobble and threaten to collapse. I need to catch my breath.
POW! POW! POW!
The shooting continues outside. In the distance, I hear police sirens. Then again, it could be wishful thinking. It's not like the department would respond this fuckin' fast.
Christopher. I gotta get to my baby.
Convinced that I've caught my second wind, I attempt to drag myself again. I try and try, but I can't move another inch. A sob lodges in my throat as I hear the sound of footsteps.
He must've gotten the courage to come see if I'm all right. “Baby, is that you?” Damn. That one question leaves me breathless. I'm panting so hard I sound like I just ran a marathon.
The slow, steady footsteps draw closer.
“Baby?” I stretch out a blood-covered hand. When I see it, I'm suddenly worried about what Christopher will think seeing me like this. Shakily, I look around. I'm practically swimming in my own piss and blood. It could scare the shit out of him, scar him for life.
He's almost at the door.
Tell him not to come in here!
“Your fuckin' baby is gone.”
Python's rumbling baritone fills my bedroom and freezes what blood I have left in my veins. My head creeps back around, and I'm stuck looking at the bottom of a pair of black jeans and shit kickers. More tears rush to my eyes. This nigga is probably going to stomp my ass into the hardwood floors.
“You're one slick, muthafuckin' bitch, you know that?”
“How long you been fuckin' that crab, huh?”
My brain scrambles, but I can't think of a goddamn thing to say.
“What? Cat got your tongue?” The more he talks, the deeper his voice gets. The sob that's been stuck in the middle of my throat now feels like a fucking boulder, blocking off my windpipe.
Python squats down. I avoid making eye contact because I'm more concerned about the Glock dangling in his hand. My heart should be hammering, but instead I don't think the muthafucka is working.
The gun moves toward me until the barrel is shoved underneath my chin, forcing my head up. Now it doesn't seem possible that I've spent so many years loving this nigga. How does a woman fall in love with death?
Python is not easy on the eyes, and his snake-forked tongue doesn't help. Big and bulky, his body is covered with tats of pythons, teardrops, names of fallen street soldiers, but more important is the big six-pointed star that represents the Black Gangster Disciples. He's not just a member. In this shitty town, he's the head nigga in chargeâand my dumb ass crossed him.
“Look at me,” he commands.
My gaze crashes into his inky black eyes, where I stare into a bottomless pit.
“You know you fucked up, right?”
I whimper and try to plea with my eyes. It's all I can do.
Muscles twitch along Python's jawline as he shakes his head. Then I see some shit that I ain't never seen before from this nigga: tears. They gloss his eyes, but they don't roll down his face. He ain't that kind of nigga.
“You fuckin' betrayed me. Out of all the niggas you could've fucked you pick that greasy muthafucka?”
“Shut the fuck up! I don't wanna hear your ass beggin' for shit. Your life is a wrap. Believe that!” He stares into my eyes and shakes his head. “What? You thought your pussy was so damn good that I was going to let this shit slide? I got streetwalkers who can pop pussy better than you. You ain't got a pot of gold buried up in that ass. I kept your triflin' ass around because I thought . . .” He shakes his head again and the tears dry up or had I imagined those muthafuckas?
I'm sure this time. The police are coming.
He chuckles. “What? You think the brothahs and sistahs in blue are about to save your monkey ass? Sheeiiit. That ain't how this is going down.”
So many tears are rolling out my eyes I can barely see him now. I want to beg again, but I know it's useless. Time to buck up. Face this shit head-on.
“I can't believe that I
thought you were my rib. You ain't good enough to wipe the shit out the crack of my ass,” he sneers, releasing my chin and standing up.
The next thing I hear is the unzipping of his black jeans.
“You wanna live, bitch? Hmm?”
I nod but he still grabs a fistful of my hair and yanks me up. Next thing I know, his fat cock is slapping me in the face.
“Suck that shit. Show me how much you wanna fuckin' live, bitch. You fuck this shit up, and I'll blast your goddamn brains all over this fuckin' floor. You got that?”
I try to nod again, but the shit is impossible. Python's dick is so hard when he shoves that muthafucka into my mouth that he takes out another fuckin' tooth. I can't even say that I'm sucking his shit as much as I'm bleeding and choking on it.
“Ssssssss.” He grinds his hips and then keeps hammering away. “C'mon, pig. Get this nut.”
I don't know how in the hell I remain conscious, but I do, hoping this nigga will come sooner rather than later. But when Python's dick springs out of my mouth, I'm not blasted with a warm load of salty cum but with a hot stream of nasty-ass piss. I close my mouth and try to turn my head away, but this nigga holds me still and tries to drown my ass.
“Open up, bitch. OPEN THE FUCK UP!”
Crying, I open my mouth.
“Yeah. That's right. Drink this shit up. This is the kind of nut you deserve!”
By the time he lets my head go, I'm drenched from head to goddamn toe but still sobbing and trying to cling to life.
Python stuffs his still-rock-hard dick back into his pants and zips up. “Fuckin' pathetic. That had to be the worst head I ever had.”
My eyes drop to the space in between his legs. There I see my seven-year-old baby, Christopher. He stands in his pajamas, clutching his beloved teddy bear. “I'm so sorry,” I whisper.
Christopher's eyes round with absolute horror.
He's going to watch me die.
“You're a fuckin' waste of space, bitch. Go suck the devil's dick,” Python hisses, and then plants his gun at the back of my head and pulls the trigger.