It's the weekend.
You're quarantined and trying to remain COVID-free.
You've binge-streamed every show and movie that your heart desires, and you're looking for something new to pique your interest.
Well... Joi Miner to the rescue!
Welcome to Sneak Peek Saturday! Every Saturday, I'll share a snippet of one of my novels... either upcoming, or already available for you to enjoy.
This week's pick:
“Yah look so damn sexy over dere, baby,” Jayontae said in that N’awlins accent that drove her insane. He was staring at her from across the table with lust in his eyes.
Her man was fine. Creole with that smooth, light-brown skin and slanted, gray eyes that looked right into your soul. His high cheekbones and thick lips made him almost pretty. He had curly, black hair that he wore in a small ‘fro that she loved running her fingers through. And his slim-framed, six-foot-two body was muscular and tatted up. He even had three teardrops by each eye for all the bodies he’d caught personally since he’d been in the game.
She peeked up and smiled at him, but didn’t say a word. She thought it was cute the way he always made her feel beautiful, but her mind was on making sure that the money was right. She’d counted it five times, and it wasn’t adding up. This was the third time in three months that this shit had happened, and it wasn’t sitting well with her.
“Come over here and soften me up wit’ yo’ sexy, fun-sized ass,” he smiled, rubbing his dick through his pants.
Empress was a tiny, dark chocolate woman, barely five feet tall. She was small built, with a small, but round ass, invisible waist, and size A breasts. Tae always said more than a mouthful was a waste and that skinny women are thick where it counts. But Empress’ ass and hips had been getting thicker lately. She just figured it was all the good eating they’d been doin’ since his mama had moved in with them. Her hair, that she kept in a colorful shoulder-length bob, was pulled back with a band. This month, it was pink. A few strands that had broken free hung in her face, and she blew them away when they got in her eyes.
“Shhhhh, not while I’m countin’, bae. You know I got you when I’m through, though,” she smirked, knowing that he wasn’t gonna leave her be, even if she asked him to. Jayontae really did get off on her handling his paper.
In their world, you couldn’t trust anybody, so when she’d asked him to pay for her to get her Associate’s Degree in Accounting, he was all over it. They’d been together since they were in middle school, and he knew that, if he could trust anybody with his numbers, he could trust her. So, at eighteen, she’d gotten her GED, and was enrolled at Jefferson State Community College.
Two years later, on the day of her graduation, he’d had a Justice of the Peace waiting at her party and they’d gotten married on the spot. Tae said any woman who was willing to bust her ass to make sure their empire was on-point deserved his last name. And they’d been Emperor and Empress Tibideaux ever since.
“Aight, I’m finna run to the store to get some gold wrappers. You know we fertile as hell; we ain’t tryna get pregnant… yet,” he said, leaning down to stick his tongue in her ear, while she wrapped the bands around the stack of cash she was holding.
“Ooooh, shit,” she cooed.
He knew that was her spot, and fuckin’ with her when he was on his way out the door was some bullshit.
“Hurry up. And when we’re done, we need to figure out how we gon’ find out where all this goddamn missing cash is going,” she ordered. She loved her man, but she was ‘bout her business. She heard the alarm chirp, setting itself automatically when he left the house.
Tae got distracted sometimes, especially when it came to bitches and flossin’, but as long as he kept makin’ money, and the hoes didn’t come to their crib, Empress was good. She knew a man was gonna be a man, and as long as he was good to her, she wasn’t complaining.
Empress got up and walked into their library to put the money in the safe. She pulled the lever, disguised as a copy of her favorite classic novel, “Arabian Nights,” and stepped back as the door creaked open. Walking into the room, she paid the security cameras no mind, knowing that no one knew where they lived, not even Tae’s right-hand, Bezzle.
They’d bought a five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath house out in McCalla that she loved. It was peaceful and had a pond with a gazebo and walking trail that led to a waterfall. Empress was a country girl at heart and loved being able to venture out into the woods and get lost in her thoughts. She couldn’t wait to have little ones and hang a tire swing from one of the trees and let them watch the deer and other wildlife that lived on their property. She smiled and planned to go out and shoot cans off the fence she’d found, hidden deep in the woods, one day when she was wandering.
Empress looked at the stash and knew it would be time to re-up soon. She made a mental note to remind Tae. She went to the safe and stood in front of the rectal scanner. After her identity had been confirmed that way, she pressed her right thumbprint on the screen and finally used her voice response to open the doors.
“Open Sesame,” she said, just as she heard the alarm going off.
“This nigga,” she laughed to herself, knowing that Tae had probably forgotten the code again.
They say behind every powerful man, is a woman with the plan. That was definitely the case with the two of them. When she’d met Tae, he was displaced from Katrina. He and his mom had made it out, but his dad died in Orleans Parrish Prison, De OPP, as he called it. His siblings, two younger sisters, Asia, who was eight, and Tianna, who was seven, drowned at their schools. And his older brother, Amor, who’d just turned sixteen, was shot by a cop when he’d tried to steal some bottled water from a local corner store. So, Tae assumed the role as the man of the house and started hitting licks at twelve years old. When he’d robbed one of Show’s boys, a price had been put on his head.
Show, Empress’s big brother, was a local rapper in Birmingham, and one of the biggest plugs in the Southeast. When they’d caught Tae, though, Show couldn’t deny how smart he was. He had a soft spot for him when he found out about Tae losing his whole family, except for his mother. He took him under his wing, and the rest was history.
Empress heard a chime, alerting her that someone was coming into the safe. Assuming it was Tae, Empress put the money in the safe and walked over to the intercom.
“I’m in the safe, bae,” she said and shook her head again at his absentmindedness.
Tae was a genius. He knew how to do everything from cooking to counting to pushing the dope on the streets. But his ADHD made it hard for him to focus. She went over to count the bricks and wait for him to come down. She’d just tell him about them running low when he got down there.
“Police! Put your hands up!”
Empress sucked her teeth and put her hands behind her head. She was inches away from fully loaded choppers but knew that the way cops’ trigger fingers were set up, she wasn’t willing to risk her life by making any kinda sudden moves. Their lawyer was the best. So, she knew that, even with the amount of product they had, she wouldn’t get the maximum. At that moment, she was happy that they hadn’t re-upped yet.
When the police officer approached her, she didn’t resist. She let them slap the silver bracelets on her wrists on top of her gold goddess bangles, and the Richard Mille Caliber RM 019 Celtic Knot Tourbillon Watch Tae had just bought her for her eighteenth birthday. He’d bought her hundreds of watches in the two years since then, but that one was her favorite.
“Aye, don’t scratch my shit,” she said, eyeing the officers.
“You mean my shit,” the female officer said and smirked at her. “What is that... Chanel? That shit’s gon’ look damn good on me.”
Empress knew all of her clothing and jewelry was as good as gone the moment she got to processing.
“Shatika “Empress” Tibideaux, you’re under arrest for possession with the intent to sell…”
Even though it was her first offense, she didn’t need to listen while they read her Miranda Rights, because she knew them. Her mind wondered how they’d found out where they lived, and who’d snitched. The way they moved, they stayed under the radar. But this, and the missing money made her feel like it was someone on their squad.
She’d find out soon enough, though. She knew that, with her being gone, someone would test her baby. And when they did, heads were gonna roll.
“Tika, you gotta let me take this charge, bae,” Tae sat across from her, next to their attorney, Hank Woods, at the table.
He’d been begging her since she’d gotten arrested to let him take the charge for her, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. She knew that he’d get a lot more time than she would because he already had a rap sheet. She wouldn’t do it. He’d just have to make it without her.
“How long am I looking at,” Empress asked Hank, ignoring Tae completely.
“Three years, minimum, depending on the judge’s mood,” he said, honestly.
“Bae, look,” she finally turned her attention to Tae. “Show got you. He knows what I’m doing, and so do I. We don' already talked about this shit, ok. So, suck that shit up, try to keep your mind on this money, your dick out them bitches, and I’ll be home before you know it.”
Tae frowned and nodded his head. He wasn’t weak when it came to anyone but his Empress. They’d been together for as long as he could remember, and he couldn’t imagine life without her. Everybody, even her, expected him to fold without her. But that shit wasn’t gonna happen. He was gonna show that his rightful place was on the throne, and he’d be saving a space for his woman when she got out.
“It’s time,” the Correctional Officer walked into the door and advised them. Empress sighed and stood up so that she could be handcuffed and escorted into the courtroom.
“Let’s get this shit over with,” she said, winking and blowing a kiss at her husband.
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See you next time, loves! 'Til then, be kind to yourselves and each other!