Excerpt: Open Door Marriage by Naleighna Kai
Open Door Marriage
by Naleighna Kai
by Naleighna Kai
“Open Door Marriage is a page-turner from start to finish, uniquely written to explore the emotions of three people who have bonds that seem unbreakable. That is, until they are tested in a relationship that causes their families, religious leaders, and the public to be up in arms. Naleighna Kai has written a provocative novel that is about a relationship that is as complicated as it can get.” –Valarie Prince, author of The Lair of the Python
A chance encounter lands NBA star Dallas Avery back in the arms of the woman of his dreams. A woman he hasn’t seen in years. A woman he soon discovers just so happens to be his fiancée’s aunt! But Dallas’ fiancee, Tori, isn’t ready to give up all that she’s worked for, so she makes him a shocking offer – go through with the wedding and she’ll still allow him to be with the one woman he now can’t seem to do without. Dallas will get a family, something her much older aunt, Alicia can’t give him. Tori will get the lifestyle she clamors. And Alicia will get the love she’s longed for all her life. Everyone will get a little of what they want . . . and maybe a whole lot of what they don’t.
The details of the trio’s love life play out in the tabloids and on talk shows, making Dallas the center of an NBA scandal. And eventually, the doors slam shut on this open marriage and Dallas is forced to make a choice to end the chaos. But moving on is easier than it looks and by the time all is said and done, secrets will be revealed, passions will be extinguished, and everyone’s lives will be forever changed.
“Open Door Marriage is a page-turner from start to finish, uniquely written to explore the emotions of three people who have bonds that seem unbreakable. That is, until they are tested in a relationship that causes their families, religious leaders, and the public to be up in arms. Naleighna Kai has written a provocative novel that is about a relationship that is as complicated as it can get.” –Valarie Prince, author of Lair of the Python
“While a few books have tackled this subject in different ways, the way Naleighna Kai approaches a difficult situation is sure to be fuel for heated conversations for years to come. Open Door Marriage proves many things, but mostly that the title of my novel holds true.—Janice Pernell, author of There’s No Right Way to do a Wrong Thing.
Excerpt from Chapter 1
THANKSGIVING - CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
NOVEMBER 22—7:23 P.M.
“You slept with my aunt?”
The words still didn’t register, even though this had to be Tori’s fifth time saying them. She glared at her fiancé, still desperately trying to come to terms with the information her mother had blasted to everyone at the packed Thanksgiving dinner table.
“Seriously? How is that even humanly possible when you didn’t know the woman four hours ago?” Tori shouted.
“Tori, l-let me explain,” Dallas stammered.
Twelve pairs of eyes were now focused on the not-quite-blissful couple standing at the bottom of the stairs just off from the dining room.
“But not here. Let’s go somewhere and talk. It’s not what you think.”
“What did you do?” Tori snapped, glaring up at Dallas. “Trip over the sheets, and your penis somehow landed in a woman nearly twice my age?”
The drumstick in Uncle Bill’s hand paused in midair on its journey to his wide mouth. Cousin Tiny’s fleshy hand flew to her overexposed bosom and came to rest somewhere above her heart. Even Tori’s father’s frozen expression of alarm would have been Three Stooges comical if the situation weren’t so tragic.
Aunt Yoli was the first to recover. “Did they just say what I think they said?”
In unison, everyone nodded.
“Girl, shut the front door and run out the back!”
A few bursts of nervous laughter sprang up around the table, but they were not nearly enough to chase away the unease that had flooded the room when Tori stepped into the house. She’d gone to drop off Aunt Rose’s drunk self at home. Tori hadn’t even been in the house good when her mother, Bernice, blurted out that she’d caught Alicia and Dallas together. Alone. In bed. In the nude. Tori had picked up from there and summed it up in one sweep. “You slept with my aunt ...”
“Nothing happened, Tori,” Dallas said, his voice shaky. “I didn’t sleep with her.”
“So, my mama is lying?” Tori asked.
Dallas shifted uneasily.
“Hell naw. I know what I saw,” Bernice snapped. She had moved from the dining room table to the end of the staircase, right next to her daughter, poised as if she was ready to go to battle. “Both of you were in bed butt-ass naked.” She jabbed a finger in her sister-in-law’s direction. Alicia hadn’t moved from her spot at the top of the staircase. Probably, because she knew what was best for her. “She was butt-naked. And he was nut-naked,” Bernice yelled. “Wasn’t an inch of space between them.” She flickered a gaze a Dallas. “Look at him. You can tell he just got dressed!”
Tori closed her eyes and took deep breaths to calm the emotions that warred within her.
“See, I told you Alicia wasn’t worth a damn,” Bernice, crowed with savage satisfaction. “And looks like Mr. NBA ain’t much better. You thought he was all that and a side order of fries.”
Dallas Avery was the NBA’s most valuable player, and a man most women would give their right and left ovary to call their own. But Most Eligible Bachelor or not, he had set Tori’s bitch meter into overdrive. Even with his chiseled, handsome face, towering muscular frame and million dollar bank accounts, he was now worth next to nothing in her eyes. Too bad her aching heart didn’t get that memo.
Tori didn’t know if she was more enraged or hurt that her mother had been all too willing to drive this stake through her own daughter’s heart in order to publicly disgrace Alicia.
“Tori, we need to talk about this,” Dallas repeated before adding, “in private.”
Bernice wore a satisfied smirk as she glared openly up at Alicia, who just kept staring stoically at them from the second floor landing. “The angel of the family has fallen,” Bernice said.
“Hey, Bernice,” Bill taunted with a hearty chuckle. “Bet you won’t say that when Alicia comes downstairs. You know she’s gonna put a hurting on you.”
“You mean put another hurting on her,” Aunt Yoli added, doubling over with laughter.
Tori wanted to scream. Her life was unraveling in front of her and her family was cracking jokes.
Instinctively, Bernice inched away from the staircase and back toward the dining room table. Her hands went up to the small scar on her neck, probably remembering that a year ago on this very same holiday, Alicia had ended a vicious blow-for-blow fight with a knife at Bernice’s throat. Almost gave the woman a “Sicilian Smile”—an ear-to-ear slice across the throat.
Dallas reached for Tori’s hand. “It’s not what it seems.”
She snatched away, parted her lips to give him what was left of her mind, but Cousin Tiny chimed in first. “Alicia had every right to take Bernice to the floor last year for that foul mess she said! I would’ve pulled out my own can of whoop ass behind that one.”
Tiny’s husband, Thomas nodded his watermelon-sized head.
The rest of the family finally sprang to life, also chiming in at once to defend Alicia, the one woman everyone could count on in a time of need, to lend an ear when it was called for and to dry a tear when no one else bothered to care. That she would do something as low as sleep with her niece’s soon-to-be husband was unthinkable. So the family sidestepped that issue for as long as they could, finding it more comfortable to speak on the reason no one had expected Alicia home for Thanksgiving—especially since none of them had heard from her for an entire year.
Dallas maneuvered so he was in front of Tori. “Nothing. Happened.”
“If Bernice had said that bull to me,” Bill responded, still trying to tackle the last of the drumstick, “an ass whipping would’ve been the least of her problems.” He beckoned toward the last slice of sweet potato pie at the other end of the table. “That has my name written all over it.”
“Bernice is lying,” Martha said. “Alicia’s still got looks and all, but that young stud wouldn’t pick her over Tori.” She shot an appreciative glance toward Dallas, then leaned to her right and whispered loudly in Yoli’s direction, “But, girl, he is finer than frog’s hair.”
Yoli gave him a lusty once-over. “I’d give him some my damn self. He’s the type of man who can make a woman put a for sale sign on one thigh and an open for business sign on the other. Yes, Lawd!”
Tori tried her best to tune out her family. She didn’t have the stamina to deal with them right now. “How could you do this? You’re my fiancé.”
“You’re Tori’s fiancée?” Alicia finally spoke out. She eased down the stairs, looking first to Tori then to Dallas. Her panic-stricken expression gave Tori pause. Could her aunt really have not known?
Alicia turned back to her niece. “Oh, my, God, Tori. I had no idea. I’m so, so sorry.” She didn’t give Tori time to reply as she brushed past Dallas, slipped into the nearest pair of shoes—her brother’s—and ran out of the front door, oblivious to the fact that she barely had on enough clothing to protect her from the chill in the room, let alone the sub-zero temps of a Chicago winter.
The whole crowd gasped in disbelief as Dallas grabbed his leather coat from the foyer closet. “She can’t go out there with nothing on,” he said as he stepped into his Timberlands. “I’ll be right back.”
Tori was ready to spit fire. “Are you kidding me?” she screamed as he quickly laced up his shoes, then darted toward the door. “You’re going after my aunt? My aunt!” she yelled, following him. “My heart is bleeding all over the carpet and you’re going after her!”
The front door slammed and Tori stood frozen, unable to believe what happened in the last ten minutes. Bernice’s voice snapped Tori out of her trance. “Girl, I taught you better than that,” Bernice yelled, gesturing to the door. “You’d better go get your man!”
( Continued... )
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About Naleighna Kai
Naleighna Kai is the national bestselling author of Every Woman Needs a Wife, with a spin-off titled, The Pleasure’s All Mine and Open Door Marriage. She started writing in December of 1999, independently publishing her first two novels before acquiring a book deal with an imprint of Simon & Schuster and most recently a book deal with Brown Girls Publishing--the offspring of mega-successful national bestselling authors—Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. She is a contributing author to a New York Times Bestseller, an award-winning author, the E. Lynn Harris Author of Distinction, and a noted book club favorite on Oprah.com.
Naleighna works for a major international law firm and is the CEO of Macro Marketing & Promotions Group, as well as the marketing consultant to several national bestselling and aspiring writers. She is also the brainchild behind the annual Cavalcade of Authors events which takes place in her hometown of Chicago. Naleighna pens contemporary fiction, erotica, and speculative fiction and is currently working on her next novels: Was it Good For You Too?, Rich Woman's Fetish and Slaves of Heaven.
Find Naleighna on the web at: www.naleighnakai.com and www.thecavalcadeofauthors.com. Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/naleighnakai or Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NaleighnaKai
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