• Author K.L. Hall

The Illest Taboo: Snippet #1

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PROLOGUE


February 7, 2016


River Newman


It was Superbowl Sunday. The Panthers were playing the Broncos, and I was spending the evening with my best friend, Suki, her man Luca and his brother, Maverick. With my laptop nestled in between my crisscrossed legs, I typed away at my research paper that was due at midnight. I didn’t come up for air until I’d entered in my last citation and submitted it. That’s when I realized I’d been left all alone in the living room. After closing my laptop, I made my way into the kitchen to eat my fill of pizza and wings. Walking past the laundry room, I overhead Suki mumbling, followed by an even deeper mumble. My stroll slowed down, and I was able to hear the conversation more clearly.

“He doesn’t have to know,” Maverick told her.

“I agree, he doesn’t,” Suki replied, “at least not right now.”

There was a pause followed by a loud sigh. “Good.”

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss you,” she told him. “You know what you do to me, Mav. You fuckin’ drive me crazy. I can’t stop thinkin’ about the night we spent, and—”

Before I could hear his response, Luca’s voice rang out from around the corner. I spun around and pressed my back against the laundry room door. “Yo, River. Where everybody at?”

“Huh? Oh, I uh, I don’t know. I think maybe Mav went out to his car, and I think maybe Suki is upstairs?”

“That nigga not outside. I just got back to the house. Suki sent me out for some shit she needed for her hamburger dip.”

I glanced down at the two plastic bags in his grasp. “Oh, okay. I just finished my paper, so I don’t know—uh, why don’t you go find him, and I’ll find her?”

He put the bags down on the counter and nodded. “Yeah, aight.”

“Okay.” I nodded. Heart pounding a million beats per second, I turned toward the door and gently knocked. “He’s looking for you…both of you,” I said against the door before walking away.

With a freshly poured glass of white wine in my hand, I watched them both walk out of the laundry room, one a few minutes after the other as if no one would notice. I scoffed. Suki and Luca had only been dating for a few months when she found out she was pregnant. Instead of leaving her to fend for herself or toss her a few hundred dollars to make it all go away, he stayed. Not only did he stay, but he also moved her into his home and made it clear to everyone within the Atlanta city limits that she was his. Everything between them had happened too fast, and it became clear to me that Luca deserved better. How either of them could betray a good man like that was beyond me. Mav’s eyes locked with mine, and I quickly rolled them. Without saying a word to each other, he pressed his phone to his ear and headed out to find his brother. Suki walked over to me with a sour look on her face.

“What all did you hear?” she asked.

“Enough,” I told her.

Suki huffed before pushing her hair behind her ears. “Look, it’s not what it looks like, okay?”

“Then what does it look like?” I asked, folding my arms across my chest. “Because you and I both know whatever is going on between you two doesn’t need to be going on.”

“Nothing is going on, okay? I put a stop to it. I’m with Luca and that’s all that matters. He knows that.”

“But does he respect it? Better yet, do you?” I quizzed, letting my judgements fly.

Suki sucked her teeth. “Listen to me,” she said, grabbing my shoulders, “nothing is going on between us. I told him that it needed to end, and he agreed. End of story, River. Okay?”

I nodded while throwing up my hands. “It’s your life, girl. Live it how you wanna,” I told her.

“Thank you,” she said, running her hand down her pregnant belly. “I love Luca, okay? I do. Me, him, and this baby are going to be a family.”

I shrugged. “You don’t have to prove anything to me, Su.”

She lifted her chin before turning her attention to my wine glass. “You’re lucky you get to drink.”

“It’s not like you can’t drink forever, just another few months, right?”

Suki nodded. “Yeah, unless this little one wants to come early. You know due dates are never one hundred percent—at least that’s what my doctor told me.”

I pressed my lips tightly together. “Right.”

I no longer wanted to have the conversation we were having. Suki had always had it all; the looks, the body, and the desire to get whatever and whoever she wanted. From her striking honey brown eyes to her slim-thick physique and naturally long hair, Suki could easily be the apple of any man’s eye. It wasn’t a complete shock that she’d obviously captured the attention of both the Malone brothers, I just hoped she knew how to treat the burn she’d acquire from playing with fire.

“Anyway, let me start working on this hamburger dip before Luca has a heart attack.”

“Yeah, I’ll let you get to that. I’m gonna go chill out and catch the rest of the game.”

“You actually enjoy watching the game?” she asked.

I gave a half shrug. “Not really, but something about seeing a bunch of sweaty men running up and down the field makes me feel all warm and tingly inside,” I said, hoping to lighten the mood.

Suki chuckled. “You’re so weird, River.”

“Love you too.” I smiled.

Before I could exit the kitchen, Luca approached me. “Yo ladies, can I get y’all to step outside for me?”

“Outside? Baby, it’s literally winter,” Suki attested.

“It’ll be quick, I just want to show you something.”

“I’ll grab both of our coats,” I told her.

We stepped out onto the balcony to see an oversized tent swallowing up the middle of the backyard.

“Oh my God, baby! What’s the occasion?” she squealed while putting her hands over her mouth in total surprise.

“It’s for you. C’mon, let’s go inside.”

I followed behind Suki and Luca as we made our way inside. I smiled, feeling the warmth of the heated tent against my face. My eyes lit up at the sight of a complete winter wonderland. The first thing I noticed was the string quartet playing their rendition of John Legend’s Ordinary People in the middle of the custom-built ice-skating rink in the middle of the tent.

“Baby, oh my God! All this for me? Why? And how did I not even notice any of this was going on outside?”

“I have my ways.”

Suki squealed and threw her arms around him. “It’s so beautiful in here!”


I nodded as my eyes took in the snow-white curtains draping the walls from the ceiling to the floor with royal blue and white light effects to really set it off right. Oversized white glittered Manzanita trees with acrylic chains dripping off them lined the perimeter of the rink, as snowflakes and crystals hung from the ceiling. I knew money was no object to Luca, but I could only hope he had a bigger plan behind his grand gesture and not just because it was the Superbowl.

“Wow! This is so beautiful. I feel like the third wheel, so I’m going to let you two enjoy the rest of your night. I’ll see myself out.”

“Nah, wait up a second, River. I want you to be here for what happens next.”

“And what’s that?” I asked.

Luca turned his attention back to Suki and grabbed her hand. They two of them made their way closer to the quartet who began to play KC and Jo-Jo’s All My Life.

“Oh shit,” I muttered underneath my breath.

“The fuck is he doing?” Maverick asked, stepping up behind me.

“Shh! I think he’s about to propose,” I whispered.

“Fuckin’ fool,” he muttered.

My eyebrows knitted as heat burned my cheeks. How could he stand there and hate on his own flesh and blood at a pivotal milestone in his adult life?

“I think it’s sweet.”

He sucked his teeth. “You would.”

As much as I wanted to rip into him and tell him that he wasn’t shit, I heard Luca speak up and asked the question that my ears were burning to hear. “Suki Diamond Lawrence, will you marry me?”

“Yes! Oh my God, yes! I love you, baby!”

Luca slid the glacier of a diamond ring onto her finger before pulling her into his arms. “I love you too.”

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