Book Excerpt: (Chapter 1)
Onyx looked at herself one last time in the bathroom mirror. Her shiny, jet black hair flowed over her shoulders like liquid satin; the blunt bangs stopping just under her eyebrows. Her deep brown eyes smoldered through the black smudged smoky eye shadow. The black sequined mini-dress her friend Angel had given her for the occasion hung on her curves making her feel like a vixen: powerful and sexy. The feeling was intoxicating. She bit her crimson lip, Philip would not approve, she thought. Good thing he was on a business trip till tomorrow.
It felt good to look sexy. She had been stuck in this ivory penthouse for months now without seeing her friends. All Onyx wanted was a night to unwind and relax; take a break from being the perfect girlfriend. Philip was great and all, but he could be a bit demanding. The rules kept adding up: no tattoos showing in public, no “sexy” clothing, no foul language, only hang out with people he approves of, always act like a lady. It was exhausting to be with him sometimes. They had been together for almost two years now, but to Onyx, it felt like a lot longer.
Weeks like this were the key to her sanity. Every couple months or so Philip would go on a business trip to headquarters for some big meeting. And for those brief few days, Onyx could be her old self again.
Before she met Philip, she was just another struggling artist, trying to make it on her own. She lived with a group of four other girls in an artist apartment. They would post their work in the hallways for sale or bring them down to the beach front to sell to tourists. The building they lived in, entirely comprised of fellow creative souls, put on a Christmas art show in hopes to get some much needed cash before the holidays. And that’s where Onyx and Philip met. Their chemistry was instantaneous and explosive. The odd couple, a tattoo covered artist and a button-down business man, simply could not get enough of each other. Within two weeks he had moved her into his penthouse apartment in downtown Miami.
At first, the fiery passion between them was all they needed. They would lose themselves in each other for hours on end. He was late to work constantly and she spent less and less time painting, opting for a few more moments wrapped up in each other instead. They were in their own little world where she was the beautiful, adoring girlfriend and he was the supportive, loving boyfriend. It was everything Onyx had ever longed for. But as the lusty fog of the afterglow began to lift, the reality of their relationship settled on her like chains.
First came the wardrobe. Onyx had come home one afternoon from a jog to find her closet had been gutted. All her raggedy band t-shirts and holey jeans had been replaced by what Philip deemed “a more respectable wardrobe.” He had told her it was a gift, and that she didn’t need to dress like she was poor anymore; all his wealth was hers. She deserved nice things, he would say. She should look like his match. When Onyx asked why her tattoos were completely covered by all her new clothes he had told her he didn’t want anyone to judge her on such a superficial thing. “People would be cruel,” he said, “and think less of her for her body art, so better not to give them the chance.” Philip’s words had felt so deeply sincere that she couldn’t bring herself to be mad. She had never argued the point that his tattoos, mostly the one on his wrist, showed even when he wore a business suit. The argument hardly seemed worth it.
Then came the cell phone. One day, she had gone to text her best friend, Angel, but the contact name was no longer saved in her phone. She scrolled through all the listings only to find almost all her friend’s numbers had been removed. But then she then realized he hadn’t just deleted a couple numbers, he had changed her phone out completely. It was a whole new phone, with a new number. He said it was an honest mistake. He had only been trying to do the right thing by getting an unlisted number for her. He was a powerful man, and he didn’t want anyone coming after his sweet girlfriend because her phone was vulnerable. The man at the store must have not transferred all the contacts, “but good riddance” he said.
People like Angel were unpredictable and reckless. She was a danger to their relationship and should be cut from their lives anyway. Slowly, one by one, Philip cut her off from her friends until all she had left was him. He truly is trying to protect me, she had thought. But now that she was alone in this sterile house all the time, she wasn’t so sure. She felt like Rapunzel, trapped in her tower. But tonight, she was letting down her long black hair and sneaking out for a little fun.
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Genre – Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG – 13
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Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.