In honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Week, I am posting two short excerpts from my novel, “Cooper’s Promise”.
Lulay is a young woman who has been trafficked. Cooper has befriended her. In the first excerpt, we see Lulay for the first time in the novel, and I have included this to set up the second excerpt.
In the second excerpt, Lulay starts dancing like the young girl that she still is, and ends up dancing like the woman she’s having to grow up too fast to be.
So meet Lulay…
At that moment Lulay splashed her way out through the tinkling beaded curtain. Behind it was a labyrinth of rooms that offered mattresses and little privacy. An almond-eyed beauty with skin the color of a dark nut, she had every man’s attention as she headed straight for the bar, where Juma held out a glass of ice water for her. She popped her bubblegum as she reached for it, and he nodded discreetly at a fat man sitting alone in a booth. Lulay glanced around at him. Cooper did too. He didn’t want to think of Lulay going with the fat man, but he knew she would; he knew they’d be together. It was something he couldn’t stop, not every time, not without enough money to buy Lulay a free hour, let alone all her hours.
…and now Lulay comes out from the beaded curtain again for the dance of the Black Lolita.
Lulay didn’t give her john a good-bye anything. She was done with him and needed her ice water, and Juma had a nice tall glass of it waiting for her. Crossing to the bar, she dodged come-ons from guys who knew she hadn’t had time to spit out the last one, and she couldn’t quite believe it, her expression said. She was still girl enough to have that look.
Handing her the water, Juma gave her a look that asked if everything was all right, and she said something that amused the barman and made him shake his head. Lulay took a mouthful of water, and leaning her head back, gargled it before swallowing. She took another sip, and swiveled on her heels, legs akimbo, zeroing in on Cooper. She always knew where to find him. She had Cooper radar, and she knew he’d seen her walk out with her john. She puckered her mouth like she was going to send him a big kiss with lips newly painted crimson, and instead squeezed out an ice cube like a turd into her palm.
The power came on and the jukebox flickered to life, spinning a seductive beat. Lulay’s untrained body, still a girl’s body, still a body remembering before her bleeding had started, and she could almost see womanhood but hadn’t yet, that was the body that danced first, that found firm footing as she shook her glass at Cooper like a voodoo charm. Even the men slumped at the bar perked up for this dance of the Black Lolita. She rolled her chilled glass across her forehead, cooling that hot girl’s body, cooling scenes seen by a woman, and that was the body that danced next—her woman’s body. She swaggered into that woman’s dance, moving her feet to a second beat, shutting her eyes in remembrance of every ass she’d grabbed and every night she’d swallowed.
When the lights flickered off again, Lulay rescued another cube from her glass and dabbed her neck with it like wet kisses washing away the johnny slobber. That cube melted fast, so hot was her little body; the next cube pressed to her face hardly touched her cheeks before turning into ersatz tears.
These are a couple of the more literary passages of what is also an action-packed novel. If you’d like to read more, Cooper’s Promise will be published in February 2012. You have until January 14 to buy a signed first edition copy through: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1574975666/coopers-promise-a-novel. (Please paste that address into your browser.)
Readers feedback always appreciated.