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AJ Richardson is living the good life. Thanks to his longtime lover, NBA star Dray Jones, he has a gorgeous townhouse in New Orleans, plenty of frequent-flier miles, and an MBA he’s never had to use. Built on a deep and abiding love, their hidden relationship sustains them both. But when Dray’s teammates begin to ask insinuating questions, Dray puts their doubts to rest by marrying Judi, a beautiful and ambitious woman. Judi knows nothing about Dray's “other life.” Or does she?
In Basketball Jones, E. Lynn Harris explores the consequences of loving someone who is desperate to conform. Filled with nonstop twists and turns, it will keep readers riveted from the first page to the last.
“Harris’s books are hot, in more ways than one.” - The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Harris is a great storyteller who knows how to tug on the heartstrings with wit and sensitivity.” - USA Today
“Keeps the sex, scandal and drama churning.” - People
“Harris’s prose is clean and engaging, the characters compelling, and the plot fast and twisted.” - Seattle Weekly
Although I have two degrees, including an MBA from Georgia State University, I haven't worked a nine-to-five since I met Dray. When we first moved to Atlanta, I was kept busy furnishing his new condo and my town house, which were about ten minutes apart. Even though we spent a lot of time together, Dray thought it best that we have separate living quarters. I understood that. I even picked up a few clients for interior design work and then pursued my MBA at night but didn't tell Dray about it, because he made it clear he wanted me to be able to travel at a moment's notice to attend his road games.
Being Dray's love at times was like having a full-time job. I was responsible for purchasing most of his NBA wardrobe, which meant his suits, shirts, underwear, and ties. He bought his own jeans and sneakers. I set up his computer and iPod and made sure he had the latest electronic gadget. Life was easy and good. I had season tickets to the Hawks: I didn't miss one home game and attended as many road games as I could get to. I wouldn't call myself a huge basketball fan, but I loved going to the games to see what the wives, girlfriends, and groupies were wearing. At first I was envious that they got to show their love and support publicly, but later I felt sorry for many of them when Dray reminded me how much their husbands and boyfriends cheated on them when away on road games.
The first three years in Atlanta were like heaven.
Then she came along and everything changed.
The straight club scene in Atlanta bored me and the gay one didn't do much for me either. So I didn't mind when Dray went to the clubs and strip bars with his teammates. To me it was part of his job. But when one of his teammates suggested that I might be more than his interior designer/stylist, Dray went on a tear to find women. And trust me, the ladies were waiting.
At first he dated a couple of ghetto-fabulous sisters and some plain ghetto girls but got tired of them easily. I knew there was something different when he told me he'd met this young lady at a club in Miami after a road game there. He talked about how smart and beautiful she was and how much she knew about sports. Judi Ledbetter gave Dray the appearance of a socialite but sounded to me like a shrewd gold digger who gave good head, for a female, that is. I guess everybody is good at something.
I imagined her being like the ladies I sometimes saw in tony restaurants enjoying liquid lunches, and having flings with their trainers. I had no proof this was the case with Judi, but it was my secret wish.
Before I knew it, she was doing some of the things Dray had depended on me to do for him, like buying his clothes, planning his vacations, and advising him on what products he should endorse. The difference between her advice and mine was that she did it with a feminine flair, whereas I always presented my advice as one of his bois telling him what was cool. I hadn't grown up in the lifestyle Dray and I were now living, but I'd done my homework to keep my head above water. I pored over style magazines like GQ and Esquire. I watched the Fine Living channel daily. I was constantly reading InStyle and Architectural Digest. My design background came in handy when I talked with the builders of Dray's condo about crown molding, marble, and bbuilt-in ookshelves. When he built his first house it was I who suggested the indoor pool and the basketball and tennis courts.
As far as I was concerned, nothing seemed to change between Dray and me after he met Judi. I still saw him four to five times a week. But, unbeknownst to me, Dray had other plans that would cause things to change a bit. I showed no reaction when he announced that he was marrying Judi in what was to be one of the biggest weddings Miami's Star Island had ever seen. I'd seen it coming and told myself that I'd hold it together when he broke the news. I wanted to show him I could take care of
Excerpted from Basketball Jones by E. Lynn Harris
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