II: Living the life she has always dreamed of, Unique isn't about to let her past ruin her future with her fiancé, Kennard. But the tables are turned on her and Unique is fighting for her very life. As for Kennard, he is stunned to learn about her past, but more importantly he is not about to let anyone get away with hurting his woman. As Unique and her best friend, Teeydah, set out on a path of revenge, a new menace and a new betrayal rises.
III: The blade of revenge cuts both ways. However, that is not going to stop Unique from getting those who are out to get her. And she is determined to be the last woman standing . . .
Always Unique gathers together three popular Unique novellas from the New York Times bestselling, African-American powerhouse author Nikki Turner.
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By Nikki Turner
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Nikki Turner
All rights reserved.
It was exactly 12:45 in the afternoon when Unique Bryant entered the Seventh Avenue high-rise. She was focused, and her mind was set on what she had come for, which was nothing short of handling her business. Arms folded across her chest and tapping her high-heeled, stiletto Giuseppe Zanotti, "come fuck me" pumps, she waited for the elevator to welcome her through its doors. And just like the last few times that she had been in the lobby of this establishment, she still admired the fact that no expense was spared when the owner commissioned the city's top design firm to furnish the prime, luxury commercial space. A majestic mahogany desk was positioned atop a handmade Persian rug in front of the floor-to-ceiling window that covered the entire east wall. The view of the city was not only spectacular, it was absolutely breathtaking. The other walls were covered with a blond-textured silk fabric and were adorned with expensively framed paintings by artists with names she had never heard of or could barely pronounce.
"Hi, I'm going in," Unique stated with a smile upon exiting the elevator as she made her way past the assistant sitting outside of the executive's office who Unique was going to see. Not waiting for an approval, response, or even taking a second to acknowledge the dirty looks the secretary was giving her, Unique strolled on through like she owned the place. Let Lil' Kim and Nicki Minaj battle all they want; it's clear, in this moment, who the true Queen Bee really is, Unique thought as she threw her long hair over her shoulder and kept it moving to the destination at hand.
Unique sashayed into his office with a white and blue bag filled with his favorite brownies from an uptown bakery.
"I thought you had school until six," he asked, happy but puzzled to see her since she wasn't in the culinary classes that he bankrolled.
"They let us out early due to ventilation problems." She dropped the brownies on his desk.
"Did you make these?" He saw the bag from the bakery but he asked the silly question anyway, mesmerized by her complete being. She was wearing a low-cut, short, red Herve Leger dress from which he couldn't peel his eyes away ... not until she stepped behind his desk, dropped to her knees, and started unbuckling his belt.
"No, I picked them up for you, babe. I figured they were the next best thing to my baking them for you," she answered, as she became preoccupied with his Italian leather belt.
He knew he had a meeting in five minutes, but Unique had the belt undone on his tailored slacks and his dick in her hand before he had a chance to protest — that is, if he had been stupid enough to do something as ridiculous as protest. Even former President Clinton knew better than to exercise his veto power to protest a blow job and Monica Lewinsky's oral game had nothing on Unique's state-of-the-art head jobs. Besides, he'd learned that when it came to Unique's spontaneity, it was always best to let her do her. And the girl did her, oh, so well.
The lucky fellow on the receiving end of Unique's naughty but kind gesture was Kennard DuVall. He was a dapper guy with plenty of that Harlem U.S.A. swagg. He never left the house unless he was suited and booted from head to toe. Indeed, he had the best of both worlds: he was a hugely successful boxing promoter putting together world-class prizefights, and still had a hand and a foot in the know of the streets. But nothing was more phenomenal to him than the blows he was getting to the head from Unique. Not only was she drop-dead gorgeous with her exotic looks, but her greatest attribute was that she was a world-class "head boxer" herself.
Unique had her lips around his penis like they were Vise-Grips, and when Kennard was almost at the point where he was about to bust off, his secretary's annoying high-pitched voice distracted him as it came across the intercom.
"Mr. DuVall," she said, "your one P.M. is here."
"Damn!" Kennard responded under his breath. He'd almost forgotten about the appointment just that quickly. But not only that, she fucked up his nut. Surely that was grounds for him to fire the bitch. Regaining his senses, he said, "Okay, tell them to give me ten minutes to finish up here," before stabbing the disconnect button with his finger. "Shit."
Unique's $1,500 hair weave filled his lap. "All I need is two minutes. I promise I got you," she said, never once looking up or losing focus on her task at hand.
Though the sound of her voice made him lose his concentration, it didn't make him lose his hard on, especially with Unique on her job the way she always was. She knew that Kennard was in heaven.
From prior experience, Unique was certain that Kennard's eyes were rolling to the back of his head when she heard the high-pitched moans of pleasure escape his clinched teeth as she submerged one, then the other of his heavy balls into her mouth. A little noon head was her way of saying, "Hello, honey, how's your day going?" And if it hadn't already been going good, after this mission Unique was on, it would be guaranteed to be going pretty damn great.
Kennard called out, "Jesus ...," and he wasn't even Christian, as Unique executed her patented and creative head-boxing technique with her tongue and jaws.
Bobbing and weaving, then sucking and slurping a few more times, Unique made sure that Kennard was unable to control himself as he busted off in her sexy hot, wet mouth.
Of course, she swallowed every drop of his warm sweet cum, just like it was a Slurpee on a hot summer day.
Then she kissed him on the lips after standing up and straightening out her dress. "What time are you getting out of here tonight?" she asked.
"I got a good mind to leave with you now," he said, tugging at his belt.
"No, don't let me be a distraction," she said with a smile. "Let me get that for you," she purred, helping him with his slacks.
"Believe me, baby, you've done enough. Thank you." He kissed her on her forehead, managing to regain a little of his composure. "I'll ring you at about eight. I got something special planned — if you're not too busy with school stuff or what?"
She was reapplying her "Oh Baby" MAC tinted Lipglass. Then she threw him an air kiss and said, "Stop playing." She used her hazel eyes to do the rest of the talking. "You know I'm never too busy to be with you."
"Then I'll call you."
From his expression, there was no denying that he was pleased. Her eyes beamed at being able to bless him with such a pleasure. She took great pride in getting him off and with Kennard, she couldn't help but feel it was definitely better to give than to receive.
On her way to the elevator, Sandra, the receptionist, had the audacity to roll her eyes at Unique as she strolled past, making it the second time that day in a matter of a five-minute time span she'd caused someone's eyes to roll in the back of their head.
Bitch, fuck you! Unique thought, as she smiled at Sandra and said, "Toodles!" with a wave and kept it moving.
Unique didn't feel one bit of shame. Shit, life was good! She'd come a long way from sucking dicks in the back room of car lots and bathrooms in clubs and especially the whorehouses of Mexico. What in the hell did she care what some receptionist thought about her?
In her lifetime, Unique had slept with a couple of girls in prison and a countless number of guys — always for her own manipulative gain — but it was a fact that everyone she laid down with had gotten up and walked away happy campers and had run back and begged for more. But Kennard was different: actually being with someone because she wanted him to have her was a whole other story and definitely a new page in her book of life.
Unique had been through a lot, but she never felt sorry for herself or complained about her plight. Growing up in the unpredictable, violent streets of Richmond, Virginia, taught her to squeeze lemons and make them crystal-clear yellow diamonds. There were people who would label some of her past actions as the epitome of shiesty, raunchy, despicable, and definitely trifling. But Unique would argue that, before Kennard, her life had been about survival of the fittest. Let her tell it, she'd had grown-woman problems and grown-woman bills to pay, which meant she had to do grown-woman things. Regardless of what it was called these days, though, Unique had indeed been through enough madness and drama to fill an epic motion picture and a few blockbuster sequels. So pleasing a guy who was not only rich but who was crazy about her — and she actually felt the same for him — made her feel like she had hit the Lotto. She never thought the day would come when she was the one falling in love — and the irony: his money didn't matter to her. Now, make no mistake about it — she was happy Kennard had money, but if he didn't come to the table with as much, she would have felt the same way about him. She was a hustler and without a doubt, by hook or by crook, if she knew nothing else, she knew how to get money.
Fuck scratching off a lottery ticket or going on a trip to Vegas in the hopes of winning big — Unique had been born with the jackpot right between her legs and a bonus on her tongue. But Kennard had it all: money, a big dick (and he knew what to do with it), swagger, a lucrative company, and so much love for her that in her eyes, life was good.
Unique was certain that her old ways weren't the life she wanted for herself anymore. Kennard cared for her and admired her so much that she wanted to turn over a new leaf for him and to be all the woman he needed her to be. He was her new beginning and her road to riches and happiness. Her two-bit hustles were finally a thing of her past.
In her previous life, a treacherous guy named Lootchee had bought out her contract from the Mexican whorehouse and brought her back to Virginia, only to hold it over her head and treat her like a slave. After she escaped that situation, she started to reflect on her life and couldn't get a wink of sleep as she thought about all the shameful deeds she had done in that city. Her friend, Tyeedah, whom she met in prison, convinced her to come to New York about a year ago. It didn't take much persuading. Unique quickly got on the first thing smoking to New York City with only four hundred dollars and a suitcase full of skeletons. She had no real plan, and the big city and big lights were the only things on her mind. Back home, her pastor and his wife told her that the city would eat her alive. But she knew firsthand that what didn't kill her only would make her stronger. Besides, what more damage could this city do to her that hadn't already been done? After all, she was the same girl who had survived after being abandoned in Mexico, with no passport, by the only man she ever really loved; where she was forced to buy back her freedom by selling her body to dirty-dick, drunk, uncircumcised Mexicans.
If she wanted to be a boxer in her arena, she damn sure couldn't have a glass chin. So Unique took it like the champ she was. After all, she was used to swimming in deep waters with the sharks, so she came to the city of dreams ready to take her bite out of the Big Apple, fully expecting a rocky ride. But instead, she found that life in the city was nothing but smooth sailing, especially after she happened to be in the right place at the right time. She had only been in New York for less than two weeks when she bumped into Kennard — literally. They collided in a crowded room. He accidentally spilled his drink on her, and since then they were in a whirlwind tango.
Unique strutted out the building like a runway model to her Mercedes-Benz S500, which Kennard had been paying for during the past nine months that they had been together. Funny thing was, she drove his Maserati more than she drove her own car. She loved everything about it. But the truth of the matter was it could have been an orange Oldsmobile Delta 88, and she would have driven that with great poise and pride. Hell, even after Cinderella's carriage turned into a pumpkin, at the end of the story, the chick was still a princess. The mere fact that Kennard released his car to her with no hesitation made her feel that she was something special to him. God was indeed good, she thought as she looked in the visor mirror to check her makeup. Talk about bringing her through the storm.
Once she pulled out of her parking space, she noticed a promotional flyer under the windshield wiper of the car. The bright orange paper started to annoy her so she pulled over to remove it. She got partially out of the car to reach for the piece of paper. Once she set her perfectly round butt back in the bucket seat, she realized that it wasn't a flyer that some promoter's street team had left on the window of a row of cars. It was a personal note. She opened it up and read: WHEREVER YOU GO ... THERE YOU ARE!
Unique looked around; though she was pretty positive it had to be a mix-up, it puzzled the shit out of her. Was this meant for her? It couldn't have been. She was still so new to the city, and she had been flying deep below the radar. She hadn't made any enemies or showed any traits from her old life. Her entire focus these days was culinary school and keeping Kennard happy. She wanted so much for him to make their relationship official. She was well aware that his kind wasn't accustomed to making hoes into housewives, but she was hopeful that the hoe-God would work things out in her favor.
The letter was baffling to Unique. Maybe it was meant for Kennard. After all, he drove her car occasionally and he had a lot of enemies. Kennard had done a lot for the people in his Harlem hood. He was respected by many but feared by just as much. He had been a street dude and lived by the sword. He'd also had a lot of money deals, and while most were lovely, some were mediocre, and a few went sour. Yes, this letter could very well be meant for Kennard.
Whatever the meaning was between the lines of that letter, Unique didn't want any problems. But from past experience, whether Unique wanted problems or not, they always seem to attach themselves to her.
THE FOOT DRAGON
Unique tried not to rack her brain to figure out the why, where, and who of the mysterious note. She hadn't the foggiest idea who had put it there or why. Besides Kennard, she barely knew anyone in New York. As big as the apple was, why in the hell did someone have to try to take a bite out of her?
After thinking long and hard, Unique could only come up with a few logical explanations for the letter.
Could someone have mistaken my car for someone else's? I mean, there are a bunch of Mercedes driving around New York City. Maybe the note could be meant for Kennard? He does drive this car a lot. And, I know his business tactics are mostly on the up-and-up, but nevertheless, just like me, he's had his share of the streets some years ago. Or, wait a minute! What the hell am I thinking? It could be one of Kennard's ex-bitches trying to start some shit. I wish a bitch would try to come between me and Kennard. These NY chicks don't want to get me started! They don't know me and got me fucked up! Sorry bitches — you snooze, you lose. Your loss, my gain. Bitches kill me ... old news, I'm the new news! Fuck outta here!
Unique was getting too worked up about the letter. To keep herself from going crazy, she made a conscious decision to not let it rent any more room in her head. She had too many positive things going on.
Since she had the day off from school, she decided to spend the afternoon hunting for the perfect pair of shoes to go with a teal dress that she'd bought last week. Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and a couple of boutiques later, she fell in love with a pair of must-have Christian Louboutin designs. Three shoe-gasms later, and a visit to the spa for her biweekly wax as well as a hot stone massage to relax her muscles. She knew that later that night at home, she was destined to finish what she started at Kennard's office. It was close to 8 P.M. — 7:59 to be exact — when she was done, and just like clockwork, her phone rang.
Good-looking, rich, and punctual, she thought. How often does a man like that come along? And how lucky can one girl be?
"Hello, my love!" she answered, with all smiles.
"Excuse me, I must have the wrong number."
"Oh, you got jokes?" she said. Even if the caller ID hadn't done its job, Unique would have known Kennard's brisk, sexy, thick New York accent anywhere.
"I hope you're on the way to Jersey now, making your way home."
Excerpted from Always Unique by Nikki Turner. Copyright © 2014 Nikki Turner. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Unique II: Betrayal,
Unique III: Revenge,
Also by Nikki Turner,
About the Author,