If I Can't Have You

by Mary B. Morrison
ISBN: 978-0-7582-7299-7
Publish Date: 7/31/2012
Format: Hardcover
Categories: Imprint: Dafina, Fiction



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What really makes a man plunge headlong into obsession? And what does he do past the point of no return? New York Times bestselling author Mary B. Morrison delivers a seductive, mesmerizing tale of “love” gone dangerously wrong…

Madison is my woman. She needs me. This is the mantra Granville Washington constantly repeats to others, including the friends and family who beg him to respect Madison Tyler’s demand that he leave her alone. Sure, Granville knows they’re as different as can be. He’s a construction worker, ball-and-chained to the Houston grid, while brilliant, beautiful Madison runs her own multi-million dollar company. But he also knows she can’t resist the way he kisses every inch of her just right. After only three months, Granville is sure she’s everything he desires in a wife. If Madison only knew the real him, she’d realize they belong together. And he’ll do anything to make her his. Forever.

What part of “I’m not in a relationship with you,” didn’t Granville understand? No matter how direct Madison is, Granville just doesn’t get it. He was fine when it came to putting in overtime burning up the sheets, but that’s where their connection ends—or so she thinks. Once the stalking begins, Madison files a police report. She’s determined to take her life back. But once she moves on for real, Granville has a surprise for her…when she least expects it. Madison is about to discover just how far he will go to have and to hold her. Whether she wants him or not.

Prologue

Granville

“I came to tell you something,” she said softly. Loretta sat across the table from me at our favorite restaurant, Grand Lux Cafe, on Westheimer Road. Her naturally chocolate lips were perfectly painted with that sweet raspberry gloss I’d tasted twenty-three times. I wanted to lean over the table, suck it all off, up my count to twenty-four.

“You look ravishing,” I growled, then snapped my teeth. I complimented her all the time because I never wanted my Loretta to think I’d ever take her for granted.

Finishing my third beer, I’d been anxiously waiting for her for almost an hour. I had arrived thirty minutes early. She was equally as late. She’d texted me earlier that she had to wait for her mom to get to her house so her mother could watch her little girl. She wanted to postpone our date until tomorrow, after her daughter’s father picked up their child for the weekend, but I insisted on seeing her today. I couldn’t wait another twenty-four hours to gaze into her large brown eyes. Plus, I wasn’t good at keeping surprises a secret.

“I ordered you your favorite martini, but it’s warm now. I’ll get you another one.... Excuse me, Darrin, a fresh lemon drop for my baby, please,” I said, handing him the glass. I’d been there long enough to know a few things about the waiter, like he was twenty-three, had a deep voice, which made me slightly envious, and we were both Houston Texans’ fans.

Darrin nodded at Loretta. “Glad you made it. I’ll be right back with that—”

She shook her head. “No, but thanks. I’m not drinking today.”

“Then I’ll get you some water,” Darrin said, then asked me, “Sir, another beer?”

I nodded. I was feeling good and wanted to keep my buzz going.

Loretta’s big brown eyes connected with mine. When her thick lips parted, my dick got hard, making me reminisce about the first and last time she’d given me fellatio. Loretta had said, “I’m never sucking your dick again,” because I came too fast. Hopefully, she’d change her mind; but if not, that was okay with me as long as she kissed me somewhere.

Today was special. I’d requested a booth for us. Sliding close to the window, I said, “Come sit next to me.”

She shook her head. “I’m good.”

The space between the high red velvet cushion behind my back and the edge of the table grazing my stomach was a little snug for my wide midsection, but the smooth vinyl seating comforted my rock- hard rear end. My muscular body was still fit from when I wrestled in high school, and I earned my money doing construction work for the past twenty-five.

As I stared outside, there wasn’t much of a view, except rows of cars and the stores’ signage for Sport Clips, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and Stride Rite on the other side of the parking lot.

I looked at my girl and moved back to the middle of the booth so I could sit directly across from her. Her wide pink tongue peeped at me, commanding my attention. The scent of fresh bubble gum traveled from her mouth to my nose when she sighed. Loretta’s mouth was always inviting. I winked at her, then smiled.

“You know what you just did to me, right? You gave me another woody,” I whispered. “You gave me a woody.” Then I started grinning.

Sighing heavily, she said, “Your dick is always hard.”

I lifted my brows twice, narrowed my eyes, and kept smiling at her. She made me feel sexy; she had done things to me no other woman had. She’d once tied me to my bed—naked, except for my cowboy boots—then rode me like she was a cowgirl and I was her bucking bull. My bald head banged against the headboard as I screamed, “Loretta!”

My woman exhaled and rolled her eyes to the corners; then she returned her gaze to me. Her stare was dreamy. Or maybe it was my reflection that I saw. It didn’t matter. Either way, I was in love.

If she said she was pregnant, she’d make me the happiest man in the world. I swear, I’d jump on the table, wave my big Texas hat, and shout to everyone in hearing range, “We’re pregnant!”

Yelling too loud would hurt my throat. But the announcement of my very first kid would be worth the joy and pain. Twenty years ago, when I was twenty-five, I was shot in the shoulder and the bullet grazed my vocal cord. The damage was permanent; my voice was still deep, but since that day it’s been scratchy. When I first met Loretta, she thought I was hoarse. The louder I tried to speak, the more it hurt, but I loved to talk. I was brilliant and enjoyed sharing my wisdom with anyone who’d listen. Some women actually thought my voice was sexy. But not Loretta. When I talked too much, I annoyed her.

My baby rubbed the side of her nose. “I don’t want to go out with you anymore. You’re nice and all, but I can’t do this again. I met you here to let you know that this is our last date.”

Not another “let’s just kiss and say good-bye” bitch.

Usually, I’d want to ram my tongue down her throat and give her one of my juicy kisses, letting the saliva drain from my mouth to hers. Now all I wanted to shove in her mouth was my huge fist. Rip away that yellow blouse with the dangling collar, bite her breasts. Raise up her short skirt, spread her legs with my thigh, give her this woody throbbing against my zipper. Making her cum would make her stay with me.

The restaurant was packed on this blazing hot afternoon. Lucky for her, we were not alone. That, and I didn’t hit ladies for no reason— even when I felt they deserved a slap or two.

An affectionate pat on the back from me had sent a few grown men stumbling. “Watch it,” Loretta would scold when I touched her face. Then she’d ask, “When was the last time you washed your hands?”

Most of the time I had no idea. I was a manly man, operated heavy machinery, and used my hands to haul bricks and dig ditches. There was no way I was going to run to a restroom every time I felt like touching her.

It was my turn to exhale. “I don’t understand. I thought things between us were getting better.”

“For you,” she said.

Frowning, I said, “For me? I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to do. I even went to that sex therapist you recommended, Numbiya Aziz. I can’t lie. She taught me some things. Especially how to take my time when making love to you. Now that I know how to make you cum really hard, you can’t deny the sex between us is the best you’ve ever had. Right?”

“For you,” she said again.

Bitch, if you say that shit one more time!

I wiggled my brows, pressed my lips together, then smiled. The heel of my custom-made boot lifted, then thumped to the floor. Again and again. Suddenly my jeans felt too tight. I shook my left leg sideways, rubbed my thigh.

Darrin placed Loretta’s water and my beer on the table.

“What about the lingerie I just bought you? You trying to use me? You gon’ put my shit on for some other nigga?”

Darrin quietly walked away.

Loretta opened her oversized blue Coach purse, handed me a red plastic Frederick’s bag. “I thought you’d bring that up. I never wore them. Everything is there, including the receipt.”

She placed the bag on the table. I left it there. I didn’t want no fucking refund. I wanted her!

“Tell me what your problem is. Give me a chance to fix it,” I pleaded. This woman was close to making me act irate, like a guest on an old episode of The Jerry Springer Show. What was I supposed to do with the $15,000 ring in my damn pocket? She was the one who’d told me that a man had to spend at least two months of his salary on an engagement ring. That was her way of asking me to marry her.

Her eyes turned red as she said, “I’m not the problem. You are. I’m tired of telling you that you talk too much. Your voice is irritating. You don’t listen to what I have to say. Your shoving your tongue down my throat, draining your bodily fluids into my mouth, is horrible, but you think each kiss is ‘the best kiss ever.’ You think we’re in a relationship, when I keep telling you... we’re not!”

“We are in a relationship!”

“I’m not your woman.”

Staring her down, I had to break her. Make her see things my way. I told her, “You are my woman. We talk on the phone every day. We go out every other day. And we’ve had great sex. Any decent woman would expect me to be her man. What’s wrong with you?”

“You. I’ve only known you for three weeks and my stress level has gone from calm to calamity.” Loretta slid to the edge of the booth. “As nice as you appear to be, you are not the man for me. You’re not the guy for any woman, Granville. You need help. Medication. Something. I barely know you. You’re too possessive. I could go on and on, but...,” she said, standing in front of me. “Take care of yourself.”

Bitch, you’re the one who gave it up and sucked my dick on the first date.

There was someone for everyone, and Loretta was mine. I couldn’t let the love of my life walk away from me. I grabbed her wrist. “But we haven’t eaten. Look, I’m sorry. I apologize. I love you, Loretta. If you think I need meds, I’ll make us an appointment to see my doctor. Sit down. Let’s have lunch. You talk. I’ll listen. You’re right.”

“And you’re desperate. Let go of me.” She jerked her arm.

I wanted to release her, but I couldn’t let go. What if she was serious? What if I never saw her again? My fingers tightened. Worse, what if she was trying to leave me for another man? I felt sweat beading on my head, then streaming down my forehead. I wiped my nose.

Darrin rushed over to our table. “You okay?” he asked Loretta.

Loretta picked up her glass of water and tossed it in my face. Darrin took off. This was one of those few moments when Loretta made me want to hit her. The first time had to be an open-hand slap. Second time, backhand. Third, fist to the face if the bitch disrespected me. But abusing her in public would land me behind bars.

Maybe I was overreacting. She was probably trying to cool me off. Maybe. I rattled my head to shake off the excess water. She jerked her arm again.

Why was Loretta treating me this way? All I tried to do was take good care of her. Treat her with respect. Buy her nice things. The first time I bought her daughter a gift, she gave it back saying, “The only men who are allowed to give my princess gifts are her dad and her grandfathers. That’s it.”

I respected that, because I had to, but what woman wouldn’t let her man take care of her child? We were a family. I was willing to help her work out her issues if she’d give me the chance.

I dug deep into my pocket. I pulled out two 20-dollar bills and placed them on the table. Then I reached into my other pocket, pulled out the ring, held the box in my palm, flipped it open with my thumb, and knelt on one knee. Still holding on, I stared up at her.

“Marry me, Loretta.” The shine from the bling made me smile.

“For real? You expect that will make me say ‘yes.’ ” I squeezed her wrist as tight as I could, until she screamed, “Ow! Let me go!”

The people staring at me were supposed to be cheering for me, for us. I dumped the ring in my palm, snapped the box closed, jammed the box in my pocket, staggered to my feet. The baby I wanted us to have wasn’t growing inside her? The woman I loved had to have a reason to love me too. Anger festered inside me as she broke my heart and my grip, then slapped my face.

“Yeah!” I grunted. “You know you love me.”

Loretta marched out of the restaurant.

I snatched my hat off the window’s ledge and put it on as I chased her past Carter’s, down to Marshalls, and to her car. “Wait, give me one more chance.”

“Ugh!” Loretta stopped, waved her hands in front of my face. “What is wrong with you?”

“What’s wrong with you, skank-ass bitch? You’d better get your hands out my face. Hit me again and you gon’ need medical attention. I told you I’d put you on my health insurance. You’d rather be a hometown ho, spreading your pussy around Houston like pollen, than to let me take care of you?”

Calmly she said, “Yes.”

“You trifling bitch! You’re not going nowhere,” I said, blocking her driver’s-side door.

“You need to get your fucked-up, crooked yellow teeth, nasty-ass crusty feet, ‘slobbering like a dog in heat’ self away from me and my brand-new BMW.”

Fuck her 700 Series. I should kick a dent in it. Now, all of a sudden, she’s trying to say I’m ugly. She wasn’t complaining when I was giving her this big, hard dick. My shit was long, wide, circumcised, and worth worshiping every day.

My mother’s voice echoed in my ears, “You can catch more bees with honey, honey.”

I calmed down. This wasn’t about me. It was about Loretta. I told my lady, “You’re right. I apologize. Please forgive me. This won’t happen again. Marry me.” I fought to put my ring on her finger. She yanked her hand away.

“Officer!” Loretta shouted. “Help me!”

I hadn’t noticed the cop getting out of his car until now. Wondered if that Darrin dude called PD on me. Regardless, I wasn’t looking for trouble. I stepped aside, hoping Loretta would get into her car and go home. That way we could continue our conversation in private.

“Is there a problem, sir?” the officer asked me. His hand was on his gun.

“No problem. Just a little lovers’ quarrel with my girlfriend.”

Spectators were gathering alongside the walkway in front of Marshalls. Loretta cried like she was auditioning for the role of Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It. Made me want to take off my boot and beat her ass like I was Ike.

“I’m not his damn girlfriend. He’s harassing me. I’m trying to leave, but he won’t let me.”

“Sir, let me see your identification.”

“What did I do?” I asked. My eyes narrowed toward Loretta. “She’ll calm down shortly. Women always exaggerate. Soon as you leave, she’ll be begging me to come over to her house and you know what, man.” I hoisted my big Texas belt buckle.

After all this shit was over, I needed to go kick it at Grooves Restaurant and Lounge tonight. Meet me a down-to-earth woman who knew how to enjoy herself minus all the drama. Buy her a few drinks. Toss back some more brews. Get wasted. Get my dick sucked and forget about Loretta until tomorrow.

“I’m not going to ask you again, sir.”

Fuck!

I eased my wallet out of my back pocket and handed my license to the officer.

“Wait right here,” he said. “Better yet, you come with me. Ma’am, you wait here.”

I had to follow that nigga all the way over to Old Navy. Stood beside his car. Women could fuck things up in a heartbeat. When shit didn’t go their way, they wanted the police to rescue their ass. Just like that, Loretta was about to know what I didn’t want her to ever find out.

The policeman opened his door, got into his car. Ten minutes later he got out. “Put your hands behind your back and turn around.”

“Why? What did I do?”

“I’m not going to ask you again . . . sir.” The officer unfastened the latch securing his stun gun and pulled it out.

I faced the fuckin’ patrol car, did as I was told. I knew the routine. The officer removed my hat, tossed it on the backseat, placed his hand on top of my head, shoved me into the car, and left the door open.

I sat there, feeling like an idiot. Watched him motion for Loretta to come over to his patrol car. She stared like I was in a lineup and she needed to ID me. I stared back at that ho. After all I’d done for her, that bitch didn’t have an ounce of empathy for me. Just like the rest, she’d get hers.

“Let me see your license,” the officer told Loretta.

She opened her purse and handed the ID to the cop.

“I don’t know your relationship to this man, but there’s something you should know,” the officer said. “Granville Washington has three protective orders against him filed in Harris County by three different women. If he’s harassing you, I suggest you do the same, Ms. Lovelace. This man is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.”

He didn’t know me. If I was such a threat, why was I forty-five years old and making ninety Gs a year busting my ass building offices? What the cop failed to mention to Ms. Lovelace was that all three POs were unwarranted. And even if they were legit, Harris County had nearly

4.5 million residents, and Houston was the fourth largest city in the United States, with over 2 million people. It was hot as hell. Every heat record was broken this year. Folks in Houston were understandably agitated sometimes and the prisons were already overcrowded. So having a few POs was no reason to lock a brothah up. “Arrest him! He’s insane. I want to press charges.”

“Wish I could, ma’am, but I don’t have cause to arrest this man. He hasn’t violated the law.”

Watching Loretta walk away, I smiled on the inside. It would be in her best interest to take the officer’s advice. I’d never violated a protective order. Better to get another woman than go to jail and become someone else’s woman.

I wasn’t finished with Loretta Lovelace yet. If she were wise, she’d wear my ring, and she’d never turn her back on me again.

About Mary B. Morrison:

New York Times bestselling author Mary B. Morrison believes that women should shape their own destiny. Born in Aurora, IL, and raised in New Orleans, LA, she took a chance and quit her near six-figure government job to self-publish her first book, Soulmates Dissipate, in 2000 and begin her literary career. Mary’s books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists. Mary is actively involved in a variety of philanthropic endeavors, and in 2006 she sponsored the publication of an anthology written by 33 sixth-graders. In 2010, Mary produced a play based on her novel, Single Husbands, which she wrote under her pseudonym, HoneyB. In 2013, Mary adopted a shelter (24-Hour Oakland Parent Teacher Children Center) and she’s helping to raise funds to support services for homeless women. Her wonderful son, Jesse Byrd, Jr., is writing novels for adolescents and is the owner of Oiseau Clothes. Mary currently resides in Oakland, CA. 

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