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Authors: Eric Jerome Dickey

Friends and Lovers

BOOK: Friends and Lovers
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Friends and Lovers

“Humor, poignancy, and a fresh, creative writing style…. The reader is hooked from the first sentence.”

USA Today

“A colorful, sexy tale…. Here are the men that Terry McMillan’s women were holding out for in
Waiting to Exhale

Marie Claire

“Hip … crackles with wit and all the rhythm of an intoxicatingly funky rap…. Dickey has an eye for detail. A fun read!”

Cincinnati Enquirer

“The language sings, capturing the flavor, rhythm and pace of African-American-speak…. Sassy and hip.”

Florida Sun-Sentinel


Friends and Lovers

“Sexy, sophisticated … engaging, dynamic, skillful.”

Publishers Weekly

“Perceptive, witty, and moving. Another African-American novel for the bestseller list!”


“With his trademark sharp wit, genuine characters, and real-life issues, Dickey delivers a sexy, searing novel of betrayal, love, and friendship.”

Inland Valley News

“Speaks directly to the heart … bittersweet, honest, and soulful.”

Dallas Weekly

“A great relationship drama…. All four characters feel so genuine they could be neighbors. Dickey is a writer on the way to the top of the profession, with a book that not only transcends the genre, but defines it.”


Sister, Sister

“A high-spirited celebration of black sisterhood…. Bold and sassy … brims with humor, outrageousness, and an understanding of the generosity of affection.”

Publishers Weekly

“An on-target perspective into the feminine psyche and experiences … hilarious.”

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

“Fast-paced and smart…. This vibrant novel marks the debut of a dazzling new talent.”

Reading Matters

“Irresistibly appealing … vibrant and fresh.”

Columbia Black News

“A good summer read … in which women sometimes have their dreams shattered, yet never stop embracing tomorrow.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch




Published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto. Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL. England

Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

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Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore, Auckland 1311, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Previously published in a Dutton edition.

First Signet Printing, September 1998

Copyright © Eric Dickey, 1997

Excerpt from
Milk in My Coffee
copyright © Eric Jerome Dickey, 1998

All rights reserved

ISBN: 978-1-101-65966-3


Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

For Karla with a K

beautiful woman with dignified hair
a face that blushes like an intelligent schoolgirl

see ya at the top of Valley Ridge


I want to thank everybody who helped me out along the way.

My friends who are better than sunshine on a cloudy day—Brenda Denise Stinson, Chiquita, Gina, April, Danielle, Tiffany Royster.

My family—Mrs. Virgina Jerry, Keith and Monica Pigues, Kevin Pigues, and the rest of the crew.

Dwayne and the running crew. “All right, all right.”

And to my editor, Audrey LaFehr. Thanks for the faith.

Thanks to Sara Camilli, my agent.

Tyrone, Delia, Taylor, Devin. Hugs and kisses.

Thanks to Robert “Bobby” Laird for your support.

Special thanks to Shirley “The poetry lady” Harris. Keep pen to paper at all times.

Special thanks to Audrey Cooper, a brother, a true friend.

Special, special thanks to Karla Denise Greene, Esq. You are truly an inspiration! (And thanks for the tuna!)

Okay, okay. If I accidentally forgot ya, fill it in below.

Thanks _____ for whatever you did to make this possible.

Table of Contents

Part One Good-Byes and Hellos

1 / Tyrel

2 / Shelby

3 / Debra

4 / Tyrel

5 / Debra

6 / Shelby

7 / Tyrel

8 / Debra

9 / Shelby

10 / Tyrel

Part Two Let the Rail Fall

11 / Tyrel

12 / Debra

13 / Shelby

14 / Tyrel

15/ Shelby

16 / Tyrel

17 / Shelby

18 / Tyrel

19 / Shelby

20 / Tyrel

21 / Shelby

22 / Tyrel

23 / Shelby

24 / Tyrel

Part Three Home-Going: Everything must Change

25 / Debra

26 / Tyrel

27 / Shelby

28 / Tyrel

29 / Shelby

30 / Shelby

31 / Tyrel

32 / Shelby

33 / Tyrel

34 / Shelby

35 / Tyrel

36 / Shelby

37 / Tyrel

38 / Shelby

39 / Tyrel

40 / Shelby

41 / Tyrel

42 / Shelby

43 / Tyrel

44 / Shelby

45 / Tyrel

46 / Shelby



If all I knew about how to treat a woman was based on what I learned from watching my daddy and the way he mistreated women, then I wouldn’t know a damn thing worth knowing.

Daddy’s first store was a little grocery store in South Central. He went there from sunup to sundown, every day of the week, took money, and made more money with money he took. That was where I inherited my business sense. Daddy provided for his family.

And others.

I’d see all of my daddy’s girlfriends-of-the-week come and stand around and flirt and eat for free. He’d even take money out of the register and give them a scrap or two. I wouldn’t speak to any of them. Neither would my twin sister, Mye. We call each other Twin. Momma never came over to the store from our house. Never. Not even the time one of the stores caught on fire. She had a look in the corner of her eye that said she wished the whole store had burned to the ground. I guess she knew what was going on before Mye told all. Momma had to know. No way a man could carry on like that for years and she wouldn’t know.

By the time I graduated from Crenshaw High, Daddy had three stores. After school, me and Twin used to work the stores. Me and Pops were at odds because I couldn’t really handle the situation, but Mye knew how to put the women in check. Gave them all a hard time when they came by expecting something free. What I learned about women being good and strong, I learned from watching my own mother. She had serious resilience. Character and integrity. If it wasn’t for the respect I have for Momma, the way she put me in check whenever
I did something disrespectful, I’d be just like my daddy.

BOOK: Friends and Lovers
8.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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