Meet Warren (junior that is). Just like his late father and namesake, he is a player… except he's not one to get caught up in drama like his dad. There will be no out-of-wedlock babies (or in-wedlock either), no trail of tears in his honor, and damn sure no love. His path is his own and he doesn't have time for distractions - just unattached detours.
Meet Brooke. It doesn't take long for Warren to realize she's the perfect woman - as a player recognizes their own. She gets the rules and expects no exceptions. In fact, she even has a few rules of her own.
But what fun are rules unless they can be broken?
I hope yours is awesome. Mine has been hectic to say the least, but I'm finally at a point where I can relax a little and enjoy it. One of my plans is to tackle my growing reading list. I'm looking for suggestions, too. If you know of any good summer reads, leave a message on my Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram for me.
I have exciting news! The prequel for Warren Jr.'s novel is finally here! Yes, PREQUEL. *smile* (I decided to write novellas for both Warren "No More Love" and Trent "Baby Love", introducing some of their personalities before I release their novels in the future.)
I've included another peek into No More Love. Enjoy!
meet warren (junior that is).
case of the ex.
(from No More Love by Tia Kelly. please note, this excerpt contains explicit language.)
“What are you doing here?” Warren Scott asked the woman that invited herself into his home. He hadn’t seen her or Jason, who was clinging to his mother’s leg, since Warren was forced to take a DNA test a year ago.
Jennifer thrust a ripped open envelope in his face, an envelope bearing the Auburn Academy crest in its upper right hand corner. Warren knew the logo well, as it was stitched on the blazers he wore every day of his young academic life. What he didn’t understand was why he was being dragged into some mess that involved the late Warren Senior.
“This will explain it better than I can and prevents me from cursing in front of my son,” she said as he pulled the contents open and scanned the letter. The handling of the ecru sheet announcing a tuition change was the only rustling sound heard as the television had been muted the minute Jennifer snatched up her hazel-eyed kid and barged into his apartment. “I can’t believe they’re pulling his discounted rate. I can’t afford that school now.”
He shrugged and gave the piece of paper a haphazard fold before shoving it back into its envelope, although two words came to mind. Lilian Scott, his mother. No doubt this came about at her request. The day his mother found out one of his father’s out-of-wedlock babies was attending Auburn Academy, she’d called both Trent and Warren to see if either of them were aware of it. That was two weeks ago. Warren shouldn’t have been surprised to read the letter, as his mother typically moved expeditiously in matters that needed her input, but two weeks for it to become official was a new record. Even if she served on the school’s advisory board.
Warren wanted to point out how much money was allocated for her child’s tuition as a stipulation of the paternity settlement Jennifer made with his late father’s estate, and remind her that every cent beyond that was her responsibility, but walked away, returning to his sofa instead.
“Warren. Did you hear me? This isn’t right. Can you do something for me? For your brother?”
Facing the main screen in front of him was probably best. That way Jennifer wouldn’t have to witness him rolling his eyes.
“Not my problem. Call the lawyers. That’s what they get paid for.” He leaned forward, resting his elbows on denim-covered thighs as he watched the animated images on the eighty-five-inch TV, ignoring the half-dozen fifty-inch monitors mounted on the wall around it. “Good luck,” he added, nodding in the direction of the door she’d just used to enter his apartment.
Instead of leaving and taking the child she’d brought with her, Jennifer sat down beside him. Warren peeled his eyes away from the live gaming action playing out before him to look at her.
“I’m working.” His pointed response didn’t change her mind.
Gesturing toward the game controllers, headphones and other gaming equipment on the coffee table in front of him, she laughed, mocking his words. “I don’t have time for your rich-boy problems. I need you to contact Auburn to let them know my son is a Scott and is entitled to the family tuition rate.”
Running a hand down his face, Warren grabbed the remote and turned up the volume. If he had rich-boy problems, he wouldn’t have to catch a train down to Philadelphia to beg some prima donna baller to help launch his dream—developing and publishing games. Right now he needed to focus on scouting the gamer playing on his big screen. If the player could reach level fourteen during a preview run for the upcoming season’s hottest game, Warren needed to hire him before another company snatched him up after figuring out the difficulty in the accomplishment. Level fourteen’s Easter egg was one he’d almost missed himself, and he was the one that helped the developer place it there.
“How did he figure that out?” Warren muttered to himself, as he stood to walk around Jennifer’s crossed limbs and toward the screen. “You see this?”
“Yes, you. Come here.” Warren signaled for Jason to join him in the middle of his living room floor. Dark colors and sleek lines filled the contemporary space. Although he and Trent had similar tastes, when Warren bought his younger brother’s Upper West Side apartment, this area was the first to be transformed. With his main gaming systems and the wall of televisions, the room was an extension of his office space more than it was used for entertaining.
“Are you kidding me?” Her trembling words were no doubt being accompanied by tears at this point, but Warren turned to look at the little boy instead.
Based on the letter stating Jason was in pre-kindergarten and the last time he saw the kid, the lawyers said his little brother was three. “How old are you now?” Warren asked.
“Four and a half.”
“You see what he’s doing?”
Jason stepped closer, frowning as he squinted to look for whatever had Warren’s attention. A beat later, Jason shook his head and Warren pointed it out.
“That right there will take him to a secret room that—”
“Enough!” Jennifer’s exasperated voice broke up the conversation as she stepped between the two. “It’s late and I still have to get him home, fed and ready for school tomorrow.”
“And?” Warren said, reminding her he simply didn’t give a damn about her role as a baby mama sidepiece and subsequent drama.
“The difference is due by Monday. I don’t have that kind of money.”
“Get a job.”
“I have one.”
Warren leaned down close to her ear and kept his voice low. “Find another sucker to knock you up.”
He saw her hand rear back as she perched up on her toes, preparing to slap him, but Warren refused to flinch. Instead, he looked down at the kid that barely reached his mid-thigh. Her hand shook as she lowered it and balled her fists by her sides.
Through clenched teeth, she replied, “I was young and did some very terrible things, but that doesn’t change the fact that I have a son and Warren Scott is his father. My son deserves the best life possible, and without a father here to raise him, I want to make sure he still has access to every door the Scott name can open for his future, even if your family convinced us not to let him have it.”
Folding his arms across his chest, Warren stared down at the former intern that gave birth to one of his father’s four illegitimate children. For that reason alone, the woman disgusted him.
He watched her close her eyes and exhale soundly.
“He’s your brother, Warren.”
A myriad of childlike music notes broke the tension, and Jennifer sighed again before reaching into the handbag still on her shoulder. Holding up a finger, she answered before taking a few steps away from them. A couple of minutes later, she apologized. “It’s work. I have to take this. Do you mind if I take this?”
What the hell? Warren wasn’t alone. Jason looked up, locking eyes with his older brother, also questioning his mother’s disappearance into the kitchen.
The house phone rang, and Warren remembered the food he’d ordered. Stepping around the boy, he grabbed the closest handset.
“Send it up,” he said to the attendant at the front desk after hearing it was his delivery. And Jason remained on his heels as he moved across the room to open the door.
With his niece London in his life now, Warren was used to crumb snatchers gathering around his feet, but wasn’t quite ready to warm up completely to this one just because his mother snapped her fingers and insisted upon it.
Warren set the boxes containing pizza and wings on the coffee table before stepping into the kitchen for a plate and beer. He eyed Jennifer as she sat at the kitchen table huddled over an iPad asking about deadlines and overtime. She didn’t even look up until he cleared his throat.
“Want something to drink?” he asked, holding up a bottle, and he caught a hint of a smile peeking through her worried face. He also didn’t miss her glossy eyes and the way she tried hard not to sniffle.
“Thanks,” she whispered as she held the phone away from her face and accepted it.
“Wait, are you even legal yet?”
She sighed and squared her shoulders before returning to the call with more “uh-huhs” and “okays.”
He was just kidding around. Well, kind of. It was obvious when they’d first met Jennifer that she was younger than both he and Trent. Much younger.
The smell of melted cheese, spicy Italian sausage, crisped pepperoni, peppers and onions wafted through the air, reminding him that his pizza was waiting for him.
Grabbing a plate, he looked into the living room and saw Jason had helped himself to the pie with everything on it. The other was his backup with fewer toppings, in case he didn’t have time to grab breakfast on his way out for the day. With no plans to be home for the next couple of months, his fridge was bare except for water bottles and beer.
Jason was making up for his late dinner by reaching for a second slice, and Warren doubled back to the kitchen for another plate and the roll of paper towels. The kid was cute—thanks to the Scott family genes that had him looking like a young Warren at that age—but he would throw him and his mother out on their asses if his sofa ended up being marked with pizza grease.
Warren took the seat beside him and slipped a plate on the boy’s lap. Then he helped himself to a couple of slices and loaded the rest of the space on his plate with the hottest wings on the menu.
“Check this out,” Warren said, getting Jason’s attention. “I’m sure you heard everything your mom and I said earlier. Look, I know what the science says, but in my head, I only have one brother—one I was raised with. No offense, but that’s just the way it is.” Jason chewed and swallowed before taking another bite, but kept his wide eyes trained on Warren. “Listen, man to man, I’m about to stick my neck out and do something for you that right now you don’t understand. I’m going to get this thing straight with your school, but I need you to also handle your business. Don’t fuck it up. Got it?”
Jason’s eyes doubled in size, and Warren caught the boy’s wary glance toward the kitchen.
“Don’t go whining about this to your mama, either. Remember, this is man to man. You gotta honor the bro code. Feel me?”
Small wrinkles appeared between Jason’s brows, but after Warren grinned and held out a raised fist, Jason recognized the gesture and smiled. A fist bump sealed the deal.
“Cool. Go wash your hands. I want you to check something out,” Warren said, pointing in the direction of the nearest bathroom.
When Jason reappeared, he was wiping wet hands on his khaki pants while Warren placed headphones on the child’s head. He made a few adjustments and did the same with the rest of the virtual reality equipment.
Warren spent the next few minutes explaining how the unit worked and pointing out the boundaries that would keep Jason inside the virtual world. Then he pressed a button, and on the main television, a digitized version of the Boston Garden filled the screen.
Warren kept his eyes trained on Jason, knowing that their father would be stepping onto that court ready to play. He didn’t need to see the man in the white and green jersey to feel his late father’s presence. Instead, Warren wondered if Jason even recognized the player he was guarding in the game.
“Is that?” Jennifer said between gasps.
Warren ignored her, taking the time to once more remind Jason of the invisible parameters that kept him inside the game he’d created. A pet project Warren hadn’t been ready to share with anyone aside from his team at the office until now.
Warren tapped Jason on the shoulder before lifting the headphones away from an ear. “Five more minutes.”
Jennifer cleared her throat and stepped closer to the screen pointing at the animated image of his father. “Does this mean you’ll contact the school? Otherwise I will have to share a lot of paperwork that proves who his father is, and I know how your family feels about keeping certain things private. I’d also have to come up with the difference until the appeal can be reviewed by the board, and I barely have enough to keep up with the extra fees and costs that aren’t included with tuition.”
“I’ll take it under advisement.”
He caught the way she cut her eyes at him as she stepped toward her son. “Come on, Jason. I’ve had you out long enough and still need to make the drive home.” She walked with him to the door before turning back to look at Warren one last time. Sadness still clouded her features. “Thank you for feeding him.”
With a hand half tucked in his pocket, Warren finally looked at the image of his father across from him. “No prob. I had plenty to share.”
“Bye,” Jason said, turning to wave at Warren. Then the boy broke free and ran toward him, holding out a fist to bump it with Warren’s.
Warren grinned and bent low to meet him, whispering, “Don’t forget our talk.”
Jason nodded. Warren winked as he straightened before walking to lock the door after the two left.
Copyright © 2016 by Tia Kelly. All rights reserved.
No More Love. By Tia Kelly. Available on Amazon, including Kindle Unlimited.