We enjoyed coordinating a virtual tour for debut author Shenette Jones this month. If you have not already, we encourage you to get your copy of Uncovered. Enjoy a sneak peek at Chapter One below.
CHAPTER ONE –UNCOVERED
Stephanie Hall steered through the Memphis traffic with her left hand while her right hand was careful to stop the strawberry cheesecake from falling off the passenger seat. Markus wouldn’t be able to resist her advances for romance this time. The cheesecake was her insurance for a great evening; it was his favorite.
She rehearsed her plans over and over in her mind as she sang along to her new Israel Houghton CD and her French manicured nails tapped anxiously against the steering wheel. This night seemed like a final attempt. She’d done everything she knew to get her husband to notice her. There wasn’t a piece of lingerie that she didn’t own, from fishnets to sheer bodysuits, and there wasn’t a weave or wig that she hadn’t worn to entice him.
Markus was all stress and all headaches at the end of the night, and if this night turned out to be like so many others had been, Stephanie wasn’t so sure she’d run to her prayer journal this time. She’d already written in over 7 journals about the same issue: Markus Hall and his lack of desire toward her.
It was a relief to finally pull into her driveway. The two story brick and burgundy house was only a few months old and built just for her family. The anticipation grew as she unlocked her front door and was welcomed by the scent of her star ruby sachets, which were tucked away in several corners of the house. Closing the door behind her and closing her eyes to inhale the sweetness, Stephanie prayed within. She knew that her husband worked around gorgeous women all day at the University of Memphis, and his new tutoring hobby only added to her worries.
“I have to be confident in who I am and what I have,” she babbled to herself as she kicked her shoes across the hardwood floor. After lighting her lavender and tea tree candles, she put on her black satin kimono robe with matching fishnets. Underneath that robe was the $100 corset she purchased for the previous Valentines Day that went sour when Markus chose to play behind the pastor for a Christian Singles Conference. Stephanie thought she’d give the sexy outfit another try.
Staring confidently in the living room mirror, she tried to admire her curves, but the rejection she felt from Markus and their five years of marriage had finally begun to take a toll on how she viewed her own body. She sucked in her size 8 tummy as if it weren’t small enough. Her wet and wavy hair weave draped across her firm, sculpted shoulders, and her cleavage was still quite impressive.
Hearing Markus’ keys rattle through the door, Stephanie reached for the cheesecake and held it behind her back as she struck her best Tyra Banks Top Model pose. Markus entered the room slowly without looking up; carrying out his normal routine of dropping his keys and emptying his wallet, he never raised his head. Stephanie’s anticipation stabbed at her faith. Would he ever look up and notice her? Couldn’t he see that the lights were off and the candles were lit?
Seconds seemed like hours. “Eh-hem!” She finally cleared her throat and shifted her stance to the opposite leg. As Markus stopped in his tracks and scanned the seductive atmosphere through tired eyes, she unwrapped her robe, revealing her satin trimmed black and red Corset.
“Wow.” Markus smiled sweetly, but Stephanie was after a different response. She looked for his eyes to widen or his mouth to drop. She wanted something in his posture to say that he was fascinated or turned on.
“Interesting choice of music,” he commented as he walked toward her with open arms. His eyes never scanned her body, but he did look into her eyes. Stephanie had thrown in an Usher CD that she confiscated from one of the youth in her Wednesday night Bible study class; she’d compiled a nice selection of Hip Hop and R&B simply by taking iPods and cell phones during prayer.
“Well, never mind the music…what do you think about my outfit?” She wanted to kick herself for asking, but why hadn’t he said anything first?
Markus stopped in his advance toward her and glanced quickly at her clothes. “As always, you look sexy and beautiful.” She knew his answer was programmed. She searched in his eyes for something passionate or sincere, but his tired stride gave away that he wasn’t much interested.
She remembered the slice of cheesecake behind her back. “I have a little dessert for you,” she whispered as she revealed the slice.
“Oh, bless the Lord, oh my soul!” As he slid his finger across the strawberry topping and began to taste it, Stephanie was aroused just by watching him close his eyes in enjoyment.
“The way you just tasted that makes me wanna be the topping!” She smiled, hoping within that he’d flirt back; however, he simply continued to taste his dessert.
As she grabbed him by his tie and led him to the couch, her fishnets revealed her sexy, well-formed thighs and black lace panties, which matched the corset perfectly. Markus smiled generously, but she could feel the tension between them. Her desire to make love ached throughout her body, but his hands rubbed against her legs like a man petting his faithful dog.
His question was untimely, and she sighed from the distraction. “I let Torrey pick him up for the weekend because he kept asking for auntie, so she’s taking him to the circus.” Straddling her husband and kissing his neck, Stephanie proceeded to unbutton his shirt.
“Man, work was tough today. Dr. Patel had a lot of projects for me to do. I had to prepare the computer labs for a few different meetings, and I had to make sure that they had all the software on each computer available. The good thing was that he’s offered me part-time work in his home, keeping up the computers there. It’s like 12 computers in their house.”
Stephanie couldn’t believe he wanted to talk about work. Did he not see her beautiful body in front of him? Was the Usher song not doing it for him? How could Dr. Patel’s name come up at a moment like this? Stephanie was sure that Markus worshipped his boss.
“Baby, please…kiss me. We can talk about Dr. Patel and the computer labs and work later.” She started for his belt buckle, but his hands met hers. “Come on, kiss me, baby!” Stephanie felt her anxiety rising, but she could see that he wasn’t aroused. “Undo your belt,” she pleaded desperately.
She remembered her vow to herself: this was her final attempt. If she was rejected again, she would neither run to the prayer journals nor to a pastor for prayer. She was tired of pleading with God about something that she felt she had the right to have. Shouldn’t every wife automatically have a husband to love her and admire her body?
This was surely the final attempt. As she looked into the eyes of her husband, he looked distracted, as if his thoughts wanted to be anywhere else but with her.
“Look, it’s just that…I’m tired. I did some tutoring tonight after work at the Patel’s, and his family is awesome, but I’m still so worn out. I hope you understand. The atmosphere is so cozy in here, but -”
“Cozy? You think I was going for cozy?” Stephanie jumped off his lap, searching for her robe. The embarrassment was humiliating, and she couldn’t bear to look at him. She marched back and forth across the new hardwood floors in her stilettos. “Do you even get what this is doing to me? Do you even care? Why won’t you touch me? We have sex, like, two times a month…maybe.” She turned off the stereo as she yelled.
Markus was a statue. He squeezed his eyes shut as he massaged his temples.
“Say something! Don’t you dare just sit there with that dumb look on your face, Markus William Hall! Say something!” She felt the fire burning in her eyes as she tried to resist crying, but her husband dropped his head and offered no words to console her or explain his distance. “Have you ever loved me, Markus? You don’t ever touch me! EVER! I’m tired of this, and I do not have to settle for this. I may not look like a beauty queen, but I’ve worked hard to keep myself attractive for you – and for what? You noticed this piece of cheesecake before you noticed me. You – no we – are hopeless.”
Stephanie marched to bathroom to jump in the shower. The shower head massage setting was beginning to become a regular late night rendezvous for her – and if it didn’t suffice, her battery operated back up plan was always in the drawer. She knew that this would once again bring her to repent in the morning, but she felt surely justified, and she was tired of seeking the Lord for answers. She wasn’t even sure God was concerned. The scent of her candles traveled up the stairs into her room, reminding her of her failed attempt yet again.
With tears in her eyes, she began to relieve herself, and within minutes she was asleep.
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For more information about Shenette Jones, visit her online at ShenetteJones.com.