by Aya de León
A Justice Hustlers Novel
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Urban Fiction, Feminist Crime, Standalone
A Justice Hustlers Novel
She’s beautiful, unpredictable–and on the run from dangerous men. But this
ex-side chick is ready to risk everything to help others in trouble . . .
Fed up with her married Miami boyfriend, savvy Dulce has no problem stealing his
drug-dealer stash and fleeing to her family in the Caribbean. But when she gets bored in rural Santo Domingo, she escapes on a sugar daddy adventure to Puerto Rico. Her new life is one endless party, until she’s caught in Hurricane Maria–and witnesses the brutal collision of colonization and climate change, as well as the international vultures who plunder the tragedy for a financial killing, making shady use of relief funds to devastate the island even more. Broke, traumatized, and stranded, Dulce’s only chance to get back to New York may be a sexy, crusading journalist who’s been pursuing her. But is she hustling him or falling for him?
Meanwhile, New York-based mastermind thief Marisol already has her hands full fleecing a ruthless CEO who’s stealing her family’s land in Puerto Rico, while trying to get her relatives out alive after the hurricane. An extra member in her crew could be game-changing, but she’s wary of Dulce’s unpredictability and reputation for drama. Still, Dulce’s determination to get justice draws Marisol in, along with her formidable Lower East Side Women’s Health Clinic’s heist squad. But their race-against-the-clock plan is soon complicated by powerful men who turn deadly when ex-side chicks step out of the shadows and demand to call the shots . . .
Praise for Aya de Leon and her novels
“Staking out space for women of color in the heist-fiction genre, Aya de Leon’s smart, sly writing is a knockout.”
–Andi Zeisler, Bitch magazine
“This well-written and enjoyable installment in de Leon’s unique, feminist, urban crime-fiction series . . . infuses satisfying power in both plot and character.”
—Booklist on The Boss, STARRED review
Several months earlier . . .
Dulce Garcia crept toward the back door of the nightclub’s VIP room on the balls of her stiletto sandals, trying not to wake her boyfriend. He lay, splayed back on the leather couch, in a post-orgasmic half-doze. She spat into an empty beer bottle, and tiptoed to the room’s back door. She tried to push it open with her free hand, but it was too heavy. She needed two hands for this.
She stuck the knot of money down into her cleavage, and pushed with both palms flat. The large metal door creaked against rusty hinges. In the humid Miami climate, cheap metal springs like these always rusted. This back door, required by the Florida fire code as a secondary exit, was rarely used. She tried to close it quietly behind her, but the metal was too heavy, and it tipped her forward in the six-inch gold heels.
The slam of metal on metal woke her boyfriend. As she crept away down the dank, concrete hallway, she heard him call to her. His voice was usually loud, but it sounded faint through the thick slab of steel: “Dulce? Where’d you go, mami?” She tiptoed down the hallway to the outer door that would lead to the back alley.
But the steel could not contain the roar of rage when he realized his money was missing. She had felt a second bulge in his pants when she unzipped his jeans. As she went down on him, she had slipped the wad of bills out of his front pocket, and palmed it after he finished.
Through the metal, she could hear the slam of the VIP room’s other door. He had assumed she’d headed back into the club. She grinned as she pulled the handle for the alley exit, expecting to cut around the corner and hail a cab for a quick getaway. Uber was out of the question. It was his credit card on the account.
But the alley door was locked. She pulled with all her strength, but it wouldn’t budge. Either locked or rusted shut. She looked around frantically, afraid she would be trapped. She couldn’t retrace her steps through the VIP room—in case he came back looking for her. She ran now, not even trying to be quiet. As she sprinted toward the other end of the hallway, there was a second door that led through a storage room. Either way, she’d need to find her way out through the club. The club where her Dominican drug dealer boyfriend would be assembling his crew of boys to find her, the side chick turned “fucking bitch” who’d stolen his take for the night.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise without written permission from the publisher. It is illegal to copy this book, post it to a website, or distribute it by any other means without permission.
Aya de León teaches creative writing in UC Berkeley’s African American Studies Department. Her award-winning Justice Hustlers series has received acclaim in the Washington Post, Jacobin Magazine, and The Establishment. Her work has also appeared in Ebony, Essence, Guernica, Plougshares, The Root, VICE, and on Def Poetry. She is an alumna of Cave Canem and VONA.
Guzzi Duet Legacy, #1
Publication Date: July 8, 2019
Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Organized Crime. Erotic Romance
The son of a prominent Cosa Nostra Don, Corrado Guzzi’s life should have been all mapped out. He would be what every other Guzzi man was, too—made, mafia. It’s their way. But when given another choice, the chance to be something more, he takes it. Even if it comes with strings.
It’s there that he might find where he belongs, and Alessio Sorrento. The man who could change his whole life.
This love thing? It should have been easy, but they made it hard. Nothing about a relationship like theirs is simple. Dictated by rules, weighed down with things left unsaid, and already hanging by a frayed thread.
This is what love looks like before, and after.
Before she came along.
And after she was there.
It takes one woman to change everything.
Ginevra Calabrese wasn’t ready for this—for them.
So, what happens now?
NOTE: Corrado (book one) and Alessio (book two) are a duet within The Guzzi Legacy series, and should be read in order. All other titles in the series are standalone. This is NOT a love triangle.
Alessio knew that from the outside looking in, he and Corrado didn’t make sense to other people. They didn’t have a label. Far too many overlooked them, and assumed they weren’t a thing together. Not that they ever gave people a reason to know the truth, either.
You know, beyond living together.
For nearly five years …
Still, people didn’t know.
They could only assume.
He partly blamed himself, and Corrado, too. Not that he ever said that to anyone, or his lover. A long time ago, they’d decided this was what they were going to be. Together, but only to each other. A thing, but it wasn’t open to public consumption.
Alessio was willing to do that.
It gave him what he wanted.
Somehow, they found a familiar rhythm like this. He didn’t push for something else, or for more, because what else was there to have when … in a lot of ways, he had it all.
Or did he?
People wouldn’t understand.
They shared everything.
There was nothing in their lives that wasn’t somehow touched by both of them. So much so, that those closest to Corrado and Alessio thought the two of them were often extensions of the other. Without one, the other wasn’t right.
Nothing was right.
“What are you thinking about, huh?” Corrado asked, his voice thick with sleep and bliss. Probably still humming from that orgasm, and if all went well, Alessio would be the next one. “You’re quiet over there.”
“You like that, anyway.”
Corrado smirked right back.
Reaching over, he drifted his fingertips down the line of Corrado’s jaw still shadowed with a few days’ worth of scruff. “You do like it when I’m quiet. Admit it.”
It was true.
Corrado thrived on attention.
Alessio just liked to watch.
“And when you’re a shit,” Corrado added.
He laughed. “Yeah, that, too.”
“And don’t deflect. What were you thinking?”
Alessio sighed, his gaze going back to the large, glimmering light fixture above the bed. Only Corrado would know something was going on in Alessio’s mind when he was quiet. No one else saw him in his silent moments and thought, something’s happening there. They were all too willing to let him stew, even if they didn’t know that’s what he was doing.
Not Corrado, though.
He often wondered, how, at eighteen—although now, just a month or so shy of his twenty-third birthday—had he found his person. He knew some people went their whole lives without ever finding that person that was meant to be only theirs.
He found his early.
Corrado was still there, too.
And he loved him.
Loved him fucking stupid.
Loved him enough to still be here even when shit held Corrado back, and forced them into his strange place where they were something, but they weren’t at the same time. Where they shared women in bed, and had a whole life together behind closed doors, but out in the world … they weren’t anything. Where they dictated this thing between them with rules that had followed them from damn near the beginning, but neither of them said three little words to cement it.
I love you.
But that was too deep.
Corrado didn’t do deep.
So, Alessio lied.
Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.
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