Excerpt- Pretty Girls in the VIP

PRETTY GIRLS IN THE VIP features the characters last seen in What’s His Is Mine, including ambitious, scheming Adrienne Shepherd.  Her plans for wealth and security were ended when her daughter’s father, an NFL player, divorced her.  Now Adrienne has a new man, earthy and intelligent filmmaker Ian, and a new way to make money: opening her own nightclub, Belize Lounge.  As she struggles to launch her business she questions whether Ian is the right man for her.


Adrienne’s club draws in Shanice, a young woman also making her way up in the world any way she can.  Shanice secures a job as a waitress at Belize while pursuing a new career as a music video vixen.  Meanwhile Zakiya is trying to balance her new life as the mother of a professional athlete’s child, including keeping her relationship alive as well as bonding and battling with the other players’ wives.  The lives and loves of all three women intersect in surprising and dramatic ways as they attempt to find true love and fortune.


Shanice Whitaker
“Shani, you want to go out tonight, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I want to.”
“Well, you know what you got to do if you want to go.”
I’d already tried the shoes on, and picked out a dress and modeled them both in the mirror. I asked the salesgirl to put them on hold for me. I knew what Courtney meant, but I wasn’t in the mood to have no old pervert rub all on me. I still was hesitant about going inside the hotel room.
“Okay, okay, I’m going to do it.” Right as I got the courage, a father walked down the airport hotel hall and stopped at the ice machine with his young daughter and smiled at me. I smiled back. They were probably about to do something nice like eat pizza and watch a movie, and I was about to do something dirty. I took a deep breath.
“Shanice, just knock on the damn door.  I’m right out here. All you have to do is close your eyes and think about how pretty you are going to look in that dress and them shoes. You know they going to be mad when they see us tonight.”
My cousin was right. I needed to go out tonight and I had to look good. “As soon as we leave here, we are going straight to the mall and I’m picking up my stuff.” I got hyped from her pep talk and knocked on the door.  I like sex. I like sex a lot. I always have, but sometimes I don’t feel like spreading it wide for old men. They smell, they want you to say kinky things to them, and they always try to stick their fingers in places, but I had done much worse and for less. Me and Courtney tried being strippers, but that didn’t last because we kept seeing everyone from our neighborhood. Plus the bitches that worked there were all strung out on something, bisexuals, and the tips weren’t that good.
I’ve tricked before, but usually it is with a regular dude that I kind of like and already know I’m going to get with. The only difference is, I make him give me some money before anything happens. But this escort business was in a whole other lane. It was Courtney’s idea to put an ad on this website. When she asked me was I with it last week, I said yeah. Then she got both of us “dates” for tonight.
The plan was for one of us to date, while the other collected the money and kept watch just in case 911 had to be dialed. Courtney had just finished up downstairs with her date, and now it was my turn.
“Okay, I’m ready, but get the money as soon as we open the door, Courtney.”
“I’ll get the money. You just go in there and handle him real quick. He sounded really old, like he is only good for a few pumps anyway.”
“Give me one more minute,” I said, preparing myself.
“Look, if you not going to do it, I will,” Courtney said as she moved toward the door.
“No, I’ll do it. Okay, okay.” I took a long, deep breath and knocked three times on the door.  I heard a voice say, “Here I come.” The gold door handle moved, and a few seconds later a man opened the door. He appeared just like I had imagined he would look: older, wrinkled, and perverted-looking. He was a middle-aged black man with black dyed hair with gray roots, and he was wearing a robe with water still beading on his thin legs. I knew at least he had taken a shower.
“Two ladies. Wow, I’m lucky, huh?”
“No, only one and we need to get paid first. I’m not here for you; she is.” Courtney extended her hand toward him.
“Oh, come on in. Let me get my wallet.”
We followed him, and I took a look around the room. There was a nice flat screen hung on the wall across from two neatly made double beds. He handed Courtney the money, and she let him know she would be right there if he tried anything.
“So, what’s your name?” he asked me, looking my body over with lust in his eyes.
“My name’s Simone, and I’m ready for you, Daddy.” I opened my jacket, showing off my purple and black lingerie, and uncovered my butterfly-tattooed thigh.


Adrienne Sheppard

Seeing the glowing orange and red sun emerge from the blue waves of the Atlantic Ocean every morning while running on the beach was one of the perks of living in Miami. I loved breathing in the fresh sea air in the morning. Running not only made my body look fit and incredible, it gave me time to reflect on my life. I’ve done a lot of living in twenty-nine years. I’ve been a baller chaser, football wife (now ex wife), a baby mother, a lover, a nurse and an accessory to a murder that didn’t happen.


People are usually judged on their own accomplishments: what they do for a living, where they went to school, but when your man is a professional athlete none of that is important. It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or if you graduated summa cum laude. The only thing that matters is what team your man plays for, how much his last contract was for, and if he’s contributing to the team’s wins.

I don’t know about you, but I like being on a winning team. I can’t deal with anything less. I had my fair share of underemployed, stingy, cheating, lying men. I dated my personal trainer, and he borrowed money to get his car fixed and never paid me back. Then I dated a nice coworker at my job when I was a nurse at a hospital. He sent the naked pictures I texted to him to every employee in the building.

That began my quest for higher loving. I figured if I’m going to get cheated on, used up and lied to, I might as well be able to go shopping afterwards to compensate for my pain.

Initially, I attempted to date well established men with careers, but I found athletes easier to deal with.  They didn’t have a lot of time and were very generous.


Plus, dating a professional athlete gave me a feeling of accomplishment. I was sleeping with someone’s hero—someone whom kids idolized and whose number grown men wore on their backs.  It was great for the ego, but with the good comes the bad. Yes, it’s fun to have money, but it also takes a lot out of you trying to keep up. Once you get a professional athlete, you have to keep him.


My daughter’s father, DeCarious Simmons plays in the NFL. I wanted him to impregnate me so I could receive eighteen years’ worth of guaranteed money by way of a hefty child support check. I did that. Then my next goal was to get my daughter’s father to marry me, and that was accomplished also.  I wanted my daughter to have a two-parent home, and I wanted a nice life for myself too. I fell short on that one.

My ex-husband, if you want to call him that, had our marriage annulled after a few months. He married me because I faked a pregnancy and got him to take me to Vegas and make me an honest woman. I said let’s stay together, but he wanted to break up.

To get rid of me quietly, he agreed to pay me five hundred thousand dollars.  I was reluctant to accept his offer; I wanted a million to walk away. However, my lawyer advised me to take what I could get. I followed her legal advice, and a month later he signed another contract with the Atlanta Falcons. If I would have waited a little longer, I would probably be two million dollars richer.

If someone was to give you five hundred thousand dollars you would probably be pretty happy and think you’re halfway rich right. Hmph. A half a mil is not all it seems. When I first saw all those zeros deposited in my account I wanted to scream, “Balling.” I had so many plans of what I thought I could do with it. Pay off my student loans, my house, take a vacation, go on a few shopping spree. Now flash-forward a year and a half later, and I have spent a good amount of my small fortune.  I’ve made so many impulsive decisions that I’m not proud of.  There were a few really nice dresses, a must -have bag and well, if you think about it, if you buy ten pairs of nice shoes, that’s ten stacks right there. I honestly don’t know what happened to my money.  I just know that between giving my mom some money, shopping for myself and daughter Malaysia, upgrading my vehicle, taking a trip or two, making a down payment on my condo in Miami, I spent a lot of money. Too much money!

My condo actually is what I spent the most on, but it was a great investment. When I purchased it, it was selling for a hundred thousand dollars cheaper than other condos in the area. I just couldn’t pass it up. And I’m glad I didn’t. I love living in Miami and being close to the beach.  I run on the beach in the morning and I love the nightlife. There is always something to do and somewhere to go.  Miami is almost like a New York City, but with warm weather all year round. Being from up north I appreciated the serenity, but I also know the flash and glitz is right here in South Beach if I wanted it.

So I got my wish. My daughter has the two-parent household, I’m just not one of the parents in it. Her father DeCarious Simmons, is engaged now, and Malaysia goes back and forth to Atlanta with him. I hate her father and his fiancée Cherise. I wished they both were out of my life for good, but I have about fifteen more years to be bothered with him.


That’s why I’m glad I gave up baller/athlete chasing. I don’t have to worry about all of that anymore. I am with an intellectual now and very much in like.

My new man, Ian, is earthy and intelligent. He has golden sand color skin, shoulder length dreads, and goatee that is a few shades darker brown with flecks of blonde natural highlights.  His eyes are a mesmerizing shade of brown, and to say it plainly, my man is almost as gorgeous as I am. He cares about saving the world, is a vegetarian, recycles, and eats healthy. He would never wear a chain or place a big-ass diamond in his ear, like a lot of my exes.

I’m his complete opposite: I like steaks, designer shoes and pampering myself. The only cause I fight for is me, and there is nothing natural about me, not even my nails. Though my man isn’t rich, he makes good money as an independent film maker and producer. He’s in the process of getting his first film bought.


Ian is the first man in years whose salary didn’t matter to me. I think it is because: one, I have my own money and two, because he treats me like a queen. And he definitely is my king.

I met my King, Ian at the black film festival in Miami. I noticed the love of my life a year ago. I was in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton, checking into the hotel.  He came up to me and handed me a flyer to his movie screening. I was in Miami to relax and the African American Film festival was coincidentally the same weekend.

His screening of Loving Aisha was a short film about a man quitting his job and taking care of his sick wife until she dies. I cried and thought it was amazing and wanted to know why his movie wasn’t everywhere.  Maybe I was emotional from going through my own issues with the annulment and custody with my daughter’s father, but after the screening I walked over to him and told him how wonderful I thought his movie was.

I gave him my number, and he invited me to breakfast the next day and took me out of the tourist district and to a local eatery. By Sunday I was meeting his father and stepmother who raised him. The following weekend I flew back down, and a month into our relationship I started looking for places, bought my condo and we moved in together. Ian grew up in Washington, D.C. and holds a degree in African American and Film studies from Howard Unversity.He is brillant and kind. Ian came into my life at the right time, because although I had a lot of money, I wasn’t happy.


My daughter was being divided between Philly and Atlanta. I failed at marriage, and so many other things occurred in the lives of people I was close to, that I felt like I caused it.


His kindness has changed me some. However, we can’t develop fully until I see how his film career takes off. I’m never going to be married to a starving artist.


Exhausted, I came in from my run and showered. I opened the curtains and let in the bright Miami skyline.  Ian came out to the balcony and brought my breakfast out to me. My plate was filled with egg whites, half a bagel, and blueberry yogurt with granola. Ian unlaced my sneakers and then fed me breakfast. It is the little things that you can’t pay for that make him so special. I know it is love because that’s the only reason I look the other way when my thirty-two-year old boyfriend dresses like a lost college kid. This morning he was wearing tan shorts, a black tee, a vest over the tee with a straw trilby hat sitting snuggly over his dreads.

“Why are you dressed and up so early?”

“I’m going location scouting for this music video. Then from there I’m going to meet up with this producer, who knows DJ Ramir and he is telling me he can get me a meeting with him.

What do you have going on today?”

“I’m not sure yet. Maybe pick up a few things at the mall or sit by the pool. I don’t know.”

“Well, whatever you decide to do, make it memorable. I wish I had the luxury of shopping and stretching out in the sun, but I must get out and make a living.” He kissed my cheek.

“Enjoy your day, beautiful.”

“I will.”

I loved when Ian called me beautiful, I knew he meant it. His compliment traveled down my spine and right to my heart. As much as I enjoyed the life of a semi-housewife, I had to find something to do with my life and fast. I needed a new career or a business to invest in. My thirtieth birthday was at the end of the year and I only have a couple hundred thousand dollars in the bank that somehow had to turn into millions.

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