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A Private Affair (Arabesque) Mass Market Paperback – June 23, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Arabesque
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Kimani; Reprint edition (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373831625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373831623
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,854,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Donna Hill is the Essence bestselling author of Divas, Inc., In My Bedroom and If I Could. She is a public relations associate for the Queens Borough Public Library and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her website at www.donnahill.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Quinn poked his head around the partially open bathroom door, shouting over the steam and rush of water. "I'll check ya later, 'round midnight."

Lacy parted the opaque shower curtain, shouting over the surge of water. "Not again, Quinten. You just got in. I thought you were staying for dinner. Maxine's coming over. When are you going to eat?"

Quinn chuckled deep in his throat. "Chill, sis. I'll grab a little somethin'."

She snatched the curtain shut. "Yeah, but what?" she grumbled, her question full of cynicism. She worried about her twin brother, more than she'd ever let on. The reality was, all they had was each other. And living in the heart of Harlem, New York, with its available drugs, rampant gang wars and random shootings, reiterated their oneness all the more. She also knew that no amount of haranguing would keep her brother off the street. The lure, the mystery, the danger and excitement, were his mistresses. He couldn't seem to get enough and kept going back for more. She knew Quinn had so much more to offer than just protection for local "businessmen." If they could just get out of the neighborhood, he stood a chance of surviving. They stood a chance.

"Later! Tell Maxie I'll catch her another time," he called, shutting the door behind him.

Lacy threw up a silent prayer for her brother's safe return, a proven ritual of her deep spirituality. They had to get out of this neighborhood, she vowed again. Quinn had no desire to move, and she'd promised herself she'd never leave him behind. But maybe when he saw the duplex apartment she'd found on the border of Greenwich Village he'd change his mind. The landlady was willing to hold the apartment for two more weeks. That's all the time she needed to get the rest of the money. "Two more weeks." She sighed, shutting off the water. "Just two more weeks."

Quinn sauntered down the semi-darkened avenue, assuming the rhythmic gait of the hood, his shoulder-length dreadlocks swinging to the hip-hop beat of his stride. He'd opted to walk this balmy spring night in lieu of driving his black BMW 750i. He needed to see and feel the pulse of the street, from the boom boxes that blared the outrage of inner-city life to the sweet-funky smell of greasy fried chicken, shrimp lo mein and chopped barbecue that wafted from the every-other-corner fast-food joints, Caribbean roti shops and Hispanic bodegas.

By rote he gave the barest rise of his chin in a show of cool acknowledgment to the rows of regulars who sat, posed, slumped, leaned, stood and harmonized along the stretch of Malcolm X Boulevard. He checked his watch. Twenty minutes.

As he continued toward his destination he wondered if his mother was holed up in one of the numerous tenements with yet another dude. His teeth clenched reflexively at the vision. He hadn't laid eyes on his mother in more than ten years. She'd walked out on him and Lacy when they were only sixteen. "Ya'll grown now," she'd said. "And can take care of yo'selves. It's my time now." She'd turned, walked out of the door and they hadn't seen or heard from her since.

Even now, after all those years, Quinn still felt that bottomless emptiness in the pit of his stomach that burned like old garbage in the cans that kept the homeless warm. He felt some irrational guilt, that his mother's abandonment was somehow his fault. He'd tried to fill the void with everything from hurt to anger. He tried to fill his need with the warmth and brotherhood of the street. But the emptiness persisted. Lacy, on the other hand, had turned to the familial nurturing of the church, and the healing force of the Lord.

Stopping in front of BJ.'s, the local bar, grill and everything in between, Quinn pushed open the scratched, blacked-out Plexi-glas door and stepped into the smoke-filled room.

"Whatsup, brotherman?" greeted Turk, the bartender. "Whatcha tastin'?"

"My usual. Jack on the rocks." Quinn slid onto the well-worn wooden stool and perused his surroundings. The place was packed as usual for a Friday night. Women in all their finery lounged in various vogue positions to catch the eyes of available men on the prowl, their perfumed bodies cutting through the stench of stale cigars, cigarettes and body heat.

"Here ya go."

"Thanks, brotherman." Quinn absently raised his glass to his lips and took a quick swallow of the smooth amber liquid, its fire warming him. "Boys in the back?"

"Whatcha think?"

Quinn nodded, slapped a five dollar bill on the bar and headed toward the gray steel door.

"Luck to ya, brother," Turk called, wiping up the ring that Quinn's glass had left behind.

The small back room was even stuffier than the front. Smoke billowed like cumulus clouds, hanging over the tight, dark room like a canopy. One lone seventy-five watt bulb hung above the round, green, felt-covered table, casting grotesque shadows against the cracked and peeling lemon yellow walls. Sweat, perfume, Old Spice, cheap liquor and moldy carpet odor all blended together into one unique aroma. It was all an acquired taste, the boys in the back always joked.

Smalls, the bouncer, who was about the size of a Sumo wrestler and obviously nicknamed as a joke, expertly patted Quinn down, then gave his customary caveman grunt and hooked thumb over his shoulder, indicating that it was all right for Quinn to enter.

Several pairs of eyes momentarily locked on his approach, then quickly returned to the aces, queens and kings that beckoned them, daring them to make a move. Quinn spotted Sylvie, the hostess of sorts, and signaled her with a crook of his finger.

Sheathed in a tight-fitting red rayon dress, Sylvie strutted across the hardwood floor, leaving little to the imagination in her wake. Her heels clicked in perfect syncopation.

"Quinn," she cooed, looking up at his smooth, chiseled face, her full, red-painted mouth pouting seductively, as if waiting to be kissed. "What can I get ya, sugah?"

Quinn's dark eyes were shadowed by long lashes as his lids slid partially downward. The right corner of his artist-drawn mouth curled. "Remy set for the pick up? Time is money," he added, giving her the benefit of his dimpled smile.

"Follow me, lover. They're… just… about… ready."

Quinn slung his hands into the pocket of his Versace jogging pants, his Nike-sneakered feet moving soundlessly behind Sylvie's undulating form. She knocked twice on the brown wooden door, turned the knob and entered.

Remy, Charles and a face he didn't recognize were seated around a long table, counting and stacking Washingtons, Hamil-tons and Franklins into neat rows of dead presidents.

"Be witchu in a sec," Remy acknowledged, briefly looking up from his task. He tilted his head in the direction of the young boy. "Dis here is T.C. He gonna run wit you tonight. I want you to school 'em on da route and da ropes."

Quinn's eyes narrowed to slits. "I ain't no damned nursemaid," he grumbled, his ire directed at T.C, who seemed to shrink under the scornful gaze. "Send him with one of the other runners. I ain't got time for no baby-sittin'."

Remy's ink black face hardened as if suddenly tossed into quick-drying cement. "He goes wit you. You knows da street and the connections better than anyone. And, more important, 'they' knows you. Brothers see T.C. rolling wit you, they'll give him his props. Understood?"

"Yeah, yeah," Quinn reluctantly conceded. "But he better pay attention." He threw T.C. a withering glance, then leaned his muscled frame nonchalantly against the doorjamb. His gaze slanted back in T.C.'s direction. The kid looked to be no more than seventeen. Quinn sighed inwardly—just about the same age he was when he started to build a rep for himself with Remy as his tutor.

Over the years Quinn had been elevated from errand boy to principal courier, responsible for the money transport between five of Remy's clubs. His cut was substantial for the safeguarding of the nightly takes. That took trust and nerves of steel. Trust—that he wouldn't run off with the goods—and nerves of steel when situations got dicey, as they did on many occasions.

As much as observers believed that Quinn had ice water for blood, he was anything but cold. Unfortunately, in his world there was no room for the soft of heart. So he played the role: hard, untouchable, unattainable, dangerous. The one person with whom he could truly be himself was his sister, Lacy.

Lacy didn't laugh when she read one of his rhymes, or when he played tunes off the top of his head on the antique secondhand piano. She'd just sit there all dreamy-eyed and listen with a pretty smile on her face. Lacy believed in him, believed that he could go places. "Do something worthwhile with your God-given talents," she always preached. Sometimes she made him almost believe in himself, too.

His mouth twitched as he fought back a smile. Lacy, the dreamer, the idealist. What could he possibly do with a twelfth-grade education? He frowned, marring his smooth mahogany brow. Through the years the two personas who made up Quinn Parker had merged, one nearly indistinguishable from the other. Sometimes even he didn't know where one began and the other ended.

A thud near his feet pulled him back. He looked down to see two black duffel bags, packed to near bursting.

"Take my ride. It's out back," Remy said. He tossed Quinn the set of spare keys, then came from behind the table. He walked up to Quinn, clapping him roughly on the shoulder. He leaned close to his ear. "And take it easy on da kid. That was you once, remember?" Remy moved back, his gold front tooth sparkling against his skin of midnight.

"You never stop remindin' me."

Remy laughed loud and hard. "Dat's to keep you humble."

"Yeah, right. Come on, man," he called to T.C. over Remy's short salt-and-pepper head.

Quinn eyed T.C. up and down as they made their way to Remy's Lexus 400. His Tommy Hilfiger jeans were barely held up on poke-you-in-the-eyes hip bones, proudly displaying the red, white and blue waistband of his Fruit of the Looms. His Air Jordans flopped on his feet, for lack of tied shoestrings. Quinn slowly shook his head.

"Yo, man, when you gonna get you some clothe...


More About the Author

My official writing career began in 1987 when my first short story was published. My first novel, Rooms of the Heart was published in 1990. Since then there have been a slew of books and short stories that I've had published, from romance to women's fiction, chic-lit, erotica and mysteries. I enjoy them all. Three of my novels were adapted for television so that was exciting. I've had the honor of conceptualizing and editing several collections: After the Vows, Midnight Clear, Where There's a Will, Indecent Exposure, and The Hot Spot. I currently write full time and live in Brooklyn, NY with my family.

Customer Reviews

It was so easy to become involved with the lives of Nikita and Quinn.
Nicole S Transou
Quinten's character was the most well developed character that I have read and I read a lot of books.
Suebhoney1
I read everything Donna Hill and can safely say this is the top of the list.
D.C.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Suebhoney1 on June 29, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I simply loved this book!!! Quinten's character was the most well developed character that I have read and I read a lot of books. The chemistry between He and Nikita was great be it good or bad. I also loved Maxine's character as well. It was such a good read. I almost hate that I missed it when it came out 10 years ago. Great Book. Great work Ms. Hill!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Coco on January 9, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A Private Affair is the best book I have read in a long time. It was my first time reading anything by this author and I was highly impress for a lack of a better word. I would give this book 100 stars if amazon would allow me. On to my next Donna Hill novel....keep writing girl!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should not be categorized as a "romance" novel. Not that there is anything wrong with romance novels; I read them daily. But there is something so real about this book, the language, the places and most of all the people. I have known a Quinn in my life. I have been Maxine at times in my life. I have known a lot of Nikita's. This book touched me deeply. Never have I gotten so caught up with characters in a book. I laughed, cried and hurt for them. I must say, the ending of this book at first read made me sad because my favorite character had to press on without getting what they truly wanted; deeply wanted from the bottom of their heart. Then subconciously I refused to accept it. I re-read the book to see if maybe, just maybe things worked out the way that I wanted them too. So I fooled myself into thinking that the ending was vague. "I'm not quite sure" I would tell myself. Days after reading this book, I am still trying to g! et "answers" that I already know. Donna Hill has written a book that will touch you to the core. If you haven't read it, you must run and get this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is absolutely one of the best romance novels that I have read. The author did a great job of exploring the lives of Quinn and Nikita. This novel went much deeper than most romance novels. It was not filled with sugar coated phrases and nonsense that ordinary people never say. But the words and actions of each character reflected real life people in real life relationships. The only reason that this book does not get a 10 is because the ending was a little vague. I wanted more. I wanted the author to spell out where they were in their relationship. And what was next for the two of them but knowing Donna she'll incorporate them into her next novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
'A Private Affair', was a realistic view of relationships, expectations, dreams and disappointments. The character development of the main characters was great and the struggle for them to mesh was pure reality. Street Smart and Sheltered Naivity make a tedious couple. Quinn's acceptance of himself was a long time coming. I liked Nikita and Maxine and Quinns' relationship with them was an example of what it means to Love someone and to be In Love with someone. The supporting characters were not just names. I sympathized with Maxine but, I liked the ending, Quinten found his light. This was no light weight romance novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By missnikki7 on November 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This has to be the one book that has really touched my heart of all the 150 plus books I have read in the last three years! Hill has put (as my grandma would say) her ten toes into this book. "A Private Affair" has everything a romance reader could ever want in romance novel, of course that's my opinion. Truly it was a great novel that I recommend everyone should read, at least once! There is a sequeal to this novel and it is called " Pieces of Dreams." Get that one too you will not be disappointed. Much, much, much love Hill!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keeve in the Eve on July 24, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
I wasn't too thrilled about this book. Quinn was too indecisive about what he wanted. He thought he was good with Niki, but would think about Max at the most inopportune moments. I just couldn't agree with how the author put Quinn & Max in a relationship and then him & Niki get back together in the end. Sorry, but I wasn't feeling it. I've read other D. Hill books, but this was a dissapointment to me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. D. Brown on October 24, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book!! I didn't know this was a reprint. Anyway, this was a love story personified. The main characters were full of life and the storyline was a tear-jerker. Just when I thought Quinten would do one thing, he flips the script and does something else. I didn't think I was gonna like Nikita but she's a-o.k. and Maxine..you my girl. This was an excellent novel, simply excellent!
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