T.J. Hope - Author & Poet 

     "It's not the cards life deals that makes you, it's the way you play them!"  

Hood Lemonade: Jamika's Vendetta (Debut Novel)

*** RATED 5-STAR NOVEL  on Amazon & Goodreads ***

Hood Lemonade: Jamika's Vendetta

Witnessing a brutal rape and beating at the tender age of five, was only the beginning of life’s vendetta against Jamika. As she grows older, family secrets taunt her. Her first love, Mark Rosier, was more than a handsome face with stability and charm, he was finally an escape for Jamika, then ends up shattering her heart. Family betrayed her, her past loves broke her heart, and it seemed that everyone around her wasn’t loyal.  

Her only solace is the rare, sultry singing voice she possesses. Her voice is her only escape from reality and also her self-proclaimed ticket out of the hood.

Then, out of nowhere comes handsome, sensitive and wealthy Deonte Bryant. The wall she’s built around her heart comes crashing down. Sex, betrayal, revenge and even death will pull you into the never ending saga of Jamika’s quest for happiness. While trying to turn life’s lemons into lemonade, her life is turned upside down once again by the hands of the very person she would had never thought. She must now take extreme measures to save her dream and ultimately her life, or die trying.

Excerpt taken from Chapter One

            As Jamika looked down the barrel of his Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum, her life flashed before her eyes. She wasn’t that surprised that her life would end at the hands of a man. It seemed that both life and men have had a vendetta against her for as long as she could remember. She always seemed to be slowly hurling toward this end. Bad situations seemed to follow and stick to her, like flies on shit.
            Her first memory of this was back in New Jersey, when she was five. Her mother, Felise, had her young, and had to be about twenty-one years old at the time. Felise loved to party, so Jamika and her eight-year-old friend Lil’ Tray had plenty of time to explore the grimy streets of Newark. They hadn’t realized just how dangerous their hood was, until the day their perception changed.

          Lil’ Tray was the cute, mischievous type. He was slick, with the IQ of at least a twelve-year-old and was always talking the Dope Boys on the corner out of their change. They got a kick out of how street smart he was to be so young. He was rough, but never with Jamika. He treated her like a little sister and many days let her help him spend his change at the corner store.

     They were in their Secret Hideout, an old utility closet with downward slants in the door that no one went in but them. They'd been talking about how happy their mothers were when they drank beer and decided they wanted to be happy to. Lil’ Tray had stolen a beer from the corner store and they were sitting in the old closet drinking it. It was disgusting and Jamika's stomach started to hurt. She wanted to go home.

     As she reached for the doorknob to leave, Lil’ Tray snatched her hand back and pulled the string to turn the closet light out. They could hear people approaching and he did not want anyone to find their secret hideout.

    Three men entered, but Jamika nor Lil’ Tray could see their faces. Only their pants and shoes were visible through the downward slants in the door. One of the men with Reebok sneakers on said, “Man, I’m fucked up, I want me some pussy tonight.”

            “Hell yeah,” replied another man with old, dirty no-name shoes on. They smelled heavily of alcohol and drug usage.

Although the children only recognized one of the odors, their young instincts informed them that they might be in danger. They silently decided to remain quiet and still until the men left.

            “I have an idea,” the man wearing the Reebok sneakers was saying, “let’s wait in this little space over here and the first bitch to walk in here, let’s grab her and fuck the shit out of her.”

             “Man, you niggaz crazy,” another said, wearing jeans and Adidas sneakers.

            “You little punk, you don’t know how to hang. It ain’t gon’ take but a second. We’ll be all the way across town by the time somebody finds the bitch,” said the Reebok wearer, with authority.

            Jamika did not know what ‘fuck the shit out of’ meant, but was sure that it couldn’t be a good thing. They stood there holding onto one another, afraid and unbelievably still, listening to the men laugh and talk with their sentences full of obscenities, for what seemed to be hours. She was hoping that her mother was not the next woman to walk through the doors of their apartment building.

            It seems that before that thought could fully tantalize her mind, a woman entered the building. She no longer felt sick from the beer. She shivered violently against Lil’ Tray, afraid of what they were about to witness.

            They could make out in the dark, the woman being dragged to the small space, while being beaten and having her clothes ripped from her body. Two men were holding her down, while the third man had his way with her. Tray and Jamika could smell the foulness of their breath; odors of drug usage and feel their weight against the old closet door.

           The same fear that had entered Jamika earlier now came to Lil’ Tray. What if that was his mother? They could not tell if it was one of their mothers, enduring this brutal assault. Lil’ Tray reached up and pulled on the light string. The light came to life, illuminating the small space. He was sure that at that moment, one of the men would yank open the closet door and find them in there.

           The man that was between the lady’s legs, beating himself inside of her like her pain and covered screams meant nothing, didn’t see the lights come on because his eyes were closed. He stopped pumping her, because the other men had suddenly let her go. He opened his eyes and a look of horror crossed his face.

          He snatched himself from the woman and cried, “Mom, what are you doing on this side of town? Oh God! Momma! I am so sorry!” The man took off running as fast as he could. As he reached the street, a car horn could be heard, a car sliding on the snow-slicked street, and then the thud as a car struck the young man. The other two men ran off into the night.

          “Jamika!” Tray screamed. Jamika sat there, dazed. She had held her hands so tightly over her ears that they hurt, but she still had heard everything. She’d heard him but did not move. Tray grabbed her arm in one hand and the old closet doorknob in the other. They left together, stepping over the naked, bleeding, battered woman.