Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett reads “Basketball Jones” Chapter 22

In chapter 22 of Basketball Jones: HUIGAYUFGAUYFATYFTYAFUYGAUYFYATFA! Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

Alright, sit down. No, I’m serious, find a chair this minute and slowly sink into it because what I’m about to tell you is really epic, in a suspenseful anticipation kind of way.

Alright, have you sat down? Have you prepared yourself? Good, because I’m about to tell you something very, very important.

Shit just got real.

I know that I have said that in the past, shit was going to get real, but this is it. Chapter 22 is where shit gets real, and it gets real very fast… well, OK, kind of fast.

AJ starts this chapter off by going into his bank to get the sum he was asked to get in the last chapter. Nothing really exciting happens in this beginning part except for the notion that Cisco is now actively helping him out, yay! Cisco and AJ are working together, can this day get any better? Any better at all? Continue reading

Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” – Chapter 21

In chapter 21 of Basketball Jones, I am a huge idiot and I am taken on the most shocking twist of my life because it shows how wrong I was throughout this whole adventure. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.




Wait a minute!

Holy cow!
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Bruce Tharp, Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” – Chapter 20

In chapter 20 of Basketball Jones the threats mount to many things and this, in turn, leaves me wondering a lot of things about a lot of things that these characters think and say.  Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

If someone is going to keep secrets, one thing that should always be practiced is communication. This is key, it’s crucial to live happily and to be free of issues to come. People who don’t communicate effectively will surely be in the doghouse later. This is what’s happening with AJ because he isn’t communicating, at all, and he’s just digging himself an even deeper hole.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” Chapter 19

In chapter 19 of Basketball Jones, AJ has a really relaxing time at his mother’s. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett reads Basketball Jones chapter 18

In chapter 18 of Basketball Jones all the drama halts as AJ goes to Mo’s place, whereby Mo demonstrates his cleverness and determination all in one chapter. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

It’s really refreshing that I can stop and take a breather here because the last two chapters were very intense. This chapter does not have any suspenseful moments and/or odd happenings. For once, we get to listen to someone tell a funny tale that doesn’t even relate to AJ at all.

This chapter centralizes on my boyfriend, Mo, and his finale. He’s going to host the party because he has the support of one of the biggest gay bloggers ever, Tay, also known as TT.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads, Uncategorized

Kingett reads Basketball Jones chapter 17

In chapter 17 of Basketball Jones the threats become a lot more lethal and just downright insane, and I have no one in the world to aid me through this crisis! All logical thinking has flown out the window! Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” Chapter 16

In chapter 16 of Basketball Jones, things seem to be okay as AJ and Dray enjoy a day together, and then something happens that makes me scream at my computer monitor. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

I can’t function. I have lost all capability to make a decent thought. This story is getting really creepy, simply because the blackmailer is doing things and saying things that make no sense at all. In any context.

In this chapter, AJ and Dray fly to Washington DC and get a room together at the Ritz. This chapter is very short as well, because this chapter takes place inside of a bedroom at the Ritz.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” Chapter 15

In chapter 15 of Basketball Jones, AJ ponders leaving Dray, my future husband Mo prepares his big party, jade drops a ball of gossip that makes me stop and gape at the prospects to come, and learn something about Dray that makes me sorry that I judged him so prematurely. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

I am beginning to realize that these chapters are having a pattern of being short. I wonder if that’s because the author wanted to move things along and/or drop a ball, such as a hint or something, and then move on. It leaves very little to talk about in my wake, however, because what’s beginning to happen are singular events that span entire chapters. In this chapter, for instance, AJ has a phone conversation with three people and then lies down with Dray, and that’s it.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” Chapter 14

In chapter 14 of Basketball Jones, I don’t understand how AJ can like a man who is, literally, a little stupid on every inch of his brain mass. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

It’s a common stereotype that athletes are about as smart as sand. Everyone knows that stereotypes are just massive tropes that people sometimes portray in real life, and usually, I don’t like to call judgment on a character until I know him or her. Usually, I study characters in a book just as I would people because I want to know what their dimensions are, and I want to know what’s inside of their head, and I want to know what their dreams, and hopes, and feelings are.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett reads “Basketball Jones” – Chapter 13

In chapter 13 of Basketball Jones, Jade spills evidence in my lap that underscores her lack of psychic ability, and I also wonder why I am the only one who understands that this is all fake and she needs help, right away. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” Chapter 12

In chapter 12 of Basketball Jones, AJ and Dray have a huge argument about who is, indeed, blackmailing Dray, Dray displays his lack of thinking ability, and I place my Sherlock Holmes cap on and give all the characters a good scrutinizing for suspects. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

In this chapter, nothing happens that advances the narrative in any way but this is a good thing because it gives me a chance to really take a break from all the action and utilize what I have learned thus far about the characters to try and wheedle down who the blackmailer is.

Chapter 12 consists of AJ and Dray getting into an argument that lasts the whole chapter. Dray doesn’t even suspect the most plausible suspects, but thinks that AJ has something to do with this because AJ may want to have more money from Dray without knowing how to ask. I don’t know how to even run with that thought, so I will just smile, shake my head at Dray—even though I can understand why he is upset—and display some of my own deductions. There isn’t anything to glean from the argument since I am actually a bit smarter than AJ and a whole lot smarter than Dray, so I could possibly figure out the blackmailer before the book is over, but I digress. I could very well be wrong about everything that I am about to say here. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

When AJ returns home, Dray shows him the note that he received.

The words weren’t handwritten or typed out, but spelled with letters someone had cut out from magazine and newspapers and pasted to the page.

What will your fans say if they knew you were on the low with AJ? What would the owners of the New Orleans Hornets say? What would your father say? And what would your wifey do? If you don’t want to find out, then I would get ready to reduce your big bank account by one hundred thousand dollars. Will be in contact soon Mr. DL Basketball Superstar.

I’d like to begin by saying that this is a really unique way to make a note, because whoever the blackmailer is knows AJ and he also knows that AJ isn’t a dummy. Let me explain my way of thinking. By printing a note in this manner, this makes the sender practically undetectable. If they did indeed type the note on a computer, then surely the police would be able to trace suspects even if they do not use the internet. It would be easier to catch whoever the blackmailer is because someone would be actively looking Dray up and keeping tabs on him. Also, the police would know that there would be stuff on the hard drive or in archives that would, eventually, point to Dray. Someone could use a computer to keep track of when and where Dray plays, and that would be a viable paper trail towards the blackmailer. Even if they didn’t use the internet at all, they would still have some documents that would possibly outline this entire thing, either directly or indirectly, so this method is really clever because it makes the person who’s threatening Dray almost indistinguishable. For starters, when someone writes something, they tend to write how they speak, so if the two boys were smart (I don’t think they really are), then AJ and Dray could deduce the sender by the vocabulary in the note if it were typed out, as well as the spelling and grammatical structure.

This method is completely hiding the person. Anyone could clip out words and paste them to a page, and this could be done anywhere, even in a public place, though that would be a bit odd. Still, though, whoever is doing this has some brains. Who’s doing it, though? Let’s break down all the viable suspects.

I’m going to exclude Mo because he’s my husband, and he can do no wrong at all. He’s innocent… I’m going to elude AJ as well, obviously. Mo doesn’t even know who Dray is. Now, let’s get into the analysis!


Ah, Judy, the lovely wife to Dray, who is pregnant with his baby. What does she have to gain, except from more money? Before I really get into the examination of the answer, let’s look at who she is as a person and what we have seen from her thus far.

AJ met her early on in the book. From the brief encounter, I noticed that she really loves having a rich boyfriend who just happened to be black. Judy seems to be the kind of person who just loves bragging about anything and everything she has because she kept touting Dray in the store as if he were her prized trophy… she could be blackmailing Dray just to get whatever out a him, but that would be beyond stupid because she is pregnant with his baby. I don’t think that would be very easy to deal with if Dray ever did find out that the letters were from her. Obviously, she has a lot of things to lose, but she isn’t the brightest bulb in the box either, so perhaps she is doing this anyway because she wants more money out of him. It’s very possible, because she would love to flaunt that money around, even though Dray would notice that she’s got even more expensive items. He isn’t exactly smart, but he isn’t a total dimwit. The motive is there, but she has a lot to lose by doing this and keeping it up. It would be a full-time job, along with caring for the baby, but she has a valid motive to do so even if it is shallow. In her head it would be valid.


Jade, the psychic. She could very well be in on it, except for the bit about his father. What would your father say? That’s what the note said above. Jade is new in town, even though she is the perfect profile for someone who wishes to blackmail. She pries and she avoids a lot of AJ’s direct questions about her past. She’s obviously running from something, someone, or something that she did. Jade is here because it’s a new kind of start for her, but why? I am guessing that she did some bad things and she decided to make a clean slate… she’s doing this in order to get rid of the bad deacons that she left behind, and she could have even caused them. Even though she never did say she had problems at home, or back home, she didn’t answer AJ when he asked about her past, repeatedly. This isn’t right and it tells me that she has something to hide.

She could be the blackmailer simply because she wants a big buck. The one thing I’d argue with myself about is the fact that the note says, “What would your father say,” implying that the person knows Dray’s family, and Judy fits that bill more than Jade at this point. Although, Jade could have deduced all of this from talking with AJ, but I don’t know. I’m thinking that she’s an accomplice of some kind because I bet you she agreed to do this because she needs money, hence, why she is after some rich ballplayer. She may not have an immediate involvement in this, but she could very well be the brains behind everything since she did tell AJ that she always gets what she wants. This implies that she knows how to manipulate people, and she could use this knowledge with Judy in order to get even more moment out a Dray.

Jade, however, is new to the town, so she would have to meet Judy somewhere. Judy would spill that she is with Dray, and AJ acts weird around her when she asks about a boyfriend. It could easily be deduced that Dray and AJ are together, with two women who know each of the men.


Ah, the scum trainer. Obviously the most likely here, as Dray hired him through a recommendation by his cousin. The comment about Dray’s father could easily be obtained without letting it slip that Dray is gay, and/or bisexual. Cisco could pretend to come out to Dray’s cousin, whereby Dray’s cousin could immediately blurt out that Dray has a dad who hates the LGBT community. That would be all the information he would need. Cisco is already in contact with Dray’s cousin, therefore he theoretically has access to his father as well. Perhaps Judy and Cisco are working together so that way she can get more money. I can’t see any reason why Cisco would not do this. He’s a low life, but he isn’t a dummy. Cisco knows what buttons to push simply because he has access to things that the others don’t have access to.

This could also be a big slap in the face to AJ, because he knew that outing Dray would make AJ miserable. Dray wouldn’t know how to handle it, so he may leave AJ, and then AJ would have to fend for himself in the aftermath. He has the motive, the means, and he certainly has the information. I believe that it’s Cisco who’s blackmailing Dray, thereby destined to ruin AJ for saying no to him having sex with AJ. That has got to be the most sadistic thing that I have ever heard of, but it works, and, surely, it would work, but I wonder what will happen to AJ when stuff hits the fan. That’s who my sympathy lies with, because Dray did this all to himself, kept digging this huge hole. I am excited to read what happens next week!

Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” – Chapter 11

In chapter 11 of Basketball Jones shit gets real very fast, I profess my love to Maurice, and I am so not prepared for the action that’s soon to be taking place before my very eyes. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

I’m going to jump right into this today because this is where shit gets so real that I don’t know how to handle myself… I don’t know how to prepare you or me for this kinda action. This is intense, and oh my god! Action! The plot touted on the back of the book begins to manifest in this chapter and wow! The roller coaster has started, and I am totally excited to get started on this wild ride.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” Chapter 10

In chapter 10 of Basketball Jones the drama and angst clash into a huge argument between AJ and Dray over the baby, and I am utterly mortified and titillated all at the same time. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

This chapter is only three pages long and it also does not have a lot of things to talk about. It consists of AJ and Dray having a bit of a tiff…well, okay, an all-out tiff because Dray didn’t tell AJ that Dray and Judy are having a baby. The two boyfriends confront each other in the living room and angst ensues, as well as a bit of drama, but AJ gets a real chance to shine here because, up until this point, he’s been holding in a lot of feelings because he’s been worried that this security blanket will crumble into dust. AJ feels hurt that Dray would even go ahead with something as unfaithful as having a baby with another woman. This hurts ME to read, and I just want to weep on two levels. One, because Dray really is an idiot, and two, because Dray does love AJ but can’t show it because he doesn’t know how to show it.

Seriously, Dray has to be the blindest man I have ever met in my life. His entire argument is that AJ should know what this will do to Dray and his career if word ever gets out that AJ and Dray are boyfriends.

They both get so heated they square off, as if they are going to duel right there in the living room, but they continue to argue, saying stuff that they have been saying throughout previous chapters. The only thing that’s different from now and the previous times is that AJ as finally reached his breaking point, so he’s just letting every little thought ooze out of his mouth, hoping to slap Dray a little with words.

Dray, on the other hand, isn’t even apologizing to AJ. He’s apologizing at the current situation. Dray isn’t even telling AJ he knows how this is hurting AJ, he’s just saying sorry, and that yes, this definitely stinks, but this is how it has to be for now, and this can’t change, and AJ knows why.

“The baby. When were you going to tell me? Do you know how humiliating and hurtful it was to find out about it from my trainer, or better yet the newspaper and the Net?” Cisco’s face flashed in my head and I wondered if I should tell Dray how he had tried to seduce me. I still wasn’t sure what all that was about, but maybe that would make Dray jealous and he would realize he could lose me. That’s one thing that sometimes annoyed the hell out of me. Dray was so damn cocksure he had me in the palm of his hand, and it might do him some good if he knew I had other options.

The keeping Cisco a secret decision is bugging me because it wouldn’t take a genius, especially after the events that happened in Chapter Nine, to figure out that AJ and Dray are boyfriends. Cisco could use that to do some serious damage because Cisco has information on a lot of Dray’s assets because, I’m guessing, the two have had to meet at some point. Cisco would have met with the coaches, and I’m sure the main team manager or something, and then Cisco could have some tools to do whatever. AJ doesn’t even tell Dray about Cisco, however, so I am gritting my teeth as I am listening to the two argue and not really solve anything.

Even though Dray isn’t the brightest bulb in the box, I don’t think he’s a bad person, he’s just really dumb. Does he love AJ? That, honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know how much Dray understands about the dynamics of this relationship, because he only seems to know the little things, such as AJ will miss him when he’s gone for days on end. Judy will be hurt if she knows. I believe he knows obvious things such as that, but I don’t believe that he knows how AJ feels and how trapped this is making AJ feel. Dray has a limited perspective of this relationship, and I don’t know how I should look at Dray as a character. Perhaps I’m short with him because he is so clueless and he doesn’t even understand what he’s doing has, or will have, deep rooted consequences for all of the people involved. Being in the closet is one thing but having a double gay life, with a kid, that’s a different ballgame, and this will make a mountain out of an anthill. Dray doesn’t even get how hard this is on AJ, but he does love AJ. What does that love mean for Dray, exactly? Sex? A man to look after? A man to show off to? Is this all just a big thank you because Dray didn’t know how to say thank you to AJ in college? I don’t understand Dray and his line of thinking, but it all seems very simple. For example.

“I was going to tell you. But no time seemed like the right time. And I didn’t want to tell you over the phone. We see each other so little that when I’m here all I want to do is hold you and make love to you. Besides, do you know how hard it was going to be for me to tell you Judi was pregnant? I already have you feeling sidelined in my life, so I knew hearing about the baby would upset you. There was no easy way to come out and say it.

Dray is the kinda man who will say whatever just to change the immediate situation… sigh. I don’t know if I should feel sorry for Dray because he isn’t getting this at all, that this double life hurts AJ because to AJ it feels like a giant slap in the face, or AJ, because AJ is with someone who is really dumb.

The chapter ends with them kissing, but not really solving anything because the two have been arguing about responsibility and such. I’m wondering if Dray will ever get it, that this closeted persona is even worth it. Sure, straight people hate gay people sometimes, but it’s a lot better than hurting people with lie after lie. I’m wondering what Chapter Eleven will bring. We will see next week!

Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” Chapter 9

In chapter nine of Basketball Jones, AJ does a very stupid thing with Cisco that makes me yell at him forever and causes me to get philosophical issues, again. You are not prepared. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

Someone once told me that pride can only be found in people who live a very hard life. They claimed that people who don’t struggle have zero pride because they would never know what fighting for something that you want to have is like. I don’t think that’s true. Pride is in all of us, even though it’s surfaced in others quicker than most. Pride is there, and it definitely lies dormant in everyone, but I don’t think AJ knows what pride is.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” Chapter 8

In chapter eight of Basketball Jones there’s a lot of characters that demand to be discussed. They make me feel so many feelings that thoughts spurt from my brain like gushing floods of water. This, in turn, causes me to relive memories I never thought that I would ever experience again, and even get political and preachy. You are not prepared. You are really not prepared. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads Basketball Jones – Chapter 7

In chapter seven of Basketball Jones, oh my god! Jade! Oh my god! Jade… she isn’t what she seems…. And this leaves me to question what sort of complications she will cause AJ and Dray in the near future. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett reads Basketball Jones Chapter 6

In chapter six of Basketball Jones, I live up to my faults but watch Dray like a hawk and feel very sad that I can’t hug AJ to death. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

I’m jumping right into this because this chapter is really short but there’s a lot of content. It may not seem like it, but it’s there, and it’s definitely showing me that AJ isn’t happy. Oh god, so many feelings for AJ are racing through my heart. I want to jump through the pages and hug him forever!
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Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett reads Basketball Jones chapter 5

In chapter five of Basketball Jones everything gets heated as the plot blazes into a startling and suspenseful kick off. You are so not prepared for what’s going to go down. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

Right, I am jumping right into this chapter because this is the chapter that things blast off from, and this is the start of what I’m sure will be a psychological roller coaster that will have me gripping the edges of my earphones and yanking on the pads.

There’s also huge development in this chapter as well, dealing with Drey and AJ, but I will get to that sweet spot in a bit.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett reads Basketball Jones Chapter 3

In chapter three of Basketball Jones I witness a scene that makes me want to hug AJ forever and then some, while realizing many aspects about this kind of relationship. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

Some people assume that if you have more money you have a lot more choices in life. They assume that since you have the ability to buy anything that you want to buy, you have all the freedom in the world. They have that kind of freedom, yes, but there’s a kind of freedom that rich people will never be able to have. Life choices.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” – Chapter Two

In chapter two of Basketball Jones I am introduced to a character that places AJ into a better perspective. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

Friends are a wonderful wash of clarity among everything else in our lives. Friends can help us see a certain truth that we may not be able to see on our own.

I assumed that AJ didn’t have any friends but I was dead wrong. He appears to have one, openly gay, very good friend who doesn’t know about him and Dray. The friends name is Maurice, and this chapter is the introduction to Maurice. Why? I don’t know. I’m assuming that Maurice, or Mo, will make a huge impact on the story. Something tells me that the dynamic that AJ has with his best gay black friend – I haven’t met many white people in the story yet — will be a huge conflict barrier or filler.
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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads Basketball Jones: Prologue.

In the prologue of Basketball Jones, one of my questions has definitely been answered, but this leaves more mystery which already has me loving the book. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

Usually when I open books to see a prologue, I’m placed in this very odd place. In my experience with reading, a prologue spells everything out in the beginning of a story or hints at things to come. This can either be a good tactic or a bad tactic, with faults either way, with various other things such as pacing and mystery.

Basketball Jones opens up on a prologue, but it’s a kind of prologue that I haven’t seen. Usually, prologues have huge splotches of poor foreshadowing or excessive backstory, telling what has been or what will happen. In Basketball Jones none of that is taking place at all in the prologue. What it serves to be is a declarative statement. “This is where we are at now. Let me tell you how we got here.”

I’m introduced to both AJ and Dray in this prologue. The introduction happens as though AJ, the protagonist, and I are sitting in a coffee shop that he’s taken me to because he has something very important to tell me upon our first meeting. I’m being addressed directly, as if AJ is sitting opposite from me, slightly leaning forward.

The style of writing is frank. It isn’t using many metaphors or hyperbole. It’s not droll or dull. It’s a down to earth conversation. Given the audio book narrator, I’m assuming that AJ is black.

How do I feel about this kind of delivery? I’m not quite sure yet. It’s a definite way to draw me into AJ’s world and learn what he’s all about, as well as the choices he’s made because AJ is investing a lot by telling me his biggest secret to date – the relationship he and Dray are in, and have been in for seven years. On the other hand, I’m subjected to what AJ tells me, and I do not like this because AJ could be telling me lies, for all I know.

I’m not quite sure how I should feel about being confided in, with something so pertinent, so quickly. I’m guessing it’s because the author wanted to get it out of the way in the most engaging way possible. On the other hand, I’m wondering if this was intentionally written this way to keep certain things ambiguous. AJ isn’t telling me everything. That’s evident because there are so many questions banging around my head I can craft up 12 pages of them.

AJ doesn’t tell me everything but what he does tell me, as I’m taking notes and sipping an espresso, is the nitty gritty of how Dray and he met, along with what he’s doing now.

Can you keep a secret? Well, I, Aldridge James Richardson (AJ on the short), can. I’ve been doing it for so long it’s become second nature. I’m not a secretive person either. That came in time. Seven years to be exact. That’s how long I’ve been with Dray Jones. It’s for him–for us, really–that I keep all the secrets that allow us to stay a couple. I don’t mean ordinary secrets like “Where were you last night?” “Working late,” you say, when in reality you’re out with the bois. No, I’m talking career-destroying secrets that can make or break a guy and destroy a family. Stuff that, if word got out, your life is basically over–or in my case “our” life would be over, because Dray and I are in this together. Not that we’re in any real danger of having our secrets exposed. We’re extremely careful to make certain that never happens. Dray knows I love him with all my heart and that I’ll keep quiet as long as he needs me to.

But this hasn’t been a cakewalk for me. Truth be told, there are times I think I’ll burst from holding so much inside. Watching his back and mine is full-time work–a job made no easier by having to keep everything to myself. If there were just one person I could confide in, then some of the weight would be taken off my shoulders. Only I don’t dare breathe a word of our business to anyone, not even my best friend or my mother. Instead, I spend my life dancing around the truth with the grace of a prima ballerina. The things we do in the name of love!

Immediately I’m leaning forward, challenging AJ on his morals and his point of view as well as reasoning. Why does he love Dray so much? What on earth could Dray have done to make AJ fawn over some basketball star? AJ answers my question in this prologue, but I have many more.

Dray, or Drayton, as his parents named him, wasn’t always a big basketball star hiding out from his adoring fans, and I wasn’t the boyfriend in the background who pretended to be the star’s buddy for their benefit. I fell in love with him in college, back when he didn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out. That’s real talk, people. I’d never before been involved with a DLB–otherwise known as a “down low brother”– but knew enough to guess that this probably spelled trouble. At first, I wasn’t so willing to compromise myself. I’ve known I was gay my whole life and didn’t go out of my way to hide it. That meant I wasn’t prepared to help someone else hide his sexuality. But Dray didn’t see it like that. He wasn’t gay, he assured me. He pointed out the obviously gay men on campus, and would say, “See? That’s gay. I’m not like that.” Never mind that I was gay and I wasn’t like that either. When it came to discussing who or what Dray was, you didn’t ask and he didn’t tell. In time it made less of a difference to me what he called himself or what people might make of our relationship if they ever found out about it.

I have many feelings about this particular bit because it says a lot about Dray as a person, even if I’m introduced very briefly. Dray doesn’t even love himself enough to be openly bisexual or gay. AJ confirms this when he tells me that Dray sleeps with women. So, Dray is DL.

I have very strong feelings about that as well. While I’m very much open and out to my community, even employers, I do know some people who have to remain in the closet because of prejudice, but they are only in the closet when at work, say, if the problematic location is at work. When they go away from the office, then they are open and let their hair down. That, I believe, is acceptable. I don’t like Dray already and his kind of lifestyle, or the DL concept that Dray has adopted, but that could be because I am, myself, very much out of the closet. I just believe that if you’re going to fool around with people and have a viable relationship, then you should at least be honest with them about how you feel about your sexuality. Dray isn’t even honest with himself, nor AJ.

Excuse you, Dray? You’re not gay because you don’t act a certain way or conform to the goddamn stereotype of gay boys on campus? What? I want to punch you so hard your teeth will rocket out of your skull. AJ, why did you settle for Dray? I don’t like Dray at the moment, at all.

I hate to tell you Dray, but you’re gay, and you’re going to prove it to AJ and me.

AJ met Dray when he was tutoring Dray for algebra. Since AJ had always been a good student, the faculty chose him to be Dray’s tutor. AJ fell in love with another cute black man. He thinks that Dray is drop dead gorgeous.

The thing that’s interesting is that I don’t get to see Dray’s personality at all. I’m just listening to what AJ tells me about him. AJ picks up on something that I pick up on as well. Dray has some deep-rooted issues. Perhaps he was raped, so he thinks that if he comes out, then he’ll be like that disgusting “obvious gay guy” who raped him? Does Dray have a good family? I don’t know. They are only described in the prologue as being a southern Baptist family…

Is Dray afraid? I’m guessing he is.

Why isn’t AJ afraid of being gay? What kind of life did AJ have growing up?

I can understand the attraction to potential straight guys, though, hoping that they’d be gay. I, myself, have stayed very good friends with some very special straight people in the vague hope that one day they will sit me down on the couch and tell me that they are in fact gay. While I can definitely sympathize with AJ as he fawns over Dray throughout the tutoring sessions, I don’t understand why he hangs on. To me, Dray seems like an asshole who can’t even admit to who he is.

Perhaps I’m being very hard on Dray because I’ve just met him, but AJ assures me that the two cared for one another. I don’t know how Dray cared for AJ because AJ describes their relationship in very vague words. At the moment he’s telling more about what happened, rather than the why. I’m listening, though.

Dray’s a natural ballplayer but struggles with algebra, so the two work very hard on studying. There’s a big test where Dray tries to flirt with AJ a bit by telling AJ he should take the test for him because he’s definitely smarter, coupled with good looks, including fabulous mocha brown skin.

AJ says that if he does, he’d turn Dray in. I don’t know why this intrigues Dray so much, but it does, and his secret love for AJ intensifies. When Dray passes the final exam of the algebra class, the two seniors celebrate in AJ’s apartment. Dray had stopped by with a case of beer. Straight guys don’t just show up at a gay guys place late at night with beer unless they have alternative motives. AJ realizes this as well, but he’s so thrown by Dray being there and having someone so hot in his apartment at this time of night he doesn’t question it. Naturally, they hang out in the apartment and this leads to down low sex.

AJ isn’t a dummy. That’s very evident in this prologue, but I do think that he’s an idiot for getting involved desperately with Dray. Why do I believe it’s desperate? I’ll hit that sweet spot in a bit.

AJ loves Dray’s body and touch and looks, but I have a feeling that AJ isn’t telling me what REALLY went on in his head that night as he holds Dray’s hand under the covers, as he drifts off into his own slumber watching Dray sleep. The next morning, Dray threatens AJ not to tell, otherwise he’d kick AJ’s ass. This is when AJ and I notice that Dray has some serious issues. I want to tell Dray to shut the fuck up and go screw a girl, then, but AJ tries to learn what they are. Dray doesn’t tell. AJ makes a point that he’s out and he isn’t dead, or homeless, or the like, and this is when Dray turns into a threatening asshole. AJ can see something in Dray’s eyes, though – that’s utter sadness.

Why is there sadness? I want to know, but I still think Dray is a twat and that there are better men out there for AJ. Just saying!

AJ then tells me how their relationship grew, and I have a bit of personal commentary about that. Both boys graduated, and Dray soon became a huge NBA star to no one’s surprise. He asks AJ to move to Los Angeles with him. AJ is concerned because AJ knows that if he does, this will be a full time job – keeping the secret. Dray tells AJ that he has it covered, which I call total bullshit on, but AJ doesn’t listen to me. He moves in with Dray, and this is the end of the prologue.

AJ figuratively takes a deep breath as he begins to tell me the next part of the story. I’m intrigued about the relationship, and here’s why.

AJ has such a huge hold on Dray it’s unbelievable. By keeping Dray in the closet, Dray has subjected himself to AJ and what AJ says to others. That’s a kind of trust that I would never be able to handle. I’d never like putting all of my faith in one man. I’m guessing that this is why AJ loves him, because he knows that Dray needs him. Still, though, there’s an entire side of all of this that I haven’t seen yet. I’m just wondering if AJ feels depressed. Is that why he’s figuratively confiding in me? Why did he feel that he needed to tell me this secret at long last?

This is what I believe… I’m thinking that Dray is not very good to AJ, in some aspects. I think Dray is abusive and/or controlling. I also think that he’s been cheating on AJ, but that’s because I don’t like Dray, and I want to have a solid excuse to punch dray in the face.

 Then again, I also believe that this is the strongest relationship ever. Why? Because AJ and Dray depend on one another, and all it takes is one mistake for AJ to ruin Dray’s life, so to speak. Dray loves AJ because AJ has all the power, and he has all the cards in his hand.

I believe AJ knows that Dray HAS to love him and this is why he stays in this relationship, but AJ has to tell me more. I’m waiting with bated breath

But why would Dray even give up that kind of control? Why would AJ go ahead with it, overall, because he KNEW that Dray would HAVE to love him?

Is this relationship even like this, or am I a huge idiot? What kind of issues does Dray have? I want to know more. I HAVE to know how Dray and AJ grew up. I’ve just met them. I want to dig deeper. There’s definitely more to this relationship than AJ is telling me.

I have to stay and listen more. I have to learn what these two were like as kids! Did AJ have many abusive boyfriends? Why would he settle for Dray? I don’t like Dray, but I understand him a little bit. I wonder if Dray will ever grow up and, gasp, call himself bisexual?

I’ll just have to order another espresso and listen to AJ tell me more. I’ll need a lot more cups, I reckon.

A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Aleksandr Voinov, Brita Addams, Kingett Reads, Lex Chase, Posy Roberts, Rick R. Reed, Riptide Publishing, Sammy Goode, SE Jakes, Storm Moon Press, T. Strange

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Welcome to another great week coming up, gang, and speaking of welcome, we’ve added a new reviewer to our staff, who we’re so glad to have coming to play in our sandbox! Unlike Robert’s rather spontaneous addition to our crew, this one’s been in the works for what seems like forever now but has actually been more like weeks. Many of you may already know her from her vast repertoire of work for Jesse Wave and Joyfully Jay, but I hope you’ll take a minute to still say hi.

So, without further ado, let’s welcome Sammy Goode to The Novel Approach!

So, what to say about a woman who leads a lovely, simple, ordinary life…

I used to be a stripper and did pole danc…wait….maybe that’s an overshare?

Let me begin again…

I love dogs, but I have a restraining order out against both of my cats…

ok….this is not going as I planned…hmmmm….third time’s a charm?

Hello, my name Is Sammy Goode. It’s lovely to meet you!

I teach small people who never cease to surprise me, and I write plays for them as well…sometimes the plays garner me a boat load of money, sometimes they languish on my “this is such a flop-no one in their right mind will buy it” pile, but always the writing is the thing I enjoy the most.
I read almost as much as I sleep–lots of genres but M/M is by far my favorite.

I am an empty nester except I’m really happy that the nest is, well, empty. I think that either makes me a bad parent or a well adjusted woman. I’m opting for the latter!

And finally? I am so very happy to be here discussing books with you.

And now, here’s what’s in store for the coming week!

Monday – The lovely and delectable Brita Addams is here today with her regular monthly Guest Article. This week she’s discussing the importance of good editing.

TuesdayRick R. Reed is here to answer some very nosy questions about himself and his latest release Legally Wed, and there’s a Giveaway.

WednesdayLex Chase makes TNA a stop on her Conventional Love Blog Tour, and she has a Giveaway too.

T. Strange is also back today with a little Release Day Promo for her new book Amber from Torquere Press.

ThursdayStorm Moon Press is our featured guest with its second installment on the 4th Anniversary Blog Tour.

Friday – Riptide Publishing Presents the SE Jakes Dirty Deeds Blog Tour—you won’t want to miss that.

SaturdayPosy Roberts honors us with her presence on the Flare (North Star: Book Three) Blog Tour, and there’s a giveaway involved

Sunday – Robert is back today with the next installment of Kingett Reads.

And that does it for another week. Until next time, happy reading!

Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads Basketball Jones: Introduction

If the 4 SD cards that I carry in a small container securely in my backpack with 67 audio books each doesn’t tell you that I am a veracious reader, I don’t know what will.

My name is Robert Kingett, and my literature dives have been into stories ranging from fictional family stories to dastardly, revealing memoirs. I’ve read tales of dragons and time travel short stories. I’ve even read a few westerns from time to time, vowing to stay away from that genre, not even letting a ten foot pole touch those kinds of books.

 There’s been one type of book that I’ve never read simply because I didn’t know that there was a market for them: gay books. I’ve never read a book that was targeted to LGBT people such as I.

Everyone who’s read a book that they have really liked can testify to the torrents of emotions and feelings for the characters and story, as well as other elements within the book. Because I’ve been reading books since before I could crawl, I’d figure that I’d share a literary journey with you: a different kind of book review that deals with the book chapter by chapter. This book review series will be called Kingett Reads.

Kingett Reads will be a book review series unlike anything anyone has ever seen. Readers will ride on a literary journey with me as I read gay books and gay literature for the first time, chronicling my thoughts and feelings as I go.

The first book in the Kingett Reads series is a book about sports. Basketball Jones by E. Lynn Harris.

Obviously this is going to be a sports fictional story, given the title. The name Jones, though, is really intriguing. I wonder if it’s the name of the main character of the book. Usually if an author has a name in the title it deals with the main character of the story. Looking at the synopsis, this becomes even more evident. I love how the synopsis just lays out all the cards onto the table right from the beginning, because it sucks me in like a wordy vacuum and it makes me want to read more.

AJ Richardson is living the good life. He has a gorgeous townhouse in always-flavorful New Orleans, plenty of frequent-flier miles from jet-setting around the country on a whim, and an MBA…but he’s never had to work a regular job. He owes it all to his longtime lover, Dray Jones. Dray Jones, the rich and famous NBA star.

This is beyond intriguing. The first thing that this bit does is make me want to read the book just so I can live in AJ’S world, even for a little bit. But I’m just wondering why AJ is just basking in all this, and not working. I mean, I’d definitely live life like this if I had the opportunity. I’d be free from the world and all of its problems. I’m wondering, though, if AJ knew what he was getting into when he first met Drey. I’m not judging AJ by any means, I just want to know if he knew that this kind of life would fall upon him if he agreed to Drey. Then again Dray could have asked him, and this is even more epic that Drey would ask him to be boyfriends because AJ must be a really epic guy to make a star notice him. If this happened, then I pine for Drey already, and I just want to hold him because there’s the part of him that wants to be a normal guy, and not held up to any sort of standard or expect to be very respected. Like it or not, that kind of fame and money has to have some responsibilities attached to it, though.

I’m very eager to see what the rest of the synopsis says.

They fell in love in college when AJ was hired to tutor Dray, a freshman on the basketball team. But Dray knew if he wanted to make it to the big time, he must juggle his public image and his private desires. Built on a deep, abiding love, their hidden relationship sustains them both, but when Dray’s teammates begin to ask insinuating questions about AJ, Dray puts their doubts to rest by marrying Judi, a beautiful and ambitious woman. Judi knows nothing about Dray’s other life. Or does she?

Wait, I don’t know much about athletes and things, but if they are public figures, then they can definitely have influence along with whatever responsibilities that they have. While it’s awesome that Dray persued his dream to the fullest, he could have influenced others to accept gay people. Then again, I can definitely understand the discrimination. Even today, straight people will look at us as a kind of disability that needs to be cured, and they believe that the kind of love we have for one another is like a tumor, instead of the opposite, and this stops people from hiring us or even taking us seriously when we’re trying to do something worthwhile like, say, rent an apartment.

There’s something that I want to know, though, and I want to know if Dray made the decision to stay in the closet on his own or did AJ tell him that? Based on either, I definitely have thoughts and opinions, but I will save those for when I find out what exactly happened throughout those tutoring sessions.

My heart has broken already, and I haven’t even opened the book yet. Oh my god, Dray marries a woman? Why? Just so that he can keep his secret? I don’t understand why this is so important to him, and now I want to read. I have so many questions and I want to find the answers to them.

Did Dray choose to be a secret in the first place?

What is it about AJ that Dray likes so much, and why did AJ like Dray? I hope it’s not because AJ knew that Dray was going to be a famous basketball star someday.

What has Dray seen to make him want to hide who he loves, even to the public? I’m guessing he seen something when he was younger that changed his life forever.

I want to know how AJ will solve this dilemma. I’m definitely ready to start reading and start finding out answers.

Who will, in fact, solve this. AJ, Drey, a friend? Who? I have to know!

I don’t know anything about AJ. I want to know what made him a good student in school and not Dray. There’s so many fabrics of these characters that I want to know about. I want to see how their love began and how it grew. I want to know more about each of them and I want to know why they think the way they do. I want to know these people.

That’s definitely a good blurb! I have many questions, and I have many wishes as well. Hopefully all of them will be answered as I read and learn what the game is with their feelings and how they came to be. I’m guessing that they both needed someone back in the day, and they were there for one another. Since the blurb didn’t tell me how long AJ and Dray were boyfriends I’m guessing quite some time, and there’s definitely a connection there somewhere that’s holding them together otherwise they wouldn’t be together. I don’t think anyone can handle long periods where your lover is gone on tour, unless you’ve fallen for him harder than an arthritic dog and something had to have happened to develop that kind of connection early on.

The blurb got me excited, pondering, wishing, eager to investigate and dive in. There’s a prologue to the book, so I’ll focus on that one next time. I’ll be Blogging about my literary journey throughout this tale of love and passion. I hope that the author doesn’t make this book out to be something different than what the blurb says. I hope that the author rings true when telling the story, and I just hope that Basketball Jones is the book that I’ll never forget as my introduction to gay literature. Stick with me as I find out, one chapter at a time.

Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

The Internet: Or How I Met Our New Guest Contributor Robert Kingett

The internet can be a strange place. It’s a place some self-appointed experts have claimed is a danger to our ability to connect and communicate in real-life scenarios, but it’s also a place, as I’m sure many of you have discovered, where we have the opportunity to meet people we might never had connected with otherwise.

A little more than a week ago, I received an email from a young man applying—yes, applying, complete with a professional, and rather impressive, resume—for a reviewer position here at The Novel Approach. Having a full complement of staff, I’d emailed him back to let him know I wasn’t in need of another reviewer at the moment but would keep his name and address on file for future consideration. I also, in my own less than subtle way, wanted to be sure he knew that what we do here is entirely voluntary and that TNA generates exactly zero dollars in income. But like so many of us who read and share our thoughts and opinions of the books we devour, I discovered Robert Kingett only wanted nothing more than to join us for the single reason we all do what we do here—for the love of the books.

As Robert and I continued our email chats, I discovered that what he was proposing was something very different than what the rest of us do at The Novel Approach. Robert is an internet journalist who’d been writing a weekly column for a now defunct E-magazine, and he was looking for a home to continue Kingett Reads, a literary journey, if you will, that he takes with each book, exploring it chapter by chapter rather than in a single comprehensive review, exploring his thoughts and feelings about the books and their characters as the action unfolds. I was entirely intrigued by the idea, and after a couple of fits and starts, we shook virtual hands and the rest, as they say, is history.

Robert will be joining us each week to discuss the books he receives not through me and the publishers we typically feature in the M/M Romance genre but via a program that provides books for the blind. If you’d like to learn a little bit more about Robert’s life and his own personal journey, please visit his WEBSITE and you’ll understand why I’m so impressed by him, and fully embrace his enthusiasm for reading.

Kingett Reads will be debuting in just a little while, so be sure to stay tuned.

Welcome, Robert!