Magnus (A St. Claire Novel) - Excerpt

March 8, 2014

(PLEASE NOTE: This Prologue is subject to change before the actual book release date.)


Prologue


~Shiloh~


“Do you ever feel like we’re stuck here?” Dakota asks me after she blows a plume of smoke and tosses a cigarette butt onto the black gravel, smashing it with a dingy canvas shoe. I’ve never seen the skinny, white girl eat a thing but she smokes like a winter chimney. We’re standing just outside the rear entrance of the restaurant – Bistro Le Bon – where we both work as waitresses. She came out to light up – her form of stress relief. I came out for fresh air. Maybe I can actually get that now since she’s done spewing second-hand smoke into the atmosphere.

“I wouldn’t say stuck, necessarily,” I tell her, glancing at the septum piercing in her nose and above her left eyebrow. She’s one of those eccentric girls who lives for sterling- silver-everything and extra holes in their bodies to accommodate all of it. The excess jewelry compliments her hot pink hair (that’s fading back to its original blonde color), forearm tattoos and coffin-black fingernails. She’s pale, could stand to get a tan but she tries to do the job with makeup instead – hiding eczema on her cheeks in the process. She doesn’t look like the type of chick who would work at an upscale bistro, but she makes more tips than I do, so who am I to judge? Maybe I should follow her blueprint, change my look to grunge and flirt with bikers and high-ranking businessmen who are levels above me – yet who don’t mind the company of those beneath them. The servants. The people who fetch them beer, wine and expensive food on little plates.

“I think everything we do in life is a stepping stone to something greater,” I add. I’m not sure if I believe the hype, but hey, it sounds like good advice for this particular conversation.

Dakota scoffs. Rolls her ice-blue eyes. “We’re friggin’ waitresses. What’s next for us to do, Lo?”

“Anything we want,” I respond, sounding more inspirational than encouraging. I’m trying to stay positive since she’s bent on being negative, but the truth of the matter is, somebody, somewhere wishes they had this modest, low-paying waitressing job I have even though I don’t think it’s an ideal position for me. I’m a twenty-seven-year-old woman and this is how I earn money. I don’t knock the profession, but I know I can do so much better.

“Lies.” Dakota coughs. “We can’t do anything we want. I can’t walk up to a corporate office and ask for a job.”

You shonuff can’t. Not with all that faded pink hair. That’s for darn sure. “Nah, not like that, Dakota. What I mean is, we work here because we need money to take care of ourselves, right? But while we’re working a job we don’t necessarily…um…want, we can take a few classes here and there to make us better prepared for that next position. That way, you can walk up to a corporate office and get a job.” After you dye your hair that is…

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…reach for the stars. The sky’s the limit. Blah, blah, friggin’ blah—sounds like a bunch of hogwash to me. My mama told me the same thing when I was growing up and guess what she’s doing?”

“What’s that?”

“Waitressing and bussing tables over at The Coffee House…been there ever since my dad quit on her and that’s been five years ago.”

Dakota breaks into a smoker’s coughing spell and starts fidgeting like she’s due to light up again. I glance at my watch. Only five more minutes left of our fifteen-minute break and we’re back to being people pleasers.

“What I need to do is find myself a sugar daddy like you did.”

“Like me?” I laugh off the craziness. “Sugar daddy? The closest thing I’ve come to having a sugar daddy is the actual candy—you know, the hard caramel.”

“Well, he’s light-skinned, so if you want to call him hard caramel, the name definitely fits.”

Our laughter fills the alley, bounces off the dumpsters.

“You know who I’m talking about, right?” she asks. 

“Sure don’t. I don’t have, nor have I ever had a sugar daddy.”

“Well, he’s been coming here like every Wednesday night and he only sits in your section. If for some reason you ain’t here, he leaves. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed him. He’s a regular. Your regular.”

“To be honest with you, Dakota, I’m just trying to keep my head above water. I don’t give a lot of attention to all that.”

“You’re such a friggin’ liar, Lo. You know that good-looking, light-skinned black guy who sits in your section with those incredible green eyes. Girl, he’s so fine, he makes me stutter when I attempt to speak to him. He smells like expensive cologne and money. That guy.”

“I know who you’re talking about. The guy that’s always in a suit when he comes in?”

“Yes!”

“The rich dude Rico briefs us about?” 

Rico – he’s the manager of Bistro Le Bon. I heard he only got the job because he was related the owner. Anyway, he likes to keep the place running as smoothly as possible with no hiccups so he always gives us a heads up when high rollers come thru.

“Bingo. That guy. His name is Magnus or something weird like that. He stares at you like you’re listed under the appetizers on the menu.”

“Okay, you’re so wrong,” I say amused with my palms up. “I’ve never flirted with that guy.”

“I didn’t say you did. And, F.Y.I, you don’t have to flirt with a guy for him to want you.”

“Okay, timeout—he doesn’t want me. He comes in, orders his food and goes on his way. I’ve never had a conversation with him about anything. He’s always staring into space. Zoning out. Always quiet. Very particular about what he wants. It’s weird. I just try my best to get him situated so I can leave his table. I don’t like the vibes I get when I’m close to him.”

“What kind of vibes? Hard caramel vibes?” She winks at me.

I grin and roll my eyes. “Noo. Just a bizarre feeling. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”

“Well, whatever the case, he’s loaded. That much I can tell. He drives a Bentley Bentayga. How many dudes you know pushing two-hundred-thousand-dollar cars ‘round here?”

“I don’t keep track of who’s pushing what. I’m just trying to pay bills. I ain’t got time to be keeping track of what other folks got.”

She plays with her lighter, rolling the dial, flicking it on so it flames over and over again. “I’m just telling you what I saw, but you’ll see it for yourself now that I brought it to your attention. It’s Wednesday. Your hard caramel is due here at around six o’clock.”

I laugh it off again. “How old is this guy?”

“If I had to guess, I’d say he was late thirties, but when you look like that, age doesn’t matter, girlfriend.”

“Late thirties? You called him a sugar daddy. That makes him sound like an old man seeking the attention of a much younger woman. I’m twenty-seven.”

“Young enough.”

“Here’s the question of the day—if finding a sugar daddy is your way out of waitressing at this place, why are you still here?”

“I can’t just find any ol’ body. I’m crossing my fingers for one of them Carolina Panthers. Got my eyes on Luke and Christian.”

A chuckle escapes my lips. “Don’t get your hopes up. The closest you’re going to get to either of them is wearing the number 59 or 22 on their jerseys, and you have to buy those.”

“Ugh…you get on my nerves.”

“Yeah, well now customers can get on your nerves. Break’s over,” I tell her. “We better go back in before Rico pops a blood vessel.” 

Two waitresses staying on an extended break would be enough to make Rico lose his mind, especially going into the late afternoon-evening rush.

I gather a breath and head back inside behind Dakota hoping the time will pass by quickly. The faster it does, the quicker I can get off of my feet, go home and relax with my papa.


Amazon #1 New Release in African American Literary Fiction

* * *

Read the Book Description. | Read the Prologue.
Buy Links: Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble Nook | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | Scribd | Smashwords
Paperback: Amazon Paperback
International: Amazon Canada | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia | Amazon France

Book Extras:
See inspiration photos for MAGNUS on Pinterest.
Listen to the soundtrack for MAGNUS on Spotify.


*The St. Claire novels are all standalone books about the St. Claire men. You do not have to read them in any particular order.

Book 1 - ROYAL (Royal and Gemma)
Book 2 - RAMSEY (Ramsey and Gianna)
Book 3 - ROMULUS (Romulus and Siderra)
Book 4 - REGAL (Regal and Felicity)
Book 5 - MAGNUS (Magnus and Shiloh)

1 comment

  1. I love it !!! What he has that she wants ???? I'M GUESSING IT'S LOVE 💕

    ReplyDelete

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