{Book Excerpt} Harlem Boys by: Armani Williams

Harlem Boys Cover 2Damon sniffled and blinked back tears as he eased up the volume of “Old Friend” by Phyllis Hyman. He took a sip of champagne and nodded his head to the easy piano melody of the song as Phyllis’ haunting voice saturated his living room. His mother played a lot of Phyllis Hyman music while he was growing up, and this particular song always stirred his emotions. Happy memories of his childhood and the emotional vocal delivery of Phyllis Hyman always made him cry. Behind his computer chair, Lucky lay on the floor. Damon realized he missed his parents. As he began to think of the reason why he hadn’t been to their house in over six years, the doorbell interrupted his thoughts. He wiped his tears as Lucky went to the door barking.

Damon checked himself in the mirror to make sure his face was straight before he went to the door. A glance through the peephole made him gasp and his stomach filled with butterflies. It was Kenny. Damon hadn’t seen Kenny in over a year. He glanced through the peephole again, certain his eyes had deceived him. Nope, he hadn’t been mistaken; it was Kenny in the flesh. He turned his back to the door and closed his eyes. Do I answer the door or not? Damon wondered. He knows I’m here; my truck is parked out front.The doorbell rang again.

Damon took a steadying breath, turned around and opened the door.

“Kenny.”

“Hey,” Kenny said with a smile.

Why the fuck do you look so good? Damon thought as his eyes took in the full sight of this tall drink of water. Wearing a gray suit and a
tie that was slightly unfastened, Kenny looked like he’d stepped off the cover of a modeling magazine: tall enough that he’d have to duck to walk
through the door, dark brown skin, smooth and flawless, and chiseled dark bedroom eyes that always seemed to twinkle, even when he was mad.

They looked at each other briefly.

“Surprised?” Kenny asked.

“That’s an understatement.”

“How have you been?”

“I’m well. Very well. How about you?”

“I’m hanging in there. You look really good.”

“Thanks. You too.”

An awkward silence settled between them.

“So…” Kenny said, gesturing at the door, “…are you gonna invite me in?”

Hell no! Take your sexy ass back where you came from!

“I was just listening to some music and sipping champagne. Have
some?”

“Certainly.” The smile on his face could’ve been considered cocky as he followed Damon inside. Lucky kept his eyes locked on the man and a
warning growl rolled in his throat.

“Lucky, be quiet.” Kenny jumped back as Lucky growled and barked
at him.

Damon took Lucky by the collar and made him go down into the basement, closing the door behind him. “Sorry about that. He’s usually not like that. I don’t know what’s gotten into him.”

Kenny’s focus had already shifted to Damon’s chic living room.

“You always kept a nice house.”

“Thank you,” Damon said pouring him a glass of champagne. Damon didn’t want to ogle him while he drank the wine. But the way he held the glass in his hand, the way his lips clung to the rim, the way his lips pouted when he sipped at the amber liquid commanded Damon’s attention. He couldn’t have looked away if he tried. While Kenny sipped the champagne, Damon gave him a look that screamed, “I want you!” It didn’t help that the end of the song was playing where Phyllis sung the lyrics that welcomed her lover back into her life.

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