Cover image for A pair like no otha'
A pair like no otha'
Hayes, Hunter.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Avon/HarperCollins Publishers, [2002]

Physical Description:
vi, 375 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Urban Fiction

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She had 1001 reasons to say no...
They weren't enough.

Shemone Waters and Darnell Williams were best friends in high school. Smart, sexy Shemone didn't let the very mean streets of Harlem drag her down. But Darnell made one critical mistake -- and he was sent to prison because of it.

Now, at twenty-nine, the sistah's making a name for herself as a columnist for the hot African-American magazine Sister Soul Magazine. She's on the fast track up, with precious little time for romance ... or danger. And her carefully thoughtout "ten-year plan" is moving along without a hitch -- right up until Darnell Williams comes home.

Has he changed? Is Darnell a new man ... or just another ex-con temporarily back on the streets until another misstep puts him back behind bars? All Shemone knows is he's the handsomest hunk of dark chocolate to enter her life in an age, and this bad boy makes her feel soooo good! Following her heart for the first time ever could be the biggest mistake she ever makes and cost her the career and the future she's worked so hard for. But this could be love-hot, breathtaking, and real. And love is the biggest risk of all....

From Hunter Hayes, one of the most exciting new voices in African-American fiction, comes a moving and unforgettable novel of hard choices and new beginnings ... and the bold and beautiful chances the heart makes you take.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

When the "Final Four," Darnell, Terrance, Ohija (formerly Beatrice), and Shemone, graduated from high school, each one followed a different dream. Shemone graduated with a journalism degree from Hampton University; Terrance went pro and played for the Miami Heat; Ohija opened her own specialty shop; and Darnell is in jail. Nine years later, Shemone reaches out to comfort Darnell when Terrance is killed in an automobile accident. Their friendship resumes, and once Darnell is released from prison, he immediately contacts Shemone. They acknowledge feelings for each other and begin to date. Although their relationship is risky, their romance is exhilarating. While Shemone is excelling in her career as a freelance writer, Darnell is struggling to reinvent himself as an ex-offender. As Darnell wrestles with the lure of his former street life, his convictions are tested when he is forced to make a choice that will affect his future--with or without Shemone. This entertaining story follows the plight of a successful African American woman involved with an ex-convict determined to realize his full potential. --Lillian Lewis



A Pair Like No Otha' A Novel Chapter One Love Jones "I'm horny for you." Shemone nodded, and heaved a heavy, high sigh. "You're so vulgar." "Yeah I am, but you love me for it." "Now who said anything about love?" Shemone asked into the phone as she stretched out, lying back across the length of her queen-size metal-framed bed. "We're just good friends, Darnell." "Me." He paused, then said, "I'm saying somethin' about it. I think I'm in love with you, baby-girl." "Even from behind iron bars?" "That's right," he answered coolly, using two singled words. Surprising how talk with him made something inside of her stir. It was almost open-mike poetic when Darnell spoke, like a well-rehearsed rap song, in the way that he rarely ever missed a beat. She, on the other hand, wasn't as quick, or nearly as close to being so sure about the subject of love, or loving him, anyway. He was nothing but a friend, one for whom she held a special fondness for. That was her final answer, and it was the one she planned on sticking to. "Hmm," she managed to murmur. "Funny how I can't seem to fathom that." "Fathom?" Darnell questioned; sometimes her wide vocabulary span threw him. He'd always admired her book smarts back when they were in high school. She'd been the first one frowning if she got anything less than an A on class exams. Shit. He'd been glad just to pass a class, period. "It means 'to comprehend,' Darnell," Shemone answered, cutting him off abruptly. "Yeah, well, Miss Fa-thom, you'll see soon enough for yourself. There's nothing to get to the bottom of but the truth," Darnell replied confidently. The banter of another voice sounded off loudly in the background. Someone was cursing aloud, nonstop. The voice was so loud that Shemone's tone of voice became irate. "Darnell, you'll have to speak up. I can't hear you over other people's voices. Isn't there a guard or somebody around?" she asked him. She thought for a moment. Never had she visited a real-life jail before, and never did she care to. But if it was anything like the penal-system documentaries, or the Oz -like television dramas she'd tuned in and seen, there would be guards. Armed ones. The main source of the noise, another inmate, interrupted the conversation again. Shemone heard the male voice coming through her end of the phone as he spoke to Darnell. It was almost as if she'd been there in Pennington herself, minus the visual. "Man, how long you gonna be on that phone with all of that la-la shit? You're not the only one in here that gotta make calls, you know," the male inmate said to Darnell. Darnell turned around to face the voice, his own hardened like steel, as he held the phone away and spoke. "I'm gonna be on for as long as I can." He gave the guy a threatening look with his eyes. "Now, is that gonna be a problem for you?" The inmate raised his arms in defeat knowingly, once he'd recognized who he was talking to. If memory served him correctly, this was Darnell, from cell block H. Word on the inside was that this man had never lost a fight, and he wasn't about to risk being added to his undefeated-title list. "Whatever, then -- man, it's cool. A brother can wait," the inmate casually replied, strolling off down the corridor. Sarcastically, he sang, "La, la, la la la, la, la, la la." Darnell didn't direct his gaze from the man until he was out of sight, making sure to remember his face. One could never be too careful in the pen. "Bunch of clowns up in here, I swear," Darnell said in an agitated tone. He held the phone back up to his ear, speaking once again into the receiver. "Anyway, I'm sorry for that. Now back to what we were saying ... " Shemone had to admit to herself that she found his take-charge demeanor to be, well ... attractive. In the one year that they had been communicating on the phone, she'd learned plenty. Darnell often captivated her by sharing detailed stories of his street adventures before he'd gotten locked up. Once, he'd told her how he'd paid police officers off, on the spot, to look the other way. According to him, it was the drug bust that never happened. What did happen was the big-time $5,000 payoff of cash that the two officers had each received from him. It was exciting tales like that one that kept drawing Shemone into his world, as each take was often better than the one before. Separating fact from fiction, though, had become really easy. The fact was, she had an actual "bad boy" friend who served so many good purposes in her life. Darnell was the constant who never seemed to tire of listening to her gripe about what was going on with her life. From the mundane to the insane, she could always depend on him for an ear, some laughter, and even a bit of harmless flirting, which wasn't a new concept, by the way. Darnell never thought that any of the guys she'd dated during their old school days had been good enough for her. It was as if she'd found her high school friend all over again. She'd grown used to speaking with him on a regular basis, and looked forward to his calls. Lucky her. She knew Darnell wanted more than friendship just by the way he'd go on. But she was outspoken, and knew when to tell him when he was pushing the envelope. It didn't stop him from trying, and it didn't stop her from being just a friend to him. That's just the way things were ... A Pair Like No Otha' A Novel . Copyright © by Hunter Hayes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from A Pair Like No Otha': A Novel by Hunter Hayes All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.