Title: Love & Happiness
Author: Ben Burgess, Jr
Genre: African American Fiction/ Urban Fiction
Release Date: April 24, 2015
Cover Design: Leah FridaySummary:
Karen has it all: a handsome husband, beautiful twin daughters, a lovely home and a great job. Karen also has a secret; she’s cheating on her husband, with not one man, but two. On the outside her life seems perfect, but on the inside Karen feels neglected, bored and unappreciated. Yearning for affection and excitement, she falls into the arms of first Raheem and then Tyrell. Out of fear of losing her husband and breaking up her family, Karen ends the affairs but things don’t turn out how she planned. When Karen’s dirty secrets are revealed she must fight to keep her family together. Chris is doing all he can to hold his marriage together. He loves Karen but she grows more distant every day. When she starts coming home later and later, he suspects she is being unfaithful. When Chris accidentally takes her cell phone what he finds changes their lives forever. When tragedy strikes, Karen must decide if she should sacrifice her happiness for her husband’s love, and Chris wonders if he should stay with Karen because he still loves her despite her infidelity. But if they do stay together, will they ever find love and happiness again? Sexy and relatable, insightful and inspiring, Love and Happiness shows us both sides of Chris and Karen's story, and reminds us that sometimes to have it all, you must first lose it all.
“Don’t go like this,” he pleaded.
“We can’t do this anymore.”
I walked out of the room. I got in my car and cried the entire ride home. When I pulled into the driveway, I dried my eyes and gathered my composure. Chris was sitting in the living room watching the news. I walked up to him and kissed him passionately. I started to take off his clothes.
“Damn babe, what’s got you hot like this?”
“I need you... Now.”
The girls were already in bed, so I fucked him right there in the living room. I needed to be penetrated by Chris. Every stroke felt like I was letting go, releasing the hold and feelings Tyrell and Raheem had on my heart. I kept picturing Tyrell and Raheem instead of Chris. I felt ashamed of myself for thinking of other men when my husband was making love to me. Chris was swelling inside me. I knew he was close. As much as I enjoyed having raw sex with him, we couldn’t risk having more kids. I pulled him out of me, maneuvering myself, so his manhood was directly in front of my face. I palmed his ass and pushed his hips forward taking him in my mouth. I sucked and sucked and sucked. His orgasm spewed into my mouth. I milked his dick and swallowed every drop. I felt guilty; my eyes filled with tears. Chris noticed.
“You okay, babe?”
Chris looked concerned.
“Yeah... It was just so intense.”
“I loved it.”
I forced myself to smile and rushed upstairs to shower. I turned the hot water on until the steam fogged up all of the mirrors. I didn’t want to see myself. I adjusted the water temperature, took off my clothes and stepped inside.
In the shower, I cried until my throat was sore. I felt disgusting. I felt horrible. All the guilt from cheating crashed down on me all at once. I had no one to talk to. I always showed my friends my strength. I never let them see me during troubled times because I tried to portray myself as a strong woman that had her shit together. But I was falling apart at the seams.
1. What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre?
When I was in 8th grade, I read Richard Wright’s “Native Son” When I read that book, I felt that it was life changing for me. I knew that I wanted to one day write something that could have the same effect on people. While in 8th grade, my English teacher Mrs. Marcus gave the class a poetry assignment. My poem was on basketball. I don't remember what I wrote, but I remember my teacher was blown away by it. She encouraged me to keep writing. She was one of my most influential teachers, and I promised her if I ever wrote a book, I would write a poem about the Holocaust for her. (She was Jewish and had family that were survivors.) My dream was to publish a book. I continued to write throughout high school and college. My college professors told me I had talent as a poet and writer, so I decided to go to lounges that had open mics to perform my poetry. Hearing people cheer for me and appreciate my words, inspired me to keep writing. My first published book was a poetry book titled “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange.” I wrote a poem for Mrs. Marcus titled “Holocaust”, keeping my promise. The poem “Ugly” from “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange”, is the poem that inspired me to write my first novel “Monster.” I reflected on my life and felt it would be a good story that would teach and possible change people’s lives the way Richard Wright’s “Native Son” had done for me.
2. When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process (outline, plot, character names, editing, etc.)?
My favorite part of the creative process is being in the middle of writing a novel. I love when I see the thoughts in my head coming together and materializing into something beautiful.
3. When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
Since I write African American Fiction/Urban Fiction, that is also the genre I find most interesting and intriguing. I enjoy reading realistic dramas.
4. If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
If I could co-author a novel with another author, I would write one with Eric Jerome Dickey. To me, it would be like working with my idol. I love his work ethic and the fact that he constantly evolves with his work to keep it from being derivative. I try to do the same with each of my novels.
5. Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you ʺlater in lifeʺ?
I’ve always enjoyed writing from a young age, but I can honestly say that the desire to take it seriously and to pursue a career with it, came later on in life because I needed to develop the strength and listen to the encouragement of my teachers, fans, and friends, to feel like I was good enough to be successful with it.
Ben Burgess Jr is the author of the award winning novels "Monster", "Wounded", the poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" and the new novel "Love and Happiness" He is an active performer of spoken word poetry. Ben Burgess Jr uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in, and to never give up on their dreams. His poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" and his novel "Monster" are currently used in schools on the lower east side of Manhattan. Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management, and a MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughter Jaelynn and is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.