May the Best Man Win

May the Best Man Win
M.T. Pope
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
More from M.T. Pope
Novels:
 
Both Sides of the Fence 1
Both Sides of the Fence 2: Gate Wide Open
Both Sides of the Fence 3: Loose Ends
A Clean Up Man
 
 
Novellas
:
 
Lost Pages of Both Sides of the Fence Vol. 1
Stick Up Boys
 
 
Anthologies:
 
Anna J. Presents: Erotic Snap Shots Vol.1
M.T. Pope Presents: Boys Will Be Boys
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
 
 
Short Stories:
 
“Don't Drop the Soap”
“I Saw Daddy Doing Santa”
Acknowledgments
I started “writing” in February of 2008 and never thought I would be here and finished another title, but, yeah, it's done. Yippie! I can still say that I'm surprised at the success of them all. I am humbled by the people who support with money, time, words of encouragement and the hard work that goes into completing a story.
My family, especially my mommy, is very supportive of me. My two very good friends that keep me in line. I am grateful for all the people that come into my life and for the love and happiness they deposit. Especially when I need it and they don't know that they are helping. I am told that God uses us best when we don't know it. So thank you to all for the deposits and withdrawals. Peace!
This is my fifth full-length novel. I owe it all to God for blessing me with a wonderful gift that He chose to spring forth at the appointed time.
To my Mom, Lawanda Pope, a little woman with big strength. You make me smile every time I see you. You are the best mom in the world. I love you. My brothers and sisters: Shirley, William, Darnell, Darlene, Gaynell, Latricia, Nathon, and Yvette. I love you guys.
To my Pastor, Melvin T. Lee and First Lady Tanya Lee, for coming out and showing love at my first book signing and everything else I do in this life. I promise Dad that the Christian Fiction is coming . . . lol. To all my Because He Lives church family members. I love you with only the love that God shines through me. WE ARE! . . . BECAUSE HE LIVES!
To Tracey Bowden and Arnisha Hooper, my two best friends in the world. I can't even begin to say how much you mean to me. I don't say it enough and I don't show it enough, but I can't pay for friends like you two. You put up with my mess and my mouth and I am grateful. For all the book signings you drove me to, all the books you sold for me and all the bookmarkers you passed out. I appreciate it so much. There are just some things in life that you just know. I know that only God could have put together and you two were chosen just for me. I am honored to have you as my friends.
Carl Weber once again, thank you for this opportunity, and all that you do.
To all the Urban Knowledge Bookstore workers that pushed my book, it is appreciated. May God bless you in all of your endeavors.
To the Urban Books home office family: Carl, Karen, Natalie, George (Gee).
To Nichelle Washington-Davis, Darlene Washington, Karen Williams, Aaron Brown, Deterrius Woods: Thank you for reading the first draft of this book.
A special shout out to Anna J. for the encouragement and the GEM.
To all the book clubs that hosted me, thank you for the love and support as well.
Thank you for another slamming cover. Davida Baldwin, Oddball Designs (
www.oddballdsgns.com
)
I want to give a special thanks to couple of people who really supported me from a distance:
Martina Doss, thank you for giving me my first official review and selling my books down there in Atlanta. Also, thank you for calling me and letting me know how my books moved you. Thank you for hanging in there with me support wise since book one. You have to finish your book now . . . lol.
My literary friends, J'son M. Lee (Just Tryin' to be Loved). Man you are the best. We clicked from day one and we have so much in common. Thank you for answering the phone every time I call. Dell Banks, for the encouraging phone calls. Anna J for being one of the hardest working renaissance women in Philly. Leave something for somebody else to do . . . lol. Oh, Thanks for the pointers and lifelines. *wink*
To the people that encouraged me along the way. Kenneth Goffney, your words are so inspiring. I am glad to call you friend.
Deterrius Woods, an extraordinary Facebook buddy. Don't be afraid to finish your book. You have some great stories to tell, so get to work.
Kyeon, you have so much talent that it is ridiculous. So get started and get yourself out there.
My E-supporters: I have never met you in person but you always are encouraging and honest about my work: Patrick Irené Plante, Aaron Brown, Shawna Brim, and to the MANY that e-mail me and hit me up and spread the word. It is too many of you all to name. Just know I appreciate all of you.
My Walmart family: Shernae, Tamara, Renee, Gary, Ms. Val, Danuiella, Keisha, Wayne, Sharon. Thank you guys for your love and support. I still miss you guys . . . lol. But, not the work . . . lol.
If I left you out, put your name here:__________, because you are important to me too. *Smile*
P.S. Please please leave book reviews on Web sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. It means a great deal to authors no matter how you feel about the book.
A Letter to the Reader
Hey Everyone,
 
Thank you for picking up this book. It is appreciated. I hope you have read my other books, especially the
Both Sides of the Fence
trilogy. I think you'll love it. Also, check out my anthologies and novellas.
Didn't know that I would be a “writer” or “storyteller” and a lot of the time I don't think that I am very good at it. I quit writing every other day . . . lol. It takes everything in me to write sometimes because I'm a procrastinator.
I started this novel in 2010 right before I was surged with requests for
Both Sides of the Fence 3.
The storyline evolved over time and the characters did as well. This is a different type of story for me altogether. It is still adventurous in theme, but with a little more heart. I wanted to get away from the “revenge” novels, per se, and focus on something a little different for me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I like writing it.
 
M.T. Pope
Prologue
“What the hell is going on here?” I walked up to the table where my man and my new enemy sat across from each other, talking, one hand covering the other's hands. It was a sign of affection to them but a sign of betrayal to me. There was a few people staring at me and the scene going on, but I didn't care at the moment. I had completely forgotten my reputation as an upstanding, law-abiding citizen and my senses. I was seeing red. I wanted to flip the table over in a tirade. My man looked at me calmly and the “enemy” had an evil smirk on his face. I wanted to smash his head into the glass window and watch the blood run down the side of his face and then do it again. This was my man he had his hand on. He had his filthy, hoeish hands on my man.
“Hello, Kardell. How are you?”
No, this bitch didn't just ask me how I am doing while he is sitting across from my man.
I didn't answer him at first because I wanted to retain my dignity and some of my reputation as an upstanding citizen; but, as they say, shit was about to get real.
“Have you lost your fucking mind?” I couldn't believe I was speaking in such language in front of my man, but I was seething hot and didn't care at the moment.
“My mind is great right now. It couldn't be better. I'm out with my man and we were having an almost quiet meal together before you showed up and showed us your ghetto side.” He looked at me and then at my man and then smiled slyly, like he was winning.
“Your man?” I asked, looking at my man, waiting for him to answer.
“Did I stutter? You have a degree or two and you mean to tell me that you haven't grasped all of the English language?” Lewis said sarcastically. “How could he be your man if you didn't want him?”
“You're in my business and I'm about to be in yours,” I threatened.
“Like I said, my man and I are enjoying ourselves and we don't want the interruptions, so we would appreciate it if you found you a man, if you can, and leave us two lovers alone.”
“Are you forgetting the fact that you work for me and not the opposite?” I stated matter-of-factly.
“Is that a threat? . . . Are you threatening me?” He turned toward me in his seat as if he was about to get up.
I took a step back just in case he was about to swing or something. I can say I wasn't planning on this shit happening today. I guessed there was something that could change my mood today. I never thought in a million years that it would be this.
“It is what it is,” I replied.
“Excuse me is everything okay over here?” A male and female member of the museum's security walked up to us. The male asked the question.
“No, everything is fine . . . Just a little miscommunication.” Mateo finally decided to talk by answering the officers. “Kardell, have a seat so we can discuss this rationally.” His smile, his calming voice was all I needed to hear, so I hesitantly pulled out a chair and sat down at the table. I was breathing hard, and looking at Lewis's ass was not making it any better.
“Okay, any more profanity or arguing and we will have to ask you to leave the grounds. This is a family-friendly environment and we like to keep it that way. Have a great day at the Walters Art Museum, fellas.” They walked off and left us to hash out the mess that we were in.
“Gentlemen, this is entirely my fault. I wasn't being honest with either of you. I like both of you and couldn't decide on which one of you to see exclusively. You two are very good-looking guys and it is hard to decide when two guys meet my standards. I like you both.” He looked at both of us, one to the other, intensely.
I was shocked at what I was hearing.
Here I am thinking I am the only one and he is dating Lewis and me.
I wanted to get up and walk out and leave them both here looking stupid, but that would only make Lewis the winner and I wasn't going out like that. I found him first. The truth is I probably fucked myself by seeming uninterested in Mateo when I first met him and denying that attraction to Lewis. His fast ass swooped right in and made his move. I had to give it to him: he was a go-getter. I guess he was looking for love too. It just happened to be the same guy I was interested in.
“Mateo, it's okay,” I spoke up first. “It can happen to anyone.”
“Yes, I forgive you,” Lewis stated, and then reached his hand across the table and placed it on Mateo's hand that was resting on the table. I reached over, knocked it off, and placed my hand on his. I knew it was petty and downright childish, but I wasn't giving up that easily. Pretty soon we were pushing each other's hands off of Mateo's before he finally pulled his hand back.
“No need to fight, fellas. I have a great way to solve this dilemma.” He looked at both of us and smiled. “Since I can't possibly choose between the both of you I propose a contest of sorts to see who the best man for me is. I love games, and why shouldn't life be interesting?”
“A game?” I spoke hesitantly.
“Yes. I know it is totally unconventional, but I think it would be fun to have a little friendly contest. Think of it as
American Idol
for dating.” He laughed lightly.
“I'm game if he's game.” Lewis looked at me sharply. I eyed him back in the same manner.
“But you can't take it out on each other at work.”
We both nodded our heads yes even though I knew that it was going to be hard to keep this from spilling over into the work atmosphere.
“Great. It will take me a few days to think about what I want to do, but expect a text with the first challenge,” he said, getting up from the table. “I'm looking forward to this. Have a great day, gentlemen.”
We both watched him walk off and then we looked at each other in silence for a few seconds.
“May the best man win.” I stuck my hand out to shake Lewis's hand.
He hesitantly did the same before he said the same: “May the best man win.”

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