Broken Essentials By: April Harper

It's the nineties, an era of upheaval. But Denise is too caught up in her own battle to notice. Terry is her mother, or that’s what Denise’s birth certificate says anyway (she checked to make sure). Their life is as picture perfect as Terry can possibly make it, which is to say that it’s not picture perfect at all. There’s the missing father. Then there’s the pregnancy at nineteen. Now Terry has to decide—does she let Denise and her baby destroy the balance of power in her home, or does she destroy Denise? Denise gives birth to her very own baby girl, but this isn’t a time of celebration. She doesn’t know what a good mommy looks like. All she knows is that she has to protect her daughter from Terry. She has to protect them both from Terry. She has to win this one time. Denise runs blindly from her mother and straight into the open arms of lust, drugs, and Tyrell. On the outside, Tyrell is a street-smart hustler. Inside, he’s searching for something, but he doesn’t know what. And he’s too busy with the life to figure it out. Staying alive means throwing himself from moment to moment, from dollar to dollar. Tyrell is a mystery to Denise. Denise is a new hustle to Tyrell. Or at least that’s what he thinks at first. Will Denise change his world, or will he change hers?  

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© April Harper