by Terri Schlichenmeyer


‘Basketball Jones’

Author: E. Lynn Harris

You’ve waited almost exactly a year for this. March Madness will be dribbling in soon, and if you’re nuts for nets, you’re probably overjoyed. If you’re not a watcher, well …
Basketball fans are bonkers over buckets. They pore over stats, fill in charts and offer prayers for their teams during this time. Nonfans, on the other hand, look forward to having their beloved’s attention back when the season’s over.
So which end of the court are you on? In the new book “Basketball Jones” by E. Lynn Harris, a man chooses sides but it might cost him the game.
AJ Richardson is crazy in love. Dray Jones is everything AJ could want in a man. He’s tall, with six-pack abs and smooth dark skin. His hands are strong, and he smells so good. Dray is smart and generous and, as a pro basketball player, he’s got good money and can take care of AJ.
There’s just one little problem: Dray is married. And wifey doesn’t know that Dray is on the DL and sleeping with Aldridge James “AJ” Richardson, who is definitely a man.
Creeping around is just fine with AJ. He knows Dray loves him, and he knows that Dray’s marriage is just a cover-up. Dray thinks he’d be dropped from his fans’ radar in a hot minute if they knew his “friend” was more than just his friend, so he and AJ are discreet.
Still, it’s not easy. AJ knows he has to share Dray’s free time with that woman, but it’s all worth it. Besides, someday, he and Dray will be able to live together without hiding. In the meantime, AJ won’t breathe a word about Dray to anybody, including his gossipy best friend, Maurice, who lives and snarks in the ATL.
But discretion may not be enough. Online sites hint that a “certain” NBA player has a double life and that this “certain” b-baller is about to come out. Dray begins to panic. His wife is newly pregnant, his beloved father would be horrified to learn of Dray’s “secret life” and Dray can’t afford rumors. He accuses AJ of yakking, because somebody knows something and they’ve got to be stopped.
Then Dray’s phone rings and a dark voice rumbles at the other end, demanding $100,000.
And AJ’s phone rings …
Looking for slam-dunk entertainment, something a little foul and lots of fun? Then don’t pass “Basketball Jones.”
Harris presents his readers with a basically nice “boi” who gets into not-so-nice trouble and has to use his wits to save himself. This novel is plenty satisfying, quick to read, not too taxing on the brain and, while I probably wouldn’t hand it to my mother (there are steamy-enough bedroom scenes between these covers), I think reading it and tossing it your friends’ way will get you points.
If you’ve got a little time on your hands and want to run down the clock, reading this book is a good way to do it. “Basketball Jones” is a big score.

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