Excerpt from Smoke Screen by Kyle Mills, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Smoke Screen

by Kyle Mills

Smoke Screen by Kyle Mills X
Smoke Screen by Kyle Mills
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2003, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2004, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I shrugged, and surprisingly the conversation moved back in my direction.

"So if you don't work here, what do you do?"

"I'm a, uh, trustafarian."

She scrunched up her nose in away that was irresistibly cute. "A trustafarian? What's a trustafarian?"

I considered my answer, sipping what was left of my warm vodka tonic to cover up the fact that I was stalling. As with all things, the answer to her question was a matter of perspective...

Trustafarian 'trst--'far-¯e-an n. 1: A person who inherited his or her money in the form of a trust, which pays said funds out in installments. 2: One who lives off the hard work and resourcefulness of dead relatives who weren't smart enough to blow their money on women and booze. 3: A person who lives well but contributes nothing of value to society. 4: A lazy, good-for-nothing leech on society who will never get anywhere in life with that attitude... "So you don't do anything? Nothing at all?" She waved her hand around. "You go to parties?"

I sighed inaudibly at her description of the European-Arab ideal. In those more civilized societies, having old money and never working a day in your life made everyone think you were better than they were. It was so much more complicated in America.

"I work in the family business," I said.

She nodded, actually looking interested as opposed to just trying to wrangle the conversation back around to Darius the Great. When she pulled a pack of cigarettes from her pocket, that expression of interest faded into one of apology.

"Do you mind?" she said, patting her pockets for a lighter. I pulled mine out and lit the cigarette for her.

"You want one?" she asked.

They weren't my brand but I took one anyway, lighting it and taking a characteristically shallow drag.

"You were telling me about your family's business," she shouted.

"Was I?"

"Well, you were about to."

Oddly, I am not a liar by nature. But I do occasionally succumb, if the lies are white and ultimately temporary.

"We invented those little felt things that go on the bottoms of chairs to keep them from scratching your floor."

"Felt?"

"Not felt per se—just the application of felt to the legs of furniture." In my experience, it is virtually impossible to talk about felt for more than three minutes. The current record was about two and a half.

"Who'd have thought there was a ton of money in that?"

"There's not," I said. "Honestly, it's not a very good trust. But every little bit—" I fell silent when I saw the well-defined edge of the crowd on the dance floor turn liquid and a small wave form as people briefly retreated toward the middle and then moved back out to the edge. I couldn't be sure what was causing the strange disturbance, but I had a pretty good guess.

"Every little bit what?" I heard The Girl say. I moved closer to her and turned toward the wall, trying to hide and block her from view at the same time. It was too late, though. The volume of the music started to decline at an almost imperceptible rate and was soon down to a level that would allow communication at a slightly more dignified volume.

"Programmer. Tina. New, right?"

Darius tended to talk like that. Single. Words. Particular order? None. I stepped reluctantly aside and he moved in, casually smoothing the silky brown hair hanging loosely around his shoulders. For some reason—sheer willpower probably—the blue-tinted, rectangular glasses he loved so much hadn't been fogged by the wet heat surrounding us and he peered over them at the girl whose name I now knew. "Um, yeah, right...," Tina said, compulsively twisting her hair around her index finger. "How did you know?"

Darius put his hands out in front of him and wiggled his fingers like a proud magician. The music faded another subtle notch. "I own the company. I know all. I've never seen you here. Is this your first party?"

Copyright 2003 by Kyle Mills. All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Pianist from Syria
    The Pianist from Syria
    by Aeham Ahmad
    Aeham Ahmad became famous as the face of Syrian suffering when a photo of him playing piano in the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Smiling Man
    The Smiling Man
    by Joseph Knox
    Joseph Knox's latest turns on a simple premise: an unidentified and unidentifiable murdered man is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Heavens
    The Heavens
    by Sandra Newman
    I've been a big fan of Sandra Newman's writing ever since reading her 2014 novel The Country of Ice ...
  • Book Jacket: Sugar Run
    Sugar Run
    by Mesha Maren
    Mesha Maren's debut novel is a plunge into the depths of the dark Southern gothic with pulsing and ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A People's History of Heaven
    by Mathangi Subramanian

    A story of love and friendship, and fighting for the places we love.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Year of the War
    by Susan Meissner

    A little-known story of WWII with great resonance for our times.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Girls Burn Brighter
by Shobha Rao

An extraordinary and heart-rending tale of two girls with all the odds against them.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win The Summer Country

Win up to 12 copies to share with friends or your book club!

A sweeping epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D T T! Full S A!

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.