Excerpt from Between Lovers by Eric Jerome Dickey, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Between Lovers

by Eric Jerome Dickey

Between Lovers by Eric Jerome Dickey X
Between Lovers by Eric Jerome Dickey
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2001, 320 pages
    May 2002, 400 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

We take the incline up Broadway, my mind trying to react to what she just asked me about meeting her soft-legged lover, whirring and clicking and whirring as we jog by the probation department. We come up on a red light and stretch some more while we wait for it to change. The signal makes a coo-coo, coo-coo, coo-coo sound when it changes to green, that good old audio signal for the blind folks heading north and south. It chirps like a sweet bird going east and west, so we know we have the right-of-way and it's okay to get back to running north toward freedom.

Before we make a step, a Soul Train of impatient drivers almost mows us down.

We jump back. Both of us almost get hit. That lets me know that both of our minds are elsewhere.

Nicole says, "Be careful here, sweetie. This is where all the assholes rush to get on the Tube."

Someone driving a black car with a rainbow flag in its window slows and allows us to cross.

I run behind Nicole. Check out the fluid movement of her thighs. Seven years ago they weren't so firm. Back then she had a whacked Atlantic Star hairdo that hung over one eye and she looked like Janet Jackson, not the Velvet Rope version, but the chubby-faced Penny on Good Times version. Now her belly is flat and the muscles in her calves rise and fall, lines in her hamstrings appear, her butt tightens; all of that shows how much she's been running, doing aerobics, hiking up every hill she can find.

It fucks with me. I try not to, don't want to, but it fucks with me and I can't help thinking about her being naked with another woman. Keep thinking about all the videos I've seen with women serving women satisfaction, but refuse to see Nicole in that light, in that life. I want to believe that they sit around baking cookies, knitting sweaters, and watching Lifetime Television for Women.

Those silver bracelets jingle as she gets a little ahead of me, not much. My shoes crunch potato chip bags and golden leaves. Buses spit black clouds of carbon monoxide in our faces.

The light at 13th catches Nicole. I catch up and ask, "Why does she want to meet me?"

"Because. Curious, I guess. I love you; she knows that. Sometimes she sounds intimidated."

"Because I'm a man."

"Maybe. After seven years, we have a solid history, don't you think?"

That makes me feel good. The simple, five-letter word solid makes me feel good.

The signal coo-coos three times. We run north.

We race the incline toward Telegraph, a liquor store–lined street that leads into good old Berkeley.

At 20th, under the shadows of a sky-high Sears and World Savings building, she turns right toward Snow Park. We avoid a million chain-smokers who are congregated out in front of Lake Merritt Plaza, the black-lunged outcasts of a politically correct world, then cross several lanes of fast-paced traffic and head toward the children's park and petting zoo called Fairy Land.

I maintain a steady pace and ask, "This hooking up, is this for her, or for you?"

"For me. Because I'm in fucking purgatory."

"Where do you think I am? I'm standing next to you."

"Feels like I'm dancing naked on the sun."

"That sounds painful."

"Wanna see my blisters?" She clears her throat, spits. "It's important for her because she needs to get comfortable with my needs, and wants, with my love for you, to be secure. And it's for you."

"How in the hell is this hooking up for me?"

"Because I see how much it hurts you. You're an open book."

"Don't go cliché on me."

"You put it in all of your books. Especially the one with the orange cover. The one where you wrote about the wedding."

"A fictional wedding."

Reprinted from Between Lovers by Eric Jerome Dickey by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2001 by Eric Jerome Dickey. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced 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: In Extremis
    In Extremis
    by Lindsey Hilsum
    International journalist Marie Colvin pushed the limits in her work and her personal life. Widely ...
  • Book Jacket: Vita Nostra
    Vita Nostra
    by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
    Vita Nostra by Ukrainian authors Sergey and Marina Dyachenko is one of those novels that defies ...
  • Book Jacket: And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    by Patrick Ness
    Patrick Ness has developed a reputation for experimental literature executed well, and his latest, ...
  • Book Jacket: Let It Bang
    Let It Bang
    by RJ Young
    Every interracial love story is an exercise in complications. R.J. Young and Lizzie Stafford's ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Ladder to the Sky
    by John Boyne

    A seductive, unputdownable psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Severance

Severance by Ling Ma

An offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire that is featured on more than twenty 2018 "Must Read" lists!


Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Ain't O U T F L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.