The Graffiti Effect, page 1
THE GRAFFITI EFFECT
A Marco Graf Novel
Copyright © 2018 by Perri Forrest
Chic Lioness Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Without limiting the right under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form by means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Photos (c) Shutterstock
To my sister. I love you. So much. You just don’t even know. You’re my balance and always have been, whether you know it or not. That Leo / Gemini energy is amazing!
You were diagnosed, you fuckin’ fought, and you kicked cancer dead in the ass . . . in the course of ONE YEAR! You braved your storm with grace. Through the thunder and the lightning, then emerged with more sunshine than before. My soul breathed the day you told me the good news. You’re not only a survivor, you’re the fucking epitome of strength. I love you, girl. #PhemPhotog! Yes, baby! Capture the world that so many take for granted!
Thanking God, first and foremost for the “gift”. Although it came with a thousand voices taking up residence inside my head, I gladly welcome it, and wouldn’t trade it for anything . . . not nothing!
My kid, who’s not a kid anymore . . . but who will always be my baby! So proud. So honored. Soooo gonna keep doing all I can to be the best mom I can be, to the best son a Mama can have! You’re my pride, my joy, the reason I was born! I love you! #ProudMarineMom! #SemperFi. Mama, thank you for those text messages that you send to me! Each of then brings tears of joy to my eyes—and always at the right times! They keep me going, motivated, and let me know I’m on the right track. I love you! And am so proud that YOU’re proud! My brother, who with his busy life of being a superstar, makes these guest appearances every now and then, dropping gems and inspiration that help in my move—upward! Thank you!
Jasmine “Jazz” Williams, thank you for coming through for me with this story! I was in a bind and you jumped right in, no questions asked! Thanks for your eye and for your input! You’re an amazing friend. This journey is not east. You gain friends along the way, you lose, who you thought were friends along the way. WE stayed / are staying the course. When my books drop, it’s like they’re yours. You celebrate reviews with me, you celebrate milestones with me . . . like they’re YOURS! That’s how you know a friend is a REAL friend. You want my success as much as you want your own. How dope is that?! Thank you for being there . . . all the time. I’m sure you know by now that you get all that right back from me.
Jacqueline Quintyne & Sherilyn Hill, thank you both for lending me your time with this story. The feedback you provided individually, and collectively, helped move the story along even more. It means the world that you trusted me enough to allow my work to infiltrate, what I’m sure are super busy lives!
My readers. I hope y’all know how much you’re appreciated. The response to The Graffiti Effect, has been beautiful and heartwarming. Y’all didn’t abandon me. You also didn’t pressure. You understood—from a distance, and continued to love and believe in me. You don’t know what it meant to me! I love you for that. I hope this book makes you feel like it was worth the wait.
As always! Playhouse chicks! Y’all are sooo frikken bomb! Y’all make the days bright. Y’all are crazy, but that’s why we go so well! I pre’ciate ya! And you know this, maaaan! We laugh, we talk shit, we talk shop. The circle is the best, ever. Thanks for loving me and all my crazy!
♫ Click here for The Graffiti Effect Spotify soundtrack ?? ♫
BOOKS by PERRI FORREST
Rush Cambridge (4-book series)
Rapture: A BWWM Alpha Male Romance
Gavin Brooks (2-book series)
Special Delivery II
Love’s Awakening (2-book series)
Pandora’s Box (Brooklyn Kellogg continuing episodes)
The Color of Lies
What Lies Beneath the Surface
In the Ring: A Dario Caivano Novel
Sexcapade: Affair at Nightfall
A Lioness’ Tale
Isa: Gift of the Baloma
Marco was ‘supposed’ to be a gigolo, but refused at every turn. He made it abundantly clear that he was not going to lay down with women for money! Even with all the forcing I tried to do, he was having none of it! It took me a few weeks to realize that he was rebelling, but once I got the message and gave him what he wanted, the story unfolded beautifully.
As Marco, Kassidi, and I began to build this story to what it became, music, as always, was my muse! Can’t make a single move without it. If you’d like to take a listen to some of what we listened to, click ♫ here! ♫
And now, without further ado, I introduce you to, Marco “The Graffiti Effect” Graf.
Cyn City Adult Lounge
Las Vegas, Nevada
Marco Graf sat in the center of a large performance stage on a leather, mahogany-colored loveseat. His foot tapped to Snoop’s “Life of the Party.” He was decked out in a pair of black tailored slacks, a forest green, long-sleeved button-down shirt, a fedora that matched his shirt’s hue, and a pair of black leather oxfords. Ralph Lauren Polo Sport, filled the air around him. His dark, wavy hair had been cut into his signature fade only an hour before; his mustache and beard were perfectly groomed. He was the picture of perfection. In under twenty minutes a room of two-hundred adoring women, would pack into the venue for an intimate meet & greet with star of The Graffiti Effect.
Marco’s piercing green eyes circled the room, strategizing, preparing. He watched as everyone moved about, putting the final touches on the lounge’s décor. Where the stage was normally bare, tonight it was set up like a small living room. It was meant to have a quaint feel to it. In addition to the loveseat that Marco occupied, glass end tables sat on either side of him. One had a transparent lamp on it, while the other, a triangular-shaped cigar ashtray; his Arturo Fuente not yet lit. By its side was a partial glass of bourbon.
In the distance, bartenders were busy getting their glasses glistened, their countertops cleaned, and their bottles aligned. Caterers buzzed around VIP, getting the catered food placed on their warmers. Electricians busied themselves ensuring the light fixtures throughout the venue, were on point.
“Such a long face!” Cyn, the owner of the club, said to him out of nowhere.
“Be glad that I love your ass, Cyn,” Marco responded without turning to look at her. “This is cheesy as fuck.”
Cyn put her hands on her slender hips. “There’s nothing cheesy about connecting with your fan base, Marco.”
“Well, you could’ve brought the Wolf Pack to this shit and let them do it. They would’ve been geeked for this shit.”
“Not even collectively, do they have the following that you have, Marc. Just do this for me. I think it could be good for you . . . and for business.”
“You don’t have to sell it anymore, Cyn. I’m here, ain’t I?”
“Barely.” She bent down and pecked him on the cheek and scurried off. “Cheer up, wit’ ya fine ass! Fifteen minutes to showtime! Love ya!”
Thanks to the few puffs of Durban that he’d had in the limo, Marco wasn’t nearly as grumpy as he could’ve been. His relaxation level was right where he needed it to be, to engage in a two-hour long conversation. Two goddamn hours! The fuck did I sign on for? he asked himself. He didn’t know why he’d caved so easily, on the subject. He wasn’t even clear on what the difference was, between this meet & greet, and the ones that he participated in, after his weekend shows. On a regular performing night, those who paid for the VIP package, got to hang out with him and the Wolf Pack.
“Marco, you ready?” Raina asked. Raina was the one that would serve as the audience host, taking the microphone from person to person and monitoring conversation flow.
“Yep,” he replied, finally lighting his cigar and taking a long drag from it before placing it back in the tray.
Before letting everyone in, the lights on stage had been cut. If they saw anything of Marco, it was a silhouette, but he could see them clearly, as they descended the stairs. All shapes, sizes and colors. Dresses and shorts on some, bodysuits and jeans on others. No matter what they wore, form-fitting seemed to be the common theme. Worked for him. Took the guessing out of what they were working with, in case he decided to lay the pipe to one of them after the event. The thought of it made Marco connect to a moment that he didn’t think he would.
The ushers were on their game really strong, and as a result, it took less than ten minutes to seat every one of the attendees. Once they were seated, the music stopped. The lights that were once on them had dimmed, and were now shining around Marco. Almost instantly, thunderous applause erupted, and shrieks of excitement ensued. As tight as Marco was about things initially, the response from the crowd awoke an appreciation in him, gave him a new energy.
“Welcome everyone!” Cyn declaration, from an area up near the DJ’s booth. “Glad you could make it out to spend the night with Marco. For those of you that already know him, then you know what he’s working with. For those who don’t, we hope that you gain an appreciation for this fine specimen who keeps Cyn City packed every single weekend that he performs!”
The enthusiastic women cheered loudly, at Cyn’s words.
“So, are y’all ready to get your questions answered?!”
“Yesss!” the room shouted, off-key.
“Awesome! Just so that you know, Raina is in the audience! Raina, hold your hand up so the ladies can see you!” Raina held up her hand and Cyn continued. “Now, before we get started, pieces of paper have been randomly stuck to the bottom of your seat. I need you to feel around to see if you have one! If you dooo you’re going to get a chance to ask Marco whaaatever you want to know. That’s not all, ladies! One of you, in this room, has been randomly selected to win a date with Marco!”
This time when the cheering erupted, it took much longer for everyone to calm down. Emotions ran high. The hope and excitement were through the roof. Each woman, wishing upon a star, that tonight a dream would come true. That her night would end with promise, and maybe even passion.
Marco was the most relaxed he had been all night as he watched the bustling activity from his vantage point. He couldn’t believe how easily chicks became all giddy over the smallest thing. Not that he was a ‘small’ thing. But the fact that they were beside themselves, over the prospect of asking him a question . . . of spending one-on-one time with him . . . wow.
“Okay! We’ve wasted more than enough time. Let the fun begin! The woman with ticket #1, hold it high above your head and Raina will come to you!”
“Hi Marco. I’m Tenisha. How did you learn to dance like you do? The way you move your body is . . . just so . . . it’s everything!”
Marco let out a light chuckle. He figured it would be one of the first questions. Only a few had been bold enough to ask for fear that it was offensive. White men weren’t supposed to know how to jump or dance, he’d been told in environments among friends. And for that reason, it was a question that Marco loved answering. He proudly brought his mic to his mouth and delivered his response.
“What’s this, Tenisha? One of those, White Men Can’t Jump, assumptions?” he asked her, jokingly. “But instead, white men can’t dance.”
“No, no, no! I don’t . . . I mean, nooo! There’s Channing and Justin! I—”
“It’s okay, sweetheart, I was joking. Breathe. Relax. So, first of all, Channing doesn’t have shit on me!”
Laughter from everyone, in conjunction with, “Ahh’s!” and “ohh’s!” sounded out, at the boldness of the statement. More than a few of those sentiments, no doubt, came from women who could attest to the validity of Marco’s testimony.
“To answer your question, I’ve been dancing pretty much all my life. A beat moves me, so I learned to move with it. I’m not so much into the lyrics of a song; it’s the beat for me. The rhythm, the bass. That beat is like my muse. I connected with it in a way that surprised even me. When I realized, from watching people like Michael Jackson, and Usher that I actually had moves and rhythm, I couldn’t have been happier. Then couple that with my mentor, Roland, who was ‘the shit’ and taught me even more moves—for the stage.”
“You’re amazing! Thank you for answering!” Tenisha, called out into her microphone.
“Number two, I’m coming your way!” Raina announced. “Please state your name and then your question for Marco.”
“I’m Audrina,” the woman said in a soft voice. “You’re beautiful. I’m one of your 1.2 million followers on IG, and have been to several of your performances. I’d like to know where you’re from? Like, your nationality?” Her chuckle was a soft, bashful. “But is it even okay to call you, ‘beautiful’?”
“That’s two questions, Audrina!” Marco followed. “But that’s okay,” he smiled. “Thanks for following. I appreciate it. Thanks for the support. I hope every show is as good as the last.” He smiled, his dark eyes lighting up, his mouth forming a big smile. “And uh, I’m part Greek, part German.”
Raina didn’t even allow a ‘Thank you’ from the woman, before she quickly moved on. “Number three, I hope you’re ready. You’re up!”
“Hi, my name is Kay. Just wanted to ask if you had any siblings?”
“Hmm. Wish the hell I did. It might’ve taught me to share a little better!” he laughed. “But, no. It’s just me.”
There was a brief silence before Raina asked, “Is that it, Kay? You get to ask The Graffiti Effect a question, and it’s about siblings?”
“Umm, yeah. That was it for me,” the girl responded.
Raina trained a blank stare on the beautiful woman for a few seconds in confusion. It caused a ripple of laughter from the attendees. “Wow. Okay. As long as you’re sure.”
“I’m sure, Raina,” the woman stated firmly.
“Alrighty then, next question!” Raina yelled, scooting along to the next person.
“I’m so excited!” she sang, excitedly! “So, my question for Marco is what is your favorite part of performing?”
“Good question, Janet. I would say that one-on-one with the lady I bring on stage to dance with me. Feels kinda cool to be up close and personal,” he lied, knowing that it was probably what a few of them were dying to hear.
It wasn’t his favorite part of the show. The favorite part was knowing that the chicks were creaming their fuckin’ panties while they lived in the fantasy that he’d created for them. That he gave them enough of a show that they would leave with him on their mind for hours, and even days afterwards. That was his favorite part of it all. But, as badly as he wanted to let it be known, he would never say it in that setting. Only, because he didn’t feel like bringing his cocky self to the conversation. Not yet, anyway.
“Okay, two more questions,” Raina announced. “Who’s it gonn
“And so am I!” Raina kidded, quickly appearing at the woman’s side. “What you got for our guy?”
“I’m Ginger, Marco. And my question is, what are you drinking on?” There was loud, unexpected laughter from the crowd. “I just wanna know what your choice of poison is . . . for when I get you all to myself.”
“Wow.” Marco laughed out loud, and picked up the glass next to him. “It’s Whiskey and Coke on ice.”
“Ohhh,” the woman purred. “Nice. So, is it only good in the glass? Or can you have it on me?”
“Well, damn. What’s your name again?” he asked.
“It’s Ginger,” she cooed flirtatiously.
“Well, Ginger, If I got ahold of you, the last thing you’d be worried about would be liquor on your body. It’s way better shit in store when . . . if—”
“I’d love to—!”
“Thank you, Ginger!” Raina said, barging into the solicitation preparing to leave the woman’s mouth.
Marco couldn’t see out into the crowd, but he imagined Raina politely jerking the mic out of the woman’s hand.
“Okaaay! Last inquiry before mingling, food and drank!” Raina yelled out. “What ya got?!” she asked, upon giving the final person the floor.
“The Graffiti Effect. I’ve been to a few performances. I half-expected to see easels or paintings in your backdrop. There were none. Why do you call yourself that? You paint walls or something?”
There was something in her tone that turned Marco off. She was demanding in a condescending kind of way. She sounded like one of those uptight women who was afraid of their own desires. Like she was mad that she liked what she saw, but couldn’t help herself.