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Arrivals Has Arrived!
By Frank D. Quattrone
Ticket Editor, Montgomery Newspapers
Ready for another roller-coaster ride? Adrienne Bellamy, the dynamic author of Departures and Connecting, and Lust, Lies and Two Wives, three novels that explore the often dysfunctional, often comical interactions among several African-American families in modern-day Philadelphia, is at it again. In Arrivals, Bellamy continues the saga of these familiar yet totally original characters as they progress, or regress, in their latest set of life-affirming trials.
And that, after all, is where Bellamy excels. Not only do her women characters continue to express the strength, independence and resourcefulness that most humans (whatever the sex) would envy, but they also delight us with their ingenuity and totally engaging personalities. Unwilling to give in to life’s inevitable slings and arrows, they seem to feed off them as they search for, and often find, that perfect mate or a life far more rewarding than anyone has any right to expect.
The beauteous Greer, for example, a widowed graphic artist, has finally emerged from a cocoon of grief with an ingenious plan to allow her perfect freedom in her newfound sexual life — until she encounters a man who resists “perfection” and threatens to disrupt her whole utopian scheme.
Lenora, in her fourth year in prison for performing illegal abortions, has literally discovered, or founded, Life After Death, an innovative program that brings her into close contact with death row inmates whose stories are even more valuable (would unbelievable, terrifying, edifying be more apt descriptions?) than the organs she hopes they will donate following their executions.
And the questions multiply as Bellamy’s engaging characters deal with one problem after another — just like life, only with far more entertaining characters to keep us at our seat’s edge.
Can Reba and Doug maintain their happy marriage when a rebellious teenager and a no-good ex-husband constantly threaten their now-fragile serenity and security?
Will Terri be able to keep any balance in her life now that her unstable, gay, live-in housekeeper Harvey, besotted with phobias and booze, and his former landlady, toss one monkey wrench after another into her well-ordered life?
And will the clever protagonist Amber, the heroine of the two earlier novels, continue to delight us, even though she has grown into a relatively typical teenager with plans and schemes of her own so perilous that their consequences could have lasting effects on both her and her wonderful adoptive father Horace?
The neat thing about Bellamy’s novels is that they bring to the fore imperfect characters whose very foibles and limitations often give us reason to cheer. This is fiction, after all, and its purpose is to entertain, titillate, thrill and maybe even shock us into new awareness. Even when her characters’ decisions and goals seem questionable or unattainable, they’re always unpredictable. And Bellamy’s situations, dialogue, and character twists are nothing if not original, putting to shame much of the formulaic fiction that clogs today’s bookshelves.
So do yourself a favor. Plunge into the interlocking stories that comprise the central core of Arrivals, and (re)discover the distinctive voice, fiery imagination and peerless electricity of one of today’s most idiosyncratic writers.
Dear Ms. Bellamy:
First I want to thank you for your wonderful work .My family members and I have decided to start our own book club and select a writer that can satisfy us all . You'll be happy to know that you were that writer, but we have a slight problem we cant find your novel Arrivals. I have already read Departures, Connecting and will enjoy reading them again but we are very anxious to read Arrivals. My aunt is 74 my cousin and I are 45&44 and I have 2 daughters 21 & 25 and we love to read your books . with such an age gap between us there is always too much of this or not enough of that you keep us all happy and anting more thanks again. on our next face-book on-line meeting (yup we're taking you to the web with us we have to come up with a power-house trilogy so your my pic :) I know my on-line soul sisters will love you just as much as me !! Please help me out with info on your novel Arrivals my e-mail address is as follows [email protected] God Bless you and yours.
Well I’d Never……
When we were young “Never say never” was a favorite quote of our teachers and parents. In Arrivals, Adrienne Bellamy, while fascinating you with fast paced and intriguing storytelling, will bring that truth to a new level. Her unique perspective on multicultural realistic fiction draws the reader into the mindset of her unforgettable characters.
If you are sure you would “never” be able to understand or approve of a person who said or did certain things, you will have to reconsider. Adrienne has a unique gift for drawing you into each character’s situational viewpoint. You may be horrified at some of their actions, but it is literally impossible to detest the characters once you experience their rare and often distinctive outlook on personal incidents.
Be prepared to say “I thought I’d never….” Enjoy the roller coaster ride of an exceptional approach to the inner workings of Arrivals characters’ subjective thoughts. The images and impulses interwoven throughout the novel will delight, shock, and amuse. Adrienne has a mesmerizing talent for making the absurd seem perfectly reasonable. What appeared rational and appropriate begins to seem rigid and unjust. Be willing to love some characters you thought you never could. Remember “Never say never”; Adrienne doesn’t!
A HEAVY HITTER
I'm a first-time reader of Adrienne Bellamy, but definitely not a last! I had no idea what to expect when I began to read this book, but it far exceeded my expectations. Even though reading "Departures" and "Connecting" was not necessary to follow what was going on in "Arrivals", I can't wait to read them too. I found "Arrivals" to be an easy read; it grabbed my interest and held it throughout the entire book. I wanted to keep on reading to see what would happen next with all of the characters in this book. The only disappointment I experienced was the end of the book - only because I still wanted more!
Terri is by far my favorite character - my God, she knows how to dish out a "payback"! Don't want to say any more for fear of giving anything away - you have to read this book to find out what I'm talking about, and just let me say that you will not be disappointed.
Family man, Horace comes in second for me - definitely my kind of guy (if I was looking for one)! He really knows how to cope with all the issues of parenting and shows off his exceptional skills in a way that really kept me amused, being a mother of 4 and knowing first-hand what predicaments kids can and do get themselves into.
I don't know what to say about Greer except WOW! Just the right touch of erotica for a book of this type - there's always one, isn't there?
I love the six woman “Network”—just great examples of what friends really are!
You'll enjoy reading about all of Adrienne's other characters too. Each one has a very different, interesting, and oftentimes amusing story of his/her own.
(Way to go, A! - Love ya, girl. Can't wait to read the next one!)
Hello Sweetie Adrienne,
I am about half way through the book, Arrivals.
Dealing with my son has slowed me down a little
but I read it on my way out of town this past week.
Reba and the kids are a real treat for me. I can't imagine the
creative juices that went into that one...all bad kids should face
the same music...I laughed my head off...I bet they won't try
that again ...lesson well learned....Now staying with his father
will be another lesson and Mom I know will be coming out on top,
My girl Greer is too hot to handle...can't wait to see what she
does with this new man of hers...her young lover is over the top..
that's what happen when it is too hot to handle...smile...just
about blows your mind...
Our rat man... is he for real?...was this a real person doing this?..
Girl you are something else...how did you come up with him?
Horace is so fine I just want to jump into the page with him. A
man in control, knows how to get things done, that smooth, take
charge, no bull-crap kind of man...glad my character is attached
I like the smarts of the cancer lady...me...smile...she knows what
she is doing and has a great man on her side...
When I am finished I will be sure to write my review......loving
every minute of it...can't wait to read about the big 4 day event.
Haven't read that part yet but it did bring back memories of a 4
day weekend I remember....smile.....tent and all....
Take Care...if you can use any of this please do.....you know what
to do with it to make it worthy of a review...
HERE'S A TEASER CHAPTER
Greer opened her deep brown eyes and looked around her bedroom, a mess of food-covered plates on the carpet and clothing from the night. The radio played church music—unlike the Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, and Johnny Gill that was blasting the night before. She sat up in bed, drew up her knees, and wrapped her arms around her bronzed legs. “Shit,” she sighed, “I’ve got to clean this damn place and get my butt ready for church.” She wondered what time Matthew had left to go home to his wonderful live-in girlfriend Amanda.
Matthew and Greer had been seeing each other for about sixteen months. She was his side thing, and he was her twenty-four-year-old plumber, one of many who kept her sex life intact. Greer was fifty-three and built like a brick shithouse from religiously hitting the gym four days a week. She had a fantastic face, looked like a cover girl. A bi-racial mix Latino and African-American heritage, she was five-foot-ten with naturally curly dark brown hair. Her mouth was structured with a small upper lip and a fuller bottom, as if in a perpetual pout.
A graphic artist for seventeen years at Carnegie Graphics, she was extremely talented, widowed, and childless. Elmer Adams, her poor husband of eighteen years, was on his way to a business meeting in Seattle when the plane experienced mechanical problems and fell out of the sky. Greer was devastated when he died. She joined every bereavement group she could find, did lunches with her girlfriends, traveled, exhausted herself with work, and finally just decided to do something she’d never done in her life—play the field big time.
Once she had made the decision to do the 180 degree turn around thing—the new her—she had her long locks cut off and joined the gym for backup to become absolutely stunning. She bought a new wardrobe with his life insurance proceeds and the settlement with Northwest Airlines. She also purchased a fabulous property—a four bedroom Dutch Colonial that sat on two acres of land in Brookline, a Boston suburb. In keeping with her sexual plans, there were trees that enveloped the gigantic lot, which allowed her to roam about the grounds in the nude—weather permitting.
Greer picked up guys and was armed with condoms at all times. She’d find men everywhere. She frequented the local zoo, supermarkets, amusement parks, and churches. She searched for them in family places, knowing how bored married men became. So Miss Greer would get dressed up to go hunting, slipping her business cards to the husband when the wife wasn’t looking. She preferred married men because there was no commitment, and she didn’t have to worry about them monopolizing her time. With her husband, however, Greer had always been a faithful and doting wife and never once cheated. She baked cookies and brownies, dinner was ready on time every evening, and she was a devoted partner. Elmer adored his wife.
She discovered Matthew at a flower show with his girlfriend Amanda. They looked so cute strolling along, admiring all the wonderful floral arrangements. Greer was damn near stalking them, and they didn’t even realize it. She observed them holding hands, pointing at the flowers and smiling at each other while they conversed about the beauty of the parrot tulips, hibiscus, calla lilies, and other arrangements. Then Greer watched Amanda as she strolled off, leaving an arrangement of orchids as the only thing standing between the hunter and the game. Matthew was six-foot-three and as black as coal. He had a little meat on his bones but was nowhere near fat. He looked like he should be playing pro basketball. His buns resembled cantaloupes, and it was Greer’s desire to squeeze them even though she knew they were ripe. His hair was short—nice and neat. His eyes were deep brown—like coffee—and had a boldness about them, but they spelled the word “sexy” to Greer. He had little lips that reminded her of a heart. She wondered if she could steal his heart or at least make it beat faster than it did with his sweetie. As soon as Amanda was out of sight, Greer approached him, looking him in the eyes. “You’re pretty damn fine and so very attached, I noticed.”
“Oh….hello… Thanks for the compliment,” he stammered. “Yeah, I’m in a relationship. My girlfriend just went to the ladies room.”
“How honest are you, baby?” she asked, looking him up and down seductively.
He blushed, fumbled, put his hands in his back pockets, turned around in a circle slowly, and smiled. “I’m a pretty decent guy.” He nervously scanned the room, scared to death Amanda would walk up on them. He prayed the ladies room was miles away and that his girlfriend would be greeted by a long line of women waiting to pee.
Greer grabbed one of her business cards and placed it in the front pocket of his tight fitting jeans, making sure her hand grazed his penis. “Give me a call if the weather changes between the two of you. I can teach you some things, baby.”
Matthew was shocked, fascinated, embarrassed, and intrigued as he watched Greer immediately switch away, wearing three-inch rust-colored suede boots stopping a hair below the knee. Tucked neatly inside were brown jeans that hugged her ass. She had a tan three-quarter length top that hung across her butt and a brown leather belt with a brass buckle. She topped the outfit off with a cream-colored knit shawl sweater with no sleeves. A leather and brass handbag and gorgeous beige sunglasses perfected the ensemble. She was stunning with her ringlet curls brushed back off her face, showing off a set of tiny diamond earrings.
That entire afternoon, the memory of her 5’10” curvaceous body was implanted in his mind. Seven thirty that night, Amanda was busy baking banana bread when Greer’s phone rang. It was Matthew being a bad boy in his bathroom. He attempted small talk, but Greer responded by commanding “Bring your ass over here” and gave him her address.
In forty-five minutes he was ringing her doorbell. She answered it in a beige lace camisole with matching panties. He was a bit uneasy upon entry. He was not only captivated by Greer, but also in awe of the décor. The foyer had twenty-five-foot crème colored ceilings, and the walls were a shade of burnt orange. The hardwood floors were dark brown with the woodwork edged in gold. An antique walnut and olive green bench table was positioned against the long wall with a jeweled bowl in the middle, containing glistening stones of amber, yellow, and green flanked on each end by photographs of Greer and another attractive woman. A large mirror edged in gold hung on the wall above the table, and underneath was a thick luxurious sheepskin rug. On the other side of the foyer were two small round tables that held fresh flower arrangements in bamboo vases bursting in shades of chocolate, gold, and orange. Exquisite paintings lined the wall of the staircase leading to the second level of the house. In the hall of the second floor was a large bay window, which overlooked the backyard.
She immediately invited him to her bedroom, taking his clammy hand and leading him up the stairs. When they reached the top, Matthew gazed out of the window. The backyard was lit with small flood lights, and he could see there was a glass-enclosed deck fully furnished including plants. He noticed the table was set and figured she planned a meal for the two of them. To the contrary, she never commented on the back of the house, the deck, or dinner. Instead, she gave him a moment to take it all in and then whisked him away. When they reached her bedroom, he excitedly said, “Your home is magnificent. Who’s that girl in the picture downstairs?”
“That’s my sister Peggy, a clothing designer in Philadelphia.” She cut him off there because she didn’t want to give him too much information about her. She seductively strolled over to a small table, flashed a smile, and lifted a bottle of L.Roederer Cristal, which cost $300 a fifth, that was on ice in a shiny cranberry and silver bucket.
She presumed he’d never had such expensive champagne. “Do you want to open this and introduce yourself to Mr. Cristal before I rock your world?” Matthew was then twenty-two years old and, by nature, an accommodating person. He lacked a lot of experience with women and had only been in two relationships. One was with his high school sweetheart, who had a great voice and ended up getting a record deal with United Artist. She had a decision to make between Boston and California and off she went. He let her go because the west coast was too far away from Boston and his family, and he wanted no part of the fast life. Matthew had always been low key, obedient, and kind of quiet.
A few months after the break-up, he met and hooked up with Amanda. He was twenty when they began dating. They’d met one Saturday when he attended a school science fair with his nephew. After five months, she moved in with him. She was two years older than him and taught second grade at a private school in suburban Boston. There were no marriage plans, but they loved each other and had some great times. They liked living together, and Matthew enjoyed playing house. Amanda was enchanted with the colors mint green, yellow, and gray—so their apartment was decorated in those shades, with mint walls and a giant yellow sofa full of pillows. All comfy—just like she wanted their life to be. Their place was sunny, attractive, vibrant, and cute. There was nothing sophisticated about their digs—or her
Greer had taken Matthew totally off-guard. He wasn’t used to women being so forward, and he had never even considered cheating on Amanda. He never had any incentive to do so. Now his mind was racing, and he wanted to know everything about Greer. “Don’t you want to get to know me or at least let me tell you some things about myself?” he asked. Her behavior flattered and intrigued him, but he was a bit leery of her because she was so blunt and aggressive. This woman’s actions proved she definitely possessed a lot of self-confidence and that she was a take charge person. That and her smoothness appealed to him. Greer and Matthew becoming an item and the relationship being a take-it-or-leave-it thing for her actually increased his appetite for her. She let him know it surely wouldn’t be a big deal to her if he wasn’t interested. He also sized her up as being unpredictable, something new and fresh in his life, and she was quite a contrast to Amanda’s personality. She was older than him, and he could tell by talking to her for five minutes—huddled in his bathroom, hiding from Amanda—that she was spontaneous and daring. All those things enticed him to become unfaithful—at least once.
As he waited for her to answer his question, he stared at her, taking in all his thoughts and making considerations. He wondered how old she was but was afraid to ask. She was so unlike his girlfriend. Amanda had reddish brown hair parted down the middle that drifted an inch past her thick shoulders. She had a wide forehead and small eyes, and at five-foot-eight with puffy cheeks and big ass. She could’ve stood to lose thirty pounds. Finally Greer spoke. “There’s no need for that, baby. I’m not planning on doing a background check—the Boston School District has already taken care of that for me. I already know I want you, and I know you have someone. I don’t need to know the details—whatever they are. What about you? Do you need my resume? Will that make you more comfortable? Is that what you’re seeking—comfort?” Her voice was alluring and a tinge sarcastic.
“Well, you see, I’ve never done this before—I mean, I’ve never been approached like this. Why did you choose me?”
“I chose you because you’re pretty damn sexy and cute, you look safe, and I knew you’d be virile. From the looks of you and Amanda, you’ll be no trouble to my lifestyle. And that lifestyle is uncomplicated. I lead a very light and breezy existence, free of anything negative. Is that okay with you? Can you handle this?” She slowly twirled around, presenting herself to him.
He popped the champagne, looked her up and down, and then confidently and coolly answered, “You’re on.”
They shared two glasses of the bubbly while lying across her bed. Then she told him to stand up. She unzipped his black leather pants, removed his penis, and grabbed a condom from the ice bucket. She tore the condom pouch open and placed it between her teeth and lips and looked deep into his eyes. As he stood before her, she got on her knees and placed the tip of his hot throbbing masterpiece between her lips and sensuously inched the rubber over the head of his penis.
Matthew let out a gasp as she continued masterly working the condom down the remainder of his shaft. Greer had no gag response, so she was able to get all eight inches covered to Matthew’s delight. She sucked it for a while and then reached for the bottle of champagne. She rubbed his penis with the ice-cold bottle and then let him take a sip from it. After pouring a little Cristal over the rubber on the base of his blazing penis, she continued to suck him. As he stood, his head was spinning, and his ass was on fire. He was pumping her mouth and salivating. He was still in his clothes when she pushed him onto the pink silk sheets and got on top of him, kneeling to place him inside her. She eased down, letting her legs fall apart, and the motion started. Greer was a marvel at moving her ass side to side and around in circles. She placed her hands under his butt—those juicy melons—cupping them in the palms of her hands to bring him completely inside her. She gazed straight into his eyes as she fucked him.
“Talk to me about your day, baby. Come on, Motherfucker, tell me what you did when you first woke up this morning. Did you fuck your girlfriend before going to the flower show? Tell me all about it, baby. Come on, tell Momma.”
Absorbed in passion, he couldn’t answer.
“Cat got your tongue, baby?” she asked as she sucked his tongue, not allowing him to come up for air.
He tried to answer, but the sensations she was sending through his body caused him to stutter. “I didn’t have sex with Amanda this morning,” he finally said.
She continued to vibrate her ass, transmitting chills through both their bodies.
“I slept late. We didn’t have time.”
“Didn’t have time, huh? she asked. He was silent. Know what, Matthew?” she whispered as she placed his nipple in her mouth and sucked it. He was moaning and threatening to come. She allowed herself to breathe. Alternating between licking his face and locking eyes with him, she said, “I want you to fuck her every morning. That keeps a woman happy—starts her day off right. I want her content so we can continue without any problems. You got that? And each and every time you and I finish our business here, I want you to fuck her when you get home. I don’t want problems—I just want you. It’ll be a simple thing between you and me. We meet, we fuck, and we have some fun. You won’t spend any nights with me, and you won’t upset anything at home. You don’t have to take me out, and you don’t have to check on me. You’re not my man—you’re Amanda’s man. Don’t you get confused. You can do all that couple stuff with her. Everything concerning us happens here, in the privacy of my home—our oasis. This way, all three of us stay happy and satisfied.”
Her legs were stiff as she nestled his penis tightly inside her and rode him. She hissed and wailed. “Now, Matthew, flip me over, baby, I just came!”
He was obedient to her command and pinned her underneath him, arching his ass. He drove himself in as far as he could go and began to stroke her relentlessly until he climaxed. Breathless, he dropped his head upon her breasts.
“You like what you’ve experienced this evening, sweetness?” she asked coyly.
“It was unbelievable.” He began to kiss her ear.
She was aroused, slightly panting, trying not to let him know how turned on she was. “Want more?” she whispered.
He nipped her earlobe, placed his hand between her crotched and gently squeezed her. “All I can get.”
She exhaled and spoke softly, “Well, if you play by the rules we can hook up from time to time.”
Matthew’s concentration was immediately compromised. Her words were unexpected and a bit jolting. Suspicion was settling in. He wondered if she had a husband or live-in boyfriend who was out of town. Maybe she was a kept woman or a hooker. He looked into her eyes and said, “Time to time sounds like you’re pretty busy.”
Even though Greer wanted this latest catch, she didn’t soften. She sternly said, “Correct. Do you still want to play sometime?”
“Do I get to know who else is in the game?”
“No. Just worry about yourself and understand that I won’t hurt you. I always practice safe sex. Remember I said everything is lightweight. You can play or stay away, baby. You’ve just gotten a taste. Let’s take our time enjoying the entire meal.”
His facial expression was nonchalant, but he was utterly captivated by her. “I’m in.” His breath was quick and his eyes sparkled at the thought of future delights. His curiosity was raging. This was his first time with her, and he was certain it could only get better. He was determined he wasn’t going to rock this boat. “I’ll keep things cool at home.”
She responded with a wink and a smile. “Okay. Get up and get your ass out of here. Don’t shower, just wash what’s necessary. Get rid of my address and remember where you came. Don’t be careless or stupid. I don’t want to hear from an upset Amanda. You got that?”
Greer cocked her head back. She had conquered again. A bead of sweat glistened on her forehead. Her eyes were cloudy, and the heat from their bodies made her weak. Though she was tired, Mama waited, though she was certain of what her most recent prey would say after just one time between her legs.
Matthew rolled over and looked at Greer. He then laid his face on her left breast. The tip of his index finger massaged her right nipple. “I got it. When will I hear from you? I mean—how will I know when we’ll meet?”
She smiled as she rose from the bed and took a long swig of champagne. As he dressed, she lay on the bed and watched with her head propped up on the pillows. The sheet loosely draped her breasts and her lower body. With her hands folded behind her neck and her eyes piercing him, she softly gave additional instructions. “Memorize my number at my office and throw my card away. When you call me, inform my secretary, Shira, that you’re Brian Laver, my new electrician. That will get you through to me. Call me on Thursday of next week. Give me a kiss and split.” As he finished preparing to leave, she said, “And, by the way, you’ve been wonderful.”