About the book:

When you are accustomed to the finer things in life like designer shoes, champagne, VIP lounges, exotic holidays abroad, a luxury penthouse, expensive wheels, what independent young woman in her right mind would want to let them go?

Certainly not the beautiful, ambitious and streetsmart Bontle Tau. The girl who's always used her good looks and winning charm to get exactly what she wants. The lifestyle doesn’t come cheap or easily though.

Luckily, Bontle has a degree in MENcology and there is no shortage of blessers at her penthouse door eager to give her all the love and (financial) support she needs. Keeping all her boyfriends happy and living a fabulous life does not come without its challenges.

With so many people clamouring for Bontle’s attention – from her shebeen queen mother Gladys in Mamelodi, who is taking strain bringing up her teenaged brother, Golokile, on her own; to her girlfriends, Iris and Tsholo; not to mention her soon-to-be ex-husband, the ever-patient, ever-loving Ntokozo, Bontle barely has time to post on Instagram these days.

Sooner or later something’s got to give …

This excerpt has been published with permission from Pan Macmillan. The book is also available from all leading book stores.

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Downgrade

Any girl who lives my lifestyle will tell you the worst season of the year for us mistresses is the so-called Festive Season.

Men go off to be with their wives and offspring; friends disappear to a wonderland of family orientated, seven-colour lunches made with love by their mothers in the burbs, the township or rural areas, and the world just dissolves into a fog of merriment and cheer for all but the likes of Yours Truly.

Where will I be at Christmas? How will I spend my New Year’s Eve?

Before I even think about that, I have to be diligent about catching up with my men. It’s two weeks before Christmas so they’re all probably still wrapping up business matters for the year.

I start with Papa Jeff. I send him a long text about missing him and apologise for keeping silent for so long. I ask him to call me when he has time.

I do the same with Teddy, whom I’ve only been communicating with regarding business. Lastly, I send Mr Emmanuel a text, more or less in the same vein.

They all respond fairly quickly.

Papa Jeff wants to meet me for lunch tomorrow; Teddy says he will be in town early in the new year, adding that we have a lot to talk about; and Mr Emmanuel wants a Skype chat.

This is all very good.

I play catch-up with Teddy and Mr Emmanuel over texts and phone calls. I tell them my long sad story. They’re touched by my concern for my younger brother and each says that I should come to them if I need any help.

However, my meeting with Papa Jeff makes me a little nervous. Other than the one text asking to meet, he hasn’t communicated with me at all.

The next day, Papa Jeff and I meet at The Saxon Hotel, our favourite meeting place. I am dressed in a body-hugging white Karen Millen dress, emerald-green stilettos and a matching handbag.

I find him sitting down, looking at the menu. He does not even look up when I walk over to join him at his table. I kiss him on the cheek by way of greeting.

‘Mmmm … I love your perfume. What is it that you’re wearing?’

‘Valentino … it’s luscious, isn’t it?’

‘Mmmm,’ he comments, ‘glad to know that I’m still keeping you in top form. Give me a proper kiss.’

I take his face in both my hands, crouching a bit uncomfortably as I give him a passionate kiss.

‘I love that,’ he whispers.

I sit opposite him and take his hands into mine. ‘I have missed you so, so much. How’ve you been keeping?’

Papa Jeff shakes his head solemnly. ‘Still tough,’ he shrugs, ‘but I have to be a man. I’ll have to find a way out of this mess, one way or the other.’

Oh my! I was hoping he’d already worked his way out of the mess.

Gosh. I can’t stand talking about his issues with the Hawks Investigating Unit. It makes me nervous … I’m worried about how it’s going to impact on my life – my finances!

‘Hmm … babe. I tell you what? Let me get you a drink. Shall I order you a double Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks?’

He smiles. ‘On you?’

I nod. In spite of my own terrible finances, I want him to feel that I’m on his side. ‘Of course. My treat. You deserve it,’ I say as I call the waiter to take our orders.

I ask for a glass of chardonnay. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

I’m making a mental calculation of how much it’ll cost and am already stressed out.

The thought of my bank balance makes me want to throw up. I have to consider this an investment. PapaJeff’s wealth is not going to be quashed by some investigation by the Hawks.

I know he has some money offshore that they cannot even touch.

‘Baby girl, this is a big mess. You won’t believe the number of sleepless nights I’ve had to endure. I have to downsize everything in my lifestyle,’ he says, rather pointedly.
Now I really feel like I’m going to throw up.

‘Babe, do you mind excusing me for a second? I need to go to the ladies.’

‘Sure,’ he nods.

Shit, shit, shit! I can see where this is going. If I were to lose even a cent of my monthly allowance from Papa Jeff, I’d be royally stuffed!

I get to the bathroom and empty all the morning’s breakfast into the toilet bowl. Afterwards, I get up, and make sure that I didn’t mess up my dress.  I had a feeling this meeting was going to turn out this way so I have a small bottle of mouthwash in my bag. I gargle for a good while, and spit it out.

I look at myself in the mirror, reapply my make-up and fix my hair.

I give myself a pep talk. It will all be okay. Things will work out for the best. I keep repeating this mantra until some of my confidence returns.

I go back to face Papa Jeff.

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