Open Door Marriage
by Naleighna Kai

A chance encounter lands NBA star Dallas Avery back in the arms of the woman of his dreams. A woman he hasn’t seen in years. A woman he soon discovers just so happens to be his fiancée’s aunt!  But Dallas’ fiancee, Tori Mitchell, isn’t ready to give up all that she’s worked for, so she makes him a shocking offer – go through with the wedding and she’ll still allow him to be with the one woman he now can’t seem to do without. Dallas will get a family, something her much older aunt, Alicia can’t give him. Tori will get the lifestyle she clamors. And Alicia  Mitchell will get the love she’s longed for all her life. Everyone will get a little of what they want . . . and maybe a whole lot of what they don’t.

The details of the trio’s love life play out in the tabloids and on talk shows, making Dallas the center of an NBA scandal. And eventually, the doors slam shut on this open marriage and Dallas is forced to make a choice to end the chaos. But moving on is easier than it looks and by the time all is said and done, secrets will be revealed, passions will be extinguished, and everyone’s lives will be forever changed.

“Open Door Marriage is a page-turner from start to finish, uniquely written to explore the emotions of three people who have bonds that seem unbreakable. That is, until they are tested in a relationship that causes their families, religious leaders, and the public to be up in arms. Naleighna Kai has written a provocative novel that is about a relationship that is as complicated as it can get.” Valarie Prince, author of Lair of the Python

“While a few books have tackled this subject in different ways, the way Naleighna Kai approaches a difficult situation is sure to be fuel for heated conversations for years to come. Open Door Marriage proves many things, but mostly that the title of my novel holds true.  —Janice Pernell, author of There’s No Right Way to do a Wrong Thing.

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About Naleighna Kai
Naleighna Kai is the national bestselling author of Every Woman Needs a Wife, with a spin-off titled, The Pleasure’s All Mine and Open Door Marriage. She started writing in December of 1999, independently publishing her first two novels before acquiring a book deal with an imprint of Simon & Schuster and most recently a book deal with Brown Girls Publishing--the offspring of mega-successful national bestselling authors—Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. She is a contributing author to a New York Times Bestseller, an award-winning author, the E. Lynn Harris Author of Distinction, and a noted book club favorite on

Naleighna works for a major international law firm and is the CEO of Macro Marketing & Promotions Group, as well as the marketing consultant to several national bestselling and aspiring writers. She is also the brainchild behind the annual Cavalcade of Authors events which takes place in her hometown of Chicago. Naleighna pens contemporary fiction, erotica, and speculative fiction and is currently working on her next novels: Was it Good For You Too?, Rich Woman's Fetish and Slaves of Heaven.

Find her on the web at  and  Like on Facebook:  or  Follow on Twitter:  Other books by Naleighna Kai:




Excerpt from Chapter 1


NOVEMBER 22—7:23 P.M.


“You slept with my aunt?”

The words still didn’t register, even though this had to be Tori’s fifth time saying them. She glared at her fiancé, still desperately trying to come to terms with the information her mother had blasted to everyone at the packed Thanksgiving dinner table.

“Seriously? How is that even humanly possible when you didn’t know the woman four hours ago?” Tori shouted.

“Tori, l-let me explain,” Dallas stammered.

Twelve pairs of eyes were now focused on the not-quite-blissful couple standing at the bottom of the stairs just off from the dining room.

“But not here. Let’s go somewhere and talk. It’s not what you think.”

“What did you do?” Tori snapped, glaring up at Dallas. “Trip over the sheets, and your penis somehow landed in a woman nearly twice my age?”

The drumstick in Uncle Bill’s hand paused in midair on its journey to his wide mouth. Cousin Tiny’s fleshy hand flew to her overexposed bosom and came to rest somewhere above her heart. Even Tori’s father’s frozen expression of alarm would have been Three Stooges comical if the situation weren’t so tragic.

Aunt Yoli was the first to recover. “Did they just say what I think they said?”

In unison, everyone nodded.

“Girl, shut the front door and run out the back!”

A few bursts of nervous laughter sprang up around the table, but they were not nearly enough to chase away the unease that had flooded the room when Tori stepped into the house. She’d gone to drop off Aunt Rose’s drunk self at home. Tori hadn’t even been in the house good when her mother, Bernice, blurted out that she’d caught Alicia and Dallas together. Alone. In bed. In the nude. Tori had picked up from there and summed it up in one sweep. “You slept with my aunt ...”

“Nothing happened, Tori,” Dallas said, his voice shaky. “I didn’t sleep with her.”

“So, my mama is lying?” Tori asked.

Dallas shifted uneasily.

“Hell naw. I know what I saw,” Bernice snapped. She had moved from the dining room table to the end of the staircase, right next to her daughter, poised as if she was ready to go to battle. “Both of you were in bed butt-ass naked.” She jabbed a finger in her sister-in-law’s direction. Alicia hadn’t moved from her spot at the top of the staircase. Probably, because she knew what was best for her. “She was butt-naked. And he was nut-naked,” Bernice yelled. “Wasn’t an inch of space between them.” She flickered a gaze a Dallas. “Look at him. You can tell he just got dressed!”

Tori closed her eyes and took deep breaths to calm the emotions that warred within her.

“See, I told you Alicia wasn’t worth a damn,” Bernice, crowed with savage satisfaction. “And looks like Mr. NBA ain’t much better. You thought he was all that and a side order of fries.”

Dallas Avery was the NBA’s most valuable player, and a man most women would give their right and left ovary to call their own. But Most Eligible Bachelor or not, he had set Tori’s bitch meter into overdrive. Even with his chiseled, handsome face, towering muscular frame and million dollar bank accounts, he was now worth next to nothing in her eyes. Too bad her aching heart didn’t get that memo.

Tori didn’t know if she was more enraged or hurt that her mother had been all too willing to drive this stake through her own daughter’s heart in order to publicly disgrace Alicia.

“Tori, we need to talk about this,” Dallas repeated before adding, “in private.”

Bernice wore a satisfied smirk as she glared openly up at Alicia, who just kept staring stoically at them from the second floor landing. “The angel of the family has fallen,” Bernice said.

“Hey, Bernice,” Bill taunted with a hearty chuckle. “Bet you won’t say that when Alicia comes downstairs. You know she’s gonna put a hurting on you.”

“You mean put another hurting on her,” Aunt Yoli added, doubling over with laughter.

Tori wanted to scream. Her life was unraveling in front of her and her family was cracking jokes.

Instinctively, Bernice inched away from the staircase and back toward the dining room table. Her hands went up to the small scar on her neck, probably remembering that a year ago on this very same holiday, Alicia had ended a vicious blow-for-blow fight with a knife at Bernice’s throat. Almost gave the woman a “Sicilian Smile”—an ear-to-ear slice across the throat.

Dallas reached for Tori’s hand. “It’s not what it seems.”

She snatched away, parted her lips to give him what was left of her mind, but Cousin Tiny chimed in first. “Alicia had every right to take Bernice to the floor last year for that foul mess she said! I would’ve pulled out my own can of whoop ass behind that one.”

Tiny’s husband, Thomas nodded his watermelon-sized head.

The rest of the family finally sprang to life, also chiming in at once to defend Alicia, the one woman everyone could count on in a time of need, to lend an ear when it was called for and to dry a tear when no one else bothered to care. That she would do something as low as sleep with her niece’s soon-to-be husband was unthinkable. So the family sidestepped that issue for as long as they could, finding it more comfortable to speak on the reason no one had expected Alicia home for Thanksgiving—especially since none of them had heard from her for an entire year.

Dallas maneuvered so he was in front of Tori. “Nothing. Happened.”

“If Bernice had said that bull to me,” Bill responded, still trying to tackle the last of the drumstick, “an ass whipping would’ve been the least of her problems.” He beckoned toward the last slice of sweet potato pie at the other end of the table. “That has my name written all over it.”

“Bernice is lying,” Martha said. “Alicia’s still got looks and all, but that young stud wouldn’t pick her over Tori.” She shot an appreciative glance toward Dallas, then leaned to her right and whispered loudly in Yoli’s direction, “But, girl, he is finer than frog’s hair.”

Yoli gave him a lusty once-over. “I’d give him some my damn self. He’s the type of man who can make a woman put a for sale sign on one thigh and an open for business sign on the other. Yes, Lawd!”

Tori tried her best to tune out her family. She didn’t have the stamina to deal with them right now. “How could you do this? You’re my fiancé.”

“You’re Tori’s fiancée?” Alicia finally spoke out. She eased down the stairs, looking first to Tori then to Dallas. Her panic-stricken expression gave Tori pause. Could her aunt really have not known?

Alicia turned back to her niece. “Oh, my, God, Tori. I had no idea. I’m so, so sorry.” She didn’t give Tori time to reply as she brushed past Dallas, slipped into the nearest pair of shoes—her brother’s—and ran out of the front door, oblivious to the fact that she barely had on enough clothing to protect her from the chill in the room, let alone the sub-zero temps of a Chicago winter.

The whole crowd gasped in disbelief as Dallas grabbed his leather coat from the foyer closet. “She can’t go out there with nothing on,” he said as he stepped into his Timberlands. “I’ll be right back.”

Tori was ready to spit fire. “Are you kidding me?” she screamed as he quickly laced up his shoes, then darted toward the door. “You’re going after my aunt? My aunt!” she yelled, following him. “My heart is bleeding all over the carpet and you’re going after her!”

The front door slammed and Tori stood frozen, unable to believe what happened in the last ten minutes. Bernice’s voice snapped Tori out of her trance. “Girl, I taught you better than that,” Bernice yelled, gesturing to the door. “You’d better go get your man!”

( Continued... )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Naleighna Kai.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.

Purchase Open Door Marriage by Naleighna Kai
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Available in Print and on eReaders: Nook and Kindle
Primary Topics: Open Marriage, May-December Romance and Polyamorous relationships



Intimate Conversation with Naleighna Kai

Naleighna Kai is the national bestselling author of Every Woman Needs a Wife, with a spin-off titled, The Pleasure’s All Mine and Open Door Marriage.  Naleighna is also the brainchild behind the annual Cavalcade of Authors events which takes place in her hometown of Chicago.

BPM:   I see you on Facebook alot! You are going through quite a transformation. The weight loss looks good on you!  You seem to be changing attitude too, what are you working on now?
I'm working on me. Loving myself more. Treating myself right. With that, the excess pounds are coming off and it's attracting the right people in my life. I'm working on sharing the messages in Open Door Marriage with women who should know they too have options.
BPM:   Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  Why?
My ideas come from “what if?” Like for Every Woman Needs a Wife, my question was, “what if I caught my husband cheating?” Well, most men think there’s only two options that they’ve given their wives: leave or stay.  Well, I put a third option on the table.  Stay, and bring the mistress home to earn her keep the honest way: on her feet helping the wife, instead of on her back servicing the husband.  Infidelity has been done to death, but that’s what made the novel unique. In Open Door Marriage, I wanted to explore the concept in a different way than the one that I knew of in real life. What if the man did have money and actually could afford to support more than one woman.  Would it work? That’s what drove me to write the novel.

BPM:   How did it feel to be writing the FIRST book to be launched by a new publishing house?  Were you nervous, even though you have your own books published?
Okay, there's a package waiting on me from at my mailbox. It's a copy of Open Door Marriage! As I was picking it up on the way home and I swear to you, my heart was racing.  Hell, I wanted to see what everyone's so excited about. LOL.  I will say this. I've been writing since December of 1999, kind of fumbled into the process on a serious learning curve. I've been through a few editors and they've toned up my work nicely. But I will admit right here and now, that Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley, has helped to take my writing to a whole new level. THIS is what I've been waiting for--the type of mentoring that makes a novel that "can't put down" kind of writing. That something that makes people stay up all night to read. I was in love with the concept, but now I'm in love with the novel itself. I can't thank them enough for taking me to the next level.

BPM:   You are known for addressing those "taboo" subjects that society dances around.  Why do you write about those often times, hard-to-handle subjects?
As an author, knowing readers get my "hard to handle subjects in books" is wonderful feedback. When I first started writing, my characters experienced much of the very same things that I had experienced in real life--and I will only say that it was harsh and violent. Those characters walked through my pain and truthfully, I wouldn't change what I wrote back then, because writing about it helped me to begin the processing of healing, and later I found that it brought healing for some others too. But the process of recovering/healing has moved forward to a point that in my latest novel, Open Door Marriage only has a "reference" to something happening to one of the characters in the novel.

I have to say the change has come because not only has the Creator allowed those wounds to close over, I equally feel no pain when I recount the incidents to anyone--so I don't have as much of a need to put it in print--unless the story really warrants it. I think, when a lot of Black women began to write their stories, so many of us had experienced rape and molestation on a soul-damaging level, that the novels all seemed to have that same "theme" for character backgrounds.

Then, there wasn't any of a filter in the process because someone was finally able to "hear" our pain--in words, in print. It was my son, J.L. Woodson, who was fifteen at the time when he read my novel: She Touched My Soul, who told me, "Mom, you take the reader so low, that they can't get back up again." And it was my son who started me to understanding that I should filter my life experiences that I put in print.  It is the fact that I am both healed AND still healing that I can write novels with some degree of depth and show the power of survival and of being a woman who is living and loving her purpose. I wouldn't trade that for all of the world.

BPM:   Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book?
Open Door Marriage, is the first contemporary fiction work to launch mega-powerhouse publisher, Brown Girls Publishing created by national bestselling authors, Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley.  The story centers around three people caught up in an all too familiar triangle. When the love of Dallas Avery’s life disappeared, she resurfaces years later at the most inopportune time. Oh, he still loves Alicia Mitchell, an older woman who captured his heart, but it’s unfortunate that he’s now engaged to a woman he learns—is her niece. When his fiancée, Tori, lays a proposition on the table, it seems that everyone will get a little of what they want, but maybe a whole lot of what they don’t. The stage is set for them to learn one valuable lesson: There’s no right way to do a wrong thing.

BPM:   What topics are primarily discussed?  Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
The reasons why women would choose to be in an open marriage.  I learned plenty, mostly that I need to mind my own business!!!  I learned not to judge what three grown adults decide to do--as long as it doesn’t come spilling over in my life--if it’s floating your boat, keep rowing in that ocean.  


BPM:   What drove you to sit down and actually start writing your latest book? Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
I’ve had a ring-side seat to an Open Marriage that had, what I felt at that time, to be a horrible beginning and a painful middle. I can’t say end, because as far as I know, it’s still going on. I got off that merry-go-round of pain and grew up enough to realize that the w

I love catchy titles, but I love writing about complicated relationships even more.  But why would I write this type of novel? What influenced me to explore the outcome of three unlikely people entering into an open relationship such as the one in this novel? Because I’ve had a front seat to one that—in my honest opinion—was the most painful intimate relationship that I had ever witnessed in my life. The only person who seemed to benefit was the man—who was not the primary breadwinner.

Actually I never saw him slide in a crumb. The women brought home the bacon, the eggs, the grits, and even the plates, utensils and everything else that landed on the table. It took nearly two decades for me to wise up and realize one basic thing: these folks are grown and you need to mind your business. The women chose to stay for whatever reason, regardless of his inability to maintain them financially; regardless of how unhappy they seemed or how unfair I thought it was.

When I stopped seeing the legal wife as the “victim” in all of this, it drastically changed, not only how I perceived her, but also our friendship. Not that I didn’t love her, but when I exercised my right to say “no” it was clear that she hadn’t learned that declaration. But what I also learned about myself is: no matter how much I love someone else, I will always love myself more. Hence, I no longer put band-aids on self-inflicted relationship wounds. Am I saying that Open Marriages can’t work? Absolutely not! What I’m saying is, that it should be something that is fair to everyone involved. If you like it, I love it. If you don’t like, then pack your bags, pull up stakes and make another choice. A choice that’s fair to you. Bottom line.

BPM:   Share with us what the readers are saying about such drama and conflicit surrounding open marriages.
Here is a recent review from a FB fan:  "I am Team Alicia forever. This book is more complex than three people engaged in a love triangle. It is about choices, family influences whether positive or negative, secrets and distortions of truth. I loved it from the first scene to the finale. All three characters Dallas, Alicia, and Tori engage in a charade that provides the reader with glimpses of love, pain, silliness, and a whole lot of drama. None of them are exempt from the myriad ways they go about proving their love for the others. A couple of great subplots rounds out a great read. If you'd wanted to know how an open relationship works, this is your book. Loved it!" -- Joyce Brown

Here is another one talking about Tori, the younger woman:   "I loved the story of Tori, Dallas and Alicia. I'm Team Alicia for sure. Isn't it amazing how one may grow up looking a these types of relationships but never quite understanding the inner workings or dynamics. Tori, Tori, Tori what were you thinking? I really liked her character at first, but as the story went on I wanted to shake he like a dish rag. However you'll have to read the book to find out why.loved it and highly recommend it to others." -- Cassandra Baker-Durham

BPM:  What would you like for readers to take away from your writing?
I want them to be taken on an emotional journey. I want them to identify with the characters or even understand their reasoning or motivation.  They might not make the same choices in real life, but I want them to put themselves in the character’s mindset.  An overall theme in most of my novels, are healing and forgiveness.  That too, is something I want them to have a sense of when they read my work.

BPM:  How do you deal with bookclubs or readers who may not fully understand the storyline or message in your books?
Personally, as an author, I LOVE positive reviews, but I can't discount that negative reviews that give pointers HELP as well. Ones that purely criticize doesn't give me cues for improvement. I read each and every review for my novels, and when someone does not like my novel, I look to see the reviews of ones they actually like.

Now, if what they rave about is in a totally different genre than what I write, than I take it with a grain of salt. But if it is, I re-read and see if there are some elements of my work that can be improved. Case in point, while there were tons of positive reviews, one reader wrote about Every Woman Needs a Wife: the book was damn good, but the prose was a little painful. Well damn, that hurt. But what he meant is that I'm wordy and that particular story was slow. So I worked on that.

Another thing I found with Every Woman Needs a Wife is that most people went into it with one idea of what would happen between the wife and the mistress, and that's NOT what happened, because I thought it would take away from the story. People were UPSET. Everything is subjective, and everyone is not going to like what's written, but when saying that you don't like it, please, please, please, give clues as to what would have made it a better read for you. Some authors really grow from that. I am one of them. I do learn from ALL feedback and there's been enough positive ones to keep my ego intact.

BPM:  What are your ambitions for your writing career after four books?
In the beginning it was national bestselling author. I achieved that.  But I found it amazing that I could practice writing those words--national bestselling author--but I couldn’t write New York Times bestselling author until just recently.  My mind couldn’t wrap around that and see that level of success.  But what had happened was (don’t you love sentences that start that way?), I finally grew up last November and stopped giving my energy to people who were taking, taking and taking and didn’t realize I was giving.  THAT’S when all the good things started lining up.  And that’s when this new book deal landed on my plate.  So now I’m seeing New York Times bestselling author.  I would also like to see Pulitzer prize for Slaves of Heaven when it releases.

BPM:  Do you set out to educate or inspire your readers? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject?
My goal as a writer is to evolve.  I didn’t grow up and say that I wanted to be an author. I kind of fell into it and it was something I do well.  I want to keep learning the craft from people who are much better at it than I am (such as Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley who are mentoring me at this point because I’m now under their publishing umbrella).  In that way, I give readers a polished work that has been through their standards of writing honed by years of being edited by a major publishing house.  Every book I write, I do look for it to be entertaining, but also that the reader can take away some life lesson as well.  And it is my hope that my journey from being a self-published author to an author who has landed not only one deal, but yet another with a mega-powerhouse publisher, that it will inspire those who have a story to tell to quit sitting on it and take that chance.

BPM:   What defines success for you, as a published author?
Once, a reader was so moved by my work that she came to Chicago to meet now only me, but the minister/sexual abuse counselor that was mentioned in the book.  It sparked her own healing.  We’ve been good friends to this day.  Success has not been monetary before now, but more spiritual in the opportunities that it has given me to heal; and the wonderful readers and fellow authors I have met along the way.  Each person is another brick on my road to releasing pain, anger, and onto healing and forgiveness; because in sharing my stories, they share some connection with me.   Now, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love to be writing at a level where I can just do that for a living, but when the money is put aside, what else is there?  The people. The experience.  The sharing.  The healing. That has been very important to me.

BPM:   Where do you see publishing going in the future? In your opinion, will ebooks continue to reign?
I’m a die-hard trade paperback woman. But there were two books that made me give in because I didn’t want to wait for them to come via snail or hell mail.  I think readers have a problem now that wasn’t around fifteen years ago--they’ve run out of space!! E-books make a lot of sense.  But for me, I still buy it in trade paperback if it’s a book that I’ll read a second or third time.  With so many authors flooding the market and readers soaking up good books like they’re biscuits and gravy, yes e-books sales will continue to climb.  

BPM:   What can expect from you in the future?  How can readers discover more about you and you work? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
Brown Girls Publishing has picked up some of my other novels. I’m excited to see what will happen with those as they did a phenomenal job with Open Door Marriage.  From here on out I believe I’ll be releasing at least two books per year.  Readers can connect with me on or on FaceBook and Twitter.  The novel is available in all digital formats and in trade paperback as well. I have sample chapters of all of my work on the website.  

BPM:  Finish this sentence - “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors... ”
“My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors in that I have used writing as a medium for healing from child abuse and sexual abuse and it, in turned, has helped me to forgive those who have harmed me.  It has given me the opportunity to connect with those who also need the kind of healing that I desired, and that they, in some way, can see themselves in my characters, or if they can look at my life and say, “I don’t have to carry the weight of what someone else did to me all of my life. I too, can be free. Yes, I deserve to be free.”


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