It’s Valentine’s Day; seven years ago, William McCall lost Linda Woodson—the woman who restored his faith and hope. Still grieving her death, he drowns his sorrows at a local bar in Manhattan, when a new woman enters his life…
Keisha Gray is a Michigan schoolteacher visiting the Big Apple, and when she first meets William, they bond over their shared love for Michael Jackson. Soon they connect over much more and set out on a journey to heal their broken pasts. William is still trying to get over his heartbreak, while Keisha is on a journey to rediscover her self-worth after the double murder of her parents. The couple travels through New York, South Carolina, and Michigan to sort through their pasts and renew their faith in God, life, and love.
Highly emotional and embedded with powerful messages, Unbreakable is a love ballad that explores adversity, human connection, and what it takes to heal a broken heart.
Unbreakable: A Novel
by William Fredrick Cooper
EXCERPT FROM UNBREAKABLE
PICTURE THIS: We’re in Miami, Florida, and the Hit Factory recording studio is rocking a Michael Jackson track produced by hit maker Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. Reeling you in, its piano-driven hook and relentless R&B-meets-gospel sound thumped.
Stomping out negativity and placing perseverance into your soul, the message in the music was blunt: Do not let anything or anyone steal your joy.
The jam, “Unbreakable”, (featuring The Notorious B.I.G. with background vocals by Brandy) was an infectious groove that had everyone in the studio dancing. Everyone, that is, except Author William Fredrick Cooper.
Somber from news he received hours earlier – a disturbing bulletin that likened him to a used car salesman – the melody was muted by tears in his eyes.
After everything that’s happened in his life, he was baffled.
Should he allow cemetery dirt to be thrown on him by way of insults and assumptions, or finally respond after years of quiet?
Imagining that the Gloved One and Biggie Smalls were on the other side of the room, he thought of the advice they might offer.
“Say something, but do it with L-O-V-E,” the King of Pop stated.
Christopher Wallace agreed, sneering, “Let your haters motivate you to spit something sweet.”
Taking a hand towel from his back pocket, the writer blew his nose.
“Man, I made mistakes in life just like anyone else, but people piled onto my errors and took advantage of my honesty. Some of that’s my fault, because I always looked for approval from others instead of relying on my inner strength. Others not used to my deep emotions think I’m a pity-seeking martyr, which is totally off-base.”
Biggie answered, “Tell them where to go, how to get there and make em’ kiss your ass before walking.”
Battling laughter along with everyone in the studio, MJ reiterated his insight.
“That’s not you, William. You have a beautiful heart no one understands. Again, if you say anything do it with love, man.”
Sighing, the perplexed writer said, “I gotta toughen up and remember that they talked about Jesus…”
Suddenly, the light bulb that comes with a breakthrough came on.
Feeling a surge of energy, the novelist identified with what LeBron James might have felt on June 7th, 2012. With his Miami Heat on the brink of elimination -they were down 3 games to 2 in the Eastern Conference Finals – media pundits all around the globe ready to bury him forever, the organization ready to break up his team and everything he worked for hanging in the balance, he realized this was his defining moment in his life, his last chance to man up.
Then with a focused, fearless stare he torched the Celtics and Boston Garden for 45 (points) 15 (rebounds) and 5 (assists).
He’s now a two-time NBA CHAMPION, but that was the night LeBron James became who God created him to be, a King.
“Can I borrow your gift for a tick, MJ? I won’t moonwalk away with it, man,” William persuaded.
Beaming, Michael Jackson knew what was about to happen.
Holding his hand for a tick, he said, “Make it funky!”
The beleaguered author wasn’t done.
“Biggie, I’m gonna need yours, too.”
Clearly perturbed, Hip-Hop’s greatest storyteller on wax had an announcement.
“You better bring it, or there’s gonna be a lot of…”
“Neck wringin’ and fist swingin’, if my words aren’t particularly stingin’… Chill, brother, I got this,” William said.
Begrudgingly, the charcoal-skinned wordsmith stepped to the scribe. Removing his screw-face, he too tapped the three-time author and warned, “C-4 to your door, Coop.”
“Biggie… I get it.”
Stepping to the mic in the sound room, knowing this was an absolute moment of truth, the determined glare in his eyes spoke words his mouth didn’t say.
Heavenly Father, I know this is my last shot. I’ll do my best and leave the end result in Your hands.
Shouting to the mastermind to so many jams for Mary Mary, Toni Braxton, the late Whitney Houston and others, “Rodney,” he screamed.
A booming “Yo,” response came from the control room.
“Can you play the “Unbreakable” instrumental? In my own words I want to let something fly.”
“You got it!”
“And could you play it loud?”
“Punishing loud, Coop?”
“No, pulverizing loud. I want the message to be clear.”
Darkchild, I hope they’re ready for this…
Blowing out the speakers, bluntness with a bangin’ beat returned to the room.
Accompanying the deep rhythm was a man with an edge. Entering a zone that comes with a renewing of mind, perhaps all the gobbledygook – being told he’s ‘an author in title only’ that ‘cries too much’, the “My Space Wag Attack” that nearly shattered his spirit; being called “phony”, “pretentious” and worse names when perceiving his passion for love, life and the empowerment of black literature as arrogance; all the mistakes trusting people with selfish agendas; the “weak,” and “gay” labels by those unfamiliar with Black Male sensitivity; the outlandish investigations and crazy job dismissals because of writing, losing all he owned not once but twice, the failed attempts at love in all the wrong places while letting the right ones get away; all those nights sleeping on office floors daring to dream and in a prostitute/drug infested rooming house after a devastating breakup, all those toilets cleaned fighting to keep his dreams alive; the four life-threatening situations with a knife-wielding man battling demons…
Perhaps all the gobbledygook in that crazy bowl of life led to this. Rising from the ashes, he had a powerful word for all those who counted him out: the runaway train was on new tracks, coming through the station hard. Perfectly fitting this fresh swag, someone turned the flame up on the stove and the silence simmering so long in stainless steel stillness finally boiled over. Bobbing his head, years of restraint was the detonation, and in staccato rhythm he set off an explosion that left everyone in the studio wide-eyed.
( Continued… )
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Unbreakable: A Novel
by William Fredrick Cooper