Exhale is K. Yvette's emotional sequel to Inhale. It's a story about love, forgiveness, along with life lessons that most can relate to. Naomi and her gang are back with more cautionary tales, more relatable stories, and more understanding. Through all of their storms and all of their setbacks the prevalent message in the story is "I want to be a light. A gentle reminder that you aren't what you been through. No matter if your parents are poor or crackheads, or if the whole world turns their back on you. I want people, mainly women, to know and believe that life is worth living, and it starts with the love that you must give yourself every single day." You'll learn things about these characters as you read, and if you read with an open mind, you'll learn things about yourself as well.
Naomi had only known one love, a love that she fought so vehemently to forget because it almost destroyed her. That was until Logan Whitaker entered her life. "'It's an honor to finally meet you, Ms. Carlton,' he said as he ambled over with one hand tucked in his navy tailored trousers and the other hanging near his waist. She saw the gold watch and a Cartier bracelet encircling his wrist. But it was his cologne that captured her attention and possibly took her breath away. She'd only felt this way one time in her life and with one person. Naomi was speechless. 'I'm Logan Whitaker, but I would like for you to call me... Lo.'" While fighting demons from her past, literally, and figuratively, Naomi throws caution to the wind and embarks on a whirlwind love affair with Lo. But everything that glitters isn't gold. Naomi doesn't know if she's strong enough to battle her own demons and help Lo fight his as well. Life comes at Naomi hard and fast in this book, but with the help of Leedy, the mother figure in her life, and God, Naomi proves to be a force to be reckoned with. "She was who she'd been called to be. She wasn't some shut-off. mean, evil, bitter bitch that he or her publicist tried to make her out to be."
Logan Whitaker was what every woman could want and dream of, on the surface. There's just one catch, Logan is battling a cocaine addiction. "How would you possibly mention to me that you fuckin' do coke. It's kids looking up to you. You are an example to the world and you gone be a fucking pussy and do drugs? That's a weak man's sport!" Logan isn't sure of much in life, but he's for certain Naomi is the one for him. "It was his girl, who at the time was still very new in his life, who kept it real with him. He owed Naomi his life. His career was still his because of her. She cared. She was more concerned with him getting clean that she didn't give a fuck about hurting his feelings. Naomi kept her foot on his neck. She didn't let up, and for that, she was getting his last name and all his babies." The demons that he fought throughout the story show that even if someone starts out on the wrong path, it's their choice to decide to stay there.
And then there's Jermaine. When he walked out of Naomi's life five years ago, he just knew he was abiding by God's will. He's a successful pastor, has a beautiful wife and two adorable children. What more could he ask for? Something in his life was missing and seemingly the answer rested within Naomi. "'I'm acting weird because the only man that I ever loved showed up at my doorstep after five years of being incognito... but if we want to blame it on the edible, then yes, that's why,' she answered bravely." He was a perfectly imperfect pastor, trying his hardest to honor God's will, but he couldn't let go of the lingering feeling of 'what if' when it came to Naomi. Bishop's world must be completely flipped upside down before he can begin to put it back in order. "Naomi, I apologize. Never ever allow any man to treat you like an option. I should've chosen you, and I should've stood up for what we had. It's a decision that I will live with for the rest of my life, but it's not one that I want you to be stuck with. Someone has been praying for a woman like you and it would be a robbery for me to stand in their way."
This story gave me anxiety, made me mad, made me sad, filled me with admiration, gave me joy and left me satisfied in the end. This book was much longer than its predecessor, but with everything going on in the story, I barely noticed. This book made me feel stuff I didn't want to feel. It took me to church, it took me to therapy and it made me yearn for friends I didn't even have. It was filled with gems. It was filled with lessons. It was filled with the word of God. It was like watching a movie that I didn't want to end. I saw myself on some of the pages. I even fell in love with a crackhead. "Was this toxic dick? Or was it the crack dick? She didn't know but she would take ten of them if he were selling the shit." This book was all that I wanted and everything I didn't know I needed. Thank you for this beautiful work of art Nako.