Johnni Sherri gave urban fiction readers her beloved Heartbreak U series in 2019. The characters were so lovable and entertaining, making readers want more of them. In 2021 Johnni gave us the first book in the spin-off series, There's Always Hope. In this book we are reintroduced to a character from her Loving a Borrego Brother series, Damien. Damien, like the characters from the Heartbreak U series, is introduced to readers as a young adult. "Looking over at my baby brother Damien or Dame as we called him, I couldn't do anything but shake my head as he sat up to surf through the channels. He was still in high school, yet his hard-headed ass just had to come to Atlanta for the party last night." He's charming, charismatic, and somewhat of a player. "Damien was that guy. He was brown skinned, 6'3" and kept a clean cut with coal black wavy hair. The thin layer of hair above his upper lip was always neatly trimmed and his body was that of a true athlete, lean but muscular. Damien also had the most beautiful set of straight white teeth. It was like he was fully aware of it too because he was known for always laughing and smiling."
In the Borrego Brother series, his character is maneuvering his way into adulthood, learning how to let go of his player ways and settle down into a relationship. "Yes, I said in love Damien! Here she is thinking that you're her boyfriend and you were holding hands with someone else. And then you tell her that y'all never had a commitment so she shouldn't even be mad." His relationship with Raina started off rocky and evolved into something enviable. "When he reached up to pull the shirt over his head I noticed that he had gotten a new tattoo on his rib cage. In black cursive writing it read 'Dame and Beautiful.'" The fact that his brothers are in relationships with Raina's sisters seem to make his transition into being a faithful man a bit easier. When the Borrego Brother's series ends, readers are left assuming that Damien and Raina will have their happily ever after. "Over the past few years, Dame had truly made me happy We weren't married or even engaged for that matter because I was only twenty-one years old and in my las year of college. He had just started working for his father and I was putting together a business plan to start my own majorette style dace company." That is until we get to There's Always Hope.
Five years later, Damien appears again. All grown up, still charismatic and even more handsome. "In slightly better lighting, I took in more of his features. He had beautiful brown eyes in the midst of fudge colored skin, and the deep waves on his head made a smooth transition into his well-groomed beard. And his smile... God, he had this killer site. Like those ones that made you just stare and wonder if their teeth were even real." Working as the CFO of Borrego International, he's in Baltimore heading up one of the biggest jobs in his young career and runs into the illustrious Hope. Him and Raina have gone their separate ways, and he's looking to heal from the heartbreak with another wounded soul. "Honestly, I try not to think about it. When my brother first told me she brought some dude over to the house, I was pissed. Jealous, like I still had some type of claim to shawty, but then I had to remember how I felt when she told me no. I got down on one knee in front of my family and hers, and she straight up told me no. Said she didn't know if she ever wanted to be married. No kids, nothing." In a less complicated world, Damien and Hope would have healed each other, forcing Johnni to create new spin-off babies for everybody interested. But nothing is ever that simple in the fiction world.
Johnni gave readers the ultimate plot twist, creating drama that would leave any reader with their mouth agape. She took Damien and made him Hope's baby father's brother (I worded it like that so it would have the ghetto shock effect it deserves). "'I said...' She drew in a deep breath and took a hard swallow. 'You can't kill him because he's your brother.'" Crushing all hope of Damien and Hope riding off into the sunset and living happily ever after. I was just as sick as Hope with that revelation. But all was not lost. The drama pushed Damien back into the arms of Raina, giving us hope that Johnni will revisit the Borrego Brothers, along with the Brimmage sisters, and who could be mad about that. "Damien just got engaged to his high school sweetheart, He's not interested in Hope that way." Whether it's in a Borrego Brother spin-off or the next installment of the Heartbreak series, I'll be ready and waiting.