Friday, 22 May 2015

FOR YOUR LOVE by Beverly Jenkins

For Your Love
Blessings # 6
By: Beverly Jenkins
Releasing April 28th, 2015
William Morrow

NAACP nominee and bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns to Henry Adams, Kansas-an unforgettable place that anyone would want to call home-with a story of family, friends, and the powerful forces from our past that can irrevocably shape our future.

Mayor Trent July and his wife Lily are enjoying life as newlyweds and embracing the challenges and joys that come with being adoptive parents to two wonderful boys. But being a father has inevitably forced him to think about his own birth mother. Raised by his grandmother Tamar—and in many ways the good people of Henry Adams—Trent was blessed with a childhood full of love.

But now he can’t help wondering what happened to the scared teenage girl who gave birth to him. And questions that he’s never voiced are now begging to be answered: Who was she? Is she still alive? Why didn’t she want him?

Trent has always believed no good comes from dwelling on the past, especially when you have a loving family, a strong community, and folks who depend on him. But when the past comes to Henry Adams, Trent has no choice but to face it—and the woman who left him behind. The truth will shake his very being and everything he thought he knew about life, love, and the bonds that hold families together…yet can also tear them apart.

Buy Links:  Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

Author Info

Ms. Jenkins is the nation's premier writer of African American historical romance fiction and specializes in 19th century African American life. She has over thirty published novels to date.
She has received numerous awards, including: five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards; two Career Achievement Awards and a Pioneer Award from Romantic Times Magazine; a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer's Guild, and in 1999 was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th Century by AABLC, the nation's largest on-line African-American book club.
She has also been featured in many national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Dallas Morning News and Vibe Magazine. She has lectured and given talks at such prestigious universities as Oberlin University, the University of Illinois, and Princeton. She speaks widely on both romance and 19th century African-American history and was the 2014 featured speaker for the W.W. Law Lecture Series sponsored by the Savannah Black Heritage Festival.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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Excerpt (Please use the ASSIGNED excerpt)
Excerpt #1 (Born to Read Books, Erotic Romance News, Underneath the Covers, Crystal Blogs Books)
Rita Lynn Babcock had a good life. At the age of sixty two she had no health issues, her husband Paul, a cardiac surgeon, still loved her madly, and their daughter, Val was founding partner of an eponymous law firm. Rita was thankful for her blessings but at the moment, her heart was heavy. Two days ago, she’d buried her mother, Ida Merchant.  Except for an indiscretion Rita committed at the age of seventeen, they’d never shared a cross word. Now, Rita Lynn and Paul were meeting with their lawyer in his office to discuss Ida’s will.
“Please, have a seat.”
The lawyer, Dexter West was an old college friend of Paul’s and he took a moment to look through the stack of papers before him as if to make sure all was in order. The estate wasn’t large. Ida hadn’t been wealthy by any means but she’d been well loved and until her stroke eighteen months ago,  maintained her own home and finances.  
With Dexter’s guidance, Rita and Paul made the final arrangements for Ida’s earthly possessions, from her house to the ten year old, sky blue Toyota she’d lovingly called Gladys. Her extensive cache of African American history books was donated to the local library, and all the money left in her bank account after her bills were paid would be going to True Saints AME, the church she’d worshipped in and loved for over a half –century. As executrix, Rita affixed her signature to each document Dexter slid her way, and when they were all done, she put her finger tips to the corners of her teary eyes to staunch the flow.
Paul gave her shoulder a tender squeeze and said softly, “It’s okay, babe.” Five years ago, they’d buried his beloved mom, so he understood her grief.  
“There’s one more thing,” Dexter said gently. He handed her a sealed envelope. “Your mother gave this to me a few years back.  She asked me to hold onto it until her passing.”
Rita paused. “What is it?”
“You should read it.”
His face told her nothing but she had a strong sense of foreboding. She looked to Paul and received a reassuring nod. The letter was one page and penned in her mother’s strong handwriting.  She read the beginning silently but by the mid –point her eyes widened and she whispered in a shocked and broken voice, “No!” The further she read the louder her, “No!” echoed until she was screaming the denial again and again from the depths of her broken heart.

Excerpt #2 (Romancing the Readers, Those Crazy Book Chicks, I am, Indeed, Toots Book Reviews)
Hearing the high pitched peals of female laughter coming from inside the new addition he’d built for his wife, Lily, Trent July smiled. She and the ladies of the Henry Adams Auxiliary were celebrating the room’s grand opening. He’d been promising her her own space for some time. Being the only female in the family, she needed someplace to escape all the testosterone  generated by him and their sons - fourteen year old Amari and twelve year old Devon. He was glad she was enjoying it.
“They’re having way too much fun in there,” Amari announced entering the living room and dropping down onto the couch beside Trent watching the NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the home team Kansas City Chiefs.
Trent chuckled softly. “Yes, they are.”  
Trent loved his oldest son. He’d come to him as an 11 year old foster child - a pint sized car thief extraordinaire, filled with swag, street smarts and a talent for asking a million questions. Since finalizing his adoption two years ago, Trent watched Amari grow into an exceptional young man. Yes, there’d been incidences when Trent had to lay down the law, like the time Amari and his friends were caught surfing the internet in places they had no business being, but such was the life of a parent. All in all, Amari July was a good kid with a big heart. “What’s your brother doing?”
Amari shrugged.
As if cued, Devon entered. “Dad, can I go in and see what Mom’s doing?”
“No, sorry.”
“Why not?”
Trent loved Devon too, but the boy was at that trying stage between child and teen.  “Because you weren’t invited.”
“It’ll just be for a minute. I have something I want to ask her.”
“No, Dev, but you’re welcome to ask me. What’s the question?”  Trent assumed Devon wanted to be nosey, but he was willing to give his son the benefit of the doubt.
“Um, I wanted to know what we’re having for dinner.”
Amari sighed and shook his head at his brother’s grasping at straws answer but Trent kept his voice kind. “The three of us are going to the Dog for dinner.”  The Dog – real name, the Dog and Cow –was the local diner owned by his father Malachi July, and the social hub of the community. “Do you want to watch the game with us until then?”
Devon quietly turned down the offer. “No thank you. I’ll just go back to my room.”
“Okay. I’ll call you when we’re ready to go.”  
He nodded and left them.
Watching him exit, Amari drawled, “I still think we should trade him for a draft pick.”
The two boys were sometimes like oil and water, but even when things got hairy, Amari put up with his younger brother because Amari was all about family. Before Trent and Lily married last year, Devon had been her foster son. Back then, all Devon wanted in life was to be the town preacher. The reality of being nine years old made him reset that goal, and now he was having difficulty just being a kid. His new mission in life seemed to be getting on everyone’s last nerve though. Even Zoey Garland, Devon’s former BFF had grown so tired of his behavior she’d given him two serious beat downs recently just to make her point. Reverend Paula, the town’s priest and certified Child Psychologist, was meeting with him a few days a week to help him  work out his issues. Trent and Lily remained hopeful. Even though he’d been spoiled rotten by his maternal grandmother, Devon was loving, talented and charismatic.
“Do you ever think about your mom, Dad?”
The question caught him off guard but Trent answered truthfully, “Every now and then.” Trent’s parents had been teens when he was conceived and according to what he’d been told by Malachi, her family moved away once the pregnancy became known. After Trent’s birth, his maternal grandmother brought him back to town, handed him over to his paternal grandmother Tamar like someone returning shoes to a store, and promptly drove away. The Julys hadn’t heard a word from them since. “Have you been thinking about yours?”
“Yeah. After Brain’s bio mom came for Thanksgiving, they’ve been emailing each other every day. Hard not to be jealous when mine wants nothing to do with me.”
Preston “Brain” Payne was Amari’s BFF and another of the adopted kids in the small town of Henry Adams, Kansas. Preston’s biological mother, famous NASA scientist Dr. Margaret Wenthworth visited him and his adoptive parents, Barrett and Sheila Payne for the first time during the holidays. As a result, Brain was on Cloud Nine. In contrast, Amari’s biological mother had made it clear she wanted no contact with her son and her adamant stance weighed heavily on the boy’s gawky teen age shoulders. Considering Trent’s own situation, it was a weight they shared. “Maybe she’ll change her mind, but in the meantime, all you can do is go on with your life.” Just as he’d done, even though to this day he wondered why his mother had never sent him so much as a postcard.
On the TV the Colts quarterback threw a fifty yard pass to the end zone to score on the home team Chiefs. The disappointment caused Trent and Amari to shake their heads sadly.   
As the Colts celebrated, Amari said, “I know you’re right Dad, but it’s really hard. I don’t want to make it sound like I don’t appreciate Ms. Lily as my mom. I mean, she’s the kind I used to dream about in foster care – but, … .”
“You’d like ties to your bio mom.”
“Yeah, I would.”
“Understandable. I feel the same way.”
“Deep down inside, I’m really happy for Brain, but it’s still rough.”  Amari glanced over. “You’re an awesome dad, by the way.”
Trent smiled.
The Chiefs fumbled the kickoff and Amari cracked,  “Too bad we don’t have an awesome NFL team.”
“Keeping hope alive for the second half.”
“Yeah, right.”

Excerpt #3 (View from the Birdhouse, Brooke Blogs, Lush Book Reviews)
It was the first week of December. Four inches of snow had fallen overnight and according to the dashboard gauge on Trent’s truck, the temperature outside was a balmy fifteen degrees. Driving down Henry Adams’ main street to the Dog, not even the winter weather kept him from marveling at the changes to the landscape brought about by the largesse of town owner, Bernadine Brown. The open stretches of land that were once strewn with the crumbling remains of Henry Adams’ 19th century past now held a new recreation center, school and church. The old dirt roads were paved. Asphalt parking lots had been added along with cement sidewalks and towering solar street lights. Other improvements were in the planning stages and he couldn’t be more pleased by the towns rebirth. His family had been residents since the 19th century and over the years had seen it rise to become a model for African American communities nationwide, but by the 21st century due, it fell so low, he as mayor was forced to offer it for sale on eBay. That’s when Bernadine Brown, armed with a multi-million dollar divorce settlement, rode to the rescue like a one woman battalion of the famed Tenth Cavalry. She’d even footed the bill for re-habbing the Dog, turning what was once a well-loved but dilapidated eyesore into a glistening eatery complete with brand new red leather booths, smooth topped tables, a state of the art kitchen, and wi-fi.
Inside, old school music played on the fancy red jukebox, as always. The mounted flat screens TVs were tuned to the day’s football games, and the interior was filled with the familiar faces of those he’d grown up with: Rochelle “Rocky” Dancer, the diner’s manager and Henry Adams’ resident bombshell; Clay Dobbs, his god father and his dad’s best friend, and Bing Shepard the crusty old WW2 vet, now living with Clay after the death of his wife. Both men played a significant role in Trent’s life growing up.   
His dad, Malachi walked over to greet them. “Well if it isn’t my favorite son and grandsons.”
“We’re your only son and grandsons,” Trent countered, which made the boys grin. Father and son ribbed each other constantly, a testament to their strong bond.
“You over educated engineers always have to point out the obvious,” Mal groused. “Go on and get a seat. Your booth in the back’s waiting on you.”  
After pausing a few times to speak to friends, Trent and his sons took seats in their favorite booth. Crystal Chambers Brown, Bernadine’s seventeen year old daughter and the resident big sister of the town’s kids came over to take their order. “Hey, guys. Your usual burgers and fries?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Trent told her. While she wrote down the order he asked, “When are your friends coming from Dallas?”
“Tomorrow morning. Mom’s going to let me miss school so I can ride with her to the airport. I’m so excited.”
“I’m looking forward to meeting them. Hope they’ll like living here.”
“What’s not to like?” she asked. “We live in the middle of nowhere – no fast food – no clubs, no real music on the radio. It’s paradise.” She left them to go and put their orders in.
Trent looked to Amari. “Was she being sarcastic?”
The boy shrugged. “Who knows? With her it’s hard to tell but I do know that after running away and having to come back to paradise after only a few days with her tail between her legs, she figured out Dorothy got it right: There’s no place like home.”
Trent concurred. After earning his Master’s degree in Engineering from Stanford, he’d taken a job with a multi-national architectural firm in LA and for ten years immersed himself in big city living. Eventually, wearied by the break neck pace, the sometimes cut throat nature of the people, and two failed marriages, he’d returned, never to leave again.  He glanced Devon’s way and saw him staring across the room at his former best friend Zoey sitting with her dad, town pediatrician Reginald Garland and eleven year old Wyatt Dahl. Wyatt and his grandmother Gemma were the town’s newest residents and he and Zoey had become inseparable in the short time since the Dahl’s arrival. Everyone in town was well aware of Devon’s long running feud with Miss Miami as Zoey was affectionately called, and although Devon wouldn’t admit it, Trent knew he missed calling her friend. “You want to go over and say hi to Zoey and Wyatt?”
“No,” Devon replied as if Trent had just asked him to drink motor oil.  
Amari shook his head but kept his opinion on the matter to himself.
Trent didn’t press, but the irritation in Devon’s eye was mixed with unspoken longing and a deep sadness. Later in the week, they’d be meeting as a family with Reverend Paula. He hoped the rift with Zoey would be one of the subjects on the agenda.
A short while later, Crystal returned with their meals. Devon said grace and hey dug in.

Excerpt #4 (Monlatable Book Reviews, The Reading Addict, Ellesea Loves Reading)
When Trent and the boys returned home, all the ladies’ vehicles were gone and the interior was quiet. They found Lily in the kitchen feeding the dishwasher.
“Hey baby,” he said affectionately. “Did you and your girls have a good time?”
Her smile said it all. “Yes we did.  No one wanted to go home. How was your afternoon?” Her eyes brushed her sons.
“The Chiefs lost.” Amari said speaking first.
“We saw Zoey and Wyatt,” Devon said.
“Did you wave?” Lily asked.
He shook his head.
“Did you want to?” she pressed gently.
“She doesn’t want to be friends with me so I don’t want to be friends with her.”
“She might be waiting for you to make the first move, Devon.”
But her son wasn’t buying. “She’s the one who started it, so she should make the first move.”
Apparently Amari wasn’t buying either. “No. You were the one who started it.” Devon tensed but Amari ignored him and asked,  “Is it okay if I go hang out at Brain’s for a little while?”
Devon’s eyes shot daggers.
Trent asked, “What’s wrong, Devon?”
“Nobody ever agrees with me.”
“That’s because you’re always wrong,” Amari pointed out.
“Amari,” Trent cautioned.
“Well, he is.” Under Trent’s mild look of censure, Amari amended his answer.  “Okay, maybe not all the time, but for sure ninety-nine point nine percent of the time. So, can I go?”
“The colonel’s out of town but if  Mrs. Payne’s okay with it, you can stay until half time.” He then sent Amari a speaking look.
Amari sighed loudly before asking his brother, “Do you want to go?”
Trent and Lily had been encouraging Amari to include him in some of his activities with the hope it might help Devon chill out. They knew Amari would rather walk to Topeka through the snow with bare feet than do so,  but he never overtly balked.
“No. I’m going up to my room and watch some videos.”
“Okay. Be back at the half.”  Amari left to get his coat and Devon headed for his bedroom upstairs.
Once both boys were gone and Trent was alone with his wife, he draped his arms around her waist and looked down into her dark eyes. To him she was still beautiful as she’d been when they were in high school together. “This parenting business is more than a notion.”
“No kidding.”
“Have I kissed you today, Mrs. July?”
She made a point of thinking, “Hmm. I don’t remember so you should probably get busy.”
Chuckling softly he did as requested.  When they finally came up for air, she whispered, “Very nice.”
“Do you want help cleaning up?”
“Men who help with housework are considered very sexy.”
“Yes, and later, after the knuckleheads are snuggled in their beds, I’ll show you just how much.”
“I like the sound of that.”
She waggled her eyebrows. “Thought you might.”
It took only a short while to remove all the spent plastic cups, plates, and reposition the furniture. As they worked, Trent watched the way she moved, the flow of her walk and savored the way his heart rate accelerated like a teenage boy each time she glanced his way and smiled.  Circumstances tore them apart after high school but after nearly two decades apart they’d settled their differences and were now man and wife. He loved her as much as he did breathing.  When his first two marriages crashed and burned, he never thought his life would ever hold happiness again, but his Lily Flower brought all that and more. He felt blessed.
When they had the space cleaned to their satisfaction, Lily walked over and circled her arms around waist. “Have I thanked you for my beautiful room?”
Mimicking her, he paused for a moment to think. “Hmm. Not today, so tonight, I’ll be looking for a little extra in my reward package.”
“I think that can be arranged.”
“You know that silky little black number you brought back from Spain?”
Mischief shone in her eyes.  “Yes.”
“I want my reward package wrapped in that.”
Laughing she nestled against him. “You got it.”

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