For Your Love
Blessings # 6
Blessings # 6
By: Beverly Jenkins
Releasing April 28th, 2015
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.
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?”
As if cued, Devon entered. “Dad, can I go in and see what Mom’s doing?”
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.”
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.”
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.
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