by Kimberla Lawson Roby
The Reverend Curtis Blackhasn’t spoken to his son, Matthew, in over a year-not since Matthew dropped out of Harvard to marry his girlfriend, Racquel, and be a full-time father to their infant son. Curtis knows that it was he and his wife, Charlotte, who drove Matthew away, but he prays that one day his son will forgive them and come home.
Matthew, however, can’t seem to forget the pain his parents caused him and Racquel. Still, he wonders if maybe they’d been right, as fatherhood is not what he expected, and Racquel’s behavior has become increasingly erratic. Matthew genuinely wants to be a good husband, though, and swears he’ll never repeat his parents’ mistakes. But when an old friend expresses her desire for Matthew, the temptation may be too great to resist…
Then, there’s Dillon Whitfield, Curtis’s long-lost-son, who has settled in as a member of the Black family. Yet the transition has been anything but easy. Charlotte, convinced he’s only after Curtis’s money, wishes he would move back to where he came from. Dillon, however, has no intention of going anywhere. After a lifetime in the shadows, he’s determined to take his rightful place as Curtis’s first-born son and heir, and he’ll do whatever it takes to win his father’s affection-even if it means playing dirty…
As jealousy builds and secrets pile up, both of Curtis’s sons will be pushed over the edge and forced to take drastic action. Can these two troubled young men find their way back into the Black family fold, or will their family ties be undone once and for all?
Matthew stared at his wife of ten months and shook his head. Racquel, who was sitting at the opposite end of the chocolate brown, leather sofa, looked over at him and frowned. “What?”
Matthew shook his head again. This time, his eyes screamed disappointment. But all Racquel did was purse her lips and turn her attention back to the flat screen television. It was a noticeably warm Friday evening in May, and though Matthew was a bit tired from his long day at work, he would have loved nothing more than for the two of them to be out somewhere together; maybe have a nice dinner and catch whatever new movie was playing. But as usual, Racquel was contently curled up—like an unconcerned couch potato—doing what she did best: watching some awful, ungodly reality show.
Matthew leaned his head back onto the sofa and closed his eyes. Not in his wildest imagination—not in a thousand lifetimes—would he have ever pictured himself being so miserable. But miserable he was, and worse, he now realized that getting married at the young age of nineteen had turned out to be a horrible mistake. He’d now turned twenty, but he could kick himself for giving up a full, four-year, academic scholarship to Harvard University, something he’d worked very hard for his entire childhood—and now this was all he had to show for it? This, a tiny, two-bedroom apartment, a twelve-dollar-an-hour job at a bank, and no love life of any kind to speak of?
He must have been crazy in love or crazy out of his mind to think he was doing the right thing by getting married. He also couldn’t deny how right his mother had been, every time she’d warned him about having unprotected sex. He still hadn’t spoken to either of his parents in more than a year—not even when they’d mailed him a ten-thousand-dollar check, and he’d torn it up—but his mom had been correct in her thinking. Matthew wasn’t sure why he’d been so careless and irresponsible. Although, he was proud of the fact that he’d immediately manned up as soon as he’d learned of Racquel’s pregnancy and had decided to be there for both her and the baby.
Matthew remembered how terrified he’d been that Racquel would lose the baby, but thank God, everything had turned out well. Little MJ had been born with a respiratory problem, but he’d ended up being released from the hospital just a few days later. Although, the more Matthew thought about all that had evolved, he was saddened further because none of what had occurred on the day of the baby shower could compare to any of what had happened a few weeks afterward. His mother had concocted the most outlandish scheme, and before long, the Division of Children and Family Services had come knocking at the front door of Racquel’s parents’, stating that they’d received two phone calls claiming child abuse. Of course, none of this had been true, and although in the end, the truth had been exposed and Charlotte had been arrested, the whole idea of little MJ being snatched away from Racquel had been too much for her to handle. It was the reason she now regularly obsessed over their one-year-old son, and she never felt comfortable leaving him with her own parents, let alone anyone else.
She wasn’t even okay with Matthew taking MJ to see his sister, Alicia, or his great-aunt, Emma because she feared something might happen to him or that he might be kidnapped. That whole DCFS incident had ruined Racquel emotionally, and Matthew had a feeling things would never be normal for them again. As it was, she rarely left the house, and she no longer visited any of her friends when they came home from school for the weekend. She never invited anyone over to the apartment either.
The Prodigal Son by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Series: A Reverend Curtis Black Novel