At long last, the Reverend Curtis Black appears to be on the straight and narrow. The all-too-human preacher is a bestselling author now, and he and his wife, Charlotte, are raising two adorable children. But the ever-suspicious Charlotte doesn't trust that Curtis has put his womanizing past behind him. While he's on the road promoting his latest book, she knows that there needs to be just one extra-devoted fan in his flock for him to stray.
Charlotte is no angel herself, and she's been keeping plenty of secrets from Curtis while he's been away. Still, Charlotte believes with all her heart that things will be better once Curtis is home again, although she should be careful what she wishes for since love may not be enough to untangle the web of lies she and Curtis have woven for themselves. And in the end, she'll have some tough decisions to make if she wants to salvage her marriage.
About the Author
Kimberla Lawson Roby is an award-winning author whose work has been on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and Essence. She lives in Illinois with her husband.
Tracey Leigh is an audiobook narrator and actor with numerous theater, television, and radio credits.
Read an Excerpt
Love and Lies
By Kimberla Roby
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Kimberla Roby
All right reserved.
It was all I could do not to curse my husband out--my husband, a man who was never home more than a few days at a time, a man who didn't seem to care about his wife in the least, a man who was probably sleeping with only God knew whom. Which is why after five years of pleading with him to change and begging him to spend more time with me, I had finally had enough. I was finally in a place where I would no longer tolerate the world-renowned Reverend Curtis Black or the adultery I was sure he was committing.
"So when exactly are you going to be here, Curtis?" I asked now, gripping the phone tightly.
"I just told you. In a couple of days."
"I realize that, but I need to know a specific day. What I need to know is the time your flight will be arriving at O'Hare."
"Well, Charlotte, as much as I hate to disappoint you, I don't know what time."
"You don't know? How could you not know?"
"Because I just don't."
"Curtis, please. Do you think I'm that stupid? Do you really think you can get me to believe that you're coming home this week but your travel reservations still haven't been arranged? Do you really think I'm that crazy?"
"Like I said . . . I'll be there in a couple of days."
See, it was comments such as this that made me want to do unspeakable things to Curtis. Mademe want to snatch him down from that nice little pedestal that thousands of people nationwide had placed him on. What I wanted to do was show him firsthand that being a New York Times bestselling author didn't mean that he could do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted to.
But I decided instead that I would calmly try to reason with him one last time.
"Curtis, have you even thought about the amount of time you spend on the road? I mean, are you even aware of the fact that you've now been gone for two weeks straight, and that once you return, you'll only be here for five short days?"
"Charlotte, why are we doing this? Huh? Because you know just as well as I do that my speaking engagements are very necessary. You've known for the last five years that this is what I have to do if you want to keep living the wealthy lifestyle you so desperately wanted when we were first married."
"But baby, there has to be some sort of balance," I said, remembering just how miserable I'd been before his publisher had offered him a contract with an initial advance worth seven hundred fifty thousand dollars for one book.
"Look, either you want luxury or you want average," he said, sounding impatient.
"What I want is for you to be here with your family. Matthew and Marissa need you, Curtis, and I'm tired of feeling as though I'm a single parent. Twelve-year-old boys need their fathers."
"All three of my children, including Alicia, know that I love them and that I have a job to do. I've explained to them that it won't always be this way, but for now, this is what I have to do."
"Curtis, all I'm asking is that you please cancel some of your commitments. I need you to spend more time at home."
"It's not going to happen. Not right now, and to be honest, I'm tired of repeating the same words to you over and over again."
"Oh, so now you've got the nerve to be irritated?" I said, my last bit of tolerance evaporating second by second.
"No, I just don't see a reason to continue discussing a situation that isn't going to change."
"Well, maybe the problem isn't your speaking engagements, Curtis. Maybe it has more to do with the fact that you're out there sleeping around. Because, knowing you, you've probably got a different woman lined up in every city."
"You mean like the way you slept with Aaron behind my back? How you slept with that deceitful lunatic even though he claimed to be my best friend? Or do you mean like how you lied about Matthew being my son when you knew full well that he might not be? Or maybe you mean like how because you slept with Aaron, we had to get a paternity test just to make sure Marissa was actually mine? So tell me, Charlotte, which sin of yours are you talking about exactly?"
At that moment, I wondered when Curtis would ever stop wallowing in the past and would eventually forgive me for the way I had betrayed him. Because whether he wanted to admit it or not, it wasn't like any of this had happened one month ago. As a matter of fact, it had been five whole years since Marissa had been born, and to me it was high time for us to move on. Not to mention it wasn't like he'd been this perfect little Boy Scout himself.
"You know what, Curtis, as far as I'm concerned, you need to get over it. What you need to do is stop making all these lame excuses and get your priorities in order."
"No, what I need to do is the same thing I've been doing all along. Making a ton of money so that you can continue living like the queen you think you are, and so that I can maintain the type of freedom I've definitely become accustomed to. End of story."
His tone was razor sharp and more than anything I wanted to hurt him back. What I wanted was for him to feel more pain than he was now causing me, but for some reason I couldn't find the words. I was speechless and the only thing I could think to do was slam the phone down on its base.
Excerpted from Love and Lies by Kimberla Roby Copyright © 2007 by Kimberla Roby. Excerpted by permission.
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