Curtis Black might be a man of the cloth, but with his irresistible looks, seductive charm, and charismatic personality, he's particularly beloved by his female parishioners––and almost every other woman he's ever met.
The trouble is, Curtis is married. At first he tries to resist temptation, but not for long. His insatiable appetite for women quickly gets the best of him. Eventually, the women in Curtis's life find that with a little careful planning––sneaky and otherwise––they can help Curtis reap the punishment that he so richly deserves.
In this captivating and dramatic sequel to Casting the First Stone, Kimberla Lawson Roby, with her trademark with and insight, sets sparks flying.
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Too Much of a Good Thing
By Kimberla Lawson Roby
Thorndike PressCopyright © 2004 Kimberla Lawson Roby
All right reserved.
A Year Later
Mariah Johnson Black smiled proudly as her husband neared the end of his morning message. It just didn't seem real, him actually being senior pastor of Truth Missionary Baptist Church or that he'd chosen her to be his wife. It didn't seem real that he'd wanted a woman who'd grown up in a run-down two-bedroom apartment on the West Side of Chicago that also housed her single mother and five siblings. But he always reminded her that he'd grown up with nothing himself. Still, every now and then, she had to pinch herself, because she couldn't believe how happy she was. She couldn't believe they'd only been married six short months, and yet Curtis had already bought her a six-thousand-square-foot house in Covington Park, the most expensive Mercedes that Daimler manufactured, and best of all, she didn't have to work for anyone. All she had to do was be the best wife she could be to Curtis and the best first lady to their congregation - two things Curtis said his first wife, Tanya, wasn't capable of. Mariah almost felt sorry for Tanya, because she couldn't imagine how painful it must have been, once Tanya realized what she'd given up. Curtis had told Mariah about Tanya's affair with James, and Mariah couldn'tunderstand how Tanya even considered being with another man. Especially when she had someone as fine-looking and considerate as Curtis. Especially since he had only been with another woman - Adrienne - on two separate occasions. Curtis had told Mariah how he'd apologized and tried to explain everything to Tanya, but that she wasn't willing to forgive him. He'd tried to make Tanya see that this random act of adultery had only occurred because Satan was trying to attack him and their marriage. He'd told Tanya that the only reason God had allowed it to happen was because He wanted to see how strong their faith was and how committed they were to each other as husband and wife.
But thankfully, all of that was behind them now, and while she wasn't happy about Curtis and Tanya's marriage ending in divorce, she knew it was the only reason she was now sitting on the second pew, dressed in a royal blue suit, a matching hat, matching purse, and matching three-inch heels. Mariah also knew that Curtis would never have paid her the least bit of attention if they hadn't worked for the same agency. He'd told her more than once that she was beautiful, but she knew it was only because he felt obligated to do so and not because it was true. She'd been a bit on the heavy side growing up, and her schoolmates had teased her daily. So by the time she was a teenager, she'd lost all confidence in herself and in the way she looked.
But in terms of her feelings for Curtis, she'd actually liked him from the very beginning and had fallen in love with him right after their first date. He was strong, compassionate, tall, dark, and handsome, and from that point she started praying for their relationship to become serious. She prayed that God would give her Curtis even if it meant she had to go without something else in life, whatever that had to be. So when he asked her to marry him, she knew for sure that God answered all prayers.
Mariah watched Curtis twirl his hands, demonstrating what he was saying.
"God will allow you to experience every twist and turn in the road until you are as strong as He needs you to be ... until you are strong enough to deal with any trial or tribulation thrown your way," Curtis said. "And when it comes to success and prosperity, we have to take the same attitude. Sometimes we find ourselves climbing higher and higher in our chosen careers and all of a sudden a monkey wrench is thrown into the program. And of course, we as human beings don't understand it. We don't understand why God would give us such great success and then, for whatever reason, take us down a notch or two. But the best way I can explain it is to tell you what I heard on the radio last week. I was driving along, listening to 106.3, and it was then that I heard T. D. Jakes make one of the most profound statements. He said, 'A set-back is a setup for a comeback.'"
The congregation roared with amens and a good number of people waved their bulletins at Curtis, agreeing with what he was saying.
Curtis thrived on member participation and repeated in song what the crowd wanted to hear him say again. "I said, a setback is a setup for a comeback."
"Oh, thank you, Jesus!" one woman stood and yelled out.
"Glory be to God!" another added with her hands lifted toward the ceiling.
"Boy, you know you workin' that Word on us today!" an older gentleman offered.
The organist played a few notes, and Mariah stood with her hands on both hips, waving her head from side to side with quick movements, giving Curtis approval. Then a woman jumped from her seat, shouting her way across three people sitting on the same row. This, of course, was all Curtis needed to see in order to switch into his deep southern preaching mode. He'd told Mariah that he thought it was totally ridiculous to sing the ending of every sermon, but that he'd learned during his days at Faith that his older members didn't feel like a pastor could preach if he didn't do a little whooping and singing with it ...
Excerpted from Too Much of a Good Thing by Kimberla Lawson Roby Copyright © 2004 by Kimberla Lawson Roby. Excerpted by permission.
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