Can I Get an Amen Again [NOOK Book]

Overview

In Janice Sims's Brown-Eyed Handsome Man, recently widowed Gena Boudreau has just about given up on motherhood, until a precocious teenager tries to set Gena up with her single father, Nathan Lincoln.

The star of a reality dating show cooked up by creative director Justine Graves turns out to be a hit. The only thing that can stop the show is the reluctant bachelor Markos Raineau and the growing attraction Justine feels for him. The Real Thing ...

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Can I Get an Amen Again

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Overview

In Janice Sims's Brown-Eyed Handsome Man, recently widowed Gena Boudreau has just about given up on motherhood, until a precocious teenager tries to set Gena up with her single father, Nathan Lincoln.

The star of a reality dating show cooked up by creative director Justine Graves turns out to be a hit. The only thing that can stop the show is the reluctant bachelor Markos Raineau and the growing attraction Justine feels for him. The Real Thing by Kim Louise reveals what can happen when fate and faith run their course.

Will money come between Charlimae Watson and her estranged husband, Sam, in Natalie Dunbar's My Promise To You? Sometimes divine intervention is the only thing that can save a marriage, and Red Oaks' Mother Maybelle just may have the answer to Sam and Charlimae's prayers.

When Dr. Gabrielle Talbot arrives in Red Oaks, Georgia, the last thing she has on her mind is romance-that is until she meets Marcus Danforth. But will he break her heart like her ex-fiancé, or will he find a way to win her trust in A Change Is Gonna Come by Nathasha Brooks-Harris?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426800641
  • Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises
  • Publication date: 7/1/2007
  • Series: Kimani Arabesque Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 659,326
  • File size: 545 KB

Meet the Author

Janice Sims once wanted to become a nurse until she witnessed the results of an autopsy while participating in a student career day program at her high school. Totally grossed out, from that point on she knew nursing was not the field for her! Luckily, from the age of seven, she had been hooked on writing. She decided to major in journalism instead. She's glad she did because, today, she's the author of thirteen novels and has contributed to six anthologies.

She's known for writing stories that are humorous, touching and that explore the dynamics of close familial ties. Putting African-American characters in unusual settings is her forte. In her novel, A Bittersweet Love, the hero and heroine met in Ireland of all places! And in For Keeps, the setting was Montana. Even more than unusual settings, Janice enjoys exploring occupations that appeal to her. In Out of the Blue, her heroine, Gaea Maxwell, was a marine biologist who happened to be half-alien. Out of the Blue was the first African-American sci-fi romance. Years later, she wrote a second African-American sci-fi romance, Desert Heat. It went on to win the prestigious Emma Award for Best Heroine in 2004.

If asked to describe her characters, she would say that they are all too human. They are flawed and make mistakes that they regret, and they try to make up for them the best way that they can. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes they fail. But, no matter what, they don't give up. Perseverance is a quality she admires. If not for hanging in there and continuing to send her stories to publishers, she would not be a published author.

She lives in Central Florida with her husbandoftwenty-five years, Curtis. Love and laughter is a part of their everyday life, because what is life without love and laughter?

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Read an Excerpt

Can I Get An Amen Again

Brown-Eyed Handsome Man\The Real Thing\My Promise To You\A Change Is Gonna Come
By Janice Sims

BET

Copyright © 2007 Janice Sims
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780373830671

"That's what he gets for marrying a woman more than twenty years his junior."

Gena Boudreau, the woman the speaker was referring to, paused with her hand on the door that led to the kitchen. The voice belonged to her recently deceased husband's sister, Cynthia, who had driven from New Orleans to attend his funeral. Gena supposed she should be grateful Cynthia had shown up. Taylor's two grown children had not.

Still, Cynthia's comment made Gena heartsick. She'd always known Cynthia didn't like her, but it was beyond cruel for her to say something so mean-spirited about a brother whom she had supposedly loved. Taylor had always been kind to Cynthia.

She knew it had to be Cynthia's grief talking. Pain made you say awful things. Things you instantly regretted. She took a deep breath and pushed the door open.

Cynthia and the woman to whom she'd been speaking, a stranger to Gena, gasped in surprise. Cynthia lowered her eyes, shame evident in them. The other woman did not look down. She narrowed her eyes, her expression cold and accusing. "Here's the widow," she said derisively while walking toward Gena. Petite and shapely, she was in her late forties. Her hair was stylishly cut, and her black dress equally so.

"You don'tknow me," she said when she was standing directly in front of Gena. "Taylor and I were seeing each other when you entered the picture. He dropped me for you." Hatred permeated every inch of her body. She fairly bristled with it. An evil smile spread across her attractive face. "I told him then that he would die without me, and I was right." Her eyes sparkled with glee at the knowledge.

Gena calmly turned to Cynthia. "Is this woman a friend of yours?"

At least four inches taller than the stranger, Gena looked over her head at Cynthia, demanding a reasonable explanation for the woman's presence on the most devastating day of her life.

Cynthia grabbed the other woman by the arm. "Come on, Karen, you promised you wouldn't make a scene."

"You brought her here?, Gena asked incredulously.

"We've been friends for over thirty years. I thought she and Taylor were going to be married one day. Then you stole him!" Cynthia wasn't in the least repentant.

Gena didn't feel as if she had to explain herself to Cynthia, or anyone else, where Taylor was concerned. When she'd met him, two years previously, he'd told her he was single and unattached. In fact, she'd met him when he was a heart patient at the hospital in New Orleans where Gena worked as a registered nurse. After Taylor was released, with a clean bill of health, she thought, and the promise of a long, full life if he took care of himself, he had asked her out and she'd accepted. It was true, Taylor was twenty-two years older than she was, but he had also been handsome, charming, and enormously confident. Theirs was a whirlwind romance, and up until his death they'd been deeply in love. Now these women were trying to diminish that love. Turn it into something sordid.

"Taylor never mentioned you," Gena said, her voice steady in spite of the anger that seethed beneath the surface. "No, I don't know you. And you don't know me. Taylor spent two weeks in the hospital after his heart attack, and I never saw you visit him."

"I was out of town," Karen said. "I would have rushed back if anyone had seen fit to inform me." This time her eyes skewered Cynthia accusingly.

"Taylor told me not to contact you," Cynthia said in her defense. "He obviously already had his eyes on that one."

Gena was getting tired of being looked at as if she were a piece of trash. She was taller, stronger, younger than either of these women, and the way she was feeling right now—stressed out, brokenhearted, wound tighter than a steel coil—she was perilously close to wiping the floor with both of them. She hadn't been brought up on the tough streets of New Orleans for nothing.

"I'm not havin" this conversation," she told them through clenched teeth. Tears sprang to her eyes. "You come here, on the saddest day of my life, to accuse me of stealing Taylor away from you? Are you crazy?, The last three words were shouted as she chose the largest carving knife from the wood block on the counter and tapped the flat side of the blade in the palm of her hand. "I'm a grieving widow. I could go ballistic any minute. Go slam out of my mind and do something in a fugue state that I won't even remember doing once it's over."

Indeed, she did look unhinged. Her brown eyes blazed. Her nostrils flared, and her lips were drawn back from her teeth in a snarl. Release in the form of a double murder seemed preferable to thinking about Taylor lying cold in his grave.

Cynthia and Karen slowly backed toward the swinging doors, their eyes on the knife in her hand. "You've got a houseful of people," Cynthia said reasonably. "you're the one who would be crazy to try anything."

Gena smiled as she advanced. "The more witnesses, the better. If I kill you both in front of them, no one would believe I hadn't gone temporarily insane. I'll hire very talented lawyers who will make certain that things go like this—I'll spend some time in a psychiatric facility. They'll eventually determine that it was aberrant behavior. I'm no harm to anyone else. And I'll be back home in a matter of months. Best of all, I'll have the satisfaction of never seeing you two witches ever again!"

"you're a nurse," Cynthia reminded her desperately.

"you're supposed to be a healer. You couldn't harm another human being."

Karen was cowering behind her, primed to leap for the door should Gena start lashing out with the knife. She hadn't foreseen this sort of reaction from Gena. Cynthia had told her that Gena was a mild-mannered mouse of a woman whom Taylor had married for her youth and beauty. Rich men traded their worldly goods for trophy wives all the time. Karen simply wanted to have her say, exact a kind of revenge for the shoddy manner in which Taylor had treated her, and go back home feeling justified. She hadn't expected her life to be threatened!

"Right now," Gena told her, still tapping the knife in the palm of her hand as she continued to walk toward the women, " you don't look particularly human to me. You look like a couple of rabid dogs. And the humanitarian thing to do with rabid dogs is to put them down." She raised the knife menacingly. Cynthia and Karen shot through the swinging doors, with Karen screaming,

"Somebody call the law, she done lost her damn mind!"

The doors flapped closed behind them and Gena dissolved in gales of laughter. She put the knife back in its slot in the wooden block on the counter, and after composing herself she walked out to the expansive living room with its two-story ceiling where more than a hundred people were standing about enjoying a buffet and conversing. Or they had been before Cynthia and Karen had interrupted them with screams of terror.

Everyone looked in Gena's direction when she entered the room. She smiled graciously, the epitome of the brave widow with a backbone of steel.

Maybelle Carmichael, her neighbor for the past two years, immediately came forward and placed a comforting hand on her arm. She looked back at Cynthia and Karen, who were surrounded by concerned guests and gesticulating wildly. "What's going on, child?, Maybelle asked.

Gena met her eyes and said sincerely, " I have no idea, Mrs. Carmichael." She always referred to Maybelle in this way because of their age difference. Gena was thirty-four. Maybelle was in her seventies. "But I think it has something to do with the fact that I threatened to cut their throats for coming here today and disrespecting my husband. The tall one is Taylor's younger sister, Cynthia. The short one is his ex-girlfriend."

Maybelle harrumphed as she cast a severe eye on the two women. "Came to cause some mess, huh?"

"Yes, ma'am."

As a woman who had buried more than one husband, Maybelle Carmichael knew how to handle troublemakers on that most depressing of days. She turned and addressed two young men, their suit jackets stretching over bulging muscles.

"Cleotus, Leroy, I want you to escort those two ladies outside and make sure they know the way out of town. They're upsetting Gena, and this is not a day for heaping stress upon stress."

"Yes, ma'am," said Cleotus, the bigger of the two. he'd known Maybelle Carmichael all of his twenty-three years. She'd pulled his ear for talking in church when he was a kid, and helped him get into college on a football scholarship when he was a teenager. Now he was the assistant coach at Red Oaks High School. Leroy was his teenaged cousin, and where Cleotus led, Leroy followed.

Cynthia and Karen soon found themselves respectfully asked to leave the premises by two gentle giants. They did not lay a hand on the women. When they got outside, they held their car doors open for them and firmly shut the doors. Then they stood and watched as Cynthia started the car and pulled out of the parking lot that the lawn made.

They did not go back inside until her car was completely out of sight.

Maybelle and Gena were watching from the living room window. As the red taillights of Cynthia's car faded in the dusky afternoon shadows, Maybelle reached for Gena's hand. "Come with me, sweetheart. You and I need to have a chat."

Maybelle led her through the other guests and upstairs to the master bedroom. Once inside she closed and locked the door. "Sit down," she said, gesturing to a chair in the seating group of the large room. Gena sat on the edge of the chair. Maybelle sat across from her and pulled her chair closer to Gena's so that their knees were nearly touching.

"What's going on in your head, Gena?, Maybelle asked softly, looking deeply into Gena's eyes. Gena could hardly bear the intensity of Maybelle's gaze. She wasn't ready to talk about what was actually bothering her. It might sound ridiculous to anyone who hadn't experienced what she'd been through in the past few days. Her grievances might appear selfish considering the fact that Taylor was dead and she was still breathing. You had to forgive the dead all their trespasses, didn't you? After all, they'd already suffered the worst punishment visited upon mankind, death itself.

Ashamed for thinking what she was thinking, Gena lowered her eyes.

"Look at me, Gena Boudreau," Maybelle said sharply.

"Is it regret? Is it deep sorrow? Is it anger or rage? It's not uncommon for a widow to be angry with her husband for dying, you know. I was mad at my husbands when they left me. Heck, I would go to the cemetery and cuss them out for dying on me. Every time I got married I fooled myself into thinking that it was going to be forever. That we were going to grow old together. I'm winding up growing old by myself!"

Gena found herself crying again. She was angry with herself for crying so much for a man who didn't deserve her tears. "He lied to me!"

Maybelle sat back on her chair and crossed her legs. Now they were getting somewhere. "What did he lie about?"

"Everything," Gena said with a deep sigh. "Okay, maybe not everything. He really was a successful businessman. But we got married under false pretenses. He told me he had a clean bill of health. After the heart attack, he went on a restricted diet and an exercise regimen. Both things I helped him with. There were times when he appeared exhausted to me when he shouldn't have been. I would question him and he'd say it was because he'd had an especially hard workout. Nothing to worry about. But the fact was, Mrs. Carmichael, he was dying. When the doctor released him from the hospital after the heart attack, he knew he had only a few months to live."

"But he lived two years after his heart attack," Maybelle reminded her.

"I was a fanatic about taking care of him. But that's beside the point. He knew he was dying and he chose not to tell me, to forewarn me so that I would be prepared for what happened."

Maybelle gasped, something she rarely did because not many things shocked her after nearly eighty years on earth. "You mean he died."



Continues...


Excerpted from Can I Get An Amen Again by Janice Sims Copyright © 2007 by Janice Sims. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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