Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love

Faith Under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love

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by LaJoyce Brookshire, Karen Hunter

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The bestselling author of the novels Soul Food and Web of Deception, LaJoyce Brookshire tells a true story more shattering than any work of fiction. It's her story. A memoir of survival against the odds and courage in the face of a troubled relationship and a terrifying illness. A chronicle of faith under fire.

Imagine the


The bestselling author of the novels Soul Food and Web of Deception, LaJoyce Brookshire tells a true story more shattering than any work of fiction. It's her story. A memoir of survival against the odds and courage in the face of a troubled relationship and a terrifying illness. A chronicle of faith under fire.

Imagine the joy of being swept away by your very own Prince Charming, and the excitement of marrying him. Imagine starting a life together. Imagine discovering a side of him that you never knew existed -- a controlling and explosive side. Imagine watching him slowly, inexplicably dete-riorate before your eyes. Imagine his doctors telling you, "He has AIDS."

That was the reality for LaJoyce Brookshire, and in this page-turning, astoundingly moving memoir, she tells the full story of her marriage to her first husband, who knew he was HIV positive at the time they wed but kept this information hidden from her -- until his body betrayed him.

Imagine how you would react. What would you do? Contemplate murder? Divorce? Live in denial? Or would you turn to God?

That's what LaJoyce chose to do in the face of her husband's health crisis -- and every other challenge life has presented: With her faith firmly planted and with God beside her at all times, LaJoyce faced the deadly secret that had been kept under wraps by her husband -- and by his family, who knew of his condition but revealed nothing. She stayed by his side, coordinating his care and even changing his diapers, until the end.

Faith Under Fire tells the story of a marriage tainted by lies, but it also tells much more: a capsule portrait of the specter of AIDSfacing African-American women today, it reveals how fear, ignorance, and secrets perpetuate the disease. In a poignant narrative overflowing with her gutsy humor and vibrant spirit, LaJoyce Brookshire shares her faith in all of its richness. She offers a living testament to relying on God's strength through any ordeal, and shows how His truth is all we need to believe in, every day of our lives.

Product Details

Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 1.00(h) x 8.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Meeting

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

-- Matthew 6:33

It happened quite suddenly, my falling in love. You know the kind I'm talking about -- that bam, love-­at-­first-­sight kind of love.

It was January 30, 1990. I was a part-time speech teacher at the Queens Broadcasting Center, in the Jamaica section of Queens, New York. My full-­time job was as writer/producer of entertainment and information programming at the Sheridan Broadcasting Network at One Times Square Plaza in New York City.

The day before, I had decided to take a "sick" day. I cleaned off my desk, returned all phone calls, and handed in the weekly scripts a day early -- much to the delight of my executive producer.

On my "sick" day, I took a lengthy bubble bath, washed my hair, and lazed around until it was time to get to class. For some reason, I dressed carefully, in a red silk blouse, leather pants, and high-­heeled pumps. It was quite snazzy attire for a teacher who was about to spend the next four hours correcting speech patterns for on-air hopefuls.

About an hour into my class, I excused myself to make copies of handouts. On my way to the copy machine, I glanced into the recording studio and saw the tallest, finest honey-­dipped colored man I had ever laid eyes on in my life. I ran to the office of the director, longtime on-air personality Johnny Allen, of New York ­City's KISS-­FM, to inquire about the eye candy I had just glimpsed.

Johnny replied, "Oh, ­that's Steven. ­He's a really niceguy."

"Hmm, Steven," I said. "I have a brother named Stephen; what a coincidence."

While at the copier, I took another long look at the honey-­dip, giving him points on his name alone, before returning to my class.

When we were saying good-­byes for the evening, Johnny introduced me to Steven and I turned as red as my blouse, overwhelmed by his charming demeanor. Johnny announced that he had arranged for Steven to take me home.

"Take me home? All the way to Brooklyn?" I asked.

We were in Queens -- a forty-­five-­minute train ride and easily an hour-­plus drive away.

"I'll take you all the way to Pennsylvania, if ­that's where you live," Steven said.

I raised an "is this guy for real" eyebrow at Johnny, and he winked a sign of approval.

­"Let's roll," I said, gathering my things.

On the ride home, Steven and I exchanged regular pleasantries, asked typical questions, and laughed a lot. He kept thanking God. I liked that part. Since I come from a Baptist-­born-­and-­bred background, God is indeed at the top of my list.

"Why do you keep saying 'Thank you, God'?" I asked.

"I ­wasn't even supposed to be at the school tonight," he said. "I missed my final because I was in the hospital and I had to complete it tonight. So I'm saying 'Thank you, God' because I ­wouldn't have met you if I ­hadn't been in the hospital."

The reporter in me was piqued. "Why were you in the hospital?"

"Bleeding ulcers."

"Bleeding ulcers!?" I asked in disbelief, contorting my face. "How old are you?"

"Thirty-­one," he answered. "I've just had a lot of problems -- a bad marriage and lots of stress in my job. But now that I've met you, all of that is about to change."

We continued with pleasant conversation and before we knew it we looked up and had no idea where we were. We were lost somewhere between Queens and Brooklyn. The only way he knew how to get us out of the circle we seemed to be driving in was to go all the way to Manhattan and then to Brooklyn. Our one-­hour ride turned into three hours.

We finally arrived at my front door, where we exchanged numbers. He waited at his car to see that I had made it safely into my apartment. I looked out of the window to wave and he was still there, leaning against his car, looking up at my window. He acknowledged my wave with a beep of his car horn. As much as I hated to admit it, I was soaring from my evening with Steven.

The next day at work in the studio, we had WBLS-­FM on in the background while making preparations for our weekly syndicated production. All of a sudden, we heard deejay Bugsy announce, "Here is 'Ready or Not' by After 7 for LaJoyce Hunter from Steven. He wants her to know that ­he's coming for her -- ready or not!"

My office mates and I screamed. And my phone started ringing off the hook. Everyone wanted to know who this Steven was. My reply was the same: "Some dude I met yesterday!"

Being in the radio and record business had some advantages, and one of them was access to the hotline number for the deejay booth at WBLS. The other was knowing Bugsy personally. After fielding phone calls from friends, I called Bugsy myself to inquire about how in the world this Steven managed to get him to make such a declaration before and after "Ready or Not" played.

"I know Steven, too," Bugsy told me. "He is a part-­time producer with Vaughn ­H arper's Quiet Storm syndicated radio program for Japan."

Vaughn Harper was the premier nighttime voice in New York and was like a father to me in the business. Bugsy and I had always been really friendly with one another and he was like a big brother.

He issued his stamp of approval: "Now Steven is someone I'd really like to see you with. I can vouch for him all the way."

"Really?" I said, knowing that Bugsy had shared his disdain for the last guy from the station I had dated.

"Yep. Really," he said, mindful of that previous situation.

"Thanks, Bugs," I said. "I'll keep you posted."

Later that afternoon, a deliveryman brought two dozen red, long-­stemmed American Beauties from Steven. This guy was really pouring it on and I loved it!

I phoned to thank him for the roses and the dedication, and he invited me to dinner the following evening. We went to a very pricey restaurant on the East River and we both had lobster and champagne. He had another dozen roses at the restaurant for me.

"These are for you to keep at home," he said, as the others were for me to keep at my office.

At least twice a week from then on, Steven romanced me with dinners at expensive restaurants. And between the dinners, we were always going to some event. As a producer of entertainment programming, I always had tickets to concerts, plays, or new movies in town. My responsibilities kept me out at least three nights a week. We always got two complimentary tickets to an event, so Steven became my new "hot date."

The dinners became his way of controlling some of our outings since it was a given that we would attend a promotional event. We ended up going out five nights a week!

For the first three months of our dating, Steven had roses delivered to my job every week until I told him to stop. It was established early on that we were both definitely in love. Like I said, it was love at first sight.

It was signed, sealed, and delivered by the time we had sex, intensifying the blush of our new love.

Steven further locked in the relationship by introducing me to his mother and two sisters. They all lived in the family home in Lakeview, New York, a predominantly black middle-­class Long Island town. We all got along extremely well, and his older sister and I could pass for sisters. We both have that café con leche (with lots of leche) skin, light-­brown-­eyes-­and-­sandy-­hair thing going on. When we went out together people always asked us if we were sisters, and ­we'd just laugh and say, "Yes!"

We did a lot of flaunting one another in front of our friends. It was mutual that there was nothing but love between us all. ­Steven's best friend, Stacey, and his wife, Claudette, were the best of our buddies. They were one crazy pair. ­We'd go to midnight bowling almost every weekend and win all of the trivia games, like guessing musical artists. Yeah, right! I'd only eaten and slept music for the last I-don't-­know-­how-­many years. I was a shoo-­in.

We discussed many times if it was even fair for me to play because I was in the entertainment business, but ­we'd just shrug and collect our prizes. The real superstar of that game was Claudette. We dubbed that girl "the foremost knowledgeable person about information that ­don't mean s-h-­i-­t." She needs to be a contestant on pop culture trivia shows; I guarantee you, she would win. To this day, Claudette and Stacey are permanent fixtures in my life.

Steven and I were spending so much time together every night that he had a hard time getting himself to his job at Bayside BMW, where he was the assistant parts manager. He had practically moved into my Brooklyn apartment, too. But I refused to say that he "lived" there. That was against my religion. I ­wasn't playing house with anyone. Plus, my mother would have killed me!

It was easier for him to bring a bag with his stuff in it every week for whatever we would be attending and leave for work from there. He definitely tried to move in on me, though, putting stuff in my closet. But I would take his clothes out of the closet that ­he'd leave hanging there and pack them for him every day, and I refused to give him space in my drawer.

Call me old fashioned, but it was bad enough that I was sleeping with this dude and he ­wasn't my husband. I knew better.

At the time, I had a male roommate named Derrick. Now, his girlfriend Tina did live with us. They met at Columbia University. Derrick was an awesome budding attorney at one of the top law firms in midtown Manhattan, and Tina was an accountant. We needed to share the apartment because neither of us could afford the rent alone for the magnificent two-­bedroom, two-­bathroom apartment in Brooklyn's Clinton Hill section. Our rent was twelve hundred dollars a month in 1989! Steven offered to help pay my portion of the rent, but I flatly refused.

By December 1, 1990 -- just eleven months after our first meeting -- we were married. The ride to the altar was rocky, as was all that followed the wedding. Here is my real-­life tale -- the tale of a woman betrayed by a thing called love, a tale of putting my faith under fire.

Read on and learn.â??.â??.â??.

Copyright © 2006 by LaJoyce Brookshire

Meet the Author

LaJoyce Brookshire is the bestselling author of the novels Soul Food and Web of Deception, and has contributed essays to Souls of My Sisters and Ghettover Girls. An ordained minister, a doctor of naturopathy, and a master herbalist, she lives in the Poconos with her family.

Karen Hunter is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a celebrated radio talk-show host, and co-author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Confessions of a Video Vixen, On the Down Low, and Wendy's Got the Heat. She is also an assistant professor in the Film & Media Department at Hunter College

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Faith under Fire: Betrayed by a Thing Called Love 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My mom bought this book and I stole it from her. This book was wonderful. I read it in two days. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book from start to end. Quick interesting read.
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DarleneGinn-Hargrove More than 1 year ago
Faithfyllness33 More than 1 year ago
I read this book in two daysm, I couldn't put it down. I really command her in her faith, person can do all things through Christ who strengthens them. I give her all the respect, I hope she writes more so I can go out and buy them.
Avid-ReaderVG More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent, well written book. Mrs. Brookshire exudes confidence and displays a wide range of emotions in this page turner. However, the one that she emotion that she consistently displays throughout this book is her Faith and belief in God. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1. It is that Faith that has kept her alive (free of the deadly disease - AIDS, and the ability to go on with her life, after the death of her first husband). Every female in America - particularly African Americans, should read this book, take notes, and be inspired by Mrs. Brookshire's incredible courage to write such a personal, true story in an attempt to save the lives of others. As an divorced, mother of 4, grandmother of 2, African American female, who practices celebacy whole heartedly, I found this book to be very educational and spiritually written. I could not put this book down. This should have definitely been in the Ophrah Book Club (if it wasn't).

Thank you Spiritual Sister for writing this book. It will definitely change and save lives and my God continue to bless you and your family
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hey Mrs.Joyce, The book was great I could not put it down after I started reading it.This should be a wake up call for most people, liked you stated love at first site and sometimes the sign be there and we just ignore them.I have not read anything else you have published but Im sure going to start. Im so glad that you was able to found love again'smile'. May god bless you and your family each and everyday.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first met LaJoyce when we were both hosts of a NY TV program. The day she came on the set and announced that she was engaged was a day I will never forget. She was full of Life, wondrous expectation and joy. Reading 'Faith Under Fire' I did not want to believe that this man whom she was so deliriously happy to bring into her Life could have, without God's intervention, have taken that Life away from her. Far from being depressing, this is a book of inspiration, of determination, of character in the face of betrayal and most of all it is a handbook on how to fulfill your purpose. I believe LaJoyce's purpose is to remind everyone that unwavering faith can be stronger than any evil perpetrated against you, that you can survive in the face of daunting odds, that Life can be sweeter in spite of tragedy and that it's never too late to reclaim your joy. Thank You for sharing your experience with us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is indeed a page-turner. I was not able to put it down until I was finished. The author was able to capitivate me with every word. It didn't hurt that I was familiar with the entertainers and the neighborhood. The fact that she was still so young to experience this...the exclusion of truth all the way till the grave by her husband is unbelievable. I want to patiently wait for the Lord to deliver the right person rather than call out 'sick' from work and dress up to go any where to find trouble. I highly recommend this book to single women and men, you never know who you're dealing with in this world we live in.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Every women should read this book it's very educational a must read book before getting married
Guest More than 1 year ago