Love on the Line

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Identity, attitudes, and culture collide as a mother and daughter's values and backgrounds are challenged by everyone around them in this moving, often humorous, and unforgettable novel from laura castoro

It ain't easy being biracial and a trust fund baby, but blue-eyed Jesse Morgan is determined to just be herself at an eastern college?where no one will know who or what she is...unless she chooses to tell them. What Jesse doesn't yet realize...

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Love on the Line

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Identity, attitudes, and culture collide as a mother and daughter's values and backgrounds are challenged by everyone around them in this moving, often humorous, and unforgettable novel from laura castoro

It ain't easy being biracial and a trust fund baby, but blue-eyed Jesse Morgan is determined to just be herself at an eastern college—where no one will know who or what she is...unless she chooses to tell them. What Jesse doesn't yet realize is that "no past" doesn't equal "no problems."

High-powered executive Thea Morgan is marrying Rev. Xavier Thornton—the former athlete and successful black businessman-turned-pastor, a man she first fell in love with at sixteen. A fair-skinned black woman who cracked the glass ceiling in the Texas oil business, Thea assumes her identity difficulties are behind her. She hasn't yet met Xavier's new congregation in a down-on-its-luck Arkansas town...nor Mrs. Hattie Patterson—the matriarch of St. Hurricane Church who has fixed opinions about how a minister's wife should behave. Will Thea lose her struggles to win over Xavier's congregation, people who just don't understand her big-city ways? It will take every bit of her humor, business acumen, and just plain hard-loving to deal with her crisis of faith and the sinking feeling that, just maybe, love can't conquer all.

Like mother, like daughter, Thea and Jesse discover that sometimes to get what you need most you to have to put everything, even love, on the line.

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Editorial Reviews

Francis Ray
“Laura Castoro writes passionate stories that tug at the heart and resonate with you long after the last page has been read.”
Sandra Kitt
“A wonderful and timely love story that shows us how love and faith can make a healing bridge between our past and the future. Moving and lovely.”
A'Lelia Bundles
Laura Castoro is back with Thea Morgan and her daughter, Jesse, as they turn heartaches of the past into promises for the future. An authentic, warmly told story of love lost and reclaimed.
Romantic TimesBOOKclub
[Laura Castoro] does a magnificent job of sharing Jesse’s passage from getting out of her mother’s house to getting "outed" at college. This fantastic read will make readers think progressively about color, culture, and character."
New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips on Crossing the Line
“...Entertaining, touching, and insightful.”
Romantic Times BOOKclub
[Laura Castoro] does a magnificent job of sharing Jesse’s passage from getting out of her mother’s house to getting “outed” at college. This fantastic read will make readers think progressively about color, culture, and character.”
Publishers Weekly

Laura Castoro's newest explores blended family relationships. Thea Morgan had a brief fling with Xavier Thornton when she was 16 but then Xavier went on to athletic fame, Thea married a white man, had a blue-eyed daughter and became a young widow. When the story starts, that daughter, Jesse, is about to go to college, and Xavier, now a pastor, has found Thea again, and they are engaged to be married. However, when Xavier becomes the minister of a smalltown Arkansas church, hostile churchgoers, the demands on Thea's time and a profound unhappiness with smalltown life take their toll. Meanwhile, Jesse is having trouble fitting in at college. Thea and Jesse are well-drawn characters, strong independent women who readers will love. Xavier, however, is far too perfect to be interesting; it doesn't matter who he is, but merely what he represents-a good man and a relationship worth fighting for. While this African-American novel won't distinguish itself in the field, it is a satisfying read. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061542763
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Love on the Line

Chapter One

" 'My beloved is mine, and I am his. . . .' " Thea turned back a page and ran her finger down the thin leaf of the old Bible until she found the passage she had flagged. " 'Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.' "

Xavier's response was quick. " 'Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; Thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! How much better is thy love than wine!' "

Thea's gaze lit on another passage from the Song of Solomon. " 'By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.' "

There was a moment of silence and then she heard Xavier's book snap shut. "I think we've studied enough for one night."

"Agreed." Thea shifted the mouthpiece of her phone. "When you suggested that we read the Bible together I didn't expect it would be quite so stimulating."

"Then you underestimate how much I miss you." Xavier's voice sounded low and deep in her ear, as if only inches...not thousands of miles...separated them.

"And I you."

"Hm." She knew that when Xavier tempered his response with a thoughtful sound or even silence, he was thinking deeply. "So then, it's time we did something about that. What do you think?"

"What I think..." Thea broke off. What I think is that eighteen months is a ridiculously long time to be engaged to a man who has spent most of that time as far from me as possible. But she didn't want to sound unsure. "Are you ready to come home?"

"Are you ready to plan a wedding?"

"Howabout tomorrow?" The moment the words were out she wished she hadn't been so impulsive. They had talked often of marriage but had not yet set a date.

His chuckle reassured her. "The lady's anxious."

"The lady's forty-five years old, Xavier Thornton. A woman my age has only so many good years left."

"Oh, I plan to make best use of all those left, and quite a few of the lesser best years, besides."

Thea closed her eyes. "So then, I can make plans?"

"Plan away. But keep it simple." He paused. "I've had an answer from the letter I sent the bishop. I had asked him to find me a church placement as soon as possible and he has found one. So I'm coming home to check it out as well."

"Oh, Xavier, that's wonderful." Even if he didn't say he was coming home only to see her she was still happy he was coming back. She supposed she should be beyond such silly feminine sentiments but what woman in love ever was?

"I hope you will think so, Thea. I've asked for a modest appointment. There won't be a St. James Jubilee Crown of Heaven Tabernacle or sizable congregation or . . ."

Thea's thoughts strayed away from his explanation when she glanced down at the engagement ring on her finger. It represented a love that had survived greater odds than they had any right to expect. Even I had my moments of doubt.

When she tracked down Xavier in Cabo San Lucas last year, after he had disappeared following the renunciation of his wealth and his position as pastor of a powerful church in Atlanta, she wasn't at all certain that they had a future. She hadn't immediately opened the ring box Xavier had placed in her palm that weekend after they'd made love. Even after he'd asked her to marry him, and she'd said yes, she wasn't sure she was ready to wear a symbol that so conspicuously announced to the world her plans to make Xavier Thornton a permanent part of her life. A three carat diamond elicited a lot of comments, especially from other women. And she was by nature a private person.

Not every couple that falls in love needs to marry. A lot could change in a year, even if she were certain. But now Xavier was coming home!

". . . all that aside," Xavier's voice drew Thea back into their conversation, "I must have a job if I'm to provide, however simply, for a wife. Are you fine with that?"

As he fell silent, Thea realized she might have missed something important. Yet she wasn't about to admit she wasn't paying attention. Better she should try to finesse the moment. "Are you trying to tell me your prospects are limited?"

"Limited to what God will provide." His answer carried an abrupt seriousness.

She admired his ease in introducing God into conversations. She never felt completely comfortable doing that. It made her self conscious, except when talking with him. But, at the moment, she was a bride-to-be teasing her groom.

"So then, it's a good thing that I have been a faithful contributor to my IRAs."

His familiar silence seemed suddenly tense. "I will not ask you to share my vow of poverty."

"Poverty?" She whispered the word.

"So, if you need more time or . . ."

"No." She took a breath instead of asking how small a stipend he was expecting. Xavier had placed his considerable fortune in a blind trust, yet she had assumed that he would eventually return to the life, if not the lifestyle, he had abandoned. Even if he didn't . . .

"How about an August wedding?" She crossed her fingers like a child. "You think you can be home by then?"

"I'm ready to come home to you for good." There was a smile in his voice again.

"Then it's settled. A wedding in two weeks!" She had a good career, savings, and investments; they would survive.

"You better call my sisters. You know how they like to be part of my life plans."

Love on the Line. Copyright © by Laura Castoro. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    is an intriguing look at defining one¿s race in modern times

    Four years have passed since her white husband died. African-American Widow Thea and their daughter Jesse have moved on. Mom has an influential well paying job and a new ¿old teen¿ love in her life Pastor Xavier Thornton; while her mixed race child who can pass for white is a terrific athlete starting college. Xavier proposes and she accepts though her work keeps her in a different state than his.<BR/><BR/>Xavier¿s Arkansas church frowns on his wife for her frequent absences, her white like attitude and her daughter¿s white like looks. Thea loves Xavier and what she does for living, but begins to understand the pressure mounting on her spouse. She is also worried about Jesse, who is unsure of her heritage even as her blue eyes and light skin give her a choice until someone reveals her mixed bloodlines.<BR/><BR/>This is an intriguing look at defining one¿s race in modern times when the child is the offspring of mixed races. Thea and Jesse make the tale work as each face complex identity issues with courage and strength. Although Xavier is more a caricature of the ideal husband-father-community activist than a person, fans will enjoy this fine inspirational as Thea knows he is a good man but loves her work and Jesse knows what she should do, but that is not easy to do.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

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