The Allure is the story of John and Valerie, who have drifted apart after seven years of marriage. Valerie desires God's will for her marriage, as long as it means she can have someone else to come home to. But God begins to heal Valerie's heart and marriage, and take her and her husband in a direction she doesn't expect. Join Jackie King-Scott as she creates a story that will intrigue you and teach readers more about the God we serve.
|Series:||Encouraging African-Americans in Their Walk Series|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 17 Years|
About the Author
JACKIE KING-SCOTT is a veteran journalist and prolific author. She has worked in the Dallas market as a radio news reporter, newscaster, talk show host, and contributing writer for a local weekly newspaper. Jackie is the author of The Allure and speaks to women's and teenage groups. She currently resides in the Dallas area with her husband, Louis.
Read an Excerpt
By Jackie King-Scott
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2003 Jackie King-Scott
All rights reserved.
The ball hurtled through the warm spring air like a guided missile, heading straight for Valerie Townsend's face. She threw up her hands to protect herself, dropping the pile of magazines she'd been carrying.
"I'm sorry, ma'am!" a little boy yelled breathlessly, running hard toward her. "I didn't mean for it to go toward you! I'm sorry!"
"That's OK," she assured the boy, bending to retrieve the fallen magazines.
"Here, let me get those for you," said a voice that was definitely not that of a boy. Valerie straightened in the direction of the voice and was surprised to look into one of the warmest pairs of eyes she'd ever seen. The gorgeous, gray-green eyes belonged to a tall, athletically built man who offered her a wide smile. She admired the way his thick wavy hair shone in the sun.
The man scooped up the magazines and handed them to her. "Are you all right?" he asked, a note of concern in his voice.
Valerie smiled in return. "Thanks, I'm fine. My arm took the blow, so there's no harm done."
He extended his hand in one smooth motion. "Curtis Chambers," he offered. She gave his hand a quick squeeze. "Hi, I'm Valerie Townsend."
Valerie tucked her magazines under her arm and turned to continue her search for a shady park bench, but Curtis wanted to continue the conversation.
"Do you come here often?" he asked. "I haven't seen you in this part of the park before."
"Actually, I just started," Valerie said. "I've been looking for a place to think and read."
That was an understatement, and she knew it. She was looking for a place to escape the stifling animosity that hung in the air between her and her husband, John. Even though they shared a spacious home, it sometimes felt like the world wasn't large enough for the two of them to get along. It was easy enough to ignore each other during the week when they both worked, but lately weekends had become tense and unpleasant. Just a few minutes ago, she'd yelled at him about just how sick he made her sometimes. Then she'd grabbed an armful of magazines and left to find some peace and quiet.
It wasn't that she and John had had some disruptive ugliness between them, really. But after seven years, their marriage had lost some of its glow. A lot of its glow. Things had been just fine during the first five. In fact, there'd been times when she'd never expected their honeymoon stage to end. But it had come to an abrupt end after they'd been unable to start a family. And after her miscarriage a year ago and the depression that followed, her marriage had begun to unravel like a poorly crafted pair of baby booties. And, when Valerie was honest with herself, she wasn't sure she cared much about knitting it back together.
"Well, I'm glad I came this way today," Curtis said. His voice jolted Valerie from her thoughts.
"I'm sorry?" she said, asking him to repeat himself.
He eyed her appreciatively. "I said, I'm glad I came this way today. I was on my way to a rehearsal with my band and decided to take a shortcut through the park."
Valerie noticed the guitar case at his feet. "You play guitar?" she asked.
"Bass," he said, smiling again. "But only for the Lord." She felt a little embarrassed at the way her heart skipped at his words: "Only for the Lord." It was nice enough that he was a Christian, but she wondered whether she was happy for him or for herself. Why was she suddenly so intrigued by this stranger?
"Well, thanks again for saving my face," she said, turning again to leave.
Curtis picked up his guitar case.
"Maybe I'll see you again," Curtis said. "I come through here every week when I go to band rehearsal, and sometimes I jog here." He paused, and held her eyes with his. "I'll be looking for you," he said. "See you next time."
"Nice to meet you," she said, hoping he couldn't tell how flustered she was by the way he focused so intently on her. "Bye."
He strode off, rounded a curve and was out of her sight. Was he flirting with her, flashing her that stunning smile?
Valerie sat down on the park bench and wondered if there were some reason she'd run into Curtis at that particular time. He certainly was intriguing.
* * *
Valerie sat in her bedroom three Saturdays later, watching the pouring rain. She was thoroughly disappointed that she could not go to the park that day. All week she'd thought about the last two encounters with Curtis. Now it would be another week before she could possibly see him again. Their meetings had been harmless, Valerie told herself. They just met at her park bench and chatted. Curtis talked to her about his hopes for the band, and she told him about her work as an administrative assistant to the director of the local museum of African-American art and culture. Valerie was flattered by the interest he took in her work, and she enjoyed listening to his stories.
Several times over the last few weeks, she'd found herself wondering why God would allow this handsome, friendly man to come into her life. She'd been unhappy in her marriage for some time; was Curtis God's answer to her prayer to be free of it? After all, God wouldn't want her to be so unhappy for so long, would He?
Valerie laughed at herself, feeling foolish. In her mind's eye, the two of them had dated, she had divorced John, and they were headed for the altar. It's only been three weeks, she reasoned, and besides, he's not interested in me that way. We're just two people who really hit it off.
She decided to do her weekend chores, just in case the sun came out that afternoon. She washed clothes, did some grocery shopping and ran a load of dishes. When the sun did emerge from the clouds, Valerie was ready to go. She chose a casual pantsuit and a chic pair of sandals. She ran a comb through her short auburn curls, refreshed her lipstick, and sprayed on a touch of perfume before she headed for the door.
Her husband was relaxing on the couch, watching a basketball game. John looked quizzically at Valerie as she opened the back door. "Where are you going in such a hurry?" he asked.
Valerie chose a couple of magazines from the coffee table and tried to appear casual. She'd forgotten that John had Saturday off this week.
"Oh, I'm just going to the park for a couple of hours," she said airily.
If John sensed that something was amiss, he didn't let on.
"Well, don't forget that we have the farewell dinner for the missionary couple tonight at church."
"I'll be back in time," she said over her shoulder as she slipped out the door.
I hope I haven't missed him, Valerie thought, walking more quickly than usual. She resented her husband's inquiry about her activities. After all, if she wanted to have a little time to spend her way before she played her public role as the contented wife, that was her business.
Valerie arrived at the park, scrambled off the path she had begun to follow, and skirted a small hill to get to her bench faster. Descending the hill she stopped, frozen by what she saw in front of her. A mother with two small children was sitting on her bench. She was holding one baby on her lap and talking to the other child who was in a stroller.
Valerie winced, the way she had almost every time she'd seen young children lately. Her hand flew involuntarily to her stomach, and she remembered the pain of her childlessness yet again.
Then she started to pray. Maybe it was nothing—or maybe that woman was sitting on her bench as a test of her faith. In any case, it was an intrusion—and it was wasting more time she could have been spending with Curtis.
"Come on God, make her move," she whispered. "Make her move, please." Suddenly, the woman placed the baby on her lap back into the stroller, settled her other child, and pushed the stroller back onto the path and down the hill.
Valerie dashed to the bench before anyone else spied it, sat down, and mused over how quickly God had moved in response to her need. Surely He wouldn't have provided a place for her to meet Curtis if he disapproved of their friendship, would He?
Valerie waited and busied herself thumbing through the magazines she had brought. An hour passed, and no Curtis. She read some more and checked her watch again. Almost thirty minutes more had gone by. In another thirty minutes she would have to leave to dress for the dinner.
"Where can he be?" Valerie said to herself. She twisted her wedding ring around and around on her finger nervously, gazing at the one-carat solitaire. It was set in a wide gold nugget band that snuggled against a matching nugget band to form a pair. The diamond glittered and winked at her as if teasing her, taunting her. Valerie felt trapped, caught by John's ring that seemed to twinkle at her: "Gotcha!"
She sighed and chose another magazine from the pile she'd brought. Of course Curtis would have noticed her wedding rings. How could he have missed them? That must have been why Curtis didn't come. How could he have known that she only wore them as part of the charade she and John called a marriage? He couldn't have known that she hadn't really wanted to wear her rings for some time.
Valerie figured she might as well go home. Apparently Curtis was not going to show. Dejected, she gathered her things.
"Nice bench you've chosen out here under the trees," Curtis said, walking up just as she stood to leave. "Mind if I join you?"
"Sure," Valerie said, making room for Curtis on the small park bench. "Have a seat. Where's your guitar?" she asked, noticing that he'd come empty-handed.
"It's already at the church. I see you're still catching up on your reading."
"I am," she said. "I love to read. It relaxes me." His eyes bore into her, and Valerie could tell he was curious about something. "Do you live near here?"
She nodded. "Do you know where Sierra Sand is?" He seemed impressed. "That's a really nice subdivision," he said. "A nice neighborhood." He paused, letting his eyes drift slowly over her nut-brown skin and sparkling brown eyes. "Which brings me to another question."
"What's that?" she asked, blushing slightly under his perusal.
He nodded toward her left hand. "Where is your husband?"
"Right now he's at home, watching some game," she said, rolling her eyes.
"I can tell just looking at the rings on your finger that he cares a great deal about you," he said, raising an eyebrow. "I'm surprised he's not enjoying this fantastic day with his attractive ... and mysterious wife."
"Th-Thank you for your compliment," Valerie stammered, ecstatic that Curtis thought she was attractive. "But, you're mistaken. I'm not at all mysterious. I just have some problems I need to think through."
Curtis seemed intrigued. "Maybe I can help you with your thinking." He placed his arm on the bench behind her, letting it graze her shoulder for a moment. "Do you have time to talk now?"
"Oh," she said, voice heavy with disappointment. "My husband and I are going to a dinner tonight, so I have to rush home today."
"That's too bad. I was going to invite you for a quick bite to eat before my rehearsal. Well ... maybe next time."
"That would be great."
"Then you can tell me all about yourself, and about what's troubling you ..." He paused and added, "And why you're not home with your husband." He took her hand, helping her to stand. "You had better get going." He squeezed her hand lightly. "See you next week around five."
Valerie floated all the way home.CHAPTER 2
Just a Friend?
If the will of one person could have made the days of the week progress, Valerie would have made them move so that she wouldn't have to wait to see Curtis.
At one moment she was on cloud nine—daydreaming about the upcoming Saturday. At the very next moment she was in the deepest doldrums.
You fool, he won't come, she mused to herself on Wednesday as she poured a cup of coffee and made her way over to her desk. Here she was at work, with plenty to do to arrange an upcoming exhibit, but her thoughts kept drifting to Curtis.
Valerie didn't dare confide in anyone. She thought of telling two of her close friends at work but felt too uneasy. For one thing, they might think she was just reading things into a few innocent meetings. Besides, telling them about Curtis would mean revealing just how bad, how boring, things had become between John and her. She glanced at her shelf, where a photo of her husband smiled down on her. In the shot, his muscular arm was draped around her shoulder as they smiled for the camera. Those were happier days, she thought. Before the infertility treatments, before the miscarriage, before my husband forgot how to meet my needs, before we started bickering so much.
In any case, they looked like the perfect couple in that photo, and Valerie wasn't about to tell her coworkers that they weren't.
* * *
Valerie frowned, annoyed to see her husband parked in front of the television yet again. It was Saturday, and apparently John didn't have to work. Well, she hoped he wouldn't interfere with her weekend plans. After all, she had a five o'clock date to keep.
Valerie blushed. Was she really thinking of their get-together as a date?
John noticed her bustling around the house, hurrying to finish her work again. "Valerie, are you going somewhere?" he asked.
"Just to the park," she said. "I want to do some reading, and the noise is distracting to me."
John seemed annoyed. "Did you forget that we're supposed to visit my Mom today for her birthday?"
Valerie met his irritation with her own. "I'm not going to be able to go, John. I've got a big meeting with several of the museum's key donors on Monday, and you know how tired that long drive to your mother's makes me. I've got to be at my best on Monday, and that won't happen if I've been stuck in the car for most of today and tomorrow."
She plucked a gift bag from the corner of the room and set it on the coffee table.
"Here's a gift for her. Tell her I said hello," she said indifferently.
John looked at Valerie with a strange expression in his eyes. Whether it was disbelief or disappointment, she couldn't tell. It didn't matter, though, because she didn't care. John never considered her plans or her schedule, or whether she'd even wanted to visit his mother. He never thought about her feelings or interests at all. He could go by himself. She didn't plan on missing her time with Curtis. She'd been looking forward to it all week.
Valerie had only been waiting for about fifteen minutes when Curtis strode into view.
"Hey, pretty lady," he said, handing her a daisy he'd plucked along the path. Valerie marveled at his attentiveness. How long had it been since John had brought her flowers? She twirled the daisy between her fingers.
"Are you hungry? I'd like to treat my new friend to a late lunch, if you don't mind," he asked flirtatiously.
"Why thank you, kind sir," she said.
"I know just the place," he said, gesturing toward the food court at a nearby mall.
Valerie smiled up at Curtis as they walked toward the mall. It seemed perfectly innocent to her. After all, they were going to be eating out in the open. Curtis was, like he'd said, a new friend. They had nothing to hide.
* * *
"He just assumed that you'd want to ride with him? Didn't he bother to ask what you wanted?" Curtis asked incredulously.
Valerie nodded, feeling justified in her anger. "And that's how it's been for the last couple of years. John is so inconsiderate! And when I needed him the most—when I was really hurting after my miscarriage—he bailed on me. He never seemed to understand how I felt, never seemed interested when I wanted to talk. Sometimes I don't think he cares about me at all, Curtis," Valerie said, poking at what was left of a club sandwich. "I feel trapped in my marriage."
Curtis nodded, his eyes sympathetic. He commiserated with Valerie, he told her. He'd been married before, several years ago. His ex-wife and son lived in another state.
Valerie was surprised. She couldn't imagine anyone divorcing the man sitting across from her. He'd listened to her sound off about her marriage for more than an hour, his face shadowed with concern. It was evident that he felt her pain, and she felt completely justified in opening up to him. After all, Valerie reasoned, she wasn't being unfaithful to John by having a simple lunch with Curtis. In fact, John should have been grateful to her for remaining in a marriage that had failed so miserably.
The shades of dusk stealthily taking over the sky seemed to fuel their desire to talk. Valerie realized that she needed to get home, and Curtis had a rehearsal to go to. As they walked back to the park, Curtis gently took Valerie's hand in his. Soon they were standing in front of their bench, each groping for words that would say goodnight, yet not goodbye. They blurted out their words at the same time.
"You go first," he chuckled, still holding her hand.
"I was going to say I have really enjoyed talking with you —being with you," Valerie said shyly.
"And I with you. Let's do it again next week, only someplace a little more ..." He paused, choosing his word carefully. "Intimate." He gently squeezed her hand, then walked away in the direction of his church.
On the walk home Valerie thought about John and how he would feel if he knew how happy she was. Then she reasoned, Why be concerned with him? He was the reason I'd gone to that park in the first place.
Excerpted from The Allure by Jackie King-Scott. Copyright © 2003 Jackie King-Scott. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
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.
Table of Contents
1. The Encounter
2. Just a Friend?
3. A Close Call
4. A Change of Heart
5. Truth and Consequences
6. Stirring the Embers
8. A New Direction
9. Instructions for Success
10. A Look Back
11. A Confrontation
12. Difficult Fruit
13. A Costly Choice
14. A Time of Reckoning
15. Unfinished Business
16. Renewing the Nest
17. The Allure
18. A Rendezvous
19. The Confession
What People are Saying About This
Jackie King-Scott has given us a creative and unique story of paradise lost and regained. She walks us through the tragedies and triumphs of love through the eyes of a couple who must navigate the marital minefields of the good, the bad and the ugly. You will be captivated by how this fictional reality reaches out and grabs you as it changes your life and view of marriage forever.
-Tony Evans, Senior Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, President, The Urban Alternative
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was a refreshing book, and the is definitely a message here.
A must read for couples. Read it once for the knowledge (to know) then again for the wisdom (to apply). This will take your marriage to the next level or bring it back if it has leveled or is flickering. I never thought of the Fruits of the Spirit as a tool for a successful marriage but I felt as if I was in the book and I had to get to the next session. This proves that 'Anything we love can be saved' Thank you. ebunmil