A prequel to the novel, Secrets and Lies
Coming December 2009
By Rhonda McKnight
“Forget it. I’m not calling.” Jonah Morgan pushed the end button on the phone and dropped onto the sofa. Faith Andrews was the woman he’d been looking for his entire adult life. All he had to do was ask her out, but he was trippin’.
“You need to go on and call her,” Les Abrams, his best friend channel surfed with the remote control. “Ya’ old behind is almost thirty. It’s time to get married.”
Jonah craned his neck in Les’ direction. They had been friends since their freshman year at Morehouse. “How you advocating marriage when all you do is complain about your wife?”
Les settled on the Knicks game and reached for the bowl of popcorn in front of him. “Look negro all I’m saying is you practically a monk. Why not give this one a try, especially since it seems like she’s not feeling you anyway. You need the challenge.”
Jonah reached for a pillow to his right and threw it at Les’ head. “Very funny.”
Les caught the object mid-flight and laughed. “You been sending flowers and trying to be all suave with this sister. She has your number and I know you ain’t seen those digits on the Caller I.D. That’s a first for you. Usually your woman have to be taken away by the police and served with a restraining order,” Les laughed again.
“Like you haven’t had a stalker or two in your past.”
“Yeah, but marriage ends all that. I mean you still got women trying to throw behind your way, but they can’t blow up your phone and wait outside your house no more.”
Jonah considered what Les was saying. Especially the monk part. He needed some female companionship, but he wanted someone who had a little something going on. Someone like Faith.
“Unless you holding out because of the kid?” Les added, with raised eyebrows.
Jonah thought about Faith’s seven month old. She came as a package, but she was a widow. “Nah, dude. No potential baby daddy drama so it’s cool.”
The image of Faith floated into his mind. Not that it ever seemed to float out. He’d met her two months ago when she’d come into the emergency room with her son. He’d admitted the child into the hospital and spent time getting to know the mother while they were there. He was smitten instantly. Heck, who was he kidding, a brother was sprung. “I’m going to my room to make this call,” Jonah said, standing. “I don’t need background noise.”
“Hurry up. They finna hoop,” Les said. “And I need to see you suffer while you lose this twenty.”
Jonah laughed. Les was dreaming. Even the struggling Hawks would beat the Knicks this year. He entered his bedroom and dialed the number he’d committed to memory. He had to do this quick, or he’d lose his nerve again.
“Hello.” Faith’s sultry voice greeted him after the third ring.
“Faith, this is Jonah – Dr. Morgan from the hospital.”
She laughed, a deep, throaty, sexy sound that told him he’d said something funny, but he couldn’t imagine what. He didn’t want to be a joke. “I remember you Jonah. How could I forget? The flowers you sent have this entire apartment smelling like a garden.”
Relief washed over him. “Well, a brother never knows who else might be sending flowers.”
“How are you this evening?” she asked. So she wasn’t going to volunteer whether or not she had another bunch of Valentine flowers.
“I’m good.” Great now that I’m hearing your incredible voice, he thought.
“Aren’t you watching the game? I know you’re a diehard Hawks fan.”
“Tip off is in five minutes,” he replied, more confidence barreling from his belly. A brother was feeling like he could get some play because she remembered. “I just wanted to call. Check on Eric. See how you’re doing.”
She was silent for a moment. A moment too long and he thought he’d lost the connection. “Eric is fine. He’s teething, but it hasn’t’ been too bad.”
He’d observed that she was an excellent mother. Just the kind of woman he wanted to raise his kids. No I didn’t. Jonah shook his head. “I’m glad to hear that, but how are you, Faith. I mean really?” Her husband had been dead almost a year and she was young, had to be hard.
“I’m okay.” But he noted she didn’t really sound like it. He heard something in her voice that resonated in his own. Loneliness, an ache, a feeling like you’re only half of a set of two. He was sick of it.
“Look, Faith. I think it’s kind of obvious that I’m attracted to you.” Halfway there. “ I’d like you to have dinner with me.” Bam, there it was. She’d have to be crazy to say no. He was a black doctor. Every woman wants me, right?
“Jonah, I’m flattered, but I don’t know,” she hesitated. “I just don’t think I’m ready to start dating again.”
Jonah took a deep breath. Okay, so every woman didn’t want him. He was going to have to push harder. She was scared. Scared to stick her foot in the pool, scared the water would be cold. There was nothing about him that would shock her nerve endings. He just had to get her to stick her toe out. “Don’t think of it as a date. Think of it as dinner between friends.”
She laughed again, “I haven’t known you long enough to call you a friend.”
“Funny, I feel like I’ve known you all my life.” Did he think that or say it? Dang, he said it. Faith wasn’t responding. Cool points were way down. He took a deep breath and decided it was time for him to do what he did best, take control. “Friday night, seven. I promise I won’t bite. We’ll have dinner and see that Jazzy Sleeping Beauty.” She’d told him she loved ethnic ballet and tickets were hard to get. He had a hook-up. Les’s wife was on the Atlanta Arts Council.
Jonah could hear a smile in her voice. He could see it in his memory. Cool points had to come up with Ballethnic tickets. “I’m trying my very best.” He liked this woman. Liked that she wasn’t dying to go out with him. Liked that he had to work for it.
A long pause and then a promising murmur. “It would be nice to get out.”
Yes. Jonah’s fist went up victoriously. “Okay, then I’ll see you at seven on Friday.”
“Seven is good.”
Jonah reentered the living room, poked out his chest and flashed a wide grin. Les scanned him from head to toe and took a sip of his drink. “Sucker, you’ll be married by this time next year.”
Jonah guffawed as his backside hit the sofa. He couldn’t help thinking that didn’t sound half bad.
More about Secrets and Lies, coming December 2009 from Urban Christian Books:
In marriage you can’t keep a secret without telling a lie. Jonah and Faith Morgan’s marriage is collapsing under the weight of both. What happens when Jonah’s accused of sexual harassment. Will Faith keep the “faith” when the heat’s turned up or will an enemies plot for revenge change their lives forever?
Visit Rhonda online at her website RhondaMcknight.net or her blog, Urban Christian Fiction Today.