FORGIVEN by Vanessa Miller
#25 in Amazon Top 100 Books in > Romance > Multicultural
But this time JT is committed to God and his family in ways he never considered possible. After losing everything because of past indiscretions, JT realizes that he doesn’t want to live without God or his family and begins to turn his life around. But his wife hasn’t forgotten the dirt in his backyard and denies JT the very thing he craves – forgiveness. When his mother-in-law and ex-mistress hatch a plot to destroy him, JT discovers that he will need all the Holy Ghost power he can muster to stay true.
Cassandra Thomas loves her husband, and wants their marriage to work. But JT destroyed her trust when he cheated on her with one woman after the next. Try as she might, Cassandra just can’t forgive. The trust and the thrill is gone from her marriage. In times of trouble, Cassandra has always turned to God for help, but can God soften her heart enough so that she can forgive a man like JT?
EXCERPT: Prologue from Uncorrected Proof
Crouched down between a rusty old Lincoln with a playboy symbol on the driver’s side door and a red Pontiac with a busted rearview window, while a maniac wielded a tire iron that had already clipped her in the leg once, Diane Benson decided it was time to call her husband and beg for his forgiveness.
She had left Cleveland, Ohio about eight months ago after leaving her three oldest children with her husband, Joe Benson. She then drove to Pastor JT Thomas’ house and left her three month old daughter with him and his wife. The way Diane saw it, every child needed to be with his or her own daddy and she didn’t care how JT and Cassandra’s life was disrupted. JT got what he deserved anyway. What kind of man pastors a church while sleeping with the deacon’s wife? But JT hadn’t only been sleeping with her. Diane could have understood if he had slipped into sin because he just couldn’t resist her voluptuous curves and Angelina Jollie pouty lips. But that hadn’t been the case.
JT would sleep with anything in a knee high skirt willing to kick her pumps off and get busy. Too bad she got pregnant before she figured that one out. She had been prepared to leave her husband for JT so they could start a new life with their baby. But JT suddenly developed a conscious and realized that a husband’s place was at home with his wife. He expected her to just continue living a lie with Benson. JT never imagined that she would tell Benson the truth. But she had, and Benson beat the snot out of him.
Soon after JT got his beat down, Diane had become fed up with the whole matter. So after dropping Lily off with her daddy, she left town with Brian Johnson. Brian had been the mechanic at the auto dealership her husband owned. But Brian was fixing more than automobiles and Joe hadn’t had a clue about it. Brian had been her side kick. When JT wasn’t acting right, she spent her free time with Brian. She may have imagined herself as first lady of Faith Outreach while fooling around with JT, but Brian was the one who made her weak at the knees. She couldn’t lie if she wanted to, that man held some type of demonic power over her and she lived to do his bidding. Actually, Lily could have been Brian’s baby just as well as JT’s. But Brian said that since she had been sleeping with JT more than him around the time that she’d gotten pregnant, Lily more than likely belonged to JT. Funny thing was, when the DNA test came back and it proved that Brian had been right; JT was Lily’s father, Brian got so mad that he up and left her in Jacksonville, Florida with only twenty dollars to her name.
That’s when she met Darryl Mills. Darryl was a house flipper. Since the economy turned and not many people were buying homes, he’d given Diane the key to a fabulous four bedroom home in the suburbs. Diane loved the house and was trying to figure out how she could convince Darryl to give it to her instead of putting it back on the market. Diane almost had Darryl convinced, until his nosy wife figured out that she was living in the house rent free. That’s why Diane was crouched between two cars right now. The maniac with the tire iron was Darryl’s wife.
“You might as well come out from between these cars. ‘Cause I really don’t care if I bang these cars up, just as long as you get banged up in the process.”
Crawling on the ground, trying to move further into the jam packed parking lot and away from the tire iron, Diane said, “I don’t even know you, lady. Why are you doing this?”
“You know me well enough to sleep with my husband,” the woman said as she angled her obese body between the two closely parked cars and swung at Diane.
Thankful that the woman missed her that time, Diane stood up and ran as quickly as she could through the maze of cars.
Darryl’s wife was simply too big to move any further in between the Lincoln and the Pontiac, so she couldn’t catch Diane, but she screamed as loud as she could, “I’m throwing all your stuff out of my house and onto the street. If you come back here to get any of it, I’m going to shoot you.”
Once Diane was a safe distance away from certain death, she used the cell phone that Darryl bought her to call Benson. When he answered she said, “Hey, Joe, I was just calling to check on the kids. How are they doing?”
“They miss you, Diane, that’s how they’re doing,” Joe told her.
“I know. I know,” she said, like a woman who’d learned her lesson. “I should have never left them. I miss all my babies.”
“You received court papers about a custody hearing for Lily last week.”
“What?” she said as if she couldn’t believe this was happening to her. “What am I supposed to do, Joe? I don’t even have a way to get back to Cleveland right now.”
“The hearing is next month. I’ll get you an airline ticket. Just tell me where you are.”
That’s what she wanted to hear, but she tried to tamper down her excitement as she said, “I don’t know, Benson. The only reason I didn’t turn around and come right back home eight months ago was because I was scared about how you would treat me.”
Benson was almost seven feet tall, bulky and strong, but with his wife, he might as well have been a midget. “Have I ever given you a reason to fear me? It’s not just the kids missing you, Diane. I miss you. Just come home.”
“What about Lily? I can’t just forget that I have another child.”
“I wasn’t sure that you wanted Lily since you left her with JT.”
“She’s my child,” Diane said angrily. JT wasn’t just going to run over her with some custody hearing, telling some judge that his wife would be a better mother than she was.
Benson cleared his throat. “Just come home, Diane. We can work on getting Lily back from JT once we’re back together.”
“Okay, Benson. I’m in Jacksonville, Florida. Go online and order the ticket and I’ll pick it up at the airport.” Diane smiled as she hung up the phone. Benson had always been at her beck and call. She would go home, but she would also make JT pay for the agony she felt had been inflicted on her because of his refusal to leave his wife and marry her. And she would start by taking Lily away from him.
Purchase signed copies from Vanessa: http://www.vanessamiller.com
ABOUT VANESSA MILLER
Vanessa’s novels have received rave reviews, with several appearing on Essence Magazine’s Bestseller’s List. Miller’s work has receiving numerous awards, including “Best Christian Fiction Mahogany Award” and the “Red Rose Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction.” Miller graduated from Capital University with a degree in Organizational Communication. She is an ordained “exhorter” in her church, explaining, “God has called me to exhort readers and to help them rediscover their place with the Lord.”
Vanessa Miller and her family live in Dayton, Ohio. Visit Vanessa on the Internet: http://www.vanessamiller.com/
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