Saturday, October 04, 2008
SIN - Crystal Rhodes
By Crystal V. Rhodes
Publisher Genesis Press
Genre Romantic Suspense
Published date June 2008 (re-release)
Where it can be purchased Amazon.com and Genesis-Press.com
Blurb about the book:
My mother was a junkie.' These starling words are Reverend Nedra Davis' introduction to the handsome, mysterious stranger named Sinclair Reasoner, who goes by the name, Sin. It is a name that will prove to be prophetic as the lady minister falls for him. Yet, a dangerous secret lurks behind Sin's seductive smile. Unknown to Nedra who is renown for her anti-drug activism in the community Sinclair Reason
is involved in the drug trade.
“My mother was a junkie.”
The words were said so matter-of-fact that Nedra Davis wasn’t certain that she had heard them. Yet, her only acknowledgment that he had spoken was a slight shift in her seat. She registered no surprise. He registered no emotion. His eyes, still focused on her, were blank. His expression was unreadable.
He continued. “She was 25 years old when she died. I was ten.”
Simple math told her that he had been the product of a teenage pregnancy. She didn’t want to speculate, but she could guess the rest of the scenario--young, pregnant, desperate girl finds escape from the reality of her dilemma in drugs. She had witnessed it too many times, and it seemed that it was the innocent ones, the children, who suffered the most. Neglected, dejected, too often abandoned and left alone to make their own way, their futures were predictable--crime, drugs, imprisonment, and much too often, death.
There were times, however, that the outcome was different. Sometimes the lucky ones escaped the cycle of despair, using reservoirs of strength that never ceased to amaze.
Nedra studied the man sitting before her. He was one of the lucky ones.
Strikingly handsome, he was dressed, impeccably, in an expensive, double breasted, navy blue suit, his snow white shirt complemented the reddish hues in his chocolate brown skin. His hair was cut close to his head in a wavy black sculpture, sprinkled sparsely with gray. A thick, well trimmed mustache enhanced the sparkling smile he had bestowed on her when he approached her in the parking lot earlier. Coal black eyes, beneath long sooty lashes looked as if they could see straight into her soul. Sharp cheekbones emphasized a broad, flat nose. Embedded in his chin was a cleft, a deep slash of a cleft, which gave his features a rugged, masculine quality. He was about 6 feet 2 inches of masculine perfection, a man any woman couldn’t help but notice—even a female minister.
“Reverend Davis,” he continued, “This boy is the same age as I was when my mother died. His little brother is only five. Yet, this ten year old is responsible for his kid brother—feeding him, clothing him, and keeping a roof over his head, and it’s a job he takes very seriously.”
“You say you caught him trying to steal your car?” Nedra raised an eyebrow in obvious surprise at his calm reaction to such a transgression. “Why didn’t you call the police?”
“Actually, he was trying to steal the radio.” He chuckled, ignoring her question. “Cursed me out good when I caught him, but he’s a bright kid and as smart as hell!”
Nedra raised a brow again at his choice of words. He didn’t blink, recant, or apologize.
“He by-passed my alarm system with some gadget he made himself with a piece of wood, some wires, tape and batteries. I looked at the thing and couldn’t figure out how he did it. The kid is a mechanical genius.”
“You keep calling him ‘the kid’. Does the boy have a name?” His enthusiasm over this child had piqued her interest.
“His name is Colin Johnson. His little brother’s name is Trevor. Both of the boys are quite articulate.”
“They sound interesting.”
“They are, and they’re good kids trapped in a bad situation. That’s why I came here to your church, instead of calling the cops on Colin. I’ve heard that under you, this church has an excellent reputation in the community. You serve it well with a child care center, low cost housing, an on the job training program, a food pantry, clothes closet, drug rehab program and a homeless shelter. You name it, Mount Peter is doing it.”
“No, you do more than try. You get the job done. When I took that boy home to talk to his mother—” He sighed, running his hand over his face in frustration as he recalled the boy’s environment, “Nobody, nobody, should live like that. It was filthy! There were dirty clothes and dirty dishes everywhere. The smell was awful! The place hadn’t been cleaned since who knows when. There was no food in the refrigerator. The little one was there by himself—filthy, raggedy and hungry. Colin was trying to steal the radio so he could sell it for money to buy food. That’s what his little brother told me.”
“The poor little things.”
“The boys claimed that their mother was coming home soon. I knew they were
lying. I figured that she hadn’t been around for a while. I was in and out of there for four, maybe, five hours. I bought food and cleaning supplies, and made them clean up that rat trap. I didn’t see her while I was there. I took them to the Laundromat to wash the clothes, and I bought them a couple of outfits.”
“That was very nice of you.” The more he spoke, the more impressed she was
with this man. If she had passed him on the street she would have identified him as another aimless playboy, not the kind caring man sitting before her.
“Nice has nothing to do with it. As I said before, I was Colin at ten. He and his brother need help, and I want to see that they get it. I think that you can make that happen.”
Clasping her hands together on top of her desk, Nedra sighed. There was so much need for so many. It was hard to keep up.
“What can we do?”
Briefly, his dark eyes drifted away from her to the Brenda Joyce print hanging on the pale, yellow wall behind her. It was a print of a mother and child, a portrait striking in its beauty and grace. His eyes shifted back to Nedra, piercing her with their intensity as she sat watching him.
Who was this stranger? He had approached her as she unlocked the back door of the church, his deep, masculine voice calling her name. Startled, she turned and her heartbeat accelerated as she saw him standing there. He was so tall and so handsome. Her heartbeat had n’t slowed down yet.
“I’ve been going by the boys’ house for two weeks now,” he continued, “and I’ve only seen evidence once that their mother has been back in that apartment.”
“What evidence was that?”
“I’ve been leaving her notes everyday asking her to call me. She did, last night, sounding high as a kite. She gave all kinds of excuses for missing me at the apartment, and then said that she needed some money to pay the rent. But, I knew she was lying.”
“I’d already paid the rent for three months in advance. She just didn’t know it.”
“So she wanted the money for dope.”
“What else? When I refused to give it to her, she offered to—” He shifted uncomfortably, in his chair. “Well, let’s say she’ll do anything for a fix. I refused that offer, so she offered to sell the boys to me.”
Nedra’s heart lurched. “Oh my God!”
“That’s why I’m here. Those kids have to leave there.”
“You’re right. Where are they now?”
“At home. As soon as she hung up I went by to check on them, hoping that I could catch her, but I didn’t. Trevor is the only one that I can get any information from and he said she came home briefly, then left again. I stayed with them until early this morning, went home, changed and came straight here.” He sat back in his chair allowing her time to absorb the information that he had provided.
The sorrow Nedra felt was overwhelming. She’d read about people selling their children, but the reality of what had been said stunned her. “Why haven’t you called the police about this? It’s obvious that those boys need to be removed from that house, immediately.”
“I know, but I think it would be better if you called them. The boys are traumatized enough. I don’t want them to think I betrayed them too. I thought that maybe you might have some family in the church who could take them in. I heard about the foster-adopt program you have here. A lot of your church members adopt, is that right?”
“Yes, I’m proud to say that’s true.”
“Then isn’t there some way that you can make the process of removing them from their home easier, a way that they won’t have to go into the foster care system?
Nedra paused, her mind skirting the possibilities of how she could make that happen. “I can make a call to a friend of mine and see what can be done. She’s a social worker at Children’s Services.”
“Great.” He sighed his relief.
Nedra started dialing the telephone. “She’ll need to talk with you.”
Nedra smiled at him, reassuringly, as she waited for someone to respond to the ring. Nervously, she averted her eyes from his, unable to hold his piercing gaze. She was
grateful when the call was answered on the other end.
“Child Welfare, Sharon Mays speaking.”
“Hello, Sharon. It’s Nedra.” Her tone was somber. “Unfortunately, I’ve got another one for you. A Mr...”
Nedra glanced up at the stranger sitting across from her realizing that they had been talking for nearly an hour and she still didn’t know his name. “A Mr...”
He gave her a crooked smile as he realized her dilemma. “Reasoner. Sinclair Reasoner.” The smile deepened, “But you can call me Sin.”
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