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About the Book
Meet Reuben Burns
Reuben stood in the center of the dining room, squirming like an awkward teenager put on display for his parents’ friends. Mama’s effusive praise made him want to hitchhike to Washington State.
She had been chattering nonstop about his new job in the Jubilant mayor’s office since Aunt Melba arrived an hour ago. When Rachelle and Gabe walked in, she shared the details again.
Mama had insisted on the last-minute gathering after deciding that Reuben’s news was worth celebrating.
“Mayor Henning met Reuben at Melba’s Christmas party last December and was really impressed,” Mama said. This time she was telling the story to Indigo’s fiancé, Max. He had arrived separately from Indigo a few minutes earlier, after wrapping up a photo shoot at a downtown business function.
Reuben fixed his smile. Didn’t Mama remember that Max had attended that party too and had witnessed the connection between the two men?
“Reuben told the mayor that he might want to move back to Jubilant, and they began talking privately about Reuben joining his team,” she said. “Mayor Henning created this new position based on Reuben’s skill set. Basically, Reuben will be getting all of the city’s computer systems updated, right, son?”
Mama raised a questioning eyebrow while everyone turned to listen. If he weren’t so tense, Reuben would have laughed at her attempts to describe his new job in layman’s terms.
“That’s about right. I’ll be overseeing an upgrade of the computers in City Hall and then getting the system there to ‘talk’ to the computer systems in other city agencies, so that there’s more efficient functioning across the board. It’s almost like building a new bridge but still using the old bridge until the new one is ready.
For a while, you have two bridges standing side by side. When the new one is sturdy enough, you have to build an off ramp from the old one onto the new one, without people noticing much difference in their efforts to cross from one side to the other.
“After that project’s finished, I’ll draft a strategic plan for revamping internal communications for city employees and improving citizens’ access to online services and products.”
Aunt Melba leaned toward Reuben and hugged his neck.
“Congratulations, nephew,” she said. “Sounds like an important job, but it’s not quite as exciting as working for Amazon.com is it? You sure you’re ready for small-town life again?”
Mama glared at her sister. “Of course he is, Melba. Besides, what’s more important than being with your family?”
Mama approached Reuben and steered him to a chair on the left side of the long, cherry table. “Sit here, between your sisters.”
She motioned for Indigo and Yasmin to fill the seats that flanked him. Yasmin rolled her eyes and trudged to her designated spot.
Indigo leaned against the cherrywood buffet and folded her arms. She remained expressionless, but Reuben knew an attitude when he saw one. Max pulled Indigo toward the table and led her to the chair on Reuben’s right. He sat on the other side of Indigo and continued to hold her hand under the table.
Now that Mama had everyone positioned where she wished—her three children and Max on one side of the table and her sister Melba, niece Rachelle, and Rachelle’s husband Gabe on the other—she beamed.
“Wait until I tell your uncle Herbert.” Mama glanced at Rachelle.
“You haven’t called your father, have you? I want to be the first to let my brother know that my baby’s moving back home.”
Reuben saw Gabe nudge Rachelle with his elbow.
“I wouldn’t dare steal your thunder, Aunt Irene,” Rachelle said, struggling to keep from laughing. “I know how excited you are.”
“Everybody does!” Indigo said in a lighthearted tone accompanied by a wide, plastic smileReuben hadn’t spent much time with her during his return trips over the past four years, despite his efforts, but he knew Indigo well enough now to recognize the frustration that had reared its head earlier in the day, during lunch.
He leaned toward her, prepared to call her on it. But Aunt Melba chimed in first, with a raised eyebrow.
About the Author
Stacy Hawkins Adams is a nationally-published, award-winning author and speaker. Her contemporary women’s fiction novels are filled with social themes and spiritual quests that take readers on journeys into their own souls.
She holds a degree in journalism and served as a newspaper reporter for more than a decade before turning her full attention to penning books, speaking professionally and writing freelance articles. Stacy lives in a suburb of Richmond, Virginia with her husband and two young children.