From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Jermaine Banks sat on the side of the bathtub as his three-year-old-son, Khalil, played in the sudsy water with a green-and-white plastic boat. The boat was one of the few toys that remained from Jermaine's own childhood. Khalil loved it and wouldn't take a bath without it. As Jermaine watched his child's carefree smile, he felt uneasy. He knew that, in order to keep that smile on his son's face, he was going to have to make some drastic changes in his life. But how? He was almost thirty years old with only a high school education and absolutely no work experience. Just as he got lost in his thoughts he looked up to see his pregnant girlfriend, Erin, in the doorway.
"Are you guys almost done?" Erin whined, crossing her arms.
"We just got in, Erin. Give us a minute," Jermaine said, shaking his head.
That girl wants everything on her time, he thought.
"I'm just checking, no need for the attitude," Erin said as she turned and stomped down the stairs to the living room.
Jermaine shook his head again and went back to washing his son. For the most part he loved Erin and she was a good woman. She had her ways, but who didn't? They had been together through a lot of thick and thin. Even when Jermaine had stepped out on her and got Khalil's mother, Amani, pregnant while Erin was completing her undergraduate work at Morgan State University down in Baltimore. But then again, that forgiveness had come with a price, and now that Jermaine was trying to take a more active role in Khalil's life, he was starting to notice that Erin was pretty ambivalent about her feelings toward his son. Sometimes she went overboard, trying to act as if Khalil were her best friend, like making sure he had a bedroom at her place, but whenever she was upset with Jermaine, her true feelings about Khalil surfaced.
The last few months had been pretty stressful for both of them: Erin getting used to the idea of being a real mom and Jermaine with the burden of becoming a daddy for the second time with no real plans for his future. Rightfully so, Jermaine seemed to be getting it the worst; it seemed as if every day someone was on his case about getting a real job and leaving his hustling days behind him. But just the thought of wearing one of those fast-food uniforms turned Jermaine's stomach. As far as he was concerned, those kinds of jobs were for high school kids and grown-up losers. Plus, he didn't see anything wrong with his current "job"--selling weed. As a matter of fact, he felt like he was doing Philadelphians a favor by providing a natural herb that helped folks calm the hell down.
"Jermaine. Jermaine," Khalil called out, with his arms outstretched toward his father.
"What's up, lil guy?"
"I'm ready to get out of the bathtub."
"Okay." Jermaine pulled the stopper and lifted his son onto the toilet seat. He toweled him dry, rubbed lotion all over his already soft skin, and helped him into his favorite Superman pajamas. The kind with the feet attached.
"You're all set, my man."
"Will you sleep with me?"
"Yep," Khalil said with no shame.
"Man, how you gonna be a tough guy all day and a big baby at night?"
"I am tough." Khalil flexed his muscles for his father to examine. "But I still want you to sleep with me. Please." Khalil smiled.
Jermaine smiled too. He placed his hands on both sides of Khalil's face and looked down at his son. Khalil looked like a miniature version of himself. They shared the same caramel complexion and the same big brown eyes. Khalil even wore his hair in cornrow braids like his father.
As Jermaine stared into his child's eyes, he...
About the Author-
Calvin Sharpe is living proof that money is the root of all evil. He sacrificed his family for his pursuit of the almighty dollar and used money to solve all his problems. But now his two biggest secrets—shady business dealings and an abandoned child—have been exposed, and his bank account can't save him. When both his family and the FBI demand answers, Calvin goes on the run. After hitting rock bottom, he decides it's time to face his responsibilities—to both the law and his family, including the son he left behind.
July 21, 2003
Colorful characters from Hunter's previous two novels (The Hearts of Men; Married But Still Looking) return in this earnest, well-intentioned exploration of the complexities of the urban African-American male experience. Marijuana dealer Jermaine Banks is nearing 30, and while he doesn't see anything wrong with his job ("he felt like he was doing Philadelphians a favor by providing a natural herb that helped folks calm the hell down"), his pregnant girlfriend and her policeman father want him to clean up and become a decent role model for his three-year-old son, Khalil, and his unborn child. Meanwhile, across town, 51-year-old Calvin Sharpe, a shady real estate magnate, asks his wife, Robin, for a divorce so he can marry his white trophy mistress; Robin promptly informs their 15-year-old son, C.J., who has polycystic disease, that Calvin also abandoned another son—Jermaine. When Jermaine's best friend is gunned down by a rival drug gang, Jermaine knows the law of the street demands that he retaliate. Several more twists follow: Jermaine discovers that Khalil's mom is a lesbian; C.J.'s kidneys fail him; and Jermaine's uncle Herb, a heroin addict just out of prison, steals $30,000 of Jermaine's pot proceeds. All of these complications strengthen Jermaine's resolve to find a decent job and get Khalil out of the ghetto. Despite the book's somewhat clumsy prose, prosaic plots and Pollyanna resolutions, motivational speaker Hunter tells a readable tale with an uplifting message. 5-city author tour.
- Upscale magazine "DRAMATIC AND GRITTY . . . Travis Hunter raises the bar . . . with the racy Trouble Man. . . . Expansive in its exploration of male accountability, Trouble Man not only shows the consequences of irresponsible behavior, but also allows for redemption and empathy."
ERIC JEROME DICKEY
Author of The Other Woman "HIGHLY RECOMMENDED--AND Y'ALL KNOW I DON'T RECOMMEND MUCH!"
- Booklist "A VERY EMOTIONAL STORY about a man making choices about being a man for his self-esteem and for the respect of his family."
MARY J. JONES,
PageTurner.net "Once again, Travis Hunter gives us unforgettable characters that move and touch us in a way very few authors have done. Trouble Man is full of surprises, and it shows that, with patience, love, and a willingness to look deep within our souls, we all have the capacity to grow and change for the better. This is fabulous work from a writer who has proven once again that he's here to stay."
- MALIK YOBA, actor and playwright "Entertaining, funny, true to life . . . a novel about love, war, family, and people struggling to do the right thing. I felt that I knew these people."
- Publishers Weekly "Uplifting . . . colorful characters from Hunter's previous two novels return in this earnest, well-intentioned exploration of the complexities of the urban African-American male experience."
- Publishers Weekly "Colorful characters from Hunter's previous two novels return in this earnest, well-intentioned exploration of the complexities of the urban African-American male experience. . . . Hunter tells a readable tale with an uplifting message."
- MALIK YOBA, actor and playwright "Hunter continues to deliver entertaining, funny, true-to-life stories with his latest, Trouble Man, a novel about love, war, family, and people struggling to do the right thing. I felt that I knew these people."
PublisherRandom House Publishing Group
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