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The Hearts of Men
Cover of The Hearts of Men
The Hearts of Men
Banks Family Series, Book 1
Tall, dark, and handsome, Prodigy Banks was once a playboy. Now he's a man any mother would be proud to call her son, and when he meets Nina, the mother of the young boy he mentors, it seems that life is going to get even better. But when his past threatens his newfound respectability, Prodigy has to act fast to protect his new relationship.
Bernard Charles is haunted by childhood memories of abandonment and poverty. His workaholic ways frustrate his wife, Diane, and leave her vulnerable to another man's advances. After her betrayal, will Bernard move on or move out?
Winston "Poppa Doc" Fuller has a fix for what's ailing the younger generation. Married for more than forty years to his beloved Ethel, Winston brings healing to everyone he touches. Yet despite his best efforts, he hasn't been able to reach his own thirty-three-year-old son—a situation that soon requires urgent resolution, because as Poppa Doc tells his son: "I love you, but I'm not proud of you. Make me proud of you before I leave this earth."
In his marvelous debut novel, Travis Hunter has crafted a tale that is funny, sexy, and touching—revealing what it truly means to have the heart of a man.
Tall, dark, and handsome, Prodigy Banks was once a playboy. Now he's a man any mother would be proud to call her son, and when he meets Nina, the mother of the young boy he mentors, it seems that life is going to get even better. But when his past threatens his newfound respectability, Prodigy has to act fast to protect his new relationship.
Bernard Charles is haunted by childhood memories of abandonment and poverty. His workaholic ways frustrate his wife, Diane, and leave her vulnerable to another man's advances. After her betrayal, will Bernard move on or move out?
Winston "Poppa Doc" Fuller has a fix for what's ailing the younger generation. Married for more than forty years to his beloved Ethel, Winston brings healing to everyone he touches. Yet despite his best efforts, he hasn't been able to reach his own thirty-three-year-old son—a situation that soon requires urgent resolution, because as Poppa Doc tells his son: "I love you, but I'm not proud of you. Make me proud of you before I leave this earth."
In his marvelous debut novel, Travis Hunter has crafted a tale that is funny, sexy, and touching—revealing what it truly means to have the heart of a man.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Caught with Your Pants Down

    It was Friday morning, and Prodigy Banks was running just as late as he had the other four days of the week. After hitting the snooze button for the fifth time, he reluctantly arose at 7:20 a.m., pulling up his tired body and sitting on the side of his honey-oak sleigh bed. He then placed his head in the palm of his hands and proceeded with his morning ritual: trying his best to come up with a good lie to let his supervisor know he wouldn’t be in the office that day.

    It was not like he was ill; he just didn’t feel like going to work, and now he was running out of excuses. He’d lost count of the number of times he’d said his grandfather died. In fact, his grandfather did die, but that was in 1978. After realizing he had already used all of his good excuses, he conceded. He forced himself up and into the bathroom.

    Prodigy had never been a morning person, which was why he had to get out of the Army. He realized Uncle Sam’s boys really did do more before nine a.m. than he planned on doing all day long. Plus, Simone, his manager and lover, spoiled him. She always covered for his tardiness.

    Right now, she was the only one he was kicking it with, sort of. Slowly, Prodigy was trying to minimize his workload of women. He’d been with so many that it wasn’t much fun anymore. Plus, he discovered that more than half of the women he dealt with didn’t have anything going for them anyway. After sex, there wasn’t much left for them to talk about.

    Now he was shifting gears by trying to focus on a single relationship that was mentally as well as physically stimulating. His new motto was to screw up, not down, which meant he would bypass the rank and file to focus on kicking it with a woman of power and status. Rich women need love too, he thought. He didn’t want his intentions misinterpreted, though. Just because he wanted a person who fit his definition of completeness didn’t mean he was looking for a serious relationship. He relished his carefree bachelor life, but whoever it was who would be taking care of his physical needs had to bring more to the table than a cute face and a fat butt. And right now, Simone was bringing breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a fat butt.

    Maybe that was why, whenever women around the job inquired about him, Simone’s name always came up in the conversation. It was as if he was her property. Lately, though, she’d been getting on his nerves. She acted as if his sole purpose in life was to sit around and wait for her to get a moment away from her husband.

    Damn that, he thought.

    As he stared in the mirror, contemplating whether to give his already bald head a fresh shave, he noticed a white envelope that had been kissed by a set of juicy lips. He opened it and read the contents: I think it’s time that I get a key to your place. Love, Simone.

    “What!” Prodigy said aloud. “She’s gotta go!”

    He wasn’t having it, because not only was she married to some psychotic, pro-football-playing dude who could probably lift a Mack truck, she was becoming a bit too attached.

    A key to his place?

    Out of the question.

    She must be on that crack pipe, he mused.

    After deciding he would try to make it to work on time, he showered but opted against shaving his head.

    He felt that if he was going to rid himself of Simone, then he’d better not put himself in a position where he would need her assistance to cover for his perpetual lateness.

    He remembered his grandmother saying, “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.” And...
About the Author-
  • Travis Hunter is an author, songwriter, and motivational speaker. He lives in an Atlanta suburb with his son, Rashaad. He is the founder of The Hearts of Men Foundation, through which he mentors underprivileged children. He is currently working on his second novel, Married but Still Looking.


    From the Trade Paperback edition.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 11, 2001
    What his prose lacks in sophistication, Hunter makes up for in earnestness in this debut novel about the suburban African-American experience. Prodigy Banks works at a large Atlanta finance company, often paying more attention to his female co-workers than to his job. Despite his lady-killer habits, the handsome Prodigy is a picture of respectability, going to church, taking good care of his house and serving as a role model for his cousin Jermaine, who hasn't left the streets behind as quickly as Prodigy. Under the influence of his father figure Poppa Doc, Prodigy volunteers at a youth center, where he meets the adorable Blake and Blake's even more charming mother, Nina. She offers Prodigy his first chance to settle down, and he has to weigh that offer while trying to serve as peacemaker for the domestic disputes of his friends and family. Meanwhile, Poppa Doc has his own problems to work out, trying to motivate his spoiled son and restore some love to his daughter's marriage. Hunter has no confidence in subtext; he explains every gesture for the reader's benefit and his characters speak as if reading from the world's least subtle cue cards. Prodigy, in particular, is given to mouthing public service announcements about the black man's responsibility to family life. Still, Hunter's agenda is the strength of this book; even cynical readers may be won over by his relentless positive message and push for African-American communities built on respect and love. (June)Forecast:Like
    Shades of Jade, above, and
    Soul Mates Dissipate, below, this novel was a self-published hit; Villard is sending Hunter on an eight-city tour.

  • Booklist

    May 1, 2001
    Prodigy Banks, street hustler turned clean-cut man, has not convinced everyone that his new image is sincere. His days as a womanizer and violent predator cause him to struggle with maintaining his new life devoid of past temptations. Winston "Papa Doc" Fuller is the family and community elder, mentor, and man of wisdom. Yet his kind words and understanding nature have not motivated his only son. As Papa Doc deals with his lung cancer diagnosis, he hopes he can prepare his son for responsibility before he dies. Bernard Charles, Papa Doc's son-in-law, has grown up with only memories of his mother. Because of his less-than-ideal childhood, he now struggles with providing for his family. He is forced to choose between resolving issues with his wife or moving out. These men are forced to deal with self-definitions of manhood as well as how other people define being a man.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2001, American Library Association.)

  • E. LYNN HARRIS "Entertaining yet enlightening . . . Travis Hunter holds the reader hostage in his thought-provoking debut. Be prepared to laugh and cry as you examine The Hearts of Men."
  • BERTICE BERRY
    Author of Jim and Louella's Homemade Heart-Fix Remedy
    "Travis Hunter takes us into the lives, the thoughts, and straight into the hearts of men. His work reflects the voice that is often missing--the voice of a brother who loves, listens, and tells his own truth."
  • Essence "INSIGHTFUL, SENSITIVE AND IMPRESSIVELY REAL . . . The Hearts of Men has wonderful surprises for readers."
  • Today's Black Woman "[A] REVEALING LOOK INTO THE MALE PSYCHE."
  • CARL WEBER
    Author of the Essence bestseller Baby Momma Drama
    "A BOOK I'LL SHARE WITH MY SONS FOR YEARS TO COME."
  • Upscale magazine "The Hearts of Men is a thought-provoking book that explores the lives of three different men who, despite all of their differences, are easy to identify and understand."
  • Black Issues Book Review "[A] true-to-life debut novel . . . [Hunter's] landscape of characters and their quandaries are sho'nuff true to life."
  • Publishers Weekly "Hunter's agenda is the strength of this book; even cynical readers may be won over by his . . . positive message and push for African-American communities built on respect and love."
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    Random House Publishing Group
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Banks Family Series, Book 1
Travis Hunter
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