By: Varian Johnson
Pub date: March 9th, 2010
Joshua Wynn is a preacher’s son and a “good boy” who always does the right thing. Until Maddie comes back to town. Maddie is the daughter of the former associate pastor of Joshua’s church, and his childhood crush. Now Maddie is all grown up, gorgeous—and troubled. She wears provocative clothes to church, cusses, drinks, and fools around with older men. Joshua’s ears burn just listening to the things she did to get kicked out of boarding school, and her own home.
As time goes on, Josh goes against his parents and his own better instincts to keep Maddie from completely capsizing. Along the way, he begins to question his own rigid understanding of God and whether, as his mother says, a girl like Maddie is beyond redemption. Maddie leads Josh further astray than any girl ever has . . . but is there a way to reconcile his love for her and his love for his life in the church?
Ms. Regina Howard, our older-than-Moses choir director, had a set of rules we were all supposed to abide by on Sunday morning. Don’t chew gum. Pay attention to the sermon. No talking. You know, the usual stuff.
Being the only son of the Reverend Isaiah P. Wynn, I was expected to never break the rules. Ever. Which was why I grew more and more irritated as Tony and the rest of the guys in the choir stand kept whispering to each other. Of course, I hadn’t been included in the conversation, even though I was sitting smack dab in the middle of the group.
I tugged on Tony’s robe. “Will y’all shut up? Y’all are going to get us in trouble.”
“Sorry,” Tony mumbled, although he didn’t look at me. Something in the audience had captured his attention.
Whatever it was, it was a lot more interesting than Dad’s sermon. I tried to follow his gaze, but nothing or no one special in the congregation caught my eye.
As soon as the guys quieted down, I leaned closer to Tony. “So what were you looking at so hard?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he said, his breath sweet with the scent of a green apple Jolly Rancher.
Tony turned toward my father and pretended to pay attention to the sermon, but truth be told, I wasn’t even listening to Dad. To be fair, it was kind of hard to pay attention to something you had already heard the night before. I was Dad’s soul-saving guinea pig.
“Come on, Tony,” I whispered as Dad was about to launch into his final point. “Just tell me what y’all were looking at...”
This is a great first chapter. It ends off with a mini cliffhanger that will only leave you wanting to know more. You can finish this chapter over here. Visit the author, Varian Johnson at his official website.