Third grade teacher Maya Richards has been with her soulmate, Kenneth Green, for over ten years. She never doubted that Kenneth would one day ask for her hand in marriage, but on the eve of their anniversary, Maya asks a question that Kenneth struggles to answer.
When their relationship ends abruptly, Maya finds herself alone for the first time in thirteen years. She turns to her family and best friend to help her deal with her heartbreak, but is left to heal on her own. Her parents have discovered a love for traveling, her sister is preparing to move across the country, and her best friend is busy tending to her husband and children.
Instead of seeing this time as an opportunity to get closer to God, feeling lost, Maya begs God to send her a new mate. Impatient and desperate, Maya begins a relationship with gym teacher Lloyd Bradford despite the many warning signs.
As she struggles to escape a dangerous situation, Maya learns that the relationship that matters most in life is the one that she has with Christ. Will Maya have the strength to break away from Lloyd’s tight reigns, or will she trust God and allow Him to restore peace in her life?
Kenneth’s homemade chicken teriyaki greeted Maya as soon as she opened the door to the fifth floor apartment they shared near the Art Museum in Philadelphia. She closed the front door and placed her extra-large tote bag next to Kenneth’s brown Salvatore Ferragamo shoes. No matter how many times she asked Kenneth to put them on the small area rug behind the door, he never listened. A few years ago, Maya would’ve complained, but after living together for six years, she had learned to let some things go. She’d rather maintain a happy home than bicker over a misplaced pair of shoes.
Maya leaned over and moved Kenneth’s shoes onto the rug. Specks of dirt from the bottom of the shoes had settled into the light-beige carpet and she sighed. Before going to bed, she’d have to vacuum. Maya grabbed a stack of papers to grade from her bag and made her way to the living room. Although the windows were open, the tiny apartment felt stuffy. She sat the papers on a small desk in the corner and then walked to the window. Lifting the set of double windows as far as they could go, Maya pressed her forehead against the screen and peered down at the street. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway was bustling with activity. Across the street, the bright lights shimmering over the Art Museum made it difficult for her to see the new Cézanne billboard by the front entrance. Living near the museum had given her a deeper appreciation for the arts. On many weekends, she frequented the different exhibits and special events offered to the community and shared what she learned with her students.
Growing up in the heart of West Philadelphia, residing near the Art Museum was the last place Maya thought she’d live as an adult. She desired to live in the suburbs, away from the constant noise, but Kenneth wanted to be in the midst of all the city happenings. The rent for their one-bedroom apartment was steep, but over time, the location had proven to be ideal for both of them. The high rise was only blocks away from Center City– a hub for shopping, dining, entertainment, arts and culture.
Maya pressed her face against the screen, searching for a cool autumn breeze, but only hot air floated inside. The unreasonable weather mixed with the heat from the stove warmed the apartment more than she could stand. Pulling away from the window, Maya removed her lightweight sweater and draped it across the back of the chair next to her. If it were up to Maya, she’d keep the room temperature at a steady seventy degrees, but Kenneth didn’t believe the air conditioner should run in the fall. He insisted the two fifteen dollar window fans he purchased from Wal-Mart would be sufficient until the weather changed.
When it came to money, Kenneth was a miser. The only thing he splurged on without complaining was clothes. His mentor was grooming him to become a future partner of the downtown firm where they worked, and as an up-and-coming attorney, Kenneth thought it important that he dress the part.
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