The follow up effort to her highly successful debut, Keeping Misery Company, The Legacies promises to be just as much of a hit with Michelle Larks’ ever-growing legion of readers. Masterful storyteller that she is, in Legacies Larks has re-fashioned the ages-old Romeo & Juliet tale with a modern-day, urban twist – Tara Hopkins, Apex Reviews Rating: 5 Stars
When was the last time you started a book you couldn’t put down? Well, for me it was last night. The Legacies has a plot line that is so tight even this master detective couldn’t predict the ending – Deltareviewer, Real Page Turners, 5-Star rating
Michelle Larks has crafted a thoughtful tale about the burden of legacy, and the characters in THE LEGACIES demonstrate how people are often compelled to carry the weight of family history throughout their lives like unwanted baggage – RAW Rating: 4 (out of 5)
The Legacies is the story of happenstance of two teenagers from different social and economic backgrounds who meet while traveling to college to their first year of college.
Morgan Daniels-Foster is next in line to inherit her family business one of illegal drug activity or street pharmaceuticals. Noah Stevens wants to escape the life of a p.k. or preacher’s kid and isn’t sure he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps to the pulpit.
College becomes the teen’s golden years, but destiny is just hovering in the wings. Life doesn’t always follow the path parents have set in motion for their children. And Morgan’s mother Jernell, and Noah’s parent’s Samuel and Gloria learn that lesson the hard way.
Noah is kept in the dark regarding the truth of Morgan’s family business until a series of events unfold like a stack of falling dominos. Morgan is battered from all sides by family secrets and betrayals. Even her parentage is questioned in the glaring public eyes in a Chicago courtroom. Through it all because of his unwavering faith, Noah remains grounded, knowing everything that happens in life is a part of God’s master plan.
The Legacies is a fast past read, containing one twist after the other. In the end, God mercies comes shining through for a young woman in need of divine intervention so she can discover what really matters most in life and get her life back on track.
Seventeen year old Morgan Daniels-Foster oohed and aahed as she mugged prettily in the mirror. She lifted her mane of dark weaved hair off her neck and then released it. The hair streamed like a river down the middle of her back. She finger combed her bangs. Then Morgan smiled and rolled her neck, tossing her mane from side to side.
Morgan’s eyes swept the room until they landed on a pile of designer luggage neatly stacked against one of the walls of her domain. Morgan occupied the third story of her mother’s gray stone home located in the Lake Park community of Chicago. Morgan’s black and white painted space was actually an open area like a loft apartment. The brownstone’s dimensions measured five thousand square feet and included five bedrooms and four bathrooms. The den boasted a wood burning fireplace and every modern convenience anyone could ask for. The sunken living room was decorated with modern Scandinavian blond furniture accessorized by earth tones colors and the appliances in the silver and black marbled kitchen floor was state of the art. The garage provided space for four cars easily.
Jernell, Morgan’s mother had built a small coach house behind the gray stone where her bodyguard resided. Gentrification had yet come to the Lake Park community but when it did, the Foster’s residence would definitely fit the mode.
Morgan’s eyes rested on the partially opened cedar closet door. The inside was almost totally devoid of her belongings. She heard the click clack of footsteps on the hardwood staircase, which indicated someone was on their way upstairs. Morgan’s eyes were drawn to the partially obscured figure walking her way.
Lucinda Brown, the Foster family’s housekeeper and Morgan’s former nanny stopped in front of Morgan. Her eyes threw tears at her former charge. “So are you all packed and ready for college?” She walked over to the suitcases and looked down at them. “Make sure you put nametags on all the bags.” Lucinda pointed to Morgan’s desk.
“I put a stack that I wrote out personally for you over there. I can’t believe you’re leaving us, Morgan. I remember the day Jernell brought you home from the hospital. And here you are all grown up and about to leave for college.”
“Well, it had to happen one day,” Morgan quipped. “It’s not like I’m going that far; just downstate to Bradley. I wanted to go to Howard, but Momma wouldn’t let me,” the young woman complained. Her nose crinkled in disgust.
“Oh you,” Lucinda teased. She swatted Morgan with the dishtowel that she’d slung over her shoulder. Lucinda was a honey colored big boned woman. A pair of deep dimples framed her cheeks. She was short in stature, and a pleasant looking, woman with medium length brown hair. Lucinda was totally devoted to her boss/friend, Jernell, and the only child of the house.
Morgan was about five feet, nine inches tall. Her complexion was a deep, dark chocolate color. Morgan’s looks were striking. Huge doe shaped eyes and a wide tapering nose made up her facial features. She had a medium build with long legs that seemed to stretch forever. Graceful were her hands and feet.
“Are you ready for dinner this evening with your relatives and family friends? Your mother is so proud of you that I think she’s invited everyone she knows.”
Lucinda picked up a blouse off the floor and dropped it inside a clothes hamper.
“I guess so.” Morgan sighed as she closed the dresser drawers. Then she sat on the side of the salmon pink and white striped canopy bed. The walls were covered with pinups of her favorite musical artists; Tupac Shakar, Destiny’s Child, Nelly, and her favorite of them all, Sean Puffy Combs. The furnishings in the room included a white oak, dresser, armoire and high glass computer desk. Inside a black entertainment center was a high definition television and a Bose CD player along with tons of music and movie CDs. One of the walls was covered from ceiling to floor with mirrors.
A two cushioned sofa upholstered to match the bed spread and window treatments sat on one wall along with two bean bag chairs. A hutch stored Morgan’s porcelain doll collection. Her mother had purchased every Barbie doll produced by Mattel. Lucinda stood motionless in the middle of the room. Her eyes dropped to the floor and then focused at Morgan. “Well, you know how that goes. Your mother has gone through a lot of trouble to plan a great evening for you.”
“I’m sure she has. Momma has always been generous with her money.” Morgan kicked a shoe under the bed.
“You know Jernell has to send her only child off in style. Times have sure changed. I can’t believe your mother is hosting what you young folks call a trunk party. People just called them going away parties back in my day.” Lucinda observed as she shook head from side to side.
“Hmmm, I guess so. Yeah, I’m ready for the tribe. It’s too bad that Daddy’s side of the family couldn’t join us for dinner today along with Momma’s. For once in my life, I wish all my family could get along. I had to go visit Daddy’s side of the family last week. Why do I have to be the one to suffer because of everyone else’s issues?”
“Chile, we all have our crosses to bear,” Lucinda remarked. She turned and said, “I have to get back downstairs and check on dinner.” She walked to the staircase and headed down.
“Call me when everyone gets here.”
“Will do,” Lucinda hollered as she walked downstairs.
Morgan walked over to the messy bed and laid down on her stomach, with her legs entwined in the air. She really didn’t feel like socializing with the relatives. But since she wasn’t returning home until Thanksgiving, it was best that she grace the family with her presence.
Jernell had informed her daughter that she could come home sooner if she felt homesick. Morgan would be the first person in the Foster family to attend college. Jernell and her sisters, who owned the family business didn’t attend secondary school. The maternal aunt, who raised Jernell and her siblings felt continuing their education was a waste of time since they were expected to work for the family anyway.
Young Miss Foster could hardy wait to leave the city of Chicago and Lake Park to become another anonymous college freshman in the crowd. She felt it would be nice to go somewhere where no one knew her or her story.
Morgan’s maternal relatives tended to be loud and overbearing when they gathered together. Someone was always trying to outdo the other one. Music blared from the speakers and the aunts loved to eat and drink their favorite cognac Martel as they gossiped. The sisters were generous by nature and would come bearing lavish stacks of gifts for the party.
Morgan’s eyelids dropped and she fell asleep. She awakened half an hour later from a gentle tug on her arm. Morgan opened her eyes and spied her mother’s face staring down at her. Jernell smiled at her daughter, who beamed back at her. Jernell Foster was a strikingly beautiful woman. Her features were a mixture of African American and Caucasian nationalities. Jernell’s complexion was high yellow. Her nose was small and she has thin lips.
“The family will be here in half an hour,” Jernell informed Morgan. “You need to get up and dressed.”
Morgan yawned, rolled over and then sat upright. She stretched her arms over her head and then covered her mouth, stifling another yawn. “It won’t take me long to get ready. I’ll hop in the shower and be downstairs in no time.”
Jernell scratched the side of her head with a long cerise colored, gold tipped fingernail. “Get up out of the bed now, Morgan. Time is running out.” Her baby fine long hair was pulled into a ponytail atop her head.
The doorbell chimed. Jernell walked over to the intercom on the wall and pushed a button. “Who is it?” she asked.
“It’s Big Momma. Open that door, gal.”
Jernell pressed another button. “I’m on my way down.” Her eyes shifted to her daughter. “Big Momma’s here, so hurry up and get dressed.”
“I’m going to the bathroom now. I’ll be down in twenty minutes.”
“See that you are.” As Jernell walked toward the staircase, Morgan arose from the bed and headed to the shower.
After she bathed and changed clothes, Morgan went downstairs where she found a good number of her family members scattered in various rooms around the house.
Everyone snacked on appetizers and sipped either alcoholic beverages or soft drinks. Morgan greeted all of her aunts and cousins in the living room and then walked into the dining room.
The stereo was turned on as Morgan knew it would be. Aretha Franklin crooned “Daydreaming” softly from the speakers. Yes, her grandmother was definitely in the house; she loved old school R&B music.
“Where’s Big Momma?” Morgan asked Jernell who sat with her sisters around the dining room munching on crab cakes.
“In the den,” Jernell replied as she wiped her hands with a cloth napkin. “Go in and speak to her.”
“I will,” Morgan promised as she walked out the room.
A tall, almost obese, light brown skinned woman sat in the middle of the sofa. She wore a mauve and beige floral print dress and a matching head band around her short, black coarse trimmed hair. Her face lit up when she saw Morgan and she held out her arms. When Morgan walked over to her and bent over, the older woman folded the young woman in her arms.
“How are you doing, baby? Are you nervous about leaving home?” Big Momma asked.
“No, I’m fine,” Morgan answered Jernell’s surrogate mother. She was really Morgan’s great aunt.
“Good. Then you’ll do fine at college.” Big Momma smiled at Morgan. “Come sit by me.” She patted an empty spot on the tan and beige micro fiber sofa.
After Morgan sat down, she noticed the gifts lying in and around the steamer trunk that Jernell purchased a few days ago.
“Momma should have scheduled dinner last week. There’s no way in the world I can take that stuff with me. I’ve already packed for school,” Morgan said to Big Momma. “See, what you’re not taking into account is that you don’t know what’s in those bags and boxes.” Big Momma shook her head. “Maybe there’s stuff in them that can be sent to you while you’re at school at a later date.”
“I guess that’s true,” Morgan replied, shrugging her shoulders. “I’ll have to wait and see.”
Jernell walked into the room and handed a glistening bottle of Evian chilled water to Big Momma. “Here you go.” The cap was half twisted off. Jernell then handed Big Momma a crystal glass with a twist of lemon inside it. “Just the way you like it.”
“Thank you, Sweetie.” Big Momma sat the glass and bottle on the cocktail table on a pair of coasters. Jernell sat down in the wing-backed chair across from Big Momma and Morgan.
The three Foster women sat in the den and chatted about Morgan freshman year at Bradley University, until Big Momma commented with a small smile on her face.
“I’m hungry? Is the food ready, Jernell?”
Lucinda didn’t disappoint Morgan with her choice for dinner. She prepared the young lady’s favorite dishes. A coconut cake rested on a glass cake plate in the middle of the massive oak dining room table. Smoked turkey, jerk chicken wings, rib tips, mixed greens, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, potato salad, with buttery dinner rolls, and cornbread made up the meal.