National bestselling authors Carl Weber and La Jill Hunt return in the latest installment of the wildly popular Family Business series.
LC Duncan, patriarch and leader of the Duncan clan, is alive and well after being shot by a mysterious gunman. His near-death experience has caused him and his wife Chippy to reflect on their lives, and they are more determined than ever to focus on family and the continued success of the Duncan family business. However, the return of one of LC’s brothers stirs up past resentments, and now the family is forced to defend themselves against an unexpected enemy seeking revenge.
The Duncans are fighting on more than one front after Junior, the oldest sibling, comes face to face with his brother Orlando’s estranged baby momma. Ruby is now the wife of Vinnie Dash, a sworn enemy of the Duncan family. The chance encounter is the beginning of a war, a renewed search for Orlando's missing child, and the rekindling of a forbidden romance.
Wherever there’s a Duncan, trouble is never too far behind. Get ready for another roller coaster ride with The Family Business 4.
About the Author
Carl Weber is the New York Times bestselling author of The Preacher’s Son, So You Call Yourself a Man, Something on the Side, Up to No Good, Big Girls Do Cry, Torn Between Two Lovers, and She Ain’t the One. He is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Urban Books and CEO of Urban Books Media, which is currently producing films based on several of his bestselling novels. His Web site is carlweber.net.
La Jill Hunt is a native of Mobile, AL who burst onto the literary scene in 2003 with her debut novel, Drama Queen. The memorable characters she created and the entertaining stories she told quickly drew bestselling success and a following of fans, young and old. Although known for her urban chick-lit novels, she has also contributed to the street anthology series Around the Way Girls and penned an urban romance, Another Sad Love Song. Her erotic short story, Catch 22, is available as a digital download. Currently residing in Virginia Beach, La Jill enjoys spending time with her daughters, family, and friends.
Read an Excerpt
Grateful. That was the only word that came to mind as I looked over the balcony of my bedroom into the sprawling backyard of our family compound. The sun was bright in the sky, but a slight breeze dissipated most of the morning heat. It was going to be a scorcher, that was for sure — not that the heat bothered me. I was just glad to be alive. It was a little less than six months since I'd been shot and left for dead, so no one appreciated a beautiful day and a little excess heat more than I did.
For a few minutes, I watched my grandson Nevada practicing his martial arts stances with his instructor, Minister Farah. At one point, he stumbled just a bit, but to his credit, he never lost his composure. I could see he was serious about perfecting the art. He would not quit until he got it right, like a true Duncan.
"Breakfast is ready."
I turned to see my wife Chippy easing up beside me. She was wearing a multicolored caftan and a pair of simple gold sandals. I had been so caught up in watching Nevada that I hadn't even heard her sneak up behind me.
"What's got you out here grinning like that?" She slipped her arm around my waist.
"Thinking about you." I reached over, pulled her close, and kissed her softly.
"Liar." She laughed and shook her head.
"And Nevada," I added, sliding my hands down to caress her butt.
"Mm-hmmm." She flirted, squeezing me back. "What were you thinking pertaining to me?"
I gave her a seductive look and said, "About last night."
"Yeah." She grinned. "Last night was pretty darn amazing and definitely worth smiling about."
"You're so right." I kissed her neck. Even through the flowing material she wore, I could make out the soft curves of Chippy's body, and I became aroused. Even at our age, she still had that effect on me. "We can always go inside and have an amazing morning too."
"LC, you better stop it. Breakfast is ready," she said, trying to get away from me. Her hand rested on my chest. "Besides, the kids will hear us."
I frowned. "You know, I'm getting sick of these kids. They been cock- blocking me for almost forty years."
"I know," she said sympathetically. "Look, it's not just the kids. I'm worried about you. I don't wanna push our luck. You are still recovering."
I looked into her eyes then back down to her hand. Her finger covered the exact spot where the bullet had entered my body and nearly took my life a few months ago. Chippy had always been brave, but I knew the thought of losing me had scared her. I wanted her to feel secure and know that everything was going to be okay. She was my wife, and I always wanted her to feel protected.
"I'm fine, Chippy. We're fine," I assured her.
"I know you are fine, LC, but let's just take today to rest up."
"I wore you out, huh?" I winked.
"Boy, you already know I did that to you. The way you were snoring last night, I'm surprised you even made it out of bed this morning," she said with a satisfied smirk.
We both laughed and again, I was grateful. I turned my attention back to Nevada.
"You see him? He's a natural."
"I wouldn't say all that. He's been training with his mother since he was small. But he is good," Chippy said.
"I want him to be even better. He needs to learn the finer things in life, and you're going to have to show him," I told her.
"Is that so?" I didn't look at her, but I was sure she was giving me the side- eye.
"Yes. He's our future, honey. One day, all of this will be his, and he has to learn not only how to run it, but to appreciate it as well." I walked over and placed my hands on the railing as I watched my grandson take down his instructor. The surprise on his teacher's face was mixed with embarrassment.
Chippy walked up beside me. "Wow, you've certainly had a change of heart." There was a hint of contempt in her voice.
"What is that supposed to mean?" I turned to her with a frown.
"A month ago you weren't even sure he was Vegas's son. You went on and on about how he might not be a Duncan. Now you're ready to turn the reins of the entire business over to him."
"A month ago I didn't know what I know now," I said confidently.
"And what is that?"
"He's definitely a Duncan," I replied, hoping that would put an end to it. Of course, with Chippy, that was never the case.
"How do you know for certain?" she pressed. "Because when I told you he was our grandson, you didn't want to hear it. What's changed your mind all of a sudden?"
"I just know," I said defiantly. This was not a discussion I wanted to continue, because it could go totally wrong.
"Lavernious Duncan, don't play games with me. I know you, remember? It's bad enough you won't tell me who the hell shot you, but you are going to tell me why you changed your mind, or else what happened last night is not going to happen again for a long time."
I raised my hands defensively to stop her tirade. "Okay, okay." Chippy was right. She did know me well. I shrugged and admitted, "I had Orlando swab him and do a DNA test a week ago. He told me the results last night. He's a Duncan, Charlotte."
She looked at me and shook her head. "I should have known. I hope Orlando was discreet, because you know if Vegas finds out, he's going to lose his mind."
"He was," I replied.
"Well, I'm glad we have that settled. I knew he was my grandson the moment I laid eyes on him." She took my hand, squeezing it as we watched Nevada take down his instructor again. "We finally have all of our children and grandchildren under one roof."
I looked over at her. "All except one. And his mother hates us."
It was the perfect ending to the perfect honeymoon. For almost ten days, my new bride and I had enjoyed the palm trees, white sand, and crystal-clear water of Negril. Now we were spending our last morning walking along the shoreline of Seven Mile Beach. In less than ten hours, we'd be home, leaving paradise behind to begin our new routine as man and wife.
"Last chance. Are you going to jump?" she asked.
"Jump off the cliff. We still have time to go back to Rick's Café," she said playfully.
"Now, you know better than that. The only jumping I plan on doing is jumping your bones when we get back to the room." I grabbed a handful of her plump ass in my hands, causing her to squeal.
"Don't you think you've done enough of that these past few days? We've got a plane to catch."
"Naw, not nearly enough." I grabbed her ass again and kissed her neck.
"Stop it. People are looking." She slapped me playfully.
"They can't help it, and neither can I," I said, laughing.
Sonya was beautiful every day, but today, she was breathtaking in a white sundress and sandals. With her thick, curly hair hanging loose and free, she looked like a Nubian queen. My Nubian queen. She was glowing, and I didn't know whether it was from the relaxing vacation or the baby she was carrying inside her belly. I had thought her marrying me would make me the happiest man on earth, but that feeling was surpassed when I found out she was pregnant.
"You better stop." She tried to swat my hand away as I reached for her again.
"Nope," I said, pulling her closer to me.
"Well, you're gonna have to."
"Oh, yeah? Why is that?"
"Because your baby is sitting on my bladder, and I have to find a restroom, that's why. Wait right here. I'll be back." She gave me a quick peck, and I released her.
She headed toward a nearby restaurant, while I stepped over to a cart where an old woman was selling shaved ice. I loved those flavored ice cones, especially the mango and pineapple.
I guess my enthusiasm was a little too much, because when I took my first big bite, I got major brain freeze. I was glad Sonya wasn't around, because I know I looked like a fool, shaking my head around like a monkey. I squeezed my eyes shut against the pain in my forehead.
When I opened my eyes, I saw a small shadow zip by, and then a small boy skidded to a stop in front of the cart. I couldn't help but smile. The kid was cute, and he looked like he couldn't contain his energy as he fidgeted in his spot, trying to decide what to order.
"Mango? No, orange. No, lemon," he said, until finally he seemed to have made up his mind, and stated proudly, "I'll take cherry."
The cart owner laughed and said, "You sure, mon?"
"Yup!" the kid answered, and the old woman leaned down to scoop the ice.
She handed him the treat and said, "Two dollar."
The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a single, crumpled dollar bill. "This?" he said as he tried to hand it to the woman.
"No, you need more." She shook her head. The smile fell from his face, and his little shoulders drooped.
I felt sorry for the little guy. Maybe I was inspired by my own impending fatherhood, but I didn't even think twice before I reached into my pocket and handed the woman another dollar. "I got it. Here you go."
"Thank you." The boy flashed me a quick smile then took the white paper cone from the vendor.
"No problem, little man." I said, "What's your name?"
"Vincent. What's your name?"
"They call me Junior."
"Hi, Junior. I'm a junior too, but they call me Vincent."
"Vincent! You wait right there!" an out-of-breath voice called from a distance.
"That your mom?" I asked, and he nodded his head. "I think you're in trouble."
"I think so too," Vincent replied, but he didn't look upset. He just started eating his ice faster, cracking me up.
I looked toward his mother, who was still a good distance away, but as she came closer, her face became clearer. I looked down at Vincent, and a knot developed in my stomach.
"Boy, didn't I tell you to wait?" The woman marched up to her son, grabbing his free arm.
At first, she smiled at me, until her brain registered who had spoken her name.
"Oh my God. How did you find me?" The look on her face was one of sheer terror. She tugged on Vinnie's arm. "Come on, boy. Come on. We have to go."
"Please, don't go, Ruby," I said.
"No. Come on, Vincent. Let's go." She pulled his arm so hard that he dropped his cone.
"Oh, nooooooo!" Vincent cried. "You made me drop it."
"Don't worry. I'll buy you another," I said, turning back to the cart to get him another cone.
"No, you won't!" In one swift motion, Ruby scooped the small boy up into her arms and took off. I went to follow behind her, but she slipped into a crowd, and I lost sight of them.
"Junior!" I heard Sonya yelling behind me, and I stopped in my tracks. "Babe, what happened? Where did you go? And what are you doing?" she asked when she got to my side.
"We've got a problem." I sighed, feeling defeated.
"Why? What's wrong?" Her forehead creased with concern.
"I just saw my brother Orlando's son."
"Can I have pancakes, Mommy?" Mariah shouted.
"I want waffles!" her sister Maria chimed in.
"I want Cap'n Crunch!" Jordan said.
"I'm working on it, guys," I whined in reply. I was trying to get my two daughters, along with my nephew, settled for breakfast. My husband, Harris, was also sitting at the table, but he was too engrossed in whatever he was looking at on his iPad to offer any kind of assistance. Luckily, our family chef, along with my mom, had prepared enough of a selection that the kids would be somewhat satisfied, even if it wasn't exactly what they'd requested. I put a pancake, a small serving of eggs, a side of fruit, and some bacon on each plate and placed them in front of the kids.
"Apple juice!" Jordan demanded.
"Me too!" the girls shouted in unison.
Just as I was about to head to the fridge, Harris looked up at me.
"Umm, you forget someone?" He looked down at the empty placemat in front of him. "Can I get some breakfast?"
"You're kidding, right?" I cut my eyes at him. I was starting to understand that this being a good mother and wife thing was overrated. I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to have another baby. And then, to add someone else's child to the mix was even more taxing. Don't get me wrong; I love my nephew, but I was getting tired of my sister Paris's absentee parenting.
"Harris, can't you see I'm trying to get these kids ready for daycare and school? The least you can do is fix your own plate."
"Fix my own plate?" You would have thought I had just cursed at him the way he snapped at me. "This is ridiculous. Where's your mother? Isn't she supposed to help you with the kids?" He looked around the kitchen like he was lost.
"My mother is upstairs getting my father. I could use your help," I said with plenty of attitude.
"Sorry, no can do. I'm trying to finalize some paperwork before I leave for the office." He looked up at me, trying to fake a sincere smile. "So, can you please make me a plate?"
"Fine." I sighed, totally regretting that blow job I'd given him earlier that morning. The fool should have been making me a plate, yet here he was expecting more service from me.
"What? No syrup?" Harris asked when I gave him his plate. I picked up the syrup, and the thought came to mind that I should just throw it at his head, but I kept my composure and placed it down in front of him.
I heard the front door open, and then I heard laughter. I recognized it as coming from my pain-in-the-ass sister.
"If it was that little, why'd you tell him you'd call him later? I know you, P. You're never gonna give that little-dick brother any again." This time it was my cousin Sasha's voice. The two of them were giggling like lunatics.
"Look, I was trying to be polite, and little dick or not, he is fine as hell! Besides, he promised to take me shopping for a Rolex and to the Jay-Z concert this weekend," Paris announced for the whole house to hear. "Mmmmm, you smell that? I smell bacon!"
"I told you we should have come home instead of going to that diner," Sasha replied.
Their stilettos started clicking on the marble floors of the foyer, and a few moments later, they both walked into the kitchen. Sasha was dressed in tight- fitting black jeans and a shirt that barely covered her breasts. Paris wore a short, sequined mini skirt and a black halter that was even smaller than the shirt Sasha wore. I'd deny it if asked, but they both looked cute, despite being dressed like tramps.
"Mommy!" Jordan jumped up from the table and ran over to greet his mother.
"Hey, baby, how's my little man?" Paris knelt to hug him, causing the back of the skirt to rise even higher.
I glanced over at Harris, who quickly turned his head. Smart man. We'd already had enough arguments about him gawking at my sister.
"You know what? I think I'll eat my breakfast in the study and finish up these files. It's quieter in there anyway." He gathered up his plate and his iPad and scurried out of the kitchen.
"Jordan, sit back down and eat. You don't want your food to get cold," I said.
"Don't tell my son what to do when I'm here," she sniped at me. "He has a mother."
Oh, no, she isn't going there, is she?
"You coulda fooled me," I said, rolling my eyes at her. "But if you wanna call yourself a mother, how about you bring your narrow ass home in time to get your son ready for daycare?"
"Whatever, London. He's dressed and ready, isn't he?" She picked Jordan up and kissed him.
"Yeah, thanks to me and Mommy. But don't make any plans for this weekend, 'cause Mommy and Daddy are going to Sag Harbor, and me, Harris, and the kids are going to Sesame Place."
"Damn, Paris, aren't you supposed to go out with dude this weekend?" Sasha asked.
Paris raised a hand, waving it at her to shut up, then looked at me like the cat that got caught with a canary in her mouth.
"Need something?" I asked.
"Can't y'all take Jordan with you?" Paris was damn near pleading.
"We could, but he's got a mother. Remember, she can take care of him?"
Her mouth opened, but nothing came out. She helped Jordan back into his seat so he could continue eating. I couldn't help but smirk.
"All righty-then, so where is everyone?" Sasha asked, trying to neutralize the situation. She had a tendency to try to play peacemaker between me and Paris, in spite of the fact it barely ever worked.
I gave her a quick rundown of everyone in the house. "Mom just went to get Daddy for breakfast. They should be down any minute. Rio is still asleep, and Nevada is outside training in the backyard. Orlando's in Daddy's office working. Oh, and Vegas is down in the gym with Daryl."
"Umph, umph, umph. Daryl is here? That's one fine man," Sasha said, her voice humming with sexual energy. "I would love to work him out."
"Back off, bitch. How many times I gotta tell you? Daryl's sexy ass belongs to me," Paris warned in the most serious of tones.
Excerpted from "The Family Business 4"
Copyright © 2018 Carl Weber.
Excerpted by permission of Urban Books, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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