National bestselling author Allison Hobbs delivers a powerful novel about a father and son whose relationship is challenged after the son is suspected of crimes in his new neighborhood.
Twelve years ago when Malik Copeland was a hopeless addict, he signed away parental rights to his ten-month-old son, Phoenix, and his ex-wife and new husband adopted him.
Today, Malik is clean and sober and happily married to Sasha. He’s also the proud parent of a baby girl and stepfather to Sasha’s adolescent daughter.
Out of the blue, Malik receives a call from his ex-wife asking if he’d be willing to establish a relationship with his now thirteen-year-old son. Elated to have a second chance, Malik arranges for Phoenix to visit during spring break.
Handsome, well-mannered, and helpful around the house, Phoenix is a joy to be around. When the mini-vacation is over, the happily reunited father and son agree to stay in touch and plan another trip during summer break.
Over the course of the next few months, Malik discovers that Phoenix feels like an outsider with his mother, stepfather, and his two half-siblings. Determined to make up for lost years, Malik wants custody of Phoenix and gears up for a legal battle—but to his surprise, there’s little resistance from his ex-wife and her husband.
Phoenix moves in and the Copelands are one big happy family, and Malik’s life feels complete. But when Sasha complains that Phoenix speaks to her disrespectfully and that he taunts his sisters, Malik wonders if she’s just envious of his close relationship with his son. Taking sides with Phoenix causes fissures in Malik and Sasha’s marriage.
After a rash of break-ins in the quiet neighborhood, people begin to suspect the newcomer, Phoenix. Refusing to accept that Phoenix is to blame, Malik stands by his side. But when a six-year-old girl goes missing and the evidence points to Phoenix, Malik has to ask himself how far he’ll go to protect his own flesh and blood.