#FREE “Cause to Kill (An Avery Black Mystery—Book 1)” by Blake Pierce

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“A dynamic story line that grips from the first chapter and doesn’t let go.”
–Midwest Book Review, Diane Donovan (regarding Once Gone)

From #1 bestselling mystery author Blake Pierce comes a new masterpiece of psychological suspense.

Homicide Detective Avery Black has been through hell. Once a top criminal defense attorney, she fell from grace when she managed to get a brilliant Harvard professor off—only to watch him kill again. She lost her husband and her daughter, and her life fell apart around her.

Trying to redeem herself, Avery has turned to the other side of the law. Working her way up the ranks, she has reached Homicide Detective, to the scorn of her fellow officers, who still remember what she did, and who will always hate her.

Yet even they cannot deny Avery’s brilliant mind, and when a disturbing serial killer strikes fear into the heart of Boston, killing girls from elite colleges, it is Avery that they turn to. It is Avery’s chance to prove herself, to finally find the redemption she craves. And yet, as she is soon to find out, Avery has come up against a killer as brilliant and daring as she.

In this game of psychological cat and mouse, women are dying with mysterious clues, and the stakes could not be higher. A frantic race against time leads Avery through a series of shocking and unexpected twists—culminating in climax that even Avery could not imagine.

A dark psychological thriller with heart-pounding suspense, CAUSE TO KILL marks the debut of a riveting new series—and a beloved new character—that will leave you turning pages late into the night.

Book #2–CAUSE TO RUN–is also available!

“A masterpiece of thriller and mystery. Pierce did a magnificent job developing characters with a psychological side, so well described that we feel inside their minds, follow their fears and cheer for their success. The plot is very intelligent and will keep you entertained throughout the book. Full of twists, this book will keep you awake until the turn of the last page.”
–Books and Movie Reviews, Roberto Mattos (re Once Gone)

FREE at all online retailers!

Amazon

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#FREE “Life Begins When The Kids Leave Home And The Dog Dies” by Barb Taub

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Chapter 1. A California girl named Barb met her prince of a guy. He was tall, dark, and handsome. (Actually, he was a Republican. But he was definitely tall.) They fell in love, and got married.

Chapter 2. He brought her to his castle in England and they lived happily ever after. THE END**

**Luckily, 35+ years of living happened between Chapters 1 and 2, giving Barb plenty of material for this collection (in no particular chronological order) from her newspaper columns, articles, blog posts, and that time she killed Mom.

And that’s before Chapter 3 even starts.

I have learned to put down the coffee and place breakable objects at a safe distance when a post from Barb Taub comes up. It is very hard to drink coffee and laugh at the same time without redecorating the desk…”—author Sue Vincent

FREE at time of posting!

Kindle Unlimited

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#FREE “Keeping 6 (Rock Point Book 1)” by Freya Barker

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Bookstore owner Kerry Emerson finally seems to be back in control of her life. Her failure of a marriage firmly in her rearview mirror and her recent business expansion a success, she is in charge of her own future. One that is looking better than ever.

The sight of the tall man, with the familiar salt and pepper goatee pushing open the door of her store, sets her hair on end. He doesn’t exactly bring good memories.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Damian Gomez is just looking for a decent cup of coffee when he walks into the small store offering books and brew. The pretty, feisty woman behind the counter is an unexpected surprise. Not at all unpleasant, especially since her finger that used to hold a wedding ring is now bare.

Her wild hair, boho style and silvery grey eyes suddenly hold a lot of promise.

But when his office is pulled into an international investigation into the trafficking of rare books and manuscripts, the straight-laced SAC realizes he has to keep his distance from the woman who might well be involved.

Easier said than done, since fate seems determined to throw them together.

FREE thru 6/21 only!

KINDLE UNLIMITED

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“The Sekhmet Bed: A Novel of Ancient Egypt (The She-King Book 1)” by Libbie Hawker

#FREE at time of posting

(Libbie Hawker is also the author of Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing, which I highly recommend!)


Sekhmet Bed cover

“The Sekhmet Bed: A Novel of Ancient Egypt (The She-King Book 1)

Genre: Ancient Civilization/Sagas

Release Date: September 21, 2011

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Is Ahmose’s divine gift a blessing or a curse?

The second daughter of the Pharaoh, Ahmose has always dreamed of a quiet life as a priestess, serving Egypt’s gods, ministering to the people of the Two Lands. But when the Pharaoh dies without an heir, she is given instead as Great Royal Wife to the new king – a soldier of common birth. For Ahmose is God-chosen, gifted with the ability to read dreams, and it is her connection to the gods which ensures the new Pharaoh his right to rule.

Ahmose’s elder sister Mutnofret has been raised to expect the privileged station of Great Royal Wife; her rage at being displaced cannot be soothed. As Ahmose fights the currents of Egypt’s politics and Mutnofret’s vengeful anger, her youth and inexperience carry her beyond her depth and into the realm of sacrilege.

To right her wrongs and save Egypt from the gods’ wrath, Ahmose must face her most visceral fear: bearing an heir. But the gods of Egypt are exacting, and even her sacrifice may not be enough to restore the Two Lands to safety.

The Sekhmet Bed is the first volume of Libbie Hawker’s series The She-King, a family saga of the Thutmosides, one of ancient Egypt’s most fascinating royal families. Don’t miss Book 2: The Crook and Flail

Note: This ebook edition contains a preview chapter of Libbie Hawker’s new ancient Egyptian series, The Book of Coming Forth by Day.


Visit Libbie Hawker’s web site: http://libbiehawker.com

Libbie Hawker writes historical and literary fiction featuring complex characters and rich details of time and place. She lives in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, but has previously lived in Seattle; Bellingham, WA; Tacoma, WA; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Although the majority of her books are self-published, she also partners with Lake Union Publishing on select titles.

She has held a broad and bizarre range of “day jobs” while pursuing a career as a novelist. Included among these are zoo keeper, show dog handler, bookseller, and yarn dyer.

Libbie’s writerly influences are varied and include Hilary Mantel, Vladimir Nabokov, Annie Dillard, Michael Ondaatje, George R. R. Martin, songwriter Neko Case, and mixed-media storyteller Chris Onstad, among others.

“Pushing Brilliance (Kyle Achilles Book 1)” by Tim Tigner

#FREE at time of posting!


Pushing Brilliance cover

“Pushing Brilliance (Kyle Achilles Book 1)

Genre: Espionage/War & Military

Release: July 14, 2016

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He didn’t do it.
He really didn’t.
But proving it,
will be a killer.

PUSHING BRILLIANCE: Imagine Harrison Ford’s THE FUGITIVE meets Tom Clancy’s HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER.
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯
“The best book I’ve read, bar none.” –Ed Wiseman
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯

Framed for murder and on the run, former Olympic bi-athlete Kyle Achilles is also in the crosshairs of assassins’ guns. Why? He has no idea. He’s fighting blind against two master strategists and one extraordinary invention–known as Brillyanc.

Achilles’ only ally is the other prime suspect, a beautiful Russian mathematician who is either the best or worst person to ever enter his life. Katya was engaged to Achilles’ brother — before he died.

Chasing clues while dodging bullets, Achilles and Katya race around the globe, uncovering a conspiracy conceived in Moscow, born in Silicon Valley, and destined to demolish both the White House and the Kremlin. Along the way a lost soul finds purpose, a broken heart confronts forbidden love, and America gains a new hero.

Packed with heart-stopping surprises, paced by razor-sharp plotting, and populated with richly rendered characters, Pushing Brilliance will leave you breathless and longing for more.
________________________________________

International Bestselling Author Tim Tigner began his career in Soviet Counterintelligence with the US Army Special Forces, the Green Berets. That was back in the Cold War days when “We learned Russian so you didn’t have to,” something he did at the Presidio of Monterey alongside Recon Marines and Navy SEALs.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tim switched from espionage to arbitrage. Armed with a Wharton MBA rather than a Colt M16, he moved to Moscow in the midst of Perestroika. There, he led prominent multinational medical companies, worked with cosmonauts on the MIR Space Station (from Earth, alas), chaired the Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, and helped write Russia’s first law on health care.

Moving to Brussels during the formation of the EU, Tim ran Europe, Middle East, and Africa for a Johnson & Johnson company and traveled like a character in a Robert Ludlum novel. He eventually landed in Silicon Valley, where he launched new medical technologies as a startup CEO.

In his free time, Tim has climbed the peaks of Mount Olympus, hang glided from the cliffs of Rio de Janeiro, and ballooned over Belgium. He earned scuba certification in Turkey, learned to ski in Slovenia, and ran the Serengeti with a Maasai warrior. He acted on stage in Portugal, taught negotiations in Germany, and chaired a health care conference in Holland. Tim studied psychology in France, radiology in England, and philosophy in Greece. He has enjoyed ballet at the Bolshoi, the opera on Lake Como, and the symphony in Vienna. He’s been a marathoner, paratrooper, triathlete, and yogi.

Intent on combining his creativity with his experience, Tim began writing thrillers in 1996 from an apartment overlooking Moscow’s Gorky Park. Twenty years later, his passion for creative writing continues to grow every day. His home office now overlooks a vineyard in Northern California, where he lives with his wife Elena and their two daughters.

Tim grew up in the Midwest and graduated from Hanover College with a BA in Philosophy and Mathematics. After military service and work as a financial analyst and foreign-exchange trader, he earned an MBA in Finance and an MA in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton and Lauder schools.

Thank you for taking the time to read about the author. Tim is most grateful for his loyal fans and loves to correspond with readers like you. You are welcome to reach him directly at tim@timtigner.com.

What Are You Reading (Or Writing) Online? #FreeReads

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Besides the ARCs/review copies I volunteer to read, I have a ‘few’ books I’m dying to dive into. How many is a few? Numbers aren’t important here. Dozens. Hundreds. Thousands. Are we truly counting? Do we need to? My mister tries to, but I’m just too fast for him. My TBR is so long, I really should have a librarian to keep it…and me…organized and updated.

But books, whether they are eBooks or print, are not the only things we’re reading. Many of us read online. Sites and blogs packed with exceptional poetry, prose, novellas, and full novels post daily. Online reads can enhance your website/blog by introducing new readers to your writing style…and lead you to meet new people…and make new friends. I’m only up to part five with my own online read – Free, A Novella – and have established connections and friendships with other writers and authors because of it.

Some of my favorite online reads right now are:

Thief of Dragons: The Echelonites of Cauldex (an Alternate-Earth, Erotic Sci-Fi Fantasy) by A.C. Melody (chapter 10 was just posted),

and

Flash Fiction – A Holiday Meeting (a holiday short story) by Nicole R. Locker (chapter 3 was just posted).

Blogger Simply Marquessa has several great online reads on her site, and is gearing up for 2017!

The poetry and prose by Christine Ray on Brave and Reckless is nothing short of amazing, and I cannot wait for her to update Leaving and Absence!

I recommend them all!

What are you reading (or writing) online? Feel free to post your links in the comments!

 

“Hot Freebies!” #LimitedTimeOnly

what-happens-afterWhat Happens After by Portia Moore

It was never supposed to happen. ‘We’ never should have happened.

He and I… Our constantly crossing paths changed the unthinkable to the inevitable.
It was magical, exhilarating, and life defining… despicable, and it ruined everything.

It destroyed me.
It destroyed us.
He and I is what happened before.
And everything else is what happened after…

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2dm2Zyy
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2dTOcir
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2dl17KF
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2d3HuU0
iBooks : https://itun.es/au/fqm_6.l

blind-sightBlindsight (Book 1) by Adriane Leigh

An Amazon Hot Release!
“Adriane Leigh never disappoints with equal amounts of heat and heart with all the sex, suspense and scandal in Blindsight. Leigh’s newest mysterious hero will have you anxiously flipping pages well into the night trying to uncover his secrets.” – Jay Crownover, Marked Men

Sometimes a single touch is all it takes to spark a wildfire.
Erin Warner learned that the day she bumped into the dashing, tattooed stranger on a busy Chicago street corner. She’s captivated from the moment Hunter Ellis’ mystifying green eyes find hers, but there is more to him than meets the eye, including the intricately etched tattoos decorating his body that disguise horrific scars from a past he refuses to revisit.

As she peels away the layers, Erin realizes that what she thought was true, never really was at all, for both of them.  Now she can only hope that blind adoration for the dashing stranger didn’t sign her death warrant.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2dTND8e
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2dkQxnM
Amazom CA: http://amzn.to/2doTz6Z
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2dxZVlQ
iBooks: https://itun.es/au/KIilfb.l

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Free, A Short Story, Part II

 

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“Free, A Short Story, Part II”
By Felicia Denise

Original Graphic Art by Jenn Cunningham

 

(<— Looking for Part I?)

Lennie audibly exhaled as the tension left her body and her shoulders sagged. “You two! You had me so worried there for a second. Look, I had a very special relationship with Auntie Di, and I know I was important to her, but I have no problems sharing any of what she left me with my fam-…” Linda cut her off in mid-sentence.

“Honey, you don’t understand. We’re not trying to take anything away from you. It’s quite the opposite, actually.” Frowning, Lennie threw her hands up.

“And we’re back to talking in code!” Her dad held up his hand to silence them both.

“Lenore, your mom and I have some real concerns that need to be addressed.” Briefly glancing at his wife, he reached into his back pocket. “And we’re not the only ones.” He held out an envelope to her. “Your aunt wrote this about three months ago.”

Stunned, Lennie stared at the cream colored envelope in her father’s hand, but she made no move to take it from him. Standing, Burt reached down and placed the letter in Lennie’s hand. “Your mom and I will give you some privacy. When you’re ready, come join us in the kitchen.” He leaned down again, this time, kissing her on the forehead. As he stepped back, Linda rushed forward, cradling her daughter’s face in her hands.

“I love you so much, Lennie. You were always my practical child. You wouldn’t do anything unless it made sense or had a purpose. I think that’s why Diane took to you so quickly. She said you had entirely too much wisdom for a child, and had an old soul.” A single tear slid down Linda’s cheek as the faint trace of a smile formed on her lips. “I used to get mad at Diane, and accuse her of trying to take you from me.” Lennie’s eyes widened.

“Mama, you-“

“Sshh!” Linda cut her off. “I know I was being foolish. We were all so young back then. All newly married, and some of us were already parents. We didn’t know the first thing about anything…just pretending to be adults. Di was a great auntie. Babysitting you girls so Burt and I could enjoy a quiet evening at home or see a movie.” Lennie listened intently as she wondered about all the great stories her family had shared, and realized this was the first time she had heard this particular story. Linda’s smile faded. “Then she got “the visit” from the Marine representatives. Conrad had been killed during the Battle of Khe Sanh. Di was devastated. Something in her broke that day that couldn’t be fixed. Her husband gone. No children. She mourned and went on, but sometimes, it seemed as though she was just going through the motions. Not really living, just existing.”

Her smile returned as she chuckled softly. “But then you started walking, talking and getting into everything. We were all amazed at how quickly you learned and remembered things. Diane marveled over you and thought you were the best thing since sliced bread. When I got sick out of the blue, she gladly stepped in to care for you, and even took time off from her job. After nearly a week of me laying around, your father dragged me to the doctor, and that’s how and when we found out I was pregnant with Elaine. It was a hard pregnancy. The morning sickness and fatigue lasted right up until Elaine was born. That should have been my clue that she was going to be a difficult child.” Mother and daughter shared a grin. “But that big sister of mine, she stepped in like a trooper.”

“More like a tornado”, Burt quipped. Lennie giggled out loud for the first time since Diane’s attorney left.

“Burton Kelimore! You know she meant well, and she was a tremendous help to us,” Linda chided, then shushed her husband and returned her gaze to her daughter. “He’s still ticked because the man could not boil water when we got married, but by the time Elaine was born, he could prepare a simple but full meal. Di had insisted he learn, and she was the one who taught him.”

“She could have had an excellent career as a military interrogator…or perhaps a prison guard.”

She glared at Burt, but couldn’t keep the smile from forming when he winked at her and grinned. “You know your sister was brutal, and an exacting taskmaster. C’mon, admit it.”

“I’ll do no such thing, Mr. Kelimore. She simply liked things done a certain way.”

“Yeah…hers!” Linda perched balled fists on her hips and truly glared at him this time. Burt knew when to surrender. He began backing towards the office door.

“Aren’t I supposed to be making coffee? Yes, I am! If anyone needs me…”, and with another wink, he was gone. Lennie felt better seeing her parents do their usual banter. Her mom shook her head and smiled, still staring at the empty doorway.

“That man vexes me so.” Hearing the love in her mother’s voice for her father caused Lennie’s chest to tighten just a little. Did she sound like that when she spoke of Ranard? She knew she did not. “What I was trying to tell you is that it was during my second pregnancy that you began spending more time with your aunt. She bought you all new clothes and toys. Even combed your hair differently. She doted on you and treated you like a little china doll. Didn’t take much for my hormonal self to verbally attack her and accuse her of trying to steal my baby.” Linda smiled sadly at the memory. “Your father finally calmed me down enough to make me think clearly. Diane had already made up her mind that no one would ever replace Conrad, so she took all the love she had for him, and any children they might have had and poured it into you.”

She leaned down and hugged Lennie tightly, then mimicked Burt’s earlier gesture, kissing her forehead. “She loved you as much as your father and I do, Lenore, maybe more in some ways. As you read her words, please try not to judge her too harshly.” With that, Linda left the office to join her husband in the kitchen.

Lennie stared at the envelope, recognizing her aunt’s bold, but elegant handwriting. A sense of dread washed over her. Her parents seemed to feel this letter would upset her, and whatever it contained, they agreed with it. Giving herself a mental shake, and silently reprimanding herself for fearing the unknown, Lennie opened the envelope, removed the thick stack of stationary, and began to read.

September 17, 1993

My Dearest Lennie Penny,

Since you are reading this, I am gone. I apologize, sweet girl, for not telling you about my illness, but I felt you had enough on your plate caring for your young family and running your business. I knew you’d want to be here with me, and that just wouldn’t do.

You and the boys left here yesterday, after what was probably the best time in my life since Conrad was killed. The days at the beach, the park…the cookouts in the backyard – Lennie, I felt as though I had a real life, a full life. Linda always gave me a bad time about trying to steal her baby, and I know I was pushy at times, but I learned my boundaries and stayed within them. But these last two weeks? I selfishly allowed myself to believe you were MY daughter, and Duncan and Myron were my grandchildren. I’ve missed our times together since you married and started a new life as a wife and a mother. Thank you for agreeing to spend your vacation with me. You will never know what it meant to have you here with me. I will treasure these memories until I take my last breath.

I am so proud of the beautiful young woman you’ve grown into. I watched you with the boys, and all I could do was smile. They have the same sense of wonder and natural curiosity you had at that age, and you feed it beautifully. Duncan asked you a million questions at the petting zoo in the park in that toddler-speak of his, and you patiently answered each one. He watched you as you spoke, with this serious look on his face as if he was committing each and every word to memory. You are a fantastic mother, and those boys are as blessed to have you as you are them.

I just wish they had a different father. There, I said it. Your choices or decisions have never been questioned before, not by me nor your parents. You were always so pragmatic. Even if I didn’t agree, you were so confident and grounded in your decisions, I still knew you’d succeed.

But then, Ranard entered your life…and you seem to flounder for the first time in your life. My heart broke when you announced your engagement, but I still held out hope you would come to your senses and not go through with the wedding. Since the day you walked down the aisle, I’ve wondered, “Why?” I only wish I had been brave enough to ask you to your face. I’ve always wanted to know why you walked away from a promising career with endless potential to marry a man who seems to treat you like a minor accessory. You were valedictorian in a class of three thousand, Lennie! You! The world was yours for the taking! But you left it all behind for a man who called you stupid in front of your family for spilling ketchup on his shirt! The only thing that saved Ranard from getting punched in the face that day was your mother pushing Burt and me through the patio doors! We were so angry at his callous self-righteousness, but we were angry with you too, Lennie. You took his verbal abuse! You didn’t stand up for yourself. You were not the same Lennie who punched TWO older boys for teasing and touching Elaine in high school. Or the Lennie who was flat on her back with the flu for nearly a week during finals week your sophomore year of college, but walked into your computer science class with your head held high determined to take the final exam, and walked out as the only student who aced it. I didn’t see the Lenore Helena Kelimore who had mastered all ninety-six songs in the Danvers Music Academy catalog before she entered high school. In every area of your life, you have always stood out. You never tried to be the center of attention or sought the limelight, but it found you! It always found you! Your inner light shone brightly, and I believe that’s what drew people to you. You were never a vain or prideful child, but your dignity and grace were evident long before you reached your adult years. Why are you allowing this man to dim your light?

And you are allowing it, Lennie. I don’t, for one minute, believe that Ranard controls or dominates you in any way. He’s more like an unruly child acting out, and you’re the tolerant, long-suffering parent.

But that’s not what marriage is about, Lennie.

I’ve watched you both when you weren’t looking. I’ve never seen him hold your hand, or kiss or caress your cheek. I’ve never heard him compliment you, or say anything positive about you. But I held out hope. You have a reason for everything you do, so I knew there was a reason you married that man. But was it love, Lennie? As your third anniversary fast approaches, you’ve already been married longer than Conrad and me. But we had so much joy and laughter, Lennie. We were disappointed that I didn’t get pregnant before he shipped out, but that did not dampen our happiness one bit.

Where is your joy, Lennie? What makes you happy? And it has to be more than your children, because they will grow up and leave. I speak from experience even though I wasn’t blessed to be a mother. I shared my sister’s heartache and turmoil when you left.

I also finally shared my concerns about you with her after our vacation. I was both relieved and saddened to find out she understood, and felt the same way. Relieved because I now had someone to talk to about it – I couldn’t talk to you, Lennie. I knew you’d be angry and I didn’t want to lose you – and I was also sad because if Linda saw the problems I saw, they were real, and not the overactive imagination of a nosy old woman.

I’ve always known you would be my heir. I almost told you on a couple of occasions, but I knew you’d insist that I sell everything and donate the money to some organization saving whales, or hamsters, or gophers…or whatever is all the rage at the moment. But no, I wanted you have what was mine. It gives me peace to know I can do this one last thing for you and the children.

However, I am not done. You’re probably fit to be tied by now. Clutching this letter with both hands, beads of perspiration forming on your forehead as you think about digging up my body to tell me about my bossy self. My sweet Lennie Penny. I hope you are sitting down, because if you are angry with me now, by the time you finish this letter, you WILL dig up my body!


Leave me a comment and be sure to check back next week for the conclusion to ‘Free, A short Story.’

©Felicia Denise 2016

Continue reading

Free, A Short Story

Free, A Short Story
By Felicia Denise
Part 1

Lennie sat her suitcase near the front door. She knew she should just leave without looking back, but she could not resist one more walk through of the house that had been her home for the last twenty-four years.

She couldn’t help but smile when her gaze fell upon the large oak bannister…with the nicks in one of the railings. After watching the Winter Olympics, Myron and RJ decided if the Jamaicans could bobsled, so could they. Fashioning their version of a bobsled from the box her computer paper was delivered in, her two youngest sons even donned their winter hats and mittens. For “realism” Myron proclaimed.

What would have been a few minutes of fun and a great memory, took a turn for the worst, when older brother Duncan decided just pulling each other around the patio wasn’t good enough. They needed an incline.

Lennie heard RJ’s wails and rushed into the foyer to find them all at the foot of the staircase – Myron rubbing his head, Randy covered in blood, and Duncan looking extremely guilty.

Four hours later, after a mind-numbing visit to the ER, Lennie returned home with her troop of wannabe bobsledders. Myron had a simple bump on the head, and no concussion. RJ was the puzzle. They could not figure out how he knocked TWO of his teeth out – and a canine and a molar at that, and NOT his front teeth. Lennie was fully prepared to be arrested for child abuse, when the kindly doctor just laughed, commented on the crazy things kids do and told RJ he hoped he found the missing teeth so he didn’t miss out on a visit from the Tooth Fairy. Thank God they were his baby teeth.

Lennie chuckled softly as she ran her hand over the two small indentations where she’d found RJ’s teeth later that night, sticking out of the wood like something straight out of a horror movie.

Making her way across the foyer, Lennie walked down the three steps into the sunken living room. Despite all the wonderful memories she had of Christmas mornings, birthday parties and family get-togethers, Lennie still hated this room. If she were being honest, she had to admit she never really liked the house. He wanted THIS house. He loved the idea of the grand staircase, the cathedral ceilings and the sunken living room. Lennie wanted the ranch style home a few miles away with the pool and a second kitchen on the enclosed patio. But this was his status symbol to prove to himself…and his father…that he had ‘made it’ after only two years in research and development at the chemical company. How ironic that he had spent even less time in the home than RJ who hadn’t been born yet when they bought the house.

Walking over to the patio windows, Lennie looked out over the large backyard as if she could still see her children playing with their cousins on a summer afternoon. Lennie smirked as she watched the water shimmer across the pool. “You didn’t win that one, did you, Ranard?” He had vetoed the idea of putting in a pool, saying they were too deep in debt. Yes, they were. After buying HIS house. But six years later, business was booming for Lennie’s catering business, “Always…From Scratch!” What started as a lunchtime specialty sandwich business had grown into a full service catering business. Her background in nutrition and her killer cooking skills made her a stand out among the city’s league of caterers, and she soon became a favorite of millennials in search of healthier, but trendy menus.

At the end of the fifth year, after paying her quarterly taxes, updating her service supplies, and even giving a holiday bonus to the small team of soccer moms who doubled as prep and wait staff, Lennie had more than fifty percent of the cost of a pool. She knew financing wouldn’t be a problem. But she thought maybe it was time to dip into her nest egg.

Her Aunt Diane, her mom’s oldest sister, had passed away shortly after Lennie and Ranard’s third wedding anniversary, leaving everything she had to Lennie. Diane’s husband had been killed in Vietnam, they had no children, and she never remarried. Diane and Lennie had been close all of Lennie’s life. It was Diane who taught Lennie to play the piano. And Diane taught her the secret to a killer pound cake. Even though Lennie was shocked to find out she was Diane’s sole heir, it made sense to the rest of the family. Lennie was always Diane’s first concern.

‘Everything’ turned out to be Diane’s home, two cars, two rental properties, three hundred acres of land in San Luis Obispo, California, and an extremely generous amount of cash. After having Lennie sign all the necessary documents and arranging for her to meet him first thing the next morning to receive her new banking and tax information, Diane’s attorney left. Linda Kelimore, Lennie’s mother, sat silently fidgeting with her hemline until her husband returned from seeing the attorney out.

Burt Kelimore stood in the doorway of his home office and exchanged an uneasy glance with his wife before sighing heavily and taking a seat next to her. Lennie watched her parents, confused. “Mom? Daddy? What’s wrong? Did I miss something?” Linda grabbed her husband’s hand and squeezed as her eyes filled with tears. Lennie sat forward on the sofa and leaned towards her parents. “You’re really starting to scare me, Please, tell me what has you so upset.” Burt let go of his wife’s hand and reached for Lennie’s.

“Lenore, you know how very much we love you, and the last thing we want to do is upset you or try to tell you what to do.”

“Just say it, Daddy, please! I’m starting to freak out here!”

“Babygirl, it’s about the inheritance you just received.”

 

©Felicia Denise 2016

Continue to Part II —>