By Joyce DeBacco
When Kate’s husband, Ward, locates the son she put up for adoption as an unwed teen, she’s understandably wary. What if he looks like his father instead of Ward?
The boy, now a man, is also wary. Who are these people who suddenly want him to be a part of their lives? Where were they when he was growing up, when he needed to feel a part of something bigger? After meeting each other, everyone’s fears dissipate. And though it isn’t the joyous occasion Ward envisioned, it isn’t the disaster Kate feared either.
Then Ward passes away unexpectedly. Although devastated, Kate is thankful he never knew the truth. Facing the rest of her life alone, she returns to work in the company he founded. She’s still coming to grips with life as a single when she learns her son was adopted into the family of Jesse, the boy who turned her away as a pregnant teen. Now, she must deal with her feelings of anger and betrayal while also keeping her son and daughters from learning the truth.
I like the following passage because it hints at the characters' still strong feelings after so many years. It also hints at a future for them somewhere down the road. Although we feel Kate's anger and frustration, we also feel Jesse's regret for the actions of his teenage self.
He looked up from his weeding, spotted her, then rose in one agile motion. No groan, no hunched posture, his back as straight as a boy’s. It bothered Kate that she would notice.
“Sorry to disturb your gardening,” she said in a cool voice. “I didn’t know you were out here.”
He brushed the soil from his hands. “I try to stay on top of things when I have the chance. Marti likes to can and freeze, so I do my best to keep her happy.”
“Oh, by all means. Do keep Marti happy.”
He cocked his head, as if wondering whether to respond to her flip remark. He chose to ignore it. “So what did you two talk about in there?”
She harrumphed. “As if you didn’t know.”
His lips pulled into a frown. “I can guess.”
“Look, Kate, if you have a problem being here, why did you come?” His voice took on an edge of its own.
“You know very well I couldn’t refuse.”
“Well, you’re here now, and you obviously have something to say, so get it out of your system.”
Kate fought an overwhelming desire to flee. She didn’t like confrontations but, dammit, she did have something to say. And this time she wouldn’t run off in tears. This time she would tell him exactly what she thought of him and his baby-stealing sister.
“You’re right,” she said, squaring her shoulders. “I didn’t come outside to admire your gardening talents. I came out because I’d had enough of your sister’s sob story. I’m not about to forgive and forget, live and let live, and all that crap. You had your fun, then you went on your merry way while I spent the summer carrying a child I didn’t even have the privilege of raising. Oh, no. That honor belonged to you and your family.”
“I made a bad choice, Kate. I’m not proud of it. What more can I say?”
A gust of wind caught Kate’s skirt, billowing it around her knees. But like the green things rooted in the soil nearby, all she could do was shiver and sway.
“It’s still a bit chilly out, Kate. Why don’t you go inside now?”
Trembling, Kate stood fast. “She said you didn’t know. Is that true?”
“You never suspected anything, anywhere along the line?”
“How could you not know? He’s got your hair, your eyes.”“He was only a baby when they brought him home, Kate. To a guy, all babies look alike. Hey, it happened; I’m sorry. Now can we get past it and go on with our lives?”
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After reading women’s fiction for many years, Joyce knew she wanted to create stories of her own. As the mother of four grown daughters, she’s familiar with the problems women face finding love, raising children, and stepping back when necessary. Her books place an emphasis on love and family dynamics with a touching love story threaded through each. She is happiest when she’s secluded in her office creating new worlds and people to populate them. When she’s not taxing her brain with plot, structure, and grammar, she likes to sew, particularly quilts. When she really wants to rest her brain, she sprawls out in front of the TV and tries not to fall asleep. Please visit her website, http://www.joycedebacco.com for information about all her books.
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