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A Family Matter
Marsha Briscoe
Paperback
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BOOK SYNOPSIS
Salina Graves, recently married to a man twice her age, faces an agonizing truth--the criminal betrayal of her father by her husband, Lyman. But the truth of that betrayal lies in her deceased father's journal. Her mother’s posthumous cry for family vindication leads Salina on a desperate search for the mysteriously missing journal, but her search is thwarted when her tyrannical husband is critically injured.

When her attractive, but errant stepson, Mick Graves, returns home to tend his comatose father, Salina and Mick are drawn to one another. Warring with her illicit feelings for her stepson who now shares the ancestral home in eastern Kentucky is Salina's determination to carry out her plan of vindication. Will she be able to find her father's journal, absolve her family name, and survive the metaphorical storm surrounding her relationship with her stepson?

BOOK EXCERPTS
Salina Faye Graves stared in shock at the letter from her mother she found just this morning. Her throat constricting, she read it again, trying to absorb the letter’s full impact:

My dearest Salina,

I’m writing this to you and to you only. Your father’s guilt over his 14 miners killed in that horrible mine cave-in drove him to suicide. But you must know he was not responsible. It was that conniving Lyman Graves who framed him. He made your father take the rap. Lyman Graves was hell-bent on forcing out all his competitors so he could be king of the coal business in eastern Kentucky. Your father, Minos Drummond, was a good man, an honest man. But Lyman, in his scheme to get revenge on your father, set him up. His revenge was born out of hate. You see, I left Lyman Graves at the altar two years before I married your father. Even though that was long before you were born, I always shielded you and your sister from any knowledge of my former relationship with Lyman Graves. Only your father knew of it.

Her throat dry, Salina dropped the letter on the bed and gasped for air. Lyman Graves? Her mother and Lyman? But that was impossible!

Her thoughts swirled. No, it wasn’t impossible. Lyman and her father Minos Drummond were about the same age. Reeling, she nearly fell from the bed.

She sat up straight and tried to absorb the full impact of her mother’s letter. She did not want to believe what she’d just read. The man who drove her beloved father to suicide was none other than her husband—Lyman Graves!

Feeling suddenly nauseated, Salina curled into a fetal position on the bed and began to cry.

She remembered how deeply she had loved her parents, and she felt so alone now. Her tears moistened the pillowcase and she rubbed her cheeks with the back of her hands. She picked the letter back up, raised herself to a sitting position, and read on:

Two days ago I had a nurse mail to you, at that new address you left with this nursing home, a journal of your fathers that will prove how Lyman framed him, ruined his coal business, and wrecked his life. I asked the nurse to alert you about watching for the journal’s arrival, but she said you weren’t home when she phoned. The journal reveals every crooked shenanigan Lyman Graves perpetrated not only upon your father, but also on other coal operators and his miners as well. My mind is deteriorating so fast, I cannot try to vindicate your dead father’s name. You must do it for me, Salina. If it takes all of your life, vindicate his name. Free Minos Drummond of the stain he carried to his grave. I appeal to you because I don’t think your sister Ari Ann could handle this. You have always been the stronger of my two daughters. Absolve your father from his guilt so that he might rest peacefully in the grave. Vindicate the family name.

Your loving Mother,

Patsy


Salina stood and clutched the moist paper in her hand, then laid it on the bed. Waves of nausea swept over her. She swayed on her feet, then began pacing the floor. Damn Lyman! If she’d only known this before, she would never have agreed to marry him fourteen months ago. Never! She dug her nails into her palms and gritted her teeth. To learn he had been the agent of her father’s destruction was…devastating.

She swallowed back a bitter taste that coated her tongue. Worse, to know that Lyman had once been her own mother’s fiancé made her blood boil.

Stopping at the antique dresser, Salina stared at her reflection in the mirror. What have you done, you foolish woman? How could you have been so stupid? You should have seen Lyman’s deceit before now. You’re scarce half Lyman’s sixty-six years and here you are faced with this…

Clenching her hands at her sides, she whirled and paced back across the room. Was the reason for Lyman’s courtship and marriage proposal to me some perverse revenge scheme to get back at my mother because she jilted him at the altar?

BOOK REVIEWS
Salina Drummond marries a man twice her age in an effort to afford the best nursing care she can for her Alzheimer-stricken mother. Her husband, Lyman Graves, is the owner of a profitable coal company in rural Kentucky and a domineering man who controls those within his small community. Subsequent to her mother's death, Salina discovers that Lyman is responsible for a fatal mining accident for which her father was blamed, leading to his subsequent suicide. She resolves to force Lyman to take responsibility and exonerate her father from all guilt. But before she can do so, Lyman is tragically injured in a mine accident and lies in a coma. Lyman's estranged son, Mick, returns to Kentucky to see to his father after the accident. Although Mick initially plans a short visit, his attraction to Salina keeps drawing him back. Salina is likewise drawn to Mick, but each resists their feelings due to Salina's marriage to Mick's father. Shortly after Lyman comes out of his coma, he mysteriously disappears and Salina and Mick are thrown together in their efforts to find Lyman while under suspicion of the local sheriff.

Author Marsha Briscoe has an impressive background as a teacher of literature and as an editor and award-winning novelist and poet. Her second novel, A FAMILY MATTER, is an exceptional modern-day twist to the Phaedra myth, where a stepmother and stepson are romantically attracted to one another. Against the colorful backdrop of eastern Kentucky, the reader is swept into the inner turmoil of Selina and Mick, two good-hearted people surrounded by secret-keepers and corrupt businessmen. Briscoe paints visual imagery so vivid it will enable readers to feel as if they have stepped into the fictional world she has created. With realistic dialogue and supreme characterization, this is a must-read.”

©Christy Tillery French, Reviewer, Midwest Book Review


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“…A beautiful story, A Family Matter is rich with unforgettable, depth-filled characters, gorgeous scenery and a forbidden love. Mick and Salina capture your heart immediately and you long for them to be together. Amidst their burgeoning romance, we see both characters wrestle with important decisions that will affect not just themselves, but everyone around them. What I loved most of all about A Family Matter is Mick and Salina's strength of will. They loved each other desperately, but wouldn't allow themselves to be together, respecting her marriage vows and Mick's father. Don't miss this wonderful tale by a talented author.” Reviewer: ©Sharyn McGinty, Review Coordinator for In The Library Reviews


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“…A Family Matter is about greed and betrayal and the relationship between a stepmother and stepson. Salina and Mick are strong characters who face many challenges. There are quite a few twists and turns that lead to a conclusion that is really a surprise. A truly wonderful story.” Reviewer: ©Hattie Boyd for Scribes World Reviews


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“…This reviewer loved the way Marsha Briscoe brought these two to love. You have a stepmother and a son who in all records cannot fall in love. Of course that will be incest, but no way are they blood related, which makes it more forbidden liked the most about A Family Matter was that although these two are attracted to each other and sparks are flying, there is one obstacle they have to overcome: Lyman Graves. This is a great romantic suspense you can read if you are in the mood for love, betrayal, and mystery. Reviewer: ©Melinda: for Love Romances Reviews


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MORE BOOK INFO
ISBN: 1593742024
ISBN(13-digit): 9781593742027
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 311
Paper Weight (lb): 13.2



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