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What if everything you thought you knew about your family turned out to be a lie?
Penelope Livingston has had an ache in her heart for twenty-five years—ever since that traumatic day she gave her baby up for adoption. Now she’s trying to locate her daughter. Research uncovers a young woman named Claire who seems to be a perfect match. The two women believe it is Fate that they found each other, and they begin to forge a happy friendship.
Unfortunately, only the baby’s father, Larry O’Neill knows the truth—that he never allowed his daughter to be given up for adoption. He raised the baby himself, with the help of his babysitter, Sally, who quickly became his wife.
Now how does he keep Penelope off his daughter Melody’s trail, so that he can keep his family intact and himself out of jail?
Twenty-five years ago
“Go! Go faster! Oh my God, can’t you push this pile of junk any faster?” When she received no reply from her friend but a harried shake of her head, Penelope Livingston pried her attention back to the matter at hand.
When had a perfectly natural act like breathing become so difficult? Puffing furiously, yet rhythmically, she managed to sneak a glance down—past her engorged breasts that had been sore to touch or even brush against, for every day of the last nine months—to her ridiculously enlarged stomach. Toting that load around, like she had for as far back as recent memory allowed her, caused a certain degree of difficulty in everything.
Every little thing. Walking. Sitting. Lying down. Tying her shoes. Getting dressed. Eating. Breathing.
Cursing the huge appendage that her stomach had become, she puffed in ragged, panting breaths.
“I think you’re doing that wrong, Penny,” her friend Marsha, the driver, managed.
Penny looked at her from the passenger side. “What do you mean? The book said to breathe.”
“Yeah, breathe, but slowly. Long, cleansing breaths, to bring air into your system and slow everything down. Not pant like a dog in the summer, desperate for a bowl of water.”
“What do you know anyway? You’ve never been pregnant,” Penny fumed. She continued panting quickly until she realized that her limbs were tingling, and she could see little fairies and stars floating in front of her eyes.
Maybe the skinny chick had a point.
With a Herculean effort, Penny stopped panting. For thirty seconds she held her breath, and then concentrated on slowly drawing air into her lungs, while absentmindedly brushing both her hands around the gargantuan lump of her stomach.
Marsha looked over from the driver’s side. “That’s better. Do you feel it? Is it improving?”
For a moment, it improved. Penny glanced at her friend with a look of dawning realization. And gratitude. She’d evolved. She had this childbirth thing down pat. All she had to do was relax. Breathe deeply. Calm down. And it would just happen, serenely, as it had for millions of women since the dawn of time.
“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” The scream was a primal outlash that was conceived in the base of her soul and expelled, unwelcome, from her mouth. “Oh my God, Marsha. It hurts so bad! The breathing ain’t cutting it.”
“You’re in labor, Pen. I’m driving as fast as I can. Just concentrate on breathing slowly, and we’ll get there soon.”
In a few minutes the pain was manageable again. The deep, slow breathing helped to calm her until the next gut-wrenching cramp hit her. “How do you know so much about labor anyway?”
“I watched my sister go through it. I helped her until we got to the delivery room; then her husband went in with her.”
As they passed a large blue sign with a white H, the pains returned and Penny screamed.
“We’re passing a hospital, Pen! Why don’t I just pull in there? Why do we have to go all the way to Chicago General?”
A tidal wave of agony warring inside Penny’s midsection made it impossible to reply. She panted and moaned, and after a few minutes, she could sit up straight again and form words. “That’s St. Mary’s. They don’t have free doctors. Only Chicago General will do the delivery if you don’t have insurance.”
Marsha nodded. “It should only be a few more minutes. The good thing is, your baby decided to make its appearance in the middle of the night, and there’s hardly any traffic.”
Penny’s stunned gaze shot to Marsha’s face. Marsha looked at her, her eyebrows forming a silent question. “Baby?”
Marsha nodded and glanced back at the road.
“You said the B word, Marsha.”
“Yeah, Penny. Your baby’s coming today. Soon. Today’s the day, pal.”
Another contraction delayed Penny from thinking of the inevitability of what today would bring. But once her uterus had calmed again, Penny drifted into silence and pondered her situation.
Legacy of Lies offers riveting combinations of suspense and hope, love and betrayal, and the anguish of fear and desire. Well written and offering well developed three-dimensional characterizations who have a way of tweaking emotions, this story of pain and regret offers the reader a fully developed and intriguing read, one that transforms despair into triumph.
-- Reviewed by Marie Knaus/Denise Clark
Denise’s Pieces Author Site & Book Reviews
Laurie Larsen weaves together a roller coaster family drama about adoption, guilt, and the search for the truth by former teen mother Penelope Livingston. This is a suspense-filled page-turner that reveals the spectrum of human emotions at work among the daughters, mothers, fathers, husbands and wives within this cross-section of families linked together by the birth of one baby girl so long ago.
Catherine Kitcho, President, Hot Lava! Book Reviews at www.pelepubs.com
"I admire the plot and how each story strand of spaghetti intertwines with the others making it a most interesting dish. I read it straight through. Very enjoyable!!"
-- Dr. Gay Toltl Kinman, Word Museum http://www.wordmuseum.com
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 322
Paper Weight (lb): 13.6