Title: Some Other Child
Author: Sharon Buchbinder
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Between the responsibility for the care of her injured mother and straightening out her muddled finances, public health researcher Sarah Wright hasn't a minute to herself, much less time to repair a fractured romance.
After a much loved aunt goes missing, Sarah is convinced it's a kidnapping but the police refuse to investigate.
Former fiancé Dan flies to Sarah's side to help—and it looks like things might come back together for the two of them—until Sarah is arrested for her aunt's murder.
As evidence stacks up against her, Sarah must find the real culprits as well as unravel decades old family secrets along the way.
Exhausted after a long day of teaching classes and endless rounds of revisions on her dissertation, Sarah Wright opened the front door to the house she shared with her fiancé and was almost knocked down by the dog. Gandalf’s scramble of paws and claws left a wake of mail scattered across the foyer and into the kitchen.
Neferkitty, her spotted silver tabby, perched on arm of the sofa and eyed Sarah as if to say, “I told you he was bad news.”
“Great.” She shrugged out of her blazer, tossed it onto a chair, and began to play fifty-two pick up. Her neck prickled. Sarah looked up from the mail. A giant gray slobbering monster stood with his front paws on the glass door, the fog of his breath mixing with mud smears. More work. She edged the door open and forced Gandalf to sit while she wiped his filthy feet.
“Gandalf, it’s time we had a ‘come-to-Sarah’ talk about your behavior.”
The gray beast turned his back to her, raised his leg and peed on her jacket.
“Fabulous. What else can go wrong?”
Moments later, her fiancé strolled in the door, whistling a cheerful tune.
Sanitizer barely dried on her hands, Sarah spoke through gritted teeth. “Gandalf pissed on my coat. Get rid of that dog.”
Dan Rosen leaned over and gave Sarah a bear hug.
She buried her face in his shirt and breathed in a mixture of aftershave and masculine scent.
“That’s his way of showing he likes you.” Dan kissed her brow. “You should be honored.”
“I’d hate to know what he’d do to shower me with love.” The canine in question slunk behind the sofa. “Give him back to your ex-girlfriend.”
Dan quirked a brow. “Jealous?”
“Methinks the lady doth protest—”
Sarah put her fingers over his mouth, stood on her tiptoes, and gazed into in his chocolate brown eyes. She loved him from the top of his head at six feet, two
inches, dark hair flecked with white, all the way down to his size ten shoes. His dog, however, was a different matter. “He gives me the evil eye. I swear he’s laughing at me.”
The ring of the phone interrupted her appeal.
“Sarah, please come,” her mother sobbed. “There’s been a terrible car accident.’
A chill slithered down Sarah’s spine. Not again.
“What happened?” White knuckled, she clutched the phone and mouthed “my mother” at Dan.
“Some idiot slammed into me. The police say it’s my fault.”
Sarah shook her head. Same story, different day.
“How much did you drink?”
A long silence. Sarah sighed. “How bad?”
“My legs are broken. Ida’s too old to help me. I can’t ask your brother. He has a wife and a child to support. Your sister won’t talk to me.” She paused. “You’re a nurse without a job.”
“I’m in a doctoral program, not unemployed.”
“Don’t make me beg.”
Her mother began to weep, and Sarah’s vow not fall back into her old ways began to waver. Arrows of guilt pierced her resolve. Who else would come to the aid of this difficult elderly woman?
“I can’t walk, drive, or do anything for myself.”
Sarah closed her eyes and sighed already regretting her next words. “Okay, Mom. I’ll come.”‘ She placed the phone on the receiver and turned to Dan.
Dan stared down at her with an expression of disbelief. “DUI, right?”
She nodded. “She needs me.”
He took her face in his hands. “Look at me.”
She locked her gaze with his.
“This woman sent you away to live with your deaf grandmother and didn’t visit you for years.”
“A nasty divorce. An alcoholic husband. Three little kids. What was she supposed to do?”
“Hardly a loving mother. You have physical and emotional scars, Sarah.”
Tears welled in her eyes. “That’s history. She’s changed. I heard it in her voice. She asked for me, not Matt, not Debra. She asked for me.”
Dan closed his eyes as the muscles in his jaw worked overtime. Raised in a normal household, he’d never understand what it meant to be the adult child of an alcoholic. They came from different planets, not just different religions.
An idea occurred to her. “You grew up in Baltimore. Your mom still lives in the city. Visit your mom and me at the same time.”
His eyes flew wide open. “You can’t stand Gert.”
Sarah shrugged. “I’ll get to know her better while I’m in Baltimore.”
“Don’t do this, Sarah. Ethel’s an alcoholic—a mean one. Stay here. I love you.”
She glanced at Gandalf. He stared back, shooting doggy daggers at her. Dan followed her gaze. “Well, okay, he is a pain in the ass.”
She kissed the tip of his nose. “Thanks for that admission, at least. I love you, too, but if I don’t go and something happens to her, I could never live with myself.”
“You can’t keep running to rescue her.”
She shook her head. “I won’t abandon her.”
He threw his hands up. “Go. But mark my words:
One of these days she’ll get drunk and kill herself.”
The Wild Rose Press: https://www.thewildrosepress.com/books/some-other-child
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Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.
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