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Requiem for the Innocents by Lisa J Lickel is a Shake Off Winter Doldrums pick #literaryfiction #fiction #giveaway



Title: Requiem for the Innocents

 

Author: Lisa J Lickel

 

Genre: literary fiction

 

Book Blurb:

 

What is wrong with trying to cure cancer? Brother Able, hospice chaplain, asks himself that question every day. His boss, Dr. Rich Bernard, performs closet genetic experiments at Paradise House. He blackmails Able into keeping his secret. When a grieving husband asks Able to pray for his dying wife, Able finally breaks his silence.

 

Libby Davis might be prepared to accept death, to sacrifice herself for Rich’s greater cause but fails to comprehend the love of a husband who cannot let her go and the son who’s a whisper from the edge of reason. Brother Able wades into battle for those innocents in her life. If he wins, it won’t be only Libby’s family he saves.

 

Excerpt:

 

When I think back on my death and life, I recall Jordan’s eyes in perfect detail. I realized that, as his mother, I should have known, should have understood him. But if I had, I wouldn’t have lived.

 

Events were changing too fast for me to control that morning, I realized, as I lay trapped in the nether moments between sleep and wakefulness. Jordan’s eyes were black holes threatening to pull me in. I knew that if I let that happen, I’d be lost forever.

 

He wanted me gone. I’ve known that for the last three years. This time he might get his wish.

 

Shaking, I came fully awake. When I saw the clock, I knew I would have to pull myself together in a hurry so I could say good-bye before Nona took my son to school. At fourteen, it was easier for him to be seen with anyone but his mother. The tingle in my left thigh that bothered me on and off for the past six weeks turned into a throb as I made my way down the stairs. In the kitchen, I heard Nona quiz him about homework and the contents of his backpack. Good, she would cut him no slack.

 

She thrust a cup of coffee into my hands as I shuffled in. I greeted her and Jordan, who looked at me with a smile that went no further than his father’s dimples. Could he see my fear? Smell it or feel it?

 

“Morning, Libby,” Nona said. “I took a message off the machine earlier. Mrs. Rodgers asked you to make matching napkin rings for the coasters she ordered last year.” Nona shrugged into her jacket and jingled the car keys. “I left the note at your table.

 

“Thank you. Have a great day, Jordan. I love you,” I said to my son’s back. I’d been lobbing “I love you” at him for eighteen months. So far, he hadn’t cracked and sent one back.

 

Jordan turned and flashed those storm-at-sea eyes as me, assessing, probing. I watched his mouth move and noted the hairs darkening his upper lip.

 

“Later.” The word struggled to escape his throat. His voice had changed last summer. Soon he’d start shaving. Vic should teach him about that. Next time he came home.

 

Nona smiled and shook her head. I adored Nona Roland. Vic brought her home three years ago when I had been diagnosed. We decided that she could not leave after that horrible year that robbed me of my womb. She was indispensable, not just as a great nurse practitioner, but as the glue that kept everything about this family from ripping apart. I would have given her my first-born child in order to keep her.

 

In fact, I think I did.

 

“I’ll be back in a little bit,” Nona said. “Did you need anything from the store?”

 

“Thanks, but I’ll probably have to pick up some supplies once I check my orders.” Jordan stood in another dimension during our exchange. “How about you?” I asked him. “Need anything? Or did you want to go shipping with me this weekend?”

 

If he’d been younger, he might have faked gagging. “Nah. Project due. With Tony.”

 

“Right.” I made one more desperate attempt to engage my only child in conversation. “The one about the effects of trying to drain the marsh?”

 

He’d already headed toward the door. “Yeah. We’ll be late.”

 

Nona let out a noisy breath but said nothing as she was sucked along in his wake.

 

After the two of them left, I rinsed Jordan’s breakfast plate and put it in the dishwasher. I insisted Nona not act like our housekeeper, and we shared duties as if we were both mistresses of this home. She had worn her brown cords and a yellow blouse today. I’d have to decide on something else so we wouldn’t look like twins. Maybe he would forget to worry about me and not notice the hitch in my step.

 

***

 

When the garage door rumbled an hour before I expected Jordan home from school, I knew.

 

So Nona had picked up on my discomfort yesterday morning when it hurt to walk. She called him. But when? Vic needed at least twenty-four hours to get here, traveling across the breadth of the planet. Air moved when he paused in the doorway.

 

I continued to daub teal onto a sketched father. I would carefully outline the peacock “eye” in gold when the paint dried. Acrylic did not take long. Then I would shellac. I repeated the teal  once, twice, on three of the twenty rings before his hands touched my shoulders. He must have stood there, watching, until I was ready to move on to the next piece. He wouldn’t startle me and ruin my work. Thoughtful of my husband.

 

I decided to play innocent.

 

I stuck my brush in water, knowing he’d wait. I couldn’t. I jumped up but tangled my long, narrow foot in a rung under the stool and tumbled into his arms. “Vic!” Laughing, I grabbed his shoulders to hug him and save myself from a fall. “What a surprise!”

 

He trembled. He did not laugh.

 

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

 

 

 


 

 


What’s your favorite activity to shake off the winter doldrums?

 

Reading!

 

I am surprised when I learn of writers who struggle to read, read widely, and voraciously. Reading well is the best way to learn about good story, and how to create it. Reading is like learning to write by osmosis. What better time of year than winter, when outside activities, even skating, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, are curtailed by weather, than to delve into that pile of books you’ve been collecting? I am slightly embarrassed by the number of books on my ereader; ones that look so yummy I have to buy them, that I haven’t gotten to; the books that call to me when I’m volunteering for the book sale at my library, or have to check out for book clubs that I read in between the ones I choose for myself. In fact, I’m going to grab a cup of hot cocoa and sit down this afternoon with a book. What are you reading?

 

Why is your featured book a cure for the winter blues?

 

It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma…wait, that’s already been done. But not like this! All the clues are there, can you figure out the who and why before it’s too late? A crazy doctor wants to save lives, while a damaged soul will do anything to stop the pain.

 

Giveaway –

 

One lucky reader will win a $35 Amazon gift card

 

 

Open internationally.

 

Runs March 1 – 31, 2024

 

Drawing will be held on April 1, 2024. 

 


Author Biography:

 

Lisa Lickel writes from the peaceful rolling hills of Wisconsin’s driftless area. A multi-published and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, articles, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, and freelance editor. She loves books, collects dragons, and encouraging authors. She’s a member of the Wisconsin Writers Association, the Chicago Writers Association, and Assistant Director and book coach for Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc. She manages the Wisconsin Writers Association Press and edits Creative Wisconsin magazine. Lisa and her husband enjoy gardening, travel, spending time with their family. They have two grown sons, daughters-in-law, and lots of adorable grandchildren.

 

Social Media Links:

 

2 Comments


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Mar 22

Thank you for sharing your book in our event1

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Lisa J Lickel
Lisa J Lickel
Mar 22
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Thank you for hosting us.

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