Published Date : June 5, 2012
In this unforgettable new series, five men and women who grew up as orphans seek out their lost brothers and sisters, finding love and family along the way.
Dr. Cade Mathis learned early that he was not the son of the man who raised him. His adoptive father, a cruel, bitter man had always been quick to tell him that he was a bastard and an embarrassment to the rich society family whose daughter got pregnant with him. So when Cade received a full scholarship to college, he was only too happy to leave the only home he had ever known behind and never looked back. Now a successful doctor and one of the best neurosurgeons in the state, the only thing he still wants are answers about where he came from. What he doesn’t expect to find is Sabrina Thomas, the new patient advocate at his hospital or how this woman will lead him to the family he has been searching for and a love he never expected to find.
“It’s a boy.”
Carlton James heard his wife’s softly spoken voice, the tiredness, the regret. Somehow he’d known his first grandchild would be a boy.
His long fingers braced on the fireplace, trembled the tiniest bit as he stared into the flickering flames. In mid-March in Dallas, Texas it wasn’t cold enough for a fire, but he had needed to keep busy once Christine’s labor started. That had been over sixteen long hours ago.
His hands fisted with anger, then unclenched. He had to be strong for his family. He’d failed once, never again.
“Christine?” he asked, knowing before his wife answered that if their only child and daughter had had any problems with the delivery, she would have come downstairs to tell him before now. It was her emotional state he inquired about and they both knew it.
Carlton felt every day of his forty-three years and then some.
His first grandchild and he would never get to know him, to love him. Blowing out a breath, he slowly turned to see Lawanna. The joy and laughter that he was used to seeing on her pretty, open face wasn’t there. Her lips were pressed tightly together but they still trembled. There hadn’t been much to laugh about the past six months.
He opened his arms and his wife rushed across the room, burrowing against his chest, her hands gripping fistfuls of his shirt. He felt the dampness of her tears, blinked back his own. “Carlton, I hurt for her. We were supposed to protect her.” Carlton’s black eyes narrowed in anger. “I should have put a bullet in that no-good bastard the night she came crying to us.”
Lawanna sharply lifted her head, fear gleaming in her tear-drenched eyes. “No.”
Carlton’s thumb brushed away the moisture from her dark lashes, then cupped her soft cheek. “He’s taken enough from our family, he won’t take any more.”
“You’re sure about what you’re going to do?”
He nodded. “I wish there was another way, but Christine has made it clear she wants the baby placed for adoption.”
Tears streamed down Lawanna’s cheeks. “Carlton, he’s beautiful with a full head of black hair and black eyes. He looks so much like your father. Maybe she’ll change her mind in a few days. We’ve kept to ourselves since we rented the house. The few friends we have in the area don’t know we’re here.”
They’d rented a house in Dallas in an exclusive neighborhood for the last month of Christine’s pregnancy. He’d taken a leave from his medical practice in Houston for the past three weeks, wanting Christine to know how important she was to them, how much they loved her. It hadn’t seemed to matter.
She could barely look them in the eyes, and when she did, tears always followed.
“Did she even look at the baby, ask to hold him?” he asked, hoping against hope.
Lawanna lowered her gaze. “No. She wouldn’t even look at me.”
“She’s ashamed when it should be that bastard. He thinks taking advantage of naïve, unsuspecting women shows what a big man he is.” Carlton spat. “He doesn’t care about ruining their lives or about the child he refuses to claim. He won’t ruin Christine. She’s too gifted and has too much to live for. She just needs time and love.”
Lawanna nodded. “I just wish there was another way.” There was, but Carlton wasn’t going to tell her. This was one burden he planned to carry by himself. “You go sit with Christine and send the nurse down with the baby. The social worker is waiting for my call.”
Lawanna bit her lower lip. “I don’t mind telling you that once you see him I’m hoping you’ll change your mind. We could tell everyone we decided to adopt.”
“If we did, we’d lose Christine. We don’t have a choice.” Tears sparkled in his wife’s eyes. “We shouldn’t have to choose. I hope that man finds a hell on earth. He’s hurt too many people not to.”
Carlton kissed her on the cheek. “Send the baby down and
I’ll make the call.”
His wife nodded and then left the study, closing the door softly behind her. Carlton picked up the receiver on the desk and called his lawyer. The call was answered on the first ring.
“Is everything ready?”
“They understand and agree to the terms?” Carlton asked. “Yes.”
There was a knock on the study door. “Sir?”
“Just a minute,” he said, loud enough for the woman to hear. “The nurse is here. I’ll bring him out.”
Disconnecting the phone call, Carlton opened the door. He told himself it would be best if he didn’t look at the child, but the temptation was too great. He reached for the baby, felt the slight weight, heard the soft cry, and pulled back the soft blue blanket. His heart turned over. His chest felt tight. His wife was right. The baby did look like his father. He felt a fierce possessiveness, a fiercer love.
“If you don’t need me, I’ll go back upstairs.”
He shook his head, still staring down at the squirming bundle. “No. Thank you. You can go back upstairs with the midwife.” He heard the nurse move away, but his gaze remained on the now sleeping child. “I’m sorry. I wish there was another way.”
Stiffening his shoulders, Carlton quickly went to the front door and pulled it open. A slender woman in a black business suit stood on the porch. Before he could dwell on what he was doing, he thrust the baby into her arms, stepped back, and closed the door.
It was done.
He just hoped and prayed for all of their sakes he had done the right thing.