“The past had scarred them all…”


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Leaning forward and resting her elbows on her knees, Lennie stared across the empty living room. The day Duncan ran from her had been one of her most painful. He had always been a high-spirited child. More prone to wander, break a rule, or lead his younger brothers astray. However, he’d never done anything that warranted more than a time-out. Duncan had never been cruel to anyone or deliberately put anyone in harm’s way. Had someone told Lennie the argument in the high school parking lot with her son would take place, she would have thought them crazy.

But it did happen.

Insistent on not entering counseling, Duncan had run from Lennie. The anger building inside her at his disrespectful tone dissipated immediately at her last glimpse of his eyes.

Confusion.

Pain.

And fear.

The memory of it all in her son’s face made Lennie even more determined to get him to a therapist. She would not allow this to scar his life… not if she could help. Ranard had received no help for the verbally abusive childhood he had because of his father. Lennie knew his failure as a husband and father were directly related to his relationship with his father.

Duncan deserved a better life.

The memory played on rewind in Lennie’s mind.

*

Sitting in her Chevy Tahoe, still taking glances in the direction Duncan had gone. She wanted him to come back… but knew he wouldn’t. The despair Lennie knew he felt would now be enhanced by the shame of his behavior with her.

Consumed with the situation with her eldest son, Lenore Porter drove home. Pulling her vehicle into the garage, she exited and went through the garage’s rear entrance to her back door… and found Duncan sitting in the old swing near the Sugar Maple tree.

He shook his head slowly without meeting her gaze.

“I’m sorry, mom.”

“I’m glad you’re safe, sweetheart.”

“I shouldn’t have run away like that.”

“You were feeling overwhelmed. Looks like you still are.”

“I’m not crazy, mama… I’m not.”

Lennie’s chest tightened. He had not called her that since second grade. Sitting her bag at the bag door, Lennie walked over and took the swing next to Duncan.

They both silently rocked for a few minutes.

“Most people who go to counseling aren’t mentally ill, Dunc. Life just has a way of dumping too much on us at once,” she touched his hand, “the drowning feeling you mentioned? That’s where it comes from. It happens to us all at some point during our lives.”

“Have you ever felt like you were drowning, mom?”

“Not drowning so much as helpless.”

“What’s the difference?”

“Well, don’t take this as clinical or anything, but I knew the problem, and I knew the cause. I just couldn’t fix it.”

“Dad.” It was a statement, not a question.

Lennie’s smile was bittersweet. “Yes.”

“He hasn’t been very nice to you, mom.” Taking a deep breath, Duncan continued. “But you never gave up. You’ve always been… mom.”

“Darlin, the obstacle doesn’t exist that could separate me from my Porter Patrol. Good days or bad, you and your brothers always got the best of me, and you always will. I couldn’t give you the stereotyped version of a good family life, but I tried to make sure you have a good life. I don’t think we’ve done too badly. This is a bump in the road, and-”

“Can you make me another appointment with the shrink?”

Duncan laughed at the smirk on her face.

“Okay, okay. Counselor, therapist… whatever. I still don’t want to go, but I’ve let you down enough.” He stared at his feet.

“Duncan?”

Lennie didn’t speak again until he looked at her.

“You have never let me down. You’re sixteen years old and going through a bad time because of the actions of adults. You haven’t done anything wrong. But this is something you have to want. You cannot do it for me, baby. You don’t have to want to go to counseling… you have to want to get better and be your old self again.”

“So, you’ll make the appointment?”

“Well…”

“What, mom?”

“We haven’t missed today’s appointment yet.”

“Huh?”

“I was picking you up from school early… to give us time to talk before the appointment.”

Lennie looked at her watch.

“We’ll just make it. Run in and wash up and change your shirt. I’ll wait right here.”

Nodding, the teen stood and headed for the back door, but turned, walked back and kissed his mother’s forehead.  Still silent, Duncan entered the house.

The smile on Lenore’s face faded as Duncan walked away. Her son was angry… and afraid.

The past had scarred them all.


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“A thirty-minute conversation changed their lives…”


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“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

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Snippet

Lennie leaned down, kissed his forehead and placed the napkin across her father’s lap. Just as she got it in place, Burt looked up at her.

Lenore was gutted.

More pieces of her already broken heart fell away.

His ashen skin, mottling and in different shades of brown and gray unsettled her. His slack jaw and visible body tremors made Lennie shudder. His eyes were her undoing. The mischievous gleam responsible for so much laughter, which had helped to comfort, console, and encourage her… was gone.

Father and daughter were still eye-to-eye, the reality of the situation holding Lennie in place when she felt his frail hand cover hers.

“Thank… you, baby girl.”

Lennie smiled and kissed his cheek, comforted with the knowledge she made her father happy. “You’re welcome, Daddy… always.”

Before Lennie could retrieve his dinner plate, Linda Kelimore was already cutting the meat into tiny portions.

“Lenore, take the other plate for yourself.”

“But that’s yours, mom.”

“It will be cold before I get to it. Go on, eat. I know you’ve been on your feet since the lunch rush.”

Just like that, Lennie was twelve years old again, doing as she was told.

Picking at her food, she tried not to stare at her parents. But Lennie couldn’t help but be mesmerized. Watching as her mother fussed and cooed in loving tones at Burt to take his time and chew each tiny bite of food. Linda caressed his cheek between bites. Burt rested his hand on her knee, never taking his eyes off Linda’s face.

Feeling like an intruder on a private moment, Lennie did force herself to look away.

Anyone who knew Burt and Linda Kelimore knew they were totally devoted to each other.  More than half a century had passed since the day they each ran into a mechanic’s shop in need of quick repairs. Though they were both on their way to meet other people, a thirty-minute conversation changed their plans for the evening and the rest of their lives.

 

©Felicia Denise 2017

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“Toughen up because life’s tough.”


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“Family Matters (In the Best Interest of the Child Book 2)”

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Olivia Chandler’s day of reckoning fast approaches.  Start her journey from the beginning!

 

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“In The Best Interest of the Child Book 1”

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Available now in Print!


Free, a Novella print copy

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Lenore Porter’s life had not gone as she planned. The marriage she put her heart and soul into failed. The man she sacrificed so much for abandoned her. But Lennie refused to be broken. She pushed on, running a successful business and raising her three sons alone.

Through health scares, severe family dysfunction, and trauma which forever changed their lives, the Porter family clung to each other to keep from sinking into the darkness. With her marriage over long ago and her adult sons living their own lives, Lenore Porter decides to sell the cold fortress she worked so hard to make a warm, loving home.

A short, final inspection of her former home turns into a confrontation with ghosts from the past, and decisions and events Lennie felt she’d dealt with and moved on from.

Free, a Novella is a short, clean read recounting one woman’s determination to not be broken by life or lose her identity.

 


 

“A thirty-minute conversation changed their lives…”


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“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

#99cents #KindleUnlimited

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Snippet

Lennie leaned down, kissed his forehead and placed the napkin across her father’s lap. Just as she got it in place, Burt looked up at her.

Lenore was gutted.

More pieces of her already broken heart fell away.

His ashen skin, mottling and in different shades of brown and gray unsettled her. His slack jaw and visible body tremors made Lennie shudder. His eyes were her undoing. The mischievous gleam responsible for so much laughter, which had helped to comfort, console, and encourage her… was gone.

Father and daughter were still eye-to-eye, the reality of the situation holding Lennie in place when she felt his frail hand cover hers.

“Thank… you, baby girl.”

Lennie smiled and kissed his cheek, comforted with the knowledge she made her father happy. “You’re welcome, Daddy… always.”

Before Lennie could retrieve his dinner plate, Linda Kelimore was already cutting the meat into tiny portioreadersofins with this, Lenore. Take the other plate for yourself.”

“But that’s yours, mom.”

“It will be cold before I get to it. Go on, eat. I know you’ve been on your feet since the lunch rush.”

Just like that, Lennie was twelve years old again, doing as she was told.

Picking at her food, she tried not to stare at her parents. But Lennie couldn’t help but be mesmerized. Watching as her mother fussed and cooed in loving tones at Burt to take his time and chew each tiny bite of food. Linda caressed his cheek between bites. Burt rested his hand on her knee, never taking his eyes off Linda’s face.

Feeling like an intruder on a private moment, Lennie did force herself to look away.

Anyone who knew Burt and Linda Kelimore knew they were totally devoted to each other.  More than half a century had passed since the day they each ran into a mechanic’s shop in need of quick repairs. Though they were both on their way to meet other people, a thirty-minute conversation changed their plans for the evening and the rest of their lives.

 

©Felicia Denise 2017

“The Color Purple Collection” by Alice Walker

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“The Color Purple Collection”

Author: Alice Walker

Genre: African American/Historical/Cultural Heritage

Release Date: September 11, 2012

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Three novels by a New York Times–bestselling author—including the Pulitzer Prizewinner The Color Purple—that speak to the African experience in America.
The Color Purple is Alice Walker’s stunning, Pulitzer Prize–winning novel of courage in the face of oppression. Celie grows up in rural Georgia, navigating a childhood of ceaseless abuse. Not only is she poor and despised by the society around her, she’s badly treated by her family. As a teenager, she begins writing letters directly to God in an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear. Her letters span twenty years and record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment through the guiding light of a few strong women and her own implacable will to find harmony with herself and her home.
 
In The Temple of My Familiar, Celie and Shug from The Color Purple follow the lives of a brilliant cast of characters, all dealing in some way with the legacy of the African experience in America. From recent African immigrants to a woman who grew up in the mixed-race rainforest communities of South America, to Celie’s own granddaughter living in modern-day San Francisco, all must come to understand the brutal stories of their ancestors to come to terms with their own troubled lives.

Possessing the Secret of Joy portrays Tashi’s tribe, the Olinka, where young girls undergo genital mutilation as an initiation into the community. Tashi manages to avoid this fate at first, but when pressed by tribal leaders, she submits. Years later, married and living in America as Evelyn Johnson, Tashi’s inner pain emerges. As she questions why such a terrifying, disfiguring sacrifice was required, she sorts through the many levels of subjugation with which she’s been burdened over the years.

Hailed by the Washington Post as “one of the best American writers of today,” Alice Walker is a master storyteller and a major voice in modern literary fiction.

~~~~~~~~~
Alice Walker

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Alice Walker (b. 1944), one of the United States’ preeminent writers, is an award-winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry. In 1983, Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. Her other novels include The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessing the Secret of Joy. In her public life, Walker has worked to address problems of injustice, inequality, and poverty as an activist, teacher, and public intellectual.

“My daddy’s dead, my mom’s in a coma and I have no one.”


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“In the Best Interest of the Child”

Author: Felicia Denise

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: September 30, 2016


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What Readers Are Saying!

“Debut novelist Felicia Denise definitely knows how to capture her readers’ attention with the depths of the characters she presents along with the layers of subplots that support the main story line very well.”

“Ms. Denise has done a wonderful job on her first novel. I loved the ending; Looking forward to book 2!”

“LOVED IT!! In The Best Interest of the Child by Felicia Denise is a powerhouse novel, overflowing with emotion and real life messages…”

“Can’t wait for Book 2. This new author is incredibly talented. Suspense, romance and drama all in one book, you get it all.”

“Let me tell you, Bruce is pure charm. I have never read a male lead with more sincere charm than this man and Felicia wrote him so well…”

“Olivia Chandler is honestly the type of woman I aspire to be in life. She is strong and confident…”

 

Excerpt:

Rena Averest was holding in an incredible amount of emotions. Pain, loss, fear, and even anger were waging war inside her, and not knowing how to deal with them at the same time, she held them all in. Olivia had seen it too many times. She had lived it.

Livvie stared at the wall, willing her tears not to fall.

“Oh, sweetie. Please don’t be angry. It will only make you feel worse. Everyone was only thinking of what was best for you”, the nurse cooed. She reached out to touch Livvie’s arm, but stopped short and pulled her hand back.

The child met her gaze with a defiant glare.

 “You wait days to tell me my daddy’s dead, and now days later, you tell me they already had his funeral.”

 “Honey, you were so weak, and your social worker said it was best for everyone not to tell you at the time, and just let you get better.”

 “What social worker?”

 “Your social worker, Mrs. Jenkins.”

Livvie’s eyes widened.

 “That tall woman with the ugly hair and mean face is my social worker?”

 “Livvie! That’s not nice!”

 “I only remember seeing her once, and she never looked at me… not one time. I don’t want her to be my social worker!”

The nurse sighed heavily.

 “Certain decisions have to be made for you right now, Livvie, and since you’re not an adult, the state has to step in and help out.”

 “What about my mom?”

The nurse looked away and smoothed the bed covers.

“She’s still in a coma, isn’t she? And you weren’t going to tell me.”

Straightening her back and standing to her full height, the nurse’s voice took a firmer tone.

 “You have no idea what your body… and your mind have been through, Livvie. As a child, you’re not able to understand how serious this all is.”

Livvie pushed herself into a sitting position, wincing from the pain.

 “My daddy’s dead, my mom’s in a coma and I have no one. People who don’t even know me get to tell Little Livvieme what to do.” She continued before the nurse could speak. “We don’t have any more family. We only had each other. So strangers buried my daddy, and no one told me. I’m ten and a half, not stupid.”

She reached for the child, but Livvie pulled away, wincing again.

 “I didn’t even get to say goodbye. My daddy’s gone… and I didn’t get to say goodbye.”

 “Livvie, I’m so sorry-…”

Ignoring the pain, Livvie turned on her side with her back to the nurse and spoke in a hushed tone.

 “Go away. Just go… away.” Livvie exhaled when she heard the door open, then close. The tears she had fought so hard to hold on to, now wouldn’t come at all. She wanted to scream and cry.

 She wanted her daddy to run into the room and save her. Instead, she felt as if the lump in her throat would choke her. Livvie massaged her forehead slowly and closed her eyes.

“Why did you leave me, daddy? I’m so scared, daddy. I need you.”

Livvie felt her legs and back begin to throb and knew someone would come to give her medicine soon to stop the pain. The medicine would make her sleep and she wouldn’t have to talk. The thought made her smile slightly and remember another time when she couldn’t talk.

She’d had her tonsils removed two years ago, and despite being able to eat all the ice cream she wanted, she still cried because of the pain. Her daddy sat close to her on the bed and rubbed her back.

 “It’s okay to cry, Livvie-Lou, everyone cries. But I’m going to need you to work towards being strong for your dad. Too much crying is not good for your throat and I know you don’t want to go back the hospital. And you know how your mom feels about hospitals.”

Livvie opened her eyes suddenly.

She had no idea how her mother felt about hospitals.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Family Matters (In the Best Interest of the Child, Book 2)

Coming August 2017

Cover Reveal June 29th!

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“But now… in this moment, she understood what it meant to hate someone.”


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“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

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Snippet

Lennie leaned down, kissed his forehead and placed the napkin across her father’s lap. Just as she got it in place, Burt looked up at her. Lenore was gutted. More pieces of her already broken heart fell away. His ashen skin, mottling and in different shades of brown and gray unsettled her. His slack jaw and visible body tremors made Lennie shudder. His eyes were her undoing. The mischievous gleam responsible for so much laughter, which had helped to comfort, console, and encourage her… was gone.

Father and daughter were still eye-to-eye, the reality of the situation holding Lennie in place when she felt his frail hand cover hers.

“Thank… you, baby girl.”

Lennie smiled and kissed his cheek, comforted with the knowledge she made her father happy. “You’re welcome, Daddy… always.”

Before Lennie could retrieve his dinner plate, Linda Kelimore was already cutting the meat into tiny portioreadersofins with this, Lenore. Take the other plate for yourself.”

“But that’s yours, mom.”

“It will be cold before I get to it. Go on, eat. I know you’ve been on your feet since the lunch rush.”

Just like that, Lennie was twelve years old again, doing as she was told.

Picking at her food, she tried not to stare at her parents. But Lennie couldn’t help but be mesmerized. Watching as her mother fussed and cooed in loving tones at Burt to take his time and chew each tiny bite of food. Linda caressed his cheek between bites. Burt rested his hand on her knee, never taking his eyes off Linda’s face.

Feeling like an intruder on a private moment, Lennie did force herself to look away.

Anyone who knew Burt and Linda Kelimore knew they were totally devoted to each other.  More than half a century had passed since the day they each ran into a mechanic’s shop in need of quick repairs. Though they were both on their way to meet other people, a thirty-minute conversation changed their plans for the evening and the rest of their lives.

Save