Margot Schultz – In The Best Interest of the Child – Character Profile

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Dynamic and vivacious Margot Schultz never met an obstacle she couldn’t overcome… or knock down. Executive assistant/office manager to Olivia Chandler, Margot always seems to know the right amount of charm, wit, and panache to use when dealing with anyone from grumpy judges to cagey Department of Children’s Service employees to Olivia’s peers – some of whom are less-than-ethical.

Early in her career, Margot worked for some of the less than-ethical-crowd. While they could be gods and magicians in the courtroom, pulling out wins from seemingly unwinnable cases, outside the courtroom was another matter. Margot could remember each and every personal errand she’d had to do, each gift she’d had to buy for multiple girlfriends and mistresses, and every lie she’d told to one of her bosses’ wives.

When Margot heard through the courthouse grapevine that the executive secretary of a successful young, female child advocate attorney was retiring for health reasons and had no replacement, she grabbed her resume, took an extended lunch and went in search of Olivia Chandler. Despite her unusual approach, Margot and Olivia clicked immediately.

The two women have worked side by side for ten years. Olivia admired Margot’s work ethic. She encouraged Margot to continue her education when time allowed, and even paid for it, calling it a ‘sound investment.’ Margot would eventually advance from executive legal secretary to executive assistant and office manager.

Margot knows Olivia has no family and was a foster care kid. She doesn’t know the intimate details, but she does know Olivia’s adolescence was bad enough for Olivia to keep herself closed off to most people. Her boss seems to ‘live’ when focused and working on a case for their minor clients. The rest of the time, Olivia just seems to exist.

The divorced office manager is not one of those people who believe a woman needs a man in her life to be complete, but Bruce Bellamy has suddenly appeared in Olivia’s life, and Margot will do her part to keep him there.

Things are going to get interesting.

 

Margot Rose (Parker) Schultz

Age: She’s not telling – but probably mid to late 40s

Born: New York, New York

Marital Status: Divorced – has adult twin sons who are both Marines

Is two classes away from a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management

Loves to dance and can be found on a dance floor most Saturday nights

Collects souvenirs from the Roaring 20s – always says she would have made a great Flapper

Plays acoustic guitar, but rarely does as it reminds her of her musician ex-husband

Is somewhat estranged from her parents and siblings since she dropped out of college nearly 30 years ago to elope with her now ex-husband


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Martin ‘Marty’ Knight – In The Best Interest of the Child – Character Profile

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After their initial visit to the hospital where Rena has daily physical therapy, she and Olivia meet hospital volunteer, Martin ‘Marty’ Knight as they leave. Marty is concerned about the sadness in Rena’s eyes and tries to cheer her up as he helps her into the car. He is shocked to find out that Rena’s injuries and the death of her mother were caused by the same weather-related, multi-vehicle accident that claimed the life of his best friend, Victor Roddy.

During Marty and Rena’s conversation, Olivia finds herself staring at the man, convinced they have met before. She just cannot remember where. Marty also cast several glances in Olivia’s direction trying to figure out why she looks so familiar. His memory fails him.

As the story unfolds, Marty Knight will not only become a good friend and ‘grandfather’ to Rena, he will play a pivotal role in Olivia Chandler sorting out her past…and navigating her future.

  • Martin Eugene Knight
  • Age: 71
  • Retiree, Veteran, and Hospital Volunteer
  • DOB: October 31, 1943
  • Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Marital Status: Widower. Wife, Sarah, passed away three years ago after a difficult battle with liver cancer.
  • Sarah died two weeks after their 50th wedding anniversary.
  • Has five children and eleven grandchildren.
  • A veteran of the Vietnam War. Entered the war near its beginning and served four years.
  • Received a Purple Heart and Medal Honor.
  • Enjoys building miniatures, fly fishing, and watching westerns.
  • Carries a keychain with a picture of his wife on one side, and a picture of his dog on the other. His dog passed away two months after his wife, at the age of 16. Sarah named the dog Dwight because she was convinced he looked like Dwight D Eisenhower.

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©2016 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Courtney and Marissa Bellamy – In The Best Interest of the Child – Character Profile

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As best friends to Duncan Averest and his late wife, Irene, Courtney and Marissa Bellamy knew they would stand by Duncan. Whatever it took to help him through the loss of his wife and the serious injuries sustained by him and daughter, Rena, the Bellamys would do. And, as Rena’s godparents, of course she would live with them until her father was well enough to take care of her. They took their vows as godparents very seriously. But someone is trying to stop them. Someone is trying to keep them away from Duncan and make sure Rena gets sent into the foster care system.

Court-appointed child advocate attorney Olivia Chandler is the answer to their prayers. They’re moved by her genuineness and promise to “do right by Rena.” There is an immediate bond between the attorney and her young client, and Marissa cannot help but wonder if it has more to do with the flashes of sadness she sees in Olivia’s eyes than with simple job commitment.

The instant interest in Olivia by his cousin, Bruce, hasn’t been lost on Courtney. Abandoned by his ex-wife when their children were mere toddlers, Bruce hasn’t shown little more than a passing, casual interest in any woman since. Olivia will be spending quite a bit of time with the Bellamy family in the near future, and Courtney thinks it’s just enough time to do a bit of matchmaking. And, where you find Courtney…you find Marissa.

Let the games begin!

Courtney Ardan and Marissa Anne (Monroe) Bellamy

Met in Botany 101 during their freshman year of college

Married November 30, 1996

Two sons – Bishop, 18 and Brian, 16

Courtney works in IT/Computer Systems for the local school district, Marissa is head of Library Sciences for Hennepin County Public Libraries

Courtney (Caucasian) and Marissa (African-American) are an Interracial couple who haven’t suffered much of the disdain shown to interracial couples by some of society due to their steadfast commitment to each other and the love and total support of their families.

Bruce Bellamy – In The Best Interest of the Child – Character Profile


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A former amateur race car driver, and current owner of a successful chain of auto repair shops, Bruce Bellamy is a cousin to Rena Averest’s current caregivers. He and Olivia meet for the first time when she gives Rena a ride home from physical therapy, and he is there trying to diagnose the problem with his cousin’s car.

Bruce is instantly smitten with the attorney. Her voluptuous body pulls him right in, but it’s the guarded sadness in her eyes that propels him to get to know her. She has a beautiful smile, and he thinks she should use it more often.

The easy going business owner has been alone for nearly two decades, when his ex-wife walked away from him and their four children in search of a more affluent lifestyle. Her callous, mercenary heart caused him to close his off, and he’s not been in a relationship since, nor had any involvement with women worth mentioning, choosing instead to concentrate on raising his children and making his business successful. So when Olivia gets his attention, the entire Bellamy clan takes notice, and proceeds to help him win her over.

Having spent her adult life avoiding romantic entanglements, Olivia knows she’s walking a tight rope by allowing Bruce to get too close. Rena’s case has brought Olivia’s childhood back to the forefront of her mind, making her believe she has nothing to offer Bruce.

He seems to think otherwise.

Bruce Ambrose Bellamy
Age: 42
DOB: June 28, 1972
Place of Birth: Duluth, Minnesota
Divorced
Has four (adult) children
Owns a chain of successful auto repair shops
Loves ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘Married with Children’ reruns
Has a BA and MA in Business earned while attending night, and online classes
Hates golfs and considers it pointless
Loves football and is a diehard Minnesota Vikings Fan


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“…waltz in off the street.” #Excerpt


The diminutive nurse seated before Olivia appeared to enjoy taking rudeness to new heights.

“This is the Critical Care Unit. We simply cannot have anyone off the street waltz in here and upset our patients. Mr. Averest is a very sick man and needs his rest.”

Olivia let the obvious insult pass, but was tiring of this chick’s attitude.

“I’ve told you who I am, showed you my identification, and told you why I’m here. If you cannot allow me in to see Mr. Averest, perhaps you can tell me who his physician of record is? I’ll speak with him or her and get written permission to see Mr. Averest. Will that satisfy you?”

The nurse smirked.

“I thought you said you’re a lawyer? Then you should know it’s against the law for me to give you patient information and – “

Olivia cut her off.

“It’s against the law for you give me medical information, and I haven’t asked you for any.”

“Well, it doesn’t matter anyway because Mr. Averest’s attorney left express instructions for staff not to speak with anyone about his condition or let anyone see him.” The irritating woman stood, adjusted her smock and walked to the other end of the counter.

Olivia frowned.

“His attorney?”

“Did I stutter?”

Rage gripped Olivia. She’d had enough of this self-important little twit.

“Did this attorney have Mr. Averest’s power of attorney, or legal documents appointing him as guardian?”

The nurse’s face fell.

“I don’t know, but- “

“So, you’re telling me you allowed someone to just waltz in here off the street and tell you what to do without knowing if they even had the legal right to?”

The nurse’s face went from pink to a deep shade of red.

“I-I…he said…” she reached for the phone. “I’ve had enough of you! I’m calling security!”

Olivia crossed her arms on the counter and smiled.

“Please do. And while I wait for them, let me tell what’s going to happen next.”

The woman stopped dialing and glared at Olivia.

“After I’m escorted from the building, I’m heading back to Spring Falls… and the judge who assigned me to this case. I will tell him how uncooperative you were, and how you refused to allow me to see Duncan Averest or even tell me who his physician is, making it impossible for me to do the job he appointed me to do. I’ll also tell him how you caused me public embarrassment by having me removed from the building. I know this judge. He hates people getting in his way. So, guess what? He’ll get on the phone and talk with this hospital’s administrators and warn them to get their legal department ready because I’ll be returning with a pile of injunctions and contempt of court citations. And one of them will have your name on it,” she glanced at the woman’s employee badge for the first time, “Katrina.”

Olivia grabbed her laptop bag and purse and headed for the elevators. “I’ll wait over here for security.”

“He’s in 3502.”

Olivia fought to keep the smile off her face. She turned and looked at the woman, then glanced down the hallway of patients’ rooms. Returning her gaze to the woman who had given her such a bad time, Olivia almost felt guilty for the fear she saw in her eyes. Almost. Without another word, she went in search of room 3502.

Attempting to shake off her encounter with Nurse Know-it-all, Olivia stopped abruptly when she entered 3502. Her anger returned with a vengeance when she realized she’d been deliberately given the wrong room number.

She was going to bury this hospital in contempt of court citations!

©Felicia Denise 2016

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“In The Best Interest of the Child” by Felicia Denise #FREE

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Book Title: In the Best Interest of the Child
Author: Felicia Denise
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Psychological
Release Date: September 30, 2016

Amazon US http://bit.ly/BestInt

Amazon UK http://bit.ly/BestIntUK

Amazon CA http://bit.ly/BestIntCA

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Severely injured in an accident that forever changed her life, 10-year-old Olivia becomes another faceless, underserved child in foster care. With no time to mourn or grieve, the young girl is easy prey for uncaring social workers and ambivalent foster families.

Olivia quickly learns to hold her tongue and mask her emotions. Even when exposed to neglect, bullying, and assault, no one seems to care. Holding fast to the teachings of her late father, Olivia ages out of the system broken, but no longer a victim.

Now a successful child advocate attorney, Olivia is a passionate voice for children. However, a routine case assignment by the court plunges Olivia back into the trauma of her childhood. If she doesn’t face her demons, a child will be sent into foster care, and Olivia will lose the only chance at love she’s ever had…or wanted.

Foster care for her young client is not an option. But Olivia’s emotional scars run even deeper than she realized. Reconciling with her past means Olivia must confront the one woman she blames for her battered soul.

A woman who has no idea who Olivia is.



MANY thanks to ALL who have downloaded a copy of In the Best Interest of the Child! 

 

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Writing has been a hobby of Felicia’s since grade school, but other than serving as editor and writing for her high school newspaper, she never publicly shared anything until the early 2000s when she began writing fan fiction. At the urging of a good friend, Felicia took on the challenge of NaNoWriMo in 2015, writing what would become her first published book, In the Best Interest of the Child. It was released in the fall of 2016.

Currently working on several projects, Felicia plans to release book 2 of In the Best Interest of the Child – Family Matters, in summer 2017.

Links

Author Website – https://feliciadenise.com

Blog (Nesie’s Place) – https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Felicia-Denise/e/B01M03R54B/

Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/authorfeliciadenise

Bookbub Author Page – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/felicia-denise

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/FeliciaDenise

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/MsFelicia

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/fle_d/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/fdreevers/

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/110467680823101573705

Monthly Newsletter – http://eepurl.com/cklOKL

 

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“In The Best Interest of the Child” by Felicia Denise #FREE

#FREE August 1-3 through Amazon!


ITBIOTC Front Cover

Book Title: In the Best Interest of the Child
Author: Felicia Denise
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Psychological
Release Date: September 30, 2016

Amazon US http://bit.ly/BestInt

Amazon UK http://bit.ly/BestIntUK

Amazon CA http://bit.ly/BestIntCA

Amazon AU http://bit.ly/BestIntAU

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Severely injured in an accident that forever changed her life, 10-year-old Olivia becomes another faceless, underserved child in foster care. With no time to mourn or grieve, the young girl is easy prey for uncaring social workers and ambivalent foster families.

Olivia quickly learns to hold her tongue and mask her emotions. Even when exposed to neglect, bullying, and assault, no one seems to care. Holding fast to the teachings of her late father, Olivia ages out of the system broken, but no longer a victim.

Now a successful child advocate attorney, Olivia is a passionate voice for children. However, a routine case assignment by the court plunges Olivia back into the trauma of her childhood. If she doesn’t face her demons, a child will be sent into foster care, and Olivia will lose the only chance at love she’s ever had…or wanted.

Foster care for her young client is not an option. But Olivia’s emotional scars run even deeper than she realized. Reconciling with her past means Olivia must confront the one woman she blames for her battered soul.

A woman who has no idea who Olivia is.



EXCERPT:

Making sure Rena was still sleeping, she exited her vehicle, following the sidewalk to the driveway where a flatbed tow truck came fully into view. A large, burly, dark haired man was winching a late model Mercedes up onto the flatbed. Nearby, a far shorter man stood with his arms folded across his broad chest, obviously not happy.

As she got closer, Olivia believed the shorter man to be near her age, even though a head full of curly black hair gave him a more youthful appearance.

Olivia smiled as she passed the tow truck driver, noticing how his eyes lingered on her hips.

The shorter man didn’t notice Olivia until she was right in front of him, and he started as though coming out of a trance.

“Hello. Can I help you?”

Olivia widened her smile.

“Hello. I’m looking for the Bellamy residence.”

He regarded her with a wary look.

“I’m Courtney Bellamy. What can I do for you?”

She stuck out her right hand.

“Mr. Bellamy, I’m Olivia Chandler, Rena’s court-appointed attorney. It’s nice to meet you.”

Courtney Bellamy visibly relaxed.

“Nice to meet you, Ms. Chandler. My wife, Marissa, mentioned you were meeting with Rena today. We can go inside and chat shortly, I just have to see when this guy will have my car up and running.”

He spoke the last part of the sentence in a raised voice, making sure the tow truck driver heard him. The driver pulled a face in his direction.

“C’mon, Court! I don’t even know what’s wrong with it. How can I tell you when it will be fixed?”

“There is way too much going on in this family for us to depend on one car, Bruce. There will be whining, tears and harsh words… and my wife will be upset too!”

Olivia and Bruce both laughed aloud at Courtney’s snarky comment.

“Let me get it back to the shop and find the problem. If it’s not a quick fix, I have a loaner vehicle you can use until yours is ready. Deal?”

Courtney pumped his fist in the air.

“This is why you’re my favorite mechanic! I love you, man!”

Bruce smirked.

“No. I’m your favorite mechanic because I’m your cousin and give you family discounts!”

“Well, there’s that too,” Courtney quipped. Reaching for the side door entrance, Courtney Bellamy addressed Olivia.

“Forgive me, Ms. Chandler. Would you like to have a seat inside while I wrap this up?”

“Please, it’s Olivia. And actually, I have a sleeping Rena in my car out front.”

“Oh! I thought the medical shuttle was bringing her home. And call me Courtney.”

“That was the initial plan, but she was getting tired, and I didn’t want her to have to sit and wait not knowing how long the shuttle would take to get to her. Bringing her myself was easier.”

“How kind of you. Let me grab her chair, and I’ll meet you out front.”

“Sounds good.”

Olivia turned and started back down the driveway.”

Courtney threw one last taunt at his cousin.

“Bruce, if you put one scratch on my baby, I’m calling your mother!”

“And if you call my mother, I will call YOUR mother and tell her who really broke the garage window when we were kids.”

Courtney gasped.

“You wouldn’t dare!” he countered.

“Stay away from my mother, and I’ll stay away from yours.”

He caught Olivia’s eye as she passed and winked.

She laughed at the easy banter of the cousins, and just for a second wondered what it was like to have someone in your life who had known you all your life.

Hearing her name being called just as she reached the sidewalk, Olivia turned to see Bruce jogging towards her. He stopped, only after he had more than invaded her personal space.

He was taller than she first thought. Her three-inch heels put her at an even five feet, ten inches, and she still had to take a step back and raise her head to fully see his face.

Bruce’s light brown eyes had an amused glint to match the devilish smirk on his clean-shaven face. His collar length dark brown hair was curly, though not as much as Courtney’s, and had the beginnings of gray at the temples much like her own.

“Forgive me if I’m being forward, Ms. Chandler, but I wanted to give you my business card. I own Bellamy’s over on Mason. If you ever need anything… um, for your car… give me a call.”

She reached for the card.

“Anything…at all.”

The man was positively shameless. Olivia couldn’t help but grin.

“Call me Olivia, and thank you. That’s nice of you.”

Glancing at the card in her hand, realization dawned on her.

“Wait. You’re that Bellamy? Bellamy Motorsports of “We have twelve locations to serve you in Hennepin and Olmstead counties?”

His face took on a bright shade of red as he blushed uncontrollably.

“Guess you’ve seen our commercials, huh?”

She laughed as she backed towards her car. “Yes. A time or two… or twelve. The commercials never mentioned you were so… hands on.”

His eyes widened, but she pointed at the tow truck and continued before he could respond.

“The boss answering service calls?”

He slid his hands into his back pockets and cocked his head to the side.

“Okay, you got me. But Court won’t let anyone else touch his Precious. I was with him the day he bought her, but I’m not sure who owns whom? Marissa always teases him by telling him she’s leaving and he can have the house, but she’s taking the kid and the car. He nearly has a heart attack.”

She reached her car and saw Rena was still sleeping. There was no sign of Courtney at the front door yet. She heard movement behind her and noticed Bruce had taken a couple of steps in her direction.

“I didn’t see a ring. Are you married?”

“No.”

“Involved?”

“No.”

“Do you wanna be?”

Olivia tried without success not to laugh.

“You’re definitely not the shy type, are you Bruce?”

“Nope. But I’m usually not this forward either.” Suddenly serious, he continued. “It’s just not every day I meet a woman I’m so drawn to. Actually, this is the first time it’s ever happened.”

The sincerity in his voice caused her pulse to race.

“I’m flattered, Bruce.”

He started to say something else, but both their attention was drawn to the front door as Courtney backed the wheelchair down the one step entrance, then turned and headed towards Olivia’s car.

“Olivia?”

She glanced in Bruce’s direction, but looked away quickly, unable to hold his intense gaze.

“Olivia?”

Taking a deep breath, she met his gaze.

“Call me.”

She smiled and gave him a single nod. His attention made her feel light-headed, but she knew she’d never call him. She couldn’t. He definitely seemed like the type of man who wanted all or nothing … and nothing was all she had.

Courtney brought the wheelchair to a stop in front of her.

“Cinderella’s carriage has arrived. Shall we wake her?”

Olivia moved to the car door as she unlocked it with the remote. She reached in to unfasten Rena’s seatbelt but caught the banter between the cousins.

“Bruce, go fix my car.”

“Shut it, Court!”

“I’m nominating your house for Thanksgiving dinner this year!”

“And I’ll nominate yours for Christmas dinner! And I’ll insist great-aunt Mae bring her dogs … all four of them!”

“You’re an evil man, Bellamy.”

“We share DNA, Bellamy.”

If Olivia didn’t know they were grown men, she would have sworn they were seventh graders.

Rena began to stir and looked around, confused.

“Hey, angel. You’re home.”

Still disoriented, Rena tried to sit upright. She cried out in obvious pain and gripped Olivia’s arm.

“It’s okay, angel! It’s okay, I got you! Just breathe through it. C’mon, now. Breathe.”

Olivia took her own advice and took a couple of deep breaths to calm herself. She couldn’t comfort the child if she needed comfort herself.

“Olivia?”

She looked back at Courtney.

“She’s as light as a feather, but that cast adds weight. Step back and I’ll transfer her to the chair.”

Rena still held Olivia’s arm, but her grip was loosening.

“You okay, angel? Mr. Bellamy wants to transfer you to the chair. You’ll probably feel better once you can stretch out in your bed, okay?”

Rena nodded, and Olivia stepped back out of the way to give Courtney room to transfer her to the chair.

She could feel Bruce’s eyes on her but refused to look at him. Olivia’s face grew hot and she felt awkward and out of place. Her resolve was weakening and she was about to look in his direction when a green minivan pulled up behind her car.

Bruce clapped his hands together excitedly.

“Oh yeah! The fun is really about to start.”

Olivia could tell he was enjoying the moment and glanced back to the minivan not knowing what to expect.

A plump woman hurriedly exited the van and rushed towards them. She was short—maybe an even five feet in height—and African American, with a mass of hair worn in a long, natural, wavy style.

Though plump, her hourglass shape was more than obvious. She wore very little makeup, and she didn’t need too. Her full lips and smooth brown skin were enhanced by large, expressive eyes that right now were filled with worry.

“What happened? Is everything all right?”

Just as she reached Olivia’s car, Courtney raised Rena into his arms, pivoted, and placed her into the wheelchair.

The woman glanced from face to face waiting for an answer. She threw a quick wave in Bruce’s direction, and he returned it.

Olivia smiled at her while Courtney leaned over Rena’s chair and kissed the woman on the cheek.

“Hi, Honey. This is Rena’s attorney, Olivia Chandler, and she just brought the munchkin home. Olivia, this is my wife, Marissa.”

She took Olivia’s outstretched hand in both of hers and squeezed.

“Oh yes. We spoke on the phone. So nice to meet you. And thank you for seeing her home.”

She lightly patted Rena’s shoulder and kissed the top of her head.

“Hey Munchkin. Did you hit all your markers in therapy today?”

Rena nodded slightly.

“All except the steps. I could only do two.”

Marissa stepped behind her chair, gave Olivia one nod towards the house, and started towards the front door.

“That’s still good. Remember last week you could only do one? Progress, munchkin, progress.”

Marissa stopped suddenly and turned around.

“Courtney, what are you doing here?”

He folded his arms across his chest defiantly.

“I live here.”

Bruce, Rena, and Olivia all snickered.

Marissa pursed her lips.

“It’s the middle of the day, Courtney.”

He started.

“Oh! Geeze, yes. So much happening at once. The high school called me. Brian has a low-grade fever and an upset stomach. He’s up in his room. The school nurse said she called you first, but didn’t get an answer. I figured you were still with your mom at the dialysis center.”

“They were short staffed today for some reason, so Mom got a late start on her treatment.”

She glanced up at the house. I told that boy to go easy on the chili con carne last night. He never listens and this always happens.”

She nodded her head in Bruce’s direction.

“And why is Bigfoot here?”

The laugh escaped Olivia’s mouth before she could suppress it. These people were nuts… and she loved it.

Bruce shot a glance at her and mouthed the word “traitor.”

“After I got Bri settled inside, I was going to return to the office, and my car wouldn’t start. I called Bruce to come over and diagnose the problem, but… she’s really sick. He has to take her in.”

Courtney Bellamy looked as though tears might be a real possibility.

Marissa turned her head and covered her mouth to hide the grin. She looked back and addressed Olivia.

“Please excuse our family, Olivia. We’re not usually this scatterbrained and dysfunctional. And we usually care more about our sick children than our sick cars.”

Before Olivia could tell her they were all just fine, Bruce chimed in.

“Look up ‘dysfunctional’ in Webster’s and you’ll find our family portrait.”

Marissa popped a clenched fist on one hip and shot back.

“Don’t you have little children to scare or people to annoy?”

“Yes, and here I am!”

“Problem child!”

“Diva!”

“Yeti!”

“Smurfette!”

Olivia heard someone join her in the laughter, but when she glanced at Courtney, his eyes were full of love and fixed on his wife.

Olivia stepped around Marissa and looked down at Rena, who had dissolved into a fit of laughter. She clutched her bag of snacks with one hand and her stomach with the other.

Olivia’s heart melted at the sight. She then noticed Courtney had stepped behind his wife, sliding his hand around her waist.

Rena was still laughing when he softly said, “Once they get started, they won’t stop until Rena laughs.”

He kissed his wife behind the ear while giving a thumbs up to his cousin.

Olivia was taken aback. Most of what she’d just witnessed was a performance purely for Rena’s benefit. She was so glad she had not prejudged these people and admonished herself for any negative thoughts she may have had about them.

These were good, loving people who were just living life. Parents and kids get sick and cars break down, but it didn’t distract them enough they didn’t have time for a little girl who was… at least temporarily… an orphan.

Although Olivia was sure the Bellamys and Averests must have had a pretty strong friendship for Courtney and Marissa to take Rena in, she felt this family would probably help any child in need.

Olivia followed as Marissa pushed Rena into the house, but something made her stop and look over in Bruce’s direction.

He was still standing there, hands in pockets, focused on her.

Shaking her head, she smiled at him, which caused him to throw a big toothy grin back at her.

Marissa had cleared the doorway and Courtney held the door for Olivia.

When she walked past him, he touched her arm. “He’s a good guy.”

Her face heated up again, but she was rescued when she heard Marissa call out for her to follow her voice to get to Rena’s room.

 

itbiotc-teaser_bruce


Writing has been a hobby of Felicia’s since grade school, but other than serving as editor and writing for her high school newspaper, she never publicly shared anything until the early 2000s when she began writing fan fiction. At the urging of a good friend, Felicia took on the challenge of NaNoWriMo in 2015, writing what would become her first published book, In the Best Interest of the Child. It was released in the fall of 2016.

Currently working on several projects, Felicia plans to release book 2 of In the Best Interest of the Child – Family Matters, in summer 2017.

Links

Author Website – https://feliciadenise.com

Blog (Nesie’s Place) – https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Felicia-Denise/e/B01M03R54B/

Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/authorfeliciadenise

Bookbub Author Page – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/felicia-denise

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/FeliciaDenise

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/MsFelicia

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/fle_d/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/fdreevers/

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/110467680823101573705

Monthly Newsletter – http://eepurl.com/cklOKL

 

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


Best Interest front cover

“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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