“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.



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

 

Rankings


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

 

Save

“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

Goodreads Button with Shadow


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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Livvie in the hospital

“I’m ten and a half, not stupid.”

In the Best Interest of the Child

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.

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

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Sunday Snippet

“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, a realization suddenly 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 the brightest 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 noticed 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.

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“In The Best Interest of the Child” #MondaySnippet

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“In The Best Interest of the Child”

by Felicia Denise

Women’s Fiction/

Release Date: September 30, 2016

Snippet:

Remembering all the cars parked out front, Olivia knew there were quite a few family members in attendance, but when Marissa threw open the family room doors, Olivia was stunned. There had to be at least forty people before her, and a third of them were children. Leading the overwhelmed attorney through the throng of family, Marissa loudly announced, “Bellamys, this is Olivia Chandler. Olivia…the Bellamys. You’ll learn names in time.” Olivia managed to give a short wave as her evidently new life coach forged on. Passing through a doorway into the formal dining room, they approached four older women sitting at the table in a very animated discussion.

“You were always wearing ruby red lipstick, trying to get attention!”

“Well, you were always dying your hair blond!” Marissa dropped Olivia’s hand and threw her own up in frustration.

“Please tell me you’re not having another ‘Who Was the Biggest Floozy’ argument? What if any of the grands heard you? Don’t make me call the Bellamy men in here!” Olivia figured that was not something the women wanted because they remained quiet and looked properly chastised. Marissa moved to stand behind the two bickering women, resting her arms on their shoulders. Motioning to the woman on her right, Marissa introduced her. “Olivia, this ruby red lipstick wearing firecracker is my mother-in-law, Bernadette Bellamy, and the bottle blonde here is her sister-in-law, Bettina Bellamy. They are married to brothers, but they are also cousins.” Olivia smiled at them both.

“Mrs. Bellamy and Mrs. Bellamy…it’s a pleasure.” Bernadette held her hand up.

“None of that Mrs.-stuff. I’m Aunt Bernie and she’s Aunt Bettie. She’ll answer to ‘streetwalker’ too!” Olivia’s hand flew up to cover her mouth and muffle her laugh, but the other women roared with laughter. Through narrowed eyes, Bettina glared at her cousin.

“You’ll pay for that.” Bernadette pulled a face while still laughing. Marissa shook her head and stepped behind the other two women.

“And this is my mom, Gladys Monroe, and her sister, Darlene Preston.” Olivia smiled at the women, but this time was hesitant to address them. They resolved the issue for her.

“You can call me Lena”, Darlene grinned broadly and nudged her sister. Gladys waved her off.

“You can call me whatever you like if you give me that gorgeous suit you’re wearing.” Olivia glanced down at her suit and back at Gladys Monroe, who wasn’t much taller than her daughter.

“Um, thank you…for the compliment.”

“Don’t mind my mom, Olivia. She’s just always been a fan of tailored clothing.” Gladys waved her daughter off.

“Olivia has excellent taste and a great eye. I wish I was built like you, young lady. You’re probably beating the guys off with a stick.” The flustered attorney grinned.

“I’m not. But I do appreciate the compliment.” Marissa saved Olivia by changing the subject.

Olivia’s journey is filled with fun and laughter…and tears and sadness. Will she get her happily ever after?

Find out by 1-clicking today!

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“In The Best Interest of the Child” by Felicia Denise is #LIVE!

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Guess who’s a published author? THIS GIRL!

Now that the queasy feeling is gone and I no longer feel the need to throw up – because it was a real possibility – I invite you into Olivia Chandler’s world to see how a savvy child advocate attorney deals with the long-buried trauma of her own childhood after she receives a court-appointed case with haunting similarities.

Olivia also has a chance at love for the first time in her life, but will she realize that before accepting love, she has to extend forgiveness?

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

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Preorder Blitz

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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
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

Ten-year-old Olivia Chandler has a school she loves, good friends, a nice home, a talented mom, and a successful father she adores. Tragedy rips all of this away from her, and plunges Olivia into the foster care system, where for eight years she is neglected, humiliated, abused, and nearly raped.

Fate smiles on Olivia shortly before she ages out of the system, allowing her the means to attend college and law school.

Years later, Olivia is a successful child advocate attorney, giving a voice to children who are so easily ignored by those claiming to act in their best interest. She has little time for personal relationships, and her lifelong fear of abandonment reminds her never to get too close to anyone.

The successful attorney stumbles though when she’s assigned a case by the court that too closely mirrors her own haunted childhood. Olivia never gives her minor clients less than her all, and the only way she can help her eleven year old client is to face down and acknowledge her demons. This same case also brings a man into her life who sees her for who she truly is, and will not allow Olivia to push him away.

excerpt

Making sure Rena was still sleeping, Olivia 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 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 seem to notice her 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 warily.

“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 out loud 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 guffawed.

“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 of your life. She heard 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 foot, ten inches, and she still had to take a step back and raise her head to fully see his face. His 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 grey 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, a realization suddenly 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 the brightest shade of red as he blushed like a teenager.

“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 leaving and he can have the house, but she’s taking the kid and the car. He nearly has a heart attack.”

Olivia reached her car and noticed 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 laughed in spite of herself.

“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 everyday I meet a woman I’m so drawn to.” 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 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. Her 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 alright?” 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 and started towards the front door.

“That’s still good. Remember last week you could only do one? Progress, munchkin, progress.” She 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 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. 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 the 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 that 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 lightly and quietly said, “He’s a good guy.” Her face heated up again, but she was rescued when she heard Marissa call out to her to follow her voice to get to Rena’s room.

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meet the author

An avid reader from a very early age, Felicia would re-write the stories she read, making the women a little bit tougher. Not to outdo the men, but raised by parents who taught their six daughters to always stand up for themselves, and to always “be a lady”, Felicia has very little patience with ‘crybabies’ – female or male. Introduced to creative writing in grade school, Felicia amused herself by creating stories, poems, and song lyrics…that she never showed to anyone.

Now embracing the concept of sharing, Felicia’s first published novel, In The Best Interest of the Child” debuts in September 2016.

Felicia left the harsh winters of Michigan and now resides in Arizona with her husband of more than thirty years, who’s always trying to read over her shoulder. Their three adult children are scattered around Arizona. She is looking forward to having grandchildren, but feels she may win the lottery first…or get struck by lightning. Though she enjoys a good rain storm, Felicia no longer goes outside when it rains. She’s not taking any chances.

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Rosalind Jenkins – In The Best Interest of the Child – Character Profile

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Rosalind Jenkins never planned to be a social worker. It was extremely ironic that she ended up in the Department of Children’s Services since children were the reason her marriage ended, and the love of her life walked away. Or rather, the lack of children. What she first believed was a small case of stomach flu ended up being cervical cancer. Six days later, she had no womb and no chance to ever have children of her own. Her husband told her it didn’t matter. They would adopt, or simply spend their life together loving and cherishing each other.

Less than a year later he was gone, saying he’d fallen in love with a woman who wanted children as much as he did.

Of course, Rosalind dealt with depression. But she maintained her composure. She lived a solitary life, still teaching voice at a small, exclusive girl’s academy. However, just 10 ½ short months later, after hearing that her former husband and his new wife had just become parents, Rosalind broke. Unable to function and carry out her duties, the girl’s academy had to let her go.

Rosalind stayed locked away in her home for three months. Her sadness and depression festering…growing into anger and bitterness. Exhausting her savings, Rosalind knew she needed to find a job or sell her house. Calling an old friend from college for job leads, she was instead given the contact information for a manager with the Department of Children’s Services. Her friend assured Rosalind that with her degrees and years of experience, she would definitely be offered a position and above entry-level pay.

And she was.

Rosalind performed well at her new job, and her supervisors were pleased. Her reports were always complete and filed on time. But Rosalind was not good at her job. She lacked the empathy and compassion essential to help children who were as broken as she was, and to educate and assist parents in bettering their situations to maintain a safe loving home for their children. Instead, Rosalind loathed the parents for being able to have children so easily, then carelessly and recklessly make them a part of recurring domestic violence situations, drug addictions, and keeping them in dilapidated housing where frequently, there was no utilities.

And the children? Rosalind detested them for even being born. More often than not…right or wrong, Rosalind Jenkins removed more children from their homes than anyone else in the department. For the next twelve years, the irreparably broken and bitter case manager did nothing else but her job. Rosalind made no friends and lost touch with the few she’d had. She didn’t have a pet, or even a television. Spurred on by the always smoldering rage deep inside her, Rosalind poured over case files and department policies, seeking new ways to separate families and keep them apart.

It was this unbalanced, spiteful woman who walked into the hospital room of a barely conscious ten-year-old Livvie Chandler. Four days after losing her father, and while her mother still remained in a coma, Rosalind Jenkins would forever change the course of the little girl’s life.

Rosalind Doria (Chesney) Jenkins

Age: 62

DOB: December 9, 1952

Place of Birth: Lynn Woods, Massachusetts

Divorced, no children

Level 5 Social Worker/Case Manager with Minnesota DCS