Jude Hastings is one bad decision away from being forced into rehab until she meets four-year-old Shea Sullivan, a deaf child who saves her with a spiritual connection she cannot explain.
by Kathleen Stone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Celeste opened the door and we walked into the massive room filled with every toy a child could ever dream of. As we entered I looked across the room to see a woman I assumed was Amanda reaching for a small child who was climbing a floor-to-ceiling bookcase. As soon as he was secure in her hands and she pulled him off of the shelf above her head he began struggling against her, his arms and legs flailing, fighting her at every step. The sounds that came from him were alarming; grunting and groaning like… a gremlin.
Wide-eyed in fear I took a step back and fell into a wingback chair that was patterned in all colors of the rainbow. I watched in horror as the child fought so hard she dropped him to the ground where he landed in a heap and didn’t move. I gasped, my hand flying to my mouth, and that’s when she noticed me and seemed to wilt before my eyes.
“Don’t take this job,” Amanda warned me, wild-eyed. “It’s like working for Satan himself.”
I was speechless as she stormed out of the room in tears. I watched as the little boy rolled over and got to his feet, then glared at me. I’d seen all those demonic child horror movies and here was one in the flesh, headed right toward me.
Shea stood in front of me, staring up innocently enough with his big hazel eyes, button nose, chubby cheeks and a mouth fit for an angel. I held my breath as he got closer, then climbed onto my lap. He curled up in my arms and lay silently watching me, wiping his bangs out of his eyes. A tiny smile crossed his lips as a single tear fell from his eye and disappeared down his cheek and out of sight. And then he closed his eyes and fell fast asleep. I stared down at the little boy curled up in my arms, then glanced up at Celeste, who was gawking with her mouth open.
“Jude, I don’t know what to say. This… this is not typical behavior for Shea.”
I opened my mouth to speak, but I could find no words. Tears burned my eyes as I looked up at Celeste, and I knew in that instant this child needed me as much as I needed him.
Kathleen has been a freelance writer since 1999 and now writes full time. Her work has appeared in Doll World Magazine, Apolloslyre.com, The Lake County Journals, Trails.com; USA Today (travel), Livestrong.com (lifestyle), Essortment, eHow, Answerbag, Examiner.com, Suite101 and YahooVoices. She is the author of Heatherstone, the award-winning novels Hey Jude, Tell Me You Love Me and Whispers On A String, and the Head Case Rock Novel Series (Head Case, Whiplash and Haven). She also has short stories published in the Secrets: Fact or Fiction I & II anthologies.
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