You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Today's Wild Card author is:
and the book:
Whitaker House (September 2, 2013)
***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vanessa Miller is a best-selling author, playwright, and motivational speaker. Her romance series include Forsaken, Rain and Storm, and with Whitaker House, the Second Chance at Love series: A Promise of Forever Love, Yesterday’s Promise, and A Love for Tomorrow. Her books, which often depict lost characters in need of redemption, have received countless favorable reviews and numerous awards. Vanessa holds a degree in organizational communication from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. She is a dedicated Christian and a devoted mother serves in her church as an ordained exhorter.
Visit the author's website.
SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Heirs of Rebellion contains the first two of five stories chronicling the dramatic lives of Joel Morrison and his adult children. “The Blessed One” kicks off the saga in the Bahamas where Joel has gathered the family to go over changes to his will, but a turn of events sends shock waves through the Morrison family, altering Joel’s plans. “The Wild One,” revolves around daughter Dee Dee Morrison-Milner, a film star living life in the fast lane who adopts an African child -- only because she believes it will benefit her career. When a series of events leads to her adopted daughter’s kidnapping, Dee Dee turns to her estranged husband in hopes of finding the child whose kind nature has captured her heart.
List Price: $13.99
Series: Morrison Family Secrets (Book 1)
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 2, 2013)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
“Mr. Morrison, I really need to discuss something with you before you leave today.”
Eric’s assistant, Karen, had come into his office just as he was leaning over his desk, putting some files in his briefcase, so he could head home. He straightened up, revealing his full six-foot-two, 178-pound physique. He straightened his buttercream-colored tie and looked at his watch. It was 7:30 pm. He’d promised Linda that he would be home by six. Well, he’d already broken that promise, so he might as well handle this business. He sat back down. “What can I do for you, Karen?”
“I would just like to state for the record,” Karen began as she handed him a stack of bills, “I had no clue that this much money was being spent since you put Mark in charge of marketing for your campaign.”
It was the Corporate America motto: “Cover yourself and blame the other guy.” In truth, Karen’s responsibilities included reviewing the finances of his campaign and letting him know if his contributions were insufficient to cover his spending. He flipped through the bills, and then, with a frustrated sigh, laid the stack on his desk. “Why are all these bills past due?”
Karen plopped down in the chair in front of his desk and let out a long sigh. “We haven’t received as much in contributions as I originally projected. The election is nine months away, and with nothing significant happening, we haven’t given the donors a reason to part with their money.”
Here he was, mayor of Cincinnati, fully intending to make the White House his home within the next decade, and he didn’t even have enough money to run for Governor of Ohio? What did that say about his chances at the presidency? Was he dead in the water before his presidential campaign even marinated in the delegates’ minds? Eric refused to believe that. His father had always told him that God was looking out for him and wanted to see him prosper.
Being the eldest child, Eric had always been called upon to solve problems, starting with his own siblings. If he heard someone say, “Give it back; I had it first,” Eric would suggest something along the lines of, “Why don’t you play with the truck first, Isaiah, and then, in a little while, you can let Shawn see it, okay?” or, “Look, Dee Dee, there’s a prettier doll on your bed. Why don’t you let Elaine have this old doll, so you can play with the prettier one?”
Problem solving was in his genes. So, before his pity party got started, Eric decided to search for a solution. He grabbed his calculator and began adding up his debts. He turned to Karen. “It looks like we owe almost five million for various items, including my radio and television ads. How much money do we have right now?”
Karen glanced at the spreadsheet in her hand. “We have about two million in liquid assets.”
His father could cover these bills without even blinking an eye. But Eric hadn’t asked his father for anything since he’d graduated from college. Sure, he gladly accepted the $50,000 his father sent through his accountant to each of his children every year. His father had also bought him and his siblings their first homes. Everyone but Elaine, that is; she was still too busy saving the world to plant roots anywhere. But Eric hadn’t asked his father for anything else since he’d bought the house for Linda and him. When their daughter was born, Eric sold that house and used the proceeds to buy the 6,000-square-foot home they now shared. He wanted to be his own man and make his father proud of his accomplishments. The last thing Eric wanted to do as he neared forty was to beg his father for money. Besides, his father knew that it took money to run for public office; and if he wasn’t offering, Eric wasn’t asking.
“Okay, then,” Eric finally said. “Call all of our creditors and offer them a third of what we owe, and then tell them we will pay the rest over the next three months.” Eric had no clue where the money would come from to pay the remaining balances. But in the political arena, you never knew—a scandal could develop surrounding his opponent, prompting more voters to want to oust the incumbent and perhaps even pledge money to Eric’s campaign. He hoped he wouldn’t have to hire investigators to dig up dirt on Governor McDaniel, but he wasn’t opposed to it if the need arose.
He finished his meeting and left the office. Linda was going to kill him. This was the third night this week that he’d arrived home after eight o’clock. She didn’t understand how much public service meant to him, how much joy he received from setting policies in place that would help communities for generations to come. Being in public service allowed him to use the peacemaking finesse and problem-solving skills he’d developed as a child. But Linda was always complaining that he was more dedicated to the City of Cincinnati than to his own family.
Eric didn’t understand his wife. She had everything a woman could want, and yet she was still unhappy. He had bought her a nice home, and she had a hefty clothing allowance. Yes, he was often late, but at least he came home to his wife every night. Not every woman could say that. But Eric Morrison, the next governor of the great state of Ohio, didn’t cheat on his wife. Mention the name Bill Clinton to any politician—enough said. No, sir. Eric wasn’t trying to build a legacy just to have it torn down by infidelity. His father had taught him that. Joel Morrison used to tell his sons every chance he got: A man’s name is only as good as his wife says it is.
Eric had met Linda after college, while he was serving as a lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Linda’s father was a colonel in the army, so she’d grown up as an army brat.
Now she’s just a brat, Eric thought as he pulled into the driveway. She was never satisfied, no matter what he did for her. And if she didn’t get her way, she fell apart.
He walked into the house, took off his hat and coat, and put them in the closet. “I’m home,” he yelled.
No one answered back. He looked at his watch and walked out of the foyer in search of his wife. He found her asleep in the living room, stretched out on their beige sofa with a half-empty bottle of scotch by her side. Eric rolled his eyes and turned to walk away. Then he noticed a letter typed on his father’s stationery, sitting on the coffee table. He crossed the room and sat down on the edge of the couch next to his wife, catching a whiff of her alcohol-laden breath as she snored.
Shaking his head, he picked up the letter and read.
I hope all is going well for you and your family. It has been way too long since I broke bread with you and your lovely wife. Just thinking about how much I miss my grandchildren brings tears to my eyes. So, I’ve decided to invite you all to our vacation home in the Bahamas for a week of fun and family.
I know you’ll need time to get things in order at your office, so I’ve scheduled the vacation for the end of the month. How about it? Can you bring your family to the Bahamas on March 25? I really hope you will be there, because I will be going over some changes to my will.
Love, your father,
Eric held his breath and leaned back on the sofa. What changes could his father be making to his will? As far back as he could remember, his father had said they would split his fortune five ways when he died. Had something changed?
“What did you say to me?” Dee Dee Morrison-Milner glared across the table at her Bible-toting husband. Actually, she preferred thinking of him as her soon-to-be ex-husband.
“I said I love you, Dee Dee. Please, let’s just go home and talk this over,” Drake Milner pleaded, his dark brown eyes filled with liquid sadness.
Dee Dee didn’t care. She rolled her eyes and turned to face her lawyer, who was seated on her left. She ran her fingers through her fifteen-hundred-dollar weave. “William, can you please tell Drake how much alimony he will receive from me when this is all over?”
While Dee Dee’s attorney flipped through his files, Drake said, “What if I don’t want alimony? What if I just want you?”
Drake’s attorney, Mark Winters, elbowed him and spoke up. “Actually, my client has given up a great deal for this three-year marriage. Alimony is the least Mrs. Milner can do.”
“Don’t call me that.” Dee Dee scowled. “I am Dee Dee Morrison. I insist that you refer to me in that manner during these proceedings.” Actually, her name was Dee Dee Morrison-Wilcox-Johnson-Sooner-Milner, but Dee Dee didn’t want to think about all her failed marriages. She’d rather just be Morrison again and start over. The only reason she’d even entered into marital mistake number four was because her father had thought Drake was a great catch. According to Joel Morrison, Mr. Drake Milner was one in a million. Well, her daddy didn’t have to live with Drake. He wasn’t around when Drake opened his Bible and dared to read it to her. He wasn’t dragged to Sunday morning worship service when all he wanted to do was sleep in. Dee Dee had been through all that madness when she’d lived with her father. That’s why she’d thought she could handle a clone of Joel Morrison. But she’d had enough.
“What did I do that was so wrong, Dee Dee?” Drake protested. “I didn’t cheat on you, didn’t abuse you. I honored the vows that I made to you.”
Dee Dee turned to William. “Can you please tell him how much I’m willing to give him in alimony?”
William cleared his throat and announced, “Ms. Morrison is willing to give you fifty thousand a year for the next three years.”
Mark laughed. “How generous you are, Mrs. Milner, but it’s going to take much more than Daddy’s annual allowance to help my client retain his standard of living.”
Glaring across the table at Drake again, Dee Dee said, “Did you tell him all my business?”
“The bottom line is this,” Mark began. “My client gave up his career to move to LA and become your houseboy.”
“I never told him he couldn’t work,” Dee Dee insisted.
“Oh, really? Is that why you got him fired from the last two jobs he acquired since moving here?” Mark asked.
Dee Dee harrumphed. “That’s a lie. Drake didn’t like any of those jobs. He wanted to travel with me. I did him a favor by calling his employers. If anything, he should be thanking me, rather than trying to extort more money.” She stood up and extended her manicured index finger in Drake’s direction. “You’re getting out of my house today. Do you hear me? Your days of freeloading are over.” She turned and stormed out of her attorney’s office, jumped in her red Ferrari 575M Maranello, and sped off. She had no time to waste. She intended to put Drake out of her ten-million-dollar Bel Air mansion that day. She lived thirty minutes away from her lawyer’s office. Nonetheless, in less than twenty minutes, she was punching in the access code to her gated home. She parked her car in front of the house and ran inside.
Dee Dee stood in the foyer for a moment with her back against the door. She detested the stale white walls, the white marble floor, and the circular staircase. It was all too calm and drab for her taste. She still didn’t understand why she had purchased this house. Maybe she had been on some kind of calm-and-drab kick the year she’d married Drake, but she was way over it now.
She went upstairs to Drake’s room, gathered a handful of his shoes and clothes, then opened his bedroom window and threw the stuff out onto the well-manicured lawn. On her third trip to the window, she saw her assistant, Marcia, coming up the walkway.
As Dee Dee dumped Drake’s underclothes on the lawn, Marcia waved some envelopes in the air with no acknowledgment of the garments. “I have your mail.”
“Just leave it on the table in the foyer. I’m busy right now.”
Marcia pulled one of the envelopes out of the stack. “This one is from your father.”
Dee Dee was tempted to continue with her work, but her daddy was a peculiar kind of man. You never knew when he might just add an extra check to one of his letters. And she could use some extra money right now. God only knew how much it was going to cost her to get rid of Drake, since he was telling everyone it was her fault he didn’t have a job.
She went downstairs, took the letter from Marcia, and opened it. As she read it, her world fell apart. Daddy’s changing his will? Was her father disinheriting her because of her four failed marriages? Could the old man really give away her birthright just because she didn’t measure up to his high standards? Dee Dee didn’t really know if this was bad news for her or not, but she knew one thing for sure. There was no way that she could go to the Bahamas without Drake. Not when her share of six hundred million was at stake.