Release date: October 15, 2015
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A young woman longing for a child stumbles upon a Christmas miracle.
Investigative journalist Scottie Darden is photographing the homeless for her Lost Souls series when she makes a discovery that could change her life forever. Under a makeshift tent in subzero temperatures in a downtown city park, she finds a woman's dead body with her infant child. Without her cell phone to call for help, Scottie makes the split-second decision to take the baby home. Her initial instinct is to provide the baby with food and shelter until her family can be located. But as her fondness for the baby grows, she finds herself facing a life on the run or worse—prison time for abduction.
Curl up with Merry Mary this holiday season. A heartwarming story of the powerful connection between a caring soul and an innocent child in need.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love the title and the cover of this holiday novella. The story consists of a biological clock and a catch-22 situation.
After rescuing a baby from the cold, Scottie Darden considers what would happen if she chose to leave the baby in foster care or worse; with the babies alcoholic grandparents. On the other hand could she be arrested for kidnapping?
Under the assumption she was doing the right thing Scottie Darden takes the baby home with her. She always wanted a child of her own but to hear things like "the mother would've wanted it that way" are only words to convince her to keep the child but Scottie's husband wanted nothing to do with it. I mean what she did wasn't terrible although lying to her family and friends was. She needed to come clean for her sake and the baby's and the cops didn't need to know.
In over her head now, all she could think of is to take the baby and run. With the help of her supportive family and brother Will, she allows herself to return Merry Mary to where she belongs.
Merry Mary is the sort of child anyone would want and Scottie Darden was an angel.
About the Author:
Ashley Farley is a wife and mother of two college-aged children. She grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but now lives in Richmond, Virginia, a city she loves for its history and traditions. After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save. SAVING BEN is not a memoir, but a story about the special bond between siblings. HER SISTER'S SHOES—June 24, 2015—is a women's novel that proves the healing power of family.
Excerpt from Merry Mary
“Shh, don’t cry,” she said, rubbing the baby’s tummy.
What would become of the baby? Scottie didn’t think the Commonwealth had the authority to place the baby up for adoption without permission of next of kin, which meant the baby would be placed in a foster home until the police could track down the father. If the father even wanted the child. If the father even knew he was the father. The baby began to wail, presumably with hunger. “Don’t worry, little one.” She picked the baby up and held her tight. “We’ll get it all sorted out. In the meantime, I have plenty of formula and diapers to keep you comfortable.”
By the time Scottie got the baby inside, and mixed up a bottle from the supplies in her baby cabinet in the kitchen, the little girl was screaming, flailing her arms and legs in hunger. Scottie plopped down on the leather sofa in the adjoining family room, propped her snow boots up on the coffee table, and brought the bottle’s nipple to the baby’s mouth. The infant took the nipple between her lips, then thrust it back out with her tongue. Scottie turned the bottle upside down on her arm, letting a few drops of formula leak from the hole in the nipple, before returning the nipple to the baby’s lips. When she tasted the formula, the baby began to suck greedily. “Careful now, baby girl. Don’t drink too fast or you’ll upset your tummy.” The baby stared up at Scottie with bright eyes. “We need to give you a name, don’t we?”
Scottie had been in the process of picking out names for her baby when her daughter was stillborn at thirty-one weeks. She’d been torn between Kate and Liza, after her grandmothers Katherine and Elizabeth. She ended up calling the baby Angel, which seemed appropriate for an innocent child who never drew her first breath. Scottie’s eyes traveled the room, coming to rest on the nativity scene on the mantle above the fireplace. “Why don’t we call you Mary after the Virgin Mary?” She caught sight of the needlepoint pillow Brad had brought down from the attic—a green background with Merry Christmas in curlicue script in red across the front. “Or Merry, which seems appropriate for a spunky little girl like you.”
The baby stopped sucking and smiled up at her. “I agree,” Scottie said. “I like them both as well. Merry Mary it is, then.
The first rays of pink sunshine ushered in another day of suffering for the people who called Monroe Park in downtown Richmond home. An early winter storm had dumped six inches of snow on the city. With no clouds to blanket in warmth, temperatures had dipped into the teens for the third night in a row. Scottie Darden parked her 4Runner alongside the dirty snowbanks on Main Street. She pulled her stocking cap down over her blonde mane and tucked her camera inside her down coat. Grabbing the two Bojangles’ bags and carton of coffee from the backseat, she trudged through the snow to a cluster of men and women huddled around a burning trash can. Eyeing the bags of food, the group of five homeless people navigated toward Scottie. She handed out sausage biscuits and paper cups of coffee. Scottie had stumbled upon the Five by accident a year ago while investigating a series of muggings in the area. Their despondent faces had such a profound impact on Scottie that she’d returned the next day with warm blankets and buckets of fried chicken from Lee’s. Their gratitude had moved her even more, and over the next twelve months, she’d stopped by on a regular basis, always delivering nourishment and supplies. She’d seen others come and go, but this core group of five banded together like a family. “I brought extras today.” Scottie held up the second bag. Mabel gestured toward a row of makeshift tents fifty feet in front of them. Her name wasn’t really Mabel. At least not as far as Scottie knew. With gray hair pulled back from her café au lait face, the old woman reminded Scottie of the housekeeper who once worked for her grandmother. Scottie had never exchanged names with any of the Five. She’d grown to know them by their physical appearances instead. Buck was a strapping black man of about thirty, the one Scottie feared the most because of the temper she sensed smoldering just beneath the surface Then there was Pops, the oldest male, with leathery skin the color of dark chocolate. While he never showed his teeth, Scottie often detected the hint of a smile tugging along his lips. She’d named the woman with the plain face and dull green eyes Miss Cecil after her third grade teacher. She referred to the man in the wheelchair, with both legs amputated at the knee, as Dan, after Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump. Scottie offered each of the Five another biscuit before moving to the makeshift tents. She passed out biscuits to women and men who were buried under blankets and sleeping bags. She heard the faint sound of crying outside the fourth tent. She tapped lightly on the cardboard door. When no one responded and the crying grew louder, she pulled back the cardboard and peeked inside. “Hello in there,” she called in a soft voice. “Can I interest you in some breakfast?” The crying intensified to a squall. Beneath a threadbare blanket, Scottie made out the unmoving form of an adult-size body and the flailing limbs of a smaller figure next to it. “Hello.” Scottie dropped to her knees and crawled inside. “Can I hold your baby for you while you eat a biscuit?” When the adult body remained still, Scottie peeled back the blankets to reveal a baby—three or four months old if she had to guess—with blonde peach fuzz on top of her head and a beet-red face. A girl, judging from the dirty pink fleece sleeper she was wearing. She pulled the covers back the rest of the way and gasped at the sight of the woman’s gray skin and purple lips. Scottie assumed the woman was the baby’s mother. She backed slowly out of the tent. “Someone, please help!” she cried. “I think this woman in here is dead.” The Five fled the scene, along with every other homeless man and woman in sight. Scottie patted her pockets for her phone, then remembered she’d left it connected to the charger on her bedside table. She surveyed the area for help—a policeman, a student, a businessman on his way to work—but the park was deserted. Scottie crawled back inside and picked up the baby, rocking her back and forth until she settled down a bit. She scooted over closer to the baby’s mother and checked her wrist and neck for a pulse, but there was none. The woman had been dead long enough for her skin to grow cold. Her eyes were closed, but her rosy lips were turned up into a smile, as though she’d seen an angel. Poor woman was probably no more than twenty years old. Scottie pulled the blanket over the woman’s face and said a silent prayer. Getting to a phone to call for help was the only thing on her mind when she zipped the baby inside her coat and made a dash for her car.
Ashley is giving away $50 gift card (INT) choice of Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Paypal.
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Link to Merry Mary Tour: http://wp.me/p3vHcl-if