A Place Called Home: Book 3 of The Dandelions Series - An 8 book Epic Romantic Adventure
by McCartney Green
Back cover blurb -
Stunned and betrayed by those closest to her, Lisa Lewis begins a mad dash across the country searching for a home she's never known. She brazenly walks right into the middle of Chaz Stewart's cattle crossing and tips his world upside down. Lisa experiences the wonders of home and family for the first time in her life, but somebody in the small town of Pine Forest wants her gone. What begins as dangerous pranks turns quickly into life and death struggles and Lisa learns that real families stick together through thick and thin.
(Prologue and first three chapters. Remainder available upon request.)
“Out of the dreariness,
Into its cheeriness,
Come we in weariness,
~ Stephen Chalmers~
“Pregnant? Oh, my. Pregnant.”
Louise Lewis watched her mother as the news she’d just delivered registered. It took her mother only a few seconds to launch into her “perfect mom” routine. A routine Louise hated.
“Oh, dear, Louise hon,” her mother reached for her, took her by the shoulders, smiled kindly. “Everything’s going to be alright, dear, just you wait and see. Oh, sweetheart, how are you feeling? Do you know how far along you are? Goodness, that’s okay, we’ll figure it all out.” Madeline Lewis put her arms around her only child. “Don’t you worry about a thing now, my little LuLu. Your father and I, we’re here for you. We’ll all get through this together.”
Louise shook her head. Her mother’s sweetness grated on her nerves. Always had. Now she was finally gonna do something about it. She was gonna get the hell out of Dodge. She pulled away from her mother’s hug. “No, Mom. We won’t all get through this together. I’m the one that’s pregnant.”
“Who’s the father? Does he know what he’s done?”
The question came from her father and Louise rolled her eyes before she answered. “What we did, Dad. We. It’s not like he forced himself on me.”
“Well, does he know?”
“Yes, Dad. He knows. He wants to marry me and spend the rest of his life trying to make me and his child happy,” Louise said, her voice laced with sarcasm.
“Oh, thank goodness,” her mother sighed.
Louise glared at her. “I’m not going to marry him, Mom. I’m not going to marry anyone.”
“But Louise, don’t you think it would be the best for you and the baby?”
“No, I don’t. Look at the two of you. Do you think I want to live your life?”
“There’s nothing wrong with our lives, Lulu. Nothing wrong with being honest, hard-working folks,” her father argued.
“Yeah, honest, hard-working people who live in an old, rickety house, in an old, hick town and have nothing more to do on a Friday night but sit on the porch and shell peas. God, I hate this place.”
“You’re only sixteen, Louise. You don’t know what you want yet,” her father put in.
“That’s where you’re wrong, Dad. I do know what I want. I want to get away from here. Away from this house, from this town, from this whole freakin’ state.”
“Don’t you think that would be impossible now, in your condition? Realistically speaking, you have to work to eat and to afford a place to live.”
“Just watch me.”
“Lulu, what are you saying?” Madeline asked, wringing her hands.
“Let me see if I can spell it out for you. I’m gonna have a baby. I’m not going to marry the father. And I‘m leaving here.”
“But where will you go? Please, baby. You just have to listen to reason. Your father and I, we love you. We want to take care of you. Let us help you.”
Her father took her by the shoulders and forced her to look up into his face. “Why now Louise? If you wanted to leave us, why now, when you’re pregnant and life is about to get tough? At least wait until after the baby is born.”
“Are you kidding me? How dumb can you be, Dad? Look, this pregnancy is just something that happened. But I can deal with it.”
Her mother put her hands to her heart. “Oh, Lulu, don’t tell me you plan to— ”
“Have an abortion? No, I’m not. I’ve decided to keep the kid. I’ve always wanted something that was mine. Only mine. And now, I have it.”
“Honey, a baby is not a possession. It’s a real person. A little person that needs to be fed and loved and cared for.”
“I’m completely capable of taking care of myself and my baby.”
“What did we do, Lulu, to have you hate us so much.”
“Don’t start, Mom. I don’t hate you. I just need to get away. I need to get out of this hick town. The only things that thrive in middle Georgia are the mosquitoes. When I went to Atlanta for that student conference and people asked me where I’m from, no one had even heard of Pine Forest. I have to get away. Do you realize we don’t even have a movie theater? We have two grocery stores a Dairy Queen and a Family Dollar.”
“First of all, you’re exaggerating, and secondly, can’t you wait?” her father asked. “Look, I understand baby girl, that you’re feeling a little oppressed. I understand your need to get out and experience the world. But can’t you wait, just until this baby is born and you graduate from high school and until you—”
“Stop. I’m not waiting another year and a half. I’m not waiting another week and a half. I’m outta here.”
“But Lulu, honey,” her mother cried, “school is about to start. It’s your junior year. There are so many exciting things to do. You’ll get to go to Prom and—”
“And what Mom? Go to prom in a designer maternity gown?”
“Oh, honey, we can work this all out. Please.”
Louise hardened her heart against her mother’s pleas and her father’s look of exasperation. She wanted out. She had come to hate the picture of perfect homey bliss they presented to her. As far as she was concerned, that picture had bars. She hated everything to do with her home, her town, her school, her friends. She even hated her own name. Louise Lewis. Who would name their child Louise in this day and age? So, she was named for her mother’s dead sister. So what? How selfish was that to make their own daughter suffer with such a horrible name. And to add insult to injury she looked just like her mother. A tiny, petite woman with a turned up nose and honey blond hair. They looked like mother/daughter elves. Ugh! For once Louise wanted to think only of herself and that is exactly what she intended to do.