Someone had to make him pay...
Faith Rochambeau is determined to make her biological father, Victor Telemann, pay for his crimes. Using her computer skills to dig into his life, she searches for the powerful man's Achilles Heel and a way to extract retribution. She'll do whatever it takes to get a conviction, even it if means infiltrating his Fortune 500 company.
She fails to plan on falling in love with her father's smooth-talking stepson, Kent Telemann, who suspects she is a corporate spy. Faith is drawn to Kent, even though she's not sure she can trust him. If her heart is wrong, he can put her life in danger.
Meanwhile, her father is playing a lethal game he's determined to win.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||2 MB|
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Sins of Her Father
By Kathleen Mix, Alethea Spiridon Hopson
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Kathleen Mix
All rights reserved.
Step one: Lay her body in a casket.
Step two: Bury the casket in the ground.
Step three: Pack her belongings in boxes.
Faith chewed her bottom lip. What about step four? What happened after the boxes were dropped at Goodwill and the last physical remnants of a life disappeared? What more could be taken away?
Early April rain pelted the bedroom window, and she envisioned cold drops turning the fresh dirt of her mother's grave into mud. Her heart squeezed painfully. She shivered inside her gray hoodie and wrapped her arms around her chest.
Finish packing her things. Keep going. Deal with one step at a time.
She dragged a cardboard box to the closet, removed an olive-colored uniform from its hanger, and folded it lovingly. The fabric was threadbare from countless nights of manual labor, but it was a symbol of a single-mother's struggle to support her baby daughter after her firefighter fiancé died a hero.
They're probably together now. Her difficult days are over. Maybe she can finally be happy, standing for eternity beside the love of her life.
Faith removed and folded another uniform. When the box was full, taped shut, and labeled, she filled another box with Mom's huge stockpile of light bulbs. Four cartons on the closet shelf remained to be sorted.
She pulled in a deep breath and tossed her tight braid back over her shoulder. Soon she'd be able to shut the bedroom door, walk away from the drafty tenement where she'd grown up, and go back to the security of her orderly apartment and her exacting job helping to design the next generation of space probes. But would she ever get used to the idea that Mom would never hug her again?
On tiptoes, she stretched up and slipped the first box from the closet shelf. She brushed off a layer of dust and removed the lid. A faded photograph of Grandma cuddling a blonde baby, probably her. Another showing Grandpa when he'd had a full head of hair. A smile tugged at her lips. The box held dozens more to linger over later.
The second box was heavier, the air that escaped musty. A first-place ribbon from a spelling bee. A bracelet of multicolored beads. A young girl's diary.
A diary. Faith blinked, paused, and wiped her soiled palms down the sides of her baggy gray sweats. Fingers shaking, she picked up the fat book and opened the cover.
This diary belongs to: Suzanne Marie Rochambeau
My life from: September 1989 Through: August 1990
Her pulse jumped. This worn volume Mom had cared to keep all these years could supply the answers she'd given up ever knowing. The time span was right. The pages could hold the story of how her parents met. Or a description of her father. Or her mother's thoughts when she was born.
Faith swallowed and moistened her lips. Maybe the pages held the words of pride and love she'd always hungered to hear. Nerves singing with curiosity and anticipation, but stretched taut by a jumble of guilt and fear, she flipped to the first page.
September 15, 1989
Dear Diary, I'm a cheerleader!!! Coach posted the list of who made the squad at lunchtime. Mom says I can stay after school for practices as long as I keep up my grades and get home before dark. Hip Hip Hooray!
Faith turned more pages, picturing her Mom at a lamp-lit desk recording her innermost thoughts. The innocent teenager's happy words warmed her aching heart.
September 19, 1989
Dear Diary, I haven't written much lately because I had to study for an algebra test (98!). Cheer practice is long and lots of hard work but really great! We got measured for uniforms today. They have these really, really cool pleated skirts.
Faith hastened from page to page. The rain-dimmed afternoon decayed into a leaden dusk and the inked words grew indistinct. She switched on the overhead light and stood alone in the silent room, the diary open in her hands.
She turned a page and frowned at the messy script, the ink blurred as if by tears.
I want to die! I don't know what to do ...
Faith's fingers turned to ice. Her hands trembled as her eyes sped from line to line. The words slashed through her heart. Sour bile rose in her throat, and she slumped onto the ancient, creaky bed, knees too weak to support her body. She slammed the diary closed, crushed it to her chest, and squeezed her eyelids shut to block out the horrid images.
Oh. My. God.
* * *
Maybe losing her identity was the key to finding him, confronting him, and banishing the images and questions from her head.
With a spark of hope, Faith dragged her luggage to apartment ten and knocked.
"I need your help!" she blurted as her cousin Josie swung open the door.
Josie blinked, then eyes wide, opened her arms in invitation. "For heaven's sake, what's wrong? Come in, tell me what I can do."
Bending over the baby bulge at Josie's middle, Faith dove into the embrace. She soaked in the free-flowing love and clung to the person who'd always been there for her, the one person who might understand her pain when she revealed her terrible truth.
Josie stepped back and searched her face. "I've been meaning to stop by your place ever since the funeral. You look pale. Are you okay? What's with the luggage?"
"It's a long, unpleasant story."
Josie patted her midsection. "I have seven weeks to listen. What help do you need?"
Faith rolled the bulky black suitcases into the foyer, closed the door, then pulled in a fortifying breath. "I want to borrow your identity until after the twins are born."
Saying the words made the plan real. A jolt of fear accelerated her heartbeat.
A frown wrinkled Josie's forehead. "Why?"
"I went through my mother's things. There was this old diary." Faith squeezed her eyes shut, fighting back the wave of shame gushing through her bloodstream. She stared at the floor and struggled to still her quivering chin. "That story I finally badgered out of my mother, the one about my father, how he died a hero. It was a lie. My mother and father were never engaged. My father didn't die saving six people from a house fire." Acid rose in her throat, and a tight knot formed in her stomach. Could she spit out the ugly truth and let it poison the air? Was she wrong to come here? Wrong to burden Josie so late in her pregnancy? Wrong to share her dirty secret? Wrong to think she could right a wrong?
She gulped a lungful of air. Josie would understand, and she desperately needed someone, because she couldn't face this alone. "My father is a rapist. He brutally raped my mother, stole her virginity, left her by the roadside bleeding, traumatized, and pregnant."
Josie gasped, her fingers flying to cover her mouth. She blinked, stared, blinked again. "Oh my God. Do you know his name?"
Faith wet her lips and forced herself to measure out the syllables. "Victor Telemann. It was in the diary. She recognized him from school."
"Was there a trial? Did he go to jail?"
"No. He threatened her, told her if she ever said a word to anyone he'd find her and do something worse. She was terrified and never told a soul."
"But how did she explain her pregnancy to Grandma and Grandpa?"
Faith pictured the tear stained pages in the diary, and her heart knocked once, hard. "She hid it for as long as she could. When she started to show and had to admit I existed, she let them think she had a boyfriend but refused to tell them his name."
"Oh, Faith." Josie pulled her into another tight hug and rubbed circles on her back. "The strict curfews, the super-conservative clothes, her panic when we wanted to live off campus, the way she messed up your mind with the strange ideas about men and sex so badly that you're still a virgin, it all makes sense now. No wonder she was so paranoid."
"I want to forget what she wrote about that night, but I can't. Her words keep haunting me. They'll probably give me nightmares for the rest of my life." She blew out a long slow breath and summoned up a sliver of courage. "What he did disgusts me. I have to do something about it."
Josie leaned backward and cocked her head to the side. Her eyes clouded with concern. "What exactly are you planning?"
Faith stepped away, wrapped her arms over her chest, and resisted the impulse to pace. "I'm going to find him and see he's brought to justice."
"Whoa. Finding all this out while the pain of your mom's death is still raw must be hell. But come on. It's not like you to be rash. Slow down, think this through."
"I have. I need to see his face." I need to know I'm not like him.
For the hundredth time in the last fifteen hours, her mind's eye saw a textbook illustration of how both the mother and father contribute genes and chromosomes to a fetus. She shuddered. Could she ever stop wondering which of her genes came from the animal who'd raped her mother? In what and how many ways she was his daughter? If she'd inherited evil in her bloodline?
She looked up, waiting for Josie to reassure her she was a good person, needing to hear logical arguments from someone else. But Josie's lips were pressed tightly together, contemplating her plan to find him, seeing only the surface of her anguish.
Faith stared into near space and fought her inner demons.
"Do you know where to look or anything about him?" Josie finally asked.
"He wasn't in the local phone book, but I looked through an online directory and found he has an older brother who still lives in town. I called the brother and told him I was helping my mother plan a high school reunion. He gave me a current address in Palm Beach, Florida." She motioned toward her luggage. "I'm on my way to the airport."
Josie's frown deepened. Maneuvering her big belly with care, she sank onto one end of the lilac leather couch. "I'm not sure that's a good idea. What are you going to do? What can you do?"
"For a start, I can apply for a job at his company, watch and listen, dig into his past, and examine his life under a microscope. If I find out everything there is to know about him, I can identify his Achilles' heel. I've already Googled him and dug through some of the results. The Victor Telemann who lives in Palm Beach is married to a rich widow, runs a chain of exclusive stores named Emmeline's, and has a penthouse office at the corporate headquarters." She perched on the other end of the couch and fisted her hands in her lap. "It's not fair. Mom had to drop out of high school and spend her life as a penniless cleaning lady. Yet her rapist is living in luxury."
"Does he know about you?"
"I don't think so. Nothing in her diary indicates she ever saw him or talked to him again."
Josie's warm hand squeezed Faith's forearm. "I don't like this. You don't know what you'll be getting into. If you accuse him of being a rapist, he could become dangerous."
Faith stiffened her spine and gathered her confidence. "If I borrow your identity, he won't recognize my last name and suspect I know about his past. I'll be able to stay under his radar while I size up the situation, explore my options, and hopefully, collect evidence. People have always thought we were sisters. I can pass for you."
"If I let you do this, you'll be miles out of your element," Josie said. She gathered steam. "Have you ever even seen a real criminal? Why not leave it to the police?"
"All I have is Mom's diary, and she never even reported a crime. He'd just claim the sex was consensual. I called a lawyer friend who works for the Commonwealth's Attorney and asked her opinion. She said the only way to put this creep behind bars without a victim's testimony is a confession."
"Even if he did confess, it's been twenty-six years. Wasn't the crime too long ago?"
"Virginia doesn't have a statute of limitations on felony rape." She clenched her jaw. "I have to do this. I'll never have peace of mind until he's punished. I considered doing nothing, taking the safe and easy path, but then I'd be giving in to fear, admitting I'm weak, acting as badly as people who walk away when they see a crime in progress. I don't want to be that kind of person. How could I live the rest of my life knowing I'm a quitter and a coward?"
"Revenge can be an ugly goal."
"I know, and I know some people won't approve of what I'm doing. But if I crawl away from this, it will haunt me forever."
"Look at this objectively and give it up," Josie said. "He probably won't confess."
Disappointment pressed on Faith's shoulders. Josie was blind to the crevasse the shameful truth of her parentage had carved in her soul. No one else could understand her hunger for inner peace.
"If he won't confess, I'll see justice done some other way. I'm terrified, but I'm not going to let my fear stop me. I'm going down there. With or without help."
Josie met her gaze, hesitated, then cleared her throat. "I don't like you putting yourself in danger. So much could go wrong." She crossed her arms over her chest. "Okay. If it's that important to you, you can use my identity, but only under two conditions."
Faith's heart did a somersault. Relief or fear? "Thank you. What conditions?"
Josie's chest rose as she sucked in a long breath. "First, you have to agree to think carefully about everything you do. You can't let this get out of hand." Her hands slid lower and caressed her baby bulge. "And I mean that from a selfish angle, too. I don't want any trouble with the babies coming. Protecting them has to be my first priority."
"I could never endanger you or them. I promise not to do anything stupid, and I'll accept full responsibility for every move I make. What's the other condition?"
"You have to totally be me. You have to take my clothes, my makeup, my shoes, and even act like me." Josie fingered Faith's gray slacks then her tailored, white blouse. "Knowing you, those suitcases contain six outfits in shades of gray and another six in navy. To convince people you're me, you'll need bold colors, prints, and stripes."
"Hopefully, no one there has ever met you."
"Hope isn't a good enough strategy. The slightest glitch could give you away. What if someone checks an employment reference? One of my former employers could make an offhand comment or relate an anecdote that reveals you're an imposter. Plus there's always the chance someone where you're working could be within my six degrees of separation. Or yours. Some of our Tech classmates were from that part of the country." She smiled like an understanding sister, and her gaze softened. "Who knows, wearing my things could even be good for you, get you out of your shell."
"You tried dressing me in bright, sexy clothes in college, remember?"
"That didn't work because you were still Faith in every other way. Now you'll be me. Anything you do will reflect on me, not you. That'll be liberating."
"What if I embarrass you?"
"Have you ever known me to be embarrassed?"
A slide show of memories tugged Faith's lips upward at the edges. All her life, she'd sat on the sidelines and secretly envied Josie's ability to mix with people and have fun. "Now that you mention it ..."
"Good, then it's settled. You take my pre-preg wardrobe, and just to be sure you don't back out and wear something conservative or mousy, you leave all your stuff here."
Faith shook her head. "I doubt the masquerade is necessary."
"Maybe not, but you can't be sure. You don't know anything about the situation there or what this man might do if he figures out who you are. You'll be safer if you become me 100 percent. Of course, if you'd rather not use my identity ..."
"You have to promise you'll give an Oscar winning performance." Josie held up her right hand.
The man who'd ruined her mother's life had strolled away, become rich, and was leading the good life. Somehow, she had to bring him to justice, and somehow she had to untangle the mystery of her DNA. Until she knew whether her genes were stained by black, remorseless evil or just one gray, guilt-laden mistake, how could she not worry about who she was deep inside?
Faith raised her hand. "Okay, I swear. Acting like you should be a slam dunk compared to getting a criminal who is walking around free to admit to rape."
* * *
Faith breathed deeply of the aromatic steam and sipped chamomile tea from her mug. The penetrating heat soothed her taut nerves. She glanced at the clock on Josie's nightstand. "Yikes, my flight leaves in less than three hours." Feeling a jolt of panic, she went back to emptying her suitcase. "We'd better hustle if I'm going to make it."
Excerpted from Sins of Her Father by Kathleen Mix, Alethea Spiridon Hopson. Copyright © 2015 Kathleen Mix. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.5 Stars I was drawn in by the synopsis of this book and it was quite an enjoyable read in the end. Faith Rochambeau has always had fond memories of the man who fathered her based on her mother's stories, but after her mother's death her journal reveals that they were just that: stories. The truth is very hard for Faith to take, that she was the result of a rape and in fact her biological father is now a respected and successful businessman who never paid for his crime against her mother. And a plot of vengeance is born. Faith's plan is simple: with her exceptional computer skills, she plans to dig into her father's life for information that can be used to damage him and the first step in this plan is to assume another identity and take a job with his company. She successfully puts her plan into action but is unaware that she is suspected of being a corporate spy and that the hottie who's paying her so much attention is actually her father's step-son and she's his assignment. This is a first time author to me and I think that she did an amazing job with the mystery and the suspense and the story moved along at a steady pace. Faith was a strong character, a little bit naive and idealistic but she was the only likable character in the whole book. Kent was a very weak character to me and even his supposed investigation into his stepfather's dealing was half-assed. However, the romance was missing something and maybe my dislike for Kent was a part of it. But the end is where it went sideways for me. It was very foolish for Faith to approach a man she knew was dangerous and ruthless to try to goad him into a confession, especially because he hadn't achieved his success by being a choirboy. Not just that, she was not adequately prepared to defend herself and got away safely only by sheer luck. Those issues aside, the writing was well-done and I won't mind reading more of her work. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I wasnt sure what to make of this book, I love a good dark novel but this seemed to hit on a lot of trigger subjects. It was well written, with good characters. *Copy provided honest review*
I have to admit that I was not sure where this book would take us as readers, but was anxious to read it. Once I got started, I did not want to put it down. Kathleen Mix threw you right into Faith's life and took you on a ride with her to get revenge for what her biological father had done to her mother. We quickly learn that Faith's mom was rapped and that is how she was conceived. When she reads her mother's journal after she passes away, Faith makes it her goal to get Victor, her biological father, to confess to what he did to her mom all those years ago. Faith's mom had let her believe that her father had died a heroic death as a fireman. This was a pretty fast paced story that kept you wondering what was going to be next for Faith and what she was going to get herself into next. There were parts of the story that were comical to me as well with Faith trying to be her own detective when the PI that she hires doesn't end up doing much for her. Faith takes on her cousin, Josie's identity and moves to where her father is located. She gets a job in his company so that she can work her way into seeing him and hopefully getting her confession to make him pay all these years later. I love that Kathleen mixed some romance in with this story as well. Everything was so well balanced and it made for a great read on this one. I was pleasantly surprised with this one, even though I really did not know what to expect. There were plenty of twists and turns that I did not expect at all. I don't want to give the story away by telling everything that happened because you really need to read this one for yourself. You will be hooked from the beginning!!! Thanks Kathleen for a great read!