Peek into Iniquity

Posted Saturday, 05/28/22

Here's a sneak peek into the upcoming Limb of Iniquity, book #9 of the Collective Obsessions Saga.

From Chapter One:


Greenwich Village, New York; March 14, 2020

"Limb of Iniquity" by Deborah O'Toole writing as Deidre DaltonALEXANDRA CIMARELLI SLOWLY came awake to the strains of The Addams Family theme on her cell phone, which rested flat on her bedside table. Eyes still closed, she reached over and began slapping the surface of the table with the palm of her hand, vaguely anxious to silence the annoying interruption to her slumber. Her hand finally made contact with the phone. She slid it toward her, and then placed it to her ear.

"Hello?" She mumbled.

"Alex?" A female voice asked her breathlessly.

"Who's this?" She groused.

There was a slight pause before the woman continued. "This is your mother."

Alex's eyes flew open. She struggled to sit up in her bed, the phone still to her ear. As she came into a sitting position, the strap of her pink negligee dipped from her left shoulder.

"Who is this, really?" Alex demanded irritably. "Is this some kind of sick joke?"

"No joke," the woman replied firmly. "I'm your natural mother, Andrea Hogan. Or, as I was once known, Andrea St. John."

Alex sucked in her breath. Never, not in a thousand years, had she expected to hear from her birth mother again. The woman had abandoned her when she was eight years old, a little over seventeen years ago. Andrea had simply walked out of the home she had shared with Alex in Larkin City, Maine, without care of concern of what might become of her. Alex's drunken grandmother, Cora Ann Hogan, wanted nothing to do with the child, either, and fled the scene shortly afterward. As luck would have it, Alex was legally adopted by her half-sister, Angela Page and her husband, Tom Cimarelli, with whom she had lived with since. Angie and Alex shared a father, Scott Page, who had an affair with Andrea while married to Shannon Larkin, Angie's mother. While she sometimes wondered what became of her birth mother, Alex had stifled the bitterness and anger at being discarded by her own flesh and blood, almost succeeding in wiping the woman from her mind.

Alex's mouth formed into a stubborn, grim line. "If you truly are who you say you are, why are you calling me now, after all these years? And what makes you think I'd be interested in anything you might have to say?"

"I deserve that," Andrea responded frankly. "And more, I'm sure, in your mind. I just wanted to see how you are, and maybe convince you to meet me for coffee so I can see for myself."

"I'll ask you again - why now?"

"Whether you believe it or not, you haven't been very far from my mind since I left Larkin City all those years ago. I've kept loose tabs on you as best I could without being discovered, but it's not the same as seeing you in person . . ."

"Why did you dump me in the first place?" Alex broke in, her tone angry and blunt.

"I want to explain all of it to you," Andrea told her quickly. "There was a reason for it, I assure you. If you'd just meet me somewhere, I can tell you everything. It might change your opinion about me, and my past actions."

"I have no opinion about you one way or another," Alex said coldly. "You are nothing to me, and haven't been for a very long time." She paused, wanting to hurt the faceless voice speaking to her on the phone. "I have a real family now, so in truth you did me a great favor by abandoning me. If I'd stayed with you, I'm sure my life would have taken the same sordid direction yours did."

Andrea sighed. "We all make difficult choices in life, Alex, but sometimes those choices are the wrong ones. I'm not proud of my past life, and the things I had to do to survive, yet I'm a completely different person now. I would like to make amends to you in any way I can." She paused. "If you'll let me."

"How did you get my phone number?" Alex wanted to know, disregarding Andrea's statement.

"I found it on the website of your employer," Andrea replied promptly. "You've made quite a name for yourself with the exclusive perfumes you've created for the fashion designer, Suki Sutton Shimada. I can't help but be proud of you."

Alex snorted. "So, that's it! You're sniffing around because you think I have money to burn. If it's a loan you're after, you called the wrong number."

"I don't want anything from you," Andrea was quick to defend herself. "Except for one meeting so I can see how you are for myself. If you don't want to see me again after that, I'll never bother you again."

"I don't want to see you," Alex said flatly. "And please, lose my phone number."

"Alex, please. I'm begging you." Alex could hear the desperate break in Andrea's voice. "Just one meeting, that's all I ask."

Alex was silent as she pondered the woman's words. She admitted to herself that she was curious to see how Andrea had fared over time, and it might be enjoyable to lord her success in her birth mother's face. Rub her nose in it, as it were. Perhaps rationally explaining her cold-blooded abandonment might shed Andrea less of an ogre in Alex's eyes, and it couldn't hurt to hear the story. Besides, she had the day off and had nothing else to do. Why not kill a half-hour with her birth mother, just for kicks?

So far, so good. Knock on wood that it continues . . .

Irish Eyes: Collective Obsessions Saga

Tags: Collective Obsessions Saga; Writing & Editing