Charles Locke is risking everything to make his fortune in a tea-trading enterprise. Sarah Carlyle believes money is the root of all evil and is determined to be rid of her fortune. When Charles and Sarah are thrown together at sea, their hearts are unexpectedly bound. But when Sarah discovers Charles's hunger for money and Charles discovers Sarah's fortune, their love is suddenly in question. Can Sarah give her heart to a man motivated by money? And does Charles truly love her--or does he love her fortune?
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April 30, 2008
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Excerpt from Thread of Deceit by Catherine Palmer
"Come, you who are blessed by the Father,
inherit the Kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world.'
For...I was naked, and you gave me clothing."
--Jesus Christ, Matt. 25:34,36
"Paint? You're kidding, right?" Anamaria Burns set one hand on her hip and the other on her editor's desk. "Carl, you hired me because my investigative reporting took a first-place award from the Texas Press Association. I moved from Brownsville to St. Louis to cover hard news for the Post-Dispatch. So far, you've asked me to write about a neighborhood beautification project, an ice cream stand, a sports arena and a parade. Oh yeah, and sewage. Now you want me to do a story on paint?"
City editor Carl Webster leaned back in his chair, took off his glasses and rubbed his temples. With budget cuts, a glaring error on the Sunday edition's front page and three new interns to break in, his Monday-morning staff meeting hadn't gone well. A heavy smoker, who existed on a diet of black coffee and doughnuts, he looked tired.
"Not every article can be a prizewinner, Ana," he said. "You know that."
"Lead paint. It's a problem here." He took a moment to huff a breath onto each lens and rub with a white tissue. "St. Louis County just got a two-million-dollar grant--"
"You shouldn't do that, you know," she inserted. "Clean your glasses with a tissue. The paper fibers scratch the lenses. You should use a soft cotton cloth."
Carl set the glasses back on his nose and scowled through them at his latest hire. "As I was saying, the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded St. Louis County a two-million-dollar grant to seal or remove old lead-based paint. The county will add a half-million bucks. This is their third HUD grant, and the money always goes to owner-occupied single-family houses or to apartment buildings. So there's your story."
"I don't see it. Maybe a couple of inches in the Metro section--HUD gave the grant, and now the county is going to paint houses." She scooped up a scattered pile of press releases, tamped them on Carl's desk and set them down again. "How is that news?"
"What draws readers to a story, Ana? Money, sex, power. And kids." He lifted a corner of the paper stack with his thumb and riffled it like a deck of cards. "See, children are eating the paint chips that fall off the walls in these old buildings downtown. They're breathing in dust from crumbling paint. And lead-based paint--which was used in every building constructed before 1978--can cause brain damage in children under six years of age."
"Okay, that's bad."
"That's not all." He pushed around the papers she had just straightened until he found the one he was looking for. "Breathing lead dust and consuming lead paint chips,'" he read, "can cause nervous system and kidney damage. The affected child can exhibit learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and decreased intelligence. There may be speech, language and behavior problems, poor muscle coordination, decreased bone growth, hearing damage, headaches, weight loss--'"
"I get it, Carl. I do." She paused a moment, chewing on the nail of her index finger. Nail-biting was her worst habit, Ana admitted, evidence of the stress in her life. In a constant quest for perfection, order and control, she had nibbled her nails down to nubs. Not even pepper-laced polish had helped.
"But the county has the money now," she said. "They'll fix the problem."
"In houses and apartments."
"I'm sure they've already taken care of school buildings."
"Is that the only place kids spend time?"
She lifted her head, feeling her news antennae start to tingle. "How about day cares?"
"Small, non-home-based day cares are slipping through the cracks."
"Basement Sunday school rooms. Vacation Bible School areas."
She thought for a moment, tapping her lower lip. "Restaurants?"
"Mostly taken care of."
"What about after-school clubs? We had several in Brownsville. Kids of all ages showed up. If their parents couldn't afford day care, some little ones spent the whole day there. They had basketball courts and crafts programs, that kind of thing."
"Now you're with me." Carl nodded. "I'd like three or four articles, maybe a sidebar or two. And put some heart into it, Ana."
Wrong body part, Ana thought. She had made a name for herself with her nose.