What would you do if you discovered that your beloved child wasn't yours at all? Patricia Kay presents a compelling, tender story of a bond that is stronger than blood -- and of the difficult choices that only be made with the heart.
With her jet-black hair, outgoing personality, and boundless confidence, Kendall Bernard is everything her mother, Abbie, is not. A shy, self-conscious single mom, Abbie has always marveled at the fact that she and her daughter are so different. But when she discovers that she is not Kendall's biological mother -- that she was given the wrong child at the hospital so long ago -- Abbie is filled with longing to find her real daughter, to see shades of herself reflected in her child's eyes.
Her search leads her to Logan O'Connell. A widower raising his children alone, Logan is hopelessly devoted to his fragile daughter, Erin -- and doesn't want to believe she's not really his. Desperate to protect their children and themselves -- and afraid that what they love most will be taken away -- Logan and Abbie must find the strength to decide on the future.
"A master storyteller... Patricia Kay writes from the heart about matters that touch us all."
"If you love LaVyrle Spencer, you'll love Patricia Kay."
"Wonderful... [a] sparkling romance."
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September 03, 2003
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Excerpt from The Wrong Child by Patricia Kay
Helen Palmer couldn't remember ever feeling this tired. Her weariness went bone-deep, so that even the effort of putting one foot in the front of the other was almost more than she could bear.
She sighed heavily. It was 12:40 A.M., and she'd been on duty since ten-thirty the previous morning. For a sixty-four-year-old woman, fourteen hours was far too long to be on her feet. She thought longingly of home, where she should be warmly tucked into bed next to Leonard, her husband of forty-two years.
But this wasn't a normal day. The snow had started falling before dawn, and by ten o'clock, they'd had eight inches with no end in sight.
The nursing supervisor had called Helen, begging her to come in early. "I know you're not on until three, but half my people haven't made it in, and we desperately need you," she'd said. "You're the only one who lives close enough to walk."
So Helen had come in to work an hour later. She was appalled at how shorthanded they were, a situation that worsened as the day wore on. By that evening, the entire county was socked in with the worst winter storm the Texas Panhandle had seen in fifty-some years. The roads were mostly impassable, the county's lone snowplow entirely inadequate for the massive job of cleaning the snow that still fell heavily.
At eleven, when yet another shift failed to arrive, and Helen should have gone home -- wanted nothing more than to go home -- she knew she couldn't leave. There were two women in labor and no other nurse to assist in the delivery room or to take care of the infants when they decided to make their appearance. Even in the best of times, Cyrus Hurley General Hospital didn't have a surplus of nursing staff, and this February night was hardly the best of times.
So Helen had stuck it out, somehow overcoming her exhaustion and successfully helping an equally exhausted Dr. Slater with both deliveries, which had taken place within minutes of each other -- one right before midnight, the other shortly after. She had then brought the babies here to the nursery where she would care for them until someone, God willing, showed up to relieve her.
You can do it, she told herself. You've made it this long. You can take a nap when the babies go to their mothers.
Feeling half-sick with fatigue, she opened a drawer and removed two plastic name bracelets. She had already printed out the newborn identity information for the two girl babies. All that was left to do was insert the information into the appropriate slot and fasten the bracelets to the babies' wrists. Normally, the bracelets would have been put on the moment the babies were delivered, but since nothing about the last fourteen hours had been normal, there had been no one to prepare the bracelets ahead of time.