Catherine James stared hard at the photo she held in her hands. The face of a sullen, 13-year-old boy stared back at her. He had thick, black hair and dark green eyes, almost the same shade of green as Catherine’s own eyes. She felt her heart lurch at the pain she saw reflected there. She looked up at the woman sitting on the other side of the desk she faced. Stacy Shields was a social worker for the Department of Social Services, Children’s Division. Her blue eyes sparkled with intensity as she met Cat’s gaze. Short brown hair framed her plump face. She smiled encouragingly.
“When I decided to become a foster parent, I thought I’d be taking in a little girl. I never considered fostering a teenage boy,” Cat commented.
“I know,” Stacy replied. “But Ethan needs to go to a home where he’s the only child. Since his father signed away his parental rights a few months ago, he’s been in two different foster homes. They each had other kids, and they just weren’t a good fit. Ethan’s extremely bright. I really feel that given the right environment, he could blossom into a special young man. I also think he’ll do better in a home where there isn’t a man around. His father was very abusive. His mother was non-existent. She left them when Ethan was just a baby. He needs the nurturing influence of a mom.”
Catherine, “Cat” as she was called by her friends, looked down at the photo. Can I do this? she wondered. She ran a hand through her thick, red hair and sighed. She didn’t really have a choice, did she?
She’d decided a long time ago that she would offer a child the help she never received. She’d been raised by parents who had beaten her for the hell of it and then kicked her out when she was 15. She’d dropped out of school and taken any odd job she could get her hands on. When she’d turned 18, she’d gotten her GED and scored well enough on the ACT to earn a scholarship to college. It took her six years to finish school because she’d had to work full-time to make up for what the scholarship money didn’t cover. Now, at 30, she was the lead accountant for a large corporation. She liked her job. It was steady, no surprises. Working numbers was a black-and-white issue. Her life was neat and tidy, the way she liked it. She was in complete control. What would happen if she threw a troubled teenage boy into the mix? Would she be able to handle the certain chaos that would follow? She knew it wouldn’t be easy.
She looked back up. Stacy met and held her gaze. Cat slowly nodded. “Okay, I’ll take him.”
Stacy grinned. “Great!” she exclaimed. “I’ll bring him by tomorrow. What time should we get there?”
The next day was Saturday. “Any time after eight in the morning,” Cat replied.
“Okay, I’ll bring him at nine. I truly believe this will work out for both of you.” She stood and embraced Cat. They’d become close friends over the last few months as Cat had gone through the foster parenting classes. Stacy wasn’t sure why, but she felt confident Ethan and Cat would be a good match. She’d been a social worker for a long time, and she’d developed a sixth sense about these things. This felt right.
From the author of “Dogs Aren’t Men” comes “To Love a Cat”, a contemporary romance novel.
Catherine “Cat” James’ life is simple and orderly, and she likes it that way. She loves her job as an accountant. Working with numbers is safe and routine, no surprises. Her childhood had been very abusive and unstable. She vowed not to live that way as an adult. She also made a promise to herself to become a foster parent. She wished someone had been there for her as a teenager, to let her know she wasn’t alone.
Cat agrees to foster Ethan Summers, a troubled teenage boy whose childhood closely resembles her own. Suddenly, her nice and orderly life is filled with chaos and uncertainty. Things really start to spin out of control when circumstances bring police detective Mitch Holt into the picture. He’s handsome, charming, and definitely not what Cat needs right now, or so she thinks.
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Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG
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