Sins of The Father
Police Officer Harrison McNamara grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. The former Wellington Estates heir has dedicated his life to taking criminals off the streets. But when he goes undercover to expose a blackmailing scheme, he meets a freelance model who may hold a key to his past.
For psychologist Laura Carson, freelancing as a model is the perfect bridge until she can set up her practice. But her modeling agency isn’t what she expected. Encountering the enigmatic undercover cop might be everything she’s ever wanted—and everything she must avoid.
As Laura and Harrison grow closer, their past threatens to destroy them. Trapped in an unending cycle of guilt and blame, can they find a way to bury the sins of the past for a future of redemption and love?
Book 1 of the Wellington Estates Series, Sins of the Father is a stand-alone romantic saga.
Read an excerpt:
AT THE END of class, Laura Carson assigned the reading for her Child Psychology seminar, snatched her embroidered tote bag from the desk drawer, and waited for her students to leave the classroom. Some students hurried out, others sauntered in twos and threes, laughing over some inside joke and planning their lunch. Once everyone had left, Laura turned off the lights and hurried down the hallway. Her wristwatch read 12:05. If she grabbed a quick sandwich, she’d be on time for the photoshoot. Laura pushed open the exit door of the building as blinding light from the late California summer assaulted her eyes. She shoved her hand into her tote bag for her sunglasses and stepped into the sunny, brick-lined walkway. Students thronged the campus at lunchtime like a wolf-pack on a hunt. Just as she let the door close behind her, someone crashed into her. She winced in the bright sunlight and said, “Watch where you’re going, dude!” Clutching her shoulder, she stared in dismay at the contents of her bag now scattered on the ground. Great! Now she’d be late. She cursed under her breath. She looked up to glare at the clumsy clod who had bumped into her. But she stood transfixed, mesmerized by the hazel eyes of a man built like Hercules. Hazel with green speckles. In his button-down shirt tucked into pleated khakis, he didn’t look like he belonged on a college campus. This Adonis should be in Hollywood. He apologized and bent down to pick up her things. Their hands brushed, and a shiver ran down her spine as he glanced at her paper: Effects of Family Reputation on the Child’s Personality. She picked up her lipstick, mints, hand lotion, sunglasses, receipts for grocery and lunches, and the usual bric-a-brac she stuffed into her tote. Her wallet lay open, a business card peeking out. The man grabbed it and frowned as he stared at the card. “Hey!” She tried to snatch it from him, but he moved his hand away with the swiftness of a fox and held it just outside her reach. “Give me that.” Still kneeling on the walkway, he hesitated, and asked, “Do you work for them?” She looked at the business card for The Angels, the modeling agency where Laura was to have a photoshoot in twenty minutes. She’d modeled for a photography class as a fun project, and Professor Warren told her she had the face of an angel. He knew people at this agency, and if she was interested in making extra money, she should give them a call. “Do you?” asked the handsome hulk, staring at the appointment time she’d scrawled on the card. He didn’t exude curiosity. The way his eyebrows knitted together, it emanated disapproving hostility. Laura was annoyed at his intrusiveness. There was nothing wrong with trying to make a bit of extra cash. Her oncologist mother could well afford to pay for her education, but Laura knew the value of money. She’d worked on campus on minimum wage with non-existent tips all through college and graduate school. She had completed her supervised hours as a therapist, and her mentor had told her she was ready to start her own practice. All she had to do was find an office space. But she enjoyed teaching undergrads in the interim, trying to psychoanalyze them when they asked questions. And the longer she delayed her jump into the life of a therapist, the more her desperation for extra cash, especially now that her roommates were ready to abandon her to move onto bigger things. Besides, her soon-to-be-ex-roommate Elena worked for The Angels and had recommended the agency. The man was waiting for her answer. She held his gaze and said, “It’s none of your business.” Laura didn’t understand the emotion in his eyes. Concern? Worry? He said, “Um…” She looked at the enchanting frown lines on his forehead. “Yes?” The urge to run her hands through his hair mortified and surprised her, as if a magnetic pull drew her to him like a moth drawn to a flame. She grabbed the last credit card lying on the ground. He used her pen to write his phone number on the back of The Angels’ card and handed it back to her, their hands touching once again, as an electric current ran up her arm, jolting her with an unfamiliar sensation. She quirked an eyebrow, still kneeling. The bricks on the walkway dug painfully into her exposed knee, and she tucked her skirt under it. “Presumptuous, aren’t we?” He put the card from The Angels inside her wallet and returned it to her. She took it from him and stuffed the credit card she’d picked up. When she looked up at him, he extended his hand, a smile playing on his lips as if he was enjoying himself, and she was surprised at his sudden change from concern to mirth. Then he spoke in a resonant baritone. “Can I have my credit card back? Or are you planning to rob me blind?” Laura flushed and stared at her wallet in dismay. She had indeed picked up his credit card. Poisonous words from her childhood stormed through her mind, piercing her heart: You’re a thief like your father. Hands shaking, she returned the card and said, “I’m not a thief!” The face of her ex-boyfriend, George, flashed in front of her eyes. But this time she actually had picked up someone else’s credit card, albeit by mistake. George’s angry yells still rang in her ears. “You’re just like your father!” Although it had happened a year ago, the raw hurt was still fresh in her heart, like a slash from a six inch blade. Why had she been foolish enough to reveal her family secret? George had told her about his arrest for driving under the influence, and she’d told him about her father. After George broke up with her, she was determined never to confide in anyone, and had started a string of meaningless dates. “Hey!” said the man in front of her, bringing her back to the present. She looked at him, anger and confusion blinding her momentarily. “I was kidding,” he said with a grin as he pocketed his card. Then he stood up, towering over her. “Can you tell me the way to Freshman English?” The brilliance of the grin dazzled her as she threw her things back into her tote bag. Warmth flooded through her as the irritation washed away like dust from her unwashed windshield after a shower, her need to make a good impression on him, intense. Her head reeled as she straightened up. “New on campus? You look a bit old for Freshman English.” He stuffed his hands in his pockets. “Looks can be deceptive. And some of us have to work.” She wondered what he meant. Had he worked before starting college? Or was working while in college? Intrigued, she smiled and led him a few feet away to the campus map displayed on an angled stone plaque upon which stood an abandoned coffee-cup. She tossed the cup into an overfilled trashcan beside it. “English Department holds all the freshman classes in Mudd Building.” She pointed to the star. “We’re here. You take Ackerman Way down to Bolden Plaza and turn right. You’ll see Mudd Building on the left. Ask someone once you get there.” “Thanks,” he said, and flashed her a smile that enlivened his face once more. She wanted to hand him the business card of The Angels for he could well be a model himself. In a moment, he would walk away and she’d never see him again. For some reason, the thought brought an ache to her heart. On a whim, she said, “I’m Laura Carson, by the way.” She hoped he’d take the hint and introduce himself; she had squandered the opportunity to see his name on the credit card. “Harrison McNamara.” He walked away from her as she watched his receding back, his muscular, lithe frame disappearing into the crowd of students down the walkway in the dappled shade of the jacaranda trees. He was gone, but he had left her his name, like the pleasant aftertaste of chocolate that lingers long after the ice cream is finished. Behind him, the outlines of the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California rose tall and wide, their tops covered in clouds, promising delightful mystery, inviting her to ascend into the uncertainty. Stop behaving like a teenager, Laura. You’re a therapist! Still, a smile stole on her lips. Harrison McNamara was like no one she’d dated before. George had been much older than her, and she was drawn to his success. She cooked and cleaned for him and ran errands like a housemaid, staying over at his place more often than not. Her best friend and roommate, Juhi Raina, had told her she was being foolish over someone who didn’t value her as a person, as a professional. And she was right, for George had turned out to be a judgmental prick. The lingering scent of Harrison McNamara’s aftershave knotted her stomach, reminding her of her empty life. Of late, her dates were guys she picked up from a dating site, just for an evening of fun. They’d have drinks together, and depending on whether they were gentlemen, she’d bring them back home and go on a second date. But most of her relationships ended on her doorstep at the end of her first date, with or without a goodnight kiss like the period at the end of an uninspiring sentence. But Harrison was someone she wanted to get to know better. She touched her lips, letting her feverish mind imagine his mouth on hers, and a rush of adrenaline drowned her in foolish anticipation. Her reverie was broken by a flyer that flew right into her face. It was about Kara. A few days ago, the suicide of the co-ed had shrouded the campus in confusion and sorrow. Laura had been dismayed at the news. She remembered Kara from her Intro to Psychology class as a studious, pretty girl who kept to herself. But the resilient arrogance of youth sprung back from tragedy with unnerving rapidity; after just two days of mourning, the college moved on with classes, shows, and parties, and Laura had found herself getting ready for new hope and prospects. She pulled out her phone and called Juhi, who was busy with the opening of her boutique. Juhi had worked at an upscale boutique for a few years until she started designing dresses and evening gowns in the condo. She had recently found the guts to open her own shop. Laura was both proud and envious of her courage and wished some of it had rubbed off on her. Juhi said, “Just two weeks left, Laura. You’ll come to the opening, right?” Laura remembered a weekend back in middle school when she’d promised to visit Juhi, but forgot to call and cancel when Elena showed up at her door for a school project. The next day at school, Juhi threw haughty glances her way until lunchtime, and when Laura asked her what happened, Juhi said, “Laura, you are my only real friend. But I get it. You have many friends and have every right to see them. I’m trying to deal with it. Just, do me a favor. If you make plans with me, stick to them. Because when I make plans with you, I clear my whole calendar.” Laughing at the memory, Laura cupped her hand over the phone and said, “I’ve cleared my whole calendar.” “Good!” Laura grinned, as the comfort of years of friendship enveloped her in its warmth. She may not have a boyfriend, but she had a best friend. “I might even bring a date. Juhi, I think I met the one.” Juhi laughed. “Again? Where? Who is he?” “I bumped into him.” “Bumped into a guy and have an instant crush. Can it be more cliché? And where did this happen?” Laura laughed. “On Ackerman. He was on his way to class.” “You’re a Clinical Psychologist, Laura. Since when are you interested in college kids?” Laura sighed. “Since Harrison McNamara started Freshman English.”
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About the author
Sunanda J. Chatterjee writes romantic sagas and family dramas, with empowered heroines and noble heroes, and all manner of family relationships. She loves extraordinary love stories and heartwarming tales of duty and passion. Her themes include the immigrant experience, women’s issues, and medicine.
Her books have consistently been the Top 100 bestsellers on Amazon USA and Amazon India in Asian Literature, Indian Writing, and Asian Drama categories. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies, short-story.net and induswomanwriting.com.
She grew up in Bhilai, India and now lives in Arcadia, California with her husband and two wonderful children. When she is not by the microscope or creating imaginary worlds, she reads, sings, goes on long walks, and binge-watches old TV dramas.
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