In an effort to make a change in a child's life, Alyse and Steven take in a four-year-old who has been thrown out of several homes prior to theirs. Because of their successful parenting of three children of their own and Steven's career as a counselor, they feel sure they can help Belinda and give her a loving home. However Belinda quickly proves to be a great challenge. She is often disobedient and trouble making, hurting the other children and vandalizing their possessions. At times she seems sweet and innocent, easily charming the unwary. Her desire to be the only child takes a deadly turn.
A Hard Shell Word Factory Release
Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty books in several genres, but mainly mystery. She embraced electronic publishing before anyone knew much about it. She taught writing for Writer's Digest School for ten years and served as an instructor at the Maui Writers Retreat, has been a judge for several writing contest, was a founding member of the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime, serves on the board of directors of the Public Safety Writers Association, is also a member of EPIC and Mystery Writers of America.
Marilyn lives in the foothills of the Southern Sierra in California in a place much like Bear Creek where her heroine Tempe Crabtree serves as a resident deputy. She is married to the "cute sailor" she met on a blind date many years ago and is grateful for all the support he gives her and her writing career every day. She is proud of the fact that she and her husband raised five children and now are grandparents to eighteen and great-grands to thirteen.
"What happens in my books is the only place in my life where I have any control," Marilyn says, smiling.
"Marilyn Meredith has once again delivered compelling reading! For Horror fans, Wishing Makes It So is a Chiller story!"Dakota Wind -- Rolling Seas Reviews
"Thrilling from the first to the last page, Ms. Meredith has created a story that will truly horrify the reader. Stephen King does not create suspense nearly as well. Even when you think the story is over, there is more, and you will see how the devil can hide behind the lovely and the unexpected easily. This is one of the most bone chilling novels I have ever read. Five Stars."Amanda Killgore -- Huntress Reviews
"Put an extra cushion on your reading chair, folks. If you like edge-of-your-seat suspense, that's where you'll be perched until you reach the very last page. Meredith dispenses suspense and horror with equal disregard for your anxiety level as she interrupts the cozy life of the Chrestman family in this superb tale of blood-curdling psychological suspense."Ingrid Taylor -- Amazon reviews
"WISHING MAKES IT SO is a compelling read from page one. It is probably the best book I have read so far this year. Ms. Meredith's writing instilled a sense of dread and fear in me from page one. I could not put it down, but read the book in its entirety in one afternoon. As a society, we generally believe that children are innocent in nature. WISHING MAKES IT SO makes us question this belief and ask ourselves, when a child is an abomination, whether by birth or environmental factors, how does society cope when social services, doctors and even the love of a good family fails...."Sandee -- Lighthouse Literary Reviews
"Meredith is a master at using a good mix of dialogue and characterizations with her narrative, so that the plot unfolds to give the reader a great psychological horror story. The story is fresh and alive and will grab the readers fullest attention not allowing them to walk away form the book until they have devoured the last pages to find out what conclusion awaits them. It is a page burner that readers will find un-nerving but very much entertaining. This will become a classic novel of its genre someday, once others in the media discover this hidden gem as I have! The American Authors Association (AAA) gives this book a FIVE STAR rating and a recommendation to buy and read this book!"Bill McDonald -- American Authors Association
"BEFORE I BRING BELINDA into the room, I want to fill you in on a bit of her history. Of course I can't go into too much detail…" Jocelyn Perigard, a social worker employed by Kenniwick County's Social Services Department, paused, fixing her squinty eyes upon Steven Chrestman.
"Of course," Steven said, nodding his dark head. "Client confidentiality."
From the onset, the middle-aged Perigard had directed all of her remarks to Alyse's husband who was also a social worker, though employed by a private, non-profit agency, all but ignoring her. The tall, angular woman made Alyse feel like one of the population Steven served, the retarded—or developmentally disabled as he preferred to call them.
Perceptive as usual, Steven reached under the table they were seated around and squeezed Alyse's hand reassuringly. She smiled at her handsome husband and thought, as she had at least a million times before, that he was handsome enough to be a movie star.
Despite his careful combing, a curl escaped from his nearly black, wavy hair, falling onto his wide, tanned forehead. Long, thick dark lashes, which made most women envious, fringed his intelligent, startling blue eyes. His nose was just slightly crooked from playing high school football, and he smiled often, displaying healthy straight teeth. Steven's dark coloring contrasted sharply with Alyse's own fair skin and golden hair. She considered herself attractive, and despite having given birth to three children, she could be proud of her trim figure.
Ms. Perigard fiddled with her frizzy perm and adjusted her owl-sized glasses before continuing. "The child has been abused. The abuser is no longer living and since he was the one who provided her with a home, she's become a ward of the state." The woman cleared her throat.
"Usually there's no problem placing a Caucasian, four-year-old. However, Belinda's behavior in foster homes has caused us to realize that the adoptive home chosen for her must have special attributes."
Alyse knew one of the attributes Ms. Perigard referred to was Steven's profession. She doubted that Ms. Perigard had placed much value on the fact Alyse was the mother of three well-behaved, healthy, socially adjusted children, or that she had a B.A. degree in Early Childhood Education and had worked as the director of a preschool until the birth of Andrew, their eldest child.
"I've dealt with many abused children. Security and love will eventually heal all wounds," Alyse said, unable to keep silent any longer.
"I'm glad to hear you say that. Belinda needs a lot of both ingredients." Ms. Perigard shuffled through the two-inch thick pile of papers in the manila folder marked with the name, Belinda Sleigh.
"All of her immunizations are up to date. To our knowledge, she's had none of the usual childhood illnesses yet. And considering her background, she did remarkably well on all the intelligence tests."
The woman paused, and for the first time since the Chrestmans entered the office, she fixed her eyes upon Alyse. "You are aware since this is a pre-adoptive placement and not foster care that you won't be receiving any payment from the county?"
Feeling her face flame with anger, Alyse wasn't sure she could answer without allowing her feelings toward the woman to show. But she didn't have to because Steven jumped in. "Of course we understand, Jocelyn. I'm sure you studied our financial declaration before making any decision about us. You know we'll be able to absorb the costs of adding one little girl to our family without even noticing."
Alyse couldn't help but smile at her husband's understated put-down, or the fact that it hadn't been lost on Ms. Perigard. Beside his salary from the Great Valley Regional Center, after his parents' demise in a private plane crash, Steven had inherited their home in Aspen Springs along with substantial bank accounts and investments.
"Yes…well…" The woman cleared her throat again and rose from her chair. "Then it's time I brought Belinda in to meet her new parents."
Many hours of family discussions, prayer, and soul searching had brought the Chrestmans to this point. For several months, Kenniwick County Social Services had been printing photographs in the local newspapers of children they termed un-adoptable in an effort to entice married couples who might not have thought of the possibility, to consider adoption. Some of the advertised children had developmental delays, others were multiply handicapped, and several were of mixed ethnic heritages. Alyse had read each article with increasing interest.
When she'd brought up the idea of applying for one of the "un-adoptables", Steven had not been enthusiastic. "Don't you think our own three children are enough for you to cope with? After all, Pammy is only eighteen months old."
But she'd persisted. Pastor Piling's sermon entitled, 'Sharing God's Blessings' had helped win Steven over. The Chrestmans regularly attended Aspen Springs Community Church, striving to lead Christian lives in order to be good examples to their children and the community. The minister based his sermon on Matthew 10:8 which ended with the words, "…freely ye have received, freely give." The admonition convinced Steven.
The only stipulation he voiced was, "Don't pick a child with developmental disabilities. I'm afraid it would be overkill for me, since I'm involved with that population in my profession."
When Belinda's picture appeared in the paper, Alyse knew at once she was the one. The children had enthusiastically agreed to share their home and parents with the unfortunate tyke. Even Steven, after reading about the poor little girl, abandoned by her mother, her step-father killed in an accident, abused in a foster home, had become enthusiastic.
The only dissenting voice had come from Alyse's mother, Rosalind Dwyer. Alyse called her mother at her parents' home in an elegant retirement community in Laguna Hills to inform her of the family decision. "But my dear, you'll certainly be spreading yourself thin, with four children to care for," Rosalind said. "And what do you really know about this child's background? What sort of stock she comes from."
"Oh, mother, who cares about her pedigree. I know I have plenty of love for everyone. And that's what it's going to take. And after all, I have Celina to help me."