Romance Katherine Stone Caroline's Journal

ISBN 13: 9780778324768

Caroline's Journal

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9780778324768: Caroline's Journal

Documenting her pregnancy in a journey, Caroline discovers that her baby is in danger at the start of her third trimester, while her husband, a prosecutor, gets caught up in a case involving the murder of a pregnant woman. Reprint.

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About the Author:

Katherine Stone is the bestselling author of more than twenty novels, including The Cinderella Hour, Another Man's Son and The Other Twin. Her books have been translated into twenty languages worldwide. A physician who now writes full-tiome, she lives with her husband, novelist Jack Chase, in the Pacific Northwest.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Keswick Drive

Seattle

Friday, January 14

2:00 p.m.

Present Day

Darling Baby,

It's your mom—your mom!—greeting you for the first time...in writing that is. I welcomed you inside me three hours ago. I'm hoping—oh, I'm hoping—you'll decide to stay.

I bought this journal a week ago. I knew then (I'd known for a month) that you and I would meet this morning.

I planned to begin the journal today. But I didn't know, until I started writing, that I'd be writing to you.

I'd imagined a Dear Diary, I suppose. Or random thoughts.

But this feels right.

We're a team. Already.

Three hours is early in a pregnancy to be certain.How's that for the understatement of the century? But I am certain about you.

We've been trying for a while, your dad and I. Six years, two months and twenty-four days to be exact. But who's counting? We are. Obviously.

Counting and praying as we've tried the old-fashioned way and the newfangled ones.

Don't worry! I have no intention of sharing details of our old-fashioned attempts.I don't know how old you'll be when you read this, or if you'll ever decide to read it at all.Whatever the age, it's information you do not need.

What is relevant is that it's a new in-vitro technique, and there's a physician who's made it her specialty. Dr. Kathleen Collier isn't the reason we moved from Denver to Seattle three years ago—although she would've been reason enough had we known. More than reason enough.

For now, little love, we have you.

Caroline looked from the handwritten words to a cloud-covered sky. Rain would be the logical conclusion.

But there was something about this sky that made Caroline think snow. The lacy whiteness, she realized, at the edges of gray.

Meg was four when she'd identified the telltale sign, named it and explained with Meg Gallagher certainty what the laciness meant.

When the sky wore a petticoat, this petticoat, it was going to snow.

Caroline had never been very good at discerning the snow petticoat from other shades of white. But Meg had been unerring.

Was she seeing Meg's petticoat sky now? Or was it merely wishful thinking—as if the drifting to earth of even a single snowflake would be an indication that what she'd done was right.

Or wrong.

Caroline fought the sudden misgiving. Jeffrey would be thrilled. And he'd agree that he'd been so involved in preparing for the trial, so consumed by the myriad details demanding his attention, it was best for her to make this decision—and act upon it—without consulting him.

He'd have said yes if she'd discussed it with him—wouldn't he?

Of course he would have. He wasn't any more ready to give up than she was. His sole concern would have been her welfare. He would've been willing to risk more sadness...provided it was medically safe for her.

This was what Jeffrey would want.

Will want, Caroline insisted to the lace-edged sky. And he'll know it's the only choice I could have made for the eleventh embryo.

Dr. Collier's protocol called for two embryos—at blastocyst stage—per try. Over the past three years, and in couplets, the leftover embryo's ten siblings had been transferred.

And loved.

Lost.

Mourned.

For a while, in three of those five attempts, there'd been life. Seventeen days. Then twenty-two. And last summer, the possibility of joy had clung for thirty-four.

The embyos'grasp had been precarious. Cramps and bleeding gave worrisome—but not inevitable—warning that they weren't finding Caroline's womb an hospitable place to grow.

Hope drowned in a massive gush of blood a few minutes after 1:00 a.m. on a balmy August night. Jeffrey rushed her to Queen Anne Medical Center, where an emergency D & C had been required to stem the flow. Following the procedure, in the predawn hours until it was safe for her to go home, she and Jeffrey held each other—and wept.

It felt like the end.

Was the end.

Only the solitary embryo remained, and the protocol required two. Even if more eggs could be harvested, if the scarring permitted it, she'd soon be thirty-six, and with advancing maternal age, the risks increased—for mother and baby.

The July attempt was supposed to be their last. She and Jeffrey had known it going in. Her hemorrhagic miscarriage was merely a blood-red punctuation point. An exclamation mark, perhaps: the urgent assertion that, in addition to everything else, her very safety had become a factor.

They hadn't discussed what they already knew. And, within an hour of their return home that August morning, the loss of another woman's unborn baby had become an emotional focus for both of them.

Baby Matthew Nichols's murder—and that of his mother, Susannah—would have been consuming no matter when the crime occurred and even if Caroline's pregnancy had survived to term.

But, as forensic analysis would reveal, Caroline's miscarriage and Matthew and Susannah's murder occurred at virtually the same time. As Caroline had been reaching for Jeffrey, Susannah had been reaching, gasping, pleading, too.

Both women had fought for their unborn babies on that summer night.

And both had drowned.

For Caroline, the immersion had been warm, the spill of blood, an emotional descent.

For Susannah, the lake had been cold, the drowning real.

Caroline's assailant was invisible, a destiny against which there could be no revenge.

But Susannah's killer had a face.

And justice, for Susannah and Matthew, fell to King County prosecutor Jeffrey Wynn.

He was on call that Sunday morning. They'd been home just long enough for him to change the bloodied sheets and tuck her into bed. He'd planned to join her, to hold her while she slept and comfort her when she awakened.

It was unusual for the police to request a prosecutor's presence at a fresh crime scene. But it sent a signal. The case had the potential to be controversial, or high-profile, or political—and eventually became all three.

Caroline had watched Jeffrey's expression as he listened to words she couldn't hear. And she'd known—without knowing details—that much as she might need Jeffrey on this Sunday morning, someone else, someone who'd died, needed him more.

She'd also known that because of her, he'd try to find a colleague to take his place. But she was fine. Not bleeding. And so groggy she'd be sleeping long after Jeffrey got home. Even before he told her what he'd learned, she'd suggested that he go.

And when he shared the detective's concern that the drowning of a pregnant twenty-eight-year-old was not the accident it was purported to be, she'd insisted on it.

The detective's assessment was a minority one. His fellow officers sensed nothing amiss.

But they were starstruck, the detective told Jeffrey. The dead woman's fiancé, and father of her unborn child, was hometown hero-turned-national-celebrity Kevin Beale. The Seattle native was following in the footsteps of football greats who had the looks—and the ability—to perform as well in front of a television camera as they'd done on the field.

Kevin Beale was early in what was predicted to be a lucrative on-air career. Since his retirement from football, the two-time Super Bowl MVP had been promoted from sideline reporting to postgame analysis at a championship pace. Just weeks before the August drownings, the rumor that had been swirling since June had been confirmed as fact. Kevin Beale would be providing televised commentary during NFL broadcasts and from the booth.

The media darling wouldn't be leaving Seattle. Not when he'd finally returned to the city that was home. He was really home, he told reporters with his trademark self-deprecating smile. The kid who'd always loved the water, and dreamed one day of having a canoe, had "scraped together" enough money to buy a houseboat on Lake Union.

It was beneath that houseboat that Susannah's body was found. And where, the homicide detective speculated to Jeffrey, she'd been held under water by the man who hours before and in a very public way had asked her to marry him.

During his initial encounter with the future defendant, Jeffrey concluded what the seasoned detective had. The superstar was guilty.

Proving it would be difficult. But, thanks to Susannah herself, not impossible. Her valiant but ultimately futile fight to save her baby's life had left a trail to her killer.

It wasn't much of a trail. A bread crumb here and there. The defense would attack it with the best experts money could buy. But the forensic path to the murderer was real. And, combined with the mountain of circumstantial evidence the prosecution's investigators had uncovered, a guilty verdict was—Jeffrey believed—within reach.

Jeffrey had been the prosecutor of choice in murder trials in Denver. Not the easy ones, in which the weight of the evidence tipped the scales of justice away from reasonable doubt on its own, but the cases in which circumstances and evidence had to be woven just so, creating a tapestry of truth the jury couldn't help but see.

Jeffrey had won such cases. Every one. But tough as some of those had been, Washington v. Beale was in a different league. Even Greg Marteen, the defense attorney, was. His record of success rivaled Jeffrey's. And, like his client, Marteen had a national following, as celebrated by court watchers as Kevin was by sports enthusiasts.

The trial would be a fight. The case already was.

There was an ugliness unlike any Jeffrey had experienced before, a no-holds-barred attempt to smear the victim, her family...and, in a newspaper article published November eleventh, Jeffrey's thirty-eighth birthday, the prosecutor himself.

In contrast to the patently untrue rumors about Susannah, and the false leaks about the case itself, the report about Jeffrey—and his architect wife—was absolutely correct and excruciatingly thorough: a detailed chronicling of their numerous failed attempts to conceive.

The obvious questions begged by the article became fodder for call-in radio shows, on-line bloggers and editorial correspondents on television and in print.

Had Jeffr...

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