Written & Published by Amarissa Amber Cale
Release date – December 31st, 2014
The second installment in the ‘Angels Wear Lipstick’ series follows a young woman who escaped the cruelty she suffered at home as a young child. As an adult, she becomes caregiver to one of her abusers. Her peaceful life is soon interrupted by shocking accusations of murder. A whirlwind investigation leaves many to doubt Katie’s innocence, including Katie herself. She finds solace and support from an esteemed partner, but even he may not be able to prevent Katie’s conviction.
Katie was born in 1964, to teen parents who treated her like a showpiece – and a punching bag for her antagonistic mother. Her life revolved around flashing camera bulbs and tyrannical abuse by her parents. When she was young, Katie was a well-behaved and adorable little girl, but as she got older, she came to understand hers was not a normal family. Despite suspicion surrounding what took place behind the Pryor’s closed doors, friends, family, and professionals alike remained silent.
After Katie is molested, and her tormentor dies, Leda is left to raise the young teen Katie alone. Katie never would forgive her mother’s reaction to the molestation. She became what her mother claimed was a ‘problem child’ and ran away from home. At thirteen, Katie left her mother’s abusive ways forever, making her way on the streets of Toronto.
A kindhearted minister and his wife take Katie in and nurture her, leading her onto a path of love and decency toward humanity. Katie’s young life is dramatically enriched and she finds peace – until duty calls her home to care for an invalid mother. At twenty-five, when Katie’s mother becomes disabled, she feels obligated to return and take care of her, despite their turbulent history.
Strong characters and the life-altering events that follow them will keep you riveted to the very last word. Angels & Their Demons is the second in the Angels Wear Lipstick series. The first book follows Katie’s troubled childhood and her abusive parents as she grows into an endearing young teen, and her escape from manipulating tormentors.
*Both novels are stand alone, and can be read as separate stories.*
Chapter One – March 1989
“Hello?” Katie said, annoyed at being awakened after her long shift at the restaurant. Who could be calling at this late hour, she thought, looking at her bedside clock.
“This is Dr. McNamara, from St. Thomas hospital. I am sorry to call at this hour, but it is very important I speak with you. Is this Miss Katie Pryor?”
Katie sat up, wiping the sleep from her eyes and stretching. “How can I help you, doctor?”
“I have a woman here in my care who claims she is your mother. Her name is Leda Pryor. She has asked me to contact you and tell you she has had a bad fall and needs your help. You are a somewhat difficult woman to track down,” Chris chuckled.
One of her aunts must have given him the number, Katie thought. “That was the intention. How can I help you, doctor?” Katie repeated.
“Well, she had a bad fall on some ice a couple weeks ago and I have replaced Mrs. Pryor’s hip and repaired a break in her calf. However, I’m afraid before she can go home she will need someone there to care for her on a full time basis. That is why I’m calling you now. She will be ready to leave the hospital within a few days and I have no choice but to send her home. There are no alternatives here.”
“Then tell her to hire someone, or send her to some sort of home. She’s not my responsibility,” Katie said, desperate to end the conversation.
“I am afraid a home is not an option at this point, and she claims she can’t afford to hire a nurse, Miss Pryor. Can you come to my office tomorrow, so we can discuss alternatives? I’m stuck with a lack of options here, and I need your help. Mrs. Pryor tells me you would be willing to come to her home to care for her. You were the main contact on her medical record, but she did not have your phone number.”
“Leda is wrong; I will not go to her home to care for her. I don’t care what she tells you.”
Chris was stunned by what Katie told him. She was so blunt it took him off guard. “Miss Pryor, you are her daughter, aren’t you? Look, as I told you, I am at a dead end here. Please, can we talk about this?”
“Alright, alright. I honestly don’t know what I can do to help you, and the name is Putter, not Pryor. Listen, I have a little time after three, if that works for you,” Katie replied, exasperated.
Chris gave Katie the directions to his office at the hospital and contact phone number. “Thank you, Miss Putter. I will see you then.”
Chris tossed his pen on the desk and decided to chat with Leda Pryor before heading home. If he was going to get through to Miss Putter, he needed some background on this young woman. Perhaps Leda would enlighten him. She came across as a decent woman. Mrs. Pryor seemed easy to get along with. What confused Chris was he was told Katie was an honorable woman. He had to figure out what was holding Katie back from helping her mother.
“Mrs. Pryor, how are you feeling? I just wanted to check in on you before I went home and make sure you were comfortable.”
Leda adjusted herself in the bed, wincing with the effort. “What a dear young man you are. I’m still in a lot of pain. Have you contacted my dear daughter yet, doctor?”
“Yes, I have contacted Katie. You didn’t tell me she has changed her name to Putter. Has she married? Chris asked.
“I frankly don’t know what she does anymore. I haven’t seen her for a few years,” Leda chuckled. She would not tell the good doctor her daughter ran away more than ten years ago. “Katie hasn’t spoken to me for a bit, although I don’t know why, to be honest.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I am however meeting with Katie tomorrow afternoon here at the hospital.”
“She’s coming here? Will I see her?”
“Yes, she’s coming to St. Thomas. Is there anything you can tell me about her past that may help me understand where her thoughts are? Maybe something about her childhood or relationships with family perhaps? She seems a mite distant.”
“Oh, doctor, she was always the apple of my eye. A blessing from the heavens above, she was. I loved her and nurtured her from the day she was born to me. Never had any other children but her to love. But you know, the very moment her dear father passed, she became a young tyrant. She always hated me after he died, but I don’t know why.”
Chris was intrigued. “How did her father die, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“He fell from a building he was working on out west. Katie always blamed herself. Before he passed on, she was angry with her father for some reason and told him she wished he were dead. For several years, she ended up blaming herself for his death. She was a baby though, when he died. Just thirteen then and still my heart. I adored her, I did. Still do. She was always so beautiful. All the best photographers wanted her as their first choice model, you know,” Leda boasted.
“Sounds like you loved, and still do love Katie, Mrs. Pryor. If I may ask, how old was Katie when she ran away?”
“She was thirteen. I have been distraught for all those years. No one could find my girl. Not the police, or private investigators either. I don’t know how you found her, but know I will always be in your debt for finding my little girl.”
Chris mulled the information over for a bit. “It was pretty simple once I called your sister. Your sister has connections at the hospital here, so she was easier to locate. Rose has been in touch with Katie for eight years or so, she tells me.”
Chris watched Leda for a reaction to his answer. Her one mistake was lying about her husband’s death and her daughter’s reaction to it. How did Leda know Katie blamed herself for her father’s death for years if she ran away soon after he died?
“I think Rose is a little off on her numbers,” Leda chuckled. “Rose always was a little flighty.”
“I hear you other sister, Grace says she has been in touch with Katie for as long as Rose has. But no matter, we will have to see what transpires tomorrow. You have a good sleep. If you need anything, be sure to tell the nurse on duty tonight,” Chris said. He noticed a picture of an adorable young girl at Leda’s bedside. The girl was adorned in an evening gown. Chris pointed to the photograph. “Is this your daughter?”
“Yes, that’s my Katie. She was in the auditions for the Raymore catalogue. She always looked older than she was. Wait until you meet her, then you will see how beautiful she is.” Leda tried to move herself further up on her pillows and moaned. “Doctor, can you please help me and push my pillows down a little?” Leda pleaded.
Chris did as Leda asked. “I will see you tomorrow after I have spoken to your daughter.”
“Oh, thank you, doctor. You are too kind. Good man you are, just like my Clark was, God rest his soul.”
Something about Leda’s manner did not sit right with Chris. She was trying too hard to impress him. What was she hiding? Chris lay awake for hours trying to decipher the family history at hand. Leda was hiding something, and Katie was avoiding something different. What occurred to Chris was both of them had something they did not want him to know. Why did he care, he wondered. Chris knew from medical records that Leda had a history of prescription narcotic abuse, and drank to excess. How far back, he wasn’t sure.
Rose had mentioned something about Katie not having her father around for several years before he died. She also spoke briefly of Katie being resentful of her mother’s neglect. Rose seemed reluctant to comment too much on the family history, and told Chris he needed to get the information he sought from Katie. This situation was not like any he had ever dealt with in his career. No other patient had ever kept him from blessed slumber, but this one had him troubled. Somewhere in the wee small hours of the morning, Chris fell into a fitful slumber. The photograph of Katie invaded his every thought and his dreams.
After Katie hung the phone up, she paced the floor of her cozy apartment, mulling over the conversation with Dr. McNamara. The more she thought about it, the more she felt the old grudges welling up in her mind. How dare that woman ask for her help after all she put her through, Katie thought. She made a glass of warm milk and turned the television on to distract herself. An hour or so later, Katie fell asleep on the sofa watching an old black and white western.
The next morning Katie woke with a dull headache. She knew intuitively from experience the doctor would bombard her with repetitive questions about her past. Questions like, ‘What was your upbringing like?’ ‘What did your mother do that was so horrible?’ ‘What did your father do to make you hate him so much?’ The afternoon proved Katie right.
Chris settled back in his chair and studied Katie. “Why do you have this lack of concern for your mother, Miss Pryor,” Dr. McNamara asked.
“It’s Putter, and if you had been through what I have with her, you would understand, doctor. I am not obligated to discuss my life story with you. I think we are wasting our time here. Now if you don’t mind, I have a class to attend.” Katie replied.
“Listen, Miss, we here at St. Thomas have no time for games,” Chris snapped at an impassive Katie.
Did she not realize he had no interest in wasting time? Why was she so cold to this woman who seemed so alone and desperate? Katie was nothing more than a beautiful, but spoiled 25-year-old in his eyes. He was not some intern who earned by the hour – he was a surgeon, for pity sake.
“I don’t know what we are trying to accomplish here, but I’m not about to help your patient. I don’t care what you have on file as far as her personal information goes, but she’s no longer any parent of mine,” Katie stated, rising from her seat.
“Listen, Miss Pryor, er, Putter, the long and short of it is your mother cannot stay here much longer, and we have nowhere to send her but home. In my opinion, you are obligated to do something as her sole relative contact.” Chris thought he had her there.
“I am not willing, in any form, to care for that woman. In my opinion, I am not obligated to do anything, Dr. McNamara. Please, have a good day.”
Katie turned to leave, but Chris was fascinated by this particular conversation and he wanted closure on this case. What was more, Chris needed Leda out of his way. Chris wanted to see this case to the end, and Katie was a mystery he wanted to solve. This young woman had his interest despite her hostile attitude. She was attractive and educated, and Chris felt compelled to know more about her and her past. Chris found himself oddly captivated by Katie.
“Wait, please,” Chris said. “I do not have anyone else to call for your mother, and no one who will take her in. Can we not come to some sort of agreement?”
Katie was not backing down. “I can’t tell you what to do with your patient, but I would not wrack my brain over her. She is not a nice person, and has not made or kept many friends through the years. She and I have never seen eye to eye, and there is no love loss there, I assure you. You will be unlikely to find someone willing to care for Leda Pryor.”
Chris was floored to hear such candid words from Katie. She seemed too closed off to expose her feelings in the frank way she just had. If he could get Katie to open up more, he may be he would get through to her after all. “Do you not think Leda deserves some care? She is now an invalid. I don’t know where to turn with this case but her family, Miss Putter. I need your help here”
“As I said, I don’t know where you can turn with her, but I will tell you it’s not with me. I have been done with that woman for a dozen years plus. Try her sisters or a distant cousin.”
“Mrs. Pryor asked for you in specific. How about this, Miss Putter, if you agree to oversee her at-home care, we can send her home with 24-hour nursing care. There would be minimal cost through government plans. You will not have to be at her home most of the time. However, you will have to sign papers for the day and night shifts as they come and go. Having to sign all those papers means you will need to meet with her staff three times a day at her home. Would this be acceptable to you and your husband?”
Katie sighed, expressing her annoyance. “There is no husband to debate with. It is my decision alone. Is it not your place to find a solution? What happens if I refuse?”
“Your mother will have no choice but to be released into a homeless shelter. There, they can provide skeletal care, such as meals. No more. Her bathing, dressing and bandages will be her responsibility, which she cannot do on her own. She has a leg brace to keep the ruptured bone in place and cannot walk. We are looking at another two months before she is partially mobile.”
Katie was fighting her inner demons. She was a woman of good faith and love, but dare she expose herself to that woman again? Could Katie be so close to a woman who almost destroyed her and still maintain her sanity? Could Katie resist the urge she had harbored for years to rid herself of the woman who almost broke her spirit? “Listen, doctor…”
“Please, call me Chris.”
“Listen, doctor, don’t get me wrong, I am willing to help almost anyone, but there are reasons you will never understand that come into play here. Leda Pryor is poison, and I will have nothing to do with her. Have a nice day, and good luck.”
Katie stepped into the outer office, but Chris wanted his answers, and followed. Chris pulled on Katie’s sleeve, turning her to him. “Please, can we discuss this somewhere besides my stuffy office? I do want to understand your point of view. I know sometimes things are not as they seem, and I want to know if I am making a misjudgment. I am a man of reason, and mean no disrespect to you.”
Katie watched Chris and listened to him make his plea and wondered if he could be one of them – the good people. “Fine. Meet me at Gracie’s Café on Main Street tomorrow at 4pm. I will be off work then and we can talk, but don’t expect miracles. Know this right now; I do not swallow bullshit, and I do not tolerate fools at all. Cliché? Call it what you will, but it’s me. Take it or leave it.”
“I’ll take it. See you then, Miss Putter.”
By noon the next day, Chris was miserable with anticipation. He never felt the same anxiety any time in his life. He wanted to see Katie more than he wanted answers about Leda. Katie had an aura about her he admired already, despite her cool, almost arrogant manner. The main desk paged just after 2 pm, and hearing the overhead call, Chris responded immediately.
“Hello, Dr. McNamara speaking.”
“Hello doctor. This is Katie Putter. I’m sorry, but I cannot make our appointment today. I’m afraid I have to work until six this evening. Can we meet tomorrow at the same time?”
Chris’ heart sank. “Can I meet you somewhere near your work? I will drive wherever it is to meet with you. You must understand, I have to close this case, Leda’s discharge is tomorrow.”
Katie was already exhausted. “Whatever. Meet me at the Café at six then.”
Chris’ heart leapt in his chest. “I know the place well. I will see you at six,” Chris said, grinning. The afternoon went by at a snail’s pace for Chris.
Release date – December 31st, 2014
About the author:
Live, love, laugh, then love some more! = My motto.
I am a writer/research analyst, specializing in Ancient History. I have several novels in the works at the moment. (When writer’s block halts one, it’s always good to have another to jump into!) I also have a planned outline for a historical series, geared to youth, teaching them about the Bronze Age, while entertaining them.
Feel free to contact me via email: AmarissaCale@yahoo.ca
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