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The Good Father

Cover of The Good Father

The Good Father

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A beloved daughter. A devastating choice. And now there's no going back.

Four years ago, nineteen-year-old Travis Brown made a choice: to raise his newborn daughter on his own. While most of his friends were out partying and meeting girls, Travis was at home, changing diapers and worrying about keeping food on the table. But he's never regretted his decision. Bella is the light of his life. The reason behind every move he makes. And so far, she is fed. Cared for. Safe.

But when Travis loses his construction job and his home, the security he's worked so hard to create for Bella begins to crumble....

Then a miracle. A job in Raleigh has the power to turn their fortunes around. It has to. But when Travis arrives in Raleigh, there is no job, only an offer to participate in a onetime criminal act that promises quick money and no repercussions.

With nowhere else to turn, Travis must make another choice for his daughter's sake.

Even if it means he might lose her.


A beloved daughter. A devastating choice. And now there's no going back.

Four years ago, nineteen-year-old Travis Brown made a choice: to raise his newborn daughter on his own. While most of his friends were out partying and meeting girls, Travis was at home, changing diapers and worrying about keeping food on the table. But he's never regretted his decision. Bella is the light of his life. The reason behind every move he makes. And so far, she is fed. Cared for. Safe.

But when Travis loses his construction job and his home, the security he's worked so hard to create for Bella begins to crumble....

Then a miracle. A job in Raleigh has the power to turn their fortunes around. It has to. But when Travis arrives in Raleigh, there is no job, only an offer to participate in a onetime criminal act that promises quick money and no repercussions.

With nowhere else to turn, Travis must make another choice for his daughter's sake.

Even if it means he might lose her.
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Excerpts-
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    Raleigh, North Carolina
    October 2011


    IT WAS NINE-FORTY WHEN I WOKE UP IN THE back of the van. Nine-forty! What if Erin had already left the coffee shop by the time we got there? What if she's not there? That sentence kept running through my head as I got Bella up and moving. She'd had a dream about her stuffed lamb and wanted to tell me the whole thing, but all I could think about while I changed her into the cleanest clothes I had for her was, What if she's not there?

    On the phone yesterday, Roy had told me I was making the smart choice. "You can get rich doing this, bro," he'd said.

    I thought of the gold watch he wore. The red Mustang he drove. "I don't care about getting rich," I'd answered. "I just want enough money to keep me and Bella fed till I get a real job." I felt smarmy just talking to him on the phone. The dude was a total cretin.

    "You feel that way right now," he said, "but wait till you get a taste of easy money."

    "Look," I said, "just tell me where to meet you and when."

    "We'll come to you about eleven tomorrow night," he said. "You still hanging in the same place? The lot by the Target?"

    "Yeah."

    "Just make sure you've got enough gas to get us to the Virginia border and back," he said, and then he was gone from the line.

    So, now I'd have all day to freak out about my decision and, if things went according to my plan, I wouldn't have Bella with me. My chest tightened at the thought. I wasn't sure I could do this. Erin was a good woman, though. I could tell. Plus, Bella knew her and liked her. The only thing was, she might be too good. The kind of person who'd call the cops on me. I just had to trust her not to.

    My hands shook as I scratched a note on the back of a gas receipt and stuck it in Bella's pants pocket, sneaking it in there so Bella wouldn't ask me about it or try to pull it out. I remembered the tremor in my mother's hands. "A fine tremor," the doctor had called it and he'd said it was harmless and barely noticeable. Mine wasn't so fine. I could hardly help Bella get her socks straight on her feet.

    "I'm hungry, Daddy," she said as she pulled on her shoes.

    I opened some Tic Tacs and shook a couple into her hand. "We'll get breakfast in a minute," I said, as she popped the Tic Tacs into her mouth.

    I pictured Erin finding the note. She would find it, wouldn't she? If she didn't, then what? I thought of all the things that could go wrong and my head hurt like a bitch.

    First things first, I told myself. First I had to get to JumpStart before Erin left or else the whole plan was going to cave in. "I got to go potty," Bella said.

    "Yeah, baby, me too." I ran a comb through her dark hair, which I really should have tried to wash in the Target rest-room last night like I did once already this week. Last night, though, washing her hair had been the furthest thing from my mind. She needed a haircut, too, but it wasn't like I'd thought of bringing scissors with me when we left Carolina Beach. Her bangs were almost long enough to put behind her ears now, and I tried that, but as soon as she hopped out of the van, her hair fell into her face again. Poor kid. She looked like an orphan nobody cared about. I prayed to God she didn't become one tonight.

    I held her hand as we walked toward the coffee shop.

    "You're hurting my hand, Daddy," she said, and I realized I was holding on to her way too tight. How could I do this to my baby girl? I couldn't...

About the Author-
  • Diane Chamberlain is the bestselling author of twenty novels, including The Midwife's Confession and The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes. Diane lives in North Carolina and is currently at work on her next novel. Visit her Web site at www.dianechamberlain.com and her blog at www.dianechamberlain.com/blog and her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Diane.Chamberlain.Readers.Page.

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