Innocence Denied preview

book preview of Innocence Denied


 


PAPERBACK
BOOKS

INNOCENCE
DENIED


INNOCENCE DENIED…

 

From a normal life to one of shame &
heartache,
he always hid his
pain behind his smile. But how
long can he hide it
from view as his already tarnished
world crumbles
around him.

He has survived so many challenges and
tests throughout
his short life…can he survive his
hardest one of all??

 

In Store Price: $34.00 

Online Price:   $33.00

ISBN:1-9208-8466-1




Format: A5 Paperback

Number of pages:
513


Genre: Fiction

 

Author:
J. M. Lucas

Imprint: Poseidon

Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published:  2006

Language: English

HOME PAGE

I would like to dedicate this book to
my children who were patient and understanding while I spent hours on the
computer writing it. For all their unconditional love and support…I thank them
with all my heart…I love you.

To all the people who supported me and
encouraged me to do this…I thank you all…you know who you all are.

 

Without all of your love, support and
encouragement…my children, my family and my friends…I don’t think I
would’ve had the courage to take this step… but you were all there…helping
me and guiding me.

 

This book is as much a part of all of
you as it is of me.

Thank you!


Chapter
1

 

 

The
weather outside had turned for the worse. The rain pelted down with the force of
the wind. It was definitely a good night to stay home and keep dry and warm.

Charlene
Baxter stared longingly out of the front window, gazing out into the dark night.
She was concerned about her husband, Reece. He’d worked the late shift and was
already two hours overdue. She’d rung his work only to be told he’d left
over an hour ago. With the wild wintry weather outside, Charlene feared the
worst.

“Mummy,”
a small voice called from a bedroom.

Charlene
went to see if he was all right.

She
found her young son sitting up in his bed, rubbing his tired eyes.

Kyle
Baxter was three years old, the only child of Charlene and Reece Baxter.

“Hey
sleepyhead,” she said softly, turning the young boy around and laying his head
back down on his pillow. “Did you have a bad dream?”

“No…Daddy
home?” Kyle asked, yawning.

“Soon
darling,” she replied not wanting him to sense her worry. “He’s working a
little late tonight.”

Satisfied,
Kyle turned over onto his side and closed his sea-blue eyes.

As
Charlene closed his bedroom door, she was startled by a knock at the front door.

She
stood still, trembling. Her legs felt heavy as she slowly walked to open it.

Carefully,
Charlene peeped out of the curtain first and saw a police car parked in her
gravel driveway. Two stocky policemen were standing on her front porch.

With
her heart pounding, she opened the door as wide as the safety chain would allow.

“Mrs
Charlene Baxter?” the older of the two addressed her.

“That’s
me,” she answered, her voice shaky.

“Can
we come in for a moment please, ma’am,” the same officer requested formally.

Charlene
nodded. She closed the door, undid the latch chain and then opened the door
wider for them to enter.

She
scanned their faces and sensed an overwhelming dread. Their eyes couldn’t hide
their feelings.

“Oh
my God,” she gasped, her hand covering her mouth.

“Please
sit, ma’am,” the other officer suggested. “We need to talk to you.”

Charlene
didn’t need to be invited to sit. Her legs felt like jelly; they were giving
way under her.

“I’m
Officer Drake and this is Officer York,” the older policeman began. “We need
to ask you something.”

“Okay…is
it my husband? He’s late coming home and with this terrible storm…”
Charlene rattled on, almost hyperventilating.

“Please
ma’am…is your husband’s name Reece Baxter?” the officer interrupted, his
obvious displeasure with this task evident on his face.

“Yes,”
she replied weakly. “Has he had an accident? Is he in hospital…hurt?”

Her
voice searched for hope, but her eyes found none. 

“He
was involved in a bad accident about two hours ago, ma’am,” Officer Drake
explained. “I’m sorry to say, but your husband didn’t survive. He died at
the scene.”

Charlene’s
head spun; the officer’s words became incoherent.

A
loud blood-curdling scream poured out from Charlene’s heart.

“Is
there someone we can call for you, ma’am?” Officer York asked, bending down
in front of her, holding her hands.

“No…there’s
no one ‘round here,” she said, stunned, her hands shaking.

Her
face was deathly pale. Her hands wouldn’t stop trembling as her mouth
quivered.

“Mummy!”
Kyle called coming out of his room.

He
stopped short when he saw the policemen with his mother, as she sat crying.

“Hey,
little buddy,” Officer York greeted, trying to smile.

“Come
here, baby,” Charlene called, holding her arms out to the young boy. “Give
Mummy a squeeze.”

His
eyes never leaving the strangers in his house, Kyle ran into his mother’s
welcoming arms.

As
she hugged him tight, her body started to shake uncontrollably as reality hit.
Her husband was dead. Kyle’s daddy was dead. They were alone.

Officer
Drake excused himself and went outside. He went to a neighbour’s house and
knocked on the door. He apologized for the lateness of his visit then explained
the situation to the man who answered and asked if someone could stay with the
distraught woman. The man called to his wife and told her the terrible news.
Instantly the woman grabbed her coat and ran to the aid of her neighbour.

The
following days went by in a jumbled blur for Charlene. She felt like her whole
world had come crashing down. Little Kyle was too young to understand it all.
All he knew was his daddy had gone to Heaven and wouldn’t be coming home
again. Even this didn’t mean much to a three-year-old.

Family
and friends rallied around the pair, doing all they could to help. They made
sure the funeral went smoothly and that Charlene and Kyle were well cared for.
Reece’s boss helped by paying all the funeral expenses and donating some money
to help Reece’s family for a while.

But
all the good wishes and help didn’t last forever. Too soon Charlene realized
she’d have to sell the house, pay off the mortgage and move to a cheaper area.
She knew it was the best time to do it, as Kyle wouldn’t be too affected by
the upheaval.

After
paying off any debts, Charlene was left with a very small kitty. She put the
meager amount into the bank, and hoped she wouldn’t need to dip into it. This
was to be her emergency fund.

She
applied for a widow’s pension and was granted it. It wasn’t a lot, but it
helped pay for the small apartment she’d found on the poorer side of town.
They were now only a few blocks from the well-known area named Hell’s Kitchen,
another poor and often dangerous suburb.

Things
were difficult, as money was so tight. A pension didn’t stretch very far.

Charlene
earned some cash by delivering pamphlets in the local neighbourhood. She enjoyed
the job; it got her out of the house. Even better was that she could bring her
son along and get to meet her neighbours.

It
wasn’t a rich life by any means, but they had each other, a roof over their
heads and food on the table. Charlene missed her husband deeply, but she knew
she had to get on with her life for Kyle’s sake.

Years
passed, but still money didn’t come any easier.

Kyle
was now a cute and energetic five year old and starting school. The cost of
school supplies and proper shoes really hurt the budget, but Charlene refused to
take any money out of the emergency fund.

Kyle
settled into school life easily, and the spare time allowed Charlene to get a
part-time job at the local dry cleaners. It was hard work, extremely hot in
summer, but Charlene knew it was the only way she could ensure their future and
independence.

“Excuse
me, Miss,” a raspy male voice called.

Charlene
was in the back of the dry cleaners shop, sorting out the latest arrivals for
cleaning. She turned and saw a scruffy, yet ruggedly handsome man standing at
the front counter. She fussed with her hair, straightened her dress, and went to
assist him.

“You’re
new here, ain’t ya?” he asked with a broad smile.

Charlene
returned the smile as she blushed.

“I’ve
been here about a month,” she replied. “How can I help you?”

“I’m
checking to see if my suede jacket’s come back yet,” he explained. “It’s
a dark brown one. Here’s my slip for it.”

He
handed her the receipt. As Charlene took it from him, he held her hand for a few
seconds.

“Charlene…that’s
a pretty name,” he commented, reading her name badge.

“Thank
you,” she said with a slight giggle. “I’ll just look for your jacket.”

She
disappeared out the rear of the shop and found the jacket. After checking to
make sure the slip numbers matched, Charlene retrieved it from the rack and
returned to its owner.

“Here
we go…good as new,” Charlene remarked, handing the heavy jacket to him.

“My
name’s Leon
, just in case you wanted to know,” the man introduced himself.

“Nice
to meet you,” Charlene grinned.

“You
flying solo or you got an old man?” Leon
pried as he swung the jacket over his shoulder.

“I’m
sort of solo,” Charlene answered. “I’m a widow with a young son.”

“Hey…sorry,”
Leon
apologized, feeling awkward.

“It’s
okay…it happened about two and half years ago now,” she explained.

Leon
nodded his head.

“You
wanna go grab a coffee one day?” he offered. “Maybe even some dinner?”

“I’d
like that…definitely,” Charlene accepted.

“You
write me your number so I can give you a call sometime,” Leon
instructed. “So, how old’s your kid?”

“His
name’s Kyle and he’s five now, almost six, just started school,” she said
as she wrote down her telephone number on a piece of paper.

“Great
age,” Leon
commented. “Thanks.”

He
happily took the paper and tucked it inside his pants pocket.

“You
keep smiling,” Leon
winked. “You have a great smile.”

Charlene
blushed again as he left.

Once
he was out of sight, Charlene hugged herself, excited. This was the first guy
who had actually made her feel tingly since Reece’s death. Maybe it was time
to start living her life more for herself again.

The
remainder of her workday passed quickly. Charlene hummed happily to herself.

That
evening after supper, Charlene told Kyle all about the nice man she’d met that
day.

“Would
it be okay if mummy saw him again?” she asked Kyle as she helped him into his
pyjamas.

“I
guess so,” Kyle shrugged, not really bothered.

Although
she knew her son didn’t really comprehend what she said all the time, Charlene
still thought it better to include him in her affairs.

After
tucking Kyle into bed, Charlene had just settled down to watch the evening movie
when the telephone rang.

“Hello,”
she answered.

“Hey,
it’s really you,” the familiar voice on the other end of line said,
surprised. “I wasn’t sure if you’d given me a dodgy number or not.”

Charlene
laughed. “I wouldn’t do that.”

“I’ve
had it happen before by some other girls,” Leon
admitted.

“Well…I’m
not like the other girls,” Charlene pointed out.

 “That’s
for sure,” Leon
sighed.

Their
friendly telephone conversation lasted almost an hour before Charlene realized
it was time she went to bed. She hated being tired for work. They said their
good byes and hung up, but not before Leon
had made dinner arrangements with her.

Charlene
felt good about Leon
. He made her laugh again.

 

 

Over
the following month, Charlene and Leon became an item, having regular dates.
They spent many free hours together. Then came the day when Charlene wanted Leon
to meet her son. She decided to make it dinner at her place, so Kyle would feel
more relaxed in common territory.

“Kyle…this
is Leon, mummy’s new special friend,” Charlene introduced him when Leon
arrived.

“Hey
Kyle,” Leon
greeted, squatting down to the boy’s comfortable level.

Kyle
looked at the stranger with his gentle sea-blue eyes. “Hi.”

The
rest of the night went well, although Kyle tended to shy away from Leon
and clung to his mother. He wasn’t used to new faces; his mum hadn’t dated
since his father’s death.

“He’s
a real cute kid,” Leon
commented that evening, as they sat chatting on the sofa. “He’s gonna be a
heartbreaker when he grows up.”

Charlene
was relieved the first meeting had gone so well.

“He’s
a bright one too,” Leon
added, watching the young blond boy playing quietly on the floor with some toy
cars.

Charlene
was pleased with Kyle’s acceptance of Leon
as they started spending more time together.

Another
month passed by. Charlene and Leon’s relationship thrived.

“Hey,
happy birthday, big boy!” Leon
cheered as he walked in the door, carrying a huge, brightly wrapped parcel.
“A big grown up six year old now.”

“ Leon
,” Kyle yelled.

He
ran over and gave Leon
a welcoming hug, then eyed the large parcel closely.

“Is
that for me?” he asked coyly.

“Only
if it’s your birthday…is it?” Leon
teased.

“Yes,”
Kyle grinned.

“Then
it must be for you,” Leon
said, handing the gift to him.

Charlene
watched proudly as Leon
helped Kyle unwrap the giant box.

“Wow!
A Playstation, Mum,” Kyle screamed, excited.

“ Leon
…that’s very expensive,” Charlene chastised.

“He’s
worth every cent…just look at that smile,” Leon
shrugged as he placed his arm around Charlene’s slender waist.

Charlene
was a very attractive woman, with her flowing blonde tresses and big hazel eyes.
She still had a youthful figure and an angelic face. She could still make heads
turn.

That
evening, once Kyle had finally been pried away from his games machine and had
collapsed exhausted in his bed, Charlene and Leon sat on the sofa together,
talking.

Leon
took out a small vial of pills, took
one out and swallowed it.

“What
was that?” Charlene asked, concerned.

“It’s
just a harmless upper,” Leon
admitted. “I take them sometimes to perk me up.”

“I
don’t know if I like that,” Charlene wrinkled her nose.

“They’re
completely harmless, I tell ya,” Leon
laughed. “Like a sugar pill.”

Leon
took another pill out and offered it
to Charlene.

Charlene
eyed it hesitantly.

“It’s
okay…I promise.” Leon
pressed.

Charlene
took the pill, placed it in her mouth and swallowed it.

They
continued to chat, then Charlene started to feel light-headed and giggly.

Together
they tripped the night away, laughing and drinking.

“I
want you to move in with me and Kyle,” Charlene slurred her words.

“Really?
Are you sure about it?” Leon
smiled.

“Kyle
adores you and I’ve fallen in love with you,” Charlene explained. “I want
you around. Will you do it?”

Leon
leaned forward and softly kissed
Charlene’s lips. They kissed gently at first, then harder. Before too long
they were undressing each other and they made love on the lounge room floor.
This was their first time together intimately.

From
that night on, Leon
slowly started to move his belongings into Charlene and Kyle’s apartment. The
pill popping became more regular, almost a favorite past time once Kyle went to
bed.

But
drugs are an expensive hobby, especially the stronger types. Soon Leon and
Charlene had a drug habit that was costing them hundreds of dollars a week.

They
needed more money. Charlene decided she would find a second job, a night job. Leon
was better staying with Kyle at nights as Charlene felt better knowing her son
was in safe hands.

Charlene
saw an ad in the local paper advertising for attractive women for exotic
dancing. She was interested, as she had been a dancer in her teens. This
wasn’t sleazy like lap dancing or degrading like prostitution. There was no
nudity, but the dancers had to strip down to very skimpy outfits.

With
her looks and body, Charlene was given a position immediately. Even Leon
accepted her new job. So it was agreed that Charlene worked at the dry cleaners
in the day, and the dance hall, “Laceys”, at night. Leon
worked as a forklift operator during the day and cared for Kyle in the evening.
A perfect partnership was formed.

 

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