Dinkytown, 12:45 a.m.
Ann kicked off her sandals and closed the door to the third-floor apartment. Ben had been polite, hailed a cab, and not pushed to take her home. She liked him. There hadn’t been a lull in their two-hour conversation.
Many of the tenants in the older, all-brick building in Dinkytown were a part of the struggling arts group—most of them a few years younger than she and Jess. The location, however, was perfect. It was cheaper to ride a bus that dropped her off in front of Abbott Northwestern Hospital than own a car. Groceries, boutiques, and restaurants, as well as Lake Calhoun and Harriett, were all within walking distance.
She walked to the kitchen, her feet killing her. With two newborns in incubators and another baby boy on life support, she was exhausted. Keeping a scrupulous eye over every newborn in the nursery was taxing.
When they’d moved in together, combining Jess’s modern taste with Ann’s more conservative look made for an eclectic ambiance. Jess’s poster of Warhol’s “Marilyn” hung next to Ann’s framed picture of a tranquil cottage surrounded by English gardens. Books, memorabilia, and trinkets filled the bookcase they’d put together using two-by-fours and paver bricks. A bright red, curved sectional took up most of the cozy living room and a cream-colored shag rug sat underneath an oval-shaped glass coffee table.
In her bedroom, she wiggled out of her jeans and tossed them on top on the silent radiator. She pulled on drawstring, cotton “bum-around” pants, and a T-shirt.
After she nabbed a bottle of water out of the refrigerator, she plopped down on the couch. Adjusting two pillows underneath her head, she found the remote and pulled the colorful afghan her mother had crocheted over her. Flipping through the channels, she stopped when she found Pretty Woman.
The rattle of pans woke her. Ann slid an arm out from underneath the blanket. “What time is it?” she asked, yawning.
“I was trying to be quiet and not wake you,” Jess said from the kitchen. “Almost eight.”
“You going in early?” Ann rubbed her eyes.
“Have to. Everything’s on sale and not even close to being marked down.”
Ann heard an egg crack and then the sizzle when it hit the frying pan. As manager of the Gap, Jess worked most weekends.
“What time you get in?” Ann put her feet on the floor, waited a couple of seconds, and stood. She shielded her eyes as she stumbled to the window and pulled down the shade to block the rising sun.
“I don’t know—around three maybe,” Jess said. “Want some eggs?”
Ann plopped back down on the couch. “Too early.”
Jess sat down on the opposite end of the couch and put the plate of scrambled eggs and toast on her lap. “You have fun?”
“The guy you met is dreamy.” Jess stabbed a fork into the eggs.
“Seems like a nice guy.”
“And you didn’t want to go to a bar last night,” Jess teased. “Look what you would have missed.”
“He’s a lawyer.”
Jess’s oval-shaped, green eyes grew wide. “A lawyer? Wow. You hit the jackpot.” She stuffed the last of the toast in her mouth, stood, and carried the plate into the kitchen.
“We have so much in common—kind of freaky.” Ann pushed her arms up over her head and stretched. “Family law. Does custody cases. Says he represents kids more than parents.” She wrapped the soft, cotton afghan around her and sank down into the sofa.
“So…you bring the babies into the world, and he protects them.”
Lost in her own thoughts, she didn’t hear what Jess said. “I keep thinking I’ve met him before.”
“Maybe you have. Maybe he had a sister who had a baby, and he came to into the hospital or something.” Her footsteps went down the hall. “Gonna see him again?”
“He’s picking me up this afternoon,” Ann said. “Says he’s thinking of buying a house and wants to take me by it.”
“Still against meeting guys in bars?” Jess asked as she walked down the hall to the door.
Soon after Ann Ferguson and Ben Grable marry, and Ben unseals his adoption papers, their perfect life together is torn apart, sending the couple to opposite sides of the courtroom.
Representing Ann, lawyer Michael J. McConaughey (Mac) feels this is the case that could have far-reaching, judicial effects -- the one he's been waiting for.
Opposing counsel knows this high profile case happens just once in a lifetime.
And when the silent protest known as HUSH sweeps the nation, making international news, the CEO of one of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world plots to derail the trial that could cost his company billions.
Critically acclaimed literary thriller HUSH not only questions one of the most controversial laws that has divided the nation for over four decades, but captures a story of the far-reaching ties of family that surpasses time and distance.
*** Hush does not have political or religious content. The story is built around the emotions and thoughts of two people who differ in their beliefs.
EDITORIAL REVIEW: "Suspenseful and well-researched, this action-packed legal thriller will take readers on a journey through the trials and tribulations of one of the most controversial subjects in society today."
Katie French author of "The Breeders," "The Believer's," and "Eyes Ever To The Sky."
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Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
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