Family Ties - Debi V. Smith

Family Ties

Debi V. Smith

Family Ties

© 2015 Debi V. Smith, LLC

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Printed in the United States of America

First Printing, 2015

str2 978-0-9961182-0-0

Debi V. Smith, LLC

7723 Tylers Place Boulevard, #282

West Chester, OH 45069


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and places are fictitious or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is purely coincidental.

Cover image © Shutterstock

Cover design by Adriana Hanganu, Adipix Design


For my boys who taught me what courage, strength, and resilience truly is, proving there is life beyond the darkness and pain.

For Morgan who amazed me with a brilliant mind at a young age and still makes me feel like a balloon about to burst.

And for Auntie Boogie…I bite my thumb at you…


Thank you to Emery, Doug, Emily, Sarah, and Bianca for your invaluable feedback. To Katie, Johnna, Chaz, Morgan, and Tara, thanks for your encouragement and enthusiasm.

Special thanks to Adriana Hanganu for the beautiful book cover. You are dedicated and relentless in providing your clients with quality. I still love the cover as much as I did when you first emailed me the final copy.

To my Tribe, thank you for the endless banter and love. I treasure each and every one of you.

Thank you to the Ladies’ Craft Society for always listening when I need to vent. And for crafts and toys. Mostly, for how we can always change the direction of a conversation on a dime and end up laughing our asses off. You are all spectacular.

Stick, let’s get drunk!

Katie, thank yous aren’t enough for the gratitude I have for you. I’ll just have to say it in another mixtape. Darn.

Doug, you are truly the best critique partner. I’m glad you decided not to ditch me on Twitter. I’d be in an awful mess if you had and lacking some serious awesomeness in my life. AFATA!

Chaz, I love you the mostest times infinity. There. I put it in print first. PBLT.

Dear Reader,

Nearly four and a half years of my life are contained in the following pages, written as events happened. The first part may alarm you with its darkness, but I learned details keep us from slipping into untruths. I spent too many years keeping secrets and telling lies to protect people who didn’t deserve protection. Details prevent us from looking the other way. Once you know everything, how can you turn your back on someone like me?

Carl Jung said, “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”

I once thought my life didn’t belong on pages bound into a book. I was wrong. People need a glimmer of hope, like burnt orange sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. Sunset signals the coming nightfall, but it also promises a new day at the end of the dark; a new light to carry forward.

A new day always comes, and with it, the chance to change your life forever when you believe in yourself and the strength you never knew you possessed.




“There is no such thing as fun for the whole family.”

~Jerry Seinfeld


The roar of a moving van pulling into the house across the street averts my attention from the cherry popsicle in my hand. A sky blue Cadillac convertible, top down, with a family of three seated on white leather interior pulls over to the curb in front of the house.

The tall man’s biceps peek through the end of his t-shirt sleeves as he climbs out of the car. His brown hair reflects the midday sun.

The woman in the passenger seat gets out, taking off her wide-brimmed straw hat. Her long, red hair tumbles over an old t-shirt and khaki shorts that fit close to her body. Her smile is full of comfort.

A girl in a bright blue shirt, black shorts, and dark red hair plaited in a French braid scrambles out of the back seat.

As hot as it is today, I know it’s cooler here than inland. A perk of living in the coastal city of Encinitas, California.

Maybe I should take the girl a cherry popsicle to welcome her to the neighborhood.

But the rules are clear:

1. Do not