"Londyn's book really caught my interest from the first page. I was a social worker most of my career and really could relate to the stories she told. [...] My emotions went from nausea and fear to elation. I enjoyed the surprise ending and felt sad when the book ended." - Lynn, Goodreads
Grey is a hard-hitting social worker who removes babies and children from dangerous drugged parents, violent homes, and families joined with criminal gangs. He is unstoppable until a new social worker enters his department. She is hungry for power and position, as she challenges Grey in dramatic and unexpected ways. Even as Grey yanks newborns from mothers, gets beat up by irate parents, and lives through suicides of foster children aging out of the system, nothing can stop him until he meets his nemesis, a truly power-hungry woman.
Grey slowly unravels as he attempts to combat his rival's malice. He spirals into a shadowy self, fighting to keep himself functional within the turmoil of his co-worker's cruel actions. He realizes she has destroyed other lives and will stop at nothing to be master of her own design, as she tries to destroy his.
Grey makes a decision to redeem himself, the only way left for him to rise up and conquer his fears. He risks losing everything, as he attempts to find salvation and fell his adversary. Along the way, he discovers a secret, one that leads to her "Achilles Heel," and to his greater truth.
CHAPTER ONE: The Hospital
GREY STOOD QUIETLY next to the hospital bed. “Mrs. Jaspers, your baby has tested positive for cocaine.” Grey knew from experience that talking in a low voice helped hold back the negative emotions of a child’s removal, before anger and defiance from parents swept around him like a dangerous tempest. Mrs. Jaspers, a nineteen-year-old woman recently out of high school, glared at Grey. Her eyes grew larger in her upturned face, framed by tangled, matted purple hair. She wore an apologetic nose ring that swept to one side of her flared nostril and vibrated with each panicked inhalation she drew in.
“I repeat, Mrs. Jaspers, your baby has tested positive. I am from the Department of Social Services. I am here to take your baby to a safe environment.”
Mrs. Jaspers bolted upright in her bed. She grabbed onto Grey with a gritty desperation to stop him from removing her baby. “My baby ain’t on cocaine. How dare you say my baby is on drugs? I didn’t give no drugs to my baby. You cannot take my baby girl. We are waiting for her daddy to come see her. We are going to name her today. I need my baby to stay with me, because like I just told you, we’re waiting for her daddy to come see her.”
The daddy, a twenty-one-year-old unemployed construction worker who married her when she tested positive for pregnancy, prowled the streets looking for cocaine after a three-day drinking binge. Grey unclasped the mother’s hands and moved towards the door.
Mrs. Jaspers jumped up, pulling out her intravenous tube, causing blood to spurt out of her arm. She howled loudly. Grey called in a police officer who waited tentatively in the corridor. The police officer’s presence did not deter the fiery mother from running around her hospital room in frantic leaps. The sickening odor of fresh blood permeated the room. Her hospital gown flew open, displaying the naked form of a young woman new to adulthood. Her tattoos, splayed across her torso, looked like colorful orbs of paint, embroidered flesh.
About the author:
Shelby Londyn-Heath has been a world-traveler, crossing the Sahara Desert on the back of a salt truck, working on banana plantations in Spain, an oil company in New York, and on coffee farms in Hawaii. She has jumped freight trains across the United States, and she was the proud owner of a beachfront bamboo hut on the Canary Islands. She has worked as a counselor, social worker, and teacher