Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Suspense

The Wrong Brother

by (author) Fran L. Porter

Publisher
Crossfield Publishing
Initial publish date
Jan 2019
Category
Suspense, Psychological
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781775149651
    Publish Date
    Jan 2019
    List Price
    $19.95

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 14 to 18
  • Grade: 9 to 12

Description

"The Wrong Brother" takes us on a roller-coaster ride that leaves us dizzy by the time it glides to a breathless stop. Gripping danger and all-consuming love combine in its pages to produce a satisfying conclusion. This book combines mystery, suspense, drama and a touch of romance that leads the main character (a young university scholar) into a dangerous relationship with an abusive husband and towards a "life and death" decision for herself and her children. It is written with intelligence, insight, and a deep knowledge of the harmful psychological forces that control the players.

About the author

Fran L. Porter has taught English literature and composition (among other subjects) at both the high—school and the university level. She has authored short stories and articles in literary publications, trade journals, and magazines. Proceeds from When the Ship has no Stabilizers, her non—fiction book about her daughter's suicide, were used to open a treatment clinic in Calgary, Alberta for young people with borderline personality disorder, and resulted in Fran and her husband Andy being named Calgary's 2017 Philanthropic Family of the Year.

Fran L. Porter's profile page

Excerpt: The Wrong Brother (by (author) Fran L. Porter)

Chapter One Since I’d entered adolescence, Mother’s formality had become more grating than ever. Previously, we lived together by maintaining a sort of guarded truce, with Father providing a buffer zone. He had a lubricating way about him that neutralized friction. When he died and Mother went to an ‘adults only’ condo, I was left to manage on my own. Nothing could have suited me better. With high school behind me, I moved into an apartment building just off the university campus, populated mainly by students. Isolde, my roommate, had a better relationship with books than people and socialized only when absolutely necessary. Something called her back to Switzerland soon after the term started, and she never returned. Accepting parental help I wished I could have refused, I stoically picked up her half of the rent and didn’t take it personally. Once a month, Mother and I met for coffee in her elegantly-furnished French-Provincial sitting room. Widowhood had given her a certain tragic beauty, which I admitted to myself even then. She talked of movies she’d been to see with her other widow friends, or of clothes she’d managed to find that didn’t show her non-existent midriff. And she talked of how much she missed Father, whose reaching hand she hadn’t even seen, never mind held. Why could I not forgive her that? The day I first saw Desmond fighting with Damien was the same day I told her I was applying for the Hepplewhite Scholarship. We sat demurely across from each other, like two Victorian ladies at tea. She had just finished reprimanding me, using all three of my names, the way she always did when I was in trouble. “Marigold Iona Anderson, for a smart girl you’ve got an amoeba’s attention span! Can’t you try and stay with the tour? Or are we really such worlds apart?” I grimaced at her use of my full name, not only because it meant a raking-over-the-coals but because I hated it: first name an unpleasantly pungent flower, second name a brand of kitchen appliance. I assumed I must have been a difficult birth. “Sorry.” I gave her a feeble grin. My cell phone was vibrating in my pocket; I turned it off. Mother refused to have a cell phone of any description, decrying them as impediments to real social interaction, so I didn’t enlighten her about what had distracted me. “You were mentioning your friend’s nephew?” “Yes. Theodore Kelly. Teddy, he goes by. He’s apparently a lovely fellow. Apparently also, he’s in one of your university classes. Do you know him?” I shrugged. “Vaguely. I haven’t noticed him that much.”  “You’re amazing!” She shook her head.  “At your age, I…” “I know. You had a salivating string of beaus slobbering all over you. You were meticulous about your makeup, your hair and your nails. The boys sent you roses and jostled for your coveted favours. Well I’m not you, Mother. I like my life. Maybe it seems cloistered and uninteresting to you, but seventeenth-century France was actually a period of fascinating happenings.” “Was is the key word there, Mari. It’s all very well to study the past but living in it is unhealthy. You like boys, don’t you? I mean, you’re not…? I would understand, you know, if you told me you were…”  “I’m not gay, Mother. I’d tell you if I were, and strangely enough, I do know you’d understand.” I smirked.  “Maybe I’m just an odd duck, like Shakespeare. Some claim Shakespeare was freakish: a literary genius born into a respectable but relatively ordinary family. So I’m in good company.” I batted my lashes. “At the moment, all I ‘lust after’, in the words of Ben Johnson, is the Lester Hepplewhite Memorial Scholarship. And I think I have an excellent chance of getting it—even though some of the pesky boys you're so wanting me to take an interest in, are my competition!” She looked pained as she reached for a piece of shortbread. “Okay, tell me more. I’ve heard of this scholarship, but I have no idea what it is.” “It’s not the stuff of romantic adventure, so try not to let your eyes glaze over. Every year, Barrett University’s Board of Governors selects one particularly promising student as its recipient. The award provides enough financial support for the five years necessary to obtain at least a Master’s degree in a chosen field of study. I have selected seventeenth-century French philosophers.”  She made a face. I pretended not to see it and plunged on. “The money is administered by the Board of Governors but comes out of the estate of one Lester old-fogey Hepplewhite who felt the need, before he died, to have something named after him that promoted him to society as a nurturer of higher learning.” Mother winced. “If you’re being considered as a candidate, you’re being very disrespectful.” “Oh, I’ll be respectful when the need arises.” I gave a tight-lipped smile. “Or maybe I won’t. Maybe sass would be a trait they’d admire more. We’ll see. I have submitted a formal application, including a promise to stay and give this town the benefit of what I’ve learned for five years after I graduate. That’s part of the agreement. The Board of Governors has contacted me for an interview. That means they’ve looked at my transcripts and they approve of me on paper. It remains to convince them to approve of me in person. My interview is in three days.” Her answering smile was equally tight. “If higher education is truly your Mecca, you better play their game. They’re probably business professionals who enjoy being buttered up a bit.” “What those moguls enjoy is putting some poor sap under a microscope and watching him squirm.” I was talking that way on purpose because I knew Mother didn’t like it. When her lips pursed, I felt a grim satisfaction. “They get their kinky jollies out of counting sweat droplets on tortured foreheads.” “Well, they won’t count any droplets on yours.” Her voice was tart. “Marigold Iona Anderson doesn’t sweat. She has ice-water in her veins.”  “Thank you, Mother. I’ll take that as a compliment.” I left shortly afterwards, descending the stairs from her fourth-floor condo rather than using the elevator—just because I had to defy her warning that stairwells can be isolated and risky places. A rising storm outside lent King Lear-type sound effects to my departure: whining wind, the manic growl of distant thunder, and a pounding rain that my high-school English teacher would have described as a rataplan.  Appropriate, I mused with a snort of laughter. There was always an incipient storm lurking between Mother and me. And then I emerged into the lobby and found myself smack in the middle of a breaking human storm that made me realize how wrong Mother was about that ice-water in my veins. What I saw that night quite literally caused the hair follicles at the back of my neck to stiffen as I watched—and the fear I felt was as palpable as if I were cowering prey at the mercy of some huge looming jungle beast. ∞ Chapter One Since I’d entered adolescence, Mother’s formality had become more grating than ever. Previously, we lived together by maintaining a sort of guarded truce, with Father providing a buffer zone. He had a lubricating way about him that neutralized friction. When he died and Mother went to an ‘adults only’ condo, I was left to manage on my own. Nothing could have suited me better. With high school behind me, I moved into an apartment building just off the university campus, populated mainly by students. Isolde, my roommate, had a better relationship with books than people and socialized only when absolutely necessary. Something called her back to Switzerland soon after the term started, and she never returned. Accepting parental help I wished I could have refused, I stoically picked up her half of the rent and didn’t take it personally. Once a month, Mother and I met for coffee in her elegantly-furnished French-Provincial sitting room. Widowhood had given her a certain tragic beauty, which I admitted to myself even then. She talked of movies she’d been to see with her other widow friends, or of clothes she’d managed to find that didn’t show her non-existent midriff. And she talked of how much she missed Father, whose reaching hand she hadn’t even seen, never mind held. Why could I not forgive her that? The day I first saw Desmond fighting with Damien was the same day I told her I was applying for the Hepplewhite Scholarship. We sat demurely across from each other, like two Victorian ladies at tea. She had just finished reprimanding me, using all three of my names, the way she always did when I was in trouble. “Marigold Iona Anderson, for a smart girl you’ve got an amoeba’s attention span! Can’t you try and stay with the tour? Or are we really such worlds apart?” I grimaced at her use of my full name, not only because it meant a raking-over-the-coals but because I hated it: first name an unpleasantly pungent flower, second name a brand of kitchen appliance. I assumed I must have been a difficult birth. “Sorry.” I gave her a feeble grin. My cell phone was vibrating in my pocket; I turned it off. Mother refused to have a cell phone of any description, decrying them as impediments to real social interaction, so I didn’t enlighten her about what had distracted me. “You were mentioning your friend’s nephew?” “Yes. Theodore Kelly. Teddy, he goes by. He’s apparently a lovely fellow. Apparently also, he’s in one of your university classes. Do you know him?” I shrugged. “Vaguely. I haven’t noticed him that much.”  “You’re amazing!” She shook her head.  “At your age, I…” “I know. You had a salivating string of beaus slobbering all over you. You were meticulous about your makeup, your hair and your nails. The boys sent you roses and jostled for your coveted favours. Well I’m not you, Mother. I like my life. Maybe it seems cloistered and uninteresting to you, but seventeenth-century France was actually a period of fascinating happenings.” “Was is the key word there, Mari. It’s all very well to study the past but living in it is unhealthy. You like boys, don’t you? I mean, you’re not…? I would understand, you know, if you told me you were…”  “I’m not gay, Mother. I’d tell you if I were, and strangely enough, I do know you’d understand.” I smirked.  “Maybe I’m just an odd duck, like Shakespeare. Some claim Shakespeare was freakish: a literary genius born into a respectable but relatively ordinary family. So I’m in good company.” I batted my lashes. “At the moment, all I ‘lust after’, in the words of Ben Johnson, is the Lester Hepplewhite Memorial Scholarship. And I think I have an excellent chance of getting it—even though some of the pesky boys you're so wanting me to take an interest in, are my competition!” She looked pained as she reached for a piece of shortbread. “Okay, tell me more. I’ve heard of this scholarship, but I have no idea what it is.” “It’s not the stuff of romantic adventure, so try not to let your eyes glaze over. Every year, Barrett University’s Board of Governors selects one particularly promising student as its recipient. The award provides enough financial support for the five years necessary to obtain at least a Master’s degree in a chosen field of study. I have selected seventeenth-century French philosophers.”  She made a face. I pretended not to see it and plunged on. “The money is administered by the Board of Governors but comes out of the estate of one Lester old-fogey Hepplewhite who felt the need, before he died, to have something named after him that promoted him to society as a nurturer of higher learning.” Mother winced. “If you’re being considered as a candidate, you’re being very disrespectful.” “Oh, I’ll be respectful when the need arises.” I gave a tight-lipped smile. “Or maybe I won’t. Maybe sass would be a trait they’d admire more. We’ll see. I have submitted a formal application, including a promise to stay and give this town the benefit of what I’ve learned for five years after I graduate. That’s part of the agreement. The Board of Governors has contacted me for an interview. That means they’ve looked at my transcripts and they approve of me on paper. It remains to convince them to approve of me in person. My interview is in three days.” Her answering smile was equally tight. “If higher education is truly your Mecca, you better play their game. They’re probably business professionals who enjoy being buttered up a bit.” “What those moguls enjoy is putting some poor sap under a microscope and watching him squirm.” I was talking that way on purpose because I knew Mother didn’t like it. When her lips pursed, I felt a grim satisfaction. “They get their kinky jollies out of counting sweat droplets on tortured foreheads.” “Well, they won’t count any droplets on yours.” Her voice was tart. “Marigold Iona Anderson doesn’t sweat. She has ice-water in her veins.”  “Thank you, Mother. I’ll take that as a compliment.” I left shortly afterwards, descending the stairs from her fourth-floor condo rather than using the elevator—just because I had to defy her warning that stairwells can be isolated and risky places. A rising storm outside lent King Lear-type sound effects to my departure: whining wind, the manic growl of distant thunder, and a pounding rain that my high-school English teacher would have described as a rataplan.  Appropriate, I mused with a snort of laughter. There was always an incipient storm lurking between Mother and me. And then I emerged into the lobby and found myself smack in the middle of a breaking human storm that made me realize how wrong Mother was about that ice-water in my veins. What I saw that night quite literally caused the hair follicles at the back of my neck to stiffen as I watched—and the fear I felt was as palpable as if I were cowering prey at the mercy of some huge looming jungle beast. ∞

Editorial Reviews

The Wrong Brother is an impeccably written tale of a young woman, her relationships, her challenges, and the decisions she makes as she balances career, marriage and motherhood. This book will keep you intrigued throughout. Fran Porter leaves the readers with a “teaser” at the end of every chapter, making it difficult to put the book down and get on with the chores of everyday life! Book clubs will find this book interesting as it deals with many issues not uncommon in today’s society – mother-daughter relationships, the balance of career and motherhood, mental illness and domestic distress.   Five Stars!!!  A.R.V

Other titles by Fran L. Porter