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Finally, thanks to our husbands for their honest assessment of the book while it was in the first stages. Sorry if you ended up sleeping on the couch that night. In the end, your comments really did help shape the story.


"A certain period elapses, and some unseen mysterious principle again sets in motion the magic pinions and the wizard wheels. The silver cord was not for ever loosed, nor the golden bowl irreparably broken. But where, meantime, was the soul?"

~from "The Premature Burial" by Edgar Allan Poe


Prologue


I've done the right thing, Stephan Kelley told himself.

Just yesterday, seventeen-year-old Tyaa Savic had given birth to twin daughters. Considering the young girl's many dangerous addictions, it had been a miracle in itself that Tyaa managed to carry them for seven months.

"The first little girl that came out was kicking and screaming," the nurse had told Stephan--the adoption case representative--outside Tyaa's room. "Healthy as a horse with good lung development. All that blond hair! The second is smaller. Frail. She'll need to be taken care of 'round the clock for a good long while. I hope she makes it, poor little thing."

Throughout a sleepless night, Stephan had wrestled with the knowledge that finding parents who would take two newborns at once was difficult at any time. This time it had been impossible. Only weeks ago he'd located two couples, each of whom wanted a single child, and the paperwork and interviews had been completed in record time.

How do I choose? Stephan had agonized in the darkness of his living room, his hands clenched into tight fists. How do I decide which girl goes where? How can I make a decision like that when the worlds are so severely different? If both couples had been middle class...it would be easier. So much easier.

Stephan had finally taken a deep breath and told himself to be logical, the way his boss was. "Face facts instead of emotions," Mr. Corley was always saying. Never mind that the differences in the couples had been antipodal to the extreme.

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