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“Listen, Dad, I promise it won’t change anything between us. You know, how it’s been for the last three years. Since Mom died. We’ll be buddies, like we’ve always been.”

Luke’s throat clogged. “I know you mean that, son. But you’ve got to realize that when we find her our lives will never be the same.”

Michael shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe our lives will be better.”

“Maybe.”

But Luke doubted it.

o0o

LUKE PULLED his Bronco into the parking lot next to a sleek silver Corvette, and took the time to admire its clean lines and subtle construction. It was not out of place here at the swank condominium complex in an upscale suburb of Romulus, New York. Michael’s birth mother must have done pretty well for herself.

He shut off the engine and leaned his head against the seat. He tried to quell his resentment but his effort was futile, as it had been on the interminable one-hour drive from Sommerfield to Romulus. The only thing his internal debating had achieved was to enhance the dull ache at his temples.

What did it matter how well she’d fared in the intervening years? When Michael was born, she’d turned him over to a family who could raise him better than she could, and Luke had thanked God for it then. It wasn’t fair to judge her now for what he had considered the greatest gift a mother could give her child.

“But she’s not Michael’s mother,” he said aloud, pounding his fist on the steering wheel. “Sara is.”

No, Sara was his mother.

Yanking open the door, and determined to leave the bitter feelings and morbid thoughts behind, Luke made his way to number thirty-four. Before he could change his mind, he reached up and rang the bell. Impatient now, he tapped his foot on the brick steps as he looked around at the lush greenery. Large maple and birch trees swayed in the early-afternoon breeze, infusing the air with the scents of fall. The grass and shrubbery were meticulously clipped, like the grounds of the golf course at the country club Sara had convinced him to join. He was about to ring again, when the door opened.

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