Enthrallment by Deidre Dalton is Book #4 in the Collective Obsessions Saga.


George Sullivan reunites with his long-lost love Susan O'Reilly. Their daughter Carly enters into an unholy alliance to secure her position as Liam Larkin's wife. As secrets unfold and more madness takes root, Carly plots a fatal and twisted scheme to exact revenge on the Larkin family...

From Chapter Five

January 1985

Larkin City, Maine


MEGAN CHARLENE LARKIN ENTERED the world on the first day of the New Year, 1985. She was born in St. Patrick’s Hospital, healthy and with a head full of dark blonde hair.

Liam was spellbound by his daughter. He held the infant in Carly’s hospital room, standing by a large window that overlooked the front of the facility. He gazed into Megan’s sleeping face, awe etched into his features. Carly watched him from the bed, highly satisfied she had given her husband a child and pleased by his reaction to her.

“She looks like you apart from the hair color,” Carly said at length.

Liam glanced at his wife, his hopeful expression almost making her laugh. “Do you think so?” he asked eagerly, looking down at his daughter again.

“Yes, look at that small cleft in her chin,” Carly replied. “That’s all you.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Liam agreed. Then he grinned. “It’s hard to put down the strong Larkin genes.”

“Don’t forget she’s an O’Reilly, too,” Carly said softly.

Liam laughed. “Megan has a double-whammy of Irish, doesn’t she?”

Carly leaned her head back on the pillow. She was still tired from the labor required to birth her daughter, but she was happy. She lowered her eyes and continued to watch Liam with Megan at the window. They were the perfect picture of father and daughter together. She tried to ignore the vague guilt that started to wash over her, refusing to accept that she had done anything wrong. The truth that Liam wasn’t really Megan’s father did not concern Carly. The child was a Larkin by blood and that was all that mattered for the time being. She stubbornly ignored indications of her own moral ineptitude by sweeping aside the knowledge that Liam and Megan were actually half-siblings rather than father and daughter.

Carly dozed and was startled awake when Liam placed the bundle that was Megan into her arms. “I think she’s hungry,” he said quietly.

“Oh?” Carly looked down at the waking child. “Can you call the nurse then?”

Liam appeared puzzled. “Why do you need the nurse?”

“The nurse brings in the baby formula,” Carly replied.

“Formula? Aren’t you breast-feeding Megan?”

Carly shook her head, annoyed by her husband’s assumption. “No, of course not.  I asked the doctor to give me Bromocriptine to stop lactation so Megan could have baby formula.”

“What the hell is Bromocriptine?” Liam asked, anger in his tone.

“It’s used to stop lactation,” she replied defensively. “If you care to learn more about it, I think the brand name of the medication is Parlodel. Ask Dr. Wilbourn, he’ll tell you it’s a safe drug.”

Liam was stymied. It was on the tip of his tongue to tell his wife he wasn’t concerned about the medication but rather her lack of interest in breast-feeding their child.

“Why don’t you want to breast-feed Megan?” he finally asked.

“I’ve heard it causes – how shall I say? – lack of tone in the breast muscles,” Carly replied stiffly, none too pleased by her husband’s reaction. “I don’t want to lose my figure, Liam. Surely you can understand that.”

He was glimpsing another side to his wife’s personality, and he wasn’t sure he liked it. “Worrying about your figure as opposed to what’s best for our daughter is ludicrous,” he muttered, turning away from the bed.

Carly was furious by his remark, and wasted no time in displaying her own anger. “Of course you would say that, you’re a man,” she spat out. “You aren’t the one who went through months of discomfort. You aren‘t the one who suffered in labor for hours. You aren’t the one with twenty extra pounds hanging on your frame. Baby formula is perfectly safe, Liam, and Megan won’t be physically or mentally scarred because she takes her meals from a bottle rather than at my breast.”

Liam kept his back to her, gazing out of the large window. It was a cold day. A fine white crust of bristly frost touched the ground, and the skies were overcast. He saw cars in the parking lot of the hospital, saw Larkin’s Main Street moving along at a bustling pace despite the cold, frozen snow and ice.

Just a few minutes ago he had been deliriously happy by the birth of his daughter, but now he was rankled by his wife’s disinterest in being hands-on with Megan. He took a deep breath to rationalize his thoughts, trying to see the issue from Carly’s perspective. She was inordinately proud of her figure, and he admittedly appreciated it as well. Was it such a crime for her not to want to breast-feed? Of course not, but somewhere in his deepest recess he was disappointed by her choice.

He turned back to her, pasting a smile on his face. “I’m sorry, darling. I’m making much ado about nothing. You’re right. Megan will be fine taking the baby formula.” He stepped toward the bed, sat in a chair and took her hand. It was time to change the subject. “You’re mother and my parents are waiting to see the new arrival. Are you up to more visitors?”

Another battle won, Carly thought with relief. Aloud, she said: “Please, fetch them from the waiting room. It’s time Megan met her grandparents.”

She watched Liam leave her side, seeing his footfall on the shiny hospital corridor outside her room. As soon as he was out of sight, she gazed down at her baby daughter. Megan’s blue eyes were open, and Carly smiled at her. She let the child take her pinkie finger, which she clutched with all of her infant strength.

“You have nothing to fear, my darling daughter,” Carly whispered. “You’re a Larkin, and nothing can hurt you. I’ll make sure of it.”



ENTHRALLMENT ©2012-16 Deidre Dalton. All rights reserved.

"Enthrallment" may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the author. "Enthrallment" is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.