Family Life: Brothers and Sisters

Brothers and Sisters

By Diane Burton

What’s so special about the relationship between a brother and sister? From experience—my own and observing my daughter and granddaughter—when the girl is older, she tends to be bossy and wants to “mother” the little brother. I’m sure my younger granddaughter (big sister to twins) will try to boss them around, too, when they’re old enough to understand.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m the oldest of seven. By the time I was ten, I’d learned how to diaper—no Huggies in those days—and feed a bottle to the youngest one. On Saturday mornings, while Dad slept because he worked afternoon shifts and Mom went grocery shopping, I had to keep the “little kids” quiet. Cartoons were my friends. And when they fought over which cartoon to watch, I turned into Big Sister to keep them quiet.

When the boy is older, it’s a whole different ballgame. At first, he’s protective. But when he gets older and wants to play with his friends, she’s a pain in the rear. Either Mom says he has to watch her or little sister wants to tag along. I always wanted a Big Brother because of that protectiveness.

That was the situation with Jack and Maggie Sinclair in my new release NUMBERS NEVER LIE, a romantic suspense. When Drew Campbell moved into the neighborhood, the eight-year-old boys became fast friends. Five-year-old Maggie wanted to do everything they did. What a pain for Jack. Even when he said no, she would tear after them. If he complained, Dad grounded him for not protecting her and letting her get into trouble. Then, Dad chewed out Maggie and told her she had to act like a lady. Jack learned not to tattle, and Maggie still tried to do everything he and Drew did.

Until it came to baseball. Maggie could outthrow, outrun, and outbat every boy in the neighborhood. That’s when she became important, and Jack let her be on his team.

When the threesome became teens, things changed. Maggie had the biggest crush on Drew. Unbeknownst to her, Jack went into protective mode. He warned Drew not to mess with his sister. At the time, Drew valued his friendship more than his hormones.

Now adults, their parents deceased, Jack has to take care of Maggie, even when she doesn’t need his help. She’s an independent woman. When Jack, an accountant, discovers a problem with an audit, he has to trust someone with the info. Who does he trust? His sister and his best friend. But when he couldn’t get hold of Drew, he left the evidence with Maggie. Since it was a just-in-case scenario, he never thought she would have to use it.

About the Book


A Romantic Suspense

By Diane Burton

Length: approx. 80,000 words

Available at Amazon

Free with Kindle Unlimited

A shocking secret brings danger to Jack Sinclair and his sister Maggie.

As kids, they were the fearless threesome. As adults, Jack's an accountant; Drew, a lawyer; Maggie, a teacher and camping troop leader. Upon returning from a weekend camping trip, Maggie receives horrifying news. She refuses to believe her brother Jack’s fatal car crash was an accident. If the police won’t investigate, she’ll do it herself. Convincing Drew Campbell to help is her only recourse.

Drew Campbell was too busy to return his best friend’s phone call. Too busy to attend a camping meeting important to his teen daughter. Too busy to stay in touch with Jack. Logic and reason indicate Jack’s accident was just that--an accident caused by fatigue and fog. Prodded by guilt, he’ll help Maggie even if he thinks she’s wrong.

A break-in at Jack’s condo convinces Maggie she’s right. Then her home is searched. What did Jack do that puts Maggie in danger?


Slinging the laptop case/briefcase over his shoulder, Jack checked the room assigned to him for the audit to make sure he hadn’t left anything out. He shut off the lights and locked the door behind him. He still had much to do. Sure, Ben said he would finish the audit. That wasn’t the way Jack worked. When he started something, he always finished.

“Working kinda late, arncha, Mr. Sinclair?”

Startled, Jack looked over his shoulder.

The janitor leaned on his mop. “It’s after midnight.”

“No rest for the weary, Max.” Jack pocketed his keys.

“You be careful going home, Mr. Sinclair. Fog was rollin’ in off the lake when me and the missus drove in to work.”

“Thanks for the heads-up.” Jack saluted the affable worker and headed down the hall. The doors to the other offices were closed. Only the cleaning crew remained.

Hazel, Max’s wife, stopped dusting the receptionist’s desk. “’Night, Mr. Sinclair. You best be careful. Noticed you parked all the way down at the end of the parking lot. The light there is out. Saw that when we came in. The company that takes care of our lights won’t come out ‘til Monday. You want Max to get a flashlight and walk out with you so’s you can find your car? What with the fog and all?”

Jack forced himself to smile. In the five days he’d been auditing the books at the plant near Muskegon, he often worked so late that he ran into the older couple. “I’ll be fine.”

“’Night, then. You be careful, now. Ya hear?”

Even before he pushed open the heavy glass door, he saw that Max and Hazel were right. The solitary light at this end of the parking lot barely penetrated the fog. Maybe he should have taken Hazel up on the offer of a flashlight. He wasn’t worried about finding the Blazer in this pea soup. It would be a wonder he didn’t trip on the curbs.

The flashlight on his cell phone. Duh. He should’ve thought of that. Jack clicked it on, but it only shone a foot or so in front of him.

He heard a soft skitter near the dumpster. Rats? He shuddered and clicked his remote. From fifteen feet away, his head- and taillights barely penetrated the mist.

It would be a slow drive back to Grand Rapids. He should get a motel room for the night. Finding a vacancy anywhere along the Lake Michigan shoreline would be next to impossible in the summer and even more so late on a Friday night.

Weary beyond belief, he dragged himself to his car. He needed to return tomorrow—make that later today. He had to do more digging in the company’s files. He couldn’t believe what he’d discovered so far. This went way beyond anything he imagined. The implications—


Startled by the familiar voice, he dropped the keys. His phone slipped out of his fingers and skidded away. The fog gobbled up the light, and he lost sight of it. He peered in the direction of the sound. The figure stepped away from the dumpster’s hulking shape.

“We need to talk.”


Numbers Never Lie is available at Amazon.

About the Author

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense and cozy mysteries. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website.

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You can read Diane’s “Family Life” column on the 3rd Wednesday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.

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