Select from the options below to read excerpts from Mind Sweeper by Deborah O'Toole.
BETH MILLS WINCED when she heard Louise Martin's anguished sobs. The grief and tension in the room was highly palpable, leaving no one immune. Beth averted her eyes from Louise, dipping her head to stare at the floor. It was best not to interact with anyone unless she had to. She heard a door open and close, but refused to look up. The room grew hushed except for the sounds of intermittent sniffling, and then the somber voice came. More >
THE NIGHTMARES BEGAN the week after Aaron's funeral. Beth gradually eased herself into a comfortable routine. She rose late, ate a big breakfast, and then took a long walk in the cemetery woodlands away from the bastard's grave. She typically enjoyed a leisurely lunch on the deck, and then a nap with a bit of television in bed. She ate a light supper, and then devoted her evenings to sewing and needlework in the attic before retiring after midnight. More >
FOR APPEARANCES SAKE, Aaron took Beth to the Ivytown Clinic rather than the hospital in Portland, the one and only time he used the local medical services during their marriage. "How would it look if I took you to Portland now?" he asked from the driver's seat of the Bronco. "Falling down the stairs and losing the baby. . .it wouldn't do if people found out I hauled you to Portland rather than the local medical facility." More >
BETH HAD ALWAYS wanted a dog or a cat, even before she met Aaron Mills. She never had the time or occasion to have pets, either in San Francisco or now in Ivytown. She didn’t think Aaron would let her have an animal, anyway. God forbid it might detract her attention from him. Finally, the occasion presented itself in the spring of 2002. Aaron and Beth attended a fundraising event at the Ivytown Animal Shelter, where he was at the forefront of local philanthropic efforts. Beth went along because Aaron expected it of her, and because she found the cause to be worthy: raising money to provide neutering, spaying and vaccination services for homeless dogs and cats. More >
THE IVYTOWN LODGE had originally been built as an apartment building for miners and their families in 1934. It was converted into a guest lodge in 1971, and was now a popular pit-stop for travelers passing through on their way to Portland or onto tourist attractions such as the Aquatic Park in Milwaukie, Boones Ferry Marina, Fort Vancouver and Mount Hood National Forest among others. Morgan had already checked-in the day he arrived in Ivytown – was it just yesterday? – but he insisted Beth take the room next to his on the second floor. More >
BOB PALMER SPENT Sunday morning reading The Oregon Herald. He enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast, and then sat in his living room to peruse the newspaper. It wasn't until he finished reading the publication from back to front that he allowed himself to think about his meeting with MSHA the day before. "We are convinced the mine collapse was deliberately set," Andrew Gibson had told him in the windowless conference room at the office. More >
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