Release Day: The Orphan Beach by Laura Thomas

We are thrilled to present book 3 in the Flight to Freedom series by Laura Thomas!

Life is spiraling out of control for pediatric nurse, Juliet Farr. Heart-broken, grief-stricken, and experiencing a crisis of faith—now she is the prime target for a crazed killer. When her ex-boyfriend, detective Max Bennett, returns to work the case in the Oregon Coast, he knows sharing the truth behind their break-up will destroy any possibility of a second chance together.

A manuscript, a maniac, and a mother’s love propel Juliet’s flight to a beach in Mexico as she desperately pursues hope and healing. Will she ever find freedom from the ache of abandonment? And when a troubled soul chooses Juliet as his perfect victim, can Max prove his love for her by risking his own life? Or will Orphan Beach be the end of their story?


CHAPTER ONE

Juliet Farr dropped a single white rose onto the coffin, her entire body numb. Frozen.

And not merely because she stood windswept on a rugged bluff overlooking the turbulent Pacific Ocean. She inhaled a ragged breath.

How had life deteriorated beyond recognition in less than a year? Wrenching her eyes from the harsh reality before her, she gazed out over the gray-green expanse of water through a blur of tears. She shivered. Dead inside.

Juliet stepped back and stumbled. A strong hand cupped her elbow from behind.

Max. She’d recognize his aftershave anywhere, all musk and forest. His protective touch was another reminder of what she had lost. She pulled away.

Not now.

The bitter late-November wind whipped in from the ocean causing hair to obscure her vision as it flew in her face like a red tornado. She buried her chin in her mother’s scarf. It still smelled of lavender.

“Juliet, would you like my coat?”

Her body tensed at the warmth of his whisper in her ear. That deep, rich voice which she had missed more than she cared to admit over the past six months. Six months​. What was he doing back here? Today of all days. She straightened her shoulders and jutted her chin without turning around. 

“No, I’m fine. Totally fine.”

Liar.

No way was she fine. Everything would be different now. Colorless.

Time slowed as she clung onto each second of this dreadful day, not wanting the farewell to finish. Gentle murmurs hung on the frigid air. She glanced around. Only a handful of family friends hovered at the graveside now. How long had they even been standing here? Most had paid their respects and left already. Some had disappeared
straight after the church service. But how could she leave her mother?

Bella sniffled beside her.

“What now?” Juliet held out her right hand, and Bella clutched it in silence. As friends, they had been through more than most. Could Bella sense Juliet’s heart fragmenting at this moment? Would she send Max on his way? Do I even want her to?

Max squeezed Juliet’s arm with a feather-light touch and a fire ignited in her belly.

Part desire, part distress. She spun around and watched as he paced toward the parking lot, head bent against the elements. Or perhaps bent in shame. His hair was a little shorter than she remembered. It looked good. She closed her eyes for a moment. “Want me to invite him back to The Lighthouse with us?” Bella’s voice was gentle.

“No. I can’t deal with him.” Juliet turned back around and peered down at the lowered coffin. “Not today. It’s hard to breathe, let alone think clearly. Today is about Mom.”

“That’s understandable. One day at a time.”

“I seem to remember giving you the same advice not so long ago.” Juliet lifted her eyes to the deepening gray clouds, pregnant with rain. “It was one of Mom’s favorite sayings. She always had the best advice, didn’t she?”

“The best.” Bella’s voice cracked. “I can’t believe Pippa’s gone.”

“It feels like my entire life just crumbled. Like I’ve been abandoned.” Juliet sucked in a sob. “Like God doesn’t even care.”

“Oh, Jules, He cares. More than we can ever imagine. You’re hurting—of course, you’re hurting. Pippa was your mother. But you know you have me, don’t you? You’re the sister I never had. There are lots of us who think of you as family, who love you. We’re all here for you.”

Juliet looked over her shoulder, her long hair swirling around her head. “What about Max?”

He stood next to his car—presumably a rental from the police station—arms folded across his chest and feet planted hip-width apart. His gaze roamed the cliffside area, but he was particularly fixated on the graveside gathering. On her.

Warmth radiated from her cheeks.

“What’s he even doing here all of a sudden, and why is he watching me like that?”


About the Author:

A published Christian author, Laura writes heartwarming encouragement for your soul—especially in her romantic suspense, teen fiction, marriage, and children’s books. Laura is a chocoholic mom of three, married to her high school sweetheart. Originally from the UK, they live in Kelowna, B.C. as audacious empty-nesters.

Laura relishes the opportunity to speak to all audiences about her faith and/ or her writing journey. She enjoys holding book signing events at various locations, being a guest on podcasts, and has given school presentations to students at several schools in the Okanagan, British Columbia. She also had the privilege of presenting at Penticton College for a week at the BC Youth Writers Camp. If you would like Laura to speak at an event, do a book signing, podcast interview, or writing presentation, please contact her directly HERE.

LISTEN TO LAURA:

Want to hear the voice behind the words? Check out these podcasts:

LISTEN HERE for her podcast interview with The Christian Entrepreneurs Podcast  

LISTEN HERE for her podcast interview with Making the Time

WHERE TO CONNECT WITH LAURA
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest


All books in the Flight to Freedom series

THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT
THE LIGHTHOUSE BABY

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