Author: Beth Orsoff

Category: Thrillers & Suspense

Regular price: $4.99

Deal price: $0.99

Deal starts: February 07, 2024

Deal ends: February 07, 2024

Description:

No one ever thinks the unthinkable will happen... When Grace Hughes’s family was murdered outside their suburban home the police told her it was a senseless tragedy. Just another madman with a gun. Happens every day in America. One year later and still overwhelmed by grief, Grace struggles to make sense of her shattered world.Then Grace meets two abandoned children in desperate need of help and she discovers a newfound sense of purpose. But as Grace starts to heal, secrets about her husband’s past unfold.Grace begins to wonder, were her husband and daughter really killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or were their deaths the result of something far more sinister?

Review Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Chapter 1 They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Bullshit. What doesn't kill you almost kills you. I should know. "Grace, are you listening?" Dr. Stetler asked. My head jerked up at the sound of my name, and I found myself staring into the plain brown eyes of my nemesis. They were unremarkable in every way, but I'd never forget Dr. Stetler. "Yes," I replied before surreptitiously sliding my gaze back down to my hands, which were absentmindedly picking at the pilled fuzz clinging to my yoga pants. Jonah loved my hands. The memory popped into my head unbidden, as they always did. And as always, the memory made me smile. Jonah used to tell me I had the hands of a queen, whatever that meant. I'd asked him, of course. Many times. He'd always laugh and say it was because my hands were regal. I had no idea what that meant either, but it became our private joke. One of many. My smile faded as I realized that even Jonah wouldn't think my hands looked regal now. The skin was dry, the fingers bare, and several of my nails were broken, although I noticed a few of them were still sporting remnants of the pale pink polish that had been foisted on me a few weeks ago. I'd wanted clear nail polish, but I was overruled. I was also overruled when I said I didn't want a mani-pedi. Operation Get Grace Out Of The House was underway. I had no choice in the matter. I had no choice in lots of things anymore. "Grace," Dr. Stetler said, pulling me out of my reverie. The man had to be in his late fifties, but he still sported a head of thick salt and pepper hair. "We're all waiting." I shifted my gaze from Dr. Stetler to the other five faces in our "sharing circle."The widower in his late sixties who still wept daily for his dead wife and the young mother who had fantasized about drowning her three small children in the bathtub stared at me expectantly. The rest of my unwilling compatriots—an unhappy teenager, a former race car driver who'd lost his leg in a spectacular career-ending crash, and a middle-aged housewife with OCD who had pulled out all her hair and now wore a scarf around her head so she looked like a chemo patient—averted their eyes. I appreciated their disinterest. I shifted my weight on the unyielding metal folding chair then blurted out, "I'm thinking of changing my name." "Changing your name to what?" asked Unhappy Teenager. "You mean go back to your maiden name?" OCD Lady asked. I felt guilty for thinking of her as OCD Lady since I knew her name was Deborah, but that is how I thought of all my fellow patients—not by their names but by the circumstances that had brought them to this place. I assumed they all thought of me as that woman whose husband and baby were gunned down in the street. It was not an entirely accurate portrait of me but close enough. "Let Grace speak," Dr. Stetler admonished, and both women returned their gaze to the floor. Did I mention the only thing warm and fuzzy about Dr. Stetler was his flannel shirt? "No, Deborah." At the sound of my voice, OCD Lady looked up and shot me a tentative smile. "I'm keeping my married name. I'm a widow, not divorced. But I'm thinking of changing my first name to Charlie." "You can do that?" Unhappy Teenager asked. "Of course she can," Widower replied. "She can use whatever name she wants." "Musicians use stage names all the time," Former Race Car Driver opined. "But isn't Charlie a man's name?" Homicidal Mother asked. "I think we're getting off track," Dr. Stetler said. "The issue isn't whether Grace can legally change her name, but why she wants to. What do you think changing your name will accomplish, Grace?" "I didn't say I was changing it legally." The law was the one area where I could out expert Dr. Stetler. Of the two of us, I was the only one with a law degree. "Is that relevant?" he asked. "To your decision, I mean." As usual, I had no answer to Dr. Stetler's question. Or none I was willing to share with someone I'd met three days ago when I was involuntarily committed to the Wellstone Center, where those who pose a danger to themselves or others and who are lucky enough to have savings or good health insurance, get sent. By that criteria, I was lucky. The Wellstone Center, with its manicured lawns and sweeping hilltop views, was undoubtedly lightyears better than the psych ward at the county hospital, which was where the unlucky failed suicide attempts were warehoused. God bless America. Dr. Stetler stared expectantly. I half shrugged and half sighed in response. "Is that a yes or a no?" he asked. I took a deep breath before I answered. Unhappy Teenager had already warned me that showing anger was a no-no. "They can use it as an excuse to keep you locked up longer," she'd whispered during the silent walking meditation portion of our mindfulness class. That was why she was now Unhappy Teenager. When she'd arrived at the Wellstone Center three weeks ago she'd been Angry Teenager, she'd confided, "but now I'm just playing their game so I can, like, beat them with their own rules." It seemed like a good strategy. When I was sure I could keep the irritation out of my voice, I said, "It's relevant to the ease with which it can be done. There are no forms to fill out, no mandatory publication in the newspaper, and no court approval required. I tell people to call me Charlie, and voilà, I'm now Charlie." I folded my arms across my chest and shot him an insincere smile. "And how will that make you feel, Grace?" he asked. "Will you feel any different if people call you Charlie?" My smile faded. It always came back to feelings with Dr. Stetler. Didn't he realize it was too many feelings that had landed me here? Maybe if I could stop feeling for a while, I could actually survive. About the Author Beth Orsoff is an Amazon bestseller and the author of twelve novels ranging from romantic comedies to domestic suspense. She lives in Los Angeles with her child, a fish, and a cat who is trying to eat the fish. You can reach Beth online at www.bethorsoff.com. While you're there, you can sign up for her mailing list and she'll send you a free book! --This text refers to the paperback edition.