Sampler: After All This Time by Beca Lewis

Follow the journey of the Ruby Sisters and share in the discovery of the power of forever friendship and found family.

When carefree and beautiful April May Zane sat beside the cutest boy at the university, she couldn’t see the past or the future, so she said yes to a life with him.

Thirty years later, a stranger visits the peaceful town of Spring Falls, bringing the past with her, shattering the illusion of April’s happy marriage and thrusting her life into danger.

This time, as the Ruby Sisters uncover the secrets of the past, they don’t find a gift.

They uncover a terrible truth.

Will they be able to prove the dark secrets of April’s husband’s past in time to save her life?

Sampler: After All This Time

Beca Lewis

It didn’t take Nicky Blair long to realize she couldn’t remain anonymous for long in a town like Spring Falls. Not just because it was a small town. It was that the people were curious and acted friendly. She didn’t know yet if the friendliness was real or fake. She had been aware for too long about the duplicity of people to accept things at face value. People often acted one way but thought and did another.

So she didn’t trust them. At all.

However, despite herself, she hoped it was true—hoped that the friendliness was genuine. Still, she didn’t like it. How was she supposed to watch what people were doing without them noticing, when they kept noticing her and asking her questions? Questions she didn’t want to answer.

Even giving up her name was tricky. At first, she thought she might make one up. But Nicky knew herself well enough to know that she wouldn’t remember a made-up name. She had so much going on inside her it was entirely possible she would say her real name by accident because she’d forgotten she was hiding who she was and why she was in Spring Falls.

So, reluctantly, she told people an edited version of what they wanted to know. It was easy because there wasn’t much to tell. She was a nobody. Had been for years.

Once, a long time ago, she had a proper job, but had become bored almost immediately. So she moved around, taking odd jobs everywhere she went. She’d rent a room in someone’s house, and when they got upset with her, or she with them—which would happen eventually—she’d move on.

Nicky kept no social media presence. She used the internet to get what she wanted. She didn’t let it use her. It had been a lonely life. But it was what she thought she wanted.

Until she started remembering what she had been trying to forget for years, dreaming about it when asleep and startled by memories when awake. Finally, she gave in and let herself remember. All of it. At least what she knew. What she didn’t know was the reason she ended up in Spring Falls.

That Spring Falls was near where the nightmare of her life had begun surprised her. She could almost hear her father say: “The world moves in mysterious ways.”

She knew that to be true. However, what her father never told her, probably because he didn’t know himself until it was too late, is that “mysterious” doesn’t always—or often mean—in good ways.

So now, all these years later, she was in a town close to where she grew up, sitting in a tiny diner, trying to remain invisible. And failing. Everyone from the waitress to the couple sitting a few tables over said hello and smiled. It was hard not to smile back, even though she didn’t want to. That they paid attention to her pissed her off. It was ruining her plan to be a nobody.

Nicky purposefully kept her hair un-styled and dyed a dirty, dark brown. When her pure white hair started showing, she covered it up. She dressed like everyone else, so her clothes didn’t make her stand out from the crowd. It was impossible to hide her striking blue eyes, so when she wasn’t wearing brown contact lenses she got in the habit of looking down. All in an attempt to avoid calling attention to herself.

Until Spring Falls, staying as invisible as possible had always worked. She arrived in Spring Falls a week ago and, as always, had rented a room in a home and kept to herself. However, instead of ignoring her, as most people did, her landlady was friendly and curious, like the rest of the town.

Nothing about Spring Falls was working out the way she wanted it to. However, Nicky had to admit to herself that if she wasn’t here on a mission of revenge, she might like this place. It reminded her of her hometown of Jakestown before it changed. Except Jakestown was even smaller. It barely existed on the map. Nicky figured that they probably named it after some guy named Jake who first homesteaded the place.

Nicky had known it was a good place to grow up, even when she resented it. Everyone seemed content with their tiny farming town, even though there was the constant smell of animals when the wind drifted in a certain way, and every few years the crop would fail because of the weather or a swarm of insects devoured them before harvest time.

The men would gather at the diner on the main street for breakfast, and if it was too wet to plant or harvest, almost every man in town could be found there, drinking one cup of coffee after another, talking about whatever men talked about.

The women of Jakestown did church socials and gathered in living rooms to discuss the day, children, and the town’s needs, as they quilted or knitted. Because, as her mother always said, men talked about nothing for hours while women talked about what counted and kept on working. The women helped each other with kids, dinners, and chores if someone got sick.

Jakestown was a pleasant place, but Nicky had always wanted more. She wanted to be someone different. Who that someone would be, Nicky hadn’t known. All that Nicky knew then was she wanted to change her life and be on her own. So she left home as soon as possible, traveling a little, trying to discover her place in the world.

But then Sara went missing. And Nicky’s life changed, as did the life of everyone in Jakestown. When it became clear that Sara would never be coming back, that something terrible had happened, the town’s happiness switched off. Each year that Sara stayed missing, the town died a little more.

Before she stopped visiting, Nicky thought the town gave off a smell of decay that drove people away. No one moved there. People left. Distrust settled like dust on people’s hearts.

The thought “it could be any of us” lingered unspoken, everyone afraid to think that it could have been their neighbor that made Sara disappear. Open doors closed, and the joy that was Jakestown faded away.

Nicky stopped going home a few years after Sara went missing. Visiting her parents while they were alive was like visiting when they were dead, except for the tears. Because when they were alive, the tears never stopped as they searched and searched for the daughter they loved. So many tears you’d think they would wash away their house.

Instead, the tears washed away her parents, who now lay side by side in a graveyard in Jakestown. For all Nicky knew, they were still crying. Not her. She didn’t cry then and she didn’t cry now.

Nicky knew that someday it would all catch up with her, and perhaps her tears would wash her away too, but right now, she was on a mission, and tears would only get in the way. Now she was an avenging angel, dark and distrustful. She would finally find out what happened to her sister, no matter the cost to herself.

And Nicky believed the answer was in this town called Spring Falls. If it was, then all hell was going to break loose. But first, she had to be sure. Then she would do what needed to be done to punish the person who took her sister away from her and drowned her parents in their tears.

Please click HERE to find After All This Time on Amazon.

, , , , , , , , ,

Related Posts