Concealed Inheritance Chapters 1 & 2
Concealed Inheritance, published October 25, 2023 – learn more here
Concealed Inheritance, the first book in my new series The Family Heir Looms Suspense Thriller Series. An engaging thriller mystery with some interesting twists. Enjoy!
Concealed Inheritance Book Blurb
“An incredible new series from this fantastic author… Twists and turns in this story are absolutely incredible…” Betsy Smith
She’s a week too late.
After traveling for almost a decade, Skylar, a sole heiress, returns home… in time to attend her father’s funeral. Haunted by the unanswered questions surrounding his death, her world is upended when she discovers she is now responsible for the well-being of two pregnant women—women who hold the key to unraveling the truth about her father’s life. Trying to do the right thing, Skylar can’t help but question, who is the father of these unborn children?
As she settles into her new role, she is forced to confront a chilling reality – someone is sabotaging her quest for the truth. As things get more complicated, there comes the shocking revelation that her father might have been suffering from dementia. It casts a shadow of doubt over everything and everyone.
Confused, she turns to Linc for help to navigate the truth about her father’s life. And death. But she soon discovers that his intentions aren’t as pure as she thinks. He too has a hidden agenda. As his secrets intertwine with her quest, their fragile trust is tested as shocking truths are unveiled.
Will Skylar untangle the webs of deception and betrayal that shroud her father’s memory? Or will the shadows outmaneuver her, leaving her to question everything she holds dear?
In the riveting start to The Family Heir Looms Series, Concealed Inheritance, plunges readers into a gripping thriller. Enjoy!
“Another great read. Loved your characters and the suspense throughout the book. I never expected the angle till closer to the end…” Connie Nixon
“…It only took me two days as I could not put it down. It was brilliant and well worth the read. I was engrossed until the end and found the end definitely worth the wait as I didn’t work out the ending at all.” MAP
Below, read the first few chapters.
“Dad, hi. Great to hear your voice.” Skylar felt a little guilty that it had been so long. Her fault.
“Skylar. It’s great to hear you too. Where are you? Still in Africa?” Fred asked.
“Yes. I’m going on a safari later today. How are you? Anything new?”
“No. Still working on protecting the swamp.”
It had become his lifelong endeavor. “Not enjoying retirement?”
“No. Not my thing. Work is all I have known for fifty-eight years. I started working when I was twelve.”
“Time for some hobbies.” Besides the swamp.
“Bah. Anyway, I have a surprise for you. When are you coming home?”
Skylar frowned, unsure whether to be excited or concerned. It had just been the two of them since she was ten after her mother died of cancer. He had tried many times to surprise her over the years. Some had been good, but some hadn’t been. Like the horse he’d bought her for a graduation present. She’d been terrified of horses since was ten and had been bucked off.
“In a month. Same date as before. I’ll be home for Thanksgiving. Why? What’s the surprise?”
“Hmm.” He sounded so dejected.
“Are you okay, Dad? You’re feeling okay?”
“Yeah. Yeah. I just… it’s… Don’t worry.” He perked up rather quickly. “See you on the sixth, right? I’ll be at the airport to pick you up. I can’t wait for you to see what I have done. It’s life changing. I can’t wait. I can’t wait. I can’t wait. You are going to love it.”
Skylar laughed, loving this playful side to her father. It had been missing when she was home eight months before. She pressed her hand over her mouth, missing him all the more.
“I have to run, love.”
There was a definite change in his voice. “Dad, you sound serious. Are you okay?”
“Just something I’m trying to fix. Skylar, I… Forgive me. Love you.”
“Love you too.”
He hung up before she could ask any questions. Skylar hung up the phone, feeling like a
weight had just descended upon her. Since her father had retired five years before, he had been somewhat lost. Skylar had tried talking to him but hadn’t wanted to change her life just to help him adjust to being at home. She’d even tried to get him to travel with her, but he’d become a homebody. It seemed the older he got, the more he missed his deceased wife. Skylar missed her mom a lot but didn’t have the memories like he did.
Whatever he’d gotten into confused her. On one hand, he sounded excited. On the other, sad. By the way he was talking, it wasn’t something as simple as a pet. That’s what threw her. He was talking. Their conversations usually consisted of about ten questions: How are you? Where are you? What did you see interesting today? Are you staying safe? But whatever this was, he was carrying on a full conversation. Even initiating telling her something he’d done.
But forgive him for what?
Skylar tugged on her hair, not really sure she wanted to go home and actually find out.
Fred took the picture off the wall and set it on his desk. He took the solid black back off of it. He folded two sheets of paper and then placed them against the back of the picture and replaced the back, securing it. It bulged slightly. Skylar would never get rid of the picture. He was sure of it. If something should happen, if things should keep moving the way they were, he was in danger. If anyone found this new information, Skylar would be in danger, too. He’d wanted to tell her not to come home but felt he could protect her more under his roof. If things worked out, it would all be over before she came home at Thanksgiving, anyway. He’d show her what he’d done. She would be angry but hopefully she’d understand.
He had to make sure that the deal was stopped, though.
Skylar stood at the graveside, tears streaming down her face. She was supposed to be coming home from her trip today, not home and attending her father’s funeral. The shock of it still hadn’t worn off. She’d gotten a call in the middle of the afternoon telling her that her dad had been killed in a car accident.
It couldn’t be true. She’d just been talking to him.
So many people who had come to his funeral gave her their condolences and their support—if she needed anything… What she needed was for someone to make sense of it all. She stood rigid, just wanting it to be over. For the joke, which wasn’t a joke to let her go. To let her go back to the way things had been. Her father protecting her and hovering over her at every turn.
Her aunt Jan stood by her side. Skylar reached for her hand, needing that steady feeling and connection to her father. Jan was her dad’s sister but five years younger. Skylar was grateful for her presence and help arranging her father’s funeral over the last few days.
The crowd had thinned out, but it felt like all of them had felt the need to say something. Skylar just couldn’t take it anymore.
“Skylar, I am so sorry to about your father. Sorry I couldn’t…”
Words had started to blur together, but there was something about that voice. She slowly turned, pasting on the acknowledgment look and pursing of her lips. Before it had really clicked who was standing in front of her, he was pulling her into a big hug. She stiffened.
“Keating. Nice of you to come.” Her own words were muffled against his suit jacket. She pushed back, using a little more force than normal, when he didn’t seem to want to let her go.
“I thought you swore in high school, you’d have to be dead… before you’d wear that.” She pointed at his suit as she spoke but her words trailed off, barely audible, as she realized a second too late what she was saying.
“There are some things and some people worth getting dressed in a suit for. I’ve grown up a bit. In case you hadn’t noticed.” He stepped back and pushed his jacket back while he rested one hand on his hip. He had filled out. Very nicely.
Someone touched Skylar on her shoulder. A man who wore a flashy cowboy suit took her hand.
“Sorry for your loss. I knew your dad. He’s part of the reason I’m in the business I’m in.”
Skylar nodded sagely while taking a step back. He stood there. Jan took a step toward the man, who gave her a sideways glance before moving off. Had he winked at her?
More people approached her. She looked past the line of people who seemed to want to talk to her. Carmen was standing off to the side, staring at her. No sign of Jerold, though. They were the caretakers of her father’s estate. Carmen’s gaze was a bit unsettling. It was intense. Accusatory. Skylar looked away, already feeling the guilt of not staying home.
A woman clasped her hand. Skylar smiled half-heartedly at her. She had no idea what she said to her. Jan was there, though, seeming to say all the right things. Keating had disappeared. Which was good. She had felt uncomfortable with him there. Guilt about their past had crept up.
She and Keating had planned to elope. They were eighteen. Instead of yelling at her, her father had sat her down. He’d suggested she try living on her own first, before getting married. If she lived on her own for six months and still wanted to marry Keating, he’d pay for the wedding and a two-week honeymoon, no matter where or how expensive it was.
Jan had cheered her on. She’d been determined that Skylar win. She’d said Skylar could prove her father wrong and still get married.
Skylar had planned to move out. There was one problem, she didn’t have a job nor did she know how to get one. The places she’d applied had said they needed someone with experience. She had none. Since she didn’t have money to pay rent, the only place she could move to was another house on the property. It was a small two-bedroom bungalow, about a hundred feet from her father’s back door. He hadn’t said a word. Jan had laughed in his face, finding it hilarious.
Her dad challenged her again. If she didn’t see Keating for a week, he would fly them to Italy to get married. If she could make it a month, he’d rent them a villa for a month-long honeymoon. Jan was even more determined that Skylar win.
And she had. Sort of. What she learned, though, was she liked living on her own and making her own decisions. Keating hadn’t been happy. He’d started making demands and telling her what to do. Their last time together had been him trying to convince her how good they would be married, and the money they could make together. It ended with her telling him where to go and walking home in the rain. Jan had been the one to convince her he was a louse and not to make up with him. In fact, she’d put the bug in Skylar’s head about traveling.
She looked at her aunt. She squeezed Skylar’s hand. It pulled her out of her reverie and back to accepting more condolences that she wasn’t ready for. She gave each person a wan smile and murmured, “Thank you for coming.” Carmen was still watching her but hadn’t joined the queue to give condolences. Skylar turned to Jan to say something but she wasn’t there. She looked around but didn’t see her. Skylar’s shoulders sagged. She was drained. Her soul felt like it needed to crawl into a dark cave for the day to hide from the onslaught of probing.
“We need to meet.” An older man stepped in front of her. His expression was serious, his tone low, almost inaudible. Before she could say anything, Jan stepped forward, looped her arm through his, and steered him away.
Her father had been well liked. The number of people who had shown up attested to that. From the very wealthy to those who worked for the homeless shelter were there to pay their respects. It was heartwarming. And exhausting. And starting to poke holes in her numb feeling.
“Can you get me out of here?”
Keating was in front of her in an instant. “I can.”
Jan spoke up. “I’ll take you home.”
“Thank you, Keating. I came with Jan. Thank you for coming.” As she smiled reassuringly at him, the scowl he gave her made her realize the man who had said, ‘We need to meet,’ was Keating’s father.
Keating gave her a gentle kiss on the cheek before giving Jan a kiss on her cheek as well, before leaving. It was sweet, considering Skylar was sure they didn’t know each other all that well. Her aunt had encouraged Skylar to break up with him.
Jan put her hand to Skylar’s back and steered her to her car. Carmen’s eyes never seemed to leave them. Jerold had joined her but neither approached Skylar. She opened the passenger door.
“That’s a lot of people.” Jan stood on the driver’s side. “What did Mr. Richards say to you?”
“That’s who that older man was. He just said, sorry. Something like that.”
“Hmm.” Jan’s tone seemed questioning. “Keating and his father aren’t people you want to hang out with, Skylar. They have money. And love to cause trouble.”
“Why? What have they been doing?”
“Just stay away from them.”
“Hmm.” Skylar gave her back her noncommittal reply and slid in, closing the car door. She stared out the side window. Wasn’t it supposed to rain and be a crappy day when someone died? Not be a day of sunshine and warmth? Her gaze drifted over the faces of the people who had joined them at the gravesite. Some she recognized. Many she didn’t. A pregnant woman caught her attention. Her father had hinted, suggested, and outright told Skylar he wanted grandbabies. Several, in fact. He’d given up on her having a husband and just wanted her to have some babies. He and her mom had married late in life. Her parents were forty when Skylar was born. It had been a hard pregnancy for her mom, but her dad said she’d never regretted it. Only that they couldn’t have another child.
I hope you’re together again, Mom and Dad.
The pain of missing them both was almost crippling. It felt like an arrow had been shot through her heart, not like the one Cupid shot, but one that left a gaping hole. One that made her feel alone.
Ready to leave, she looked out the driver’s window. Her aunt was several feet from the car and looked like she was on her phone. Or maybe she was trying to deter people from talking to her. It had been hard on her, losing her brother.
No matter how much she tried to stop them, the tears leaked out. Skylar grabbed some tissues from the box on the back seat and mopped up her face. Her gaze drifted over the scene and landed on her dad’s casket. It was sitting, perched above the hole in the ground, ready to be lowered into its depths.
It was so final. Her beautiful father, friend, and mentor… was gone.
“…Oh boy! I loved this story. There was so much intrigue, so many clues… I love the way you dropped these in to the story. Loved this book and couldn’t put it down.”
“An incredible new series from this fantastic author… Twists and turns in this story are absolutely incredible. I had to put it down for a while to take a breath… I highly recommend this incredible story and hope that I never have to face anything like this insanity… Great work by this very talented author.”
“Another great read. Loved your characters and the suspense throughout the book. I never expected the angle till closer to the end…”
“…It only took me two days as I could not put it down. It was brilliant and well worth the read. I was engrossed until the end and found the end definitely worth the wait as I didn’t work out the ending at all.”
Take an adventure beyond your fingertips...
Whether her thrillers are set in a real town, city, or countryside, or one made up from her imagination, Multi-Award-Winning Author Maggie Thom writes engaging suspense thrillers that delve into a family’s lies, ties, and deceit. They are rollercoaster stories featuring strong women fighting for what they know is right but having to wade through a maze of twists and turns. Maggie believes in happily ever after but will take you on one heck of an adventure to get there.
Buckle up, you’re in for quite a ride.
Maggie grew up in a house full of books, often making a weekly trip to the library to get more. Reading was her go to when it was too cold outside to play. She started experimenting with writing at a young age, letting her imagination take her away on many adventures. She has done many real-life adventures with her family – white water rafting, sky diving, traveling, mountain hiking, kayaking… Now, she writes to ensure that you get to go on a thrilling adventure as well.
Her motto: Read to escape… Escape to read…
"Maggie Thom… proves her strength as a master of words, plots and finely chiseled characters… she weaves a brilliant cloth of the many colors of deceit.”Dii - TomeTender
"Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller laced with romance that keeps the reader interested and on edge!" InDtale Magazine