Lost Tears Chapters 1 & 2
Last Betrayal is being published October 4th, 2022. New Release.
Writing Last Betrayal was one of those times I was extremely excited to write it and also sad that the story was going to come to an end. I was getting quite attached to Mrs. Stephanos and all the foster sisters. I really wanted to tell their story in a way that it got told but that there was some kind of justice for all that had happened. In this finale novel, Last Betrayal, I wanted to make sure that all of the questions were answered.
Here is what an early reader of Last Betrayal had to say:
“This series was explosive with twist and turns on every page… So many questions are finally answered in the amazing conclusion of the Twisted Deception Series. I recommend this series for any thriller/mystery lover.” Emmie McCabe
If you haven’t read what sparked the idea, click here.
Here are Chapter 1 & 2 of Last Betrayal, for you to read.
I thought this would be a great way for you to get to know my work and read some of my latest book. You’ll know right away if it’s for you.
It is available for Pre-Order.
Last Betrayal, book 5, the final novel in The Twisted Deception Series. An engaging thriller mystery with some interesting twists. Enjoy!
Last Betrayal Book Blurb
The one secret she didn’t know… changes everything.
On her deathbed, Addison’s grandmother leaves a wake of ominous, unanswered questions. In her Will, she gives Addison the farm and insists she resolve the conflict of the past. Confused and unsure what to do, Addison’s mom then drops a bombshell about who she is and what she has in her possession. Determined to right some old wrongs, Addison is out to change a past that is looming ever closer.
Mitch, a burnt-out counselor, agrees to do some security work for a friend. It turns out for both sides, the good and the bad. Playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a man pushed to the edge, Mitch knows if he doesn’t succeed, more people might die.
Can Addison bring to light the horrors of her mother’s and grandmother’s past and ensure justice is served? Or will she pay the ultimate price when she discovers who is truly behind it all?
The past can never truly go away.
Deborah grew up in a foster home run by Mrs. Stephanos. Now, thirty-five years later, the jewelry from her past has been delivered to all the foster sisters. She is playing with fire but wants to draw out the person responsible for all their terror.
Unlike her sisters, Rose hated going into The Can. It was a large metal container sitting deep in the recesses of the mountain. She knew that her foster sisters liked it because it got them out of work but Rose liked the work. She liked being outdoors. Her mom and dad used to take her on hikes and adventures all the time. She had a picture of when she was a baby and was in a pack on her dad’s back. They’d been high in the Rockie Mountains. Her parents had told her that a lot of people thought they were awful people for always taking their baby daughter with them. Especially in the backcountry. Their hikes were sometimes dangerous. Not only the terrain but the wildlife. Once, they had been chased by a bear. Another time, they had been stalked by a cougar. Her parents had always been smart, though, and they’d always protected her.
Until they couldn’t.
They’d died. It had been winter. Normally, they kept their hiking to the spring through fall season but some friends had talked them into going snowshoeing in winter. It was the one time they’d left her alone, at home with a babysitter. She remembered being so angry with them but her screaming and crying and begging to go hadn’t done anything. That had been the last time she’d seen them. An avalanche had taken out their party of eight. No survivors. No bodies ever found.
Tears pricked her eyes as she thought of them. Never once had she doubted that they loved her but she felt terrible that the last time they’d seen her she’d been angry.
Unlike the other foster sisters, she’d been lucky. Mrs. Stephanos’s had been the first place she’d been sent to. She was eleven. It was supposed to be temporary while they tracked down family. But no one ever came. It hadn’t been warm and loving like home but she’d been safe. Many of her foster sisters had been sent to several, having horrific experiences. Mrs. S was tough and unloving but Rose was okay with it. She hadn’t felt like she deserved much love, not after the way she knew her parents were remembering her and her temper tantrum at being left behind. They might have died but she knew they were still there. She could feel them. She was still asking for their forgiveness.
Rose tilted her head back so the tears wouldn’t fall. Her sisters would tease her if they saw them. She bent down and picked up Love, the chicken she’d named. Love followed her everywhere she went. The other girls made fun of her, but she didn’t care. None of them seemed to care that they were in a beautiful place and had beautiful animals for friends.
“Rose. Have you cleaned your jewelry today?”
Rose ducked her head, wishing Mrs. Stephanos wouldn’t make her go into The Can. It was dark and closed in. And once, Amethyst had held the door so she couldn’t get out. She was always doing something mean.
“I’m just going, ma’am.” Rose kissed her chicken before setting it down and slowly making her way to the container at the back side of the house. Carefully looking around, she made sure no one saw her go in. She didn’t want to be locked in again.
Pulling open the huge, heavy door, she stepped inside and pulled the door to. She was supposed to latch it but she never did. Knowing that she had a job to do, she made her way to her room. Walking slowly down the dimly lit hallway, she made her way to the third room on the left. All the other girls were always curious about what was in the other rooms. She didn’t care. If it was anything like what she had, it was a thing. Nothing warm or cozy or inviting. Just a thing.
She reached for the door handle, her fingers just brushing it, when the door just across the hall banged open. Opal jumped out at her. Rose screamed. Opal bent over, laughing.
“You’re mean. I hate you.”
“Big baby. Can’t even take a little joke.” Opal locked her door, as there would be severe punishment if she didn’t, and skipped her way out of The Can, laughing.
Rose glared at her back and waited until she was outside before she quickly unlocked her door, using the key that was around her neck, and slipped inside, locking it behind her.
She didn’t trust her other foster sisters. Inside, she quickly flipped on the light. It wasn’t just because she would need it to do her work but it meant nothing else could jump out at her. Her mom had always taught her that there were things in this world that she couldn’t always see but they sometimes were the things that would hurt the most. Rose sighed heavily. There wasn’t a day she didn’t miss her mom. And her dad. They’d been so much fun, always finding outdoorsy things to do. Often pulling Rose out of school so they could play. It wasn’t until they were gone and Rose had entered the foster system that she realized how far behind she was in school. She was supposed to be in grade six but could barely read her ABC’s. But she knew how to survive in the wilderness. What to eat. What not to eat. How to tie ten different knots.
She walked over to her display case. The light was centered over it. The one that held her piece of rock. At least that was what Mrs. S kept telling her. But it was pretty. She’d learned from a book she’d gotten from Ms. Angel to get her that it was, in fact, called Rose Quartz. The outside was uncut, rough looking rock but the inside shone a beautiful bright pink under the lights. Even if it was worthless, it made her feel connected. It reminded her of everything beautiful about her mom. Pink had been one of her favorite colors.
Rose slid on her gloves and carefully opened the lid. One day, she was going to set this on her mantel. Her eyes widened as she realized how crazy that thought was. First, it wasn’t hers. Second, Mrs. S would never let her have it. She was very protective of the pieces. Even if they were worthless. The one thing that was odd was that the girls always talked about taking care of jewelry. She was the only one that got something outdoorsy. Like her. She was grateful to Mrs. S for giving it to her to look after.
Most of the girls hated Mrs. S. They complained about her frequently but Rose actually liked her. In fact, Rose often spent time alone with her late in the evening. When all the other girls thought she was in bed alone, she was in Mrs. S’s office, which was normally off limits, enjoying some hot chocolate. It had all started one night when Rose had snuck out of her room and was sitting on the stairs, crying. Mrs. S had asked her what was wrong. Rose had told her she missed her mom and then shared some of the stories about her mom. None of that seemed to soften Mrs. S but then Rose had told her she felt safe with her. That seemed to find her favor. Then she’d asked Mrs. S if she could make her a hot cocoa one night. Mrs. S had relented. Rose had told her what ingredients she needed. Mrs. S had been reluctant but Rose had talked her into getting those groceries. It had taken a while, probably because she only sent out a list of groceries to be delivered once per month.
Rose was so excited when they came. She made two cups and put cocoa, maple syrup, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. And, of course, topped it all with marshmallows. It had become their secret.
It not only allowed Rose to see another side of Mrs. S but had given her privileges not available to the other girls.
Sighing, feeling slightly guilty at her secret and her added privilege, she turned her attention to the item she was to take care of. Even though her rose quartz was pristine, she picked up her feather duster and carefully cleaned off any dust that might have had the nerve to land on it. She laughed to herself. This was where she was happiest.
Addison unlocked the front door and walked in. “Mom? You home?” She set her keys in the dish by the front door and walked through to the kitchen, looking for breakfast. The back of the house got the most sun and was always stuffy through the summer. Today was already starting to show the heat. She flipped on the fan sitting in the corner. The whir of it made her smile droop. It reminded her of the sound of an electric wheelchair. She grabbed an apple and a glass of oat milk and sat down at the counter.
There was no response to her call out. She kind of remembered her mom telling her she was going to be out that evening. Something to do with Addison’s grandmother’s funeral, that she was trying to arrange. It should have already happened but was being delayed. Which didn’t make sense to her. Sadness settled over Addison like an invisible cloak, which made her even more aware that she was sitting there by herself. She had plenty to do. With the school year winding down, she had last-minute things to finalize. Most were done but she liked to look over all the grades and make sure it was all input properly. Not that she could change anything at that point but she needed something to distract herself. Marking papers and tests was something that her grandmother would sit with her while she worked. She’d read over some of the papers and give her opinion. More often than not, she’d comment that kids these days didn’t seem to have any boundaries. It made Addison smile but also made her miss her all that much more. And kept Addison from doing the work that was in front of her. As she looked down the hallway, she could almost hear her grandmother coming toward her.
Her mind took her back to the last memory she had spent with a woman who didn’t show many people her softer side.
“I suppose you’re drinking that crap again.” Her grandmother said, as she came into the kitchen. The whir of her electric wheelchair let Addison know she was coming even before she spoke.
Addison sipped her herbal tea, hiding her grin at the gruff tone. When she looked up and met the disapproving look, she gave a stern look back. “I am, grandmother. Did you want some?”
“No,” she said with disgust before going to the water tank, picking up a glass that was left on the table beside it for her, and filled it with water. “Your mother’s out.”
“Ah. Right. Since it’s five, I guess she might not be home for supper. Are you cooking? Or am I?” Addison ducked as a half glass of water was tossed at her. Her grandmother hated cooking as much as Addison disliked eating her food. It had been a joke between them since Addison was about eight and told her grandmother that she didn’t to hurt her feelings but her food tasted like cardboard. Her grandmother, surprisingly, had burst out laughing and had agreed. She’d also agreed from that day forth she would not subject them to her cooking.
“Missed me.” Addison burst out laughing. This was a side of her grandmother that she rarely showed and definitely not when Addison’s mom, Deborah, was home. “You made the mess, you have to clean it up.”
“Damn cheeky, aren’t you? Throw my own words back at me? You’re not very nice to an old woman in a wheelchair.”
“Oh, you poor thing. Geez, you know what? They invented this thing called a mop. It has a long handle on it. I’m pretty sure it’s so that people who move around in electric chairs can still clean up their own mess.” Addison went and got the mop and handed it to her grandmother. Since her grandmother wouldn’t take it, she leaned it against her chair. “You clean up and I’ll cook.”
She went to the fridge and started hauling out the food in the fridge. It was all leftovers. Nothing looked too appealing, so she reached into the freezer and took out some steak. Taking out her phone, she put on some music, so she could dance while she worked. It took a little while before she realized there was nothing but silence behind her. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw that her grandmother was still there. Her fingers were wrapped around the mop handle in a stranglehold.
Addison quickly went to her. “Are you okay?”
“Just some chest pain. It’s nothing.” She lifted her hand and cupped Addison’s cheek. A look and feel of sadness emanated from her. Addison used her own hand to hold hers tight to her face as she smiled understandingly back.
“You were such a blessing. One that I didn’t deserve. And in many ways, neither did your mom.” She pursed her lips for a moment. Addison bit her tongue. “Not in the way you think. But… it’s hers to tell you. You replaced so much that I missed out on in life. My own so—we need…”
Addison frowned, her grandmother had sounded stern, foreboding and sometimes even threatening but she have never sounded… defeated. Morose. Addison wasn’t sure what to call it. All she knew was that it sent a shiver through her core. She crouched down. Her grandmother’s health was failing. In fact, she couldn’t believe she had lasted as long as she had. She’d been in the wheelchair since before Addison was born. Although, no one had ever told Addison how or why she was in the chair, just that her legs didn’t work properly. Addison had often helped her grandmother get up in the morning and had seen that they were bent unnaturally. There were bends where there shouldn’t have been. Addison’s questions had always gone unanswered. Figuring it was due to some disease or something embarrassing, she’d stopped asking.
“We need?” Addison prodded.
Her grandmother pulled back, setting her hand in her lap. “To talk. There are things I need to tell you. Things your mom doesn’t want me telling you. But it’s time.” She looked on the verge of tears. The woman had never even come close to having a damp eye in Addison’s thirty years. Okay, Addison didn’t know if it was that long but as long as she could remember.
“You are a beautiful child. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Don’t let… the stories change that for you. Don’t let him… Do you hear me?”
Addison eased back. “I do. What’s going on? Him, who? What deep, dark secret warrants so much—”
“Don’t make light of this. You’re going to need to protect your mom. She’s doing something foolish. Something… I encourage but should have stopped. I should have gotten rid of those damn things years ago. I hadn’t meant to keep them. They were just something to teach the girls how to take care of themselves. How not to be taken in by trinkets. I know they could have changed a lot of things but they were dangerous. I only used a few so that I could set up that farm. Set up… everything.”
“What are you talking about? Is mom in danger?”
Mrs. S bowed her head. “Maybe. On one hand, I thought it would be a way to bring them all back together. To apologize. To make things right. You’re the only one I’ve done right by in my life and I can’t even take real credit for that. Your mom is the one who made you happy. She’s the one who, beyond all odds, has always seen the bright side. Even with you… How she turned out so good, I don’t know. Her parents must have been amazing. I do know I can’t take the credit. Heaven knows I wasn’t nice.”
“You’ve got me freaked right out. I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about but it sounds very sinister. Just cut to the final chapter. Tell me what is going on.”
Mrs. S pressed her hand to her chest. “A long time ago, I was—”
The door to the garage opened and closed. Footsteps could be heard coming up the basement steps. “Hi. I’m home early. I hope no one started supper. I brought pizza.”
“What?” Addison prodded her grandmother in a low but stern tone.
“I have notes that will explain everything. They’re in the can.”
“You put papers in the bathroom?”
“No. The CAN.”
“Oh. You mean a can, can. Like what a coffee can? What am I looking for?”
Her grandmother shook her head, her face heavy with burden. “That’s what the girls called it. I never did. I called it—”
“Addison, I could use some help.” Her mom came into view, her arms full of bags and two boxes of pizza. Addison hustled over to her and took the pizzas out of her arms.
“Of course you’d take them. They’re the lightest and smell the best.” Her mom chastised her while smiling. Addison danced out of her way and set the boxes on the kitchen counter.
“Ruth, are you doing okay?” Her mom set down the bags of groceries and went over to her.
“I’m fine. A bit tired is all. I think I’ll lie down. I’ll eat later.” Addison had wanted to help her grandmother into bed but her mom insisted on doing it, something she’d been doing for almost thirty years. Her mom was such a good soul.
Footsteps on the stairs alerted Addison that her mom was home. She sighed as that sound pulled her out of her reverie. The irony of the same incident being part of her memory and her current situation wasn’t lost on her. Her mom would say it was an omen.
It thrilled her that her grandmother had loosened up so much. It had taken Addison years of one-sided water fights to get her grandmother to retaliate. The fact that it was shortly before she died saddened Addison that she’d never get to see that side of her again.
That was the last time she’d talked with her grandmother. That night, she died in her sleep. It had left a hole in Addison and her mom’s life. The woman had taken up a lot of their days. And she was always there, whirring around in her wheelchair and needing help with one thing or another. Since she’d been in the wheelchair for many years, she’d been pretty independent but because of age, she’d lost some of her mobility. Arthritis had set in her shoulders, leaving them weak and achy. Addison had been the one to help her get up and get dressed most mornings. Her mom helped her throughout the day when Addison was at work and at bedtime.
Addison swallowed back the lump in her throat but pasted on a smile as her mom came into view. Seeing the tired lines on her mom’s face kept her from asking her what she knew about where her grandmother would hide some notes. It had been her last request but Addison hadn’t been able to find them. And she’d looked everywhere. In every can in the house. She hadn’t found anything. So far, she hadn’t shared it with her mom. She had a lot on her shoulders and didn’t seem to be handling losing Ruth very well.
“I need your help.”
Addison felt a sinking feeling in her gut. It wasn’t that her mom asked, it was how she asked. Her face had gone white. Fear was stamped all over her words.
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Multi-Award winning author, Maggie Thom loves the challenge of creating a web of secrets, lies and deceit. She doesn’t want you to figure it out until the end. Author of The Caspian Wine Suspense/Thriller/Mystery Series – Captured Lies (Award Winning), Deceitful Truths & Split Seconds (award winning) - and her other individual novels Tainted Waters (2013 Suspense/Thriller Book of the Year through Turning the Pages Magazine), Deadly Ties, Fractured Lines, and Blurred Lines (free on her website maggiethom.com). Her new series, The Twisted Deception Series - Fostered Identity, Shadowed Footsteps, Exploited Innocence (2022), Lost Tears (2022), and Last Betrayal (2022). Take the roller coaster ride. It’s worth it.
Her motto: Read to escape… Escape to read…
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