Lost Tears Chapters 1 & 2
Lost Tears is being published May 31, 2022. New Release.
Writing Lost Tears was intersting to write. It was one of those books that I had a bit of a struggle with it. I had this story idea but wasn’t sure how to make it work with the current series. I knew where I wanted it to go but the characters had different ideas. I think we finally found a good compromise. As you read this story, the back story and who all of the characters are should be becoming clearer so that you are learning who all the players are. If you haven’t read what sparked the idea, click here.
Here are Chapter 1 & 2 of Lost Tears, 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.
Lost Tears is book 4 in The Twisted Deception Suspense Thriller Mystery Series. All books in the series have standalone stories. But the story running in the background, the story that connects all the books, will keep you reading. Who is behind sending out the gems and what is their end game? An engaging thriller mystery with some interesting twists. Enjoy!
Lost Tears Book Blurb
A dead girl. Missing gems. Buried treasures.
Dayna comes home under protest. If her aunt hadn’t guilted her, she never would have come to see her ill mother. Their relationship has never been good. At her father’s request, Dayna agrees to search into her mom’s past. A past that is nothing like she imagined—religious zealots, a dead girl, and on her own at age sixteen. They help to give a clearer picture as to why her mom might have chosen the bottle but it doesn’t tell her who the people are or why someone is still trying to hide a forty-year-old death.
Tanner, an undercover police officer, has been asked, off the books, to do some sleuthing for stolen treasures. Walking the fine line of doing what he was trained to do, and keeping it legal, is keeping him on his toes and it turns out running for his life. What he has gotten involved in is way bigger than he imagined.
Dayna meets Tanner in the most unlikely ways but it soon comes to light that although they are working on different cases, their situations are very much connected. Working together, they soon find that trying to do right by a dead girl, dodging bullets, and solve who is behind it all, are keeping them on the run.
Can they identify the girl? And her killer, before he succeeds again?
Joan grew up in a Foster Home run by Mrs. Stephanos. Now, thirty-five years later, the bauble she played with as a child has arrived. And it is worth over a million dollars. She is one of the final foster sisters to receive her jewelry. But who is sending them out? And what is their end game?
She slipped the bodice over her head. Why Mrs. Stephanos had given her something so feminine, she didn’t know. Not true, she immediately told herself. Ever since she’d arrived there, Mrs. S had been trying to turn her into a lady. Tomboys were not tolerated. Dresses were the normal dress code, although she did make exceptions because of the outdoor chores. But the moment the girls were indoors, they were to wear dresses. Mrs. Stephanos had threatened to beat her more than once, for her ‘screwed up’ thinking, as she put it.
Diamond sighed heavily. She loved wearing pants and being outdoors, playing in the dirt, climbing trees. And other things too, that weren’t considered feminine. Or maybe not feminine enough. The messages she got were confusing—work until her hands bleed, do the work of men, but never act anything other than a lady. She always felt like she had to hide who she was. Since she didn’t know if there were others like her, she wasn’t sure if how she was feeling was normal or not. Mrs. S wanted her to believe it was wrong.
The cool air in the room made her shiver. She looked at the white, jewel-covered bodice she’d put on. It was incredibly beautiful and looked like it was meant to be the top half of a wedding gown. It was white with beautiful lace covering it and then had these clear, diamond-looking stones covering the sweetheart neckline going down into a ‘v’ to her bellybutton. Wishing there was a mirror so she could get a better look, she turned, looking over her shoulder.
She pressed her hands to her waist, pressing the soft, silky material tight to her skin. She was truly trying to feel beautiful but this felt wrong. This piece of clothing should have been given to Jade. She loved this kind of crap.
Easing out of the top, she draped it back over the half mannequin it had been resting on.
Diamond wasn’t sure what had inspired her to try it on, but the feelings she was having were confusing her. Mrs. Stephanos made it clear that women were to dress and act in a certain way. She made sure that the young women who came to live with her were not only taught manners and good posture, but how to work hard as well. But they still had to know their place and look their part. Hands had to be scrubbed until their nails gleamed.
Diamond hated it.
If she’d thought she could make it on her own, she’d have left long ago. But she’d tried that a few times before she’d arrived there. And she’d paid dearly. There were some nasty people who were more than happy to traffic an underage girl to fat old men.
She shivered at how close of an encounter she’d had on three occasions. She’d been on her own since she was five. Probably younger. Her mother was too busy turning tricks and finding her next fix. She’d barely remembered she had a daughter. Diamond realized her last encounter with a man who wanted a young virgin had been what had saved her. Someone had intervened and she’d ended up with Social Services. Mrs. Stephanos’s was the first place she ended up, unlike the other girls there, who had been to many foster homes first. Some of their stories were almost as bad as her real life.
It wasn’t a great place but it wasn’t bad. The real world was nastier. This place was safe. Kept her warm. Clothed. Fed. More than she’d had in her life.
So, she stayed. One day, she’d be able to express herself how she wanted. And it sure wasn’t going to be wearing dresses and frilly things. And she’d get as dirty as she wanted. And bathe when she wanted. One day she’d wear jeans and a shirt and spit and scratch her crotch.
She giggled. Mrs. Angel would have a cow. Mrs. Angel called once a week to ensure the girls were keeping up with their correspondence studies and to answer any math, science, or English questions. Mrs. S refused to answer any questions about their correspondence classes. She said she wasn’t the one who needed educating. They were all expected to do their schooling, work long hours on the farm, and look after their specialty item. Most had jewelry of some sort. Diamond’s was the bodice with jewels sewn into it.
Diamond was truly confused by it. Mrs. Stephanos told them over and over that the items they were looking after were fake. The gems weren’t worth anything, but it was mandatory to make sure they were properly taken care of. If anything were to happen to any of the jewels, the girls would be severely punished. Mrs. S said it was part of learning about the evil in life. About learning to look after something that was pointless and useless but giving it your full attention. One day that focus and ability to care for something useless would serve them well.
Who cared? It was all stupid anyway.
Rumor had it that one girl had been given a watch to look after. She’d dropped it and cracked the crystal. Word was that she’d been beaten and never seen again. Diamond had never met the girl and had tried to ask a few of the others but they were too scared of Mrs. S to tell her anything. Diamond had never seen Mrs. S hurt anyone, but she threatened them often enough. And there were enough rumors going around about how brutal she could be that Diamond never wanted to test her.
The clanging of the bell jolted her. Time for supper. If she didn’t hurry, she’d be late. Mrs. S hated tardiness. It meant no meal. Diamond rubbed her belly. She was always hungry and after putting in a ten-hour day between schooling and weeding the garden, she wasn’t about to miss out on food.
She zipped out of the room, making sure to lock the door behind her and then lock the big doors to The Can, as the girls called it. It was a big railway car, half buried in the side of a hill. Trees, moss, and tall grass hid it mostly from view. As she ran across the field, she glanced at her nails. Thankfully, they were still clean. She always cleaned her hands well before touching her specialty item but sometimes she got dirty on the way back to the house.
It was always the first thing that Mrs. S checked. It was another reason to be denied food. Or get more work duty.
As she ran, her hair slipped loose of its ribbon. The wind twisted her hair up around her face. Diamond swiped at it, hating it. First chance she got, she was shaving it off. Since that wasn’t an option, she grabbed it in one hand and held it until she made her way into the house, stopping only to change her outdoor shoes for her indoor shoes, before making her way to the dinner table. No reason to give Mrs. Stephanos something else to be mad at her for.
Dayna picked up the picture and then set it back down. The framed photo was of some exotic-looking place. She had to assume her aunt, her well-traveled aunt, had been there at one time or another. She glanced around the living room, feeling somewhat uncomfortable. Her aunt had wanted to meet her. She’d been all hush-hush about it.
Don’t tell your mom. Or your dad.
Don’t tell anyone.
It sounded so… she wasn’t even sure what to call it. Was it just her aunt’s kooky sense of humor? Or was something else going on?
Aunt Maggi wasn’t really her aunt. She’d been the lady next door who was a friend to her mom and the female in Dayna’s life who had made sense. Also, the one she’d run to when her mom was acting crazy. Or had too much to drink. Which had pretty much ended up being most of the time.
She’d let herself into her aunt’s house, as she had a key. She’d been doing that all her life, although it had been a long time since she’d used it. But it had never bothered her quite like it was now. Was she just antsy because her aunt was being so secretive?
She made her way over to the couch and sat down. The house was immaculate. Her aunt had a room full of antique furniture. The kind you never had to worry about someone stealing. It was too heavy to move. She stood up and made her way around the room, touching some of the items. She’d kept in touch with her aunt and had met her a few times for coffee or dinner, but she hadn’t gone back to her house. Since it was next door to Dayna’s mom’s house, it was too close. Dayna hadn’t been back there in years. Her mom’s drinking was something she couldn’t stomach seeing anymore.
Pushing away old memories, she took in a deep breath. There was a hint of lavender in the air. Probably from the many cuttings around the room. When she was young and running from her mother’s anger, Dayna would go to her aunt’s. She’d make her a cup of tea and tell her to sit and inhale the lavender scent. It had been a treat to have something so beautiful as lavender tickle her nostrils. It had been so different to what she normally got to breathe in at home—booze, stale breath, and sometimes even her mom’s vomit.
Lavender was still one of her favorite smells. It had often brought her a sense of peace. Today was no different. She reached out to touch a bundle of the lavender when the back door opened.
“Aunt Maggi?” Her aunt worked for an emergency call center and was just getting off shift.
“Dayna? You made it.”
Dayna moved through the living room to the back of the house. Her aunt was closing the door but turned and gave her a big hug. She was a big woman, standing almost six feet and probably weighed two hundred pounds but it was solid warmth that enveloped Dayna. It felt like home. She eased back. The lines on her aunt’s face looked more pronounced than she remembered. Had it been that long?
“I’ll make us some tea. Or maybe you want something stronger?”
That question straightened Dayna’s spine. Her aunt had never asked her if she wanted something other than tea.
“What’s going on?”
Dayna plopped her butt onto a bar stool and waited while her aunt set down her purse on the counter and started the kettle. Then she got busy putting away dishes, straightening things. Doing stuff that made Dayna more uncomfortable.
“Enough. What’s going on?”
Her aunt slowly turned to face her as she leaned against the counter. “It’s your mom.”
Dayna pursed her lips to keep them from opening.
“Come on, Dayna. I know you care.”
Dayna refused to give anything.
“She’s in the hospital. Liver issues. Maybe failure.”
Dayna had no idea what was showing on her face but that hit her. It was something she’d been expecting since she’d learned about alcoholism and what it did to your body in grade eleven biology class. Liver failure wasn’t good. Was she going to die?
She didn’t have to ask how. Or why. Those were a given and something her mom had been told on the few occasions she’d ended up in the hospital due to overindulging. But she’d never listened. Now it appeared that day had come.
“She’s changed. She’s been trying. In fact…”
Dayna stopped listening. Maggi had been trying to tell her for a long time that her mother was going to quit drinking. Her mother was going to get help. But in Dayna’s thirty years, she’d never seen it. No matter how much she’d hoped and prayed for it. No matter how much it had hurt her day in and day out. Now she didn’t care.
Numb. That’s all she felt. Although she had to admit it felt more like a soaking wet comforter that she’d wrapped herself in on a windy, rainy day. Not very comforting but sadly familiar. With just a slight change. This time, her mother might not come back.
That unsettled her. More than she wanted to admit. Or acknowledge.
Her aunt was talking but she couldn’t hear her. There was just this roar, like river rapids, going through her head. It kept her thoughts, her hearing, and her sight at bay. She was aware of everything, but nothing was touching her. Nothing was getting through to her. It was like she’d stopped functioning. It was scary but welcome at the same time.
It took a while but something finally invaded the invisible encased vault she’d locked herself in. It had been something she’d done as a child to protect herself. At times, she hadn’t wanted to see, hear, smell, taste, or be part of the outside world. The roar started to recede. It scared her. And she wasn’t sure whether it was the coming or going of it that scared her. She hadn’t felt that for a very long time. Probably the last time was when she’d been in her mom’s house, many years before. Without a word, she got up and walked out the front door, remembering to close it behind her. Like a robot, she made her way down the stairs and walked to the gate that her mom and aunt had installed between their houses, to make it easier for her. She opened the top latch on the gate and walked through. Other than closing the gate behind her, she kept moving toward the front of the house and up the front steps. She didn’t stop until she stood in front of the door. But that was as far as she could go. There was a familiarity of standing there just like she presently was. But it wasn’t comfort. Not like going home and you felt like you were home. This felt like she was standing at the edge of a storm, wondering if it was going to swallow her or if she was going to skate at the edges of it.
She stared at the door she had slammed in her mother’s face many times. The echo of that sound, of the door banging, shutting out her mother’s slurs and insults, had always jolted her. When she returned, which was often hours later, that same door had felt like a massive steel door that she had to open. A door she’d come to hate. A door, she noted, that had been painted recently. It was a clean, crisp, dark green.
She dropped her forehead against it. It was the same color as it had always been but looked fresher than she remembered it. The scuff marks from where she’d kicked it a time or two or three were gone. The last time she’d opened or closed that door was over ten years before. Her mom had been yelling at her. Slurring at her was more accurate. Telling her she was ungrateful, that she didn’t know anything about life. That she should be glad she was alive. Not everyone got that choice. Then she yelled that God’s wrath was going to rain down on her.
Dayna wondered if this was going to be the day for it to happen, because she was such an undutiful daughter. Energy drained out of her, like a slow tire leak. Her body slowly sagged against the door until she could no longer stand and soon found herself on her knees in front of the door. Her mother would have loved seeing her like that. It was something she had been trying to get Dayna to do her whole life. Get down on her knees and pray.
“We have to go and see her.”
The sound of her aunt’s voice didn’t even phase her. She’d been expecting it. She glanced over her shoulder. Her aunt had that compassionate ‘I get it’ look, but she also had that look of determination, ‘we’re going.’ The woman had always been her conscience, telling her she needed to do what was right, even when her mom or the world was doing wrong.
Wanting to tell her aunt where to go, but knowing she wouldn’t, she got to her feet. “And your cryptic, secretive message?”
“I had to get your attention somehow.”
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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