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12 Days Of Christmas Giveaway!

Happy Holidays everyone!

I hope you’re somewhere warmer than me! I love love love the holiday season and decorating so to celebrate I’ve decided to giveaway a book a day leading up to the 23rd!

Yay! Let’s all be merry and bright this season.

Every day from the 12th-23rd around 7pm a new giveaway will post on my Facebook Page– so be sure to check back daily and enter.

I’m really excited for this and I hope you are too!

Here are the books (in no particular order) that will be given away:

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Imposter is LIVE

If you pick up the book by November 26…you will be entered to win a $50.00 VISA Gift Card!
live50
Here’s how to let me know you bought/gifted a copy;
 https://goo.gl/forms/bCE2lph9C1wvvTP22
–>THE RELEASE PRICE OF 2.99 GOES UP TO 3.99 AFTER THE 26th!
Imposter Buy Links
iBOOKS: https://goo.gl/eipMcJ
NOOK: https://goo.gl/wUKrqJ
KOBO: https://goo.gl/6mqqHl
AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Imposter-blockbuster-suspense-thriller-Larsen-ebook/dp/B01MTPZ092/

The next blockbuster thriller for those who loved The Girl on the Train, Jezebel and The Butterfly Garden…In idyllic Brunswick, Maine, tragedy strikes, leaving one family struggling to stay together. Seven-year-old Sophie Anderson vanished from a neighbors’ front lawn in 2006 leaving the Anderson family reeling. Helen, a mother who never gave up hope. Sam, a father who couldn’t cope. Cora, the even-keeled sister, and Shane, the angry half-brother fought to maintain their family after losing Sophie.
Just when the Anderson’s thought they had moved past Sophie’s disappearance, Cora finds Sophie shivering behind a dumpster in Portland, Maine 10 years later. As Sophie integrates back into her family a series of dark revelations rear their ugly heads leaving you wondering… is anyone who you think they are?
How well do you know your child, your spouse, your best friend or neighbor? How far would you go to protect your family? How many secrets could you keep before your world begins to crumble? How far would you go to better your life? Everyone has skeletons. Everyone lies. The question is, which lies are harmless and which skeletons are meant to be bared?
Imposter Buy Links
iBOOKS: https://goo.gl/eipMcJ
NOOK: https://goo.gl/wUKrqJ
KOBO: https://goo.gl/6mqqHl
AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Imposter-blockbuster-suspense-thriller-Larsen-ebook/dp/B01MTPZ092/

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Not everyone is who they appear to be…

Helen dropped to her knees and started pulling out Sophie’s clothes from the dresser drawers. Small shirts and pants. Tiny socks. Oshkosh labels and small patent leather shoes all went into the boxes. She sobbed as memories washed over her. She hugged a stuffed dog to her chest and rocked back and forth. It had been one of Sophie’s favorites. She inhaled the smell that barely lingered on it. She couldn’t do this. Funny how life could twist on you like an unfamiliar road until you weren’t sure which way you were headed anymore. She drew strength from the recesses of her soul and plowed forward. It took her just over an hour to pack most everything up. Five boxes. Sophie’s entire life had been reduced to five pathetic boxes.

She stacked the boxes in the closet. She would not be getting rid of anything-simply stowing it away. Helen closed the door to the closet as if she were closing the door on her daughter. Her heart splintered. Out of sight but not out of mind, Helen glanced around the room. Her chest constricted at how barren it looked. How unlived in. She walked to the bed and drew up all the bedding into her arms and tossed it into the laundry basket before she remade the bed with clean fresh sheets and blankets.

IMPOSTER

 

Imposter

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Helen from Imposter

Helen

 

            Snow floated in the air silently outside. Helen stared, momentarily-zoned out in the decent of the flakes.

Big fluffy flakes that barely weighed anything.  Sophie used to love playing in the snow, she thought, but long gone were the days of bundling Sophie in snow pants, boots, a hat and mittens. Gone was the moment of zipping up her coat all the way to her chin and patting her on the butt as she clumsily made her way out the front door. Helen clung tightly to the memories she had of her daughter. Even ten years later, she held out secret hope that her daughter was still alive. Helen carefully arranged a bouquet of thorny  red  roses in a vase.

Statistically speaking, Sophie was dead. Everyone told her so. The police, the center for missing children, other missing children’s parents from her support group. She knew that-but she always believed that a mother knew if her baby’s heart was still beating somewhere out there and Helen had never felt the loss of Sophie in the deepest recesses of her heart. She just felt she was still alive.

                        Not knowing was the worst. It let the nightmares in. The what if’s and the tortures of imagination could drive a person crazy, especially after a decade of unanswered questions, but Helen reminded herself daily that she had to be strong because- what if Sophie came home? If she showed up and Helen was in the looney bin with no safe home to return to- that would be the ultimate failure as a mother.

 

            “Hey,” Sam said. Helen glanced at the clock. Her husband arrived home just after five pm.  At fifty he was still handsome as ever. ‘Easy on the eyes’ as her mother had called him. Tall with an athletic build and a strong jaw but kind eyes. He kissed her cheeks and swatted her rear as he passed her on his way to the kitchen. He had swept Helen off her feet at twenty-three. She had loved that he was a responsible single father of a two year old son- it showed his character. He was attentive and romantic. He’d wooed her with flowers, compliments and simple moments of affection.

At twenty-four they married and by twenty-five, Cora was born. Those early years had been pure joy. Shane-four, and Cora just a newborn, had seemed to complete their lives. Sophie came four years later by accident. A happy surprise to Sam and Helen but Cora, then four and Shane, eight, weren’t quite as elated. In that first year with Sophie, there had been a lot of singing ‘you can’t always get what you want’ to the kids. Now, decades later, Cora and Shane loved to bring that song up and sing it back to Sam and her when the moment was right. Helen grinned at the thought.

            “Hi love. How was work?” she asked and followed him to the kitchen.

“Same as always. Me trying to get Dad to modernize- Dad refusing- me plotting his retirement.” Sam winked at her and rolled his eyes. She watched as he set a bouquet of flowers on the counter for her. She loved the way he left flowers for her in the evening when he came home from work.

 

Since before Helen knew him, Sam was on track to take over the family business. A business that over the years had amassed them quite a fortune. Sam’s father had promised to retire three years ago but was still working full time- much to Sam’s dismay. He had plans to bring the company more up-to-date. He wanted a technologically savvy company, not the archaic one his father started.

With her step-son Shane now twenty-five and living in Boston, and Cora, twenty one and renting in Portland, the house was eerily quiet. Empty nesters. They should still have had a child in their home for at least another year. But it was what it was. Helen spent her days volunteering at Park View Hospital while Sam spent his at work.

Each time Helen witnessed Shane and his father growing closer over the years, each time he went to a father daughter event with Cora, she found herself angry with him for not mourning the loss of having those very same moments with Sophie. Helen felt that pang of heartbreak with every rite of passage that came and went for Cora and Shane knowing that those moments were stolen from her youngest child.

The years had been hard on their marriage. They loved each other,  yes, but the loss of a child tore the fabric of their marriage over time leaving them distant. A gaping chasm that never seemed to shrink no matter how much counseling they endured together. Or maybe that was what all marriages were like after twenty-two years. Helen wasn’t naive.  She didn’t expect passion to be around every corner but she did wonder if she should feel a more certain closeness to her husband after all these years.

Everyone mourns the loss of a child differently. At least that is what the counselor had told them so long ago. Helen couldn’t help the resentment she felt toward Sam about the way he moved on. To her, she would never give up hope but Sam had long ago written Sophie off. He refused to even speak her name or take a chance on new leads that came over the years with her case after that first year she was gone. To save their marriage, Helen had adapted to his methods. She had Cora to think about. Cora was one of those souls who watched to see what she could do for others, someone who would rather serve in silence. A kind and generous person.

Her step-son Shane was a different beast altogether. He’d been unruly from the start. A difficult child and a destructive one. Helen attributed it to three things. The way his mother coddled him, the way his father, Sam, treated him more like a best friend than a parent and Sophie’s disappearance. Those three things seemed to shape him over the years into a handsome man who was always on edge and had a temper.

“What’s for dinner, love?” Sam asked. He held her hand, brushed his thumb over her knuckles and looked at her as if she were his entire world.

“I don’t know. I thought maybe we could go out,” Helen answered.

Sam smiled and nodded. “Sure. Let me change and we can head out. Any hankerings?”

“Mexican,” Helen said. Sam beamed at her. He loved Mexican food and she knew it would please him that she suggested it. No matter how strange their relationship was now, she still tried. And that was what mattered in the end right?

That they never stopped trying.

Sam leaned in and kissed her softly. His salty lips made her laugh. He was always snacking on salted peanuts on his drive home from work.

K. Larsen (subject to change)

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Imposter- Thriller

IMPOSTER
AVA

July 11, 2016

“I was never really loved. I guess that’s where it began. My mother wasn’t a mother, more like someone who just used me when it was convenient for her. I wasn’t wanted so what did it matter?” Ava thought about how her mother used to leave her at the Hannaford when she was little. She’d just walk in, take Ava to the bakery section for a free cookie then leave. The lady at the bakery never called the police on her mother. Or anyone else. And after a while, she took Ava in-kinda-sorta. Ava would go behind the counter, have all the free cookies she wanted and watch as Big Peggy whipped up treats for the display cases.

“Go on,” Dr. White urged.

“I’m not a slug you know. I would have worked more, but it’s hard to get a work permit signed by your parent when you haven’t seen them. I tried to do better. I tried to help out.”

“Where was your mother?” he asked.

“Who knows? Strung out somewhere is my guess. I haven’t seen her in almost a year.”

“So you tried to help out at home but it wasn’t enough,” he restated.

Ava rolled her eyes and twirled her hair. “Yeah, and eventually I got too cold, too hungry and too fed up. I thought if I just took the easy way out the world would be a burden short finally.”

Dr. White, didn’t take the baited statement and moved on. “What happened when they released you from Stonehurst?”

Ava didn’t want to rehash the recent past. She was bone tired from sleeping with one eye open for the last month. What she wanted was a hot shower, a warm meal and a bed. Scratch that, what she really wanted was a family. One that counted. One that loved her.

“I went home,” she said.

“Ava, I’m trying here. You’ve got to help me out.” Dr. White looked irritated with her simple answers. Ava rolled her shoulders but she knew if she wanted this visit to end she needed to play the game.

“I went back to the studio apartment but the building had been condemned. Which was probably my fault. The EMT’s probably reported it when they picked me up. I tried to sneak in but I couldn’t. It was like our lives were just a pile of crumbs on a table, and someone came along with a rag and wiped them away. But that’s life, right? You think a place is a possession, but it isn’t.” Ava looked out the barred window. The sun was blazing and the sky was bright blue. She wondered if life would ever feel as beautiful as the sky looked. A slew of people were now interested in her. People, she decided, were curious creatures. No one noticed her before. But now, now everyone noticed her.

“Why didn’t you reach out to one of your State-appointed counselors or try to find your mother or other family?”

“For what? So I could stay in a shelter and feel even worse about my life? Or find my mom only to find her passed out on some dudes bed? Or end up dead from drinking  because rural Maine is a wasteland? I figured I was better off homeless. I know that I have nothing to look forward to outside of being a retail person, or possibly taking out student loans for college. And why? I ask myself that question hundreds of times, and the only answer I ever get is to land a job that I would probably hate, and spend years of my life staring out a window wishing for more. I don’t want that kind of life. A kid like me doesn’t really have options.” Her voice caught between anger and panic. Goals receded into the distance while reality stretched on, until it became only natural to desire something beyond oneself. Maybe it was just some TV or time on Facebook or window shopping. Maybe a sleeping pill to ease her to sleep. Maybe a narcotic to tame the physical and psychological pain. Maybe just simple love and affection. Maybe there was a cure for what ailed her. She wouldn’t know until she exhausted all avenues.

Ava adjusted herself in her chair. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and continued. “I went looking for Gary instead. He might have been a heroin addict but he was about the only thing in life that showed any sort of affection toward me.”

“Did you find him?” Dr. White asked.

“Yeah. At Howie’s bar near the tracks. You know it? It’s a little hole-in-the-wall craptastic place.”

Dr. White shook his head. “Can’t say I have.”

“Well it was Gary’s favorite hang out. He bought me a soda and let me hang with him for the night.”

“Where did Gary live then?”

Ava laughed. “Gary didn’t live. Gary only survived for his next hit. After Howie’s booted him out he took me to his friends place with him.”

“What time was that?” Dr. White asked.

Ava thought it over. She never was good at details. “I dunno, maybe like eleven or so?”

“So you went to whose house then?”

“Some guy they call Fat Mike, which is dumb because the dude is stupid skinny.  He squats in a shit hole building near Exchange Street.”

“Go on,” Dr. White said.

“So we get there and Gary and Fat Mike go into another room. I sit on the couch for a while with my backpack just waiting. Fat Mike comes back out and says Gary is passed out. So I get up to leave but Fat Mike says I can stay until he wakes up. Says I can sleep on the couch.”

“Okay.”

“Anyway I don’t know this dude so I don’t want to sleep out in the open. I tell him it’s cool- I’ll just sleep with Gary. I mean, Gary was more like a dad to me. He is like fifty or something and even though he is a hopeless addict, he is always kind to me in his own way. Watched out for me and stuff.” Ava shrugged and twirled a clump of hair around her finger.

“Yes, Gary was very concerned when you were found.”

“Yeah. I talked to him. We’re okay.” Ava smiled. Gary was strange and a hot mess but reliable when it came to her. Dr. White made notes on his legal pad. His pen made a scratching sound on the paper. So many notes. She shook her head. Ava wondered how any of this was pertinent information to the case.

©2016 K. Larsen

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xoxo