by Lauren Clark
Every day, I wake up certain of only three things: I am responsible for my mother’s death. My father has vanished. Someone wants me dead. I’m on the run. It’s me against the world. I cannot let it break me.
When sixteen-year-old Olivia Jacobs and her celebrity chef father are brutally attacked after his French Quarter restaurant opening, the shell-shocked Olivia finds herself on the run on the streets of New Orleans. Who wants her dead? And why?
The dark thoughts were back. Real and chilling. Like a bony finger tapping her on the shoulder.
Kate shivered. In one swift movement, she shrugged out of her soaked jacket, scattering an arc of raindrops on the floor like the outline of a crescent moon.
Instead of kneeling to wipe up the moisture, Kate turned and pressed both palms on the side table in front of the mirror. She gazed at her pale reflection. Deep brown eyes stared back, the flecks of gold dim from lack of rest and too much worry. It had been a hell of a week.
As a clinical psychologist, Kate fought for innocent victims. She delegated, advocated, and managed, helping each to regain their lives after violent trauma. She’d taken the helm at the crisis center only a year ago, and the demand hadn’t slowed for their services. New patients overflowed the clinic, with counselors working overtime. The court docket was jammed and their safe house was nearly full.
This afternoon, Kate was moments away from leaving the office when the new client, shell-shocked and tear-streaked, walked in. Every single counselor was busy. Theo would have to forgive her. Kate dropped her purse and wrap, grabbed an intake form, and brought the shaking girl a bent Styrofoam cup of lukewarm coffee before trying to coax out her story.
They spoke, in halting, awkward conversation about the damp weather and Mardi Gras, school exams at the girl’s Catholic high school. She was 16. And despite her torn uniform and scuffed leather shoes, the girl’s family was well off. But Kate knew better than anyone socioeconomic class didn’t segregate these victims. Rape was about opportunity, power, and control.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lauren Clark is the author of several award-winning novels, including Dancing Naked in Dixie, Stardust Summer, and Stay Tuned. She also writes suspense under the name Laura McNeill. Center of Gravity and Sister Dear have been published by HarperCollins.
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