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Jeaniene Frost

The Beautiful Ashes

Jeaniene Frost The Beautiful Ashes Original
$6.39 New
 
Out of stock but available. Should ship within 1 to 3 weeks.

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Series:

A Broken Destiny Novel

Excerpt from book:

I'm twenty, and already, I've got nothing left to lose. That's why I didn't care that Bennington, Vermont, looked like a postcard for autumn in the country. The two-story bed-and-breakfast I pulled up to was no different. It even had a white picket fence and a steady swirl of sunset-colored leaves drifting down from the many trees in the yard.

My picturesque surroundings were in stark contrast to how I looked. If I hadn't been exhausted from grief and stress, I might've cared that my brown hair now resembled greasy mud. Or that my breath was in desperate need of a Mentos, and don't get me started on the coffee stains decorating my WMU shirt. Since I had more important things to worry about, I didn't even bother to cover my head against the downpour as I left my car and ran into the bed-and-breakfast.

"One moment!" a cheery voice called out from farther inside. Then a heavyset older woman with graying red hair came down the hallway.

"Hello, dear. I'm Mrs. Paulson. Are you—oh, my, you're soaked!"

"It's nothing," I said, but she bustled out of sight, returning moments later with a towel.

"You sit down and dry yourself off," she ordered in the same tsking tone my mother had used a million times before. A surge of grief had me dropping into the chair she waved at. The things you didn't realize you'd miss until they were gone…

"Thanks," I said, determined not to cry in front of a total stranger. Then I pulled out the Ziploc bag I'd carried around most of the day. "I'm looking for two people who might've stayed here the weekend before last."

As I spoke, I pulled out a picture of my sister, Jasmine, and her boyfriend, Tommy.

Mrs. Paulson got a pair of glasses from her apron pocket. Then she sat behind a large antique desk and accepted the picture.

"Oh, what a pretty girl," she said, adding kindly, "just like you. But I've never seen either of them before, sorry."

"Thanks," I said, although I wanted to scream.

I'd spent the day showing Jasmine's picture to every hotel, motel and inn in Bennington, yet no one had recognized my sister. She'd been here, though. The last texts she'd sent came from Bennington, but the police already hinted that they thought she'd sent them while driving through. To them, Jasmine was an impulsive eighteen-year-old who'd gone on a road trip with her boyfriend. My sister might be impulsive, but she wouldn't have disappeared for over a week unless she was in real trouble.

I stuffed her picture back into the plastic bag and rose, so upset that I barely registered what Mrs. Paulson was saying.

"…can't let you go back out in that, dear. Wait here until the rain stops."

I blinked in surprise at her unexpected kindness. Every other proprietor had been anxious for me to leave once they knew why I was there, as if losing a family member could somehow be contagious. My eyes stung with a sudden rush of tears. Maybe it was. My parents' funeral was the day after tomorrow.

"Thank you, but I can't," I said, voice husky from emotions I couldn't let myself feel yet. The shock helped with that. Ten days ago, my biggest concern had been making a bad impression on my Comparative Revolutions professor after my text message alerts kept going off in his class. Then I read Jasmine's texts, and everything had changed.

Mrs. Paulson gave me another sympathetic smile. "At least let me make you a hot cup of tea—"

A dark, hazy double image suddenly appeared over the reception lounge, making it look as though it had aged over a hundred years in an instant. "The Beautiful Ashes was a non-stop, action packed, mind twisting storyline. Frost masterfully builds this world within worlds with so many twists and turns I'm still reeling." -Beth, Tome Trender


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