This Beautiful World by Elisabeth Jackson
Publication Date: July 23, 2014
After tragedy struck, she came home to be confronted again by the chilling mystery that had haunted her since childhood and rediscovered the one romance she always regretted not having…As children, RaeAnne and her sidekick King were held captive after they discovered the body of a boy their age in a crate of apples in their small town’s peculiar orchard. Now RaeAnne is grown and the mother of a troubled young daughter. After her mother is killed in an accident, she travels home to her father with her daughter. But RaeAnne finds that she is not welcomed by everyone, and frightening incidents start to happen involving her and her family. As RaeAnne unravels the mysteries of her childhood, including what happened to her older brother, who vanished on the same night RaeAnne and King found terror in the orchard, she reunites with King. The boy she knew has grown up to be very handsome and guarded. But can the two ever be more than old friends who share a terrifying secret?
I realized I’d hurt him. But I was too shaken up to comfort anyone but myself.
“What’ll I tell Maddie at home?” I sobbed, holding my hands in my lap, avoiding King’s touch, if he did try to reassure me. “How do I tell her that her father—”
King’s hand reached me before I could shift to my side, and he kneaded my hand with his palm. “I’ll help you. I’m here for you.”
Heat descended from my chest downward. “Pull over.”
I breathed out. “Please, do it.” By now we were far enough away from the Grays’s property, and I knew if I didn’t do this now, I never would.
The steering wheel jerked in King’s hand, and the pickup swung a little too close to the opposite lane. “Watch out,” I said.
King put on the turn signal, and the pickup rode off to the side and halted. He put the brake on, switched on the flashers, and left the truck running. “When we get to your house, I’ll come in with you.” He thought I wanted to talk about what came next for us tonight.
“That’s not it,” I said, facing the window. Branches covered with wet leaves flattened against the windows on one side of the pickup.
“We’ll call the police when we get to your dad’s place.”
“Okay. But that still isn’t it.” I swung toward King and drew him nearer to me by his collar. I locked onto his eyes, a shimmer of deep green in them. Tilting my head, and skimming his cheek with mine, I closed my eyes as my lips enveloped his in a long, slow kiss. His mouth worked around mine faster, and my body stiffened at his eagerness, then I reciprocated his yearning. His lips were soft and persistent. I pulled back and pressed my hands against his chest.
Bringing his fingers to his mouth, he rubbed his lips. “Wow.” I couldn’t tell whether he was pleased, shocked, or both.
I took my hands off him, my tone quaky with nerves. “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I did that.”
“I enjoyed it, but it feels a little wrong somehow, considering what has happened, considering what we saw tonight.”
Ashamed, I turned away from him. “You don’t have to explain. It was inappropriate of me.”
King put his arm around me and squeezed my shoulder. “It’s all right, Rae. People react in all sorts of ways after experiencing these kinds of things. And you know how I feel about you, right?”
I faced the dark woods outside the window. “Yeah, but wanting to make out? There must be something wrong with me.”
“There never could be something wrong about you.” He lifted his arm from my shoulders and moved the truck again.
About the Author
Elisabeth Jackson loves the outdoors and dogs, rescued dogs in particular. This Beautiful World is her debut novel and blends haunting childhood secrets, romantic themes, second chances, and a mystery in a small town setting. When she is not writing small town Romances and Mysteries, she works as a freelance business writer. Her characters are inspired by the rural towns she has visited and lived in.