Almost Dead by Blake Pierce

Almost Dead

Almost Dead by Blake Pierce (The Au Pair Series, Book 3)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 4.2 MB

After the disastrous fallout from her last placement in England, all 23-year-old Cassandra Vale wants is a chance to pick up the pieces. A high-society, divorced mother in sunny Italy seems to be the answer. But is she?

With a new family come new children, new rules, and new expectations. Cassandra’s determined to make this one last – until a horrifying discovery pushes her to a breaking point.

And when the unimaginable occurs, will it be too late to pull herself back from the brink? Who, she wonders, is she becoming?

A riveting mystery replete with complex characters, layers of secrets, dramatic twists and turns and heart-pounding suspense, ALMOST DEAD is book #3 in a psychological suspense series that will have you turning pages late into the night.

Cassandra Vale hurried along the paved street. Cold rain stung her face, and she blinked it out of her eyes. It was getting late, and already dark, and she was worried she was lost. This part of Milan didn’t look the way she’d expected it to. She’d ended up in one of the main shopping squares. Shoppers, wrapped in dark, stylish coats and holding carrier bags, thronged the wide sidewalk.

Cassie glanced into the stores as she headed toward the crossroads, wondering if she could ask for directions inside. The brightly lit interiors were oases of comfort and warmth, but in her shabby jacket and wet trainers she doubted she’d be allowed past the door. These names represented the pinnacle of the fashion industry. Emilio Pucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino. The garments themselves seemed as far out of reach as their price tags.

She would just have to rely on her map, which was rapidly disintegrating in the rain. She stopped at the crossroads to unfold it, realizing that her lips and cheeks felt numb. The damp paper tore as she opened it and she pressed the ripped pieces together, trying to make sense of the complex pattern of streets with the unfamiliar, and by now mostly unreadable, names.

She’d come too far. She should have turned four blocks ago. Disoriented in the strange place, she hadn’t stopped to check her bearings. Her hands were shaking as she turned the map, trying to puzzle her way back to where she needed to be. A left turn here, three blocks down—no, five—and then another left turn that led into a twisting labyrinth of roads. That was where she needed to be.

Cassie folded the pieces as best she could and put them back in her pocket, even though she knew the map wouldn’t survive another outing. She had to concentrate now, and suppress the panic that she would be too late, that the place she needed would have closed by the time she got there, or, worse still, that her journey would end in nothing more than hopeless disappointment.

This was her only chance to find her sister, Jacqui. It was the only lead she had.

Struggling to keep the picture of the route in her mind, she half ran down the streets, noticing that as she left Milan’s fashion epicenter behind, the walkways became narrower and the shop fronts less imposing. This was where the cheaper items and knock-offs were displayed, the Euro prices dropping with every block and January sale notices screaming from the shabby windows.

She caught sight of herself in the darkened glass. Her skin was winter-pale, her cheeks flushed from the cold. She’d pulled a lime-green beanie over her shoulder-length auburn hair, mostly for warmth, but also to keep the rebellious waves under control. Huddled in her old blue coat with its broken zipper, she looked out of place in this stylish fashion capital. She felt like an outsider among the immaculately dressed locals, with their perfectly groomed hair and expensive boots and natural sense of style.

When she and Jacqui were young, they had often been forced to wear worn, torn, ill-fitting clothing to school, with their widowed father angrily insisting there was no money to buy them anything better. Cassie had accepted her lot more readily than Jacqui, who had hated looking shabby and poor.

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