"Author Laurie Wood knows how to create great suspense to keep us reading into the night. The tension escalated as I tried to figure out who was trying to harm Kira...and why. [...]
If you like romance with strong suspense elements and woven with threads of faith, I highly recommend NORTHERN DECEPTION." Sherida, Goodreads
Release Date: December 4th, 2018
Reunions can be deadly.
After a savage attack in university, Kira Summers fled to the safety of northern Canada and her work as a polar bear scientist. But when her whistleblower brother dies in a mysterious car crash, she must return home to bury him and pack his belongings. Unaware she’s carrying explosive evidence someone’s willing to kill for, she has no choice but to rely on the one person she never thought she’d see again.
Lukas Tanner, a widowed single father of a special needs toddler, moved to Churchill five years ago. As the proud owner of Guiding Star Enterprises, a wilderness tour company, he and his daughter lead a simple life. But when Kira comes crashing back into his world, he realizes God has other plans. Now, Lukas and Kira must confront a merciless killer as their past and present collide in a deadly race—a race they must win if they have any hope of a future together.
Kira Summers shivered as she stood beside her brother’s open grave. Winnipeg Memorial Cemetery stood bleak and empty. The November sky churned with rain clouds as purple as bruises.
Her fingers trembled on the handle of her black umbrella. Sleety snow swirled across the grass and lashed around her ankles in her short dress boots. Kira’s pulse roared in her ears, and for a split second she swayed, feeling light-headed. She stifled her sobs with a tissue.
“I’m sorry I’m late.”
“Oh,” she gasped. Her heart thrummed against her chest. She didn’t need to turn around to know who was behind her.
“How long have you been standing there?” She jammed the tissue in her pocket.
“I just got here.” His hand grasped her elbow and gently turned her around. She looked up into ice-blue eyes she’d never forgotten. “Kira, I’m so, so sorry Michael’s gone.”
She raised an eyebrow at his hand on her elbow. He let her go and thrust his hands into the front pockets of his jeans, rocking back and forth on his heels.
Here he was, Lukas Tanner, her long-lost love, and the last man she expected to see today. Or any day, for that matter. She tried to force a smile and failed. “How did you find out?”
“The world’s a small place.” He shrugged. “We’ve still got newspapers up north. I saw his obituary.”
She huffed as she turned away and blew her nose. “I meant, how did you know I was here? At the cemetery?”
He took the umbrella from her and placed his hand again on her elbow, turning her away from the flower-drenched coffin. “Where else would you be? And where’s Aunt June?”
“Her arthritis is acting up. The rain. She didn’t want to leave but. . .” Kira paused. “She did most of the funeral arrangements.”
Lukas filled the space she hadn’t realized felt like a gaping hole. She had company now. Someone who knew her down to her soul. He stared into her eyes, with the space between them crackling like lightening in a hot summer sky.
“I’m sorry. My flight was delayed, or I would’ve met you at the church.”
She stiffened. Her throat worked at trying not to cry again. She didn’t want to leave her brother, Michael, her only blood relative. He would be all alone, buried in this lonely place. She didn’t live in Winnipeg anymore. She’d left for a job up north—run away. Run away from the man who now stood beside her on the frozen grass.
“You’re freezing. Let’s get you someplace warm.” His hand on the small of her back guided her to the black rental car he’d parked behind hers. “Is there anywhere in particular you want to go?”
She snatched the umbrella back. “Everything I need is in the car. I’m flying back to Churchill now. I’m sorry you came all this way for nothing.”
She resisted the urge to reach out and touch him. He wasn’t dressed for a funeral or the weather. A worn, brown bomber jacket covered a red plaid shirt. He stood as solid and reassuring as she remembered: his hands shoved again into his front jean pockets like he always had. Sun-bleached highlights rimmed his hair. The left side of his mouth still quirked up when he was nervous.
“He was the brother I never had.” Those arctic-blue eyes pierced her heart. “How could I not come?” Kira clutched the neck of her jacket tighter against the sleet sweeping across the manicured grounds. He’d come. Lukas and Michael grew up together, inseparable and always in trouble when they were young. Lukas drove Aunt June crazy with the antics he put Michael up to. Then there was her and Lukas. She pressed her lips together. Those thoughts led to pain.
“I need to get to the airport.”
“I want to know how he died in a car accident. He was a great driver.”
Tears threatened to spill over again. She looked away. “It was a rollover on the Perimeter Highway. He must’ve been going too fast that afternoon. The police said he rolled twice.” Her cheeks were numb. “The ditch had water in it, they said.” Her voice cracked. “He drowned in a couple inches of water.”
Kira could see Lukas’s throat muscles working. Pain contorted his face.
“I have to go. I’m late,” she said. If she stood in front of him a second longer, she’d fall apart.
She didn’t owe him anything. Kira turned away and headed up the drive to her rental.
“I’ll meet you at the airport.” His voice fell away behind her.
Kira tossed her purse and umbrella into the car and swung her legs in beneath the wheel. Plastic totes filled with Michael’s books and memorabilia filled the back seat of the small sedan. Her luggage was in the trunk. She’d be paying a pretty penny in freight charges to fly everything home to Churchill.
About the author:
Laurie Wood has followed her RCAF serving husband across Canada, raising their two special needs children to adulthood, and "keeping the home fires burning" while she began her writing career. She's a member of Romance Writers of America, where she's finalled in several prestigious contests, as well as American Christian Fiction Writers. She writes romantic suspense and historical novels.