With: Laurie Wood
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 wrote this scene in mid-July heat on the prairies in temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius. And yet the vision of this girl standing beside a newly filled grave, in freezing November, after a funeral, had filled my head in my backyard and I sat in my chaise lounge and filled my notebook with the fast scribbling that comes with the inspiration writers get when all the words come tumbling so fast your fingers can barely keep up.
I re-wrote it many times but her tiny figure in black, standing against the sleety rain and snow that whips across our stiff prairie grass, never left my mind. I knew I had to figure out a) why she was alone at her brother’s funeral and b) why this man came late to the funeral. It was the kind of story that came out in chunks and that frustrated me. Usually, my stories are linear and I sit and type away. Maybe that’s why my first three novels didn’t sell. This one did and it was the hardest one to write so far. It felt like I was yanking huge pieces out of myself and trying to fit them together in a puzzle.
Her dark secret is difficult to talk about—for her character and for me as the author. I wanted Kira to fight for her future by working through her past. She has to dig deep to decide she wants to change how she’s dealing with herself and her decisions. It’s difficult to admit when we make mistakes, but we all make them. So I wanted to tell a love story, along with a solid suspense story but also have the theme of “forgiving yourself” in the mix. How to find your way back to forgiving yourself and realizing that God is there all the time. He never moves away—it’s us who moves away. And Kira learns this through her experiences in the town, through the people she meets, and through finally questioning God directly and opening up that spiritual channel that she closed off years before.
I hope that women will enjoy the story for what it is on the surface—a quick-paced romantic suspense with polar bears, and a lovable toddler, and enough animals for an ark! But I also hope that women will take away the idea that bitterness over past hurts or trauma only hold us back and hurts ourselves. It never hurts the other person. We need to decide to change and heal, and of course, that’s where God comes in. He’s the Healer. He is always with us. He never leaves us.
(Heroes of the Tundra #1)
By Laurie Wood
Release Day: December 4th 2018
BOOK LINK: Amazon
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.
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.