Escape & Freedom by Claire Highton-Stevenson

Hear the a clip from the audiobook Escape & Freedom by Claire Highton-Stevenson @ClaStevOfficial narrated by Sarah Sampino. 

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Two women escaping their own demons. One stuck in the past, the other a very real present. 

Lucy Owens’ life was irrevocably changed in a matter of seconds. Life as she knew it was over in the blink of an eye. Moving away from all that she knew, Lucy now lives a solitary life in her cabin on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Filled with guilt and pain, she keeps herself to herself, and for years she manages to avoid immersing back into society.

Nicole Granger has three small children to worry about. Always looking over her shoulder, they arrive at the lake with very little to call their own. Haunted by years of physical abuse, she longs to belong again, to bring normality to her girls’ lives for the first time. 

Both women are pulled towards one another in an attraction that could bring both of them their freedom.  

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please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect

you are listening to book clips a mini podcast in which authors and erasers do readings from novels check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book escape and freedom written by Claire Heighton-Stevenson narrated by Sara Santino chapter 5 over the following days Nicole slowly adjusted to life in her new home it wasn’t anything like what she was used to but she would make do right now it was everything she needed it to be storm started school with seven weeks left of the spring semester Nicole hoped it would make it easier for her to make new friends right away the twins love their new school too it amazed Nicole how little they were phased by all the change that had gone on for the first time she was able to relax a little and let them just enjoy being kids making noise and running around like kids should be doing of course as long as there didn’t bother the lady in the next cabin she hadn’t seen Lucy at all since their first meeting there was something about Lucy that made Nicole want to know more about her but the idea of orchestrating a conversation with her just overwhelmed her and so she had not sought her out on a sunny afternoon towards the end of April however storm wandered down to the lake to do some homework her sisters were back at the cabin with their mom singing and dancing and generally making a lot of noise and so she wandered the banks of the lake to find somewhere quiet to sit and do her work or just ponder the things that ran through her young mind she noticed Lucy up ahead sitting peacefully on a rock unsure what she should do she just stopped in her tracks having been told not to bother Lucy she didn’t want to interrupt her and get in any trouble but at the same it wasn’t her fault if the strange lady was on the path leading to where she wanted to go and it would be rude to just ignore her because despite everything she had been brought up with manners she had learned the hard way what happened if you weren’t polite making her mind up she decided she would just continue on with her walk be polite and say hello but not linger and then that way she couldn’t get into any trouble as she neared her she could tell that Lucy was unaware of her presence she had her cap off and her hair was tied back the first thing storm’ noticed was the long jagged scar that zigzagged its way down her left cheek deciding that it might be best to make herself known she said a quiet hello her footsteps gaining speed as she attempted to walk past without disturbing Lucy Lucy froze realizing that the kid had seen her without her cap on she had to have seen a scar too she placed her hand over her heart which was beating like it would thump right out of her chest to try and steady herself she had met many a kid since the accident and most couldn’t help themselves from pointing out the obvious or pointing literally usually rather loudly and always in front of other people who would then turn to stare I’m sorry I know I’m not supposed to bother you but I didn’t know you would be here and I’m just walking through so please excuse me Lucy studied her some more the girl was polite and considerate she felt her heart beat slow as she breathed evenly in and out it’s okay you can walk through thanks I don’t want to get in trouble I was just going to sit over there and do my homework she said pointing to a spot not too far away I won’t bother you if you want to carry on sitting here okay answered Lucy not counting Rita this most she had spoken to anyone this month usually her anxiety would spike and she would begin to sweat searching for an escape route but something about the kid calmed her for several long minutes Lucy continued to just sit and hold her face to the Sun the heat always helped to dull any ache that her scars caused her leg was often stiff and painful but it was better now that she lived somewhere hot her thoughts were drifting not really thinking of anything much when she heard the small voice speaking again it shocked her that she had almost forgotten she wasn’t alone don’t you get bored storm asked from her spot on the shore she had her books open on her lap and was trying to concentrate but the woman along the shore from her intrigued her too much no her answer was quick and snappy she didn’t want to open a channel for conversation but the kid had other ideas I would I like talking to people storm admitted looking up into the sky as though all the answers to life existed within her grasp clearly through hooded eyes lucy surreptitiously watched the young girl she could almost see the cogs working inside her mind as she tried to come up with her next question but there was a battle there too not wanting to get in trouble she had her hands tucked underneath her legs in an effort to keep herself quiet something about the gentleness of her piqued Lucy’s interest why do you like talking so much storm was a little bit excited at the new turn of events Lucy hadn’t moved but she was talking to her it’s how you find out stuff storm answered quickly in case Lucy withdrew her question or got up and walked away what kind of stuff Lucy inquired knowing she was potentially opening a Pandora’s box she stiffened slightly as she waited for the inevitable questions lots of stuff like she looked around thinking why do you sit there and not hear that simple question through Lucy a little but she answered I just like it here yes but why storm closed her book and placed it down gently on the floor beside her so that she could twist around to face Lucy properly it’s my spot Lucy answered honestly she could feel more intense nests for mning in the young girl like she was building up to something what else do you want to find out Lucy had turned slightly in her own spot to face storm she folded her good leg to press against the inside of her bad one the young girl’s eyes searched Lucy’s face but she didn’t fixate on the scar ask me Lucy said quietly it was the first time someone had seen her scar unhidden and not asked her about it she felt herself relaxing a little the young girl bit her lower lip gently and pushed her glasses back up the bridge of her nose looking away across the lake as she considered how to ask the question she most wanted an answer for how she finally said out loud feeling brave enough to fix her eyes with Lucy’s how what Lucy pushed she wasn’t trying to make the girl uncomfortable but she was in doing so come here she patted the spot next to her adults telling her to come here usually meant she was in trouble and being in trouble meant to punishment so she moved slowly keeping her eyes firmly on the woman sit lucy demand it gently when she finally stood in front of her storm sank gingerly onto her knees and looked up at Lucy biting on her bottom lip her big brown eyes were so full of questions and apprehension she looked as though she was about to be scolded and was preparing herself for it how what Lucy asked again her voice softer now as she studied the child storm relaxed understanding instantly that she wasn’t in trouble and there wouldn’t be a punishment storm studied her face once more slowly she lifted her finger to Lucy’s cheek Lucy’s first reaction was to flinch and storm instantly pulled her hand away but Lucy nodded and jutted her chin out storm concentrated her tongue poked out between her teeth and as she gently touched the scar tissue she asked how did you get this Lucy sat very still her heart beating wildly and allowed this young girl to gently explore her it was a first it confused her how easily she had allowed it only medical personnel had ever touched the scar on her face she had even stopped her own mother from doing so she wondered why this girl no older than eight or nine maybe younger how would she managed to sneak through her defenses so easily I was in an accident she mumbled gulping air she tried to swallow it down it was the first time she had told another person in over ten years what kind of accident storm asked still innocently investigating the line that drew its way jaggedly from her left eyebrow and down her cheek almost to the corner of her mouth Lucy placed her hands on the child’s fingers and pulled them gently away from her face taking deep breaths that were becoming faster and harder to control this is why I don’t talk too many questions Lucy said too quickly as storm tried to decide whether she should keep talking or not I have a scar too storm blurted out looking at Lucy on my arm that’s nice did you fall over rollerskate him sarcasm dripped from Lucy’s voice she was starting to feel uncomfortable now she could feel her heart racing the blood pumping heart cortisol flooding her system as her fight or flight instincts began to push to the fore silence passed between them Lucy watched her as she tried to decide something her little face frowning while her eyes missed it a little no my daddy dragged me away from mommy and broke my arm she looked away for a moment before turning back to Lucy I had to have an operation and have a plate put in she divulged sadly as she held up her arm so the scar was visible to the woman it’s held together with tiny pins Lucy froze at the words my daddy broke my arm she turned back and looked at the girl I’m sorry that happened to you and in that moment she realized that this little girl had more in common with her than anyone else she had known in the last ten years this young kid understood pain and loss as much if not more than she did and what about the mother was this why she always looked so sad when she thought nobody was looking me too it hurt a lot storm continued trying to smile but the sadness was too evident mommy says we all have scars even if they are not visible that some people carry them in their heart Lucy nodded you’ll mom sounds like a very wise lady escape and freedom written by Claire heighten Stephenson narrated by Sara Santino you have been listening to book clips check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book if you are interested in showcasing your novel then check out the show notes for more information [Music] you