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Annie J Ryan

The Arrival ( EBOOK)

The Arrival ( EBOOK)

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She spends every Christmas Eve alone
… except this one.
Why is he here?
What starts as a simple evening becomes a frantic search for the family of the person left at Gem’s house. With help from her tree surgeon, she races to uncover the mystery surrounding the stranger. But until he trusts her, his welfare is at stake.
Complicating matters is that her heart swings the longer she’s around him, and making any decision is hard when she can’t work out who’s telling the truth.
Amidst secrets and lies, they slowly unravel the stranger's puzzle until a surprising revelation about her past comes to light.
Is she prepared to risk everything, including her heart, to uncover the truth?
The Arrival is an unputdownable read about love, secrets, letting go, and discovering what it means to be a family.
A perfect fit for fans of Jojo Moyes, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Liane Moriarty, and Faith Hogan.
This EBOOK will be delivered instantly by a BookFunnel email.
... I found this an entertaining and fast-moving tale. I was pretty astonished to discover that it was set right here in Western Australia. She nailed the location and there was depth to the characters. I really liked that the story had twists that kept me guessing...
Richard C
This book is an exciting read and follows an intriguing mystery that is fast-paced and beautifully told.
Olivia J
This book is an absolutely surprising page-turner. I read it over a couple of evenings...
This should become a Netflix movie or series because it’s got all the feels and angles. It’s an emotional roller coaster read with suspense, love, and family drama.
Rosemary S
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First Two Pages

Gem tracked her thumb over the glass face of her watch, scratched and dull after two decades of continuous use. Her knee jigged while time shimmered, stretched, and hung like the persistent summer light. It was seven o’clock. She stabbed the steel straw through the lemon and lime slivers and watched the juice sacs bob to the surface. I’m forty-three and still here. She raised her glass to the accompaniment of swirling, cracking ice cubes. Above the rim of the glass she caught glimpses of her neighbours through the palings of her gate: the wire door across the road springing on its hinges, owners and pets dawdling on the sidewalk, children sailing by on scooters, and someone wheeling a sparkly bicycle toward a shed.

Light clung to the horizon, bruised the sky. End already. Her palm rolled over the knots on the handle of the cane she’d salvaged from her grandfather’s house, and she took it with her on yet another tour of the back garden. Tree-dust and bark exploded and dead leaves whirled onto the neat lush lawn when she whacked it against a branch; a fleeting but satisfying disruption in the too-quiet evening.

She pulled a branch of the rambling rose close to inhale its perfume, trailed her fingertips over the magnolia leaves, pressed a palm onto the bark of the liquidambar, tried to ignore the blooming void.

The sudden raucous laughter of kookaburras shattered the peace, creased her lips into a smile. There’d been a family of them nesting in a copse of trees near the homestead. ‘So you’re going west for good?’ her grandfather had asked on one of her rare visits back to the farm after she graduated from law school. He resumed scanning the land toward the ridge: one foot hooked on the lower verandah railing, elbows on the top rail, a mug of tea cupped in one hand. She’d banged one leather boot against the other to dislodge caked earth and manure, wrapped an arm around his thick torso, kissed his whiskered cheek and whispered, ‘It’s a great job and I can’t afford not to take it. I’ll come back and visit.’ But she hadn’t made it back often because work was all-consuming in her twenties, and she thought they’d have time once she’d made a name for herself. Her tears darkened his faded work shirt when he gripped her arm around his waist. The watch had been his graduation gift, a reminder of his relentless support.

She pressed the backs of her hands into her eyes, reached down to the ceramic pot she used as an ashtray, and lifted the joint to her lips. The small fan on the verandah rocked on its post as it jerked through an arc in an attempt to propel the odour away from her neighbours’ houses, though not one of them would think she was responsible. In the early years, it became a Saturday afternoon ritual after she discovered the loft space with its window to the sky. Lying on her back on the unsealed floorboards, she’d gaze at drifting clouds and wheeling birds, cast her wishes into the ether, and imagine what her life might have been like.

Her phone pinged with texts. Can’t wait to see you tomorrow. Got enough wine? Hehe. Jewels. Julie. I love that I’m not cooking. You good? Cxxxxx. Celie knew. Unbidden thoughts flared.

A car door squeaked open and a young woman’s voice rose and fell above the clamour of guests thundering through her neighbour’s front door; her murmurs becoming more indistinguishable from the breaking waves at the end of the street. Gem drained the last of her drink and pressed the cool glass against her forehead. An echo reverberated down the street when the car door slammed shut. Tyres bit and crunched on the gravel edge before the car sped off, gurgling and whining through the gear changes. When the cacophony faded, the street resumed its surface of serenity. Silent night, all is calm.