Sometimes you have to stop trying to be like everyone else and just be yourself
Bea Stevens and Ryan O Marley are in danger of falling through the cracks of their own lives; the only difference between them is that Bea doesn’t know it yet.
When her world is shaken like a snow-globe, Bea has to do what she does best; adapt. Homeless man Ryan is the key to unlocking the mystery of her friend Declan’s disappearance but can she and Ryan trust one another enough to work together?
As the pieces of her life settle in new and unexpected places, like the first fall of snow, Bea must make a choice: does she try to salvage who she was or embrace who she might become?
Just Bea takes the reader on a heart-warming journey from the glamour of a West End store to the harsh reality of life on the streets and reminds us all that home really is where the heart is.
Author Bio – Deborah has worked as an occupational therapist, a health service manager, a freelance journalist, and management consultant in health and social care.
Her protagonists are often people who exist on the edges of society. Despite the very real, but dark, subject matter her stories are uplifting, combining pathos with humour. They are about self-discovery and the power of friendships and community.
Just Bea is her second novel. Her debut The Borrowed Boy was published last year.
Deborah lives on the Essex coast. When she is not writing she combines her love of baking with trying to burn off the extra calories.
Social Media Links –
Facebook Deborah Klee Author
The following extract from Just Bea is the start of the novel. The Knightsbridge department store, is based on Harrods.
If it wasn’t for the flier that had glued itself to Bea’s shoe, she might never have found out about Declan. It was one of the three Santas that had been dining at Bea’s usual table who brought it to her attention. There were other tables in Hartleys’s staff canteen but Bea was a creature of habit. She peeled the flier from the sole of her shoe. Damp and dirty, it stayed intact as though refusing to be ignored. Still she paid it no heed.
‘Wait. You’ve a little speck of ketchup there.’ Bea waggled an index finger at Santa’s luxurious beard. The Santas employed by Hartleys were required to be impeccable in appearance at all times.
‘Thank you. You will definitely have all of your wishes granted this Christmas.’ Santa winked, and for a magical moment Bea imagined that he was the real Santa Claus. Then, the table was hers and she had thirty blissful minutes alone, a respite from having to think. Bea needed these breaks so that she could retreat into her own world. Like going backstage after a performance, shedding the costume and wiping away the face paint. Bea the stylish and competent sales assistant could become just Bea. It was exhausting being Bea.
The flier might have been cleared away by the catering staff, and she would never have known. But, it clung to the edge of the table. It was only as she gathered her things to leave that Bea saw the photograph of Declan with his impish face and dimpled grin. Bea detached the flier and sank back into a chair. Missing. Declan Connor of no fixed abode, but known in the Kings Cross area. If you have any information on his whereabouts call this number…
It couldn’t be – not Declan. Declan, with his funny sayings and silly jokes. The photograph must have been taken before he became homeless, because he didn’t look sad, or the way she thought homeless people would look. Starved and grey. The colour of pavements. How many times had she walked past a homeless person without even glancing at them? She could have walked past Declan. He would have called after her. Wouldn’t he? Bea bit her lip to suppress feelings that she didn’t understand: a lump in her throat and a prickling of tears. Of course she was sad, but this response was more than concern for a missing boy. There was something else, a dark demon, an emotion that threatened to engulf her. A recognition that she was responsible for this. Oh God, what had she done? Bea closed her eyes to try to block out the sights and sounds of the restaurant. She wanted to run away and hide, bury her head under her duvet. She took deep breaths; she couldn’t fall apart here.
Bea pressed the heels of her hands into her eye sockets, but the images kept coming: Declan packing his bag. The way he looked at her before leaving. If only she could wind back time and do things differently. A chair scraped as someone sat down opposite her.
‘Mrs Barone said I could go to lunch as you were due back.’ It was Sophie, one of the junior sales assistants.
Bea uncovered her eyes and flinched at the brightness of the lights. Sophie rolled her eyes.
‘A migraine,’ Bea lied. She stood on shaky legs and attempted a smile.White Christmas,came around again on the playlist. ‘I’d better be getting back then.’
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