LS Hawker returns with another atmospheric, twisting tale of suspense that questions the nature of identity and how far a young mother is willing to go to run from the mistakes of her past.
He wants to destroy her reputation.
He wants to destroy her life.
He wants to destroy…her.
Nessa Donati used to be a happily married mother with a successful music blog and satellite radio show. But that was before her husband John relapsed on drugs and went missing. That was before he was presumed dead. And before she was framed for his murder.
When a commenter on Nessa’s blog starts harassing her online, Nessa shrugs it off. Trolls are a part of internet life. But eventually the troll begins threatening her safety and releasing personal details… details only her husband would know.
As Nessa’s life is dismantled piece by piece, her only option is to find John and put a stop to the lies. But when their son becomes a pawn in his twisted game, she must face a disturbing truth: Maybe John isn’t tormenting her, after all. But if he’s not…who is? And how far will this monster go to exact revenge?
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense Published by: Witness Impulse/HarperCollins Publication Date: May 2016 Number of Pages: 303 ISBN: 0062435221 (ISBN13: 9780062435224) Purchase Links:
Read an excerpt:
Tuesday, May 31
Nessa Donati was going to have to sell her brand spanking new car. And all because the rear-view mirror hung in the perfect position to display an accidental glimpse of her reflection whenever she reached into the back seat. Typically she prepared herself before facing a reflective surface. But when she was caught off guard, without fail, her mother’s disappointed, sour Resting Bitch Face stared back at her.
It wasn’t that her mother was unattractive. She was, in fact, far more beautiful than Nessa could ever hope to be. It was that her mother had always used Nessa as a mirror in which to see herself without ever truly seeing Nessa.
So the new black Chrysler Pacifica would have to go.
It was nearing sunset when Nessa parked it on Crestview Drive by the Randolph Bridge, which spanned not only the Big Blue River but the northern tip of Tuttle Creek Lake as well. This was the last stop on a four-day camping trip, just Nessa, her three-year-old son Daltrey, and their Wheaton Terrier, Declan MacManus.
She checked on Daltrey, asleep in his car seat, listing to starboard, mouth open. He’d be okay for a moment, and she was glad she wouldn’t have to explain what she was about to do. She felt silly enough about it already.
Nessa and Declan MacManus exited the Pacifica, the dog running ahead, while Nessa locked and shut the door.
She walked the eighth of a mile to the river’s edge beneath the bridge as sparse traffic droned by overhead, tires making that phut phut phut sound as they traversed the seams in the asphalt. Nessa stood and watched the water flow past, appearing deceptively tranquil until a tree branch rushed by at break-neck speed. Declan sniffed happily around, pausing to mark every object he encountered with a lifted leg.
Nessa looked around to make sure she was alone, then reached into her pocket and withdrew the six-inch-long braid of her husband John’s hair. He’d cut it before their wedding five years ago. She had kept it in a velvet box all this time, never dreaming this day would come. She looked at the sky and the water, remembering all their good times on the river. This was the right place to let John’s braid go.
The water lapped against her tennis shoes as she wound up and let the braid fly. She watched it arc through the air, hit the rushing water with an inconsequential splash, and disappear. She watched for a moment and let herself cry a little. She needed this sort of closure ritual to move on with her life, like spreading his ashes. Except he wasn’t dead. Yet.
Nessa trudged back to the car, Declan MacManus meandering behind her. She unlocked and opened her door, and the dog jumped in and settled in the passenger seat. Nessa noted that Daltrey hadn’t even changed position while she was gone.
Nessa started the car, put it in gear, and headed toward home.
Forty minutes later, she parked in the converted hay barn garage behind her house and decided she’d wait until morning to unload the camping gear.
Declan MacManus jumped from the car and ran, whining, toward the other outbuildings, hops vines, and woods beyond, as Nessa climbed into the back to struggle with Daltrey’s carseat restraints. She draped him over her shoulder, and took him inside and upstairs to his big-boy bed. There, she pulled off his sandals and kissed his fat little feet before slipping him between the sheets. Good. He was out for the night. She left his door ajar, and went downstairs and out the back door to get their suitcase from the Pacifica.
Outside it was full dark, and the woods buzzed with late-spring insects. When she hit the bottom step, she saw Declan MacManus curled up in front of the outbuilding they called the boathouse. He sprang to his feet as if he’d just noticed royalty entering the room. This slowed Nessa down—what was he doing?—but she continued on to the garage, where she retrieved their luggage. When she closed the garage door, the dog jumped to his feet again, in the exact spot she’d left him.
Nessa stood staring at him, and he gazed expectantly back at her.
And then she saw it. The wooden carriage-house door’s lock was gone. In its place was a jagged hole, as if God himself had punched a massive fist through it in a fit of righteous anger.
Nessa froze, her breath captive in her throat.
She set down the suitcase and, after a moment of indecision, pulled out her phone and dialed.
Marlon Webb didn’t say hello, just, “With a student.” This was his way of saying he could be interrupted only for a very specific kind of emergency.
“Call me back,” she whispered. “I’m rethinking that whole restraining order thing.”
LS HAWKER grew up in suburban Denver, indulging her worrisome obsession with true-crime books, and writing stories about anthropomorphic fruit and juvenile delinquents. She wrote her first novel at 14.
Armed with a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas, she had a radio show called “People Are So Stupid,” edited a trade magazine and worked as a traveling Kmart portrait photographer, but never lost her passion for fiction writing.
She’s got a hilarious, supportive husband, two brilliant daughters and a massive music collection. She lives in Colorado but considers Kansas her spiritual homeland.
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Don’t Miss Out on this Exciting Giveaway:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for LS Hawker and WitnessImpulse. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of Body and Bone by LS Hawker. The giveaway begins on June 1st and runs through July 3rd, 2016.