Here’s a taste of my nasty little thriller, High Risk, from Amber Quill Press. In the short segment below, we get a glimpse of my main character, Beth Walsh, who is seemingly a demure housewife. But Beth has a secret life and hooks up with men for near-anonymous trysts while her attorney husband works. The sham can work for only so long…and Beth has just met the irresistibly gorgeous stranger who will change Beth’s life for the worst. Inside Abbott Lowery’s handsome exterior lurks a twisted monster…
I hope you’ll be able to feel the tension and dread as Beth’s doubts about what she is doing begin to mount and she realizes she may have gone down a path from which there is no turning back…
Heading up the outer drive, Beth was at odds. Her hands on the steering wheel were damp, her heart pounding with discomfort, making her breath quicken. Abbott sat next to her, watching her profile as she drove. Beth couldn’t deny that his focus on her was causing a wave of sensation: guilt, desire, nausea, euphoria. It wasn’t only her hands that were damp.
As she pictured pulling up to her graystone, she felt both dread and an overwhelming excitement. She imagined going through the front door with him, pushing him up against it, running her hands over that hard, defined body. And the thought made her stomach twist in a knot.
Why was she doing this?
It would be easy enough to take the next exit, give him some money for cab fare and just forget the whole thing. You really haven’t crossed the line yet, even though Mark wouldn’t be happy that you’ve come this far.
Beth pressed down harder on the accelerator. With a trembling hand, she reached into the compartment in the center console and took out an old CD: Dirty Vegas.
“What did you say your name was?” Beth adjusted the volume, turning the throbbing beats down just a bit.
Why am I doing this?
“Names aren’t really all that important, are they?”
Beth glanced at him; he looked even bigger squeezed into the Kharmann Ghia’s bucket seat. He was what her mother would have called “strapping.” She took in his thighs, the denim straining to cover them, barely concealing the muscles tensed beneath.
As she signaled for the exit at Fullerton, she pictured the home she shared with Mark and completely unbidden came the memory of the first time she had seen it. It was shortly before they were married, on an autumn day much like this one. They had pulled up in front of the building, and Mark hadn’t said a word. The “For Sale” sign, with its “contract pending” addendum had said more than enough. The building’s rough stone, its leaded glass windows, and the sky’s impossible blue promise as a backdrop had said everything else.
They had hurried up the stone steps and once inside, the empty condo, with its gleaming floors of polished oak, its clean white walls, and the patterns the shadows made on the floor transported her.
“Home?” Mark had asked. “It’s not too late to turn back.”
“Home,” she had whispered and took his hand, leading him into what would be their bedroom, cool and dark from the ivy-shrouded windows, and pulled him down to her on the floor.
It’s not too late to turn back.
“So, what it is it? I want to know what to scream when I come.”
“Nice. I’m Beth.”
“Beth. That’s about right.”
She laughed, but felt a twinge: what did he mean? Was he mocking her?
Stop it. Beth glanced at him as they stopped for light at Clark Street. She’d had her share of handsome men, but this Abbott was a standout (even though a weird, high-pitched chorus sang a litany of warning in her mind). Looks like his were too much to resist. No one, Beth mused, in her little black “appointment” book could rival him.
Or was this the way she thought every other time? Were they all too beautiful to resist?
No. Abbott was different, a benchmark.
It would be worth violating her principles just this once. Wouldn’t it?
“Why so quiet?” Beth gunned the car across the intersection of Clark and Fullerton, and began the hunt for a parking space.
“Nothin’ to say.”
“A man of action.” She wished he would touch her thigh, her hair, whisper dirty nothings in her ear, do something. Usually, the guys couldn’t wait…and their desire impelled her, kept thoughts about her wrongdoing firmly in the back of her mind, where she could deal with them later. But Abbott simply stared out the window. At what? The neighborhood? Memorizing where she lived so he could come back, unannounced?
There was a brooding quality to his silence, and Beth tried to put it in a romantic light. She tried to fast forward: feeling the stubble against her check, their first kiss, his arms encircling her…