I’m delighted to welcome fellow Bookouture author, Erik Therme, to my blog today. Erik is sharing a scene from his gripping, psychological thriller, Keep Her Close. Let’s take a look at the cover.
Eighteen-year-old Ally Nebel knows nothing of her real parents—only that they abandoned her inside a parking garage at age three. When she receives a letter from someone claiming to be her biological father, she reluctantly agrees to meet, hoping for the best, but knowing it’s probably too good to be true.
Now Ally is missing, and the only clue to her whereabouts is a new boyfriend who knows more than he’s telling. When Ally’s family decides to take matters into their own hands, it’s not a question of “if” they will find Ally . . . it’s a question of if they will find her in time.
It sounds riveting, doesn’t it? Here’s a scene to whet your appetite even more.
The girl was three, maybe four years old and looked as if she hadn’t bathed in days. Her hair was a snarl of knots and mismatched hair clips, and a yellow sundress hung loosely on her tiny frame, just shy of her toes. She wasn’t wearing shoes.
“Dan?” Holly asked uneasily.
“Yeah,” Dan said. “I see her.”
He kept the driver-side door open after he exited the truck. They had been on their way to a midnight movie—running late as usual, thanks to Holly—and the parking garage was deserted, with only the faint sound of traffic from the streets below. The last thing they expected to find was a child slumped by the corner stairwell. The girl didn’t look scared, only tired and indifferent. Her eyes were fixed on Holly, who was now in front of the truck, partially blocking one headlight.
“Are you alone?” Holly asked, enunciating each word. “Are you lost?”
The girl gave no reply. She was standing on a scrap of weathered cardboard covered in faded writing. Homeless, was Dan’s first thought. Mom and Dad were probably sleeping it off nearby, or scrounging through garbage cans for food.
“We should call the police,” Holly said, digging inside her purse. “I’m calling.”
Dan kept his distance from the girl as he checked the stairwell. Some parents weren’t above using their children to lure in victims to mug, and in this day and age, you couldn’t be too careful.
“I forgot my phone,” Holly said. Her knees popped as she squatted before the girl with a smile. “Hi. I’m Holly. Do you have a name?”
“Let’s take her into the mall,” Dan said. “Someone who works inside the movie theater can help.”
Holly ignored him. “Did your parents bring you here? Did you lose them?”
The girl slowly raised her thumb to her mouth. Her fingernails were chipped rectangles, and her hands were chapped and grimy.
“Holly,” Dan said firmly, “we should take her inside.”
“I don’t think we should try and touch her. You go. I’ll wait here.”
Dan glanced around. “I’m not leaving you out here alone—”
“We’re going to be fine,” Holly said, nodding at the girl. “Aren’t we? Everyone is going to be fine, and before you know it, we’re going to find your daddy and your mommy.”
The girl’s eyes widened.
“Your mommy,” Holly said again. “Do you know where she went? Can you show me?”
The girl’s face began to twitch and pull. She took two shuffling steps forward, and Dan’s stomach roiled when he read the words FREE TO A GOOD HOME written across the cardboard.
The girl was pointing toward the corner of the parking garage. Not at the corner itself—past it. Out into the distance. Dan moved to the edge, his hands fused to the concrete wall as he looked over the side.
Three stories down, on the pavement below, lay the twisted body of a woman in a growing pool of dark blood.
If, like me, you’re hooked and want to know what happens next you can buy the book here:
Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways: http://eepurl.com/cD1F8L
Thanks for dropping by to share a scene from your thrilling book with us, Erik. Wishing you lots of sales.
The Year of Starting Over: A feel good novel about second chances and finding yourself
‘Glorious escapism with the most perfect ending, which left me with a smile on my face and a warm, fuzzy feeling that all’s right with the world. ‘
So delighted with this lovely review on NetGalley for my new book The Year of Starting Over. Out 7 February, pre-order now here: https://tinyurl.com/yazyowvd