I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how it’s already almost release day. It doesn’t quite make sense, and I’m not sure where the time went.
And yet, somehow, release day is tomorrow.
But this time, since I’m still getting over this century’s plague and about to start physical therapy for my carpal tunnel, I’m going to cut myself a break.
Rather than stress myself out even more with a live reading (because social anxiety plus reading aloud for people on the internet is stressful as fuck), I’m going to leave the prologue here for you to read at your leisure.
Fair warning, the prologue is from the perspective of the bad guy. And he is definitely a bad guy.
The car bumps along on the old dirt road as Ian hits yet another pothole. Elbows dig into both my sides as Jake and Kerry ricochet in their seats. I hold myself rigid, digging my feet into the floorboard to brace myself.
You’d think they’d try a little harder to keep from jabbing me. It isn’t that hard to keep control of your parts.
Staring forward at Ian and Ariella in the front seats, I seethe, wishing I could sit there. But my hips are narrower than Ariella’s, making me a better fit for this stupid seat. And it’s Ian’s stupid, tiny car, so of course, he’s driving.
And she called it, so eager as she shouted, “Shotgun!”
My eyes roll as I stare out at the trees choking the road. Yet again, I question the point of this trip.
Her words from yesterday echo in my mind. “Come on, Kurt. You know I love haunted places. And I haven’t seen Ian or Jake or Tori in so long.”
Now, she sits in front, bathed in sunlight and beaming at Ian. They laugh together, recalling old college memories. Their arms bump together on the armrest with each dip in the road.
Ariella tips her head back, laughing deeply. She covers her mouth with her hand, but when she puts her arm back on the armrest, it lands skin to skin with Ian’s.
And she barely pulls away.
Heat surges through my veins as anger burns me. I grit my teeth.
Ian swerves, hitting another pothole. Laughter fills the front seat as their arms brush again. Elbows dig into my sides. Again.
Fucking bastard’s doing it on purpose…
And suddenly, I hear her voice, really hear it, as she begged me to go on this trip. I hear the way she lingered on his name. In my mind, she rushes over the other names, not caring whether she sees them again or not.
She didn’t even try to hide it.
Who knew I’d end up with someone just like my whore of a mother.
And when she called riding shotgun, her eyes lit up brighter than the fucking sun. I watch it play out in my mind, and this time I see the soft smile on his lips, see the way he leers at her.
Kerry sits forward, craning her neck to see the road. She leans toward me, peering out between the seats and stealing my view of Ariella’s betrayal. “Shut up, you guys,” she tells the harlot and the casanova. “It wasn’t that bad.”
But I missed what they were laughing about.
Beside me, Jake laughs at his wife. “It really was.”
She reaches over me to lightly smack his knee. Confined as we are, she hits my knee too, and I barely suppress a glare.
“Oh, sorry, Kurt,” she says. Briefly, she leans her head against my shoulder in a sorry excuse for an apology, and her long brown hair tickles my arm. “See what you guys made me do!” she shoots at Jake. “You made me smack Kurt!”
Ariella’s eyes dart upward, meeting mine in the rearview mirror. Dark eyes pulled tight with worry, she holds my gaze.
Is she afraid for Kerry?
People don’t usually hit me and get away with it.
But she doesn’t know that yet.
I hold myself in check, clenching my jaw. My hands ball up in my lap, but I cross my arms, tucking tight fists under my elbows.
Still staring at me, Kerry asks, “Are you okay?”
Ariella turns to look at me, waves of black hair spilling over the armrest. Long, silky tresses swirl over Ian’s arm, and his eyes tear away from the road for a quick glance at her. His eyes sparkle in the waning sunlight, and the corners of his lips lift into a wistful smile.
My stomach sours.
“Kurt?” Kerry prompts, stealing my attention away from the philanderer in the front seat. Her crisp blue eyes stare into mine, edged with concern.
“I’m fine,” I say, voice tight. “Just carsick. Always happens in little cars.”
She accepts my lie, but when I look forward, Ariella’s brows reach for each other, huddling in confusion. I’ve never been carsick in my life, and she knows it. I’m not that weak.
“Sorry, man,” Ian says over his shoulder. “This is a pretty bumpy road. That probably doesn’t help.”
A deep breath puffs out my chest as I stare hard at Ariella.
“Do you… need to switch seats?” she offers, but I hear her reluctance.
After all, why would she want to give up her seat next to Ian?
“Oh, no,” I answer quickly. “I’ll be fine.”
Her lips purse as she considers me, but only for an instant.
Ian taps her knee with the back of his hand, and she turns forward, not even sparing me a second thought. “We’re here,” he says.
Everyone else stares out the windows at the rickety old farmhouse and the shitty barn behind it. They gape and chatter excitedly about the murders that happened here in the early 1900s and the ghosts rumored to haunt the place.
But I stare at the lecher moving in on my woman. Blond scruff decorates his chin and his short blond hair is a mess.
Yet, she thinks she’ll leave me for him?
I shake my head.
I’ll be second to none.
Let’s just say… Kurt doesn’t handle things very well on their trip.
If you want to find out what he does, you can get your copy of Things Left Unsaid here.
It officially releases August 31st (tomorrow), but preorders are available and it’s free in Kindle Unlimited.
If you want a thriller now, you can check out Annabelle and her weaponized parasol here, also free in Kindle Unlimited.
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