Formats available: hardcover, large print, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: mystery, suspense, thriller
Published by Mira on March 9, 2021
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Publisher's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bookshop.org
At the wedding of the year, a killer needs no invitation
Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets.
From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife.
Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…
Welcome to the Excerpt tour for Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison. Ellison is a new author for me, but as I’ve been reading a bit more suspense recently it looks like an absolutely riveting read. I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing Her Dark Lies in the weeks ahead, so here’s a teaser to whet all of our reading appetites!
Excerpt from Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison (continued from yesterday’s excerpt at Berit Talks Books)
There is something…wistful on his face. I run my hand from his cheek to his temple, smoothing back his too-long hair. There is the lightest sprinkling of silver in his part, just a few hairs here and there, lending him a serious, studious air.
“A magic bed? What, does it fly?” I tease.
“In a way. Rumor has it ladies tend to get knocked up on their wedding nights. My grandmother and my mother swear by it.”
“Ah.” A deep sense of foreboding seizes me, and I instinctually scan my body for any signs of pregnancy. It’s a reflex, something I’ve done regularly since we first became intimate. An accidental pregnancy terrifies me. I can only imagine the headlines, how I’d be portrayed. Prevailing wisdom: a woman like me can only land a man like Jackson Compton if I get pregnant and he is forced to do the right thing.
I run my mind over our sexual escapades from the past month. I had my implant taken out; it was making me feel terrible. I have been taking my pills on time, haven’t I? We’ve been careful, yes?
Stop it. You’re being paranoid.
Yes, of course we’ve been careful. The dull ache deep in my stomach is certainly my impending monthly, just in time to ruin our wedding night. The malaise I’ve been feeling for the past couple of days is stress and travel related. I’ve never flown well, even short hops leave me with a headache, clammy and uncomfortable. Add in a mild concussion and a boat on slightly stormy seas? I’d gone to the doctor for a preventative motion sickness patch before we left; it is helping tamp down some of the nausea from the bump on my head, too.
The long night coupled with the long journey from Nashville to Naples is catching up to me. We’d been forced—quelle horreur—to fly first class on Delta instead of being chauffeured across the sea in the family jet. Jack’s father is flying in from Africa, where he’s been on business with Jack’s brother Elliot. As heads of the company, their travel needs take precedence.
Yes, it was a terrible burden for me to be waited upon by the dark-eyed flight attendants with their prettily accented Italian and sly smiles for Jack. The wine was plentiful, the carbonara and crusty bread delicious, the lay-down beds surprisingly comfortable. I’d only disliked being separated from Jack. He was in the cozy suite behind me, and I felt all alone, watching the flight attendants’ faces light up with pleasure as they walked past me to tend to Jack’s needs.
The breeze picks up, and I realize Jack is looking at me curiously. “Everything okay?”
“Yes, but good grief, don’t wish a baby on us just yet. I want to be married for a while, first.”
“No promises, darling. My parents will explode with happiness at the idea of another heir.”
There is a certain hopefulness in his voice. Jack is a decade older than me. A widower. His first life was stolen from him. He is ready to start a family. I understand. He’s already experienced so much. I’m only getting started. I’m not ready for a child. I might not ever be ready. I need to tell him that, before the wedding. In case it’s a deal breaker.
I take a deep breath. “Jack?”
But we are interrupted by a call from the upper deck. Gideon, beckoning. “We need you for a moment, Jack.”
Jack squeezes my shoulder. “Be right back.”
I watch Jack stride away and wrestle my urge to confess back into place. What purpose will it serve? He’ll just get upset, and who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind.
You know what they say about digging your own grave.
I turn back to the island.
Unlike the smoky gray open waters of the bay, the water in the shallower edges of the channel is cerulean and almost clear; schools of dark fish race away. What are they running from? The boat? A predator?
The breeze cools, the azure Mediterranean early summer sky turning hazy. Bad weather is coming. Italy is under a Red warning this long weekend, a severe weather alert, expecting the worst storms in a decade.
I hope everyone gets here in time. The channel crossing to Isle Isola is too dicey to manage anything smaller than the yacht or the hydrofoil ferry in bad weather, and the hydrofoil normally runs to Isola only once a week, though it’s running three days in a row for us to get all the guests on the island. And obviously, the choppers can’t fly if the storm is too bad.
The Hebrides is approaching the cliff’s edge now. The imposing granite face is sheer and unforgiving. We’re so close I can see the striations of the stone, the moss growing in the cracks. At the top, there is a flash of white. What is that?
A scarf, my mind fills in. A woman’s scarf.
And then it is gone.
Someone is watching for us.