Monthly Archives: March 2016
The Darkest Lie, by Pintip Dunn
It’s time to view the body. Family first.
Well, technically, me first. There was always only three of us in the nuclear unit, and Dad’s been locked in the den for the past seventy-two hours. I’ve only seen him once, when he shuffled upstairs like a pajama-clad zombie and asked me if I’d eaten.
That was it: Did you eat?
Not: I prefer the cherry wood casket. Or: Let me make your grandma’s travel arrangements. Or even: I know this was Mom’s favorite dress, but isn’t the neckline a little…low?
Did I eat?
Yes, Dad. I had soup from the can and microwaved pizza rolls and a bowl of cereal. The food sloshes in my stomach now as I walk down the runner to the casket I picked out because of its mauve tint.
Calla lilies pile in urns around the viewing room, and the air-conditioning wars with the sweat along my hairline. My mom smiles at me from a portrait erected behind the casket. Her eyes are hesitant and a little wary, as if she knew, somehow, some way, she would wind up here. Lifeless. Pumped full of formaldehyde. About to be gawked at by a town full of gossips.
This was only going to end one of two ways—with Tabitha Brooks dead or in jail. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d give anything to see my mother behind bars.
I wade through the dense, chilly air and stop a few feet from the body. Behind me, my grandmother and aunt sit, a box of tissues between them, blowing their noses like it’s a sport.
“Look at our Cecilia,” Gram sniffs. “So brave. Not a single tear shed.”
If she only knew. I’m not brave. Fifteen minutes ago, I was retching into the toilet bowl. Five minutes from now, when the doors open for the visitation, I’ll be long gone, leaving Gram to shake people’s hands and deal with the bit lips, the knowing eyebrows, that inevitable speaking-in-a-funeral-parlor whisper. I can hear the titters: “Is it true? Tabitha’s heart stopped while she was boffing the high school quarterback? Why, she must’ve been twenty years his senior!”
Twenty-three years, to be exact, and a high school English teacher to boot. But she didn’t actually die during sex. Instead, a few days after Tommy Farrow came forward with their affair, my mother took her own life.
What could be a clearer admission of guilt? She might as well have been caught in the act. The investigation was shut down before it even began.
I take a shuddering breath. Two more minutes. A hundred and twenty seconds and then I can leave. I steel my shoulders and walk the final steps to my mother’s body.
Oh god. It’s even worse than I thought.
The room whirls around me, and nausea sprints up my throat. My hands shoot out to grab the casket, stopping short of actually touching the corpse.
This . . . this thing . . . can’t be my mother. She never smiled like that, all serene and peaceful-like. She never wore this much makeup; her red hair was never chopped so closely to her head. My mother was chaos and passion, devastation and joy. Dad used to say you could reach deep into her eyes and pull out a song.
Well, her eyes are closed now, and I’m not sure there’ll be any music in my life, ever again.
ABOUT THE DARKEST LIE
“The mother I knew would never do those things.
But maybe I never knew her after all.”
Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.
As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…
ABOUT PINTIP DUNN:
Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,”
Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. She is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® finalist and a 2014 double-finalist. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.
She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com.
Prize pack including the following 5 books!
Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn
Six Months Later by Natalie Richards
Find Me by Romily Bernard
From Where I Watch You by Shannon Grogan
Lies I Told by Michelle Zink
Rafflecopter for Prize Pack
Goodreads Giveaway for THE DARKEST LIE
Greetings K&T-ers! (Kissers? Thrillers? How to decide?)
Today I’m here with a little peek behind the scenes of my latest novella, How to Woo a Widow. A few years ago I was reading a book about the English Regency–technically the period from 1811 to 1820 when the Prince Regent (nicknamed Prinny) was made Regent of England because of George III’s (his father’s) madness. This is the era of history I set my books in, and it also coincides with the Napoleonic Wars in which the English military played a significant role.
Anyway, there I was, reading, and I came across a passage about the 1813 fete to celebrate the Allied win at the Battle of Vitoria that was held at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. This was a subscription fete, which meant you had to have a ticket to enter, and unfortunately the promoters oversold the tickets, so the place was teeming with more people than the gardens could hold. There was lots of traffic surrounding the event, and in general, it was chaotic. Knowing a bit about PTSD from the current era, where we have so many returning veterans, I immediately thought of how difficult it would be for a newly returned soldier to be comfortable at such an event. Not only the crowds, but also Vauxhall’s famous fireworks would make it hellish for someone suffering from PTSD.
Thus, my hero Anthony, Lord Leighton, late of his majesty’s army, was born. The rest of the story followed from there, including, of course, his heroine Portia, who is recently widowed and already knows Tony quite well. There is also, as in all my stories, a bit of a mystery. And some very racy goings-on in Hyde Park. And of course, lots of kissing. (Because, romance!)
Or, if you’d prefer something a bit more substantial, the first book in my Lords of Anarchy trilogy, A Good Rake is Hard to Find, is discounted right now from $7.99 to only $2.99! It’s a great deal, and even if I do say so myself, the hero, Lord Frederick Lisle, is pretty darn dishy. It is available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo.
In other news, I’ve also been reading. And one of the best things has been marvelous historical fiction (that’s really historical romance with a lot more historical detail) from Donna Thorland called The Dutch Girl. Thorland writes books set during the American Revolution and The Dutch Girl is set on an estate owned by a Dutch poltroon in upstate New York. (A Poltroon was similar, as I understand it, to a plantation owner, only the land was worked not by slaves, but by tenant farmers who paid their rent in crops. And they weren’t treated very well most of the time.) This is one element of our national history that I knew next to nothing about before I read this book and it’s fascinating. And of course there’s a spying and sexytimes and just…you need to read this one, yall! It’s historical romantic suspense at it’s best!
Now, you! What have you been reading that has knocked your socks off? I’m always looking for great books! Tell me all about it in the comments and one commenter will win a copy of BOTH How to Woo a Widow AND A Good Rake is Hard to Find!
Most people don’t know that Julia Child’s kitchen was painstakingly deconstructed and rebuilt within the sacred halls of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Most people also don’t know that Julia worked for the OSS, the precursor of our present day CIA.
Julia is a role model for me — not because she was a spy — though I find that fascinating. It’s because she couldn’t even boil water well into her thirties. When she married and followed her OSS husband to Paris, she decided to take some lessons. She revolutionized an industry, became the first person ever to have a hugely successful cooking show on TV (considering her figure, face, grace and voice anyone would say that was a long shot), and reinvented herself, and kept doing so, until her death just before her 92nd birthday.
Note her iconic copper pans on the right wall. These were only recently rejoined…
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It’s Super Tuesday! If you live in one of the thirteen U.S. states and one territory* holding primaries today, chances are you will be heading to the ballot box (or a caucus) to cast your vote for the presidential candidate of your choice. Right?
In celebration of those of you who exercised your right to vote today, K&T has put together this non-partisan, recommended reading list of political thrillers.
What political thrillers would you add to our list?
If you live in a Super Tuesday state, don’t forget to vote today!
*Super Tuesday States and Territories: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming, and American Somoa