From New York Times bestseller Courtney Cole, writing as Courtney Evan Tate, comes the psychological thriller that will keep readers up turning pages long into the night, SUCH DARK THINGS! “Written in breathless style, this page-turner relies on quick thrills, surprise twists…[for] readers seeking a fast entertaining tale…”(Publishers Weekly).Grab your copy of SUCH DARK THINGS today!
I thought I knew him. He thought he knew me. We were both wrong…
Dr. Corinne Cabot is living the American dream. She’s a successful ER physician in Chicago who’s married to a handsome husband. Together they live in a charming house in the suburbs. But appearances can be deceiving—and what no one can see is Corinne’s dark past. Troubling gaps in her memory mean she recalls little about a haunting event in her life years ago that changed everything.
She remembers only being in the house the night two people were found murdered. Her father was there, too. Now her father is in prison; she hasn’t been in contact in years. Repressing that terrifying memory has caused Corinne moments of paranoia and panic. Sometimes she thinks she sees things that aren’t there, hears words that haven’t been spoken. Or have they? She fears she may be losing her mind, unable to determine what’s real and what’s not.
So when she senses her husband’s growing distance, she thinks she’s imagining things. She writes her suspicions off to fatigue, overwork, anything to explain what she can’t accept—that her life really isn’t what it seems.
I scan through my texts.
None from Corinne. I’m oddly disappointed, even though she never texts me during the day. The ER keeps her too busy. But still. I thought she might text after this morning’s sex.
One from Michel.
How are you doing?
And several from a number I don’t recognize.
Hi there. It’s Zoe from Vilma’s.
I swallow, and I read her other texts.
You left your credit card at the café this morning.
Do you want to meet me so you can have it back ASAP?
I feel a jolt. First, fuck. I left my card someplace? I can’t even remember the last time I did that. How irresponsible. I practically don’t have a credit limit, so a thief could have a field day with it.
Second, how weird that she’s texting me. So weird.
I can just pick it up from Vilma in the morning, I answer. Thanks for letting me know.
I see the three bubbles on my text screen signifying that she is answering. So I wait without putting my phone down. The idea of who is on the other end of the phone gives me a jolt, a thrill, even though my initial thoughts about the girl weren’t flattering. She might have clear daddy issues, but she has an ass you could bounce a quarter off of. It strokes my ego that she’s texting me.
I actually have the card with me. I didn’t want anything to happen to it. I’m in town running errands. I could meet you for lunch?
She wants to meet for lunch? Is this for real?
What a kind offer, I answer and my heart literally pounds. But I would never impose on you like that. If you’re working tomorrow, I’ll pick it up then.
There are three bubbles. She’s typing.
But nothing comes through.
The three bubbles are still there, then they disappear.
I can’t help but picture her in her overly-tight waitress uniform. The bright blue complemented her skin tone, and her tits were busting out of the top. The skirt was short, and it’s quite possible that she made it that way on purpose.
For a minute, being a red-blooded man, I picture that ass bent over a chair, her uniform skirt hitched up to her hips. Her lacy panties would be shoved to the side…and I think she’d be shaved.
I indulge for just a second, then I push the images out of my head. It’s a fantasy. That’s all.
I love my wife.
I miss my wife.
Corinne is my world.
I jam my phone into my pocket as my door opens with my next patient.
“Mr. Ford,” I greet the elderly man in front of me, the one with OCD who is at this very moment wiping his feet on the carpet as he walks to wipe away all germs from his shoes. He does it a thousand times a day. “I’m so glad to see you. How have you been?”
He takes a seat in the chair across from me, careful to keep his right foot crossed over the left, and for the next hour, I’m immersed in the world of an obsessive man. This week, his new habit is stepping on a particular stair-step on his porch precisely four times every time he goes home.
We discuss coping mechanisms, and the chemical reasons that OCD could be at play in his brain, and when we’re nearly done, I find him staring at the portrait of Corinne and me sitting on my desk.
“You’re a lucky man,” he tells me, and his cloudy eyes are pensive. “I lost my Helen a decade ago. I haven’t been the same since.”
No, he hasn’t. His OCD emerged that year, when he was lost in grief.
“I am lucky,” I agree. “My wife is a brilliant woman.”
“She’s a looker, too,” Mr. Ford observes, and I try to see the picture through the fresh eyes of a stranger.
Corinne’s eyes are bright and blue, her hair long and blond. She’s thin, she’s trim, she’s tall. Her legs are long, her smile bright.
She is a looker. Sometimes I forget that.
Probably because I haven’t seen her in days and days.
I hide my stress. My patients don’t get to hear my very real and very human problems.
We finish our session and Mr. Ford leaves, and I wrap up my notes. When I’m finished, I’m surprised to realize that it’s lunchtime.
Ginny pokes her head in. “Hey, boss. I’m going out for lunch. Should I bring you something back?”
I could meet you for lunch?
Unbidden, the texted words flash through my mind, and guiltily, I push them away. Fuck, man. Not cool.
“I’m good,” I tell Ginny, and I think my words have a double meaning. I’m good. I don’t have straying thoughts about a woman who isn’t my wife. Not real straying thoughts.
Ginny leaves, and I grab my jacket, and as I do, my phone buzzes, and I think my wife might’ve texted me back.
I’m startled when I see that I’m wrong.
It’s not Corinne.
It’s a picture.
I was right. She’s shaved.
My heart thuds as I stare at the nude picture.
Her tits are big and full and her thumb is brushing her nipple, her other hand caressing her shaved vagina. Her eyes are big and turned to the camera in a sultry gaze, and she’s completely and absolutely naked.
Are you freaking kidding me?
I swallow hard, and it’s not like I haven’t been hit on before. I have. But this is different. It’s so blatant, so outrageous, and frankly, in some hidden and shameful spot, it turns me on.
I’m sorry, I’m married, I reply, typing with shocked wooden fingers.
Because I’m good. The stiffness in my crotch doesn’t count.
That’s fine, she answers. Do you want a girlfriend?
She can’t be serious. Is her generation so blatant and direct?
No, I answer. Sorry.
Hmm. We’ll see.
Courtney Cole is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could.
She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds.
Courtney was born and raised in rural Kansas, but has since migrated south. She now lives in Florida and writes beneath palm trees.