Friday, 22 February 2019

As Sick As Our Secrets by A.B. Whelan - Extract and Giveaway

What would you do if you found out your husband was a serial killer?

Olivia Campbell has the life most women want. A respected husband, beautiful home, and the freedom that only financial security can provide. But not all is as it appears... Olivia has secrets, and after discovering a hidden journal in her husband's study, she realizes that she's not the only one. As her picture perfect world starts to fall apart around her, Olivia wonders just how deep the secrets run as she finds herself immersed in the investigation of a young missing girl. Some coincidences are just too hard to ignore, but how far is she willing to go to discover the truth?
Told from multiple perspectives, As Sick as Our Secrets is a dark, fast-paced thriller that delves into dark subject matters like addiction, murder, sexual violence, and danger. The story was inspired by an article about college girls soliciting their bodies to earn money for school. This book is not for the faint-hearted.

Here is the extract from As Sick As Our Secrets

ASHLEY

Last Friday, there was only one name in my schedule: Skyler O’Neill. I remember being excited and nervous about our session. Based on the information Peter had hinted about regarding his cousin, she could be delusional or suicidal. If I failed her, it could ruin my career before it even started. Yet, if I succeed with her, it would be the first step toward a successful career. Not asking my parents’ help with building a client base is all I can think about lately.
“Don’t worry about it, honey. We’re here to help you,” my mother would sneer. She likes it when people depend on her for help; it makes her feel important.
I went early to my office to get my notebook and voice recorder ready. I opened the window to air out the room and lit a candle—cinnamon apple to set the mood for the upcoming holidays. I peeked into the waiting room every two minutes to see if the girl had arrived. Half an hour later, my enthusiasm started to turn into despair. I gave it one more chance and checked the waiting room. It was depressingly vacant. As I turned back to my office, I bumped my elbow on the door handle. I kicked the door wider, so hard it smashed against the wall; the doorknob dented the drywall.
On the verge of a self-pity-induced sob, I ripped open the top desk drawer and took out the sole survivor of a dozen mini drinks I had picked up at Bevmo a few days ago. I knew I needed something to calm my nerves when my mother was around, bossing me, pushing, criticizing me. I sucked down a Jack Daniels with one breath and tossed the empty bottle in the paper bin. The rush of alcohol hit me with a wave of fuzzy warmth, and I leaned back in the chair to welcome it.
When the short-lived buzz diminished, the walls of my vacant office started to close in on me. I had to get out because I’d be mad enough to do some damage to the place. I snatched my cardigan and purse off the coat hanger by the door and stormed out of the office, running from an invisible enemy that always seems to be right behind me, with one thing on my mind: a cocktail and a Tinder date.
I almost jumped out of my skin at the sight of a young woman leaning against one of the armchairs I placed in the waiting room to fill the space. I startled her, too, because her body jerked back, and her face stretched with fright. She looked at me with pinpoint pupils, her chapped lips trembling. My first impression of the girl was that she was a homeless junkie and not a cousin of a wealthy lawyer. Peter said the girl was troubled, and I expected someone unhinged, disheveled, but this woman in front of me looked much worse, like a bottom dweller of society. The way she hunched over her dirty, folded hands, her feet apart, but her knees touching, gripped my heart. The legs of her stained denim were rolled up, exposing her shabby white sneakers and bony bare ankles. Over her thighs, the jeans were worn, and white cotton threads were showing.
I called out to her. “Skyler?”
I expected to see a few major nutcases and weirdos in this profession, but this girl gave me chills I wasn’t quite ready for. Why couldn’t Peter have sent over a trust-fund baby or a bored housewife who needed someone to talk to?
The girl stared into my eyes, creeping me out. I couldn’t tell if she was going to hug me or rob me. Her tired face was glossy with perspiration, but there was hidden beauty underneath her worn and dirty appearance.
“Hello,” she said through trembling, thick lips in an unsettled voice.
“You’re Peter’s cousin, right?” I asked.
She shot up and zipped her hoodie all the way to her chin. “I shouldn’t have come,” she said, backing away from me, as if I were a perpetrator. This girl had seen horror. I couldn’t help but connect with her immediately and with deep sympathy. I shouldn’t have emphasized that we had a mutual friend. People tend to talk more openly if they don’t fear their secrets will get out.
I stepped in front of her and put a hand on her shoulder. Was I supposed to make physical contact? I wasn’t sure, but I knew where to look it up. And there I was, standing with my feet rooted to the ground, trying to remember what I’d learned in grad school. What was I going to tell my parents at our Sunday brunch if I let my first patient run out on me? That I was sitting in my office all week, painting my nails?
The girl pulled away from my touch with a sharp inhale. Damn it! She must have smelled the alcohol on my breath. By the expression on her face, I could tell that she’d expected someone else too. We were starting a professional relationship founded on mutual disappointment.

About the author


A.B. Whelan resides in sunny Southern California with her family, among soccer fields, manicured lawns, and beautiful homes, where everybody's life 'seem' perfect. Here is where she cooks up unique psychological thrillers that delve into suburbia life.

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As Sick As Our Secrets by AB Whelan - Audiobook & Signed Paperback Giveaway
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