Publication Date: November 20, 2018 SJ Publishing eBook; 332 Pages
Genre: Psychological Suspense
This standalone novel is not a romance. It is psychological suspense with a complex love story woven through it. Expect lots of angst, emotional scenes and edge of your seat suspense as a single father and a troubled young woman confront their deepest, darkest fears together.
After surviving a life changing event, celebrated artist Maxwell Grant has not touched a paintbrush or a woman in four years. During that time, he has tormented himself over an unspeakable act he dare not admit to, even to himself.
His one chance at redemption comes through a journal left behind by Harriet Harper, a mysterious woman in his night school class.
Shocked by what he reads about her tortured existence, he becomes obsessed by her and falls headfirst into a dangerous game of he said, she said, not knowing who to believe—who to trust.
When a dangerous character from Harriet’s past appears, events take a turn for the worse and he must say and do whatever necessary to save his sanity and, more importantly, his four year old daughter, Poppy.
Some secrets never get to see the light of day; others are just waiting to be uncovered … with shocking consequences.
Max I PLACED THE JOURNAL on the pillow to my right, deep in thought, disbelieving that unassuming young woman I had met just over twenty-four hours ago could have lived such a life. It occurred to me that her life experiences had shaped her into an uncompromising, plain-spoken woman. No wonder she took it upon herself to speak up; to say what needed to be said to an arrogant, insensitive sod like me.
In my mind’s eye, I pictured her sitting nervously on that ten thirty-six train to Brighton, venturing into the unknown, starting over—alone—having experienced … who knows what?
At least I had a home to come back to; one Hope and I had designed together with an architect, shaping our ideas into something tangible and practical, reflecting both our personalities: my need for privacy and light, Hope’s need for satin cushions, storage and space for us to grow as a family. We had created our own piece of heaven, blissfully unaware that fate would see to it that she did not get to experience it for more than a couple of months.
And there was Harriet, courageously moving on, which is more than I had done.
As bad as it appeared—stealing a look into Harriet’s world, her private thoughts, her fears and aspirations—I could not help myself. Sure, her world was alien to me; the landscape was foreign, unrecognisable, but her emotions and sense of displacement were not. We had both loved passionately, and been forced to inhabit an unfamiliar world, forever altered.
I trotted back into the lounge, topped up my drink and threw in a couple of ice cubes, allowing them to chill the golden liquid before tasting it. Glass in hand I headed to bed, stopping to check in on Poppy first.
She was sleeping; gentle wisps of air escaped her lips as she dreamed of more precious trinkets, shopping trips, and colouring books awash with fluorescent shades that reflected a world filled with laughter and love—exactly where she belonged.
I could not sleep
Two brief encounters, and there I was allowing a young woman I barely knew to invade my psyche. Without even trying, Harriet had caused a chain reaction: what started out as annoyance and mild curiosity had morphed into something inexplicably provocative.
My skin was warm and prickly, as if it had been scrubbed clean. After my four-year hiatus, my entire body was throbbing. I turned on the bedside lamp, knocking my glasses to the floor, still trembling from what I assumed was a panic attack, or was it arousal? It had been so long since I’d felt something so visceral and unexpected, it was hard to tell. Whatever it was, there was no way I was going back to sleep.
I put Harriet’s journal to one side, deciding to ration out the entries. The last thing I needed was to become obsessed by it—by her. In hindsight, if I’d known how reading about her life was going to affect me and my life, I might have thought twice about opening what was turning into Pandora’s Box.
Then again, I wonder what would have become of me if I had not opened it and turned the pages, devouring her words like a starving man.
At least I was lucid enough to notice that the glass of Scotch I had poured myself was still there by the lamp, its contents luminescent in the light cast from beneath the shade. If nothing else, my liver was grateful for her disclosures.
Mildly anesthetized by the alcohol in my veins, I longed for sleep but it came in waves, angry tidal waves that stirred my soul and stole my breath. Like so many nights before, I began to feel ensnared, sandwiched between those browbeating buddies, Loneliness and Guilt. They were at their most potent in the hours between dusk and dawn, terrorising me with images from my past that I was still in no shape to confront. From the bottom of a glass they stared back at me, insistent and unforgiving.
My nightmare was always the same; it involved a bloodied hand reaching out to me. No matter how I fought I could not escape it. I could not see whose hand it was, but I knew the name of the phantom who haunted all my dreams. I just could not bring myself to say it out loud.
I woke, disorientated, drowning in perspiration.
Biting back frustration, I swallowed what was left of the elixir, inviting it to numb my senses, needing the deadening effect that it alone could produce in my body, in my mind.
I did not want to think.
I did not want to feel.
I wanted to forget. Not only my past but Harriet‘s too, for a couple of hours, at least.
All I had wanted to do was to step out of my shoes and into those of a free-spirited human being for a day or two, without dragging my heels or stumbling over obstacles only I could see.
In my desperation, I assumed Harriet was that person. I had her all mapped out.
She was at least six years younger than me. Her life was filled with parties, dates with twenty-something bartenders with a penchant for homemade wine and staying up all night watching boxed sets of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones.
With every new entry I was being drawn in deeper. I bent down to pick up her journal, snatching my glasses from beneath the bed where they had landed. I decided I should do no more than flick through the pages to the very last entry, like a teenage boy about to fail a maths assignment; going straight to the answers without even trying to solve the problem.
But … that would be cheating.
Harriet was clearly a woman of many parts, an enigma with hidden depths and a past that I could either descend into, at my peril, or walk away from. She had fallen in love, experienced the joy of devotion, and yet, she’d ended up alone—like me.
So, taking a deep breath, I dived in…
Sydney Jamesson is an English teacher by day and a USA Today bestselling author of romance, suspense by night. She is nocturnal by nature and loves nothing more than staying up late, listening to music and being inspired to write. She has always scribbled things down; in her home is one enormous waste paper basket full of discarded phrases, opening lines and pieces of dialogue that have hit her like lightning in the middle of the night or whilst parked up at a set of traffic lights. Her bestselling trilogy, The Story of Us is available worldwide, and she has been thrilled to continue Ayden Stone and Beth Parker's epic love story in The Story of Us Series: Into the Blue, comprising: Blue Genes, Blue Hearts, Blue Moon. More recently, Sydney has focused on psychological suspense.
THE DARKEST CORNERS is a complex love story filled with lots of angst, emotional scenes and edge of your seat suspense as a single father and a troubled young woman confront their deepest, darkest fears together.
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