The Guest by Cathryn Grant
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.7 MB
Cathryn Grant is the author of the Alexandra Mallory psychological suspense series. She also writes psychological thrillers, suburban noir novels, and the more-than-occasional ghost story.
She told him to make himself at home. He did.
Life has been good to Ellie – she owns a successful art gallery, is deeply in love with her husband, Seth, and has two beautiful children, Brandon and Simone.
But not everything is perfect…
Lately, Seth seems to have something on his mind and has become cold and distant. And things don’t improve when he invites mysterious stranger Ace to stay in their home.
Ace is charming, but Ellie can’t help feeling there’s more to him than meets the eye, that he has some kind of agenda. She’s also aware that she is dangerously attracted to him.
Then a girl at Brandon’s school is murdered, and Ellie is beyond devastated when the police tell her they think her son might be involved.
Ellie knows in her heart that Brandon is innocent and she feels certain that Ace is somehow connected to the disturbing things that are happening. She starts to dig for the truth and uncovers the terrible secret that will change her life in ways she can’t imagine…
Seth came around the island, rolling up his shirtsleeves as he walked, exposing his strong forearms with their covering of dark hair. He gave me a kiss, more intense and lingering than recently. I relaxed into him and, after a moment, turned away. I poured three glasses of wine and sent Seth and Ace into the dining room with their wine. I messaged Brandon upstairs in his bedroom to tell his sister dinner was ready.
As we scooped chicken and quinoa onto our plates, we learned that Ace had just moved to California from Colorado—starting over, he said. He wanted to enjoy the nice weather and take some classes at one of the junior colleges in our area. He’d spent his twenties and thirties driving a long-haul truck. During his breaks at roadside restaurants, he’d read a lot of books. On the road, he listened to podcasts and audiobooks, and he’d come to see there might be more satisfying and interesting ways to earn a living.
The way he spoke sounded almost like a script, but the wine intensified my lack of sleep, so my perceptions were probably a bit off. He was so easy to look at, his voice a soothing tenor; I wanted to listen to him all evening.
“What are you planning to study?” I asked.
He shrugged. “TBD.”
“Wish I could get away with that kind of bullshit answer,” Brandon said.
I laughed. What he’d said was inappropriate in several ways, but also true. I loved seeing splashes of adult thoughts emerging from my teenage son.
“Don’t be rude,” Seth said.
“How is that rude?” Brandon let his knife fall to his plate as if it had slipped out of his hand, but I knew he’d made the racket deliberately, and I was sure Seth was also aware.
“Changing direction in your thirties or forties takes courage,” Seth said, raising his voice to be sure we could hear over the sound of cutlery on stoneware. “At your age, the world is your oyster. Refusing to think about your future is pure laziness, nothing more.”
“Oysters,” Simone said. “Oysters hardly have any mercury contamination.”
“Not what he’s going on about,” Brandon said.
“Brandon.” I said his name softly.
Everyone returned to their food, and a moment of silence settled over the table.
Finally, Ace spoke. “Seth mentioned you own an art gallery.”
I nodded. “I do.” Without adding any more, I turned the attention back to our guest. “How long have you been in California?” I asked.
Ace shrugged. “A few weeks, give or take.”
“Do you have an apartment?”
“He’s staying with a friend. Couch-surfing for now,” Seth said.