Today, I have an excerpt from Kate Moretti’s latest novel, The Vanishing Year, which is a highly suspenseful mystery novel. The book is out now and I really can’t recommend this book enough. My review for this book will be up later this month. Until then, here is an exclusive excerpt for you to read and enjoy.
3 JUNE 2009, SAN PABLO, CALIFORNIA
The bar smelled like old men, the kind of permanent sweat stain that leaches into everything: the unfinished wood grain of the chairs, the thick, ancient varnish of the bar top, the heavy brocade drapes. The air felt hot-wet, like maybe the air conditioner had been on, and now it was condensing on every flat surface in the heat wave. Even the neon bar signs had given up, flickering on and off halfheartedly: Max’s Cocktail Lounge. The name conjured up some kind of 1940s velvet-lined art deco salon, but the reality was shrouded in wood paneling.
I sat at the end of the bar, the beginning of a nightly ritual that started with vodka tonics and ended with whiskey. I had no place to go. Except this place.
I heard him before I saw him. “Well if it isn’t little Hilary, who ain’t so little.” The voice cut through the smoke and the booze and gave me a chill. He stood next to me, his fingertips dancing across the back of my barstool, and all I could think was don’t you dare touch me. The anger filled my throat.
“Mick.” I faced him, and he seemed surprised. His blond hair flopped in front of his green eyes. His face was tanned, lined, but in a broken, weathered way that made women want to fix him. One woman, in particular. “She’s dead. But thanks for stopping by.”
I watched his reaction through slitted eyes and he was appropriately surprised, then sad.
“Ah, I’m sorry, Peach. I knew she was sick.”
“But you didn’t come?”
“Your mama and I . . . I loved her, but we just aren’t the same kind of people.” He made a coughing sound, which almost sounded like a sob. For a second, I looked up. His eyes were dry.
“I don’t know what that means.”
“It’s easy, sugar. She’s a good person.”
“Was.” I pushed my glass away, the liquor sliding up over the lip and onto the bar top.
“She was a good person. She’s dead now. She’s actually in the county coroner’s office because I, her daughter, and possibly the only person who truly cared about her, can’t afford to bury her.”
He sat on the barstool next to me, his palms flat on the wood in front of him. “When?” His voice was soft, the swagger kicked out and his grief coming too late.
“A week ago, Sunday.”
“Your mama had a million friends, H. Everyone loved her, she was a spirit, you know?” He said this to me, like I didn’t know, and I wanted to kick his shins with both feet, hard. I pictured that, the toe of my high heel making small, pointed, bluish green marks, like the ones he’d left on Evelyn’s arms, dotting his flesh like tiny fingerprints.
The truth was, she used to have friends. Before Mick. Before cancer.
“Yeah, well, where are they?” I pulled the corner of my napkin back, pressing the pad of my finger into the puddle of whiskey and touching it to my tongue.
“I don’t know. I have some phone numbers, we could call some people. Get help.”
“Why don’t you help? She loved you, you know.”
He looked pained. “I was never good enough, that’s all, Hilary. I’m sorry about Evelyn. I’m sorry about everything.” I waved my hand. It didn’t matter. Mick had been in and out of our lives so much, he’d hardly been a stabilizer. I hadn’t seen him in more than six months. Just enough time for Evelyn to get sick, really sick. For the cancer to come back with a vengeance and for her to die. Alone.
“I can help you. I can get money, what do you need?” “Three thousand dollars.”
“That’s not a whole lot.” He rubbed his jaw, his three-day stubble, flecked with new gray. “Can I give you a ride home?”
“Just go away, Mick.” I rested my forehead on the back of my hand, which cupped the top of my glass. Everything felt so heavy. When I looked up he was gone.
THE VANISHING YEAR
(The Chronicals of Alice #1)
by Kate Moretti
Release Date: 27th September 2016
Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.
What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.
As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she – whoever she is – vanishes completely.
ABOUT KATE MORETTI
Kate Moretti lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and a dog. She’s worked in the pharmaceutical industry for ten years as a scientist, and has been an avid fiction reader her entire life.
She enjoys traveling and cooking, although with two kids, a day job, and writing, she doesn’t get to do those things as much as she’d like.
Her lifelong dream is to buy an old house with a secret passageway.