The Wives by Tarryn Fisher is out now! If you’re into psychological thrillers, fast-paced plots and twists you don’t see coming, then this is the book for you! Keep scrolling to read an intriguing extract…
When I wake up, some time has gone by, the light has changed. I sit up and see the bottle of Coke turned on its side, a brown stain seeping into the carpet around it.
“Sh*t,” I say aloud, standing up. I must have dozed off holding the bottle. That’s what I get for lying awake all night, staring at the ceiling. I rush to grab a rag and stain solution to clean the carpet and drop to my knees, scrubbing furiously. The Coke has dried into the knotted beige rug, a sticky caramel. I am angry about something, I realize as tears roll down my face. The drips join the stain on the carpet and I scrub harder. When the carpet is clean, I fall back on my haunches and close my eyes. What has happened to me? How have I become this docile person, living for Thursdays and the love of a man who divides himself so thinly among three women? If you’d told nineteen-year-old me that this would be my life, she’d have laughed in your face.
The day he found me was five years ago, next week. I was studying in a coffee shop, my final nursing exam looming ahead of me, a wall I didn’t feel ready to climb. I’d not slept in two days, and I was at the point where I was drinking coffee like it was water just to stay awake. Half-delirious, I swayed in my armchair as Seth sat down next to me. I remember being irritated by his presence. There were five open armchairs to choose from; why take the one right next to me? He was handsome: glossy black hair and turquoise eyes, well-slept, well-groomed and well-spoken. He’d asked if I was studying to be a nurse and I’d snapped my answer, only to apologize a moment later for my rudeness. He’d waved away my apology and asked if he could quiz me.
A laugh burst from between my lips until I realized he was serious. “You want to spend your Friday night quizzing a half-dead nursing student?” I’d asked him.
“Sure,” he’d said, eyes glowing with humor. “I figure if I get in your good graces, you won’t say no when I ask you to have dinner with me.” I remember frowning at him, wondering if it was a joke. Like his buddies had sent him over to humiliate the sad girl in the corner. He was too handsome. His type never bothered with girls like me. While I certainly wasn’t ugly, I was on the plain side. My mother always said I got the brains and my sister, Torrence, got the beauty.
“Are you being serious?” I’d asked. I suddenly felt self-conscious about my limp ponytail and lack of mascara.
“Only if you like Mexican,” he’d said. “I can’t fall for a girl who doesn’t like Mexican.”
“I don’t like Mexican,” I told him, and he’d grabbed at his heart like he was in pain. I’d laughed at the sight of him—a too-handsome man pretending to have a heart attack in a coffee shop.
“Just kidding. What sort of messed-up human doesn’t like Mexican?”
Against my better judgment and despite my insanely busy schedule, I’d agreed to meet him for dinner the following week. A girl had to eat, after all. When I pulled up to the restaurant in my beat-up little Ford, I’d half expected him not to be there. But as soon as I stepped out of the car, I spotted him waiting by the entrance, just out of reach of the rain, droplets spotting the shoulders of his trench coat. He’d been charming through the first course, asking me questions about school, my family and what I planned to do after. I’d dipped chips in salsa, trying to remember the last time a person had taken this much interest in me. Wholly taken with him, I’d answered every single one of his questions with enthusiasm, and by the time dinner was finished, I realized I knew nothing about him.
“We’ll save that for dinner next week,” he’d said when I brought it up.
“How do you know there will be a next week?” I asked him.
He just smiled at me, and I knew right then that I was in trouble.
You can buy your copy of The Wives now!