An all-new romantic thriller is out this week from author Colleen Hoover, and I have a little sneak peek for you.
I take my wet shirt out of the sink and accept there’s no saving it. I toss it in the trash can, and then I grip the sink and stare at my reflection. Two tired, empty eyes stare back at me. The horror of what they’ve just witnessed have darkened the hazel to a murky brown. I rub my cheeks with the heels of my hands to inspire color, to no avail. I look like death.
I lean against the wall, turning away from the mirror. The man is wadding up his tie. He shoves it in the pocket of his suit and assesses me for a moment. “I can’t tell if you’re calm or in a state of shock.”
I’m not in shock, but I don’t know that I’m calm, either. “I’m not sure,” I admit. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” he says. “I’ve seen worse, unfortunately.”
I tilt my head as I attempt to dissect the layers of his cryptic reply. He breaks eye contact, and it only makes me stare even harder, wondering what he’s seen that tops a man’s head being crushed beneath a truck. Maybe he isa native New Yorker. Or maybe he works in a hospital. He has an air of competence that often accompanies people who are in charge of other people.
“Are you a doctor?”
He shakes his head. “I’m in real estate. Used to be, anyway.” He steps forward and reaches for my shoulder, brushing something away from my shirt. His shirt. When he drops his arm, he regards my face for a moment before taking a step back.
His eyes match the tie he just shoved in his pocket. Chartreuse. He’s handsome, but there’s something about him that makes me think he wishes he weren’t. Almost as if his looks might be an inconvenience to him. A part of him he doesn’t want anyone to notice. He wants to be invisible in this city. Just like me.
Most people come to New York to be discovered. The rest of us come here to hide.
“What’s your name?” he asks.
There’s a pause in him after I say my name, but it only lasts a couple seconds.
“Jeremy,” he says. He moves to the sink and runs the water again, and begins washing his hands. I continue to stare at him, unable to mute my curiosity. What did he mean when he said he’s seen worse than the accident we just witnessed? He said he used to be in real estate, but even the worst day on the job as a realtor wouldn’t fill someone with the kind of gloom that’s filling this man.
“What happened to you?” I ask.
He looks at me in the mirror. “What do you mean?”
“You said you’ve seen worse. What have you seen?”
He turns off the water and dries his hands, then faces me. “You actually want to know?”
He tosses the paper towel into the trashcan and then shoves his hands in his pockets. His demeanor takes an even more sullen dive. He’s looking me in the eye, but there’s a disconnect between him and this moment. “I pulled my eight-year-old daughter’s body out of a lake five months ago.”
I suck in a rush of air and bring my hand to the base of my throat. It wasn’t gloom at all in his expression. It was despair. “I’m so sorry,” I whisper. And I am. Sorry about his daughter. Sorry for being curious.