Excerpt: Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

If you like thrillers and mysteries then you don’t want to miss out on this new psychological thriller by Annie Ward. While this is her second novel, this is her first psychological thriller and this book is on excerpt tour right now.

Throughout this tour you will find a pretty broad sneak peak for this book. I am fortunate enough to kick this one off with the first excerpt.

Check out the excerpt below and the other stops on the tour for more previews of this novel. I read this excerpt and was intrigued by what I saw already!

Summary

A devoted wife, a loving husband and a chilling murder that no one saw coming.

Things that make me scared: When Charlie cries. Hospitals and lakes. When Ian drinks vodka in the basement. ISIS. When Ian gets angry… That something is really, really wrong with me.

Maddie and Ian’s love story began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt

MADDIE

Twelve weeks before

I type, “Should I see a therapist?”
A popular Google search, it seems. There’s a lot of information on the topic. Pages and pages of tests you can take to help you decide if therapy is right for you. If so, what kind of therapy? Psychiatrist versus psychologist? What’s your major disorder? There’s so much. I could do this all night. Once Ian leaves, maybe I will.

Ian drifts over in my direction, opening and closing drawers. “Have you seen my little phone charger?” he asks, frowning. “The portable one?”

“Nope,” I answer, my finger hovering over my laptop, ready to hide my search and switch to Facebook if he comes too close.

He leaves.
Back to business. I start scrolling through the quizzes. Some are straightforward. Tick the box yes or no.
You are anxious or scared about a lot of things in your life. Okay, yes.

You are scared that you are going to lose control, go crazy or die. All three!

You sometimes feel like your mind is possessed by another person or creature. Umm, no. But that sounds fun.

You believe there is something wrong with the way you look.

I can’t help but chuckle silently. Oh my gosh. They should get a load of me.

Some of the questions verge on the utterly bizarre.

 

Are you uncomfortable with 1) Singing at a karaoke bar sober? 2) Dancing by yourself in a dimly lit nightclub? 3) Making calls to a stranger from the privacy of your bedroom with no one else listening?

 

Maybe I’m not nearly as loopy as I thought. I wouldn’t be caught dead at a karaoke bar sober.

Ian swoops through again, mumbling. “I’ve got my watch, my phone, my passport…” He glances at me, but he’s elsewhere, deep in thought. I try to smile at him but stop. It hurts my eye too much. My finger is hovering again, just in case he decides to come have a look at what I’m doing. Just in case I need to click on Facebook and show him the video of cute baby goats jumping on each other’s backs that one of my friends just posted.

Here’s another question. Are you hiding something?

It’s so simple. It’s so direct. It’s almost uncanny. As if someone out there knows I’m not supposed to be thinking the things I’m thinking.

Ian doesn’t know about my plan to get some help.

He would not approve. He would say,They’re all quacks, you know. And besides. You’re fine. We’re fine. Everything’s perfect.

Or then again, he might say what he said two weeks ago. Right before I got hurt.

“You really are a spoiled little bitch.”

DAY OF THE KILLING

Meadowlark was a small town an hour and a half south of Kansas City. The emergency call center was located in a claustrophobic back room of the single-story, all-brick police station, which resembled a rest stop bathroom. It was ten at night, and Nick Cooper was alone when he received the call. “Nine- one-one, what’s your—” he said nonchalantly into his headset microphone, while opening a packet of sugar for his coffee. He wasn’t able to finish his question.

A child was shrieking in frantic bursts, and a woman was whispering, “Go back upstairs, baby, please.” Her voice was urgent. “Please! Go! Go now!” And then suddenly she shouted, “Oh my God!”

“What’s your emergency, ma’am?” he demanded, knocking over his coffee as he lunged for his computer. He told himself to remain calm, but the sound in his ear of a terrified child was incredibly upsetting. His fingers bordered on useless. An address showed up on his computer screen. “Please, ma’am, can you—”

“Hurry!” she screamed. “Please help us! Hurry!” Eight seconds into the call from the residence at 2240 Lincoln Street, Nick lost contact. The female caller gasped and said “No!” in a desperate voice. Then there was the sound of what he assumed was the phone clattering to the floor. The line went dead. He tried to call back. No luck.

Nick sent out the emergency signal over the radio. “Possible robbery or domestic battery underway at 2240 Lincoln Street,” he said, speaking so fast his words ran together. “Female and child in the residence. No further information. Call ended. Unable to reestablish connection. Over.”

Officer Diane Varga responded within seconds. “Dispatch, this is 808. I’m headed over now.”

Nick grabbed his phone and pressed the speed dial for Barry Shipps. Of Meadowlark’s two detectives, Barry was more likely to respond quickly even though he was off duty and probably not near his radio.

“This is Detective Shipps.”

“Detective,” Nick said. “This is Dispatch. Can you stand by for a possible call-out to 2240 Lincoln Street?”

“I can do better than that,” Shipps answered. “I’m filling up my car at Casey’s General just down the road.” A beat later Shipps was back in his car on his radio. “Dispatch, this is Shipps. I’m en route.”

Diane was in Nick’s ear again. “And I’m turning off Victory onto 223rd. Almost there.”

“Roger 808.” Nick almost said be careful. He stopped himself. Every time he ran into Diane in town, he found himself whistling Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl.” He took a deep breath and folded his trembling hands in his lap.

Excerpt Tour:

Monday, February 18th: The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, February 19th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Wednesday, February 20th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, February 21st: Helen’s Book Blog

Friday, February 22nd: She Reads With Cats

Monday, February 25th: Books and Spoons

Tuesday, February 26th: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind

Wednesday, February 27th: Jessicamap Reviews

Thursday, February 28th: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Friday, March 1st: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Tuesday, March 5th: Lori’s Reading Corner

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