Author: Kate L Mary
Genre: New Adult Mystery Romance
Publisher: Twisted Press
Publication Date: February 5th, 2020
Some secrets are better left untold…
When eighteen-year-old Kara Jones gets into a car accident on the way home from college, she’s left with more than a few bruised ribs, a busted cell phone, and a totaled car. After a slip-up at the hospital, she’s shaken to discover that her family isn’t all it seems. And now her mother’s strange behavior and willingness to do anything to protect her secrets—including pulling Kara out of school—have Kara floundering in the dark.
Enter Derek Miller, a former classmate who’s dealing with family issues of his own. His nerdy charm is too much for Kara to resist, and she’s even more amazed when he agrees to help her dig into her mother’s past. Together they investigate her mother’s old friends and boyfriends, hoping to discover who Kara really is. Instead, they find disturbing connections to the dark history of Kent State University, and an ever expanding maze of mystery surrounding Kara’s birth.
As Kara and Derek chase secrets, she realizes he’s the only person she can trust. But as they get closer to the truth, the disturbing answers reveal a web of evil far darker and further reaching than they’d imagined, leaving Kara to wish she’d never asked the questions in the first place.
Kate L. Mary is an award-winning author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, ranging from Post-apocalyptic tales of the undead, to Speculative Fiction and Contemporary Romance. Her YA book, When We Were Human, was the 2015 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards Silver Medal Winner for Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fiction, and the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner for Young Adult Science Fiction, and her dystopian novel, Outliers, was a Top 10 Finalist in the 2018 Author Academy Awards for Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and the Winner in the 2018 Kindle Book Awards for Sci-Fi/Fantasy.
Mom stands in the doorway, her arms crossed over her chest and her black hair a mess. The sloppiness isn’t like her; she’s typically so put together. But Mom isn’t who I need to be focusing on right now. I’ve been asking her what’s going on for two days, and I’ve gotten nowhere. Dad will tell me.
I put my back to her and focus on Dad’s face. “Why didn’t you come see me?”
He rubs the back of his neck. “I’m sorry, honey. I should have I just…” He sighs and pinches his nose the way he does when he’s stressed. “I couldn’t be around her right now. It’s too hard.”
I take a deep breath, willing myself to stay in control. “Why? What’s happened?”
Dad’s gray eyes move to Mom. “You didn’t tell her, Charlotte?”
Mom’s shoulders slump even more. “She was hurt. I didn’t want to add any undue stress.”
He puts his head in his hands and digs his fingers into his scalp like he’s trying to crush his own skull. “You should have told her eighteen years ago.” The words hiss through his teeth. “You should have told me.”
“What’s going on?” I gasp for breath between the words. I’m close to hyperventilating.
Dad’s eyes meet mine. They are so full of pain. “What the nurse said…”
My mouth pops open. “I am adopted.”
He winces. “No.”
“I don’t understand. What, then? What’s happening?” My stomach feels like it’s full of rocks.
“Your blood type is AB.” Every word makes his face scrunch up even more. “Your mom and I are both O.” He looks away when I shake my head. I still don’t understand. “There’s no way I could be your father.”
The room spins and I want to curl up in a ball, but I can’t move. My heart. I grab my chest and squeeze. Mom steps forward with her hand out. One look from me and she stops.
“What?” The word is so quiet I’m not even sure I said it.
Dad takes my hand. The one that isn’t trying to hold my heart together. “I’m still your father.”
“But you’re not? Not really?”
He shakes his head, and I blink. Tears drop from my eyes onto my legs, leaving dark circles on my jeans. This can’t be real. Things like this don’t really happen, right? Not to normal families like ours. Not to one of the few couples who are actually happy together and still in love after twenty years of marriage.
“You didn’t know?” I can’t look at Mom, so I focus on Dad’s eyes. When he shakes his head, my stomach convulses and jumps to my throat.
I turn to Mom. “You knew?”
She doesn’t even try to deny it or defend herself. All she does is stand there, staring at us with those unflinching blue eyes of hers. Mine are the same color, but they have more life in them. I’ve always attributed that to my dad. What a joke!
“I have your personality!” My voice shakes and I want to get up and run away, but my body is too battered to make an escape. I do stand up. “You!” I scream at Mom. “You cheated on Dad? How could you? And to lie about it all these years!”
She finally cracks. Tears fall from her eyes, and she takes a step toward me. I back away. Pain shoots through my body. At this point, I don’t know if it’s physical or emotional.
“It’s not what you think,” she says. “We were split up.”
“Charlotte, stop it,” Dad says.
“What? It’s true!”
Dad shakes his head. “We broke up for one month. You were cheating on me long before that. You only came crawling back when you found out you were pregnant. I was an easy target.” He sounds so bitter. I can’t blame him.
“What do you mean you broke up? You mean you got separated?”
Mom’s shoulders slump. “I was pregnant when we got married.”
I shake my head and she puts her hand up to stop me. Why does she look so calm and put together suddenly? All those times she’s fallen apart over the tiniest things, and now when the world is crashing down around me, she’s as cool as a cucumber, whatever that means.
“We told you we got married two years before you were born. That isn’t true. We were dating, and I met someone else. I didn’t mean to cheat; it just happened. For a time, I thought I wanted to be with him, but it didn’t turn out well. When I found out I was pregnant I went back to your father.” She turns her eyes on Dad, but he won’t look at her. “I didn’t know then! Not for sure. She could have just as easily been your baby.”
“But you found out later.”
Mom nods, but there’s no way he can see.
My legs shake. I sink back onto the couch just as Dad gets to his feet. He puts his hand on my shoulder, and I stare up at him. He isn’t looking at me, and he isn’t looking at Mom. He’s staring at the door. One squeeze of my shoulder and he’s gone, pushing past Mom without even glancing her way. The wind howls when he opens the front door, and when it slams shut my heart splits in two.