What happens when Penelope Summers meets Clive Drake? An excerpt from a new psychological thriller I'm working on.

While I wait for my editor to send back Circle of Trust for final review (it will be out this May), I've started a new novel. Different characters, different story line. Same genre: a torrid, psychological thriller.

Penelope Summers is dissatisfied in her marriage. While on the bus going to visit her friend Petal, who is dying from cancer, she meets Clive Drake when he sits down next to her, casually striking up a conversation. Innocent enough.

Sparks fly between Penelope and Clive. But sometimes trust builds too soon, sometimes dark secrets linger beneath the surface, and sometimes passion and obsession become indistinguishable.

Here is an excerpt from a chapter I'm working on...   

Clive hung up the phone. His lights were off, but the street lamps shone narrow streaks of light into his apartment. He stared at the lines on his floor, sipped whiskey. He hadn’t thought past the original phone call to Penelope. He so often did things impulsively when it came to his emotions. And it often got him into trouble. His brother used to tell him: Clive, man, you gotta think before acting!

The phone call happened in a rush of passion and now he wasn’t sure how to feel about the consequences: He was meeting a new woman for coffee. Was he glad she called him back? He was glad. It just complicated his already muddled thoughts. As of late, his thoughts were tangled and swarming, almost like a tornado.

Allie had only been gone two months. It was definitely too soon. But he was so drawn to this woman. He just couldn’t stop himself from reaching out to her. “Shhhit!” he slobbered. Plopping back into the crevice of his sofa, he rubbed his hand over the scruff on his face. He thought of Allie.

It was so strange that day he met Allie. It started out as an ordinary day. It was just…the usual, the regular routine he always followed. He went to Starbucks to write after breakfast. He was in the back corner writing, lost in the world he had created. He only looked up for a second and he wasn’t even seeing really. His mind, preoccupied.

But then she looked at him. This woman, this sublime creature, she looked right at him. Her eyes so intense and penetrating, her red hair like a halo around her pale skin, she looked liked an angel. Their eyes locked. He felt pulled, almost like she suctioned him toward her, imaginary strings binding them together in some mysterious way.

Clive painfully shy, even awkward went to get up and knocked his notebook into his coffee. The fluid plummeted, covered the edge of the table, dripped onto the floor, an untidy stream of brown. Clive could be short tempered, although he concealed it well. He burned with irritation at the dumped coffee, brooded internally. He took a napkin and reached down to the floor to wipe the spill.  

Suddenly, there she was, right there, leaning down, picking the cup off the floor. She wiped his table with a bunch of napkins.

“Here let me help. I do things like that all the time.” She smiled subtly, her lips candy apple red, her eyes brown and warm.

Her presence enveloped him. Perpetually ill at ease, Clive was tongue-tied. “Umm…Tha…Tha…Thank you.” He couldn’t take his eyes off of her and he tried. He wiped the table while gazing into those brown pools. There was a sadness about her. And a softness, her skin so white and creamy, he found himself touching her bare shoulder. He had never touched a woman like that, a woman he didn’t know. But he found himself unable to resist this pull toward her.

She turned her neck and looked at his hand touching her shoulder, smiled softly and said, “Hi, I’m Allie.”

Clive swallowed, his armpits perspired. “Clive. Nice to meet you.”

Nothing in Clive’s life ever seemed easy. Until that moment. He was trying to figure out how or what to say to this pure quintessence of beauty that stood before him, when she just sat down. “So what are you working on?”

“Oh,” he swallowed again. His eyes glued to her, he was mesmerized. “It’s a…it’s a novel. I’m a writer.”

“Oh. Wow. Me too. I write young adult novels. For young girls mostly,” her voice was raspy. And in spite of her almost fragile looking presence, she seemed assertive, confident. Yet, Clive could see the sadness behind her facade. The combination hypnotizing, enthralling, all encompassing.  He had to know her. 

He shut his laptop. I’d love to umm…hear all about your writing. What are you doing right now?” He looked at his watch. Can I take you to lunch?”

She pursued her crimson lips and looked right at him. “I’d love that.”

They went to lunch and then back to his apartment. It all happened so fast. Allie moved in a month later.