Genre: Psychological Thriller
Domestic noir at its best. Readers will devour this stunning page-turner about the disintegration of a marriage as grief, jealousy, betrayal and murder destroy the facade of the perfect literary couple. New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison takes her exceptional writing to a new level with this breakout novel.
They built a life on lies
Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.
Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.
I’m so excited to be kicking off the excerpt tour for Lie to Me! This tour will have excerpts in consecutive order, the entire schedule will be at the end of the post if you want to follow along.
Ethan found the note ten minutes after he rolled out of bed that Tuesday, the Tuesday that would change everything. He came downstairs yawning, scratching his chest, to…nothing. Empty space, devoid of wife.
Sutton always began her morning at the table with a bowl of cereal, a piece of fruit, and a cup of tea and read the paper, scoffing at the innumerable typos—the paper was going under, paying for decent copyediting was the least of their worries. A bowl full of cereal, a glass of milk and a spoon would be laid out for him, the sports page folded neatly by his seat. Always. Always.
But this morning, there was no evidence Sutton had been in the kitchen. No newspaper, no bowl. No wife.
He called for her. There was no answer. He searched through the house. Her bag was in her office, her cellphone, her laptop. Her license was stashed in her small wallet, all her credit cards present and accounted for, a twenty folded in half shoved behind them.
She must have gone for a run.
He felt a spark of pleasure at the thought. Sutton, once, had been a health nut. She’d run or walked or done yoga every day, something physical, something to keep her body moving and in shape. And what a shape—the woman was a knockout, willowy and lithe, strong legs and delicate ankles, tendons tight and gleaming like a thoroughbred. A body she sculpted to match his own, to fit with him.
Ethan Montclair couldn’t have a dog for a wife, no. He needed someone he could trot out at cocktail parties who looked smashing in a little black dress. And not only looked good, but sounded good. He needed a partner on all levels—physical and intellectual. Maybe it was shallow of him, but he was a good looking man, drew a lot of attention, and not only did he want his wife to be stunning, he wanted her to be smart, too. And Sutton fit the bill.
He knew they made a powerful, attractive couple. Looks and brains and success, so much success. That was their thing.
After Dashiell, she’d bounced back into shape like the champion racehorse she was, though later, when their world collapsed, she’d become tired and bloated and swollen with medications and depression, and she no longer took any interest in being beautiful and fit.
That she’d decided to start running again gave him hope. So much hope.
Spirits lifted, he went back to the sunny, happy kitchen and got his own bowl, his own milk. Made a pot of tea, whistling. Went for the stevia—no sugar for the health-conscious Montclairs, no, never.
That was when he saw it. Small. White. Lined. Torn from a spiral bound notebook, a Clairefontaine, Sutton’s favorite for the smooth, lovely paper.
This…thing…was incongruous with the rest of their spotless kitchen. Sutton was above all things a pathological neatnik. She’d never just leave something lying about.
All the happiness fled. He knew. He just knew. He’d been all wrong. She hadn’t gone running.
He picked up the note.
I’m sorry to do this to you, but I need some time away. I’ve been unhappy, you know that. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Forgive me for being a coward. Forgive me, for so many things.
Don’t look for me.
She was gone.
He felt something squeezing in his chest, a pain of sorts, and realized that his heart had just broken. He’d always thought that a stupid, silly term, but now he knew. It could happen, it was happening. He was being torn in two, torn to shreds. No wonder there were rites warning against this—What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
God was ripping him apart in punishment, and he deserved it. He deserved it all.
He didn’t cry. There were no tears left for either of them to shed.
He put the note down carefully, as if it were a bomb that might go off with the wrong touch. Went to their bedroom. Nothing seemed out of place. Her brush, her makeup case, her toothbrush, all lined up carefully on the marble. Her suitcase was in the closet.
He went back downstairs to her office, at the back of the house. Doubled checked.
Her laptop was on her desk.
Her cellphone was in the charger.
Her purse was on the floor next to her chair.
Her wallet inside, the smiling DMV photo that made her look like a model.
Like a zombie, he moved back to the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and got out the milk. Poured cereal in the bowl. Dropped the stevia into his tea. Sat at the empty table, stared at the spot where his wife’s head should have been.
What was he supposed to do now? Where could she be? He ran through the possibilities, the places she loved, discarding one after another. Surely he was wrong in his thinking. Surely she’d simply run away, to one of her friends. That’s where she’d gone. Should he call Ivy and see if Sutton was camped in her kitchen, instead of his? Should he give her some time, and space, like she asked?
She left without her things, Ethan. Sutton’s lifelines are her laptop and phone. It’s her office, her world.
A dawning realization. Sutton hadn’t shaken the depression, not completely. She was still prone to fits of melancholy. She might have done something stupid, crazy. She’d tried once before, after…Oh, God. Her words. Perhaps she was telling him exactly what she’d done.
I’m a coward. Forgive me. Don’t look for me.
He threw the bowl of cereal across the room.
“Bloody fucking hell. You selfish, heartless bitch.”
Ahh doesn’t that pique your interest?! I’ll have a review when it’s my turn on that portion of the tour in a few weeks.
About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series, the latter starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the international thriller series “A Brit in the FBI” with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband.
Monday, August 21st: Novel Gossip
Tuesday, August 22nd: Jathan and Heather
Wednesday, August 23rd: The Book Diva’s Reads
Thursday, August 24th: Broken Teepee
Friday, August 25th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, August 28th: Books and Spoons
Tuesday, August 29th: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Wednesday, August 30th: Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, August 31st: Books a la Mode
Friday, September 1st: Moonlight Rendezvous
Thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for having me!