Read An Anonymous Girl Online

Authors: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

An Anonymous Girl (44 page)

Thomas glances at it once more and fiddles with the thin cocktail straw bobbing in his Scotch.

He seems to be catching on that this isn’t simply a social encounter.

“Is there anything I can do to help?” he asks.

“I’d appreciate any suggestions you have,” you reply as you move your hand down another few inches. Now Katherine
April Vosse’s name is visible in a pretty font.

Thomas flinches and rears back in his seat.

He lifts his eyes to meet yours, then he takes a big sip of his drink.

Your hand moves again. Now the quote is revealed:
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

“April was asking her mother about this line shortly before she died,” you say. You let that sink in.
“I guess she’d seen it somewhere. Maybe it’s the kind of thing she’d read on a coffee mug.”

His face is now pale. “I thought we could trust each other, Jess,” he whispers. “Can’t we?”

You shrug. “A friend once told me that if you have to ask if you can trust someone, you already know the answer.”

“What does that mean?” he asks. His voice is wary.

“I just want what’s due to me,”
you say. “After everything I went through.”

He drains his Scotch, the ice clinking in the glass.

“How about I help you with your rent, until you’re back on your feet?” He looks at you hopefully.

You smile and shake your head slightly.

“I appreciate your offer, but I had something more substantial in mind,” you say. “I’m sure Dr. Shields would agree that I deserve it.”

You turn
over the funeral program. There is a dollar sign with a number written next to it on the back.

Thomas gasps. “Are you kidding?”

Thomas, of course, is the sole recipient of his wife’s estate, including the multimillion-dollar town house. He has his job, his license, and his reputation intact. It would be surprising if you, with your inquisitive and industrious nature, had not already confirmed
this. And you believe it is a small price for him to pay for your family’s well-being.

“I’m happy to receive it in monthly installments,” you say, pushing the program toward him.

Thomas is slumped in his chair. He has already conceded defeat.

You lean forward until only a few inches separate your faces. “After all, trust can be bought.”

You leave almost immediately, pushing through
the door and striding onto the sidewalk. Within moments, you are enveloped by the crowd, just another anonymous girl in the city.

Perhaps you are confident in your decision.

Or maybe an insistent question will haunt you:

Was it all worth it, Jessica?

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

From Greer and Sarah:

Our thanks go first to Jen Enderlin (also known as “Saint Jenderlin”), our brilliant, kind, and all-around superb editor and publisher at St. Martin’s Press. Her vision, support, and enthusiasm for us and this novel makes us so grateful every day.

Katie Bassel, our publicist, works tirelessly on behalf of our books—and does so with good humor
and good fashion!

The dream team beside these two amazing women nurture our novels through the publication process with great care, energy, and boundless creativity. We are so lucky to have them working on behalf of our books. Thank you to Rachel Diebel, Marta Fleming, Olga Grlic, Tracey Guest, Jordan Hanley, Brant Janeway (a special shout-out to you for coming up with the book’s title!),
Kim Ludlam, Erica Martirano, Kerry Nordling, Gisela Ramos, Sally Richardson, Lisa Senz, Michael Storrings, Dori Weintraub, and Laura Wilson.

Thanks also to our wildly generous and supportive Mama-bear agent, Victoria Sanders, as well as her wonderful crew: Bernadette Baker-Baughman, Jessica Spivey, and Diane Dickensheid at Victoria Sanders and Associates.

To Benee Knauer: Your encouragement,
calm manner, and story smarts once again helped us find the right path as we set out to write this novel.

Our gratitude to all of our foreign publishers who have shared our work around the globe, including Wayne Brookes at Pan Macmillan UK, whose e-mails always make us laugh—and make us feel like we are supermodels instead of writers!

Our deepest appreciation to Shari Smiley and Ellen
Goldsmith-Vein at the Gotham Group for their passionate work to bring our novels to the screen. And to Holly Bario at Amblin Entertainment and Carolyn Newman at eOne Entertainment for making our experiences in Hollywood so exciting.

And last but never least, to our readers: We love connecting with you, so please find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And to sign up for our very occasional
newsletters, please visit our websites:
www.greerhendricks.com
and
www.sarahpekkanen.com
We’d love to stay in touch with you.

From Greer:

For someone who spends her days writing, I find it almost impossible to put into words how much a part of my life Sarah Pekkanen has become. Co-author, business partner, beloved friend, cheerleader, counselor—the list could go on and on. You truly have
become the sister I never had. Thank you for everything.

I am deeply grateful to my friends both in and outside the publishing industry (you know who you are!), especially my early readers, Marla Goodman, Vicki Foley, and Alison Stong. And my running partners, Karen Gordon and Gillian Blake, who listen to it all as we track our mileage.

Much appreciation to this very special support team:
Katharina Anger, Melissa Goldstein, Danny Thompson, and Ellen Katz Westrich.

Extra-special thanks to my family: the Hendricks, Alloccas, and Kessels, especially those who commented on early drafts: Julie and Robert (best brother ever!).

Elaine and Mark Kessel, aka Mom and Dad, this one belongs to you. Thank you for encouraging my love of reading, writing, and psychology—and for always
telling me I deserve it.

Rocky and Cooper, for keeping me company (although sometimes a bit too much company).

Paige, you have taught me so much about courage and self-awareness. You impress and inspire me every day.

Alex, the joy you provide me is boundless. You have the biggest heart and no one makes me laugh more.

And finally to John, who not only listened to me brainstorm ideas
over boozy brunches and long dog walks, but also provided fantastic notes. You make everything possible and make it all worthwhile. Twenty years and counting . . .

From Sarah:

I can’t imagine sharing this publishing journey with anyone other than Greer Hendricks. Your deep and constant support is a layer of bedrock in my life. Your funny texts always make me laugh. Your emotional intelligence
and tireless drive to make every page we write the best it can be inspires me. G, we are truly better together!

Thanks to Kathy Nolan for her creative help on my website; to the Street Team and my Facebook friends and readers for their support; and to the booksellers, librarians, and book bloggers who have helped our novels find their way into the hands of readers.

I’m always grateful
to Sharon Sellers for helping me clear my mind in the gym, and to my fantastic hometown Gaithersburg Book Festival crew (with a special shout-out to Jud Ashman). My thanks also to Glenn Reynolds for being a wonderful co-parent.

Bella, one of the great dogs, sat patiently by my side as I wrote.

Love always to my parents, John and Lynn Pekkanen. Dad, you taught me how to write, and Mom,
you taught me how to dream big. You two are the best. And to the rest of the strong, funny Pekkanen crew: Robert, Saadia, Sophia, Ben, Tammi, and little Billy. Thank you for always being there.

Roger Aarons lived through every part of this book with me, from reading early drafts (and catching even the most minuscule of typos), to cooking for me like Noah did for Jess, to being the best plus-one
a girl could ask for at publishing events. Roger, I’m so grateful you came into this chapter of my life.

And to my three amazing sons: Jackson, Will, and Dylan. You fill me with so much love and pride every single day.

OUT NOW

The Wife Between Us

By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.

It’s about a jealous wife, obsessed with her replacement.

It’s about a younger woman set to marry the man she loves.

The first wife seems like a disaster; her replacement is the perfect woman. You will assume you know the motives, the history,
the anatomy of the relationships.

You will be wrong.

*

‘Fans of
Gone Girl
and
The Girl the
will adore this classy domestic noir set in New York’
Daily Express

‘With shocking twists, this intricate thriller proves all is not what it seems for the discarded first wife and the woman about to marry her ex. Addictive’
& Home

Greer Hendricks
spent over two decades as an editor.

Prior to her tenure in book publishing, she worked at
Allure Magazine
and earned her Masters in Journalism from Columbia University. Her writing has been published in the
New York Times
and
Publishers Weekly
. Greer lives in Manhattan with her husband, two children and very needy dog, Rocky.

The Wife Between Us
is her first novel.

Sarah Pekkanen
is the internationally and
USA Today
bestselling author of several novels including
Skipping a Beat
.
A former investigative journalist and feature writer, her work has been published in
The Washington Post
,
USA Today
and many others. She is the mother of three sons and lives just outside Washington, D.C.

By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The Wife Between Us

An Anonymous Girl

First published in the United States 2019 by St. Martin’s Press, New York

First published in the UK 2019 by Macmillan

This electronic edition published 2018 by Macmillan

an imprint of Pan Macmillan

20 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RR

Associated companies throughout the world

www.panmacmillan.com

ISBN
978-1-5290-1074-9

Copyright © 2019 by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Cover Images: Foreground figure © Shutterstock.

Background figure © Getty, PeopleImages

The right of Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Pan Macmillan does not have any
control over, or any responsibility for, any author or third-party websites referred to in or on this book.

You may not copy, store, distribute, transmit, reproduce or otherwise make available this publication (or any part of it) in any form, or by any means (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

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