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Authors: James Grippando

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FOUR DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, PEYTON AND KEVIN WERE DOING
their one-stop shopping. It had been a long time coming, but Kevin’s novel was finally in bookstores.

A light snow was falling in the late afternoon, and a fresh, clean layer of white marked the east side of the bare tree limbs along the Boston Common. The storefronts of surrounding shops were decorated for the season with wreaths, twinkling lights, and menorahs. Peyton took Kevin’s arm as they crossed the street, passing right in front of a horse-drawn carriage. It was a magical time of year, and the thing she loved about Boston was that if you squinted your eyes and blocked out the traffic noise, you could, for a dreamy moment, put yourself in another century.

The trial, thank heaven, was already beginning to feel like another era. Most important, Rudy was gone. Right along with him went the criminal charges against Peyton and Kevin. Even if the cop in Kevin’s hospital room hadn’t heard the confession, Rudy’s apartment and his computer were filled with self-incrimination. Records, photographs, computer files, and maps created a veritable scrapbook of everything that had happened in the past year—his stalking of Peyton, his murder of Andy Johnson and Gary Varne, and his first attempt to kill Kevin. They even found Peyton’s gun under his bed, which he’d used to kill Gary.

Peyton didn’t like to think of the last two months as “getting back
to normal,” since it was hard to know what normal was. Her mother had yet to be charged with a crime, but in Peyton’s mind she’d been convicted. Her father had filed for divorce, and neither he nor Peyton had spoken to her since. She was tempted to track down her half sister, but in the end she decided that it was up to the child who was given up for adoption to seek out her biological family, not the other way around. That the girl was still a minor made it even more sensitive.

On a more upbeat note, she was happy to be back at Children’s Hospital for her residency, and she’d forgiven Kevin for his night with Sandra Blair. Kevin was working at a small litigation firm, part-time lawyer and part-time writer. He was just happy to be published, but their trial had turned him and Peyton into minor celebrities, boosting the book onto the Boston best seller list.

“There it is,” said Peyton as they entered the bookstore.

On the table right in front:
LYING WITH STRANGERS, A NOVEL BY KEVIN STOKES.

She felt tingles for Kevin as they approached the display. He picked up the book and held it carefully, as if it were breakable.

“I’ve waited so long for this,” he said.

“Let’s buy a copy.”

“Kind of crass buying your own book, isn’t it?”

“There’s worse crap you could buy in here.”

“Thanks a lot. Maybe you can give me a blurb for the paperback: ‘It doesn’t suck’—Peyton Shields.”

She reached under the table and grabbed the stack. “Here, let’s get all of these.”

“Peyton,” he said, groaning.

“What? We have to buy gifts for our friends anyway.”

“Do you think the CEO of McDonald’s gives his friends Happy Meals as gifts?”

“Yes, I do. And it’s not the same thing anyway.”

“We’ll buy one copy,” he said.

He started toward the register. Peyton acquiesced and put the rest of the books back—not under the shelf, where she’d found them, but on top, prominently positioned with the display copies.

Kevin watched with a boyish grin as the young clerk rang up the sale. He’d been playing it so cool, but Peyton knew that he couldn’t possibly walk out without taking at least one feeble stab at triggering some recognition.

“This is my book, you know,” he said proudly.

The clerk gave him a stupid look. “Yeah, it will be. When you pay for it.”

Kevin was about to speak up, but Peyton stopped him. “We’ve had our taste of fame. Let’s enjoy the anonymity.”

He smiled, wondering if the clerk would match the author’s name to the name on the credit slip. Just in case, he signed it
Mickey Mouse
.

Peyton snickered. The clerk didn’t even check. He just placed the book in a bag and passed it over the counter. “Seems like a lot of people are buying this book. Must be good.”

“Best book I ever—”

Peyton pinched his ribs, knowing that he was about to say “wrote.”

“Ever bought,” he said. “Best book I ever bought.”

The clerk gave him another stupid look.

Peyton took Kevin’s hand and led him to the door, smiling.

“Come on, Ernest. We’ve got a bullfight to get to.”

IN THIS WORLD OF REVOLVING DOORS, I’M WHAT YOU MIGHT CALL A
professional anomaly. From the very start of my career, I’ve had the same agent (Richard Pine and, until his death in 2001, his father, Artie) and the same publisher (HarperCollins). I’ve also had the same editor (Carolyn Marino) since my second novel. I treasure these relationships. It is because of them that I am able to do what I love for a living.

Lying with Strangers
marked the beginning of some new and exciting relationships. I’m eternally grateful to Markus Wilhelm, CEO of Bookspan, who tells me that he picked up one of my “Jack Swyteck” novels at an airport and was a fan for life by the time the plane landed. It was Richard Pine who suggested that he might like a non-Swyteck novel that I had in the works. The rest, as they say, is history. I’d been a “Main Selection” only once before in my life—my wife told me I was hers when she married me—so I’m deeply honored that
Lying with Strangers
was the first of my novels to be a Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Guild, and Doubleday Book Club.

Carole Baron should also take a bow. They say that an editor has done her best work when you can’t tell she’s been there, but trust me, Carole’s mark is all over this book. She is a real pro, and I can’t thank her enough for stepping out of her role in senior management and cutting on my manuscript, pushing me as a writer
to another level. I’m also grateful to my reliable early readers, Dr. Gloria M. Grippando, Janis (“Conan the Grammarian”) Koch, and Eleanor Rayner.

A huge thank-you also goes to David Weinstein, M.D., and the staff and administration at Boston Children’s Hospital who allowed me to shadow David. It was some of the most educational and enjoyable research I’ve ever done.

Dr. Weinstein is now at the University of Florida, which has given him the opportunity to create and direct the ideal program for children with glycogen storage disease. Dr. Weinstein’s program is now the largest in the world, and the University of Florida has more researchers looking for a cure and new treatments for this rare disease than the rest of the world combined. One of the patients Dr. Weinstein treats is a boy named Jacob Gordon, whose family has provided critical support for the program. In honor of Jacob, and in a show of appreciation to the Gordon family, Dr. Peyton Shields’s favorite patient in
Lying with Strangers
is named Jacob Gordon.

Finally, I want to thank my wife, Tiffany, who helped me bring this story to you through the eyes of a female lead. Admittedly, it took me years to get it right. I started
Lying with Strangers
in 1999, and I can still see Tiffany looking up from the early manuscript, rolling her eyes, and telling me, “A woman would
never
say that!”
Lying with Strangers
is now one of her favorite James Grippando thrillers. I hope it will be one of your favorites, too.

About the Author

JAMES GRIPPANDO
is the bestselling author of twelve novels, including
When Darkness Falls, Got the Look, Hear No Evil,
and
Last to Die,
which are enjoyed worldwide in more than twenty languages. He lives in Florida, where he was a trial lawyer for twelve years.

www.jamesgrippando.com

Visit www.AuthorTracker.com for exclusive information on your favorite HarperCollins author.

Also by James Grippando

When Darkness Falls*

Got the Look*

Hear No Evil*

Last to Die*

Beyond Suspicion*

A King’s Ransom

Under Cover of Darkness

Found Money

The Abduction

The Informant

The Pardon*

And for Young Adults

Leapholes

*A Jack Swyteck Novel

This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

LYING WITH STRANGERS
. Copyright © 2007 by James Grippando. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

ePub edition April 2007 ISBN 9780061747175

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

About the Publisher

Australia

HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty. Ltd.

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Pymble, NSW 2073, Australia

http://www.harpercollinsebooks.com.au

Canada

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

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http://www.harpercollinsebooks.ca

New Zealand

HarperCollinsPublishers (New Zealand) Limited

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Auckland, New Zealand

http://www.harpercollinsebooks.co.nz

United Kingdom

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

77-85 Fulham Palace Road

London, W6 8JB, UK

http://www.harpercollinsebooks.co.uk

United States

HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

10 East 53rd Street

New York, NY 10022

http://www.harpercollinsebooks.com

BOOK: Lying With Strangers
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