Stay Gone: A Novella

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“A mother is just a woman who gave birth to you. You don’t need her to like you, or love you. Because a mother’s just another person.

She was. And now she’s dead.”

Growing up, Rae played the good girl, hoping to win her mother Marlene’s love. But Marlene favored Rae’s dangerous older brother Thomas, even after he nearly got teenage Rae killed. The night Thomas disappeared was the best night of Rae’s life.

Now 28 years old and engaged, Rae is nursing Marlene, who has advanced cancer and one last request: for Rae to find Thomas and bring him home.

Thomas purports to be a changed man, the CEO of his own meteorically successful company. But Rae knows he’s hiding something. When Marlene takes a turn for the worse, is it assisted suicide or murder?

The answer goes back decades, through secrets and pain, and comes back full circle. Rae has to figure out who she can really trust. Or else.

Poor little good girl . . . who’ll save her now?

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About the author

Holly Brown lives with her husband and toddler daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she's a practicing marriage and family therapist. She is the author of the novel Don't Try to Find Me, and her blog, "Bonding Time," is featured on the mental health website PsychCentral.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
HarperCollins
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Published on
Nov 1, 2016
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Pages
144
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ISBN
9780062655127
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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How far would you go to get what you wanted? The author of Don’t Try to Find Me returns with a taut, riveting novel of psychological suspense—a domestic drama full of secrets and twists—about a woman determined to have a child, her ambivalent husband, and a pregnant teenager with a secret agenda of her own.

“I know now that there was no other way things could have turned out. Tragedies are inevitable, just like the great love stories, like us.”

Thirty-nine-year-old Adrienne is desperate to be a mother. And this time, nothing is going to get in her way.

Sure, her husband, Gabe, is ambivalent about fatherhood. But she knows that once he holds their baby, he’ll come around. He’s just feeling a little threatened, that’s all. Because once upon a time, it was Gabe that Adrienne wanted more than anything; she was willing to do anything. . . . But that was half a lifetime ago. She’s a different person now, and so is Gabe. There are lines she wouldn’t cross, not without extreme provocation.

And sure, she was bitten once before by another birth mother—clear to the bone—and for most people, it’s once bitten, twice shy. But Adrienne isn’t exactly the retiring type.

At nineteen, Leah bears a remarkable resemblance to the young woman Adrienne once was. Which is why Adrienne knows the baby Leah is carrying is meant to be hers. But Leah’s got ideas of her own: Her baby’s going to get a life in California; why shouldn’t she? All she wants is to live in Adrienne’s house for a year after the baby’s born, and get a fresh start.

It seems like a small price for Adrienne to pay to get their baby. And with Gabe suddenly on board, what could possibly go wrong?

You’ll have your deposit within seven business days, just like it says on Getaway.com. I’ve put through a refund to your credit card for the full amount, minus $200 to replace the stained sheets...

Miranda

When 30-year-old Dawn reads Miranda’s email, she sees red. People have always told Dawn she’s beautiful, and she just hopes they don’t see beneath—to how she grew up, to what she’s always tried to outrun. She revels in her getaways with her perfect (maybe too perfect) husband, the occasional long weekend in luxurious homes, temporarily inhabiting other people’s privileged lives. Miranda’s email strikes a nerve, with its lying intimation that Dawn is so dirty you need to throw out her sheets.

Beware of your “host”

I wouldn’t have left a review at all, if I didn’t feel it was my civic duty to warn others…

57-year-old Miranda thought she’d seen it all, but she can’t believe her eyes when she reads Dawn’s review. She’s a doctor’s wife but she needs that rental money, desperately. People might think her life is privileged, but they don’t know what’s really going on. They don’t know about her son. She won’t take this threat to her livelihood—to her very life—lying down.

Two very different women with this in common: Each harbors her own secret, her own reason why she can’t just let this go. Neither can yield, not before they’ve dredged up all that’s hidden, even if it has the power to shatter all they’ve built.

This is not over.

This is so not over.

 

 

How far would you go to get what you wanted? The author of Don’t Try to Find Me returns with a taut, riveting novel of psychological suspense—a domestic drama full of secrets and twists—about a woman determined to have a child, her ambivalent husband, and a pregnant teenager with a secret agenda of her own.

“I know now that there was no other way things could have turned out. Tragedies are inevitable, just like the great love stories, like us.”

Thirty-nine-year-old Adrienne is desperate to be a mother. And this time, nothing is going to get in her way.

Sure, her husband, Gabe, is ambivalent about fatherhood. But she knows that once he holds their baby, he’ll come around. He’s just feeling a little threatened, that’s all. Because once upon a time, it was Gabe that Adrienne wanted more than anything; she was willing to do anything. . . . But that was half a lifetime ago. She’s a different person now, and so is Gabe. There are lines she wouldn’t cross, not without extreme provocation.

And sure, she was bitten once before by another birth mother—clear to the bone—and for most people, it’s once bitten, twice shy. But Adrienne isn’t exactly the retiring type.

At nineteen, Leah bears a remarkable resemblance to the young woman Adrienne once was. Which is why Adrienne knows the baby Leah is carrying is meant to be hers. But Leah’s got ideas of her own: Her baby’s going to get a life in California; why shouldn’t she? All she wants is to live in Adrienne’s house for a year after the baby’s born, and get a fresh start.

It seems like a small price for Adrienne to pay to get their baby. And with Gabe suddenly on board, what could possibly go wrong?

You’ll have your deposit within seven business days, just like it says on Getaway.com. I’ve put through a refund to your credit card for the full amount, minus $200 to replace the stained sheets...

Miranda

When 30-year-old Dawn reads Miranda’s email, she sees red. People have always told Dawn she’s beautiful, and she just hopes they don’t see beneath—to how she grew up, to what she’s always tried to outrun. She revels in her getaways with her perfect (maybe too perfect) husband, the occasional long weekend in luxurious homes, temporarily inhabiting other people’s privileged lives. Miranda’s email strikes a nerve, with its lying intimation that Dawn is so dirty you need to throw out her sheets.

Beware of your “host”

I wouldn’t have left a review at all, if I didn’t feel it was my civic duty to warn others…

57-year-old Miranda thought she’d seen it all, but she can’t believe her eyes when she reads Dawn’s review. She’s a doctor’s wife but she needs that rental money, desperately. People might think her life is privileged, but they don’t know what’s really going on. They don’t know about her son. She won’t take this threat to her livelihood—to her very life—lying down.

Two very different women with this in common: Each harbors her own secret, her own reason why she can’t just let this go. Neither can yield, not before they’ve dredged up all that’s hidden, even if it has the power to shatter all they’ve built.

This is not over.

This is so not over.

 

 

From the highly acclaimed author of Don’t Try to Find Me and This is Not Over comes the unforgettable, harrowing story of a young broadcast journalist who discovers a mysterious diary from a female broadcaster in 1991 featuring startling—and frightening—parallels to her own life.

You might be wondering what a diary from 1991 has to do with you. You're about to find out. Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it…

Twenty-four-year-old Cheyenne Florian has just received her dream job offer. On the strength of a few vlogs, she’s recruited to be the new correspondent on the recently hatched Independent News Network, INN.

With the slogan “Because independent thinking is the only way out,” INN has branded itself as innovative. Yet once Cheyenne joins the INN team, she finds age-old dynamics in play. Some of the female staff resent her meteoric rise, while a number of the men are only too happy to welcome her. Then there’s the diary left for her anonymously, written in 1991 by a female broadcaster named Elyse Rohrbach. The mysterious diary is accompanied by a note, urging Cheyenne to learn from the past. She wants to believe it’s intended as inspiration and friendly advice, or at most, a warning. But as disturbing—and increasingly dangerous—parallels begin to emerge, she starts to wonder if something more sinister is at work.

It’s almost as if someone is engineering the similarities in Cheyenne’s life to match those from Elyse’s past, like she’s a pawn in a very twisted game. But Cheyenne is determined to rewrite the rules and play her own game. Though they’re separated by more than twenty-five years, Elyse and Cheyenne are forced to learn the same lesson: Nothing is more threatening than a woman who doesn’t yet know her own power…

 

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