STARRED REVIEW
June 29, 2020

Exclusive first look: ‘Watch Her’

STARRED REVIEW
June 29, 2020

Exclusive first look: ‘Watch Her’

June 29, 2020

Exclusive first look: ‘Watch Her’

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Harvard librarian Hester Thursby and her friend, Detective Angela White, are called to the home of the wealthy Matson family to investigate a break-in. But the more they talk to Tucker and Jennifer Matson, the more suspicious Hester becomes. When a missing alumni from Prescott University, the college the Matsons own, turns up dead, it becomes increasingly clear that something terrible lies within Prescott’s halls.

The third Hester Thursby mystery, Watch Her, will be released from Kensington on December 29th, but you can read an exclusive excerpt below!


Libby didn’t like Barret to come over without an invitation. Even so, he found himself on her street, staring up through the rain at her window. He must have stood there for a half hour before Libby walked into the room, laptop balanced on one arm. By then, Barret was soaked to the skin. He scaled the trellis that ran up the side of the house to the window and watched through the rain-streaked glass as Libby worked feverishly on a design while simultaneously polishing off a family-sized bag of Cheetos. He texted her again. She checked the phone without picking it up, which could have fueled his insecurity, but one of the things he loved about Libby was the way she disappeared into her work. It was the same passion he brought to his own painting.

Eventually, she glanced up and jumped when she focused on him sitting outside. She opened the window and returned to work. Inside, he found a towel to dry off with, and sat, knowing enough not to disturb her thoughts. She clacked some notes into the file before scooching over in the twin bed, half an inch, but it was as much of an offer as Barret ever got. When he lay beside her, she didn’t close the laptop or stop working. He touched her arm, and she recoiled and returned the touch at the same time.

“Fine,” she said, kissing him, her eyes still on the screen.

Her mouth tasted of Cheetos. He pressed against her, and she gave in before shoving him away.

“With you,” she said, “it’s like I ordered French fries and got onion rings. You’re a lot to get used to.”

So was she.

“So are you. What were you doing there tonight anyway?” he asked.

“What’s it matter?”

“You didn’t tell me you’d be there.”

“You were working,” Libby said. “And like I said, the wine was free.”

“Did I do something wrong?”

Barret hated the words as soon as he said them. Libby glared at him, put the laptop aside and headed into the hallway. The sound of running water came from the bathroom as she brushed her teeth.

Her laptop sat on the bed, open and inviting. Libby hadn’t locked the computer when she left. Barret could view her search history. He could open her email. He closed the computer before giving in to temptation and walked through the room, searching her shelves, her desk. The room was sparse, free of photos or other memorabilia. As the water in the bathroom shut off, his gaze landed on a box of matches from Craigie on Main in Cambridge. He struck one of the matches and let it burn till the flame nearly reached his flesh. He struck another one, and when the bedroom door opened, he flicked it toward Libby.

“Stop,” she said.

“You went to Craigie.”

Craigie was expensive and not the type of restaurant you went to on your own. It was a place for a date. He struck another match.

“You’ll start a fire,” Libby said, snatching the box from him. “I went there with a friend, OK?”

“You don’t have any friends. Not that I’ve ever met.”

“I told you from the start that I didn’t want anything serious. And things have changed, and I have something big to deal with, and it doesn’t have anything to do with you. Go paint or do whatever you do. Go to the dorm. I don’t care. But go someplace else.”

“It’s late. I’m tired.”

Libby got in bed, her back to the wall, her knees pulled to her chest. “I’m tired too,” she said. “Of you. Why do you think I ignored your texts?”

Barret took a step toward Libby, to comfort her. But she scrambled away from him in a way that made him turn to the mirror and see his own face, twisted with rage.

In the hallway, one of the roommates made a noise.

“I love you,” Barret said.

“Get out,” Libby said, and when he didn’t move, she added. “I mean it.”

The roommate knocked. “Is everything OK in there?”

Barret wrenched open the door and passed Emma in the hall. Or maybe Sasha? She wore an oversized T-shirt and her dark cowlicked hair stood up in every direction. She watched silently till he left the apartment. He stood on the landing, long after the deadbolt slid into place.

 

This excerpt is reprinted courtesy of Kensington.

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