Welcome to my blog as I host a stop on the blog tour trip for Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry. Thanks to Graeme Williams for the invitation to join!
Don’t Turn Around will be published on April 15th. Until then, we are hopping from blog to blog to whet your appetite for this suspenseful thriller with extracts, author features and Q&A’s. Today, I’m sharing an extract of chapter 7. My co-host Janet has chapter 6 for you and if you’d like to start from the beginning, please visit Julie who hosted chapter 1 and carry on hopping from there. Tomorrow the road trip stops with A Beautiful Chaos for the next chapter.
Now that those instructions are out of the way, let’s see what Don’t Turn Around is all about.
Author : Jessica Barry
Title : Don’t Turn Around
Pages : 320
Publisher : Vintage
Publication date : April 15, 2021
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Two strangers, Cait and Rebecca, are driving across America.
Cait’s job is to transport women to safety. Out of respect, she never asks any questions. Like most of the women, Rebecca is trying to escape something.
But what if Rebecca’s secrets put them both in danger? There’s a reason Cait chooses to keep on the road, helping strangers. She has a past of her own, and knows what it’s like to be followed.
And there is someone right behind them, watching their every move…
| EXTRACT |
MULESHOE, TEXAS—253 MILES TO ALBUQUERQUE
Rebecca hadn’t said a word since they’d left the fox by the side of the road, and the mood inside the Jeep was grim. Her silence felt pointed. Judgmental. Like she blamed Cait for what had happened, even though it had clearly been an accident. That said, if she hadn’t been so caught up in her own thoughts, maybe she’d have seen the fox in time.
She had to admit, she’d been surprised when Rebecca had gotten out of the car after the accident, and even more surprised when she’d insisted on helping carry the body to the side of the road. She didn’t seem like someone who would be comfortable getting her hands dirty. Seemed more like a sidelines kind of woman, used to other people doing things for her. Especially the nasty stuff.
But she’d helped, all right— had barely even flinched as she lifted the fox’s shoulders. Cait could still feel the weight of it in her arms, the soft fur tickling the insides of her elbows.
Guilt twisted her stomach. She should have been paying closer attention to the road.
She shook away the thought. Keep it light, that was her motto. If you let it get on top of you, you’ll drown.
“Well, that wasn’t exactly an auspicious start to the trip.” She was trying for flippant, but when she sneaked a glance at Rebecca, she worried she’d missed the mark. The woman’s face was as still and solemn as one of those ceremonial death masks.
A beat went by. “I’ll be marking down your Uber rating, that’s for sure.”
Cait was quick to catch it. “Hey, don’t forget I offered you bottled water earlier. That’s worth at least a couple of stars.” The joke surprised her: she hadn’t pegged Rebecca as the joking kind, either. It was good, though. It was an opening. She could work with it. “So, terrible driving service aside, how are you feeling? Do you need anything?”
Rebecca shook her head. “I’m okay for now, thanks.” The smile disappeared.
Cait nodded, easy. “Okay, well, just let me know. That’s what I’m here for.”
Silence. She rode it out. She could sense Rebecca wanting to say something, felt it welling up inside of her. She just had to be patient.
Finally, Rebecca took a breath. “Have you ever had something bad happen?”
Cait looked at her. “Driving, you mean?”
Cait reached over and fiddled with the radio dial. Nothing but static. She was stalling for time. “Nothing serious.”
“So something has happened?”
Cait shrugged. “One woman’s boyfriend chased her out of the house with a baseball bat. I don’t know if he was meaning to use it, or if it was just for show, but we didn’t stick around to see. She dove into the car and I drove off as fast as I could.”
“Jesus. Anything else?”
Cait shook her head. There was no point in scaring the poor woman. So she didn’t mention the brick somebody had thrown through her windshield, as technically, that hadn’t happened during a drive. A technicality, maybe, but an important one.
“Did the woman go back to him?”
“The boyfriend?” Cait shrugged. “I don’t know. I tried to tell her that we could provide her with other services, that our help wouldn’t just end once the procedure was finished, but she didn’t want to talk about it. She didn’t want to talk at all, actually— as soon as she was in the car and away from that house, she closed her eyes and slept all the way to Albuquerque. I don’t know if she was faking it or if she really was that exhausted.” Cait thought about it for a minute. “Probably both.”
“So you dropped her off back at the house when it was finished?”
Cait heard the implied criticism and felt a flash of irritation. “We’re here to help as much as we can, but we’re also here to do what the client tells us. She told me to drop her back at the house, so that’s what I did.” I did my job, she added silently. Just like I’m doing now.
“Was the boyfriend waiting for her?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t see him. I waited at the curb for a few minutes after she went inside, just in case, but . . .” She shrugged again. “Nothing.”
She could still remember the feeling of powerlessness as she’d watched the woman walk up the drive, the gentle slope of her shoulders signaling nothing but resignation. Cait had wanted to jump out of the Jeep and grab her and shake her. Instead, she just watched her disappear into the darkened house, and after sitting outside for ten minutes, she’d driven back to Austin and spent the evening sinking beers and trying to forget.
It was a feeling she was all too familiar with.
Don’t forget there’s more to discover about this book by visiting all the other blogs listed on the tour poster at the bottom of this post. Don’t Turn Around will be published on April 15th.
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Jessica Barry is a pseudonym for an American author who grew up in a small town in Massachusetts and was raised on a steady diet of library books and PBS.
She attended Boston University, where she majored in English and Art History, before moving to London in 2004 to pursue an MA from University College London.
She lives with her husband, Simon, and their two cats, Roger Livesey and BoJack Horseman.