This morning I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on Mary Kubica’s DON’T YOU CRY Blog Tour and to be sharing an exclusive extract from the book with you.
Drumroll please …
The day we met, she asked me about my job and whether or not I’d be able to afford my half of the rent. That was Esther’s only qualification, that I pay my own way. “I can,” I promised her, showing my latest paycheck as proof. Five-fifty a month I could do. Five-fifty a month for a bedroom of my own in a walk-up apartment on Chicago’s north side. She took me there, down the street from the bookshop, just as soon as she finished reading to the tiny tots who pilfered from us the blood-orange poufs. I listened to her as she read aloud, taking on the voice of a bear and a cow and a duck, her voice pacifying and sweet. She was meticulous in the details, from the way she made sure the little ones were attentive and quiet, to the way she turned the pages of the oversize book so all could see. Even I found myself perched on the floor, listening to the tale. She was enchanting.
In the walk-up apartment, Esther showed to me the space that could be my room if I so chose.
She never said what happened to the person who used to live there in the room before me, the room I would soon inhabit, though in the weeks that followed I found vestiges of his or her existence in the compact closet in the large bedroom: an indecipherable name etched into the wall with pencil, a fragment of a photograph abandoned on the vacant floor of a hollow room so that all that remained on the glossy image was a wisp of Esther’s shadowy hair.
The scrap of photo I did away with after I moved in, but there was nothing I could do to fix the closet wall. I knew it was Esther’s hair in the photograph because, like the heterochromatic eyes, she had hair like I’d never before seen, the way she bleached it from bottom to top to get a gradual fade, dark brown on top, blond at the bottom. The tear line on the picture was telling, too, the barbed white of the photo paper, the image gone—all but Esther.
I didn’t toss the photo, but rather handed it to Esther with the words, “I think this is yours,” as I unpacked my belongings and moved in. That was nearly a year ago. She’d snatched it from my hand and threw it away, an act that meant nothing to me at the time.
But now I can’t help but wonder if it should have meant something. Though what, I’m not so sure.
Brilliant! I can’t wait to read more!
DON’T YOU CRY is out now. Here’s what the blurb says: “In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew. Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbour town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where 18 year old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister. As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell …”