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  • Whose Little Girl are You?
  • Written by Bethany Campbell
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  • Written by Bethany Campbell
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307425324
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Written by Bethany CampbellAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Bethany Campbell

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On Sale: September 23, 2009
Pages: 448 | ISBN: 978-0-307-42532-4
Published by : Bantam Bantam Dell
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

The answer can kill you...

From Bethany Campbell, the nationally bestselling author of Don't Talk to Strangers and Hear No Evil, comes a roller-coaster ride of relentless suspense in the tradition of Joy Fielding and Mary Higgins Clark...a grippingly paced thriller that dares to ask the question...Whose Little Girl Are You?

With one phone call, Jaye Garrett's life has turned into a nightmare. The beautiful and successful Boston businesswoman has been summoned to her childhood home to receive shocking news. Her brother, Patrick, has fallen desperately ill and needs a bone marrow transplant to survive.

But when Jaye volunteers as a donor, she is stunned to learn that Patrick is not her biological brother. And that the emotionally frail woman who raised them from infanthood is not their biological mother.

To answer the dark mystery of her own identity and to save her brother's life, Jaye must ask herself the question, Whose little girl are you?

The answer is more shocking than she can ever imagine.

For at the end of a trail of lies, secrets, and tragedy stretching thirty years into the past is a mysterious woman whose resemblance to Jaye Garrett marks Jaye as the killer's next victim.

Excerpt

Cawdor, Oklahoma, 1968

Even dead, she was the prettiest girl Hollis ever saw.

The doctor's flashlight shone down on her steadily, like a  spotlight. One of her eyes was open. It was blue as the bluest sky,  and it stared, unblinking, off into the shadows.

The doctor leaned over and with his sure fingers pushed the  blue eye shut. He straightened again, keeping the ray of light  trained on her face.

Her eyelashes were long and cast still shadows across her  cheeks. Her nose was small and straight. Her full lips were open  enough so that Hollis could see the white rim of her upper teeth.

She lay there with her head tilted at an angle as if she were puzzled. The doctor put his foot against her face and nudged her head straight. His shoes were Hush Puppies, and the thick rubber sole left a mark on her jaw.

A sick feeling jiggled the pit of Hollis's stomach.

"A shame," the doctor said. "A damned waste. Did you boys bring what  I told you?"

Hollis made himself nod.

"Yessir," said Luther. His voice did not sound scared, but it did not  sound like ordinary, either.

They had been waked up in the middle of the night. They had been handed two old horse blankets sewn together with strong thread. Their orders were to get the half-blind mare and take her to the cellar door of the clinic and not to say anything to anybody. The doctor would be watching for them, they were told.

Even then, Hollis had a terrible feeling that something bad was  happening and it would get worse and he could not stop it no matter what. It was like being caught in a nightmare that was stronger than you and would not let  you go, no matter how hard you fought.

When they reached the clinic they'd hitched the mare in a grove of cedar  trees where she couldn't be seen. The doctor had opened the door of the cellar  and told Luther and Hollis to come in. The only light was his flashlight.

"I got something," he'd said. "I want you to get rid of it for  me."

Somehow Hollis already knew: It has happened at last. There is  somebody dead.

But he had not expected a girl so pretty. Or so young. She looked no  more than sixteen years old.

She lay on her back, next to the basement-floor drain. Her hair was  blond-like and must have hung past her shoulders, but now it was tangled and stringy and looked all dirty, like before dying she had sweat a lot.

She wore a little white gown-thing. It had blood on it. It was hitched  up so high, Hollis could almost see her privates. This made him feel ashamed,  so he forced himself to keep his eyes on her face instead.

Her skin was fine and smooth like a girl in a magazine picture. It was  very white. Hollis wondered if she had always been that pale, or if that's what  being dead had done to her.

"I want you to take this into the woods to the fire pit where the old  still used to be," said the doctor. "I want you to burn it."

Hollis made himself nod again. But he thought, Lordy God. Set fire  to her. Set her on fire. Lordy God.

"Yessir," said Luther.

"You stay with it until it's all gone," the doctor said. "I don't  want anything left of it. Not one thing."

"Yessir," Luther said.

But Hollis thought, This is a sin what we are about to do. It is a  sin and a crime. He swallowed hard. He knew right then that this girl  would come back to haunt his mind and curse his soul.

They wrapped her in the horse blankets and carried her out into the  darkness and slung her over the back of the mare. They each took a ten-gallon  can of gasoline.

It was nine miles into the pine woods to get to the cave where the still  had been. Every step of the way Hollis wanted to cry like a frightened child.  He thought of God, hell, damnation, demons, spirits, and haunts. There was no  moon and few stars, hardly any light. He could barely see where he was going except deeper into the tangled darkness.

But Luther, who was ten years older than Hollis, knew the way through  the woods by heart. So did the half-blind mare. She plodded on, her hooves sure  on a path Hollis could not see, a path he would have sworn was not there at all  but that she followed as if it were inevitable.

At one point Luther said, "You ever fucked a dead girl?"

Hollis nearly burst into tears then. I don't want to do that. I  don't want him to do that. Please, God, don't let him do that.

"No," he said. It was the first word he'd said since they'd left  home.

"They're too still," Luther said with an air of knowledge. "There's  no pleasure to it."

Lord God, thought Hollis. Lord God, help me,  please. The dark woods around him seemed like the mouth of hell,  swallowing him up. Although the dead girl was thrown over the horse's back, at  the same time she seemed to float palely above Hollis, a spirit following him  as if she were hooked to him by a thin silver wire.

They say you cannot completely burn up a human body unless you are a  mortician and have the right sort of furnace in which to do it. They say that  if you try to burn a body, it would take you days and days, and that the black  smoke is greasy with fat, and it has a special, sickening smell that tells the  world what you are doing. People are sure to notice such a long, hot, stinking  fire, they say.

But this was not true. Hollis and Luther took the girl to the cave and  laid her in the fire pit, still wrapped in the horse blankets.

Luther peeled back the blankets, just from the girl's upper body. He  took out his knife and, to Hollis's shock, he hacked off the little finger of  her right hand. Hollis nearly threw up. His knees shook, and he turned away, knowing now for certain sure he would go to hell because he had watched such a  thing.

"A corpse's finger bone is powerful magic," Luther said somberly,  wiping the knife clean on the blankets. "Mama Leone says so. She's been to New  Orleans, she knows things like that."

Hollis shuddered, his mouth tasting sour and sick.

Luther wrapped the finger up carefully in a blue bandanna handkerchief  and stuck it in his back pocket.

He covered up the girl again, unceremoniously letting the blanket fall  over her face. He doused her with one can of the gasoline. Then he made a kind  of a fuse-thing out of twine so that he and Hollis could run for the mouth of  the cave and take cover before the gasoline ignited.

But Luther calculated wrongly about the fuse. The two of them had barely  reached the cave's entrance when some force made Hollis turn back to look.
Bethany Campbell

About Bethany Campbell

Bethany Campbell - Whose Little Girl are You?
Bethany Campbell has written more than twenty novels and many more under the name of Lisa Harris. She has received three RWA RITA Awards and three Romantic Times Reviewer Awards over the years. Bethany lives with her husband in Northwest Arkansas.

  • Whose Little Girl are You? by Bethany Campbell
  • April 04, 2000
  • Fiction - Suspense
  • Bantam
  • $7.99
  • 9780553576917

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