Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Longest Silence by Debra Webb - EXCERPT

A note before I get to the excerpt, I don't normally excerpt books here, but when I read the pitch for this book, I got super excited.  I agreed to both an excerpt and a review, so check back on March 23rd for my full review.

And now on to the excerpt . . .

“Give him his money back and send him on his way and we’ll pretend this—” Tony gestured to the two of them “—never happened.”
“Holy shit, is that your dad?” the guy asked, hands going up in front of his chest as if to protect himself from a coming attack.
“Just go.” Riley shoved the twenty at him. He almost fell over his own feet trying to reach the door while fumbling with his fly. Another half a minute elapsed with him struggling with the lock before escaping.
Once he was gone, Riley said, “I told you all I know about Tiffany.”
“Sit.” Tony indicated the other chair. No matter how much psychology he forced into his brain, the idea of how mankind survived, considering survival required the species to go through puberty and adolescence, remained a mystery to him.
Riley sidled over to the chair on her side of the room and collapsed into it. “Are you going to tell on me and ruin my college career? I’ll lose my scholarship, you know.”
Gee, so nice to see more of that overwhelming concern for her roommate.
“That depends on how cooperative you are in the next five minutes.”
The girl glanced at his crotch.
Tony rolled his eyes. “Really?”
She cleared her throat. “What do I have to do?”
Leaning forward, he braced his forearms on his thighs and looked her straight in the eyes. “You have to tell me the truth. You and Tiffany weren’t getting along, were you?”
For one long moment she didn’t answer. She drew in a deep breath and released it. “We hate each other.”
Tony concluded as much. “Why?”
“She came into the room and caught me with…a guy.”
It happened. Guys loved it when other guys caught them getting laid by most any means. Apparently girls didn’t feel the same way. “Why was that such a big deal?”
Another exaggerated sigh huffed from her gloss-shined lips as she glanced to the bare mattress behind Tony. “Because we were in her bed.”
Now that was dirty. “So you were conducting your little business in this room in Tiffany’s bed?”
Riley nodded.
“I can see why she would be angry. When did this happen?” He opened his phone to his notepad.
She gasped. He showed her the screen to confirm he wasn’t calling anyone.
“Right after the semester break. She’s barely spoken to me since.”
“Have you been using your own bed?” He held up a hand. “Before you answer that question, keep in mind that the forensic folks will find all DNA on Tiffany’s bed linens.”
She nodded adamantly. “I don’t go near her side of the room anymore.”
Tony decided she was telling the truth. “We’ll keep this between us, if you tell me what you believe happened to Tiffany.”
She blinked, her eyes still wide behind the oversize eyewear. “I already said what I think in my statement.”
“I want everything you have, Riley, even if you aren’t completely sure it’s important. Any suspicions you have or rumors you’ve heard might be important, too.” He shrugged. “The goal here is to make sure Tiffany comes back home safely, right? Unless, of course, you have some reason to hope she doesn’t come back.”
The missing tears showed up then. “I don’t want Tiffany to be hurt. I mean, we’re not friends or anything, but I wouldn’t wish anything bad on anyone.”
Tony rolled his hand in a go-on motion.
“So there was this guy…” She shrugged. “I saw Tiffany with him once and she kept talking to someone on her cell. I think it was the same guy. That’s why I told the chief she had a new boyfriend. That’s what I figured.”
Frustration lit in Tony’s veins. “Did you recognize him or hear her say his name?”
Riley shook her head. “No. She’s very private. Not that she would have shared any of her business with me anyway.”
“Something made you think this guy was different,” Tony suggested. “Something more than just a study friend or a friend-friend?”

“Oh yeah for sure,” she agreed. “He was older. Maybe closer to forty. Like thirty-five or something.” She frowned as if trying to recall. “Dark hair. Blackish, you know. Taller than Tiffany. About your height, I guess. She acted all swoony around him like she was with some rock star.”

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