Title: Tear Me Apart
Author: J.T. Ellison
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
The follow-up to her critically acclaimed Lie to Me, J.T. Ellison’s
Tear Me Apart is the powerful story of a mother willing to do
anything to protect her daughter even as their carefully
constructed world unravels around them.
One moment will change their lives forever…
Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until
a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career
but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering
from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her
only hope. But when her parents are tested, a
frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.
Who knows the answers?
The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she
accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister
at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone
is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.
With vivid movement through time, Tear Me Apart examines the
impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the
secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.
An Excerpt from Tear Me Apart
Not for the first time, Mindy wishes her mom had ridden up the mountain in the gondola with her. She can imagine her perfectly: starkly beautiful, not speaking, her mouth tight, her blond hair mussed and sticking out from under her red snowflake hat, holding her daughter’s gloved hand tightly. It isn’t allowed, but it would be nice. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t. Mindy sometimes wonders if her mom is more nervous than she is when it comes to the final run. She wouldn’t want that negative energy seeping into her psyche.
Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.
Finally, the official signals. It’s time. She slaps her skis against the ice again. Tight, a little grainy, and she can barely see the track now because the snow is coming down so hard. But she knows it’s there, a long, invisible line flowing out from the tips of her skis downward. Without another thought, she leans forward, into the mountain, feels the hard bar across her shins. Sets her poles again. Takes a deep breath. Her coach’s voice now. Visualize it. Visualize winning.
The beep sounds, three times, and at the last she’s off, bursting out of the gate, poling hard, gaining speed quickly. She slices through the first turn, a hard bank left, her downhill edge rattling against the ice. It feels good, so good, and she tucks her poles against her body and lets the skis take her through the first flat. The skies do clear; she can finally see the blue lanes of the race course. Into the second turn, she starts gaining speed, feels the total thrill when she accelerates to eighty-five, ninety, ninety-five miles per hour. She is a rocket, a cheetah, the fastest girl on earth.
Left, right, left, right, poles stuck to her body, over the jump, airborne, arms windmilling slightly, but she stays tucked perfectly, totally in control. She has it; she has it, she is flying down the slopes. She can hear the screams and cheers as she flies past. She knows with the assurance of years of skiing that she is in the zone, is going faster than she ever has. All the hard work, the ski camps, the weight training, it is all coming together.
Left. Right. Left. Tuck.
The burst of swirling snow comes from nowhere. It catches her full in the face just as she makes the last gate. Her skis slip out of the ruts. The tip of her left ski hits the plastic guard of the flag, and she is in midair, flying for real this time.
Everything is silent. She doesn’t hear the gasps, the screams, just focuses on relaxing, like she’s always been taught. Though she is airborne, if she isn’t too far off, she can still make it if she keeps her tuck, lands correctly, gets the damn right ski down, and makes the next turn… The flag slaps her in the face, and she goes down in a flurry of skis and poles and snow.
She doesn’t know how long she lies there before she registers she has crashed. Her champion’s body resists the idea, continues to make the turns, her torso writhing in the snow.
The snow is cold.
My face hurts.
My leg hurts.
Her eyes are closed. She opens them to whiteness. I’m blind, oh my God, then realizes her face is freezing. She is facedown. She plants her arms in the snow and tries to rise. The pain in her leg is white-hot, and she cries out. Seconds later, she is surrounded. Ski patrols, red jackets, white crosses. The first touch is from a woman, her face deeply tanned, her goggles opaque.
“Your leg’s broken, sweetie, try not to move. I know it’s cold. Hang tight. We’ll get you splinted and get you on the sled.”
“My leg? It’s broken? How do you know? Did I make it all the way down?”
“Tough girl, you didn’t. You tagged that last flag, and it knocked you upside down. You did a backflip, came down hard. You’ve been out for a few minutes. Pretty spectacular crash. And your leg…trust me, honey, it’s broken. No, no, don’t look.”
Mindy ignores the admonition, wishes she hadn’t. There is a large jag of white sticking out of her shin. Her blood looks like rubies against the icy slush. She fights back the urge to scream. “But my time…if I don’t finish, I’m DQd from the event. I have to get down. You’ve gotta let me up.”
The patrol’s voice is sympathetic. “You’re out of it, now, sweetie, I’m sorry. Maybe you have enough points to qualify from your other races. But you can’t go anywhere, this leg’s pretty gnarly. Okay, here’s the splint, hang tight, this is going to hurt like a bitch.”
Mindy grits her teeth as they start pumping up the air cast. Fights back the tears, focuses on the voice that keeps saying, you didn’t make it, you didn’t make it. She stops fighting, tries to relax as they lift her into the sled and start down the remainder of the mountain. She tries to be a good sport about it, as she’s been taught, raises a fist toward the worried faces, and the crowd goes absolutely wild, cheering for their girl, but inside she is wailing.
She wanted this so badly. It’s all she’s ever wanted. And she’s blown it.
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series, the latter starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the international thriller series “A Brit in the FBI” with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning show, “A Word on Words”, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband.
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