Spotlight and Excerpt: Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison @thrillerchick @HarlequinBooks

Title: Good Girls Lie

Author: J.T. Ellison

Publisher: MIRA

Release Date: December 30, 2019

Genres: Mystery, Thriller

Pre-order Links:

Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Books-A-Million
Amazon // Indiebound

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Synopsis

Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.

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Alternating points of view raise the suspense, blurring the lines between
what’s true and false. No one among the cast of calculating characters
is above suspicion. Ellison keeps readers guessing throughout. — Publishers Weekly

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An Excerpt from Good Girls Lie

6

THE MEETING

I knock on the thick, tall wooden door and am rewarded with a trilling “Come in!”

I step through into a lovely large space. Bookcases line three walls, floor-to-ceiling built-ins with crown molding, stocked so full it makes me itch to stand in front of them, run my fingers along their spines, ignore the dean entirely. \

Along the fourth wall, flanked by tall casement windows, is a creamy red marble fireplace, wood stacked in the grate as if ready for the match despite the warm day. Two gray tweed sofas face one another in the center of the room, perched atop a thick wool Oriental rug in shades of green and cream. The big wooden desk looks like a French antique; the right side of the top is taken up by an old-fashioned typewriter, a crisp white page rolled onto its platen, the carriage slide half-mast as if the writer stepped away midreturn. I can see the faint image of words through the sheet.

Above the desk is a framed map of 1900s Virginia. A flag of the United States, stars out, housed in a triangular black frame, sits alone on a shelf in a place of honor.

The entire room is elegant, feminine, old-school, and inviting.

Dean Westhaven, too, is elegant, feminine, old-school, and inviting. Her dark hair is swept into a classic chignon; she is draped in a nubby Chanel suit, discreet black pumps with a two-inch heel on her slender, high-arched feet. She is not beautiful, her gray eyes with their large pupils too widely set and her nose a shade too thin to balance the sharp cheekbones, but she is striking, a presence. And watchful. So watchful. Like a grayeyed hawk, measuring and peering.

Those disconcerting eyes hold unfathomable secrets and take my measure, and this unerring attention is intimidating. I am not used to being looked at so closely; I much prefer to hide in the shadows. Choosing to come to Goode means I won’t be able to do so, this I know. I am going to be seen. As one of only two hundred in such a small space, with my height, my hair, my face, there is no way to hide. Not completely.

Despite this scrutiny, there is something about the dean that makes me want to know more about her, and this puts up my guard.

Careful. Don’t go getting attached.

The dean gestures toward the two chairs in front of her desk. “Sit, sit. You must be exhausted after your journey.”

I take a high-backed wing chair, one leg bent beneath me on the soft seat until I remember my manners and put both feet on the floor, and watch the woman who is to direct my life for the next three years bustle around her homey office.

Dean Westhaven finally taps a stack of paper together, sets them on the desk, and smiles tremulously. “I can’t abide a mess. I was so sorry to hear of your father’s death, Ash. And your mother…” The sigh is audible, loud and sad. The words sound practiced, as if the dean has said them a hundred times.

How many students’ parents have died?

Creepy.

“It was all very sudden,” I reply, wooden, eyes cast down. I have learned this is an appropriate response.

“Yes. Yes, of course, it was. Forgive me, I hadn’t meant to bring it up, but I saw the inquest has been resolved… Would you care for tea?” The dean plunks a cup and saucer down in front of me, pours out from a lovely floral teapot. “Take some sugar. It will help with the jet lag.”

I dutifully reach for the sugar and drop two brown cubes into my teacup. I use the small silver spoon to stir, three times clockwise, then set it on the edge of the saucer. The tea is surprisingly good, hot and fragrant, and I close my eyes as I swallow. When I finish this display, the dean is looking at me curiously.

“It’s quite good. Oolong?”

“Yes. Not surprising that you have a palate for tea.” The dean smiles amiably, and I respond in kind, not the heartbreaking grin, but a small one, lips together, teeth obscured. It makes my dimples stand out.

“I was very pleased when you decided to join us for term after all. I know you weren’t excited about leaving so soon after…”

“It’s for the best. Thank you for having me still. I needed to get away.” The dean is looking at me closer now. “You’ve lost weight since we spoke last. Granted, I’ve only seen you through Skype— it’s hard to get the full measure of a girl through a screen.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

The dean sips her tea, I follow her lead. Long silences are her thing, apparently.

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About the Author

J.T. Ellison is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with millions of books in print, and is published in 28 countries and 16 languages. She is also the EMMY-award winning cohost of A WORD ON WORDS, a literary interview television show, and co-wrote the “A Brit in the FBI” series with #1 New York Times bestseller Catherine Coulter. She lives in Nashville with her husband and two small gray minions, known as cats in some cultures. She thinks they’re furry aliens. Visit JT at her Website, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more insight into her wicked imagination.

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“GOOD GIRLS LIE is a superb psychological thriller…a deliciously
dark, wickedly plotted suspense story…with drama, secret societies,
cliques, illicit affairs, manipulation, and, of course, murder, and it’s
the sort of book you never want to end.—Crime By The Book

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Follow the tour here.

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