Extract of Joyce Schneider's latest romantic suspense thriller: WHAT YOU'VE DONE
Below is the first chapter of Joyce Schneider's latest romantic suspense thriller that's dubbed as being gripping with a jaw-dropping ending. Read on for the extract.
1. I love to watch.
It almost substitutes for squeezing those tight little butts in their teeny shorts, those jouncing breasts in their flimsy tops. Such energy they have at sixteen! The whole girls’ track team yakking and laughing, feet never still as they point and shout over the noise, the heat, the acrid metallic smell of this train platform. They’re eager to get back. School just ended; time to lose being so-damned-good all year and par-tay!
I am shocked, just shocked. Why were they allowed to come to the city dressed like that?
Joke question, of course. That age listens to no one.
Between hoots they steal flirty peeks at the track boys in their own horny clusters. Hyped male faces just pretending to talk team stats, trying hard not to ogle those long, slender legs, those wonderful, squirming bodies.
My breath quickens as I watch them, letting my gaze stop, for careful seconds, on my special one. Her name is Kelly. The back of her graceful neck is sheened with sweat. Her blond ponytail swings as she gestures, shakes her head, leans forward to peer down the track wondering what’s making the train late. When she does that…bends forward, makes me gasp…her mini black shorts ride even higher; the pink ribbing pulls nearly up to what isn’t going to be the next generation…
…because she has taunted me. Cruelly.
But enough. Time to stop torturing myself. Tonight’s the night to finally, oops-
Look away quick.
Their chaperone sees me; checks me out so I, too, crane in annoyance down the track. Relax, Self. Deep breaths, Self. I’m invisible, just another guy in a wig and dark glasses. Terrific disguise.
I’ve checked her out too, the good-looking, oh so competent chaperone. Mia Peale by name, age thirty-one, dark-haired and dressed conservatively in her blue, below-the-knee dress because that’s what lawyers do, right? Dress conservatively? She’s also an assistant track coach and do-gooder volunteer new in town. Family law, says the sign before her quaint little office. What a joke, she’s a divorce lawyer. She’ll also draw up a prenup for you unless you’re too dumb-
“Track twenty-six, Grand Central to New Haven train arriving,” bursts the overhead male voice, sounding almost congratulatory to those lucky enough to be leaving the crowds and hot grime of Manhattan. “Greenwich, Stamford, Grand Cove…stand clear of the doors, please!”
The train squeals in, rolls to a stop, and the crowd moves forward. Mia Peale looks only a little stressed as she herds the team on board, reaches to one who stumbles (“Oh shit!” he whines), points another to the backpack he’s left on the platform. These kids are really idiots. It must feel like herding runaround babies.
But she’s patient, and really quite pretty with large, emotional eyes, hair worn up, strands of it flopping from her barrette onto her tired brow. It’s exciting moving toward her but I keep my gaze down, pass inches from her as I enter the glorious cool of the car. It feels so good that for seconds I forget why I’m here. Ahead, leafy suburbs and swimming pools and beach! Relief fills the air.
The kids are fast. They push through one crowded car after another – metal doors slam; I follow – then they slide into cliquey, close-together seats before drooping commuters can reach them. Overhead, the audio barks again: “Stand clear of the doors, please!”
With a swishing sound the doors close and the train starts to slide north, humming metallically through the black tunnel beneath the city. Faces glance out, see nothing but feebly lit service platforms, more black tunnel, and their own flushed, adolescent reflections. They fuss with their phones that get no reception.
Ah, Kelly, special one, did you have to sit next to Mia Peale? Look at me!
No, she won’t, the tease, the little bitch. Too bad, but I’m watching her. What fun, my getup really does make me invisible. Gray wig, bushy brows and wire-rimmed shades under a floppy canvas hat. No one would recognize me like this…although the hat worries me.
Who wears a canvas hat in this heat?
No one notices, though. They’re too self-absorbed to notice anything. How nice.
Kelly in particular looks suddenly out of it, her expression drooping as she talks to Peale. She’s had a bad semester, poor thing. A second girl facing them seems to be in on the conversation.
I keep my chin down, three seats away and across the aisle. At intervals I glance subtly up from behind my shades, keep my fingers fake-busy with my phone.
I wonder what they’re talking about.
Oh, well. I’ll see you tonight, Kelly.
The train surges, and lights flicker. The car goes scary dark like the tunnel outside, then the lights come back on again.
Buy your copy of What You've Done HERE
Joyce Anne Schneider is a former writer at Newsweek. She is the author of the 6-book EMBRYO medical thriller series, the 4-book police/psychological thrillers featuring NYPD Detective Kerri Blasco, and the standalone thrillers Into the Dark, Girl Watching You, and What You’ve Done.
What led her to writing for Newsweek was previous – and sometimes wild – experience studying in Paris, then being an exchange student in the Soviet Union where she promptly got arrested for spreading anti-Soviet propaganda. She next wound up in a Soviet hospital after falling down a ravine during a hike near Sochi. (To find out more, read here on Goodreads.) She thinks the Soviets were glad to see her leave.
Now things are calmer, if you call writing suspense thrillers calmer. When not writing she’s usually thinking about writing and dreaming up new stories, and can rarely be seen without her trusty laptop. She lives with her family in Connecticut, loves gardening, and is working on her next thriller.
Many readers write to authors asking what it's like to write for a living so Joyce has some advice for getting that dreaded first draft written.
For me, the first draft is the hardest. I do a lot of brainstorming first, and start with a pretty good idea of the story’s beginning and end. But until recently that long, vast middle was the hardest. Finally, it hit that what works best for me is this: Your subconscious knows what it wants, just get out of the way.
Once past the setup, I just keep writing not knowing what to expect, and the characters often surprise me. Or not, but I keep going. In the long run it’s more fun that way. The caveat, though, is accept that you have to do it wrong first. We’re not writers; we’re rewriters. Consider your first draft as just the sand you’re shoveling into the sand box; later you’ll make the sand castle. Or consider the first draft as simply weaving the cloth; later you’ll cut it into a fine garment. Few writers know what they’re doing till after they’ve done it. So just fall into the story. Spew away till you get that 80K word rough draft down - then revise and polish.
It’s hard, and it doesn’t get easier. Every writer has gone through agony. Your story will get done, because it wants to. Trust in that. Trust in yourself.
I've loved having Joyce on my blog today.
You can stay in touch with Joyce to keep updated on her new and future releases via the following: