JD Spero’s new psychological thriller The Secret Cure is set to launch May 17 — although Kindle readers can pre-order now. A fellow author at darkstroke books, JD offers an intriguing pitch about her novel below plus its first chapter. I’ll cut to the chase and offer you the link to buy it on Amazon: http://mybook.to/thesecretcure.
FIRST ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Johannah Davies (JD) Spero’s writing career took off when her first release, Catcher’s Keeper, was a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013. Her small town mystery series has won similar acclaim. Boy on Hold won 2020 IPPY Gold for Best Mystery/Thriller ebook and Boy Released was a 2021 Indies Today Finalist. Her YA fantasy series, Forte, is also a multiple award winner, and is the topic of classroom visits in schools across the country. Having lived in various cities from St. Petersburg (Russia) to Boston, she now lives with her family in the Adirondack Mountains, where she was born and raised.
NOW THE PITCH: She’s getting better. He has no clue. That’s exactly the way she wants it. To pull off the perfect revenge, her cure has to remain a secret…
In her mid-30s, Rosalie Giordano is in the prime of her life. Long saved from the manipulative hands of her mother, she’s been married to her fairy tale hero for ten blissful years. Vincent is sweet and strong, and stunning as hell — and completely enamored of her.
Just as they begin to plan for a family, Rosalie is diagnosed with a mysterious virus that renders her temporarily paralyzed. As days stretch to weeks, then months, she learns not only is her condition chronic, but the love of her life is having an affair.
As her health improves, a slow burn of vengeance simmers in her heart. With the help of her homecare nurse, she regains full mobility. While hiding the truth from her husband, she uncovers the extent of his betrayal … and learns he is not at all who he seems. Their planned anniversary trip overseas gives her the perfect occasion for revenge.
But at the fancy Sicilian resort, Rosalie is not the only one with a score to settle with Vincent. And in the end, she’s not the only one with blood on her hands…
CHAPTER ONE ROSALIE
Time goes by in the murk. Am I sleeping or is this real? Like weeds sprouting, images rise up to torment me.
Spotlights warm a stage. Our dance builds with an orchestra’s crescendo. A duet? But I’m alone. He spins me out and lets go – into the abyss of backstage. Feels like a black hole.
Makes me wonder. Is this a sick play on grief? Or, worse, the tug of desire? Or just some dumb dream?
What the hell, Vin? Pull me back.
Speak of the devil, Vin bursts into the guest room where Cate has me set up. “Good morning!” he calls, his mouth a bullhorn.
I blink him into focus, shaking away my dream-haze. I’m awake, then. This is real. As the pieces of my shitty reality clunk into place, my spirit plunges. Down that black hole again.
Cate blushes hard in my husband’s company. Usually chatty, she falls into a tizzy around him, like a middle schooler.
But don’t be fooled. Rumor has it she was a war nurse over in Iraq. One tough Tootsie-Roll, saving soldiers and all that.
Now she takes care of me.
“How’s our Rosalie?” Vin’s smile is constipated. He’s faking it. There’s zero reason to happy, asking that question.
But, oh, he’s such a hunk. With those dark eyebrows and olive skin, he gets hunkier with age. Not fair.
What do I look like these days? Am I still blond or all hoary now? Are my lips ghostly pale? Is it too much to ask for Cate to throw some makeup on me, drape me in some bling?
Cate fans her face. “Oh, she’s good, I think. I was about to give her some breakfast.”
Vin comes to my bedside with jarringly loud footfalls, like he’s got taps on his shoes. Strange, I’d never noticed that when I was a normal, moving person.
He’s dressed for work, a button-down and khakis. What time is it? Seems like after nine, close to ten even. What the hell do I know? I’ve given up keeping track of clocks, biological and otherwise.
“Please do,” he says to Cate, leaning in. Will he kiss me? My breath stops in anticipation of it. My smile fills my mouth and my whole head. Can he see it? Can he see my grin?
Must not. He’s frowning. “How’s the muscle tone?”
“As expected. But I did think I felt some movement in her fingers when I massaged her this morning.”
As prescribed, Cate focuses her daily massages on where the paralysis started—in my hands. In those early days, I tried to clap away the pins and needles. But when it crawled up my limbs and usurped my whole body, I was colossally screwed. Doctors were baffled. Vin was pissed. And me? I went numb. Not from the illness, but from a gripping, hollow terror.
I haven’t moved in months, despite Cate’s optimism. Her massage this morning didn’t do squat. Cate has made an absolute art of hyperbole.
Still, Vin’s eyes go wide, and he lets out a laugh. Listerine-scented. Touching. He made the effort to breathe fresh breath on me.
“No kidding.” His grin goes to his eyes, and a million starbursts behind them. Definitely not faking it now. I would melt if I weren’t already melted onto the bed. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to loop my arms around him, to pull him down to me, to feel the warm weight of his body on mine.
He rests a hand on my forehead and sweeps it over my hairline like he used to. Heavenly sensations pour through my body.
“She likes that, Mr. Giordano.”
Oh, shut up, Cate. Give me a moment with my husband, will you?
He does it again, brushes back my hair, and I nearly orgasm right there in front of everyone.
Vin has a different idea. “Maybe we could go out for ice cream tonight to celebrate.”
Ice cream? Please, no. I might be a temporary-invalid, but I’m still a sexual being with needs and desires.
Vin, honey, take me out for a Martini, and then bring me home and make mad passionate love to me, like old times.
Like old times…
Sigh. As my condition worsened, Vin’s anger turned desperate. How could he save his damsel in distress? Luckily we lived near Boston, home to the best hospitals in the country, so he took me on a proverbial white horse to Mass General. After an MRI and lumbar puncture came clean, they zapped my fingers and toes with tiny electric shocks. What’d they find? My nerves were under attack by my own immune system. My own personal ‘friendly fire’ (leave it to Cate to put it into war terms.) The disorder is officially called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. In the rarest of cases, it affects the whole body for an indefinite amount of time.
At least I’m off the ventilator.
“Ice cream!” Cate shouts, and I try to flinch.
Then, as if to rub salt on my soul-sucking weakness, Cate lifts a bulky contraption into the middle of the room. With a grunt, she wrenches the thing open. Ah, it’s my special wheelchair, the reclining one with the head support Vin rented from the medical supply company.
I hate that thing.
Cate, however, seems overjoyed. “Don’t you worry, Mr. Giordano.” She pushes up her sleeves. Is she puffing her chest? “We can go wherever we want with this handy dandy wheelchair. And ice cream is just what the doctor ordered!”
I blink at her and say nothing. Can’t, really. What an asinine figure of speech. No doctor in his right mind would order me an ice cream. Swallowing has become a terrifying prospect, so forgive me for not cheering for frozen fucking dessert.
All Vin’s attention is with Cate now, his hand tucked in his pocket. My skin tingles from where he touched me. “I’ll try to be home at a reasonable time, but I do have an appointment after work.”
All those tingly vibes fall away. The black hole wants to swallow me. Rage breaks out in my pores. Because I know all too well Vin’s ‘appointment’ is with his therapist, Anastasia, whom he’s been seeing since I got sick. Their therapy sessions have become more common the longer I’m immobile. Always at the end of the day, always a good, generous hour. Who is this Anastasia? And what is she up to with my husband, really?
So, Vin likes his secrets. Well, I have my secrets too. They live in my blood and run through my veins, filling me with a bulletproof drive to get through this thing. Because I will get through. My god, I was a dancer. My body knows how to move. And it holds a muscle memory stronger than any diagnosis. I will move again. And when I do, no secret is safe.
I can feel it now, the slow, satisfying burn of a buried secret emitting steam from my ears, fire from my nose, laser beams from my eyeballs.
Cate nods, still about the ice cream, still puffing her chest, a dopey half-grin on her chubby face. Vin clomps out of the room like a brontosaurus.
I hate them both.
JD SPERO’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: