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The Other Emily

The Other Emily

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The Other Emily will be released on September 12, 2023. Preordered e-books will be delivered immediately on the 12th. Print books will ship on the 12th and should arrive within 7-10 days. Please note that the audiobook release date is October 12, 2023.

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"Barbara Freethy delivers riveting, plot-twisting suspense and a deeply emotional story. Every book is a thrilling ride." USA Today Bestselling Author Rachel Grant 

In this heart-stopping psychological thriller, Emily Hollister's seemingly perfect life unravels when she becomes the target of someone intent on taking over her life.
 
"I know what you did."
 
The anonymous note starts an ominous game of cat and mouse. Soon, Emily finds herself trapped in a web of gaslighting and manipulation. Someone is lurking in the shadows, observing her every move, and insidiously replacing her in her own existence. 
 
With no one she can trust, Emily turns to a stranger for help, an ex-soldier with his own baggage to carry, but is he who he appears to be? 
 
As the danger escalates, Emily fights to put an end to the terrifying charade. With all the skeletons in her past, unmasking her tormentor is no easy task, but if she fails, she may find herself erased from her own life. 
 
Dive into this electrifying tale of deception and revenge!

* THE OTHER EMILY is a standalone psychological thriller.

PRAISE FOR BARBARA'S OTHER MYSTERY THRILLERS

"Barbara Freethy’s suspense novels are explosively good!" — New York Times Bestselling Author Toni Anderson

"WOW! Another wonderful page turner, suspense filled mystery with more twists and turns than a roller coaster." Cheryl – Goodreads on ALL THE PRETTY PEOPLE

"All the Pretty People is a five stars emotional thriller. Barbara Freethy knows how to snag reader’s attention immediately and never let it disengage until the last period. So many secrets and lies will be revealed in a tight plot that will keep one guessing." Jane – Goodreads on ALL THE PRETTY PEOPLE

"Barbara Freethy is a master of mystery and suspense, and this book is further proof of that! What a page turner! There are twists and turns from page one, more questions than answers, and several mysteries intertwined. I loved it!" Kristen – Goodreads on LAST ONE TO KNOW

"A new favorite book by one of my favorite authors! I am so glad Barbara Freethy has started writing mystery thrillers. Absolutely a cannot put down story of twin sisters discover a family secret that leads to not discovering who they are, both as sisters and separately. I couldn’t put it down! A page turner with an ending that completely surprised me!" Karen – Goodreads on LAST ONE TO KNOW

"Ok so, just fair warning, no matter where you think this is going, you're going to be wrong. And if you're like me, you're going to be wrong multiple times! This was such a thrilling book. I was hooked from the very beginning." Brandy – Goodreads on LAST ONE TO KNOW

"Breathtaking. A topsy-turvy, spellbinding, and unpredictable, thrill ride. Freethy gets under the skin with an intriguing glimpse into danger. Brynn's journey is an enigma that opens Pandora's Box and drops you down the rabbit hole." - Isha C., Blogger, Reader, Reviewer on LAST ONE TO KNOW

CHAPTER ONE

Lights. Camera. Action…

Words I'd said before as a film director. Words that were going through my head now as an honoree for the prestigious Top 30 Under 30 List by VIP Magazine.

I wasn't ready for the lights, the cameras, or the action. But as I looked out the window of the limo, which was crawling through the heavy Los Angeles traffic, I realized I needed to get ready fast. I could see the bright spotlights surrounding the entrance to the Excelsior Hotel in Hollywood, where the red carpet was set up, and photographers were waiting to snap photos of me and the other twenty-nine rising stars. 

I couldn't believe I'd made the list. 

Me, Emily Hollister, had become someone important. It seemed impossible to believe.

I'd been born into nothing and lived a very rough and ragged life. But at twenty-eight years old, I'd scratched and scraped my way into a senior producer/director role at Holly Roads Productions, where a freak accident had led to me directing what had turned out to be the movie of the year. The sequence of events that had brought me to this moment was nothing I could have imagined. 

I should be feeling cocky and excited to celebrate, but my palms were sweating, and I was fighting back an urge to jump out of the limo and run away into the dark of the night. I'd always felt more comfortable in the shadows, but I also knew how to put on a mask, be who people thought I should be, which is what I would do tonight. 

"Emily?" 

I turned away from the window to meet the questioning eyes of Francine Montgomery, the vice-president of Holly Roads Productions, and my mentor. Francine was an attractive blonde in her early fifties, who had been working in Hollywood for thirty years old. She'd started the production company ten years ago with her partner, David Valenti, and a significant investment from a wealthy entertainment lawyer, Curtis Hawkins, who also was one of her ex-husbands. 

"What's wrong, Emily?" Francine asked, her sharp, penetrating gaze always making me think she saw a little too much. 

"Nothing," I replied, forcing a smile onto my face. "Just nervous. I'm not used to being the one in front of the cameras."

"You'll do fine. You're young, beautiful, and smart. And you just directed a blockbuster movie that brought in more money on opening day than any other film in the past year. There's already talk of Oscar nominations, for the film and for you." 

"That seems impossible to believe. I can't see the Academy giving me the nomination when I only ended up directing, because Mitchell was injured, and we were in a remote location. There was no time to get anyone else to the other side of the world to take over. They're going to take all that into account."

"Maybe. Maybe not. It's probably a long shot," she conceded. "You're young and you're female, so those are two strikes against you, but your work was brilliant, and that may sway some voting members."

Despite her words, I wasn't going to let myself even consider the possibility of getting an Oscar nomination. 

"You need to stop being so modest, Emily," Francine continued. "You caught a lucky break, but when given the opportunity to shine, you did just that. I am very proud of you, and I have to take a little credit for your success. I hired you to be an intern eight years ago."

"For which I will always be grateful," I said, as we exchanged a smile. 

"This honor tonight—it's a big deal," Francine said. "It only gives you some press, it also puts our company out there, and that's always important. Your honor is our honor. Try to remember that. You're not doing this just for you, but for us, and you've always been a team player." Francine paused. "I'm glad you let Faye style you tonight. You look…perfect. And it's nice to see you out of jeans and a sweatshirt. You're a beautiful woman, Emily."

I had never thought of myself as beautiful, maybe not horribly unattractive, but when I looked in the mirror, I saw past the face that looked back at me, the face that always felt like a mask. I knew what I looked like on the inside, and it wasn't that great. But tonight, my mask was exceptionally good with my long brown hair falling in soft waves around my shoulders, my brown eyes framed by thickened lashes and my makeup giving a glow to my pale skin. My champagne-gold mini dress clung to my body, showing off my curves and a lot of leg. And I wasn't entirely sure I wouldn't trip down the red carpet in my ridiculous high strappy heels. 

But I needed to get over my anxiety. This was a great opportunity for me and the company, and I didn't want to mess it up."  

"Francine is right. You look great, Emily," Kaitlyn interjected, drawing my gaze to the seat across from me. Kaitlyn Dahl had joined the team as my assistant two months ago and was a twenty-three-year-old starry-eyed brunette, who probably couldn’t wait to find herself in my position. 

Kaitlyn had graduated from film school a year earlier and had little practical experience but a lot of ambitious drive and confidence. She was willing to do whatever job was thrown at her, no matter how mundane. Having been in her position myself, I knew how mundane those tasks could be. But Kaitlyn had a willing attitude and a sincere belief that every step she took would get her closer to where she wanted to be. In some ways, she reminded me of myself and how I'd felt at twenty-three. The five-year age difference between us wasn't much, but sometimes it felt huge. But that was probably because I'd had to grow up fast when I was a child, always making me feel older than my years. 

"You both look good, too," I said, my smile encompassing both of them. "I'm really glad you're with me tonight. When Ashton told me he'd have to meet me at the party, I was not looking forward to going into the hotel alone."

"Why is Ashton so busy that he can't walk the red carpet with you?" Francine asked, a note of annoyance in her voice, reminding me she wasn't a big fan of the man I was currently dating. 

"He's shooting a guest spot on The Trigger Man," I replied. "They've had some issues and are running late, which is perfectly understandable."

"I suppose," Francine said halfheartedly. 

"Ashton is a good guy. You should get to know him." 

Francine gave me a somewhat odd look. "I know him, or I should say I know men just like him. My first husband was an actor, and I got to see his act every night until I realized he had more audiences than just me."

"I'm sorry that he cheated on me."

"You can't trust actors, Emily. They're very good at pretending to be whoever you want them to be."

Francine didn't realize that wasn't the best argument she could have used, because I was good at pretending, too. Or at least, I used to be. I was giving away far too much tonight. 

"Well, I think Ashton is a dream," Kaitlyn said with a small sigh. "He's handsome and so interesting. Whenever he drops by to see you, Emily, and he always takes a minute to ask me how I am. You're lucky."

I ignored Francine's eye roll and smiled at Kaitlyn. "I think so, too." I actually didn't know what I really thought about Ashton. He seemed like a good guy, but we'd only been going out for six weeks. It was still early days. Right now, it was fun, and that was all I was looking for. I wasn't even sure there was anything else to look for. I didn't have a high opinion of love and an even lower opinion of marriage.

"What's happening with the screenplay on Aces High?" Francine asked, changing the subject to the movie we would start shooting in the next few months. "How is Roy doing on the screenplay revisions?"

"After his usual tantrum, he settled in." Roy Vignetti was a talented screenwriter but could also be obnoxious when asked to make even the smallest edits. I had to handle him with kid gloves, because he was constantly threatening to quit, and I needed him to finish the script we'd been developing for weeks. "I should have a new draft to look at on Monday," I added. "How are the negotiations going with Natasha Rodrigo? She's perfect for the role of Elena."

"Her agent wants double what we offered," Francine replied, her lips tightening. "I want you to come with me to lunch tomorrow at the Moonraker. Show her how well the two of you will work together."

"Will we work together?" I licked my lips as I felt another wave of nerves that had nothing to do with the party. While I'd stepped in for Mitchell Gray on the last movie after he was injured on the set, he was still our top director, with three Academy-Award nominated films to his name, and Francine had been very cagey about whether I'd be producing or directing the upcoming film. 

"Yes. I need both of you for this film. Mitch thinks he'll be ready to direct." Francine paused. "And you'll be working alongside him."

"But he'll be calling the shots." My stomach twisted with disappointment. 

"You did a great job, Emily, but Mitchell is one of the greatest directors of all time. There's still a lot you can learn from him. And he could use your perspective as well." 

I didn't believe Mitchell was interested in my perspective. He'd barely let me utter an opinion before his accident. I'd been his gopher, not his assistant director. "Why don't you have Mitchell meet with Natasha then? If he's going to direct, she'll want to talk to him."

"Natasha actually has some reservations about Mitchell. She knows he's very skilled, but she's not a big fan of him personally. I think she may have had a run-in with him in the past, something about him casting his wife Tara over her. It happened more than a dozen years ago, but she still holds a grudge. She is, however, very intrigued by the work you did on The Opal King. It was her favorite movie in years."

"That's nice to hear." 

"If you can assure Natasha that you'll be working alongside Mitch, I think it will convince her to come our way. Lunch is tomorrow at noon. Don't drink too much tonight. I want you fresh for the meeting." 

"All right." I tried not to let my unhappiness show. I thought I had earned the directing job for Aces High, a project I'd been working on for months. But Francine still believed Mitchell was better than me. Or maybe it was Curtis and David that were pulling that string. They both pretty much let Francine run the company, but when it came to the big talent, the big money, they always weighed in. 

I personally thought Mitchell was living off his past work. From what I'd seen before he'd gotten hurt on the last film, his best days were behind him, and mine were in front of me. I wished Francine could see how much I'd done for him even before his accident. Or maybe she knew Mitchell had used me as a crutch, but he had a bigger name than me, which meant more money, more support, more interest from everyone. It was a reality I had to live with.

The limousine finally stopped as we pulled up in front of the hotel. It was showtime.

As I followed Francine and Kaitlyn out of the limo, I was immediately hit by the hot breeze of a very warm Friday night in mid-September. There was a huge crowd in front of the hotel and probably an even bigger crowd at the rooftop party. Before we had taken more than a few steps, David Valenti, and Curtis Nolan joined us. I hadn't expected either of them to show up at a party celebrating the thirty-and-under crowd, when they were both in their fifties. On the other hand, they were always happy when our company was getting press, and there were a lot of media here tonight. 

They were both good-looking men. Curtis had dark hair streaked with a touch of silver at the temples, and green eyes that had made him pretty irresistible to his three ex-wives, one of whom was Francine. Curtis was part of old Hollywood. His father had been a producer, his mother an actress. As an entertainment lawyer, he had repped some of the biggest names in the business, and a few years back, he had decided to invest in our company. 

David was Curtis's polar opposite with sandy brown hair that had a touch of red in it, pale skin and light brown eyes. He was nowhere near as sophisticated as Curtis, and I'd always found him to be far more approachable. David's father had been a cinematographer, so David had also grown up in the industry, but brought a different perspective. He'd recently married for the first time and had spent most of the past few months on an extended honeymoon in Europe.

"Emily," David said, giving me a cheerful smile. "You made it. And I don't just mean you got here tonight. You're a big deal."

"Thanks."

"We're very happy to have you representing the company," Curtis added. "You've had a hell of a good few months."

"I have. I didn't know either of you were coming tonight." 

"We came to celebrate you," David said. "So, walk the red carpet and talk up the company, will you? We're going to meet you inside." 

"I will."

"Have fun," Francine added. "Don't worry about networking. You deserve to just have a good time." 

"Thanks." I turned to Kaitlyn. "Do I look okay?"

"You look perfect," Kaitlyn said. "And this is all so amazing. You're living your best life right this second. How many people can say that?" 

"I know I'm lucky."

"Thanks for letting me come tonight."

"You deserve it. You've been working hard the last few weeks." 

"We'll meet you inside," Francine said, urging me toward the red carpet while she and Kaitlyn headed into the hotel through a different door. 

I squared my shoulders and stepped onto the carpet. A few steps later, I reached the first waiting reporter, an attractive black woman, who towered over me by a good four inches. She asked a question, then put the microphone in my face. I was so nervous, it was hard to remember her question, something about the honor of the list. 

A voice inside my head told me to get together, to act like I belonged. If I did that, no one would question me, no one would doubt my accomplishments. That voice belonged to a man named Jimmy, a man who had known how to get exactly what he wanted and had taught me how to do the same. His methods had not always been legal or ethical. But his advice was probably sound.  

"I'm thrilled to be here," I said. My voice sounded weak, so I put some energy into it. Lifting my chin, I looked directly at the reporter. "I'm proud to be in the company of the twenty-nine other amazing individuals being celebrated tonight. I can't wait to meet them." 

"Some might say you're only here because of Mitchell Gray's freak accident," the reporter commented, her sharp gaze raking my face.

She was one of those reporters, eager to get an emotional reaction, but I would not buy into the premise of her question. 

"I'm here because I had the privilege of directing an amazing cast and crew and bringing a story to life that has resonated with audiences all over the world. The Opal King was truly a special story." Flashing a smile, I didn't wait for another question but moved down the carpet where I found a reporter who was more interested in my relationship with Ashton Hunter and wanted to know if he was coming to the party. It would have been nice to have Ashton next to me. He definitely would have taken up a lot of the focus.  

But I shouldn't want that. I shouldn't want to be in someone else's shadow.

Annoyed with myself, I shook my head and continued talking up the company and the last movie as well as the next movie. 

It took another forty-five minutes before I finally made it up to the rooftop bar with its amazing 360-degree view of Los Angeles. I gratefully accepted a glass of champagne from a passing waiter and downed it in a couple of big gulps as I told myself the worst was over. 

Then I saw the woman heading straight for me. Her blonde hair and big brown eyes were more than a little familiar. I'd met her in high school and for three years we had run with the same crowd. But I hadn't seen Cassie Byrne since high school graduation, and I wasn't excited to be reunited now. 

"Emily Hollister," she said with a bright smile, hoping her arms.

"Cassie Byrne," I replied, as we exchange a brief hug.

"It's been a minute," Cassie said. "You look stunning tonight."

"So do you. What—what are you doing here, Cassie?" 

"I work for VIP Magazine," she said, referring to the sponsor of the list. "I planned this event.

"Really? Well, it's amazing. This venue is beautiful."

"Only the best for the best," Cassie drawled, an edge to her voice that reminded me our relationship had always been one of love and hate. We'd shared a mutual friend, Alina Price, but had never been quite as good friends with each other. "Congratulations," she added. "I saw The Opal King. It was great. When your name came up for the list, I thought you were perfect for it."

Cassie made it sound like she'd had some say over the nomination, but surely that wasn't true. "I appreciate that," I said, not wanting to ask a question I didn't want answered.

"It's funny how you ended up stepping into Mitchell Gray's shoes. Although this wasn't the first time, was it?"

"Excuse me?"

"Our high school play, remember? Kim Taylor tripped down the stairs, and you had to take her place as the lead." 

I licked my lips. "I forgot about that."

"Just saying—you often seem to be in the right place at the right time."

"Is that what you're saying?" I challenged. "Because it doesn't sound like it."

"Oh, I'm just teasing," Cassie said with a laugh and a dismissive wave of her hand. "You always take things too personally, Emily. You did a great job on that film, and you deserve all the accolades you're getting."

"Thank you. I'm surprised you didn't go into acting instead of event planning. You always had your eye on Hollywood."

"I did some modeling and acting for a while, but I discovered I'm better at planning events and parties where I get to meet the most fascinating people and go to the most fascinating places." Cassie paused. "Speaking of events, our high-school reunion is next weekend, and you haven't responded yet."

"Right. I can't make it. I'm really busy."

"We all are. You should make time. It will be fun."

"I'll try," I said, having absolutely no intention of going to that reunion. The last thing I wanted to do was go back to my past. 

"Well, if you can't promise to make the reunion, at least come to lunch with Alina and me. We're meeting on Tuesday. When I told her I was going to see you tonight, she asked me to tell you how much she'd like to see you again."

I wouldn't mind seeing Alina. She had been one of my best friends in high school, but I'd made a point of not staying connected to anyone from that time in my life, and it seemed like a bad idea to change that now.

"Or are you too big for us now?" Cassie challenged. "I'm an event planner and Alina is a high school drama teacher. Maybe we don't have much in common anymore." 

I didn't like the irritated glint in her eyes, and I didn't need someone working with VIP magazine with access to reporters to suddenly feel slighted by me. "Don't be silly," I said. "I'd love to do lunch. I don't have my calendar, but I'll check it tomorrow and I'll make it happen."

"Good. I'll text you to confirm. The magazine has your phone number."

"Great." 

"It doesn't feel like ten years since high school, does it?" Cassie asked.

It felt like a million years to me, but I lied again. "Not really." I grabbed another glass of champagne from a passing waiter and put my empty glass on his tray. "So, everything is good with you, Cassie?"

"Very good. I've been seeing my boyfriend for almost two years. I think he's about to pop the question."

"That's wonderful."

"Did I hear that you're dating Ashton Hunter?"

"Several weeks now."

"I saw him as your guest, but I haven't seen him come in."

"He should be here soon. He had a late shoot today." 

Cassie nodded, her gaze reflective. "You really do have it all, don't you, Emily? Great job, celebrity boyfriend, it's all going perfectly for you." 

"I can't complain, but my life is still a work in progress."  

"My life needs a bit more progress than yours," Cassie said with a small laugh. 

I took another gulp of champagne, as my gaze scanned the crowded room for someone I could use to escape from this conversation. Relief ran through me when I saw Ashton approaching, moving through the room like a young, handsome prince. He was tall and lean with sandy-blond hair and striking blue eyes. Ashton never seemed aware of the wake he created, which I found to be one of his best traits. 

When he reached me, he opened his arms, and I moved in for a quick hug and a kiss. He smiled at me. "How's my rising star doing?"

"Very well." As Cassie cleared her throat, I stepped back and added, "This is an old friend of mine, Cassie Byrne. She helped plan this event. Ashton Hunter." 

Ashton sent his dazzling smile in Cassie's direction. "Nice to meet you, Cassie."

"You, too. I love your work."

"Thank you. How do you and Emily know each other?" 

"We went to high school together," Cassie replied. "I knew Emily before she was a rising star."

"You could probably tell me some stories about her." 

"I definitely could," Cassie said with a mischievous smile.

"No one is telling any stories tonight," I interrupted. "And I was not that interesting in high school."

"Emily could be boring," Cassie agreed. "But look at her now."

"I can't stop looking at her." Ashton sent me another dazzling smile.

I flushed, always feeling a little unsettled when Ashton said things like that, which often happened when we were with other people. Lifting my glass, I realized it was empty. 

"Let me get you another drink," Ashton said.

"Actually, I need some food."

"Go. Enjoy yourselves," Cassie said. "We'll catch up later."

I nodded, relieved when Cassie left. 

"You look beautiful, Emily," Ashton told me when we were alone or as alone as we could be in a crowd. "I'm a lucky guy to be here with you."

For some reason, his compliment felt a little over the top, but I'd been noticing that happening more and more lately. I should be thrilled at how much he seemed to care for me, but instead, I felt unsettled by the flattery. Clearing my throat, my gaze moved to an older woman with dark brown hair talking to a trio of men. "Isn't that Christine?" I asked. Christine Pelettier was not only Ashton's agent but one of the top agents in town.

"It is. And she wants to talk to you tonight. I promised I'd find a few minutes. Let's say hello now."

I hesitated, not sure why his agent wanted to talk to me. "She's in the middle of a conversation, and I need to use the restroom. I'll catch her later."

"Okay, but Christine wants to congratulate you, so hurry back."

"I will." I made my way through the crowd, stopping long enough to grab a crab puff from a passing waiter and pop it into my mouth. It tasted good, but it didn't do anything to calm the queasy feeling in my stomach. I really shouldn't have drunk two glasses of champagne without eating first. I moved toward the restroom, only to find a line out the door. 

Sighing, I got in line, smiling at a young female influencer who I recognized from social media, one of the other honorees. She barely gave me a passing glance as she and her friend talked rabidly about some guy at the party. 

"You'd think they'd have a restroom just for honorees," Kaitlyn said, as she came up behind me. 

I smiled. It felt good to see a friendly face. "You'd think," I agreed. "But it's moving."

"Your interviews were great, Emily. Francine and I caught them on the hotel monitor. No one would ever know you were so nervous in the limo."

"Thanks. I tried." 

"Especially because you must have been a little upset from Francine telling you that Mitchell will direct Aces High."

"It was disappointing, but I wasn't surprised."

"Male directors always get the nod," Kaitlyn said. "But it's not fair. You did such a good job, and I'm sure you want to prove you're not a one movie wonder."

"I will prove that—at some point."

"But how long will you have to wait? You wouldn't have gotten that movie if it hadn't been for Mitchell's freak accident," Kaitlyn reminded her. "How long will he be in your way?"

I knew she wasn't trying to be mean, but her words stung, mostly because they were true. "I don't know. But I'll make it happen at some point. And now people know what I can do." 

"You are really good. I would have put you in charge of Aces High."  

I appreciated her positive words. "Thanks."

"Maybe Natasha will make having you as director part of her ask to be in the movie. You should work that angle. Francine already told you that she needs you to get Natasha on board. Use your power." 

"I'm going to do my best to get Natasha on the project, because she'll be great for the movie, whether I'm the producer or the director or the assistant director. Even if I'm not in the chair, I want to make good films." 

"I personally wouldn’t want to be in the director's chair. Producing is much more fun, but then I'm more of a big picture person. I'm less interested in camera angles." A serious gleam entered her eyes. "There's something I should tell you, Emily."

The sudden conflicted look in Kaitlyn's gaze disturbed me. "What's that?"

"It's probably nothing."

"What's nothing?"

"You know how I said that Ashton is always friendly when he stops by the office?" 

"Yes," I said warily. "Why?"

"Ashton asked me questions about the part of Dominic in Aces High. I think he's interested in the role. He wanted to know who you were talking to." 

"That doesn't make sense. Ashton has never asked me about that part or any other. He has his own projects." 

"He said he read the script and thought the role of Dominic could be an Oscar contender. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything to you about it. It was probably nothing. But I thought maybe you should know. Was I wrong?" 

"No. I want you to tell me things that I need to know." Had I let Ashton's sparkling smile wash away my normal wariness? Was some of his interest in me more business than personal? 

"Ashton would probably be great for the part. It wouldn't be the worst idea to give him a shot at it."

"Maybe." I didn't want our professional lives to intersect, at least not yet, not when our relationship was still so new. "I don't understand how he even read the script. Did you give it to him?"

"Of course not. I assumed you showed it to him."

I hadn't, but the script had been lying around my home. It was possible Ashton had read through it at some point. I felt a wave of uneasiness, but I told myself not to get carried away. Ashton hadn't asked me about the part, and maybe Kaitlyn had misunderstood his interest in the role. He might have just been commenting that he thought the script would make a good film. 

"I'm going to skip this line and come back later," Kaitlyn said. 

"Okay," I told her, watching her walk away. Worrying about Ashton having a possibly hidden agenda only made my stomach more queasy. I really needed food. As soon as I got through this line, I would head to the buffet. 

I was almost to the entrance when one of the female servers came over to me. "Emily Hollister?" she asked.

"Yes. I'm Emily," I replied, surprised by her question. 

"I was told to give this to you." She handed me a folded note card. 

"What's this?"

She shrugged. "No idea."

As she walked away, I opened the note. There were only a few handwritten words on the card, but they made my heart stop: I know what you did 

My stomach flipped over, and an intense wave of nausea rose within me as the words blurred in front of my eyes. I stuck the note into my clutch and pushed past the two women in front of me, saying emergency as I almost barreled into a woman coming out of a stall. 

I ran into the stall, locked the door, and threw up. 

Some time later, I heard a woman ask if I was all right. I squeaked out a few words, saying I was fine. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I didn't want to see anyone. I just wanted to run. The panic I'd felt earlier was nothing compared to the terror I felt now.

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R
Risa

Haven’t read it yet

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Stephanie Symons
A twisty tale!

Just when Emily feels her life is on the upswing, a series of events starts to terrify her. Soon she is on the run and trying to determine who is out to destroy her. Are the events tied to her recent achievements or the result of her childhood with a con man who used her in his schemes? This will keep you guessing till the final chapter.

C
Cathy
Great suspense!

Suspense is my favorite kind of book and this one does not disappoint. Love the characters, love the story and really enjoyed this one!

M
Marcie
Secrets Uncovered

Another psychological suspense that leaves you wondering what is about to happen next, and keeps you guessing about who is behind all of Emily’s threats. Loved all the twists as Emily tries to figure out who the other “Emily” is, and who she can trust. As all her secrets from her past come to light she is left to wonder will she have a career to come back to, and even if she’ll live to survive who is after her. Barbara Freethy never disappoints. Highly recommend. Marcie514

S
S.B.
Twists and Turns

I enjoy stories where it’s not easy to guess the culprit, and that is the case with the story. Just when you think you have it figured out, the author changes paths and points you in another direction. There are so many suspects that could be out to get Emily, and I never suspected the main culprit. There are constant twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Readers who enjoy suspense stories are in for a real treat with this one.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC provided by the author**