Hi friends! I’m so excited to tell you about Beth Kery’s upcoming book Swim Deep. I’m not even quite sure how to describe it. A psychological thriller with romantic elements? A contemporary romance with some magical realism? A really great read that will scare you and thrill you but also warm your heart? ALL OF THE ABOVE?! Anyway it’s a deviation from most of Ms. Kery’s other books, so if you’re going in expecting a super steamy erotic romance (especially with BDSM) … don’t. This isn’t that book. This book gets all in your head though, and I loved that.
She’d made a career out of studying light, but now she’s entered a seductive, dangerous world of shadow and lies . . .
Anna Solas, poor artist working two jobs, is swept away by Evan Halifax, his charm and his good looks, and marries too quickly for her family’s comfort. Evan takes Anna to his stunning lakeside mansion the North Twin on the Les Jumeaux estate, where she discovers he lived with his first wife Elizabeth until her disappearance and presumed death. He says they can live anywhere Anna wants to, but his explanations unravel bit by bit. Anna is increasingly uneasy, wondering what really went on in the decadent home theatre, who is watching her from the South Twin—the matching home on Lake Tahoe’s shore, and the identity of the nightmare woman who appears to her at night, whispering a message she dreads hearing. She becomes determined to uncover the truth behind Elizabeth’s life in order to save her own sanity.
Ok so I can’t help myself – first some context. This is once our heroine has moved into her new home – the hero’s home. Also, you can read another excerpt/one that takes place just a little before this excerpt here.
I found the fiction section and after browsing a bit, picked a World War II drama-love story by a British author I liked. Two shelves down, I also located a Frida Kahlo biography I’d wanted to read. Satisfied with my finds, I headed over to the switch for the enormous chandelier that lit the room. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a figure standing in front of the bookshelf. I had the distinct impression the person faced outward, and was watching me.
I cried out in muffled surprise. I turned fully, but nothing was there.
The hair on my neck and arms stood up. I was completely alone in the great room. My eyes told me that truth, but some other part of me, some primitive instinct, insisted that my vision couldn’t tell me everything.
I stared at the place where I’d seen the figure, searching. When I’d thought I’d seen someone, I’d halted in front of the collection of medical and science related books. A dark red velvet book caught my eye. It was very large, and looked distinctly out of place among all the other scholarly-looking volumes. Approaching the bookcase cautiously, I set my books on a lower shelf. I went up on tiptoe and reached for the velvet book.
Cradling it in one hand, I opened it. The pages were made of thick parchment. I realized it was a kind of journal, not a traditionally published book. On the title page, someone had handwritten in lovely, elaborate cursive: The Madaster Family Tree and Bloodline, Theodore N. Madaster, 1982.
This time, the shivers went all the way down my arms and legs. Theodore Madaster? Could he have been Elizabeth’s grandfather?
I began to turn the pages. Theodore had meticulously drawn out a tree that began on the left page and carried to the right, then resumed when the next page was flipped. As an artist, I admired his elaborate penmanship and well-thought-out design. He must have practiced elsewhere, perhaps many times, before he’d finally copied the pages into this book, because there were no smudges or errors. He’d used mostly black, dark bronze, and red ink, and the colors had held up amazingly well.
Theodore had also drawn several shields and various other heraldic symbols, presumably associated with different branches of the Madaster family. These drawings were concise and beautifully executed using additional ink colors of blue, gold, and green.
I was awed by the grandeur of it all, by the mystery and depth of meaning I couldn’t quite grasp. I was also a bit envious. It was hard for me to imagine someone would put so much thought and care into his ancestry. What I knew about my great-grandparents could be said in a very short paragraph, a skimpy affair compared to this scholarly and artistic endeavor.
The first entrants on the Madaster family tree came from the thirteen hundreds. Most of Elizabeth’s ancestors appeared to be from France, and someplace called the Holy Roman Empire, which in later pages became Germany. As I kept flipping the pages, each filled with so much detail that I couldn’t fully grasp, I realized that as the years and the generations passed, the names entered had a sort of flourish beneath them of either a simple or complicated design. As the centuries wore on, the decorations beneath the names became increasingly complex. Sometimes the lines were etched in mere black, but a few of the designs were etched in flowery combinations of black, red, and bronze ink.
I realized I’d been flipping the pages for quite a while now, completely immersed. Evan would wonder what had happened to me. Wanting to cut to the chase, I flipped to the final entries.
Theodore Madaster was indeed Noah’s father. Both of their names were underlined with complicated flourishes and quite a bit of red ink. And here was Lorraine Madaster, Noah’s wife. Her embellishment was not as complex as her husband’s or father-in-law’s, but still contained a great deal of vivid scarlet and bronze ink.
Then I saw the last entry: Elizabeth Antoinette Madaster, born September 13, 1979. The embellishment beneath her name was the most lovely, and the most complex I’d spotted by far. It was also done almost exclusively in red. The scarlet ink glowed on the page, as if it’d been electrified somehow.
The date of death had not yet been entered.
I jumped, nearly dropping the book at hearing Evan’s voice at the top of the Y-shaped stairs.
I hurriedly replaced the red velvet book on the shelf. By the time Evan peered down at me from the landing, I’d grabbed my books and was walking over to the light switch.
“I’m on my way,” I told him with a little wave before I plunged the enormous room into darkness.
When I reached the landing, I was breathless.
“What kept you?” Evan asked. His voice was low and relaxed, but his eyes searched mine curiously. He wore only a pair of black pajama pants, the drawstring tightened low on his ridged abdomen. My hunger for him—ever present, but sometimes banked—leapt up in me like a flash fire. I stepped into him and pressed my mouth against the crisp hairs on his chest and the dense muscle beneath.
“Nothing as interesting as this,” I assured him as his scent entered my nose.
So what’d you think? The book comes out next Tuesday! 😀 You can pre-order a copy here!