Home > The Perfect Affair (A Jessie Hunt Psychological Suspense Thriller:Book Seven)

The Perfect Affair (A Jessie Hunt Psychological Suspense Thriller:Book Seven)
Author: Blake Pierce

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

Shots rang out, startling Jessie from her sleep.

Half-awake, she rolled out of bed, grabbed her gun off the side table, and scurried over to the bedroom door. The shots sounded like they had come from the living room. She glanced at the clock: 1:08 a.m.

She set aside how someone could have breached her apartment building’s tight security measures to focus on the task at hand. There was a threat on the other side of that door. Not only was she in danger but so was Hannah, who slept in the extra bedroom on the other side of the living room.

Jessie took a long, slow, deep breath before opening the door and peering out. She saw a dim glow in the room before a second round of gunfire made her retrench behind the wall. Had the attacker seen her? She was just preparing to crawl into the living room when she heard a voice.

“You’re surrounded, Johnny. Come out with your hands up,” a stern male voice instructed.

Suddenly a foreboding musical score kicked in.

“You’ll never take me alive!” shouted someone with a distinctly gangster-ish accent.

Jessie allowed herself to breathe normally for the first time in thirty seconds. Lowering her gun, she stood up and stepped into the living room, where she could see the television was on, airing some old black-and-white crime movie.

She grabbed the remote from the coffee table and turned off the TV. Her heart was still pounding as she made her away across the living room, dodging the clothes, shoes, and magazines on the floor, until she got to the open door of Hannah’s bedroom.

She poked her head in, where she saw her seventeen-year-old half-sister, Hannah Dorsey, curled up asleep on the bed. The girl had kicked off the covers and was hugging herself as she shivered slightly.

Jessie tiptoed over, grabbed the comforter, and gently draped it back over Hannah, who was mumbling to herself unintelligibly. The criminal profiler stood over her, trying to discern any words. But after a few seconds, she decided it was fruitless and gave up.

She tiptoed back to the doorway, gave one glance back, and then shut the door. She sighed deeply. Despite her repeated pleas not to, this was the third time in the last week that Hannah had left the television on before going to bed. Luckily, it was the first time Jessie had been woken up by the sound of gunfire coming from it.

Part of her wanted to shake the girl awake and drag her out to turn the thing off herself. But, as she’d recently learned from the online parenting newsletter she now subscribed to, teenagers apparently needed lots of extra sleep for their growing minds and bodies. Besides, interrupting Hannah’s slumber to prove a point would backfire on her tomorrow in an extra helping of sullenness.

As she crossed the living room to go back to bed, she wondered where the online newsletter was that talked about how almost-thirty-year-old female professionals also needed decent sleep every now and then. She was just smiling to herself when she tripped on a shoe Hannah had left in the middle of the room and stumbled to the floor, slamming her left knee on the hardwood.

She forced herself to stifle the curse word she wanted to yell. Instead she groaned silently as she pulled herself up and limped back to bed. With her knee aching, her heart still palpitating, and her mind racing, she resigned herself to another half-sleepless night, all courtesy of the teenager she’d agreed to let live with her.

I think I got better sleep when I was being hunted by a serial killer.

The gallows humor made her chuckle to herself but didn’t make her any sleepier.

 

*

 

“I didn’t do it,” Hannah insisted angrily.

Jessie sat across the breakfast table from her, stunned. She couldn’t believe the girl was denying it.

“Hannah, there are only two people living here. I went to bed before you did. When I said goodnight, you were watching TV. When I was woken up in the middle of the night, it was on. You don’t have to work for the LAPD to know who’s responsible for that.”

Hannah stared at her, her green eyes full of conviction.

“Jessie, I don’t want to be disrespectful. But you admitted that you’ve had trouble sleeping lately. And at your age, memory starts to falter a little. Is it possible that you’re forgetting something you actually did, and are blaming it on me because you’re buying into the stereotype of the lazy, forgetful teenager?”

Jessie stared back, dumbfounded at Hannah’s boldness. It was a stunning move, to lie about something so obvious, for no discernible reason.

“You know I track serial killers for a living, right?” she reminded her. “I’m not exactly susceptible to gaslighting from you.”

Hannah took the last bite of her toast and stood up, her sandy-blonde hair falling in her face as she stretched to her full, gangly height of five foot nine, only an inch shorter than Jessie.

“Don’t we have to get to that therapist appointment this morning?” she asked, ignoring Jessie’s comment completely. “I thought it was at nine. It’s eight thirty-two right now.”

She headed back to her bedroom to finish getting dressed, leaving her plate and empty cup on the table. Jessie fought the urge to call after her and tell her to toss the stuff in the dishwasher.

She reminded herself of the personal limitations she’d established when Hannah first came to live with her two months ago. She was not, and would not try to be, the girl’s parent. Her job was to provide a safe environment for the half-sister she’d never known to recover after a series of traumatizing incidents. Her job was to help Hannah heal and reintegrate into a world that seemed fraught with dangers all around her. Her job was to be a source of support and security. Jessie knew all that instinctively and intellectually, and yet she couldn’t help but wonder why the hell the kid couldn’t put a frickin’ dish away.

As she cleaned up, she told herself for the thousandth time that this was all normal, that Hannah was acting out as a way of asserting control over her own life, something she’d sorely lacked lately, that it wasn’t personal and it wouldn’t last forever.

She told herself all of these things. But deep down, she wasn’t sure she believed any of them. Some part of her worried that there was something darker going on inside Hannah. And she feared that it might be irreversible.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

 

Jessie was getting antsy.

She knew Hannah’s session with Dr. Lemmon would end any second. Would the girl come out of the office crying, like she had on the last visit? Or stone-faced, like after the previous two?

If anyone could reach Hannah, Jessie had to believe it was Dr. Janice Lemmon. Despite her unassuming look, the woman was not to be trifled with. Her small frame, tight blonde perm, and thick glasses made the sixty-something behavioral therapist look more like someone’s grandma than one of the most well-regarded experts on aberrant behavior on the West Coast. But underneath that ordinary facade was a woman so highly respected that she still occasionally consulted for the LAPD, the FBI, and other organizations that she never spoke of. She also happened to be Jessie’s therapist.

At first, Jessie was concerned that having her treat Hannah as well might be a conflict of interest. But after some discussion, they agreed that there were only a few doctors who were qualified to treat a girl who’d been through Hannah’s experiences. And since Dr. Lemmon was already intimately familiar with some of Hannah’s family history, she was a logical choice.

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