Exclusive Excerpt: Unhinge by Calia Read - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Exclusive Excerpt: Unhinge by Calia Read

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With Unravel, author Calia Read introduced us to Naomi Carradine, a young woman caged by the walls of Fairfax Mental Institute, as her mind splinters to pieces blurring reality as we experience it. I loved the novel. Loved the ominous, foreboding tone. Loved the intrigue and mystery of the story as it unraveled before us. With her latest psychological suspense, Unhinge, we’re back at Fairfax, this time to meet Victoria Donovan, a patient just as trapped as Naomi had been.

I’m thrilled to share a never-before-seen excerpt with you today, as we count down to its release on January 12th!

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Synopsis

Jan-12In Calia Read’s electrifying and steamy novel of psychological suspense, a handsome stranger shatters a beautiful young woman’s picture-perfect vision of her past.

Hold your breath and count to ten. Soon it will be over before it ever began.

No matter how many times Victoria Donovan repeats that phrase to herself, she’s still trapped behind the walls of a mental institution. Once upon a time, her life was like a fantasy: Wes, the handsome fiancé, followed by a storybook wedding and a white picket fence. But then a picture-perfect marriage twisted into something sinister. And as Victoria’s world warped from dream to nightmare, her husband’s obsessions pushed her beyond the breaking point.

At first Fairfax Mental Health Institute seems like a safe place for Victoria to heal with her baby, Evelyn, and to hide from Wes, presumed dead by everyone except Victoria. Her husband is still alive, she has no doubt: He slips into her room at night to torment and tempt her. One smoldering kiss and she’s powerless. Of course, no one believes her about these visits. When she meets a sexy, mysterious stranger intent on helping her recall her past, Victoria isn’t sure she can trust him. But deep in her heart, she also knows that the only way out of Fairfax is to remember the way she came in.

Excerpt

The front doors slide open. People come and go all the time, and I usually don’t pay attention. But today I lift my head and watch a man walk through. He brings in fresh air that drifts across the room and makes goosebumps break out across my skin. His hands are tucked into his front pockets. At first I think nothing of him. Then he turns and looks directly at me.

My heart becomes lodged in my throat.

This is the man Wes morphed into last night. I sit up straight. He blinks rapidly. His brows form a tight V. He looks at me with confusion and I have no idea why.

The nurse behind the front desk greets him and he looks away.

Patients and staff—-all eyes are on him. We share one thought: Why is he here?

A dazed smile graces the nurse sitting behind the front desk.

Picking up the visitor clipboard, he writes his name down. I wish I were next to him. I want to put a name to that gorgeous face.

Since I’ve been at Fairfax, I’ve perfected the art of people watching. You can’t be obvious. In a place like this it’s awkward to be caught. No, you have to take furtive glances spaced apart—-that’s enough for me to create a person’s life story.

With this man, I picture power. Control.

With his elbows on the counter he leans in closer to the nurse. She’s a newbie. Just last week she finished up her week of training. And the way she looks at him . . . I can already tell she’d give anything for him to continue talking to her.

He says something and she shakes her head. I try to read her mouth, but she’s talking too fast.

Then he gives the nurse the smile.

The smile that makes smart women turn stupid.

The nurse sighs and her shoulders droop in defeat. She sneaks a peek behind her shoulder to make sure no one’s watching before she leans over the counter and points straight at me.

The man looks my way. His eyes are intense. Strong. A force.

Pushing himself away from the front desk, he walks into the dayroom. He has a confident stride, as though every step he takes is fought for and earned. His chin is raised and eyes are forward, looking straight at me. My hands start to shake. I feel the blood rush from my fingertips, all the way down to my toes.

My heart starts to thunder.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Each beat is louder than the last, until I am positive that everyone in the room can hear the pounding of my heart. I clutch Evelyn closer as the man stops directly at my table. I tilt my head back to make eye contact and I swear I feel a jolt straight to my heart.

“Can I sit down, Victoria?”

How does he know my name? I’m frantic, desperate to know what’s going on. Is someone playing a trick on me? I glance around the room, waiting for one of the doctors to jump out from around the corner and tell me this is just a test.

Series

Each can be read as a standalone.

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