Don't Tell
  • Alternative view 1 of Don't Tell
  • Alternative view 2 of Don't Tell

Don't Tell

4.4 80
by Karen Rose
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

It was a desperate plan. But Mary Grace Winters knew the only way to save herself and her child from her abusive cop husband was to stage their own death. Now all that remains of their former life is at the bottom of a lake. Armed with a new identity in a new town, she and her son have found refuge hundreds of miles away. As Caroline Stewart, she has

…  See more details below

Overview

It was a desperate plan. But Mary Grace Winters knew the only way to save herself and her child from her abusive cop husband was to stage their own death. Now all that remains of their former life is at the bottom of a lake. Armed with a new identity in a new town, she and her son have found refuge hundreds of miles away. As Caroline Stewart, she has almost forgotten the nightmare she left behind nine years ago. She is even taking a chance on love with Max Hunter, a man with wounds of his own. But her past is about to collide with the present when her husband uncovers her trail and threatens her hard-won peace. Step by step, he's closing in on her- and everything and everyone she loves.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Suspense mounts on every page in this debut novel from Karen Rose, a compelling thriller about an abused wife with a new identity, and the abusive husband who picks up her trail years later. Who would ever suspect a police officer of battering his own wife to near death? With no one to turn to but fiercely determined to protect her young son, Mary Grace Winters stages her death and that of her son, leaving the truth behind in a car at the bottom of a lake in East Tennessee. Nine years later, though her scars run more than skin deep, Mary Grace has established a new life as "Caroline Stewart" and is even on the brink of falling in love with her new boss, Max. However, Max turns out to have scars of his own and a complicated relationship with his family, both of which threaten their fragile romance. But that threat pales next to the one posed by her abusive husband, who finally uncovers the truth and stalks them to Chicago, bent on destroying their present and future. Ginger Curwen
Publishers Weekly
Since escaping her abusive cop husband and moving to Chicago seven years earlier, Mary Grace Winters has reinvented herself. With the help of a safe house for battered women, she changed her name to Caroline Stewart and her son's to Tom and secured a secretarial position at Carrington College. But unbeknownst to Caroline, her husband is on her trail, determined to reclaim his son and kill anyone who stands in his way. Meanwhile, Caroline struggles to live a normal life and open her heart to the love of a good man, Max Hunter. A handsome history professor and former NBA star, Max still bears physical and emotional scars from a long-ago car crash. But as their whirlwind romance progresses, enhanced by generous doses of steamy sex, Max realizes that Caroline's reluctance to commit stems from her past fears, not repulsion over his injury. Despite one stormy scene, in which Caroline and Max fling insults at each other and compare scars, first-time author Rose handles her subject matter well. She informs without preaching and allows her characters to sort through their emotions in a mature manner. As gripping as a cold hand on the back of one's neck, but tempered by lovable characters and a moving romance, this assured debut bodes well for Rose's future books. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446612807
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
07/01/2003
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
319,882
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.25(d)

Read an Excerpt

Don't Tell


By Karen Rose

WARNER FORERVER

Copyright © 2003 Karen Rose Hafer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0446612804


Chapter One

Present day Douglas Lake, East Tennessee Sunday, March 4 9:30 A.M.

"God, I hate this part of the job. How the hell can you possibly eat at a time like this?"

Hutchins looked out at the placid morning calm of Douglas Lake, thought about the body they'd inevitably pull out and the stupidity of the waste. He finished the rest of his doughnut with the even keel of the veteran sheriff he was. "Because I won't feel like eating when they pull out that kid. Might as well not starve." He threw a sympathetic glance at the green face of his newest recruit. "You'll get used to it, boy. Unfortunately, you'll get used to it."

McCoy shook his head. "You'd think they'd know better." "Kids don't ever 'know better.' You'll get used to that, too. Especially when they're on spring break. I expect to pull another couple out of the lake before the whole season's over."

"I suppose I'll need to tell the parents when it's over." Hutchins shrugged and lit a cigarette. "You started it, boy. You might as well finish it, too. Not my favorite task, either, but you have to learn to break the bad news." McCoy focused on the boat slowly pulling the grappling.hook across the lake floor. "They're still hoping we'll find him alive somewhere. I swear t'God, Hutch-how can parents hold out hope like that? Those other boys told it clear enough. They were drinkin' and foolin' around and the kid wrecks his jet ski. They watched him sink."

Hutchins dragged on the cigarette, let out the stream of smoke on a sigh. "Kids are stupid. I keep telling you this. But parents-" He shook his gray head. "They hope.

They'll hope until you make them identify his body in the morgue."

"Whatever's left of it," McCoy grumbled. "Hey, Tyler." The words came crackling from McCoy's radio.

"Hey, Wendell," McCoy answered, swallowing the bile that rose at the thought of what Wendell's hook was about to bring up. "Whatcha got?" "Well, it's no body, that's for damn sure." Hutchins grabbed the radio. "What're you talkin' about, boy?"

"It's a car, Sheriff." Hutchins snorted. "There's enough cars down there to fill a used car lot. My great-granny's house is down there, too." All that shit was leftover from the TVA's flooding of the area when they built the dams in the 1930s. Everybody knew that.

"Yeah, all Model T's. This one's newer. Looks like a late eighties Ford. There's a little kid's backpack in the back seat-one of those Mutant Ninja Turtles things. We're bringing it in."

"Damn." Hutchins ground his cigarette under his heel. "If it's not one thing, it's another. Bring it in, then keep looking for the boy."

Asheville, North Carolina Sunday, March 4 11:30 P.M.

"Motha'fucka'." The boy gasped. "Sonofabitch." Rob Winters stared dispassionately at the young boy whose eyes had already begun to roll back in his head. Shame, that. He'd thought the boy would have more spine. At fourteen he himself had been able to take his old man's beatings with his head held high. He applied more pressure to the dark-skinned hand he had trapped in a vise grip. Just a hair more. The boy moaned again, sagging back against the alley wall with enough force to produce an audible crack when his wooly head with its ridiculous braids struck the brick.

"I don't know nothin'. I tol' you that already." The boy sucked in a breath, tried to yank his hand away. "You can let me go. I swear I won't be goin' to no cops. I swear it, man. On my mamma's grave."

Winters's lip curled derisively. "I'd bet a month's worth of your mamma's food stamps that she is very much alive and if you want to stay alive with her, you'll tell me what I want to know." Winters's voice was still low and calm, a striking contrast to the gasping cries coming from the boy's swollen, bloody lips. "Alonzo Jones. Where is he?"

The boy struggled, but Winters held him firmly against the alley wall. He whimpered, but Winters only tightened his bone-crushing grip. Winters leaned close to the boy's head so that his lips grazed his ear. "Listen, boy, and listen real good because I only plan to tell you this once. I need to know where to find Alonzo Jones and you need to keep the use of your hand. If I tighten just a little more, you'll have permanent nerve damage. That'll cause you problems next time you decide to knock off an all-night convenience store."

The boy's eyes grew wide, the whites of his eyes shining bright in the darkness. "I didn't do no store, man. I swear it. Goddammit!" The last came out on a shrill note as Winters tightened his grip another notch.

"You did it all right. We have you on video, boy. You and that gang you run with headed by one Mr. Alonzo Jones. Now you can come along with me to the station and tell us all about stickin' a knife in a sixty-two-year-old unarmed white man or you can tell me where I can find Alonzo Jones. I want him more than I want to see your sorry ass rottin' away in jail."

The boy licked his bloody lip and his eyes went narrow with hate. "You're a cop? Shit, man. I don't need to talk to you. I don't need to talk to nobody but my lawyer. Police brutality. I know you white cops like to beat on us black folk." He leaned back against the wall, sweat beading on his upper lip as he tried to pull his hand free. "Yo' ass is gonna roast."

Winters smiled and took pleasure watching the hate in the boy's eyes swing back to fear. He squeezed. Hard. And cocked his head to be able to hear the sound of popping cartilage over the boy's shrieks.

"Motha'fuckin' sonofabitch!" "Some vocabulary that sainted mother of yours lets you keep. Jones. Now." The boy sagged again, his knees hitting the asphalt. "With his woman."

Winters released the boy's hand and clamped his fingers around his dirty, scrawny neck, pushing him face forward into the street as the boy cradled his injured hand in his good one. "Her name?"

"I don't-" A strangled cry of pain cut off his pathetic denial. Winters lifted his thumb from the boy's larynx. "Chaniqua," he gasped.

Winters's boot connected with the boy's hip. The boy rolled into a ball, crying like a baby. "Last name, you worthless"-he kicked again, the tip of his boot catching the boy in the gut and flipping him to his back-"spineless, piece of shit."

A faint moan floated on the air. "Pierce. Chaniqua Pierce. Cuts ... hair. Down ... town."

Winters grimaced as the boy lost the contents of his stomach all over Winters's boots. "You disgusting-" Rage rose to mix with the disgust and he kicked the boy again. And again. And again. "Now you know how that old man felt curled up in a ball on his own floor dying in a pool of his own blood." He wiped a boot on the boy's dirty pants, transferring most of the filth where it belonged. Then he aimed and kicked again, savagely. The boy's scrawny body hit the brick wall and his eyes rolled backwards, blood flowing steadily from the corner of his mouth. A final kick to his head finished the job and the boy shuddered out his last breath.

Winters drew a deep breath and wiped his other dirty boot on the boy's shirt.

One less punk on the streets. He considered it a job well done. He peeled the thin latex gloves from his hands and tossed them in the third dumpster he passed. One could never be too careful with street punks. Nasty diseases all over the damn street.

By the time he'd walked the quarter mile to his parked truck he'd pulled the cotton from the gap between his cheeks and molars, the false overbite from his upper palate, and the gray wig from his head. Nobody could tie him to that punk even if anyone cared enough to call the police. He cast a brief look up and down the street before carefully putting his wig away. He changed his boots, stowing the fouled pair in the back with a frown. They were his best ones. Then he shrugged. Sue Ann would clean them later. He swung up into the driver's seat, ten feet tall and bulletproof. It was time to pay a visit to Miz Chaniqua Pierce.

He'd driven less than five minutes when his pager buzzed against his hip. He glanced at the number from the corner of his eye while keeping his gaze pinned to the low-lifes that skulked about in the hours most decent people were in their beds. Dammit to hell. Couldn't that bitch leave him alone for five minutes? He pulled his phone from his pocket with a snarl, punched in her number.

"Ross." Winters ground his teeth. Ross, as in Lieutenant. As in Q-U-O-T-A, written in big black letters. As in the bitch that stole the job that should have been his. He injected as much oozing sincerity into his voice as he could muster on a semi-full stomach. "Winters. What's up?" "The same thing that was up the last six times I paged you in the past hour. What seems to be more important than returning my calls, Detective?"

Winters drew a breath. She'd written him up for insubordination once already. Insubordination. The very thought made his stomach burn as rage ate at him. He'd been "warned." Warned, goddammit, by some incompetent bitch with an ass the size of South Carolina. He managed to control his tone, barely. "I was with an informant, Lieutenant."

"Did you find Jones?" "No, but I know where he is." "Care to share it with me?" So she could send in one of her handpicked ass-sucking favorites to make the bust? No fucking way. "I'd prefer to wait until I'm certain."

"I guess you would. I prefer you tell me now." Bitch. "He's with his girlfriend." There was a short, tight silence on the other end. Small victory, he thought. "Does this girlfriend have a name, Detective? And please don't play games with me again. I want answers and I want them now."

Winters bit down so hard his teeth hurt. "Her name is Chaniqua Priest." Or Pierce. The kid was gurgling there towards the end. He could have said Priest.

"You have a location?" "Just downtown." "Helpful, Detective. Keep your informant available in case we have more questions."

Winters swallowed the chuckle. His informant was now answering questions at the business end of a fiery pitchfork. "Yes, sir," he said, knowing the "sir" pissed her off more than anything else, but technically was not something she could get him on. "Did you have a particular reason for paging me, Lieutenant Ross?"

"Yeah. You got a call from a Sheriff Hutchins, Sevier County, Tennessee. He says it's urgent you call him." She rattled off the number and he memorized it instantly. He had a good memory for numbers and names. He'd been through Sevier County on his way to Gatlinburg, but he'd never heard of Hutchins.

Winters pulled into the first convenience store parking lot he saw and punched in Hutchins's number. The sheriff was available, his assistant told him, if he'd please hold. Winters grumbled as he waited. This had better be important, he thought. He was using up cell phone minutes waiting on this yahoo. Finally the illustrious sheriff came to the phone, huffing and puffing.

"Sorry to keep you waiting so long, Officer Winters," he said and Winters could hear the creaking of a chair in the background as the sheriff apparently sat down. "It's Detective Winters," he corrected sharply. Didn't Ross tell him that? Bitch.

"Oh, sorry. Your lieutenant told me you'd been promoted. My brain's a little fried at the moment. We've been draggin' Douglas Lake all day lookin' for an accident victim and I just had the pleasure of tellin' his parents." "That's a shame," Winters offered, rolling his eyes. "But what does that have to do with you, huh? Listen, Winters, when we were dragging the lake we came up with something else. I thought you should know before the bureaucrats get involved."

Winters listened and suddenly Lieutenant Ross and Alonzo Jones were the last things on his mind. They'd found his car. Seven years of helpless fury came rushing back with the force of a freight train. They'd found his car, but his boy was not inside. Neither was his wife.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Don't Tell by Karen Rose Copyright © 2003 by Karen Rose Hafer
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Read More

Meet the Author

Karen Rose is a RITA Award-winning author who fell in love with books from the time she learned to read, with Jo from Little Women and Nancy Drew becoming close childhood friends. A former chemical engineer and high school chemistry and physics teacher, Karen lives in Florida with her husband of twenty years, their two children, and the family cat, Bella. For more information, visit her website: www.karenrosebooks.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Don't Tell 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 80 reviews.
Ejaygirl More than 1 year ago
Mary Grace Winters finally found a way to escape her abusive husband and reinvented herself as Caroline Stewart and moved to Chicago with her seven-year old son, now named Tom. For the next seven years, she managed to pull herself up by her bootstraps, with the help of a shelter and a kind employer, and create a happy and productive life. Caroline got her GED and went to work for the head of the history department at a small college. Following the death of the chair, a new history professor, Max Hunter, was hired and at his first appearance, both he and Caroline established an immediate connection, one that transcended employer/employee relations. Meanwhile, after seven years, Mary Grace's car was located in a lake in South Carolina, the contents of which cause her husband, Rob, to suspect she's alive. He becomes consumed with finding her but this has also caught the attention of the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI),who has always believed Rob murdered his wife and son. The story transitions between Caroline and Max's developing relationship, the SBI investigation and Rob's hunt for "Mary Grace" and his son. Rob is a sadistic and cruel man who is also a pretty bad cop but a skilled detective. The tension mounts as these three stories begin to intersect and the bodies start to pile up. Your pulse rate will increase as you begin to worry for some of the characters, knowing that there will be an eventual climax between the investigators, Caroline and Rob. Karen Rose has masterfully written a riveting story involving domestic violence and the triumph of the human spirit. Caroline isn't the only one in the story to rise above her circumstances. Max is recovering from a life altering and devastating accident from twelve years ago. Dana, Caroline's best friend and manager of a women's shelter, came out of an abusive marriage. The lead investigator, Steven Thatcher, is raising three sons on his own following the death of his wife. All are involved in the culmination of the confrontation with Rob. This is a great story, even though there's a whiff of the love-at-first-sight syndrome between Max and Caroline but the events that occur as their relationship develops more than compensate for their beginnings. Their trials and challenges are extremely realistic for two people that don't know each other very well. The police investigation is gritty and well researched. Much of the story is based in North Carolina and the author did her homework in representing the geography of the state. This is a must read and I plan to read a lot more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mary Grace Winters was pregnant and got married when she was 15 to an abusive man, Rob Winters, who happened to be a police officer. After many beatings and two pushes down the stairs, Mary Grace knows she has to do something before she is killed. Going to the police did not help so she faked her own and her son's deaths, then disappeared.  She changed their names and were living pretty good lives.  After 9 years Rob finds out that his wife and son were not abducted and killed but ran away so he searches for them. He wants to get his son back and make Mary Grace pay for taking his son away from him.  In the meantime, Caroline has been working at getting her law degree and working for a wonderful man.  The man dies and Caroline falls for his replacement, Max Hunter, who also has a lot of baggage and walks with a cane. Their relationship does not go smoothly though. Caroline helps Max accept his life as it is now and not to feel sorry for himself for not having the life he did before his accident.  Then comes Caroline's abusive husband who threatens her new life when he finds her. I really liked this book.  It made me laugh, cry and bite my nails in suspense. The writing was so detailed that I easily pictured all the events. Caroline and Max, while having a lot of issues, were very likable characters. Tom was an amazing young man who appeared much more mature than his age would suggest, especially when he was being protective of his mother. Rob was one of those guys that I just loved to hate. I was amazed that Karen Rose could take such a sensitive issue like spousal abuse and turn it into entertainment. She covered the horrors of the abuse making me feel extreme sympathy for Mary Grace but then showed the strength women (Caroline) can have to fight back when necessary. I loved this book and recommend it. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was a good read, love Karen Rose. I did not care for the descriptive, abusive parts. Book was well written and very emotional. She definitely brought attention to the problems many women and children suffer as abusive victims!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Mary Grace Winters held the grand title of "punching bag". An abused wife with a bad-cop husband, Mary Grace had no choice but to take what he gave her. With no job, no skills, and no friends of her own, she had no one to turn to for help, had nothing to allow her to escape the life that she led. In turn, she lived for her son, Robbie, who one day had the horrible misfortune to find his mother lying in a pool of blood at the bottom of the cellar stairs, broken and battered.

Mary Grace used her months in the hospital to form a plan. She needed to escape, to run away, not just for her sake, but for the sake of her son. Rob Winters wasn't just a cop, but a cop that demanded respect and invoked fear not only in her, but in his fellow officers. So she dreamed, and she plotted, and she faked her own death.

Caroline Stewart was a woman with a wonderful job as the administrative assistant to the head of the history department of Carrington College. She's found her niche, and created a nice, sturdy world for herself, when her mentor and boss suddenly dies. Enter Max Hunter, a man larger than life, with a chip on his shoulder the size of a small country. He uses a cane, and should anyone mention it or show him the least bit of pity, he's prepared to use said cane upside their head.

When Caroline, a new woman who's almost put behind her the old world of Mary Grace, and Max, who can't, or won't, put behind his own, collide, much more than sparks start flying. Passion, mixed with pent-up anger, regret, and sorrow, abound from every page, along with enough humor thrown in to make you laugh out loud.

"Don't Tell" is romantic suspense at it's ultimate best. Ms. Rose is a wonderful story-teller, able to breathe life into her pages until you feel as if you're part of the story. I laughed, I cried, I yelled...and all from the words printed on these pages. If you've ever wondered if good can conquer evil, if you're not sure that the good guys sometimes do win, then this book is for you. Karen Rose goes down as a master of suspense in my book, and I can't wait to devour everything else she's ever written...and hopefully will keep writing long into the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My first book by this author....and definitely wont be the last! This book had everything...suspense, romance, a great story line and perfect ending!!!! I recommend it highly!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. Karen Rose did a great job bringing the characters alive. First book i read by her but plan on reading more..350 pages
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just started the book think it will be a great :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Karen Rose writing style, her characters have depth and personality that I loved. I am starting the second book in this series tonight...can't wait. Very few authors draw me in for more than a couple of hours at a time...I was up till 4am reading this book cause I knew I couldn't sleep until I found out how it ended. Her character Dana was sarcastically witty, I loved her character. She is the kind of best friend I would love to have. Highly recommend this book, you will be hooked...I promise. Cudos to Karen Rose for a job well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
acorley84 More than 1 year ago
This was my first Karen Rose and definitely will not be my last. This has been on my TBR list for over 6 months and I really don't know what took me so long to get to this, but I am glad that I finally did! I am so ecstatic to have found another favorite new author and series! This author is way up there with Lisa Gardner in my book! I don't know that I've read any other book with such complex characters. Each character was so unique and strong. They are realistic and believable. They seem like real characters with real feelings and real problems. The story is mysterious and romantic, chilling and realistic. It has such an intense story throughout the whole book that it's hard to stop reading. It generally takes me the greater part of a week to finish reading a book, but this particular story, I couldn't put down and managed to finish it in a few days time! I was thrilled with reading the story, finding myself not wanting to go to bed just to read a few more pages. I don't read romantic suspense books often, but absolutely loved reading the element of romance in this book! It managed to get pretty hot and steamy but it was a perfect offset to the sadistic feeling I felt after reading the sections about Rob. I can't wait to read #2 and many more in the series! I am overjoyed to have found a favorite new author with many more books to occupy my time! AMAZING READ!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book! Loved the characters! Also read the next book Have You Seen Her? because I liked Agent Steven Thatcher's character! Also an excellent read!
Jenbo420 More than 1 year ago
awsome book.. love it too nice writing karen rose
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Real characters with real flaws and a wonderful payoff at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BrooklynLady1130 More than 1 year ago
Nice surprise. I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Past my bedtime, right now. I couldn't go to sleep without finishing it, lol.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
catnikki77 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, couldn't put it down at all. It was very well written. Am looking forward to the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago