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Smoldering. Provocative. Astonishing.
Intern is not what you think . . . It's so much more.
One minute she is there . . . The next she is gone
At twenty-three, April Wayne has it all. Aide to charismatic California State Senator Eric Barry, she is beautiful, ...
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Smoldering. Provocative. Astonishing.
Intern is not what you think . . . It's so much more.
One minute she is there . . . The next she is gone
At twenty-three, April Wayne has it all. Aide to charismatic California State Senator Eric Barry, she is beautiful, confident and sure her life is on the right track. And she is in love. It doesn't matter that he's married or that he's her boss. He loves her, and he'll make sure they can be together.
One minute he is a hero . . . The next he is a prime suspect
Eric Barry has been charming the state of California for years, proving to be a powerful political contender and a man who gets things done. Then in an instant, he's in the spotlight, his life under scrutiny, his every word and action questioned. All because a girl has disappeared . . .
One minute she is a supportive wife . . . The next she is married to a stranger.
Suzanne Barry has played the part of supportive political wife for one reason: she believes completely in her husband. Now, with the disappearance of one of his young aides, questions about Eric and their life begin to shed light on the lies of their marriage. And Suzanne can no longer ignore the truth: she is married to a stranger.
One minute she is a proud mother . . . The next she is desperate to remain one.
Gloria Wayne didn't always agree with her daughter April's choices in life. But she never imagined one could put her in danger. When April disappears, Gloria uses every means possible to keep the pressure on the one man who she believes holds the key to finding her daughter.
One minute you think you know where Intern is going . . .
The next you can't believe what you're reading.
A veteran newspaper/magazine columnist and editor, Bonnie Hearn Hill has always been a keen student of American culture and media. Bonnie lives in Fresno, California, with her husband, also an author, and is at work on her next novel.
Eric was late, but April didn't mind. This must be how marriage would feel — waiting for your man to come home, knowing you'd sleep beside him all night, share coffee in the morning. How had she ever gotten so lucky?
His condo still held the heat of another record-breaking Valley scorcher. She showered with the bergamot gel he loved, then took the bottle of gin from the freezer and splashed some into the martini shaker they'd bought the week before. Nude at the window of his condo, she admired the silvery reflection of her body against the back-drop of early evening. Her hair was still damp, but she piled it on her head anyway. When he walked through the door, she'd be waiting on the other side, just like this. Her hair wouldn't matter once they hit the bed.
She dug through the private drawer, found the thigh-high stockings and eased them up over her legs. Then the hootchie mama high heels, and the necklace he said matched her hair, a large topaz chunk on a gold chain.
She glanced down at the coppery bush between her legs, considered the scissors on the bar. Did she dare?
The telephone rang. April fought the impulse to grab it.
She let the machine answer, her fingers dancing like air above the receiver, ready to pounce the instant she heard his voice.
But it wasn't his voice. It was hers.
Eric and Suzanne attended Phantom of the Opera that Sunday night, a fund-raiser for a major hospital. It was one of the Governor's pet projects, which meant they had to not just show up, but stay, even though Suzanne would be driving back home alone later. He'd already seen Phantom too many times in San Francisco, and this version didn't come close. Had it not been for Suzanne's continual nudging, he would have dozed off for sure.
At intermission, they made small talk with others who'd attended for the same reason they had. Suzanne clung to his arm, and he wondered if she might be having one of her dizzy spells. If so, you'd never know it. She wore her hair twisted into a knot at the back of her head, tendrils so natural looking they could have been sketched along the side of her face.
He didn't want to think how much the long paisley skirt and top had set him back, but Suzanne was good at recycling her clothes. She kept a list and tried to avoid wearing the same outfits too close together.
The Governor, on the other hand, had only two words in her color vocabulary: black and navy. Tonight it was navy, with pearls. With her church-lady suits and grandma-gray hair, she might come across as harmless at first glance, but the birdlike blue eyes told a different story. She kept a running ledger sheet in her head, and Eric always sensed she'd placed him on the debit side of it.
"When are we going to see that new car of yours?" the Governor asked. "I understand you went all out."
"I call it my mid-life Chrysler." Eric sipped his club soda. He didn't like to drink on Sundays. Besides, it looked better this way.
"A Jag, is it?"
"Ford owns the company now. It was an indulgent purchase, but I'm on the road so much, I thought I might as well step up."
"Have you seen how fast it can go?"
"Oh, yes." And meeting the Governor's probing gaze. "Within the speed limit, of course."
"Of course. I'm sure you're an excellent driver."
"I like to think I am."
"Is there anything your husband doesn't do well?" she asked Suzanne.
"Yes." She turned to him, her smile enigmatic. "Relaxing is not Eric's strong suit. I'm afraid he's a bit of a workaholic."
Perfect answer. A point for Suzanne. He started to reward her with a smile, but was interrupted by the arrival of the theater manager.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, Governor, Senator," he said in a breathless voice. He handed a portable telephone to Eric. "It's your aide."
"April Wayne?" he asked.
"Tom Spencer. He says it's important."
"Then I'm sure it is." The lights dimmed. Time for the next act. Mercifully, he was saved. "Don't wait for me," he told the others. "I'll be right in."
"Told you," Suzanne said to the Governor.
"What's going on?" Eric said into the phone, once the group was out of earshot."
"It's April," Tom said. "Her mom's been calling the office. She was supposed to be home last night, but she never got there. She's not answering her phone either."
Shit. Eric felt sweat break out along his upper lip. "Are you sure? Did you try her cell?"
"Just got voice mail." Tom paused. "Her mom's pretty shook up. She wants you to call her. I explained that you're tied up tonight, and she got pretty rude. She left a number."
"I'll call her in the morning," Eric said. "Her mother expects the poor kid to scurry home every weekend. Maybe she decided to do something else for a change."
"She didn't say anything to you?"
"I didn't ask. Tell you what. Call Gloria Wayne back and explain my situation. Say I'm sure April will be back at work tomorrow, and that I'll have her give her mother a call then."
"What if she's not?"
"She will be. Just get that woman off my back, okay?"
He hung up, then dialed the phone. April's recorded message answered, followed by a series of beeps signaled there were other messages — probably Gloria Wayne trying to control her daughter's life as usual. "Hi, April," he said. "This is Eric. It's Sunday night, and your mother's trying to get in touch with you. If you haven't already, you'd better give her a call. See you' tomorrow. 'Bye."
Eric made his way through the darkened theater, navigating over legs and feet until he reached his chair. Sweat washed over his palms, and he fought the urge to loosen his collar. Suddenly he wished he'd opted for wine over club soda. It would all work out, though. He just needed to concentrate on one task at a time.
He settled in the seat next to Suzanne, breathing in her fragrance, like the smell of soft rain.
"Anything important?" she whispered.
He shook his head and reached for her hand. No reason to worry her. "Just business," he said.
I am getting my hair colored when I hear about it. Berta, my hairdresser, and I fell into the every-other Wednesday routine years ago when political functions and charity events began to take over my weekends. With another campaign trail looming ahead, Berta's decided it's time to update my look. Perhaps I need to go a shade richer, she suggests, in her pseudo-indifferent manner.
"I don't think so," I say, surveying my shrinking face above the plastic purple smock. "This election won't depend on my hair color, and I don't want to face the cameras looking like a tarted-up old woman."
"Oh, you ain't old, Suzanne, and you are a real brunette," Berta frowns at me in the mirror. "You got the coloring for it."
"Was a real brunette," I say. "I can deal with age. The main thing, Berta, I just don't want to embarrass myself."
"I can dig that."
A small knot of a woman, Berta's retained her old speech patterns. It's a matter of pride to her, a nod to the past she never intends to forget. She's been putting herself through college styling hair, mine included, and moonlighting as a psychic. Out of respect for Eric's more conventional beliefs, I've never asked about that part of her life.
"You want more chestnut in it, don't you?" she says. "Think I've been putting in too much gold?"
I meet her eyes in the gilt-edge mirror. "Just not too dark — it seems a little less brassy, don't you think?"
"Okay. Can't argue with the Pisces lady today."
I decide not to ask what that means as she starts to paint the paste on my roots.
"Wonder what color it really is," I say, "underneath all this denial."
"Better'n mine. Look at this stuff." She tosses her head. In the mirror, I check out her masses of silver and slate.
"Look like an old voodoo lady, don't I? I'd go blond again, but I stand out too much at school with it."
"Just don't ever stop cutting my hair when you get that degree."
"You know I won't."
As we talk, the tiny television on the table in front of the mirror broadcasts some talk show in a low monotone. Berta always turns it down when I come, up for people with whom she doesn't want to talk.
She hears the newscaster before I do. Swivels her head toward the television. Says, "Dear God."
"What?" I ask. Then I see him. My husband. "That's weird. He hadn't planned a press conference."
He's laughing. It can't be that bad. Can't be. Then they cut to something else. Another photo explodes in my face, a black-and-white photograph of a young woman trying to look serious, smooth neck, deep V-neck drape, a bundle of curls.
"She got red hair?" Berta whispers.
"Who? I don't know. Who is that?"
The announcer's voice breaks in. "April Wayne, an intern in State Senator Eric Barry's office in Sacramento, was reported missing today by her mother in Pleasant View." A damning pause, then, "Senator Barry, who lives in Sacramento, while his wife, Suzanne, maintains the family residence in Pleasant View, was last seen with Miss Wayne Friday night in a Sacramento cocktail lounge."
A photograph of our home sweeps over the screen.
"Eric," I whisper. We talked this morning. Why didn't he tell me his aide is missing?
I think back. We were together Saturday. What was he doing out with her Friday? That was the night I tried to call him, the night I've tried to erase from my memory.
Berta places her hand on my shoulder, hard, as if pressing something into me.
I nod, my mouth numb, frozen. The tiny television crackles.
"Senator Barry's two aides, Tom Spencer and Nancy Vasquez, say he knows nothing about the disappearance of Miss Wayne, whom he describes as a family friend and an asset to his staff."
As suddenly as it started, the newscast finishes. I realize I'm trembling.
"Take the dye off, "I tell Berta. "Now."
She nods. "Go take care of your business, and I'll finish the job later on, come to your house if I have to."
"Thank you," I say. I don't know what else to add as she washes the color from my hair and pats me dry with a towel.
"You want a wig?" she asks.
"So no one will recognize you. I got one you can borrow. It's an Afro."
At that, we both laugh, a nervous burst that releases some of the tension building in me.
"Give me the damned Afro," I say, "but this is ridiculous." At least it will cover my wet head in case someone recognizes me.
"Who knows? You might even like it. Everybody be saying you're the swami woman instead of me."
She helps me secure it, and we check out the new woman in the mirror. She's younger than I, with wide, deep-blue eyes, fine lines, and a straight, shocked mouth that looks ready to scream.
"It works," Berta says. "I wouldn't know you in a crowd."
"I wouldn't know me either," I say.
For a moment I feel as if I'm going to cry. She puts her arms around me, gives me a hug. She smells of black opium, a musk-like oil she's been wearing since the day I met her, one that stands out, even in this cubicle of fragrance.
"What would I do without you?" I say.
"You don't worry about that. You just worry about taking care of your own self for a change. Better leave out the back."
I go through the shop's back door and get into my car. When I turn onto our street, I see two large vans outside the house. Television crews. Damn. I consider making a run for the garage and decide against it. Several blocks later, I pull to the side of the road, my heart hammering, a full-fledge panic-attack coming on, strangling me. I can't breathe. Okay, okay, I either have to do something or curl up here for the rest of my life in a ball in my car wearing this ludicrous wig. That is not going to happen, not this time.
I take out my cell phone and dial his number in Sacramento. The machine picks up on the third ring, just as it did Friday night.
"This is Eric. Leave a message and I'll call you back." Short, sweet, and very unlisted.
"Damn it, Eric," I say.
"Suzanne, wait." I hear him click off the machine. "I've been trying to call you. Where have you been?"
"Where have you been?" I shout into the phone.
Copyright © 2002 Bonnie Hearn Hill
Posted March 14, 2004
Bonnie Hearn Hill keeps the pages turning in this tale of a state senator with a good voting record but a corrupt personal life. It becomes increasingly evident as the story moves on that Senator Eric Barry is also a sociopath. Among those destroyed in the ripples of his destructive path are his wife, an office intern, and the intern's family following her disappearance. The story is constantly changing its point of view, going from one character to another and back, interspersed with scenes from a local bar - all of which give the telling of the tale a herky-jerky quality at times which I found disconcerting. Otherwise, a good read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 14, 2003
I was simply unable to put the book down! I was so anxious to see how it came out. I am buying extra copies for my friends for holiday gifts, as I certainly won't loan this out. I cannot wait to see the next book she writes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2002
In Pleasant View, California, Gloria Wayne reports to the police that her twenty-three years old daughter April is missing. This would be minor local news except that April is an intern working for State Senator Eric Barry. The disappearance of April becomes a media event especially when she was seen the night before she vanished in Sacramento having a drink with Eric. The police believe that Eric not only had an affair with April and probably other women, but also when pushed for more, he killed her. However, the evidence is not there to prove their contention but Gloria is determined to make Eric pay. Eric¿s wife Suzanne and their two adult daughters initially believe in him, but begin having doubts that they even know whom he is as circumstantial evidence proves Eric is a philanderer. Still, no information surfaces that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Eric killed April even if his reelection effort is hampered by the implications. Though a well written, quite exciting suspense thriller somewhat supported by Condit-Levy, sub-genre fans will feel a bit cheated by the fully cleaned up climax with no doubts that justice was served. The tale moves briskly forward through a deep look by the characters mostly impacted by the missing April. Most interesting are Eric who feels unfairly besieged and Suzanne who changes from a supporting spouse into a doubting Thomasina. Bonnie Hearn Hill provides thriller fans with a tale from the headlines that though too immaculately wrapped up will give plenty of satisfaction to readers. Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.