The Backstory to Think Twice, a special bonus story.
Is Evil born or bred? Bennie looks exactly like her identical twin, Alice, but the darkness in Alice's soul makes them two very different women. But there are two sides to every story!
Read this story, and then read bestselling author Lisa Scottoline's explosive novel, Think Twice.
About the Author
Lisa Scottoline is the New York Times bestselling author of novels including Look Again, Lady Killer, Think Twice, Save Me and Everywhere That Mary Went. She also writes a weekly column, “Chick Wit,” with her daughter Francesca Serritella, for The Philadelphia Inquirer. The columns have been collected in Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog and My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space. She has won an Edgar® Award and Cosmopolitan magazine’s “Fun Fearless Fiction” Award, and she is the president of Mystery Writers of America. She teaches a course on justice and fiction at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, her alma mater. She lives in the Philadelphia area.
Date of Birth:July 1, 1955
Place of Birth:Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Education:B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981
Read an Excerpt
Bennie Rosato didn't have anything in common with her identical twin, except their DNA. They shared the same blue eyes, strong cheekbones, and full mouth, but whenever Bennie looked at Alice Connelly, all she could see were their differences. Tonight, Bennie had on a khaki suit, white shirt, and brown pumps, her lawyer uniform. Alice had on tight shorts with a low-cut black top, flaunting cleavage that Bennie didn't even know they had. She made a mental note to look down her shirt, after she got home.
Alice was making dinner and she opened the oven door, releasing the aroma of roasting chicken. "Finally, it's ready."
"You sound surprised."
"Not at all." Bennie changed the subject. "I like your new house, it's great."
"Yeah, right." Alice turned, carving fork in hand. "Why are you being so condescending?"
"You are, too. It'll look better when I move all my stuff in, and the rent is low, since the estate can't sell it. That's the only way I could afford it. I don't have your money."
Bennie let it go. "It's good that it came furnished."
"This crap? It's dead people furniture." Alice pushed back a smooth strand of hair, yet another difference between them. She blew-dry her hair straight, and her eyeliner was perfect. Bennie let her hair curl naturally and thought ChapStick was makeup.
She sipped her wine, feeling warm. There was no air-conditioning, and the kitchen was small and spare except for knobby wooden chairs and a dark wood table. A greenish glass fixture gave little light, and cracks zigzagged down the plaster like summer lightning. Still the cottage had a rustic charm, especially set in the rolling countryside of southeastern Pennsylvania, an hour or so outside of Philadelphia.
Alice plopped the chicken on the table, then sat down. "Don't panic, it's organic."
"You're eating healthy now, huh?"
"What do you mean? I always did. So, are you dating anybody?" Alice asked.
"How long's it been since you got laid?"
"Nice talk." Bennie bit into a potato, which tasted good. "If I remembered sex, I'd miss it."
"Whatever happened to that lawyer you lived with? What was his name again?"
"Grady Wells." Bennie felt a pang. She'd get over Grady, any decade now.
"So what happened?"
"Didn't work out." Bennie ate quickly. It had taken forever to get here from Philly, in rush-hour traffic. She wouldn't get home until midnight, which wasn't the way she wanted to end an exhausting week.
"Who'd you see after Grady?"
"So he's the one that got away?"
Bennie kept her head down, hiding her expression. She couldn't understand how Alice always intuited so much about her. They'd never lived together, even as babies, though Alice claimed to have memories from the womb. Bennie couldn't even remember where she put her car keys.
"So, what's new in your life? Don't give me the official version. I read the website."
"Nothing but work. How about you?"
"I'm seeing a few nice guys, and I'm working out. I even joined a gym." Alice made a muscle of her slim arm. "See?"
"Good." Bennie had been an elite rower in her time, but she'd been too busy lately to exercise. "By the way, I hear great things about the job you're doing at PLG. Karen thinks you're terrific."
"Are you keeping tabs on me, now?"
"Of course not. I ran into her, at a benefit."
Alice arched an eyebrow. "Does she have to report to you just because you got me the job?"
"No, but if I see her, we talk. She knows me, like she knows most of the bar association. She has to, we all support the Public Law Group." Bennie felt a headache coming on. She'd lost a motion in court this morning, and it was turning out to be the high point of her day.
"So what did she say, exactly? She loves to gossip."
"It wasn't like that." Bennie sipped her wine, but it didn't help. "All she said was that they like you. They have you doing office administration, payroll, and personnel, in addition to the paralegal work."
"Not anymore. I quit."
"What?" Bennie said, blind-sided. "You quit PLG? When?"
"The other day. It wasn't for me, and the money sucked."
"But you have to start somewhere." Bennie couldn't hide her dismay. She'd stuck her neck out for Alice and now her friends at PLG would be left in the lurch. "They would have promoted you, in time."
"When, ten years?" Alice rolled her eyes. "The work was boring, and the people were so freaking annoying. I'd rather work with you, at Rosato & Associates."
Bennie's mouth went dry. She couldn't imagine Alice at her firm. "I don't need a paralegal."
"I can answer phones."
"I already have a receptionist."
"So fire her ass."
Bennie felt cranky. Maybe it was the headache, which was a doozy. "I like her. I would never do that to her."
"Not even for me? We're the only family we have."
"No." Bennie tried to keep a civil tongue. Being her sister's keeper was getting old. "I can't fire her. I won't."
"Okay, fine, then think outside the box. You need somebody to run the office, don't you?"
"I run the office."
Alice snorted. "If you ask me, you could use a hand with personnel. Those girls who work for you need a life lesson, especially the little one, Mary DiNunzio. Time for girlfriend to grow up."
"That's not true." Bennie wished she hadn't come. Her stomach felt queasy. Her appetite had vanished. She set down her fork. "DiNunzio's a good lawyer. She should make partner next month."
"Whatever, then I'll be your assistant. I'll take ninety grand, to start."
"Listen, I can't always be the solution to your problems." Bennie's head thundered. "I got you a job, and you quit it. If you want another job, go out and find one."
"Thanks, Mom." Alice smiled sourly. "The economy's in the toilet, if you haven't noticed."
"You should have thought of that before, and you'll find something, if you try. You went to college, and you have lots of ... abilities and, oh, my head. ..." Suddenly the kitchen whirled like spin art, and Bennie collapsed onto the table. Her face landed on the edge of her dirty plate, and her hand upset her water glass.
"Aww, got a headache?" Alice chuckled. "Too bad."
Bennie didn't know what was happening. She felt impossibly drunk. Her eyes wouldn't stay open.
"You're such a fool. You think I'd really want to work for you?" Bennie tried to lift her head up, but couldn't. All her strength had left her body. Sound and colors swirled together.
"Give it up. It's over."
Bennie watched, helpless, as darkness descended.
Bennie woke up, groggy. She opened her eyes but everything stayed pitch black. She didn't know where she was. She seemed to be lying down. Where was the kitchen? The house? Alice? She couldn't see anything. Was she asleep? She got up and slam!
"Ow!" she heard herself say, momentarily stunned. She slumped backwards, hitting the back of her head. On what? Where was she? Was she dreaming? Was she awake? One question chased the next in a crazy circle. It was so dark. If she was asleep, it was time to wake up.
She raised her hand and bam! Her fingers hit something hard, above her. She flashed on the dinner with Alice. That had happened, hadn't it? She hadn't dreamed it, had she? Her face had fallen onto the table, hitting her cheek.
Give it up. It's over.
Bennie tried to remember. Had she heard that? Had Alice said that? What the hell? Where was she? The only sound was her own breathing. She raised her arms, cautiously, and hit the thing on top of her. She felt along its surface with her fingertips. It was solid. Coarse. She pressed but it didn't move. She knocked it and heard a rap, like wood. It felt like a top.
She didn't get it. She couldn't process it. Her arms were at an angle. The wood was less than a foot from her face. She flattened her arms against her sides. There was another surface under her fingertips, behind her. She spread her arms, running them along the surface behind her. More wood? She shifted her weight down, shimmying on her back. Her toes hit something. Her feet were bare, her shoes gone. She pointed her toes against whatever she had reached. It seemed like a bottom.
It's a box. Am I in a box?
She didn't understand. It couldn't be. She touched along her body from her neck to her knees. She had on her suit from work. Her skirt felt torn. Her knees hurt. There was wetness there. Blood? She told herself not to panic. The air felt close. She squinted against the darkness, but it was absolute.
She felt the lid. Her thoughts raced ahead of her fingers. The top was sealed. There was nothing inside the box. No air, food, water. No hole to breathe through. She forced herself to stay calm. She needed to understand what was going on. It wasn't a dream, it was real. She couldn't believe it and she could, both at once. Was she really in a box? Would Alice come get her out? Would anybody else?
A sense of dread crept over her. She hadn't told anybody at the office where she was going. It was Friday night, and the associates had scattered. DiNunzio had taken Judy Carrier home to her parents' for dinner. Anne Murphy was out of the country for summer vacation, as was Lou Jacobs, her firm's investigator. Bennie's best friend, Sam Freminet, was in Maui, and she wasn't close to anybody else. Nobody would realize that she was missing until Monday morning.
She exploded in panic, yelling and pounding the lid with both hands. It didn't budge. She kept pounding with all her might, breaking a sweat. The lid still didn't move. She felt the seams with shaking fingers. She couldn't tell how it was sealed. She didn't hear a nail or anything else give way.
She pushed and pounded, then started kicking, driving her bare toes into the lid. It didn't move but she kept going, powered by sheer terror, and in the next minute she heard herself screaming, even though the words shamed her.
"Please, Alice, help!"
Excerpted from "The Backstory to Think Twice"
Copyright © 2010 Lisa Scottoline.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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