Promise Not to Tell

Promise Not to Tell

by Jayne Ann Krentz

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Overview

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Instant New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

A HelloGiggles Recommended Read

A broken promise reveals a terrifying legacy in this electrifying novel from the New York Times bestselling author of When All the Girls Have Gone.

 
A painter of fiery, nightmarish visions throws herself into the sea—but she’ll leave some of her secrets behind...
 
Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound, killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture: a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide—and her own past.
 
Like Virginia, private investigator Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire...and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the painting, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories—and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399585265
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 6,274
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Jayne Ann Krentz is the author of more than fifty New York Times bestsellers. She has written contemporary romantic suspense novels under that name, as well as futuristic and historical romance novels under the pseudonyms Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick, respectively. There are more than 35 million copies of her books in print.

Hometown:

Seattle, WA

Place of Birth:

San Diego, CA

Education:

BA in History, University of California at Santa Cruz, MA in Librarianship from San Jose State University (California)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Hannah Brewster splashed the accelerant around the inside of the small cabin, working feverishly because time was running out. She was certain now that the demon would come for her that night. He had been stalking her for weeks.

She had spent many agonizing hours trying to decide what to do. In the end she had finally understood that she had no alternative but to destroy her creation. It was her only hope of keeping the promise she had made all those years ago.

She set the empty container down on the floor next to the door and picked up the box of matches. She was surprised to see that her hands were once again steady, just as if she held a brush and stood in front of an untouched canvas. Tonight she would paint a picture with fire.

Afterward they would say she was crazy, that she had finally gone over the precarious edge that separated sanity and madness. But the truth was that her mind had not been this clear in a very long time. She knew exactly what she had to do.

A few weeks ago, when the monster had come to the island the first time, she had tried to convince herself that she was hallucinating. Again. These days the past came and went in visions that were so real she often got confused. It had been twenty-two years, after all, and everyone claimed that Quinton Zane was dead.

But two weeks ago she had spotted him again. She had tried to convince herself that she could not trust her eyes. But that night she had sensed that she was being watched. She had known then that she could no longer deceive herself into thinking that she was hallucinating. The truth was always shatteringly clear at night.

At midnight she had picked up a brush, her hand firm and steady, and begun to paint her final picture. She had continued painting every night until her creation was finished.

And then she had waited for the demon to return.

For the past several days she had made the long walk into the small village every afternoon to watch the ferry dock. She stationed herself inside the shop that sold herbal teas and studied the handful of visitors who arrived. It was February and still quite chilly in the Pacific Northwest. At this time of year there was never more than a handful of tourists.

She had spotted the demon immediately, even though he had tried to disguise himself with dark glasses, a stocking cap and a black parka. He could not fool her. She might be plagued with visions, but even her hallucinations were clear and detailed. She was an artist, after all.

Quinton Zane was after the secret she had kept for so long. He was relentless. Now that he had found her, he would not stop until he forced her to give up the truth. After he had gotten what he wanted from her, he would kill her. She wasn't afraid of dying. She had, in fact, been contemplating the prospect of making the final transition ever since Abigail had died. That had been just before Christmas. But she had made a promise twenty-two years ago and she had done her best to keep the vow.

The real problem was that she feared she was not strong enough to resist Quinton Zane. The bastard could make you believe anything he wanted you to believe. She had fallen under his spell once and paid a terrible price. She could not risk getting sucked back into his web. She had a duty to protect the children. She was the only one left who could warn them.

The odor of the accelerant fumes was almost overpowering. It was time.

She struck one of the matches. When the flame was steady she stepped outside and tossed the match through the doorway of the cabin.

For a few seconds nothing happened. Unnerved at the thought of failure, she plunged her fingers into the box for a second match. At that instant the fire exploded, roaring to life. The wild flames illuminated the interior of the cabin and her final painting in a hellish light.

She watched the inferno through the doorway, studying the image with a critical eye. She had been forced to paint the picture on the wall because she had not had a large enough canvas.

The fire devoured the cabin and the painting. The heat was intense. Instinctively she moved back several more steps, welcoming the chill of the night air off the cold waters of Puget Sound.

She stood, transfixed by her act of destruction. Scenes from the past and the present fused in her mind. She thought she heard children screaming but she was certain that was a memory, not her present reality. There were no children nearby. She had chosen the cabin because of its remote location. She had been aware that her nighttime habits would disturb neighbors, even here on the island, where eccentricities were not only tolerated but also expected. Abigail had been the only one who understood and accepted her weird ways.

So, no, there were no children screaming. But her heart was pounding and her breath was tight in her chest, just as it had been that dreadful night all those years ago.

She watched the fire and waited. She was certain that he would soon appear.

Quinton Zane emerged from the dense shadows of the thick woods that surrounded the cabin. It was as if he had walked straight out of one of her paintings, straight out of the past, straight out of her nightmares.

She could not let him touch her. He was too strong, too powerful. If he got his hands on her, he would force the truth from her. She might be crazy, like everyone said, but she knew how to keep a secret.

"Stay away from me," she warned. She was amazed at the calm fortitude in her voice. "Don't touch me."

But Zane broke into a run, moving toward her. His tall figure and broad shoulders were silhouetted against the storm of flames just as they had been that long-ago night when she had watched him stride through the burning compound.

He was strong. He could easily outrun her. She would not stand a chance.

He was calling to her now, telling her to come to him, promising safety, security and an end to the visions, just as he had promised all those years ago. But she knew he lied.

She made her decision.

"You were a fool to come back," she shouted. "The key belongs to the children. Did you really think that they would forget what you did to their families? You're a dead man. You just don't know it yet."

She turned and fled into the night. Footsteps pounded behind her.

The edge of the cliffs was lit with moonlight and fire. She had walked to that edge many, many times in the years she had been living on the island. So many nights she had stopped there, looked down at the dark, deep water far below and thought about how easy it would be to take one more step.

In the past she had always turned back. But not tonight. A sense of deep certainty came over her.

She realized somewhat vaguely that she was still holding the box of matches. She would not need them anymore. She tossed them aside and kept going until there was nothing but air beneath her feet, until she was flying away from the demon.

The last thing she heard was Quinton Zane's scream of frustrated rage. She knew then that she had defeated him, at least for the moment. It was up to others to stop him. She had kept her promise and she had sent the warning. She could do no more.

She knew a split second of peace.

The dark sea took her.

Chapter 2

"You saved my life, Mr. Salinas," Virginia Troy said. "I'm embarrassed to admit that it took me this long to track you down so that I could thank you. Embarrassed to tell you that I came looking for you now only because I need your help."

"No need to apologize," Anson said. "I was just doing my job that night. You were a little kid caught up in the craziness. There was no reason you should have come looking for me as an adult."

The last time he had seen Virginia Troy she was a child of nine, one of the eight children trapped in the blazing barn. He'd used his vehicle to crash through the locked doors, tossed all eight kids into the SUV and reversed out of the inferno, a hound out of hell. Shortly after he had gotten them all to safety, the barn had collapsed in on itself.

He'd saved the kids but he and the local firefighters had not been able to save all of the adults. Virginia Troy's mother had perished, along with several other people.

Quinton Zane had kept the women away from their children at night. They had been locked in separate quarters. Zane had torched the entire compound before he vanished. It was a miracle and a tribute to the first responders that several of the cult members had made it out alive. The following morning, when they had surveyed the ruins, it was clear that Zane had not intended for any of his followers to survive. Each one was, after all, a potential witness.

"I have never forgotten what you did that night," Virginia said. "Afterward my grandparents tried very hard to erase that part of my past. The stress of losing my mother and finding themselves stuck with the task of raising me eventually broke up their marriage. My grandmother still won't talk about it. But for the rest of my life I will remember that you saved all of us who were locked up in that barn."

"Can't blame your grandparents," Anson said. He was aware of a great heaviness settling on him. "There was a lot of pain going around. You lost your mother that night. They lost a daughter."

"Yes."

Something about the bleak tone of Virginia's voice told him that she wasn't only mourning the loss of her mother all those years ago. He had a feeling that she carried another kind of burden as well. He recognized survivor's guilt when he saw it because it was close kin to the kind of guilt he felt when he looked back on that night. He had not been able to save everyone in Quinton Zane's compound.

For a while he and Virginia sat quietly, facing each other across the desk. He did not try to restart the conversation. Once upon a time he had been a cop. He understood the value of silence.

A mid-February rain beat steadily, lightly, against the windows. He had lived in Seattle for several months now, but this was his first full winter in the city. He was starting to think of it as the Season of the Deep Gray. The skies were overcast most of the time, and when the sun did make short, fitful appearances, it was low on the horizon. The weak, slanting light was often blocked by the gleaming new office towers. The boom in high-rise construction in recent years had created dark canyons in much of downtown.

It should have been depressing, he reflected. Instead, there was a sense of energy about the city. He had been surprised to discover that something in him responded to the vibe. He wasn't the only one. The region was home to innumerable start-ups. The new gig economy was going full blast. Businesses of all kinds were enthusiastic about setting up shop in the city. New restaurants and coffeehouses opened every week.

Seattle was infused with a frontier spirit. That was as true now as it had been in the gold rush and big timber eras. But these days there was a hell of a lot more money around. That, he told himself, ought to be good for the investigation business-the business in which he and two of his foster sons, Cabot and Max, were engaged.

His job was to ensure that Cutler, Sutter & Salinas prospered. When the door had opened a short time ago, he'd hoped that the representative of a corporation or maybe a lawyer needing discreet services for a wealthy client would walk into the office.

Instead, Virginia Troy had entered the small reception lobby, bringing with her the long shadows of the past.

He hadn't recognized her, of course. She had been one of the youngest kids he brought out of the burning barn all those years ago-a wide-eyed little girl so traumatized by the events that she had not even been able to tell him her name for several hours. Cabot, who had been orphaned that night, had supplied him with Virginia's name.

Virginia was thirty-one now. No wedding ring, Anson noted. That did not surprise him. There was a cool reserve about her. She wasn't exactly a loner, he concluded, rather someone who was accustomed to being alone. He knew the difference.

She was the kind of woman who caught a man's eye, but not because she was a stunner. Attractive, yes, but not in a standard-issue way. She wasn't one of those too-beautiful-to-be-real women like you saw on TV. Instead there was something compelling about her, an edge that was hard to define. Probably had something to do with the bold, black-framed glasses and the high-heeled boots, he decided.

Most men wouldn't know how to handle a woman like Virginia Troy. Sure, some would be damned interested at first, maybe even see her as a challenge. But he figured that, in the end, the average guy would run for the hills.

A short time ago, when she had walked into the room, she had taken a moment to size up everything in sight, including him. He had been relieved when he and the expensive new furniture appeared to have passed inspection.

Although his name was on the door, technically speaking he was the office manager, receptionist, researcher and general gofer. Max and Cabot were the licensed investigators in the firm. Both had complained mightily about the stiff rent on the newly leased office space, as well as the money spent on furnishing the place, but Anson had refused to lower his newfound standards of interior design.

Before embarking on his career in office management, he had never paid any attention to the art of interior design. But after hiring a decorator and immersing himself in the finer points of the field, he had become convinced that the premises of the firm had to send the right message to potential clients. That meant leasing space in an upscale building and investing in quality furniture.

Reading Group Guide

Promise Not to Tell

Jayne Ann Krentz

Readers Guide

Questions for Discussion



1. Trusting your gut instinct plays a major part in the book, whether it’s when Cabot Sutter trusts his investigator instincts, or when Virginia decides not to ignore her instincts that something seems off with Hannah’s “suicide.” Has there been a time when you knew that trusting your gut was the right thing to do? Were you ever wrong to do so?
2. Red herrings are used in mystery and suspense novels to throw the reader off the track of the real suspect. What were some of your favorite red herrings used in this book? Who did you think was really behind all of it?
3. Seattle comes alive as a character in the book, and not just the setting. Have you ever been to Seattle? How does Seattle play a role in defining the characters, and how appropriate is it that they are living in Seattle?
4. The book ends on a huge cliffhanger in terms of the real person at the heart of the novel. Who do you think Quinton Zane really is? What do you think he is planning to do?
5. Cabot and Virginia have a traumatic past in common, which brings them together. Do you think their shared past is also the main reason for their romantic interest in each other? Why or why not?
6. The theme of family is explored throughout the novel. Discuss the ways in which family is important to the various characters.
7. Cults have existed in society throughout human history. What do you think is the appeal of a cult, and why are people drawn to them? Do you know anyone who has had an experience with a cult? Was it a positive or negative experience?

Customer Reviews

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Promise Not to Tell 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to put down once I got into it! Jayne's characters are so real, I find myself forgetting the world; that's why I read every book she writes at least once. When I temporarily run out of interesting books to read, I always return to read the 70+ ebooks she's written and read them chronologically by original publication date. Even though I've practically memorized each storyline, I still find new items in every book that make me stop and think, "So that's where she first introduced that idea!" Jayne, keep up the good work; you haven't written a boring book ... ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A well crafted romance buoyed by a strong mystery storyline.
Anonymous 4 days ago
Very good book!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Enjoyed
Anonymous 4 months ago
As always Jayne Krentz weaves a good story.
Pika_ More than 1 year ago
Well paced quick read. The two lead characters are well described. They come off the page very genuine and life-like. I enjoyed meeting both of them very much. There is very little sensuality in this book (one sex scene that was brief but wonderfully memorable.) The story is plot driven with significantly more focus given to the mystery that the developing relationship between the two leads. When I started the book I didn't realize that it was the second in a series. That wasn't a problem at all, it is very much a stand-alone novel with only a brief mention of the leads from the previous novel (the fact that the male lead is the brother (adopted) of Cabot in this novel and that he just got married and is on his honeymoon). I enjoyed this book well enough that my next book is going to be a quick step back in time reading the first book in the series When All the Girls Have Gone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read. Krentz is one of my favorite authors. Not disappointed in this book. Can’t wait for the next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book keeps you interested and guessing. I could not put it down for long. I had to read yhe nest chapter, afraid to miss anything,
BetweenMyBookendz More than 1 year ago
Virginia Troy and Cabot Sutter survived not only their childhood in an oppressive cult but the hellish end to it when cult leader Zane Quinton torched the cult compound, killing most of the adult cult members. The handful of children members locked in a burning barn were heroically rescued by police officer Anson Salinas. Three boys rescued that night, including Cabot, became Anson’s wards and later his business partners in a private investigations firm. Zane Quinton allegedly died fleeing authorities but Anson, Cabot and the other two “boys” never believed he really was dead…. Virginia was saved that night by Anson but turned over to her grandparents. Although deeply scarred by the events of that night, Virginia successfully became an art gallery owner but cannot overcome her anxiety to be successful in her romantic relationships.Her past in the cult is always lurking, especially since one of the few surviving adult cult members, artist Hannah Brewster, has befriended her and sends disturbing artwork depicting that fiery, tragic night. When Hannah sends a final “message” then dies, Virginia seeks out the services of Cutler, Sutter & Salinas to investigate….. And so we are off and running in another great adventure created by the talented Ms. Krentz! This story is well-plotted and populated with interesting characters that have just enough quirkiness to be fascinating, not annoying.The suspense is spot on, as always, but what I really liked about this book the way the romance developed. Virginia and Cabot are so scarred and flawed by their shared past, personal relationships just never worked for them individually. But together, these two knew how to woo each other, which made for a very satisfying romance dance! And the end revelation and “cliff-hanger” only whett
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As usual a great read. I can't wait for the next!
PollyBennett More than 1 year ago
I loved this addition to the series. A great fast mystery with lots of action. Cabot and Virginia were perfect in all ways. I can't wait for the next book.
EverAfterBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Review written by Marie for Ever After Book Reviews! 4.5 Stars! This chilling thriller by Jayne Ann Krentz is intense. Spanning 20 years, the story takes our two main characters (Virginia and Cabot) back to their past as one of their closest friends has died in a suspected suicide. But Virginia thinks otherwise. Determined to prove that her friend wasn’t the culprit, but rather the victim, she and Cabot dig into a world of deception and fear to find the answers they’re looking for. Incredible. This book is a masterful story chocked full of twists and turns, hidden clues, and a bond between two survivors that blooms in to a perfectly satisfying romance. I couldn’t stop reading it. It was engaging, thrilling and highly entertaining. I would even boldly go as far as to say it was quite a step up from the first book in the series, and that’s saying a lot, as I truly enjoyed that one. If you’re a fan of romantic suspense and mysteries, you’ll love Promise Not to Tell. ***I voluntarily read a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WOW....Couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read my first Jayne Castle book in 1980 (Gentle Pirate). I've read Krentz, James and Quick. I have yet to find a book of hers that I wouldn't read again. That includes this one! Can't wait for the sequel . HURRY UP MS. KRENTZ!!! (Please!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed the mystery and the way both main characters were able to relate to each other through their shared traumatic childhood.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had a hard time putting it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waiting for sequel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very typical of Ms. Krentz books but I enjoyed the characters and like the continuing story line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept my attention throughout.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Over the years I have read most of This author's books. She has been a favorite author of mine but I have felt her most recent books are not as engaging as the others, including this one. Very disappointing.
In_My_Humble_OpinionDA More than 1 year ago
Promise Not to Tell is the second in the Cutler, Sutter & Salinas trilogy but can be read stand alone. Cabot Sutter and Virginia Troy haven’t seen each other since the horrific day when they were almost burnt to death by crazy cult leader Quinton Zane. Now, many years later, they are thrown together to solve the death of a damaged artist. Cabot and Virginia may have been damaged but they have persevered and come out on top. The author takes us on a twisted and sometimes frightening tale of murder, mystery and love. A terrific read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book comes from an author who always writes great books. The mystery is intriguing and the characters are well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Similar to some of her other books. Her stories are always interesting.