The Comfort of Black

The Comfort of Black

by Carter Wilson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608091294
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Publication date: 08/04/2015
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

USA Today best-selling and award-winning author Carter Wilson was born in New Mexico and grew up in Los Angeles before attending Cornell University. As a consultant and frequent lecturer, has journeyed the globe both for work and pleasure, and as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Revelation is Wilson's fourth novel. He lives in Colorado with his two children.

Read an Excerpt

The Comfort Of Black

A Novel


By Carter Wilson

Oceanview Publishing

Copyright © 2015 Carter Wilson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60809-129-4


CHAPTER 1

Seattle, Washington Early November Present Day


Hannah and her husband hadn't had sex in six weeks. Six weeks and three days, the longest span of abstinence in their entire relationship. Hannah knew, because she kept a calendar. Since the first time they had made love she made a little mark with a pen in her Day-Timer, black hashes adding up over the year, whiskers of sexual memories.

The past two years had been filled with ever-increasing gaps. Dallin was thirty-three and Hannah thirty-four. There was no good reason for gaps at that age, she thought.

He was working late. Or he was tired. Or the most common reason of all: he was stressed. That one, in particular, made no sense to her. What better cure for stress than sex? But she didn't understand, he would say. It's not like that. Do you know how much pressure I'm under? I can't just perform on command.

Bullshit, she thought. Two years ago I couldn't walk across the bedroom in a pair of baggy sweatpants without you attacking me.

But he had been distant recently, the kind of distant older couples might call comfortable. There was no comfort in it to Hannah. To her, it was simply confusing and sad. How long could a person blame every other part of life for the simple fact that, perhaps, they were actually falling out of love?

The increase in gaps didn't completely overlap with their decision to start a family, but there was a relationship between the two. She had questioned if he even wanted a child, and though he insisted he did, there was no denying they were doing less and less of what it took to actually make one.

But tonight she could put a mark in her calendar.

Dallin thrust up into her. She lay on her stomach on the king-size bed, the comforter pushed aside in a mound, half-hanging off the bed, spilling on the floor like a snow drift. Hannah turned her face to the side, one side hot from the blood pulsing through her cheeks, the other cool from the Turkish linen. Her eyes were closed. Dallin's fingers clutched hers—almost painfully—as he pushed up into her from behind. His thrusting came erratically, almost desperately, until he slowed to a stop. Hannah started to open her eyes when he shifted his weight. She felt his tongue draw a line from the small of her back to the valley between her shoulder blades, and then she understood. He needed to consume her.

When things were good, times like tonight, she never felt so desired by a man as she did by Dallin. When he was like this, he would prolong his pleasure by stopping himself and exploring her body with his tongue, toes to earlobes, as if he couldn't get enough. Sometimes he bit her, other times his fingers would dig deep into her skin. Never too hard, but deep enough. Deep enough to let her know he craved her more than anything else could be craved.

This was the Dallin of two years ago. All Hannah wanted was that version of him, all the time. She wanted to clench her entire body, keep him close, not let him disappear back into interminably long days of corporate importance. She no longer wanted to compete for her husband against his own success.

Dallin put himself back into her and pushed deeper, creating a rhythm she knew to the exact beat. She felt drops of sweat from his face drip onto her back ... one ... two ... as his pace quickened. He grunted as he moved quicker, his hips moving faster and pushing harder against her, almost violently, until she knew he was going to climax. She wanted to hear him say her name as he came inside her. She wanted it but she would never ask. She needed him to want to say it.

Dallin's body shuddered, tensed, and then eased. He came, but hadn't said a word. She felt him roll off her and collapse onto the sheets, and she remained trapped under a thousand-pound silence.

The idea of how good a drink would taste struck her. A Manhattan. Margarita. Even just a glass of pinot. It was so predictable, the urge for a vice at the slightest hint of unease. It was an urge of habit, and not just because alcohol was commonly a post-sex consumption. It was because alcohol itself was a habit, and her one drink a day had grown to three or more. But she hadn't had a drop in a week, knowing she could soon be pregnant. The seven days without alcohol had been maddeningly difficult, forcing her to label her habit a problem, but that was all over now. She had a reason to be sober.

Hannah finally opened her eyes and looked over at her husband. She reached out with her hand and brushed back his hair, which was just showing signs of early gray.

"I love you," she said.

"I love you, Hannah."

Hannah.

She remembered the first time she heard him say it. Her move from a life in Redemption, Kansas, to Seattle for college hadn't been insignificant. She'd grown up in the arms of white, small-town, God-fearing America, never having traveled to more than the neighboring states for the first eighteen years of her life, never having flown on a plane, never knowing the world she had only read about. But how she had read. Anything and everything. From Jane Austen to OK Magazine. Stephen King to Fitzgerald. Hannah dreamed of traveling the world, but the rare trip to a crowded mall in Kansas City overwhelmed her. What she couldn't experience in life she tried to compensate for in academics, and so Hannah had nearly perfect SAT scores and an emptiness in her soul because she didn't know how any of her knowledge mattered.

Billy never understood Hannah's attraction to books when she was a little girl. You want a story? Here's a story. I work my ass off twelve hours a day so you, your sister, and your momma can sit around and read books and go shopping. The-fucking-end. How's that for a story? It didn't matter if any of it was true or not, but that was Billy. What he said was the truth to him, and with a man like Billy, little else matters.

You're just a rube, Hannie. That's what all those folks in Seattle gonna say about you. Just a rube from Kansas, all she is. That's what Billy would have said about Hannah's decision to move, but Billy was no longer around, and Hannah never had to listen to him again. Billy had been out of her life since Hannah was fifteen, sent away to prison for beating her to near death. That night, Thanksgiving 1995, was the last time she had seen him. That was the night Hannah finally decided to do something about Billy. On that night Hannah touched the lighter to the gas, but Billy pounced before the flame reached him. On that night the fire did not start, and Billy beat her far beyond what he had ever done to her mother.

Billy was gone, but Hannah's fantasy of a perfect world never came. Three years later, Hannah's mother killed herself, binging on gin until blood filled her eyes. Her mother had always blamed Hannah for Billy's absence, blamed her for breaking up a violently dysfunctional family that was all she knew. And after Billy was sent away, there was nothing Hannah nor her younger sister could do to stop their mother's downward spiral of self-destruction. Hannah never understood the addiction to abuse her mother inhabited, but some things just defied logic. Like Hannah's own love of booze despite it having been her mother's choice of suicide weapon.

Soon after her mother's death, eighteen-year-old Hannah and fifteen-year-old Justine took the modest insurance payout and left Kansas for Seattle, trading in a small town for a big one. The following four years changed her in ways she never imagined, and she stayed there after graduating, using an English degree to keep her dream of being a writer alive while she made money working the front desk of a four-star hotel in downtown Seattle.

Hello, Hannah.

Dallin had said her name when he checked in that day, eight years ago. She had looked up from behind the counter and saw him. Crooked smile, moppy black hair, Black Lab energy barely restrained. She had been thrown off by his use of her name before remembering the small gold name tag pinned to her uniform. He had flown in from Boston, he told her. A meeting with potential investors for an idea he had, something he started working on his senior year at M.I.T. If they funded him he'd be moving out here, to Seattle. Sometimes a guest would tell their life story during check-in, but Dallin's was the first to which she had truly listened. He compelled her in that indefinable way that couldn't just be ascribed to purely physical attraction.

Tonight, Hannah lowered her hand to her husband's chest, brushing through the thin layer of hair with her fingertips, feeling his skin cooling, the softness associated with drying sweat. She thought about how he had changed in those eight years. He had grown heavier, more muscular, due to a love affair with exercise he'd begun four years ago. At his peak physical shape, his chest and arms had grown larger, his stomach muscles more defined. Six days a week. That was his exercise routine, or at least used to be. His rapid success in the world of Internet security had eaten at this aspect of him as well. The last year he'd had many more early mornings at the office rather than the gym. He'd lost some of that muscle and his frame was thinner and more angular than ever before. Not quite skinny, but close.

The initial seed funding had been just a stepping-stone to get him started out in Seattle. Hannah remembered when he had come back after his first trip. Stayed at her hotel again. He had walked up to the front desk and said he'd just gotten a check for two million dollars and he was going to take her out to dinner.

That had been a really good dinner.

She had used her day off to help him look for an apartment.

He kissed her that day for the first time, kissed her in the empty walk-in closet of a loft apartment downtown, a stolen moment while the rental agent took a phone call in the hallway. She didn't know how to react, so she just dissolved into his lips, breathing him in, feeling him bite softly on her lower lip. She hadn't seen it coming, which was often the best kind of kiss there was.

After their first kiss ended, Dallin had simply looked her in the eyes and said, "I'm going to be wildly successful, and I want you to enjoy it all with me." It seemed an almost obnoxious statement, but to Hannah it wasn't. He was telling the truth. And she wanted him. She wanted it all. She had replied with one word.

Yes.

A week later they made love in that closet.

The distant memory made her smile tonight as Hannah stroked her husband's chest and looked down on his face. He looked back with half-open lids.

"I'm sorry," he said.

The words were so soft she wasn't certain what he'd said.

"What?" she whispered. Seconds passed.

He didn't answer.

"Sorry for what?"

Silence. His breathing slowed and his eyes were closed. Dallin was either asleep or didn't want to answer. Hannah didn't press it. He had been saying sorry a lot lately.

Sorry for being gone so much.

Sorry for long silences and touchless nights.

Sorry for letting you drink so much.

Sorry for not being the husband you need me to be.

Sorry for not giving you a baby yet.

Whatever he was sorry for tonight, Hannah decided she would accept it without explanation. She wanted to stay in a good mood. A hopeful mood. A Dallin-of-two-years-ago mood. It was strange, she thought, the power of transient happiness. The feeling of clinging to a brief moment of peace and assuming the rest of her life could possibly feel the same way. Such feelings gave people hope, Hannah thought. They also made the inevitable fall more horrifying.

Minutes later he was asleep, his breathing steady and deep. Hannah got up to use the bathroom. Zoo was there, paws on the toilet seat, leaning in for a drink. The dog pulled away at the sight of her and gave Hannah his famous Blue Steel thousand-yard stare, a look that had earned him the name after the character from the movie Zoolander. Neither a happy nor an aggressive look, Zoo's gaze was simply vacant, distant, and posed, as if the dog were frozen in place by a fashion photographer's directive. Hannah reached down and stroked Zoo's neck, which broke the stare into the closest thing to a smile the dog could give. Hannah had wanted a large dog, but it just wasn't practical in a condo, even a condo of this size. In short time she discovered a good mid-size dog was perfect, especially when the dog was a mutt—the animal shelter had guessed some kind of Airedale and Jack Russell mix. Zoo could be perfectly cast as a happy-go-lucky stray from the 1920s.

She returned to bed and Zoo followed. Hannah placed her head on Dallin's bare shoulder as Zoo leapt to the foot of the bed, circled three times, and collapsed in a tight ball near her feet. As Hannah listened to the steady rhythm of her husband's breaths, her mind took her to thoughts of a baby, wondering if tonight was the night she'd become pregnant. She counted the months in her head. August. It would be an August baby. She would go through the heat of the summer, though that was never much of a problem in Seattle anyway. She would start showing in, what, March? With her slight frame it might even be sooner, and she couldn't wait until it was obvious, where others, strangers even, would remark on it, asking her when she was due. Was it a boy or girl? Have you picked out names yet? As tedious as her friends told her all the questions were, Hannah knew she would never tire of them. Ask away.

Sudden thoughts pierced her brain like a bullet, shattering and dispersing all the good thoughts she clung to about having a baby:

What if your baby turns out like Billy, Hannah? What are you going to do then? You going to try to set your own baby on fire?

She tried to force the thoughts aside and focus on happy ones instead, of shopping for baby clothes and preparing a nursery. A baby shower. Holding her baby for the first time against her chest, feeling the tiny mouth take her nipple, needing her. As she lost herself in the convoy of thoughts that would take her until she fell asleep, she almost imagined it was Dallin's voice she was hearing. But it wasn't her imagination.

He had said something.

"What?" she asked him. She raised her head and looked at his outline in the silky moon- and city-light that filtered into the room through sheer, spilling drapes. She wondered if he had woken to explain his earlier apology.

He mumbled, twitched. His left arm lifted a few inches off the mattress and then fell. Then his right. He repeated a few words, which sounded like yeah, but she couldn't be certain.

He wasn't talking to her. He was having a dream. His twitching became more animated, and Hannah wondered if she should wake him.

Dallin had never spoken in his sleep before.

It certainly doesn't seem like a nightmare, she thought. He doesn't seem scared.

"You like that, don't you, baby?" The words, mumbled through a state of suppressed consciousness, surprised Hannah. It sounded like a sex dream. Was he reliving the past hour, or was she just being naive? She liked to think it was her face he was seeing. She liked to think he wanted her even in his sleep, and though she shouldn't grow jealous of his dreams, she worked hard to convince herself he was thinking of her and no one else. Hannah felt herself turned on by it. Maybe he was growing hard in his sleep.

She reached under the sheets to find out and discovered he wasn't. Maybe she would crawl under the sheets and go down on him, making him hard. Then she would mount him, and he would wake up to find his dream coming true. How amazing would that feel, she wondered, to dream about fucking your wife and to wake up and that actually be happening?

And he would come inside her again. Another chance.

As she slipped off her thong and pulled back the sheets to put her mouth on him, Dallin's limbs shook more violently. He was no longer twitching, his whole body seemed in a spasm. Hannah placed her hand on his chest, as if her touch could calm the shaking body. But Dallin came to life in his sleep, his arms suddenly flailing, his fists clenching, his head snapping from side to side.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Comfort Of Black by Carter Wilson. Copyright © 2015 Carter Wilson. Excerpted by permission of Oceanview Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Comfort of Black 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
TulaneGirl 10 months ago
Right off the bat, Hannah is faced with an impossible decision - whether to kill her father. Jump forward a little over a decade. Hannah has escaped her past and thrived. She marries rich, lives on a house on a hill, and then it all comes crashing down. Every page provides a new twist and turn that keeps you totally engaged. Although it was a gripping page turner I couldn't give it a five b/c Hannah just didn't do it for me. She was a little too self-righteous, unforgiving, and uncompromising to be truly like-able for me. Also, I found the end unsatisfying and would have preferred if it ended a chapter before it did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great read! I can’t believe there aren’t more reviews. Couldn’t put it down. Can’t wait to read more of his books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read. The story grows with the characters and moves in unexpected directions.
EmmabBooks More than 1 year ago
A gripping suspense thriller, that kept my attention from beginning to end. Hannah's childhood was spent in fear of her father; later she and her sister started a new life in a new town. The story then moves to the present where after 5 years of happy marriage and a wealthy lifestyle, Hannah thinks she sees a change in her husband. And then, in a moment of drama, she's very certain! What follows is a gripping read with plenty of suspense, as Hannah tries to understand what is happening, who to trust, and how to stay alive. Not many characters in this well written thriller which throws in twists just as you think you've got it all worked out. I found this a great book, full of suspense, easy to keep track of and just what evenings in are made for!
JennMcLean More than 1 year ago
"The Comfort Of Black" by Carter Wilson has already been published and is available for purchase. This title has won several awards including the following: WINNER: 2016 Colorado Book Awards (Thriller) WINNER: 2016 International Book Awards (Mystery/Suspense) WINNER: 2016 National Indie Excellence Award(Suspense) FINALIST: 2016 RONE Award(Suspense Category) Hannah has survived a brutal, violent childhood and she still has nightmares about Billy, her abusive father, who is now in jail. Hannah ended up raising her younger sister after Billy was incarcerated for almost killing her and her mother committed suicide. Hanna is a strong woman though, she didn't let her childhood stop her from building a successful life. She got an education, then met and married Dallin who has become very successful with his Internet security firm. But Hannah isn't sure she's happy, she drinks too much and misses her husband who seems to be more and more distant lately. He also seems to be hiding something. All of Hannah's fears about Dallin coalesce when she hears him talking in his sleep. The things he mumbles that night, that he wants to hurt women, chills his wife. Hannah realizes she has to know what her husband might be hiding and that decision sets off a complicated set of circumstances that has Hannah running for her life. Finding out what is truth and who is lying about her life becomes Hannah's focus. Surviving her new reality will be even more difficult than surviving her abusive childhood. I really liked this book but I didn't love it. I wanted to love it, I almost loved it but in the end I actually think that because I read excessively and have experienced some minor situations like in this book, I didn't find it as believable as I should have. I think most readers would agree with the award givers, this is an excellent read. Therefore although personally I'd rate it a 3.5 out of 5, I'll professionally giving it a 4. The characters are expertly written, the situations are heart pounding and the thriller leaves you breathless. The reader feels the main character's pain and confusion as she tries desperately to sort out what is happening to her life. When there seems no where to turn and no one to trust the reader feels caught in the quagmire that the author has so skillfully written. I really do think most readers will think this book is well worth their time. I recommend it and hope you will go out and purchase this well priced thriller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I started reading this book, I knew that I was in for a thrill ride. The characters were well defined and the plot kept me riveted. This is my first Carter Wilson thriller and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. He did not spare any details about the main characters. He gave such minute details and clarity of each character and made you feel as though you knew them intimately. The reader develops their own feelings regarding each one. The reader understands why Hannah could not trust anyone and hopes that someone would be there for her...in comes Black. Though he is a mystery man, clad in black and ready to do her harm, there's an inkling of hope. You really have to read this book. It's guaranteed to immerse you and not let go until the very last page! I.C. Rhodes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, what can I say about this book except that it kept me at the edge of my seat the whole way through it. Intense and so many twists and turns I couldn't figure out what was going to happen the whole way through it. Highly recommend it.
HumorMyWay More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for the normal HAE you won’t find it here, the ending is happy but sad in many ways. This is one book that pulled me in and keeps you, you won’t be able to put it down. If you think you have this story worked out you had better think again. Nothing is as it seems there are many twists and turns that will blow your mind. Just when I thought I had a handle on where it was going the author throw a major twist and floored me. The author pulls you in from the first page to the last with so much pain, hurt, sorrow, drama, love, need, want and so much more. I so loved this but I am so torn with the ending which is a good one but not your normal. Everything in this book is intriguing from the characters to the narrator and the plot. My heart so goes out to Hannah she has had a rough life not an easy start but has pulled herself out of the past and made something of herself. Now her husband is never home which means there isn’t much us time. She turns to drinking just like her mother. One night her husband talks in his sleep which will change her life more than she ever could imagine. She starts investigate and finds out more than she wanted. Who is the man and what happen to the man she married? Before she is done she will question everything even herself, what is real and what isn’t, along with who can she trust and why are they doing this to her? Dallin is just something else you have to read it to believe it and is about all I can say about him. You are not going to believe this man. As Hannah sets in the lobby waiting to meet her husband a man name Black talks to her asking her questions. Than when her husband has her abducted and she wakes up to find Black is there she runs. He said he can help her but will he? They are on the run for their lives as the work out the mystery of Dallin and why he has become so violent. Rebecca Roberts did a wonderful amazing job of narration from her character voices to her emotions. You can feel the hurt, pain and hate come right off the pages. Her deep gnawing male voices will give you chills. Even I was scared of Hannah’s father. There are no background noises and no breaks taken that I could hear just a wonderful highly entertaining listen. Ms. Roberts pulls you in and never let’s go. This is one narrator you do not want to miss. I for one cannot wait to listen to more from her. This is a very thrilling exciting fast pace read. It does have violence in it. The author gives you wonderful characters and some that aren’t so great which adds so much to this story. Hannah is fighting the demons not only of her past but her future as she takes the world on to find the answers to so many questions. It is a game of kill or be killed. Carter Wilson gives you a book you won’t be able to put down as this author takes you through the pace of one woman who loses everything in just a few hours. If you are looking for an exciting read which will keep you guessing that has thrills, chills and passion this is the book for you. You will be torn throughout this outstanding read. There will be times you will say no, no please do let that be true as well as other times when you will do a lot of cheering and say it is about time. I enjoyed this so much from the narrator to the author that I pick this as one of my favorite reads. I recommend this read just keep in mind it does have a happy ending just not an ending we may want it is more of a real ending as life is today.
dlb333 More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable, engaging story.
dkj38 More than 1 year ago
I won The Comfort of Black by Wilson Carter in a Goodreads Giveaway. This is a well written thriller with just enough twists to keep you involved until the very end of the book. I would recommend this book to all readers and will definitely read more books by this author.
BuckeyeAngel More than 1 year ago
**I received an ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review** Hannah is 34 and her husband Dallin is 33. Dallin had been distant recently. They hadn't had sex in 6 weeks. Hannah had a therapist for the last 4 yrs. Dr. Madalyn Britel. Usually she found comfort with her therapist. Her anger was one of the reasons she visited a therapist. Hannah turned into a strong woman. She did what she had to do. She'd finally decided to trust the one person who tried to help her. She turned her life around. I liked her character. I am a romantic at heart and didn't care what happened to Black, but I understood why it happened. The book was still great. It had a great plot and characters. I highly recommend it.
CArcidiacono More than 1 year ago
How and who do you trust when your life starts to fall apart? Hannah seems to be living a decent life with a few demons in her past, until the night her husband Dallin, talked in his sleep. Everything changed in a blink of an eye and would never be the same again. With numerous twists and turns, this book keeps you on your toes trying to figure out what is going on and what will happen next. The ending was a little sad for me but realistic. A good, solid book. I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.