The Truth About Him: A Novel

The Truth About Him: A Novel

by M. O'Keefe

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Overview

For fans of Christina Lauren and Jodi Ellen Malpas comes the next novel in M. O’Keefe’s breathtakingly sexy series about a woman called into a journey of the heart, body, and soul.

We played our roles, told each other lies.

But now Dylan is no longer just a mysterious deep voice on the other end of the line. We’re face-to-face and our relationship is very, very real.

We still have secrets—but so much is crystal clear:

The thrilling danger.

The raw, naked desire.

The need to keep feeling the way he makes me feel. Forever.

Dylan is putting up walls, trying to keep me safe, but he can’t shut me out. He has seen my darkness and rescued me. Now it’s my turn, if only he will let me.

Praise for The Truth About Him

“M. O’Keefe blew me away with The Truth About Him, the conclusion to the dark, emotional, and dangerously sexy story of Annie and Dylan that began with the brilliant Everything I Left Unsaid. Wonderfully compelling and absolutely one-click worthy, this duet by M. O’Keefe is tops of my 2015 favorites list!”New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner

The Truth About Him is one of the most gorgeous books I’ve ever read. Dark, sexy and emotionally haunting, it has stayed with me long after I turned the last page.”New York Times bestselling author Tracy Wolff

“O’Keefe weaves a complex, poignant tapestry of character, emotion, and action.”Kirkus Reviews

“O’Keefe composes riveting scenarios. . . . Readers seeking exhilarating sex along with thrilling conflicts won’t be able to put it down.”Publishers Weekly

“The conclusion to O’Keefe’s dark and spellbinding . . . Everything I Left Unsaid jumps off the cliff into a raging sea of passion and danger as she continues to push our couple through the darkness that consumes them. . . . Suspense and intrigue play a larger role, with the romance flowing right along . . . as Dylan and Annie fight to hold on to the love they have built.”RT Book Reviews

“I loved the way this couple fit together, the way they understood each other. . . . The Truth About Him is a worthy sequel to Everything I Left Unsaid, with a similarly thoughtful and nuanced portrayal of the main characters. . . . The romance is emotional, surprising, and moving. . . . Together the two books make a beautiful, smart whole, and I recommend them both.”Dear Author

“Every choice, every reaction, every emotion plays out on the page as the couple stumbles forward, only to jump back two steps, driven by fear and lust and vulnerability. The unflinchingly realistic events make their reactions hit hard. And carrying it all is O’Keefe’s beautiful language. . . . Dylan and Annie painfully ripped my heart out and then put it back together again. Now excuse me, I have a book to reread.”Heroes and Heartbreakers

“The drama was out of control, as was the heat between Annie and Dylan, in this explosive conclusion. . . . O’Keefe has yet again given us a dark-yet-hopeful romance that will keep you on the edge of your seat.”—Harlequin Junkie

“Raw [and] emotional, with an amazing heroine and a cast of characters that give this book an exciting edge. Grade: A”—Smexy Books

The Truth About Him is intended for mature audiences.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101884515
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/24/2015
Series: Everything I Left Unsaid , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 98,331
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

M. O’Keefe can remember the exact moment her love of romance began—in seventh grade, when Mrs. Nelson handed her a worn paperback copy of The Thorn Birds. Writing as Molly O’Keefe, she has won two RITA Awards and three RT Reviewers’ Choice awards. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and two children.

Read an Excerpt

1

Annie

Annie McKay came to slowly. Aware in pieces of her surroundings.

The pebbled linoleum of the trailer floor dug into her cheek. Her ankle was twisted, wedged against something hard.

The hot copper smell of blood made her stomach roll and she gagged.

“Annie, I’m sorry.”

That voice . . . oh God.

It was Hoyt. Her husband. Standing over her.

For heartbeats, lots of them, she wasn’t sure he was real. Perhaps she’d tripped and fallen, hit her head coming back into her trailer. She was hallucinating. Pulling Hoyt out of old nightmares. That made much more sense.

Because there was no way he could have found her here.

I was careful. I was so careful.

Two months ago, she’d run from him. Taking only the bruises around her neck and three thousand dollars from his safe. Desperate and scared, she left in the middle of the night and made her way in circles to this place, a patch of swamp called the Flowered Manor Trailer Park and Camp Ground in North Carolina.

Hundreds of miles from Hoyt. From Oklahoma. From the farm where she’d lived her entire life.

And she’d been happy here. The happiest she’d ever been. Not even two hours ago, she’d left Dylan and his magical house. Her body had been flush and alive and pleasured. And her mind had been clear.

She’d had plans, real plans, for her life, not just panicked and terrified reactions.

Everything had been about to get better.

“Annie?”

This is not a hallucination.

Be smart, Annie. Think!

“You hear what I said to you?”

She lay there silent. Hoyt hated her silence. Apologies were to be met with immediate acquiescence, his guilt promptly assuaged.

But she said nothing. Because fuck him.

“Get up.”

She kept her eyes closed, because she wasn’t ready to actually see him. Not here. Not in this trailer. Her home.

Hoping to feel her phone still in her back pocket, she rolled onto her back.

Please, please, she prayed, please be there.

But there was nothing under her butt. The phone was gone.

“There you go. It ain’t so bad, is it? Get yourself up off the floor.” He said it like she’d fallen, like she’d landed on the floor through her own clumsy, stupid means.

Despite her best efforts to restrain them, hot tears seeped under her lashes.

“Come on now.” His hands touched her hip and her armpit to help her up and she flinched away, her body screaming in pain. Unsteady, she got herself to her feet. She opened her eyes and the world swam. She grabbed the edge of the table, landing half on, half off the cushion of the settee.

“You’re getting blood all over the place.” His familiar hands, with their small scars and close-­clipped nails, held a pink washcloth toward her. It was the washcloth from her bathroom. He’d probably gone through everything, touching all of her things. Everything was contaminated now.

There was no way she could take the washcloth. Not from his hand.

“Fine,” he muttered, tossing the washcloth on the table. “Do it yourself.”

Pissed, he stomped off to sit in one of the captain’s chairs at the front of the trailer.

The reality of Hoyt in this previously Hoyt-­less place was shocking.

She forced herself to look at him. Really look at him.

He was a big man. Over six feet tall, and he used to rodeo when he was younger, so his legs and arms and chest were thick with muscle. He had white-­blond hair that made his eyebrows and eyelashes nearly invisible, which gave his face a terrible expressionlessness. A vacancy. She’d never ever been able to tell what he was thinking.

Sincerity looked like deceit. Anger looked like forgiveness.

She used to think he was calm. Other people did, too; at the very beginning of their marriage that’s what everyone said about him.

He’s so steady, they’d said. And she’d clung to that. With both hands and all her fear after Mom died. She’d clung to the version of him she wanted to believe in.

But it was a lie. Everything about him was a lie.

And Annie had been a fool.

That he was so totally the same, wearing what he always wore—­jeans, his brown cowboy boots, and the dark blue Western shirt with the pearl snaps, his bone-­handled knife in its sheath on his belt—­made it even more surreal.

New place. Same nightmare.

Her missing phone was balanced on his knee. He’d taken it from her, gone through her pockets, while she lay unconscious on the floor.

Because he was an animal.

“I’m sorry,” he said with utter and terrifying sincerity. “I know at home, you were scared. What I did . . . that night in the kitchen?” He said it as if she might have forgotten. “It was too much. I understand that.”

An incredulous laugh she could not let out stung her throat. Do you? Do you understand that?

“It won’t happen again. I swear it won’t.”

“How did you find me?” She tried to clear her vision, get her brain to focus.

“Do you believe me?” he asked. “That things will be different?”

No. Not in a million years.

“I believe you,” she lied, putting her heavy, throbbing head in her hand. “Just tell me how you found me.”

“It was actually pretty cool.” He smiled, with what she guessed was modesty, like she was about to be real proud of him. “The Bassett Gazette has this widget thing—­that’s what they call them—­on their website and it shows a map of the United States, and on that map are little pins that track the places where people are logging onto the website. The gal I talked to at the office was real excited about it, said it showed that there were people all over the state reading their newspaper online. And there was this one dot . . . this one little dot that I started to follow. You know where that dot went?”

Sick to her stomach, she nodded. She thought she’d been so clever.

“It went around in circles for a while. And then it went north to Pennsylvania and then back south. And then it just stayed in Cherokee, North Carolina. Over and over again. Cherokee, North Carolina. Every week. Once a week. Tuesdays. That’s the day you liked to go shopping.” He said it like he was offering her proof of his affection. A nosegay. A dead bird dropped at her feet from his bloody jaws. “You thought I didn’t notice. But I did. You liked to shop on Tuesdays. So, I drove out here. I saw where you signed in for computer time at the library—­Layla McKay. That’s your cousin, right?”

In one of the historical novels she’d read, there was a character who had a falcon. And Annie had loved the descriptions of how the guy flew his falcon and cared for it, the bells and the gloves and the little pieces of meat in a bag attached to his belt. And she’d thought, reading it, how great it would be to control something so barely domesticated. Something so very nearly wild.

But at this moment she realized how the falcon must have felt. So free one minute, wings spread, the world a retreating landscape below. The next, hooded and chained. Captured. Freedom a memory.

“I stayed there for a week, hanging out at the library. The grocery store. Driving by all the motels, and . . . nothing. I heard about this trailer park out here and came out to investigate and I ran into this man, Phil, at a gas station. He told me all about the park. And when I described you, he told me he thought you might be here. You’re like his wife’s friend? I’m afraid Phil doesn’t like you much.”

God, brought down by Phil. How pathetically fitting.

“What do you want?” she asked, unable to pretend any longer.

He looked at her like he was surprised, his mouth gaping open, his translucent eyebrows halfway up his forehead. “I want you to come home,” he said. “I want you to be my wife again.”

“What does that even mean to you, Hoyt? Your wife? You don’t love me—­”

He stood up from that chair and she shrank back in her seat.

“I apologized for what happened before you left. I can’t do any more than that. It’s time for you to come home now. You’ve had your fun. People are asking about you and I’m getting tired of the sideways glances. Everyone thinks I’ve done something to you. The police came out to the house two weeks ago. The police, Annie. It’s too much.”

He touched her hand before she could jerk it back. It was worse when he pretended to care. Or maybe he did actually care and he just didn’t know how to do it right.

“We can go back to church.”

Annie blinked up at him, unsure if he’d actually said that, or if she was hearing things.

“Annie? Would you like to go back to church?”

“Yes . . . of course,” she breathed. Three years ago she would have wept in gratitude. But she was not fooled now. He would let her go to church once, maybe twice, and he’d find a way to take it away from her all over again.

“And then we’ve got to talk about selling that land to Encro.”

And there it was. That was really why he wanted her home. The land sale to Encro for more windmills. He couldn’t do it without Annie’s approval. That’s why this little scene was happening. “It’s time, don’t you think, that we thought of our future?”

My future is as far away from you as I can get.

“I forgive you for stealing from me, Annie. The money, the gun. It’s forgiven.”

Oh my God.

The gun.

The gun in her bedside table.

Did he have it? Was it still there?

She tried to show him nothing. Not one thing.

“I . . . I need to change my shirt.” Her splattered and torn sweatshirt was ruined with blood; it would never come clean. She’d had a few shirts like that at home. Clothes that made their way into the rag bag or the garbage because the truth of her life was sprayed all over it.

Annie got up on shaky feet, her hand braced on the wall as she walked down the short hallway to the bedroom.

Please. Please be there. Please be there. That gun was her only chance.

She closed the door behind her and then, sweeping her dizziness and headache aside, she nearly leapt over the bed to the small bedside table and yanked open the drawer.

It was empty. Sobbing, she searched it, pulling it all the way out, but everything was gone. The books. The gun. The article about Ben. Everything.

She collapsed against the wall and fell to the floor.

The bedroom door creaked open and Hoyt stood in the doorway. A blond devil. Her gun like a toy in his big palm.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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