They Won't Be Hurt

They Won't Be Hurt

by Kevin O'Brien

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The lights are on at the Singleton vacation home on Lopez Island, Washington, illuminating the horror within. Scott Singleton, former NFL star turned television evangelist, lies dead. The bodies of his wife and four of their five children are found on the second floor, bound, gagged, and stabbed repeatedly. The oldest daughter was shot downstairs. And the police’s main suspect—the property caretaker—has disappeared.
In her secluded vineyard home two hours away, Laura Gretchell is on edge. Her husband is out of town on business, and the children are understandably shaken. Laura tries to tell herself there’s no reason to fear. Then the door handle rattles, and the real terror begins.
They’re in her house, holding her children hostage, and Laura has only one option: do exactly what the intruders say. But as Laura races to find the information they seek, she realizes that the enemies within her own home are only part of the nightmare. Because someone wants to keep the truth hidden at any cost, no matter how many more must die . . .
Praise for Kevin O’Brien’s You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone
“The suspense builds from page one and ends with a climax you won’t see coming.”
—Suspense Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786038855
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 07/31/2018
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 108,376
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Kevin O'Brien is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous thrillers, including No One Needs to Know, Tell Me You're Sorry, Unspeakable, and Final Breath. Kevin studied journalism at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He lives in Seattle.

Daniel Thomas May is an experienced actor and audiobook narrator. His "energetic," "confident," "deft," and "commanding" narration makes him particularly adept at portraying adventurers of all sorts, whether in fantasy, sci-fi, horror, romance, or nonfiction dramatizations.

Read an Excerpt


Saturday, November 25 — 1:43 A.M. Lopez Island, Washington

"Huh, someone left the gate open," Jae observed from the passenger seat.

Wes Banyan had already lowered the driver's window to punch in the six- digit code on the little box at the start of the driveway. The frigid night air drifted into his rented Ford Fiesta. After two days and nights of driving in and out of the Singletons' compound, Wes now knew the front gate's code by heart. The property was surrounded by a tall fence with barbed-wire trim along the top. Jae referred to the house — nestled on a huge wooded lot overlooking Lopez Sound — as the "family cabin." After hearing her call it that for the last few days, Wes had been expecting a cottage with a potbellied stove, maybe some bunk beds in a spare room and an outhouse in back. Instead, it was a freaking six-bedroom mansion.

That was just like her. Jae Singleton was full of surprises, not all of them good.

Wes was determined to break up with her tonight. And if he was going to do it, he needed to do it now, before he dropped her off at the house.

They'd met at a frat party three weeks ago. They were both freshmen at the University of Washington. Wes had seen her around Alder Hall and been immediately attracted to her. Jae was a gorgeous blonde with big green eyes and a lithe body. She smelled nice, too. She actually asked him out, which left Wes a bit stunned, because he knew he was hardly anybody's idea of a stud. Pale and skinny, he shaved only twice a week. A friend of his sister's once deemed him "geeky cute." He figured that was a fairly accurate compliment, and about the best he could hope for — at least until he started shaving more often. Girls who looked like Jae Singleton didn't usually date geeks.

Wes had friended Jae on Facebook, and he noticed she posted something on her timeline about their upcoming dinner date:

Going out to dinner at The RAM tomorrow night with a cute guy named Wes. We're just getting to know each other. He's super-smart, funny and really nice. He probably doesn't know yet that I adore flowers. Flowers, flowers, flowers!

"Gee, you think she expects you to bring her flowers?" his roommate, Steve, asked him. "I mean, could she be any more obvious? You should post something on there saying you like blowjobs. Blowjobs, blowjobs, blowjobs."

Steve also mentioned that he knew a girl who posted stuff on Facebook about her dates to make an ex-boyfriend jealous: "She might be using you, man. I mean, just saying ..."

Wes tried not to pay too much attention to his roommate, a chubby, sarcastic know-it-all whose chances of getting a girl — any girl — were in the vicinity of zero. Steve seemed to assume the two of them were in the same boat, just a couple of losers. He also wrongly assumed that Wes was only out to get laid. In truth, Wes was still a virgin, and the impending date with Jae left him breathless and scared. Here was this beautiful young woman who made him feel so important. He didn't want to screw it up.

Wes brought Jae mini carnations when he came to her dorm room for their date the following night. Over dinner, she seemed interested in everything he said. And at the end of the evening, when he walked her to her door, she gave him a slightly wet kiss on the mouth.

It was one of the best nights of his life.

On their second date, Jae told him about the guy she'd recently broken up with: a junior in a fraternity, Carson Something — one of those last- name-first-name guys. Wes pictured a cocky, rich party boy, the type who smoked cigars and hit golf balls at the range after class — sometimes in his plaid bathrobe, because that was just the way Carson rolled. He probably had one of those perfect five-o'clock shadows if he went a day without shaving.

From the way Jae talked, it was pretty obvious she still liked him. But it was too late for Wes. He'd already fallen for her. Smitten, his grandmother might have said. It didn't matter that his roommate was right about her Facebook posts, which went on and on about how she'd never been out with a guy who was so nice and considerate, "so much nicer than you-know-who!" she wrote. If Jae was trying to convince Carson that she was in love with someone else, Wes didn't mind being that someone else.

On date number three, they'd made out furiously, and she'd even let him feel her up. She didn't pull away or anything — so he must have been doing it right. The whole experience was pretty intoxicating for him.

Then, like an idiot, he told Steve about it.

"Some over-the-bra action, big whoop," Steve replied. "That's all you're probably going to get, considering who her old man is."

Steve acted as if Wes was an absolute moron for not knowing that Jae's father was Scott Singleton, the former Seahawks linebacker. Wes had to go online to find out more about him. After discovering God, Scott had become a self-ordained minister and started his own religious sect: the Church of the True Divine Light. Handsome and youthful-looking, he wanted to outlaw all abortions, advocated conversion therapy for gays (including electric shock, ice baths, and verbal admonishment — anything as long as it got the job done), and he firmly believed that a wife should be subservient to her husband. When a fellow NFL player was suspended for beating his girlfriend, Scott caused a brief uproar by telling the press: "Sometimes there are reasons for these things between couples — and it's not always bad."

Headquartered near Spokane, the Church of the True Divine Light had over 480,000 followers across the country. Scott Singleton had gotten rich in the religion business, and he had a lot of political pull.

Jae had told Wes that her father was in public relations. Small wonder she'd lied about her old man — especially at progressive University of Washington, where Scott Singleton might as well have been a card-carrying neo-Nazi.

Wes didn't much agree with anything Scott Singleton and his church stood for. But Jae wasn't shoving her father's beliefs down his throat. So he decided not to hold it against her.

Besides, she'd invited him to spend Thanksgiving weekend with her at her family's cabin on Lopez Island. "I'm a good cook, you'll see," she told him.

Wes couldn't afford to fly home to the Chicago area, and he'd figured he'd be stuck in the near-empty dorm for the holiday. But Jae had thrown him a lifeline. Hell, she was offering him a dream come true: four nights alone with her in a cabin in the woods. He got butterflies in his stomach just thinking about it. He wondered why she wasn't spending Thanksgiving with her family, but decided it really didn't matter. Why even bring it up?

It wasn't until after Wes had rented the car for their trip that Jae told him "some family" would be at the cabin, too. And it wasn't until they were on the ferry to Lopez that Jae found out the entire family was coming — her mom, dad, and all four siblings. None of the kids — apparently, that included Jae — wanted to double up, so there wouldn't be any room for Wes at the island house. At the last minute, he had to book himself a single queen room at the Lopez Islander Resort for the next four nights. It would take a huge bite out of his savings.

Wes realized it would have been cheaper for him to have flown home and celebrated Thanksgiving with his own family in Winnetka.

And he would have had a hell of a better time, too.

He spent the first two days of the extended weekend running errands for Jae's mother, a beautiful but bossy platinum-haired woman in her late forties. His roommate, Steve, would have called her a MILF. The caretaker's minivan was in the shop, so all chauffeuring duties fell upon Wes. A cook, a maid, and a woman who served the dinner had to be shuttled around on Thanksgiving Day, from the ferry to the "cabin" to the hotel. The three women had rooms just down the hall from him at the Islander. He was staying with the help. The irony wasn't lost on him.

Wes was also in charge of picking up Scott Singleton on Thanksgiving afternoon. Scott arrived by seaplane and talked on his phone the whole time Wes was driving him to the compound. He appeared a bit older in person, and had silver streaks in his curly brown hair. But he was still ruggedly good- looking. He just wasn't too friendly.

"Do me a favor and get my bag for me, will you, Brad?" he said distractedly when Wes pulled up to the house.

Wes was in good company. Singleton couldn't get the name of their caretaker right either. Apparently, the guy was new. He was a handsome, nervous-looking, wiry guy in his early twenties. He lived in a small apartment above the three-car garage, which was separate from the house. He must have been hiding in there most of the time while Wes was busting his ass for the Singletons. The caretaker's name was Joe. But at the beginning of the meal, when Singleton called the help into the dining room for a solemn Thanksgiving prayer, he twice referred to the guy as "Jim" — and Mrs. Singleton corrected him both times.

Wes actually felt sorry for Joe — and for the three other servants. They looked so downtrodden, standing there in meek silence while Singleton prayed at the head of the big table, elegantly set with flickering candles and a cornucopia centerpiece.

Wes sat between Jae and her sixteen-year-old sister, Willow, who had a raging cold. She kept coughing and blowing her nose throughout dinner. Wes was convinced he'd be deathly ill before the week was out. The youngest kid, eleven-year-old Connor, was nice to him. But the older brother was a jerk. And the oldest sister ignored him. He didn't much like the family.

After a couple of days, he wasn't sure he much liked Jae either.

She was nasty to her sisters and constantly arguing with her mother. Plus, she'd barely paid any attention to him throughout the trip.

The two of them had just come back from a party at the house of one of her "island friends." It was a snotty, cliquish group. Jae kept disappearing, leaving him to stand there alone with his beer. At one point, she told him she might go back to Seattle on Monday with one of her friends. Would he mind terribly?

Yes, he minded. It broke his heart. It proved he wasn't really important to her after all.

But Wes said it was fine with him. He said he might just leave tomorrow morning and save a couple of hundred dollars on the hotel room cost. Maybe he could get some money back for taking the rental car back early.

Jae barely even blinked. It was as if she didn't care that he was leaving early, or that he'd spent a small fortune on this trip and had an utterly miserable time.

That was the moment Wes decided he had to break up with her. And he had to do it tonight — before he dropped her off at the family compound. If he waited until they got back to school, he'd chicken out or talk himself out of it. He was tired of feeling like a chump. What had he been thinking? He'd known from the start she was out of his league. If he broke up with her tonight, he would return to the dorm tomorrow with a clean slate.

Driving her back to the compound, his stomach was in knots. He didn't want a confrontation. He just wanted to end things with her.

The only radio station the car picked up on the island played nonstop Christmas music. Slightly drunk, Jae sang along with each selection. When "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime" came on, Wes reached over and switched off the radio because he absolutely loathed the song — and because he couldn't stall any longer on having the talk with her.

"Hey, why'd you do that?" she asked. "I love that song!"

Figures, Wes thought. But he didn't say anything. He just tightened his grip on the steering wheel, sighed, and shook his head.

"What's wrong with you tonight anyway?" she asked. "I mean, would it have killed you to be nice to my friends? All you did at the party was sulk."

"That's because I didn't know anyone — and nobody would talk to me." He took his eyes off the road for a moment to glance at her. "You introduced me to — like — a total of three people, and then you disappeared. You left me there all alone. I felt like an idiot ..."

"Well, I'm sorry, but they're my friends, and I haven't seen most of them since the summer! And you were being a grouch. What was I supposed to do, stick by your side and hold your hand the entire night?"

"It might have been nice if you'd held my hand there just once," he murmured.

Jae sighed and then looked out the car window. "You know, maybe it's a good thing you're leaving tomorrow."

"Probably," he said, "because this isn't working out, none of it is."

Wes kept waiting for her to say something, but she didn't. He wondered if that was it. Were they broken up? Or did he actually have to say the words?

Up ahead, he spotted the side road that led to the Singleton compound. He slowed down and took the turn. The dark road snaked up a wooded hill. Branching off the narrow two-lane road were driveways and winding lanes that led to other houses and cabins. Through the trees, Wes spotted a few lights in the distance, but very few. Most everyone was asleep at this hour. He'd made this trip several times now but was still uncertain about a couple turns. He usually had someone in the car giving him directions. He was already worried about getting lost after he dropped Jae off tonight.

The silence in the car made him even more nervous.

The woods grew so dense that Wes couldn't see much beyond the car's headlights. Last night, he'd almost hit a deer. Now he imagined some guy in a hockey mask brandishing an ax, springing out of the darkness into the illuminated path.

Wes shuddered.

"What's wrong with you?" Jae asked.

"Nothing. I'm just cold, that's all," he murmured.

"You need to turn right at the Tall Pines sign," she muttered.

Nodding, Wes followed the gravel road to the right. He knew the compound was around one of the curves coming up. He kept following the road, and then he spotted the big house. A couple of the lights were on upstairs. He slowed down and pressed the switch on the armrest to lower his window.

That was when Jae noticed someone had left the front gate open.

He turned into the driveway. The older brother's Fiat was parked in front of the house, so Wes pulled up beside the garage. The windows above the garage were dark. Wes figured the caretaker was asleep.

"That's weird," Jae said. "All the curtains are closed on the first floor ..."

"What's so weird about it?" Wes asked.

"We never close the curtains," Jae said. "There's no reason to out here in the woods." Frowning, she glanced back toward the open gate.

Wes followed her gaze. Then he turned toward the house again. He could see light peeking through the slits between the curtains. Maybe someone had left a few lights on for her downstairs and decided to leave the gate open, too.

Was that really so unusual?

Jae seemed to shrug it off. She turned toward him and sighed. "Well, I guess I won't see you until I get back on Monday ..."

Wes cleared his throat. "Well, actually, I thought —"

"I'll miss a couple of classes, but who cares?" she interrupted.

She didn't seem to understand that he wanted to break up.

"You know, I think it works out better that you're leaving tomorrow," Jae continued. She flicked her blond hair and then rolled her eyes. "My mother has been riding her broomstick all weekend. You must think she's awful. She totally screwed up my plans for us this weekend. It was supposed to be just you and me here ..."

Wes squirmed a bit in the driver's seat. He had a hard time believing that. For starters, didn't the caretaker live there year-round? And second, if they were alone in that big house in the middle of the woods, it would have been pretty damn scary — especially at night, like now.

He thought he saw a curtain move in one of the first-floor windows.

"Do you think someone's waiting up for you?" he asked.

"At this hour?" she said. "I doubt it."

Wes couldn't help thinking something was wrong. Then again, the house, its surroundings — and even Jae — seemed strange to him. She'd been concerned about the gate and the curtains just a minute ago, but not anymore. Of course, she was still a little drunk, so her judgment might be off.

Jae smiled and touched his shoulder. "Tell you what. I'll make you a sandwich for the ride home tomorrow."

"Oh, you don't have to," he said. "In fact, listen, I really think we —"

"Nonsense," she interrupted. "There's all that turkey left. And you have a mini-fridge in your room at the Islander. You can keep it fresh for tomorrow. Come on in with me while I make the sandwich."

"No, really, I think —"

"Okay, then you stay put. I'll be back in just a couple of minutes ..."

She opened the passenger door.


Excerpted from "They Won't Be Hurt"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Kevin O'Brien.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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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They Won't Be Hurt 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. The character development was especially good. I pretty much had the plot figured out early on but the tension among the characters moved the storyline along with a lot of excitement. An enjoyable read and finished the book over a holiday weekend. I hope to read more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As like all of Kevin's books, it grabs your attention right from the start and keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting more
Nanna51 13 days ago
Because I have read many of Kevin O’Brien’s books, I was not at all surprised by what could be considered plot twists. The book was a good, entertaining read, with a believable plot about two killers who escape and take a family hostage. The mom is intelligent and determined to protect her family, so she is a reluctant heroine. The children are both adorable and resourceful; the youngest is adorably innocent and unaware of what is really happening while the oldest sister is resourceful and protective of her siblings. I recommend this book to fans of Kevin O’Brien. He never falls short of writing a story that is a fast-paced read with characters that are both likable and hated. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased a copy of this book from Barnes and Noble. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed the twists and turns !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnot put this book down ! Suspense to the last page! A must read
TropicalDelusions More than 1 year ago
They Won’t Be Hurt – Kevin O’Brien I was fortunate to receive this novel from as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review. Scott Singleton, a former football player turned evangelist, is found dead in his home, along with his entire family, the apparent victims of a homicidal rage. The prime suspect, Joe Mulroney, the property caretaker, reportedly found the carnage, after having slept in his apartment all night, not hearing a thing. Held in protective custody by the police as they seek to find evidence to charge him, but he escapes their surveillance with the help of his friend, Vic. Now presumed guilty, there is a massive manhunt ongoing for the two men. Laura Getchell is a retired teacher, and she and her husband Sean now own and operate a winery in Leavenworth, WA. Sean has just left for a business trip out of the country, and Laura and three children remain home. As she watches the television of the Singleton murder, she can’t help but cringe. Shortly thereafter, she hears someone at the front door, twisting and turning the knob, then eyes peering at her through the mail slot – eyes she recognizes from the television coverage an hour ago. Then she hears glass breaking… As Laura’s children are held hostage, Laura finds herself forced to leave them behind as she takes a trip to seek out proof of Joe Mulroney’s innocence. As she looks for the person Joe sends her to find, it soon becomes apparent that the Singleton murder was anything but random – and that someone will do whatever it takes to keep their secrets safe… I enjoyed this novel, as I do all of Kevin O’Briens work! The story was a bit slow in places but picks up speed rapidly once it becomes apparent that this is more than just a random home invasion. As I followed Laura’s odyssey, and the good versus evil intent that seems to dominate the relationship of the home invaders, I found myself anxious to flip the pages – in hopes that Laura and her family are reunited, safe and sound. Great story, and a good ending!!
poohbearPA More than 1 year ago
Loved, loved, loved this story. This isn't the typical Kevin O'Brien book, but it is just as good as all the rest. They won't be hurt starts out with a entire family (famous football player and his entire family) being found dead. The police are sure they know who did it, the caretaker for the property, Joe. The police put Joe into a hotel and guard him, he's not under arrest, just a person if interet. Vic, one of Joe's old buddys from the "country club" aka psyciatric hospital, which Vic broke out of. Well know their fugitives. They, well Vic, hijacks a news reporter (the island is crawling with them) and has him drive them to a undisclosed location. Vic throws the reporter out and leaves him for dead. Vic drives himself and Joe to a vineyard in washington, also the home of Mrs. Gretchell, Joeys 3rd grade teacher. Joe need Lauras help to prove his innocents, but, will she be able to get the info she needs? plus, Laura has to leave her 3 children with these killers, will she do it, and if she does, will the kids still be alive when she returns with the info Joe needs....and someone really needs to take care of Vic, the heartless killer. This is a MUST READ!!!! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story! Suspenseful, kept me reading late in the night!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it. I finished it in 2 days. Keep the writing up.
Anonymous 11 months ago