by Leslie Wolfe
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
A GRIPPING, SUSPENSEFUL THRILLER
Can a psychologist, still grieving the loss of her husband, save a traumatized war veteran who is planning his own death? Stories Untold explores the devastation of loss, the struggle to find meaning in life, and the enduring power of love that transcends boundaries between past and future.
They’re both strong and fearless, determined, relentless.
He’s a decorated war veteran and he wants to die.
She’s a prominent psychologist and she won’t give up on him.
When a suicidal client seeks her help, Dr. Angela Blackwell cannot turn him away, despite the fact that he isn’t seeking the kind of help she normally provides her clients. The man, who won’t fully identify himself, wants the distinguished psychologist to stand witness after his planned death in six months’ time, ensuring his wife will not be charged as an accessory or be hindered from collecting the death benefit he carefully provisioned for her. He calls himself DJ and won’t willingly share anything about his past.
As Dr. Blackwell is struggling to reconstruct her own life after the loss of her husband, she recognizes his unusual request as a subconscious cry for help and embarks on a relentless effort to guide the reluctant stranger in uncovering the trauma that has permanently altered the course of his existence. Playing a deck of cards stacked high against her and rushing against time, she has no other option but to intervene, pushing the ethical boundaries of the doctor-client relationship and refusing to give up.
An astonishing, vibrant story of human strength and frailty, of love lost and love found, the Stories Untold saga will captivate as few stories ever do, with unexpected twists and turns, leaving a lasting memory ingrained into the essence of the reader’s being.
Dr. Angela Blackwell couldn’t bring herself to turn on the lights, although darkness had almost completely engulfed the living room, forcing her to abandon her reading glasses on top of the book lying open on the windowsill. In the deep twilight, she could still see the ocean waves foaming as they broke against the Pacifica shore, a good 200 feet below her terrace. Yearning for their soothing sound and the salty smell of the ocean breeze, she wrapped the cardigan tighter around her supple body and pulled open the terrace door.
She stopped in the doorframe and inhaled deeply, savoring the salty taste of the misty air as it touched her lips. Fog was rolling in from the sea in large clumps of restless cotton, soon to engulf the house in white silence, hiding the ocean view from her blurry eyes. She stepped outside and stood by the guardrail, keeping her gaze fixed on the horizon line, barely visible in the deepening crepuscule and the dense fog.
She closed her eyes and let herself feel the drizzle touch her face. Tiniest droplets of liquid chill she welcomed to take away the burning sensation in her forehead, to camouflage the tears that welled up in her eyes. After a while, the coldness of the mist reached her bones and sent a shiver down her spine. She shuddered and walked back inside, wiping the moisture off her face with the back of her hand.
She stopped at the fireplace and rubbed her hands in front of the dancing flames, pushing the sadness a little further from her heart. Seeing the bright colors of the lively fire, enjoying the dry warmth, after being outside, helped her chase the shadows away. When she was sure of herself again and felt confident her voice wouldn’t betray her, she grabbed her phone and dialed one of the only two starred numbers stored in her favorites list.
Waiting for Shelley to pick up, she put the phone on speaker and checked the time. It was late, almost eight-thirty, and that meant well past eleven at night on the East Coast. She knew her daughter well; if she’d gone to bed, her phone would be on silent, and she wouldn’t risk disturbing her sleep.
“Mom?” Her daughter’s voice almost startled her.
“Yes, sweetie, it’s me. I didn’t wake you, did I?”
“Nope. Was in the shower, that’s all. Glad you called.”
Soon the new generation would speak just the way they texted and tweeted. Who needs pronouns anymore? She felt a smile tug at the corners of her mouth, and she let it bloom. The sound of her daughter’s voice always warmed her heart.
“Is water dripping on the floor right now, while you’re shivering and shifting your weight from one bare foot to the other?”
Shelley laughed, and the crystalline sound of her amusement filled the room. “Nah… nice try though. Good visuals. Try again.”
“Bathrobe?” she offered, enjoying their little game.
“Yup. Two of them, actually.”
“I can call later, you know, to give you time—”
“Nah… no need. I can talk to you while wearing a towel or two, right? You won’t be offended, will you, Mom?”
She laughed in unison with her daughter, then the sound of their laughter made way for a couple of seconds of loaded silence.
“I’m sorry to be calling so late,” Angela eventually said, poorly hiding a light sniffle. The cold moisture from outside must have clung to her, or something like that. Maybe fog had followed her inside the house, the unseen ghost of her lonely nights. “I hate this time zone thing. By the time I get home and I—”
“It’s all right, Mom, you’re not disturbing me.”
Angela forced air into her lungs, while her finger hesitated above the FaceTime icon. “Why am I not disturbing you?” she asked, managing to sound almost cheerful. “Aren’t there any interesting young men at Columbia anymore?”
“Oh, yeah, well… that, uh…”
Her daughter did that when she was uncomfortable talking about something. She poured all the pronouns and interjections she’d abstained from using in her tweet-like normal speak on a long breath of hesitation.
“Okay, I get it,” she replied. “You’re still researching the subject, I gather. It probably needs more study.”
“Well, I actually, um, met someone. Not sure though.”
Pronouns had gone missing again; she was about to share more about her someone. She waited patiently.
“He’s premed,” she added on the breath of a sigh. “Stars won’t align, that’s all.”
“What’s his name?” she asked gently.
“Do we have to give him a name?” Shelley pushed back. “That would make him real.”
“And you don’t want that,” she whispered. “He must have a name, I’m assuming, but it’s all right if you don’t want to share for now.”
A second of silence.
“It’s just that doctors are better off with other doctors, Mom. I read somewhere that other professions, like business, for example, have difficulties understanding the demands of the young med student’s, then later, the doctor’s workload. There’s no work/life balance, and they’re always on call. Not to mention the hordes of hot nurses trolling those hospitals hallways, looking for prey.”
Silence fell heavy after Shelley’s high-pitched argument had ended. Angela thought hard for something she could say, without bringing up the one thing they didn’t want to talk about.
“You don’t have to marry him yet, sweetie,” she eventually said. “If you like him, date him for a while, and see where it goes.”
“Why?” Shelley snapped, taking her by surprise. “So I can get attached to him, then lose him too?”
“Maybe you won’t,” Angela replied gently. “As you might happen to know, not all doctors marry other doctors,” she added quietly.
For a few moments, she didn’t hear a sound from Shelley. When she spoke, her voice was loaded with tears, shaky and choked.
“I still miss him, Mom.”
And there it was, tearing her heart to shreds and threatening to let out a long, wailing sob. She clenched her jaws and managed to control her emotions a little. “I miss him too, baby.”
“I can’t believe it’s been five years,” Shelley continued, no longer hiding her sadness. “Feels like yesterday.”
“It does, doesn’t it?” she managed to whisper. With trembling hands, she poured some wine into her glass and took a sip, hoping it would strengthen her heart.
“I wonder what he would’ve said about Jamie,” Shelley said.
A tiny smile formed on Angela’s lips. “Oh, so he has a name, after all. I’m relieved.”
“I never got to talk about things with Dad. Real things, adult things, you know.”
“You mean, like dating?”
“Yeah… I know I have you, but I wanted a man’s perspective, that’s all.”
“Oh, honey, let me tell you this,” Angela replied, wiping her tears. “When you turned fourteen, a friend of his from work asked him if he was ready to be the father of a dating teenager. You know what he said?”
“No, but I’m curious.”
Angela could hear the smile in her daughter’s voice. “He said, ‘Sure, I’m ready. I bought a shotgun.’”
“What? Dad had a shotgun?”
She laughed. “No, sweetie, he was just joking.”
Another moment of silence, but this time Angela didn’t fear it anymore.
“How about you, Mom? Seeing anyone?”
“No... That part of my life is over.”
“It doesn’t have to be, you know. You’re still young, and you’re hot.”
“I’m telling you, you’re so hot. I’d take you clubbing with me any day.”
“So, you go clubbing? Please be careful. All sorts of creeps are out there.”
“Really? Change the subject on me like that? What, you think I’m thirteen and can’t figure it out?”
“You’re right, I’m sorry,” she admitted. Her daughter deserved more than that. She was an adult, and she’d earned the right to be treated like one. “But I’m still not interested. I’m fine the way I am, I’m okay.”
“Don’t you get lonely sometimes?”
“Yes, I do, but that’s because I miss your Dad.” She stopped short of saying how she couldn’t sleep at night, tossing and turning after waking, believing he was somehow still alive, still in the house somewhere. Believing she’d had a bad dream, and he was actually downstairs, munching on one of his famous three-in-the-morning snacks. She didn’t mention how she worked late these days, so she wouldn’t have to come home to the nest that they’d built together, now barren. Shelley didn’t need to hear any of that; all she needed was to believe her mom was all right.
She straightened her back and raised her head a little, forcing her body to act as if she were okay, in the hope that the weary mind would follow the body out of habit.
“Give Jamie a chance, Shelley. A couple of dates, and you’ll find out if he’s a keeper.”
“Oh, he’s a keeper all right,” she blurted.
“You already decided on that? Only minutes after not willing to share his name?”
Shelley laughed quietly. “Test drove him a couple of times too.”
“Good girl,” she replied. “Now get to bed, young lady, it’s almost midnight, and it’s a school day tomorrow,” she added, putting enough humor in her voice to make Shelley giggle one more time before hanging up the phone.
Then there was silence again.
What Readers Say About Leslie Wolfe
-- “Leslie Wolfe has the talent that is comparable to the likes of a Tom Clancy or a Michael Crichton, or even James Patterson.” - Dennis Waller
-- “Wolfe keeps readers turning the pages...” - Kirkus Reviews
-- “Leslie Wolfe knows how to blend advanced technological data with powerfully written human behavior responses and the result is a novel that few will want to put down once the story begins.” -- Grady Harp
-- "Verdict: A phenomenal novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I highly recommend it!" -- KWNY Publicity
Readers and Critics Talking About Leslie Wolfe Novels
-- “Leslie Wolfe is now very much on my list of MUST READ AUTHORS and I can't wait for the next book to be released”
-- “Characters you really can bond with and want to read more about. Too real and plausible not to keep you reading far too long after bed time!”
-- “Now this was a real smoker, really kept it moving, very well written. Guess I better find out if my wife is talking to me.”
-- “Leslie Wolfe just gets better and better.”
-- “This story has one of the best plots I’ve read in a long time.”
-- “From the beginning to the last page her novel manages to keep reader’s attention, delivering intrigue, thrill and suspense.”
-- “An impressive amount of suspense throughout.”
-- “As soon as I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down! Full of suspense and keeps you at the edge of your seat. I loved it!”
-- “As a long-time fan of Tom Clancy's early works and Dan Brown's techno-thrillers, it makes me proud to see a woman stepping so confidently into this male-dominated arena. Well done, Leslie.”
Bestselling author Leslie Wolfe is passionate about writing fiction, despite spending a significant number of years climbing the corporate ladder. Leaving the coveted world of boardrooms for the blissful peace of the Florida-based "Wolves’ den," Leslie answers one true calling: writing.
Leslie’s novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. Fascinated by technology and psychology, Leslie brings extensive background and research in these fields that empower and add texture to a signature, multi-dimensional, engaging writing style.
Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl(2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.
A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at http://wolfenovels.com/titles
Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you.
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