The Wife Between Us has already emerged as one of the most popular books of the New Year, captivating readers with its steamy sexual tension and shockingly twisty narrative.
For those who haven’t checked out the thriller by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, EW has you covered: Below, you can read an exclusive excerpt from chapter 8, filled with the creeping sense of danger and obsession that’s found throughout. The Wife Between Us marks the debut of Hendricks and Pekkanen, and has already been optioned by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. What first appears to be a story about a jealous wife and her tumultuous history gradually evolves into something much less clear (and much more hair-raising).
In addition to the below excerpt, you can watch a trailer for the book above. To say the least, it captures the unsettling tone of The Wife Between Us pretty well. The book is available for purchase here.
Excerpt from “The Wife Between Us,” by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkane
There is a lull in customers at Saks and I duck into the break room for coffee. My stomach has settled but there’s still a dull ache between my temples. Lisa, a salesperson from the shoe department, is sitting on the couch, nibbling a sandwich. She is in her 20s, blond and pretty in a wholesome way.
I pull my gaze away.
One of my psychology podcasts featured the Baader-Mainhof Phenomenon. It’s when you become aware of something — the name of an obscure band, say, or a new type of pasta — and it seems to suddenly appear everywhere. Frequency illusion, it’s also called.
Young, blond women are surrounding me now.
When I came into work this morning, one was trying on lipstick at the Laura Mercier counter. Another was touching fabrics in the Ralph Lauren section. Lisa raises her sandwich for a bite and I see the ring gleaming on her left hand.
Richard and his fiancé are getting married so quickly. She can’t possibly be pregnant, can she? I wonder again. I feel the familiar hitch in my breath and the cold seep into my body, but I force myself to ward off the panic.
I need to see her today. I need to know for certain.
She lives not too far away from where I stand right now.
Sometimes, you can learn a lot about a person online — everything from whether they had sour cream on their lunchtime burrito to their upcoming wedding date. Other people are harder to track. But with almost everyone, you can determine a few baseline facts: Their address. Their phone number. Where they work.
You can learn other details by watching.
One night, back when we were still married, I followed Richard to her place and stood outside her apartment. He was carrying a bouquet of white roses and a bottle of wine.
I could have pounded on the door, pushed my way in behind him, screeched at Richard and demanded he come home.
But I didn’t. I returned to our house and a few hours later, when Richard arrived, I greeted him with a smile.
“I left dinner for you,” I said. “Should I heat it up?”
They say the wife is always the last to know. But I wasn’t. I just chose to look the other way. I never dreamed it would last.
My regret is an open wound.
Lisa, the pretty young saleswoman, is gathering up her things quickly, even though some of her sandwich is still left. She tosses the remains in the trash, sneaking glances at me. Her forehead is creased.
I have no idea how long I’ve been staring.
I exit the break room, and for the rest of my shift, I greet customers pleasantly. I fetch clothing. I nod and give an opinion when asked about the suitability of dresses and suits.
All the while, I bide my time, knowing I’ll soon be able to satisfy my growing need.
When at last I can leave, I find myself being pulled back to her apartment.
From The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, copyright © 2018 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.