So, here's the new schedule for the entire series:
Harkham's Case -- August 15, 2014
Harkham's Choice -- September 15, 2014
Harkham's Corner -- October 15, 2014
You won't have to wait long for each of them. That's the best part.
Here's the long teaser I'd like to kick this off with. I'll be sharing shorter teasers leading up to the release... One more long one as well. Possibly, two.
The cover reveal for this story will be on Monday, July 21, 2014.
“Samara, can you please just tell me—what the hell is wrong with him?”
Samara turned and glared with so much energy, Mari actually shrank and pressed her back up against her door.
“You better rephrase that,” Samara said through a twitching jaw.
“Sorry, but I know he’s got some . . .” Mari paused to phrase it better this time “. . . disabilities. I saw Mr. Perez wrote some kind of notes at the bottom of his new schedule for the teachers. I just want to know—what did it say?”
“You think he’s stupid. Already, you’re putting him in with kids that have mental handicaps,” Samara said with a snort. “Why do I bother with you people?” She shook her head.
“I am not! Look! I’ve got a lot of problems too. God knows I’m no saint, but I don’t think anything like that of him. He’s crazy brilliant—anybody can see that. But there’s some kind of disconnect going on. Does he have some form of Asperger’s?” She felt stupid asking that. All she knew of Asperger’s was from her sad tiny stint of reading Nicholas Spark’s novels. Dear John was not a source to quote on this sensitive topic. Samara would probably kick her ass if she mentioned Channing Tatum.
“No. Nothing like that.” Samara stared out the front window, her gaze transfixed.
Was she seeing something Mari didn’t?
Mari squinted but all looked normal. “Well, if it’s not Asperger’s, then what is it?”
Samara paused before answering and gripped the door handle. “We don’t know what he has. He was the first documented case. For now, he’s called Harkham’s Case number one.”
Mari smiled as a tear leaked out. “Okay.” But nothing was. This changed everything. He really wasn’t normal.
“He needs you, Mari. I’m not sure why or how he even decided that. It took years before he’d let Dad touch him.”
Mari pulled over on the side of the road. “Years? His own father?” She pulled out her cigarette. Damn her mom and these stupid smoking rules. Without giving a damn how Samara felt about it, she rolled down the window and lit up.
“Dustin’s not his biological father. It’s complicated,” Samara said, turning her head to look out her side window.
Maybe the cigarette offended her. Tough! She was going to answer.
“Okay, it’s complicated. Whose family isn’t?” Mari took a long inhale of her cigarette.
“Ours is more than the Brady Bunch. There’s no laughs when somebody breaks their nose from a football, because Adam can be taken away from us, and we’re all he has left.”
Mari took another long drag and tossed the rest of the cigarette out the window, then put it back up. She gripped Samara’s arm. “Tell me. He’s dragged me into this—I need to know.”
Samara turned back to her, tears in her eyes. Mari released her arm. “Adam’s three years older than me. We share the same mom. When he was twelve she walked out on him and never returned. He doesn’t remember that day, but I do. Even though I was nine—I remember like it happened yesterday. He was a mess. We have no idea where she went. My dad had already been discussing adoption of Adam, but after she left he was unsure if he should proceed or not. He contacted Adam’s father, but that man couldn’t take him back. His real dad Thomas didn’t even know him anymore. His parents divorced when he was a toddler. Apparently it was too much for Thomas Matthews—Adam was a difficult child to deal with.”
Mari snorted a laugh.
“You think he’s clingy now? He insisted on being held in-arms at all time in public until he was six!” Samara’s eyes hardened.
Mari’s face fell. “How did your family cope?”
“I already told you how his dad bailed. Mom was really patient with him, but then at the age of twelve, she snapped. He seemed to stop progressing emotionally. Intellectually, he was smarter than her. Smarter than all of us, but he was hard to reason with. That’s what you’re dealing with now. A twelve-year-old trapped in a rocket scientist’s mind and in a teenage boy’s body, pumped full of hormones. When he gets upset, it triggers, and he can only think in terms of absolutes.”
“Math,” Samara confirmed with a nod.
“Makes sense I suppose. If he feels unsure of himself, he turns to facts he knows are concrete.” Mari pulled the car back out on the road and started driving again. “Let me make sure I understand this—your mom carried him around all the time in public until he was six since he wouldn’t allow your dad to touch him?”
“Yep.” She popped her P. “I think you can imagine we didn’t take him out much.”
Mari ignored the last statement. “And does he allow your brother to touch him?”
“Yeah. He asks for it at times, but Zach dislikes it in public. He puts up with it though because it beats the alternative of Adam exploding.”
Samara gave her some quick directions on how to get to her home.
The rest of the ride Mari spent in silence. Her mind was traveling faster than the car.
“Just so you know . . . When he’s curled up in a ball, it’s usually too late. You must be special or a natural to be able to get him out of that.”
“Too late for what?” Mari parked the car in front of a lavish, expansive house.
It was easily twice the size of Mari’s home.
“Too late for what comes next. After he crashes and caves in on himself, then he trashes the place. He’s been known to set fire to things, too.” Samara opened the car door and hopped out. “I hope you’re not afraid of him though. He never intentionally hurts anybody. He’s never left a mark on me, and I’m so dumb I get between him and danger all the time.” She smiled. “Bye!”
“Wait!” Mari sucked in a deep breath. “You’ve gotta give me your phone number. I’m sure I’ll have more questions, and there might be times I get stuck and don’t know how to help him.”
Samara’s grin spread. “So you’ll try to keep helping him then?”
“Of course. Why wouldn’t I?”
“Because he’s got a serious crush on you. That kind of freaks girls out.” Samara leaned her weight into her right hip, jutting it out.
Mari laughed as she thought about Kendra. “I heard you came from a small town. Somebody told me that in passing in the hallway when Adam wasn’t with me. Welcome to Phoenix—land of the heat-induced, brain-dead crazies. I’ve lived here all my life. Believe me when I say . . . I’ve seen it all. And most of that is due to my mother and her psycho friends.”
Samara held out her hand for Mari’s phone, which she gladly handed over. She typed in her phone number, then passed it back.
“I really hope you realize his friendship is an amazing gift.”
“I think I do,” Mari said, then bit her lip, worried she was already screwing this up. What did she know about him? Not much. Samara gave her his past, but not other symptoms. What if this was only the first three items on his list of one-hundred issues?
“Oh, and one more thing . . .”
“Yeah?” Mari leaned toward her.
“If you touch him in any way other than sisterly—I’ll break both your hands off!” And with that, Samara shut the door and wore a nasty smile that had “Killer!” written all over it.
A chill raced down Mari’s back and she left before she could see what else Samara might do.
What the hell had she agreed to? And who was this nutso girl she’d just given a ride home?