TRUST. YOUR. GUT.
Emily Cooke has it all—happy marriage, beautiful baby, successful career. But something is very wrong.
Why does her husband’s touch make her recoil?
Why is she haunted by the suspicion her baby girl isn’t really hers?
And why can’t she shake the feeling she’s forgotten something urgent?
When Emily saves a man’s life using skills she’s never possessed, disturbing fragments of memory surface. The clues lead to a shocking discovery that changes everything she knows about her life. But that’s just the beginning. Questions are piling up and so is the danger. Then a stranger appears, claiming to have answers. Wary, but desperate for the truth, she sets out with him on a mission that leads to a horrifying revelation. The only way out is to go deeper into a world of deadly criminals and shadowy government agencies.
There’s no turning back.
Time is running out.
And lives are on the line.
Praise for Mind Games
An exciting modern mystery with twists galore
“It’s been a long time since I was able to just settle in and enjoy a mystery as thoroughly as I enjoyed Mind Games. It’s got it all – ambience, suspense, action, and some serious plot twists. Give this one a try. You won’t be able to put it down.”
Author of Bradley’s Dragons (Creative Child Magazine’s 2020 Book of The Year)
The first time it happens, I’m peeling carrots over the kitchen sink, distracted by a squirrel outside the window. He bites the rind from a black walnut and spits it over his shoulder. It reminds me of my childhood, eating watermelon and sending the seeds flying through the air because if I swallowed them, a watermelon tree would grow in my stomach. I can’t remember which adult told me that, but the memory makes me smile. And yet, I’m perplexed. In my daydream, instead of my childhood backyard, I see concrete sidewalks and trees. No grass.
As I try to make sense of the image, the vegetable peeler slips from my wet hands, slicing a chunk of skin from the side of my index finger. I gasp, grab a hand towel, and wrap it around the wound. In the sink, watery red blood swirls around the carrot scrapings; and it happens. A loud whoosh. A rushing sensation in my head. I still stand at the sink, but in my mind, I’ve been transported to a room. Counters. Sink. A kitchen, but sterile and uninviting. Rage wracks my body, but fear rests at the root of my anger. Before I process the scene, a crash sucks me out of the vision.
The kitchen floor is a sea of rolling Cheerios. I try to block one with my foot, but I’m a second too late. It takes refuge under the refrigerator, where it will remain until an ant finds it next spring. I drop to my knees and sweep the Cheerios into a pile with my hands. The broom. I should get the broom. I stand and my body jolts at the sight of a baby in the high chair. I forgot she was there. Amanda. Her name is Amanda. She stares at me with a look that says, “Hey, Emily, you gonna pay me some attention or what?”
I grab the broom and sweep up the cereal. As I bend over to lift the dust pan, I feel I’ve forgotten something urgent. I pause for a moment, willing it to come back, but there’s nothing. I toss the Cheerios into the garbage pail and lift a now fidgeting Amanda from her chair. In my arms, she frets even more, letting out a yell and arching backward when I sing a nursery rhyme and bounce her up and down. I pace back and forth but cannot console her. That a six-month-old baby can express such fury shocks me.
A ray of sunlight shines through the window, hits a crystal sun catcher, and disperses like a million diamonds over the granite countertops and beef stew ingredients waiting to be thrown into the Crock-Pot. Maple cabinets and newly painted sage walls should seem warm and inviting but feel alien. Did I decorate this room? It doesn’t seem possible. Certainly I would have selected sleek black and stainless steel surfaces, a bit cool and aloof. A room where white, Chinese take-out containers with their silver-colored handles look like art on display. A kitchen that doesn’t take itself too seriously or apply too much pressure to come up with a home-cooked meal.
Amanda continues to scream. I have a sudden urge to open the back door and run. Instead, I fill a glass with water and wash down a Tylenol for my raging headache.
I am not a natural mother. There it is. I’ve admitted it. I do not feel a bond with my daughter. We are like two strangers left alone in a room together. If it’s possible for a baby to have opinions about such matters, I’d say she doesn’t like me much at all. Maybe it’s that postpartum depression people talk about messing with my mind, but it seems like a long time to be going through that. The oddest thing is, I don’t feel guilty about my lack of affection. On the contrary, there is a rightness to it.
I place the glass in the sink and stare out the window. I’m struck again by the sensation, something floating just beyond the grasp of consciousness. What am I forgetting? My mind scampers this way and that in a futile attempt to uncover the lost memory. Outside, the squirrel digs hole after hole, searching for a hidden nut.