WARNING: Contains adult subject matter that some may find disturbing, including domestic violence and sexual battery. This is a very dark story about survival--two damaged souls who find love after both being abused.
begins where Keeping Secrets left off. And if KS is a white-knuckle, edge-of-your-seat rollercoaster ride (and it is!), then KS II is a cliff-diving, gut-wrenching free fall of emotions guaranteed to rock your nerves and bring a tear to your eye.
“Abbie, I’ll never stop loving you. And I’ll never let you go. You know that, don’t you?”
That’s right—Greg is back! Abbie hopes her promise not to tell the police about the murders, as long as Greg stays away, will keep her and her family safe. But not even his fear of going to prison for murder could keep Greg away from Abbie. This time, however, it’s not just Abbie that he wants. He’s determined to make sure Taylor knows their secret.
After a visit with Ellen, who allowed him to be brutalized as a child, Greg comes undone. His obsession drives him to abduct Abbie and Taylor, taking them on a five-state crime spree, desperate to flee from multiple law enforcement agencies.
As Abbie struggles with her convictions, her emotions, and her overwhelming need to protect Taylor, the body count rises. What will Abbie do when the opportunity to escape presents itself? And what will Greg do when faced with the choice of saving Abbie’s life, or his own?
“Ellen, did you ever sense any tension between Johnny and your husband?”
“Well, as Johnny grew up, there was tension. All children have trouble with their parents as they grow up, I guess.”
“Did John ever physically punish Johnny?”
“Well, he spanked him, yes.”
“How did he spank him? What did he use?”
“Well, I don’t know. I suppose he used a belt. That’s how we were raised.”
“He beat him with a belt?”
“Well, I guess you could say that. He hit him with it.”
“Do you know of any other abuse?”
“I wouldn’t say it was abuse. It was discipline.”
“Did Johnny get bruises from the beatings?”
“And you didn’t see that as abuse?”
“Like I said, that’s how we were raised. A child gets out o’ line, they get the belt. It made ‘em think twice about what they did, before they did it again.”
“Are you aware of your husband ever hurting Johnny in any other way?”
“I don’t know.”
“So you’re not sure?”
“Well, I knew John spanked him with the belt. And I know that sometimes he probably went a little too far with it. But…come to think of it… This might not have anything to do with any kind of abuse, but it was somethin’ I always wondered about, but was afraid to ask.”
“Well, as boys get older, they tend to pull away, I know that. But Johnny got more and more reclusive, I guess you could say. He didn’t want anything to do with either one of us. And when John would get ready to take Johnny on those campin’ trips, he would have to make Johnny go. I always wondered what happened on those trips. Johnny always seemed especially sad and withdrawn, and even angry, when they would come back home. I guess I figured they must’ve argued, or somethin’ like that.”
Depression and being forced to go on the camping trips—sounds like confirmation of the abuse to me. Apparently, he told the truth about that, too.
“Did your husband ever abuse you?”
hit me that much anymore.”
“Ellen, do you ever remember seeing blood on Johnny’s underwear or on his bed?”
“I do. I never knew what to make o’ that. I didn’t want to embarrass him, so I didn’t ever ask him about it.”
“Blood, Ellen. You didn’t think that was something that needed to be addressed?”
“Well, I was concerned, but he was so private about things, I didn’t want to intrude.”
“Do you remember your husband going into Johnny’s room at night?”
“In the early years, he used to hit me when he was mad. But I learned how to side-step that back when we first got married.”
“Have you ever heard the ol’ sayin’, ‘Go along to get along’?”
“I tried to do what I thought he wanted me to do, and I didn’t ask any questions about anything. It didn’t always work, but it usually did. However, after we adopted Johnny, he didn’t
“Do you remember hearing Johnny cry when he was in there or maybe just after?”
“I think so. Why? You don’t think John did somethin’ to hurt Johnny…”
“What did you think Johnny was crying about?”
“I didn’t know.”
“And you never asked?”
“I couldn’t ask John. I was afraid to. And whatever it was, I was afraid it would embarrass Johnny, so I never said anything to him about it.”
“He was in his teens then, wasn’t he?”
“I believe so.”
“Didn’t you find it strange for a boy in his teens to be crying, especially in front of his father?”
“I guess I didn’t give it a lot o’ thought.”
Or maybe you were too drunk to notice…or maybe you didn’t care.
“Ellen, Johnny said that your husband molested him when he was little. And as he got older, into his teens, your husband raped him.”
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