Read Do You Promise Not to Tell? Online
Authors: Mary Jane Clark
Tags: #Fiction, #Thrillers, #General, #Suspense
HIGH RATINGS FOR MARY JANE CLARK
DO YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL?
“Nail-biting suspense, two budding romances, and the heartwarming tale of an elderly Russian emigré make DO YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL? a top notch read. The story grabbed me from page one and kept me mesmerized until the surprising finale.”—Toby Bromberg,
“For those who can’t get enough of the competitively backbiting world of network news, this novel offers entertaining verisimilitude.”—
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET?
“A polished page-turner with a smart, appealing TV anchorwoman as the main character. Twists, turns and a terrific plot. I loved it.”—Mary Higgins Clark
“An unabashed edge-of-the-seat, they-don’t-write-’em-like-that-anymore, unplug-the-phone-and-disconnect-the-TV page-turning stunner!”—Dan Rather
“Secrets . . . ambition . . . intrigue . . . Mary Jane Clark knowingly seduces you in this intensely suspenseful be-hind-the-media-scenes thriller.”—Joan Rivers
“A brilliantly structured thriller. The secrets and surprises just keep coming.”—Janet Evanovich, author of
ST. MARTIN’S PAPERBACKS TITLES
BY MARY JANE CLARK
Do You Want to Know a Secret?
Do You Promise Not to Tell?
Let Me Whisper in Your Ear
Close to You
Nowhere to Run
Hide Yourself Away
Dancing in the Dark
St. Martin’s Paperback
: If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
DO YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL?
Copyright © 1999 by Mary Jane Clark.
Let Me Whisper in Your Ear
copyright © 2000 by Mary Jane Clark.
Cover photograph by Frank Spinelli.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.
Printed in the United States of America
St. Martin’s Press hardcover edition / August 1999
St. Martin’s Paperbacks edition / July 2000
20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11
It takes a village to write and publish a book. I’d like to express my appreciation to the support population of
Do You Promise Not to Tell?
Roberta Golubock took me to lunch at the Metropolitan Museum of Art while the Fabergé exhibit glittered. An idea was born and Roberta encouraged me to see it through to fruition.
Margaret Trombly, Director of the Forbes Museum, Associate Curator Robin Troemer-Brenner and George Tempro, Director of Administration, helped me with my early research on “Fauxbergé.” Geza Von Hapsburg, Thomas Hoving, and the late Robert Woolley assisted too, with their respective tomes on Fabergé, art forgery, and auctions.
Norma Nutman and the late Deena Teitlebaum guided me through Brighton Beach as I tried to absorb the local color of “Little Odessa.”
Margot Dennedy, Director of Security at Sotheby’s, helped me find the one spot to get away with murder in a world class auction house without security cameras watching.
An FBI agent, who wishes to remain nameless, generously volunteered inside information on how today’s Federal Bureau of Investigation works. I promise not to tell.
Louise and Joel Albert, Cathy and David Holmes
and Barbara and Reginald Brack opened their “writer’s retreats” to me.
Father Paul Holmes was my sounding board, hole-finder, and cheerleader, “egging” me on as I labored to make deadline. His editorial help made the book better.
Laura Dail, my agent and friend, seems to be thinking constantly of my career, which frees me up to think about my writing. I always feel I am in good hands with Laura and her enthusiastic assistant, Francheska Farinacci.
The St. Martin’s Press team is led by Sally Richardson, who has made me feel quite special. My editor Jennifer Weis, her assistant, Joanna Jacobs, publicist Walter Halee and paperback quarterback Matthew Shear tackle their work hard, determined to score. My thanks to them and everyone at St. Martin’s who worked on this project.
Frances Twoomey, what would I do without you?
Louise Albert, Joy Blake, Liz Flock, Cathy White Haffler, Katharine Hayden, Elizabeth Kaledin and Steve Simring: the ones I called when I was ready to shave my head. That happened a lot.
Doris and Fred Behrends, my parents, constantly tried to help me.
Finally and always, Elizabeth and David, my children. They bear with their mother. I love you both, very, very much.
JUST FOR ELIZABETH
. . .
My sparkling, intricate, miraculous treasure
Do You Promise
Not To Tell?
Why hassle with buying a gun when you can just cruise the aisles of Home Depot? It’s all there.
A box of heavy-duty black plastic garbage bags was thrown into the wire shopping cart. Industrial Strength, the package boasted.
No one would miss Misha—at least no one that the police would bother trying to satisfy.
Slowly up and down the busy aisles. Pruning shears. Big ones. Into the basket they went.
Either you’re on the team, or you’re not, Misha.
So many axes, so little time. A salesman in an orange, bib-fronted apron appeared amid the axes.
“Can I help you?”
“Yes. I’m doing some yard work. I have to clear some trees and brush.”
“How thick are the tree trunks?”
The salesman was assessed. “A little thicker than your waist.”
The salesman selected a large, wooden-handled ax from the bin. “This one’s a beauty. Double-edged. When one side gets dull, you just flip to the other.”
“You said you have to clear some brush, too? It’s a waste of your energy to use an ax as heavy as this
one if you don’t have to. You’d better have a smaller hatchet in your toolbox.”
The hatchet found a home on top of the garbage bags.
“You’ll want one of these files, too. That way, you can keep your tools keen. You’d be surprised at how much easier your job is when they’re razor sharp.”
In went a shiny new hammer for good luck.
It was essential to get out while the going was good. Many people would get away with their crimes if they just knew when to stop. Instead, their egos got in the way. You gotta know when to quit.
The pimply-faced high-school kid at the register scanned the tools that would make Misha . . . well, “go all to pieces.”
The kid looked up and felt a chill creep up his spine. He ignored it.
“Spring cleanup, huh?”
Farrell Slater knew her days were numbered. Her contract was up and Range Bullock, executive producer of
KEY Evening Headlines
, didn’t like her. A lethal combination. Unless she could redeem herself, Farrell knew her contract would not be renewed and her days as one of the producers of the network’s highly-rated evening-news broadcast would be over unless she could pull a journalistic rabbit out of a hat.
She’d even started going to church again. Funny how worry led one back to the kneeler. On the way to the office this morning, Farrell had stopped for ashes at St. Gabriel’s. It was the first time in years she’d bothered. Might as well start the Lenten season off right. Having God on her side right now wouldn’t hurt.
How the mighty had fallen. Eight years ago, as just a thirty-year-old, Farrell had been the talk of KEY News, having won three Emmy Awards in one season—industry recognition for her outstanding achievements in television news production. Everyone had loved her then, everyone had wanted to be her friend. She was a hot property, admired and sought after by her colleagues.
What had happened?
Part of it, she had to admit to herself, was that she
hadn’t been able to sustain the momentum and enthusiasm for her job. She had started to coast—just slightly at first, then a little bit more. So, to some degree it was her own fault she was where she was. But not entirely.
There was no doubt in Farrell’s mind. Her boss detested her. Was there any way she could redeem herself? Did she want to? Bullock had written her off. The stories he was assigning to Farrell now were always “below the line,” iffy stories listed way down on the morning’s rundown, beneath the pieces sure to make air.
Occasionally one of Farrell’s stories developed into something more than Bullock had anticipated. The executive producer was then forced, grudgingly, to give it a slot in the
lineup. If the piece came out well, Bullock credited its depth, creativity, and impact to the correspondent. If the piece came up short, Producer Farrell, ever the goat, got the blame.
Hanging her violet wool coat on the back of the door, Farrell, dressed in a simple turtleneck and black wool slacks, headed for her desk in the office she shared with Bullock’s pet producer, Dean Cohen. Farrell lifted a cup of coffee from the Strokos Delicatessen’s brown paper bag and, studying her office mate, tried to remember what it was like to be the favored one.
Dean certainly wasn’t any smarter or more aggressive than Farrell. His pieces were solid, never outstanding. But Dean was a skilled player in the KEY political game. He knew when to keep his mouth shut.
Farrell did not. His sucking up to Range Bullock made Farrell want to gag.
“Happy Ash Wednesday,” Dean nodded, acknowledging the black smudge on Farrell’s forehead.
“That’s a contradiction in terms,” Farrell corrected.
“Oh yeah, right. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and all that.” Dean turned his attention back to his
New York Times
Now, why had she done that? She could have just smiled and said a simple thank-you. That’s what most people would have done. But no. She had to put Dean in his place. It was a constant game of one-upmanship between them and she knew it. It didn’t play well.
Perhaps if she were prettier, she could get away with it. But Farrell wasn’t a conventionally pretty woman. Quirky, maybe—exotic, on a good day. She’d known since she was a little girl that she would make her way in life with her strongest asset, her brain. A coarse cloud of black curly hair crowned her high forehead. Large (almost too large) brown eyes gave her a look of wide-eyed wonder—not very reassuring in the television news business. The appearance of control could be more important than actual control.
Booting up her computer, Farrell groaned inwardly as she viewed her lot for the day. How could she change Bullock’s mind when he kept assigning her the dreck? The Fabergé auction over at Churchill’s?
Below the line.
Pat struggled to stay seated. Please, God, just let the bidding go up.
The gavel snapped crisply. “Sold! To number four-ten. Fifteen thousand dollars for the Fabergé brooch.”
Patricia Devereaux craned her auburn head, eager to see who had captured Olga’s treasured crescent pin. Searching the crowd, she saw movement two rows ahead. Sitting on one of the folding chairs in the venerable Churchill’s auction gallery, a wraithlike old woman dressed entirely in black smoothly replaced her green auction paddle in her lap. As the woman rose to leave, Pat got a better look.