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Authors: Harlan Coben

Live Wire

BOOK: Live Wire
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Table of Contents
 
 
ALSO BY HARLAN COBEN
Play Dead
Miracle Cure
Deal Breaker
Drop Shot
Fade Away
Back Spin
One False Move
The Final Detail
Darkest Fear
Tell No One
Gone for Good
No Second Chance
Just One Look
The Innocent
Promise Me
The Woods
Hold Tight
Long Lost
Caught
DUTTON
Published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.); Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England; Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd); Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd); Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110 017, India; Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd); Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
Published by Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
First printing, March 2011
 
Copyright © 2011 by Harlan Coben
All rights reserved
 
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
has been applied for
 
eISBN : 978-1-101-47616-1
 
Set in Sabon
 
PUBLISHER’S NOTE
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
 
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
 
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For Anne, because the best is yet to come
1
T
he ugliest truth, a friend once told Myron, is still better than the prettiest of lies.
Myron thought about that now as he looked down at his father in the hospital bed. He flashed back sixteen years, to the last time he had lied to his father, the lie that caused so much heartbreak and devastation, a lie that started a tragic ripple that, finally, disastrously, would end here.
His father’s eyes remained closed, his breathing raspy and uneven. Tubes seemed to snake out from everywhere. Myron stared down at his father’s forearm. He remembered as a child visiting his dad in that Newark warehouse, the way his father sat at his oversized desk, his sleeves rolled up. The forearm had been powerful enough back then to strain the fabric, making the cuff work tourniquet-like against the muscle. Now the muscle looked spongy, deflated by age. The barrel chest that had made Myron feel so safe was still there, but it had grown brittle, as though a hand pressing down could snap the rib cage like dried twigs. His father’s unshaven face had gray splotches instead of his customary five o’clock shadow, the skin around his chin loose, sagging down like a cloak one size too big.
Myron’s mother—Al Bolitar’s wife for the past forty-three years—sat next to the bed. Her hand, shaking with Parkinson’s, held his. She too looked shockingly frail. In her youth, his mother had been an early feminist, burning her bra with Gloria Steinem, wearing T-shirts that read stuff like “A Woman’s Place Is in the House . . . and Senate.” Now, here they both were, Ellen and Al Bolitar (“We’re El-Al,” Mom always joked, “like the Israeli airline”) ravaged by age, hanging on, luckier by far than the vast majority of aging lovers—and yet this was what luck looked like in the end.
God has some sense of humor.
“So,” Mom said to Myron in a low voice. “We agree?”
Myron did not reply. The prettiest of lies versus the ugliest truth. Myron should have learned his lesson back then, sixteen years ago, with that last lie to this great man he loved like no other. But, no, it wasn’t so simple. The ugliest truth could be devastating. It could rock a world.
Or even kill.
So as his father’s eyes fluttered open, as this man Myron treasured like no other looked up at his oldest son with pleading, almost childlike confusion, Myron looked at his mother and slowly nodded. Then he bit back the tears and prepared to tell his father one final lie.
2
SIX DAYS EARLIER
 
P
lease, Myron, I need your help.”
This was, for Myron, a bit of a fantasy: a shapely, gorgeous damsel in distress sauntering into his office like something out of an old Bogey film—except, well, the saunter was more of a waddle and the shapeliness was coming from the fact that the gorgeous damsel was eight months pregnant, and really, sorry, that kind of killed the whole fantasy effect.
Her name was Suzze T, short for Trevantino, a retired tennis star. She had been the sexy bad girl of the tour, better known for her provocative outfits, piercings, and tattoos than for her actual game. Still Suzze won a major and made a ton in endorsements, most notably as the spokeswoman (Myron loved that euphemism) for La-La-Latte, a chain of topless coffee bars, where college boys loved to snicker for “extra milk.” Good times.
Myron spread his arms. “I’m here for you, Suzze, twenty-four/ seven—you know that.”
They were in his Park Avenue office, home of MB Reps, the
M
standing for Myron, the
B
for Bolitar, and the Reps because they represented athletes, actors, and writers. Literal-Monikers-R-Us.
“Just tell me what I can do.”
Suzze began to pace. “I’m not sure where to begin.” Myron was about to speak when she held up her hand. “And if you dare say, ‘Start at the beginning,’ I will rip off one of your testicles.”
“Just one?”
“You’re engaged now. I’m thinking of your poor fiancée.”
The pace turned more into a stomp, picking up speed and intensity so that a small part of Myron feared that she might go into labor right here in his recently refurbished office.
“Uh, the carpet,” Myron said. “It’s new.”
She frowned, paced some more, started biting her exuberantly polished fingernails.
“Suzze?”
She stopped. Their eyes met.
“Tell me,” he said.
“You remember when we first met?”
Myron nodded. He was just a few months out of law school and starting up his fledgling firm. Back then, at the inception, MB Reps had been known as MB SportsReps. That was because initially Myron represented only athletes. When he started representing actors and writers and others in the field of the arts and celebrity, he dropped the Sports from the name, ergo, MB Reps.
Again with the literal.
“Of course,” he said.
“I was a mess, wasn’t I?”
“You were a great tennis talent.”
“And a mess. Don’t sugarcoat it.”
Myron put his palms toward the ceiling. “You were eighteen.”
“Seventeen.”
“Seventeen, whatever.” Quick memory flash of Suzze in the sun: blond hair in a ponytail, a wicked grin on her face, her forehand whipping the ball as though it had offended her. “You’d just turned pro. Adolescent boys hung your poster in their bedrooms. You were supposed to beat legends right away. Your parents redefined pushy. It’s a miracle you stayed upright.”
“Good point.”
“So what’s wrong?”
Suzze glanced down at her belly as though it had just appeared. “I’m pregnant.”
“Uh, yeah, I can see that.”
“Life is good, you know?” Her voice was soft now, wistful. “After all the years, when I was a mess . . . I found Lex. His music has never been better. The tennis academy is doing great. And, well, it’s just all so good now.”
Myron waited. Her eyes stayed on her belly, cradling it as though it were its contents, which, Myron surmised, it kind of was. To keep the conversation going, Myron asked, “Do you like being pregnant?”
“The actual physical act of carrying a child?”
“Yes.”
She shrugged. “It’s not like I’m glowing or any of that. I mean, I’m so ready to deliver. It’s interesting though. Some women love being pregnant.”
“And you don’t?”
“It feels like someone parked a bulldozer on my bladder. I think the reason women like being pregnant is because it makes them feel special. Like they’re minor celebrities. Most women go through life without the attention, but when they’re pregnant, people make a fuss. This may sound uncharitable, but pregnant women like the applause. Do you know what I mean?”
“I think so.”
“I’ve already had my share of applause, I guess.” She moved toward the window and looked out for a moment. Then she turned back toward him. “By the way, did you notice how huge my boobs are?”
BOOK: Live Wire
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