Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Nobody Has to Know Review Tour

Nobody Has to Know
by Frank Nappi



Nobody Has To Know, Frank Nappi's dark and daring new thriller, tells the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him. NHTK is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.

Chapter One:
Cam knew he should not have encouraged her - should have never pursued her. It was the first thing he was told before he took the job. It wasn’t so much an admonition as it was a statement of fact.

“Remember, you can be friendly with these kids, but you are not their friend,” his mentor, a seasoned veteran of twenty nine years, warned. “Especially the girls. That’s just trouble waiting to happen.”

Cam shrugged it off. He had heard that warning before. Besides, he had no interest in teenage girls, especially the ones sitting in his classroom.

“No problem there John,” he had explained at the time. “I have it covered. I have no time for any of that. I’m involved already. College sweetheart. It’s cool. Really. We’ve been together for years.”

“Is that right?” John commented. “Then what’s the deal? I mean, twenty five isn’t old friend, but seems to me you should have taken it to the next level by now.”

Cam flushed and stood more awkwardly now. John marveled at his protégé’s attempt to free himself from the moment’s grasp.

“I don’t know,” Cam replied. “Why does everyone ask me that? I really don’t know. I guess the timing has never been quite right.” He paused briefly, gleaning some obscure meaning behind the raised eyebrows of his friend and mentor, then continued to speak, like an actor who had just been cued from offstage.

“But that should change soon. Hayley and I will probably be engaged by Christmas.”

Cam should have remembered John Volpe’s words. He should have listened to logic, and tucked away those feelings. He should have done a lot of things, like remembered his master’s thesis – the one that explored La Femme Fatale. He knew all the names. The sirens of Greek Mythology. Mata Hari. Memo Paris. Daisy Buchanan and Mattie Silver. And of course there was Nabokov’s Lolita. She was the one he remembered most. “All of them,” he had written, “are so very beautiful, so alluring, yet deadly – life draining vampires who possess the power to transfix the opposite sex with their feminine wiles, leaving these spellbound males weak, vulnerable and ultimately barren.” He should have remembered. He should have considered how much he loved teaching and his genuine affection for everyone at Hillcrest High School. He tried. But all he could see was her. For some reason, all he could think about was her long dark hair, and what it would be like to touch it – to let the soft strands cascade across his own body. And the wet shine of her lips. My God, what would it be like to feel those as well? To press his to hers. She was so beautiful, so exquisite, so young.

So many times, during their little chats before and after class, he stared into her blue eyes, marbled with gray flecks, and was lit by her electric smile, all the while wondering how it was that this universe managed to give birth to such a perfect creature. She was perfect. She was just as Nabokov had described his Lolita -- the nymphet, a mystical, magical, sweet smelling creature budding with sexuality, ripening on life’s vine, right before his very eyes. Yes, the forbidden fruit. Oh how she tortured him. The curve of her mouth; her slender waist and fully formed hips, both attenuators to the rhapsody of her walk; her sweet smell and the softness of her tan skin. Everything about her called to him desperately. It was a familiarly paralyzing feeling. The girl was also familiar. He could recall, as a kid, humid summer evenings with his friends, racing around on damp lawns under a gray sky that had just begun to soften into the pitch of night. Freeze tag was the game most often. Some complained it was a bit juvenile, but there were all sorts of variations, including a wrinkle that included their favorite alcoholic drink of choice.

The rules of the game were basic: once touched, you could not move. You remained frozen in place, sometimes drinking to excess, until someone freed you from your current state. He could still remember waiting, silent and still, for what seemed sometimes to be an eternity. It was uncomfortable. Cam’s knees would ache and his arms would burn. It was interminable. He was always tempted to transgress, to flex his muscles under the cover of the deepening night. He never did. Even though he could move, he never did, for the spirit of and passion for the game always trumped logic and reason.

He played it all the time, with Maleigha. She was his first love. It was the summer before he began high school when he met her. She had just turned fourteen, and was visiting her cousin, who happened to be his next door neighbor. He was slightly older and they had spent that entire summer together, swimming and riding bikes. He often thought, even now, how odd it was how they seemed to click instantly. She came from a Latin American family that lived in a trailer in New Jersey. She was a singer, and a lover of jazz music. He was just a kid from Long Island who loved the Mets. Their cultures and upbringing differed greatly as well. Yet somehow, none of it mattered. It was part of the magic.

The days that summer were filled with innocent fun with a group of others. They sat around many afternoons listening to their favorite tracks from Rage Against the Machine and The Smashing Pumpkins while playing Super Mario 64 on his Nintendo. When they tired of that, the world outside offered more frivolity, including wiffle ball, Marco Polo, tag, and man hunt. They were rarely at a loss for entertainment. Those were good days. But night time was really special. At night, it was all about Maleigha.

Often, Cam would take her for walks through the nature preserve not too far from his house. She loved the sound of the crickets, and the gentle trickle of the shallow waterway that snaked its way through the underbrush. It was there they would hold hands and talk about the summer and the beach and about their feelings for each other.

“This is very different from where I come from,” she said, marveling at the moon through the treetops. “I really love it here.”

“Is Long Island really that different from New Jersey?” he asked.

She looked at him with bubbling amazement.

“Yeah, just a little,” she answered, shaking her head playfully.

“Well, it’s not that far,” he said. “Maybe your family can move here.”

She never looked so sad.

“I don’t think so Cam.”

“Well, you never know,” he continued. “Besides, you can always visit, right?”

She was thinking of her mother, and the last thing she said to her before Maleigha left.

“Have good time at Carla’s, behave yourself Maleigha, you hear? No trouble, okay? But by time you get back, we be all set to leave for Ecuador. No worries mi hija. It be fine.”

It will be fine, her mother kept saying. Somehow, Maleigha just could not see how moving to the other end of the earth would ever be fine. Not now. Not ever.

“Sure Cam,” she said through glassy eyes. “I can visit.”

He thought of Maleigha often. It was eleven years since he had last seen her, and he was now a twenty-five-year-old man with a beautiful fiancée and a promising career. Time had altered many things for Cam, but Maleigha remained a part of him. And although life had offered him a promising path to follow, other thoughts were now surfacing as well, like how this new nymphet of his, Nikki, knew very well, on some level, just how enticing she was. That’s why her sweaters fell the way they did across her round breasts, and why her clothes left very little unknown about just how shapely she was. It was the same reason why she twirled her hair when she laughed and why she giggled flirtatiously every time she said hello to him in the hallway. She was no child. No way. And he was no longer a man in control, but a tortured soul, slave to her essence, lost always in beautiful, woeful distraction.

There were moments when it was almost more than he could bear. When she touched his arm playfully, or blinked her eyes in that coquettish way of hers, it rendered him in agony. His heart would rebel feverishly, and his reality would divide instantly into two sectors – the ecstasy felt from the passing of electricity through that touch or flirtation and the devastation of a world that simply forbade any further advance. Those fires of love, or perhaps lust, burned wildly in the chasm between hemispheres and transformed quickly into waves of passionate thought. What would it be like, he wondered, to press his body up against hers? Just once. To feel, with all his being, her tight, silky skin next to his. It was a desire that ruled his soul.

Even so, he should have known better. Although only seven years separated the two, it should never have gone any further. It should have ended with those harmless flirtations, like their conversations about things they both loved, like the Mets and Kanye West, and the way he always saved her a piece of his Orbit gum or the many visits he made to Carvel, where she worked part time, just because he was “in the neighborhood.”

“You again?” she said laughing. “This is the third time this week. You sure must love ice cream.”

“What can I say Nikki,” he answered. “I’m addicted.”

Yes, he should have recognized the signs and just walked away. But he didn’t. Somewhere, deep within the darkest chambers of his soul, lurked the feeling that he had to have her – that his body would not survive in her absence. It was an uncompromising pang. Not even John’s advice and knowledge of all that he could lose were enough to extricate him from the blissful imaginings and real life longings. No. It did not matter. Nothing else mattered. Not any more. His world had been turned upside down in an instant, and he had reached the point of no return. 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, Echoes From The Infantry, received national attention, including MWSA's silver medal for outstanding fiction. His follow-up novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, garnered rave reviews as well, including a movie adaptation of the touching story "A Mile in His Shoes" starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder. Frank continues to produce quality work, including Sophomore Campaign, the intriguing sequel to the much heralded original story and the just released thriller, NOBODY HAS TO KNOW, which received an endorsement from #1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille. Frank is presently at work on a third installment of his Mickey Tussler series and his next thriller. He lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.

Nobody Has to Know book trailer 

Nelson DeMille's Endorsement:

"A haunting, briskly-paced page turner that explores the darkest recesses of the human psyche while propelling the reader through an intricate series of hair-raising twists and turns. Nobody Has to Know is a masterfully written tale that is expertly told. Frank Nappi knows how to entertain the reader from start to finish."
-- #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Nelson DeMille.

More Stops on the Tour


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Andra Lyn said...

I don't know if it's good or bad but that excerpt kind of gave me the creeps...not in a bad way though? It's hard to describe...maybe I'll just keep following the tour :P

andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

Amy said...

Hi Andra:
I hope it doesn't creep you out enough to make you stop following the tour :)

Thanks for the comment and have a great day!

Lyra L7 said...

Very intense excerpt, he really sounds obsessed, I hope we will see some of Nikki's POV?

lyra.lucky7 at gmail dot com

MomJane said...

Really have mixed feelings about this man. Interesting storyline.

Chelsea B. said...

Thanks for sharing an excerpt!


Gala said...

The story is certainly very gripping.


Unknown said...

Another great excerpt, thank you for sharing!


Anas said...

Do you have an author that you admire?

moonsurfer123 AT gmail dot com

emmarocks said...

What is your favorite scene in your book?

emmasreadings(At)gmail Dot com

Frank Nappi said...

Thank you for sharing an excerpt of my book NOBODY HAS TO KNOW. I hope you will check it out - even if some of you said it was creepy!!!

Thanks again,

Frank Napi

Mary Preston said...

Creepy can be good though.


Ami said...

I like a complex love story/slash thriller, I'm sure it's after my taste.

shadowrunner1987 AT gmail DOT com

bn100 said...

nice excerpt


Anonymous said...

Really intriguing excerpt. Poor thing was warned, and he did not take heed. I wonder how many relationships like this actually exist. A lot. There was one in my high school actually. Weird.