Nemesis, a debut novel by David Pinto, is an erotic thriller about two married men (and best friends) who unknowingly have the same mistress. When she’s found murdered, one of her lovers is put on trial, while the other sets out to defend him. But what really happened that night – and who can you honestly trust with your life? Find out in this excerpt…
“George, what’s up? My secretary told me you called,” Ted said on the phone.
“Oh yeah, give me a minute to find the file in all this mess. It’s about the Dr. Elliot Barrett case. There it is.”
“What about it?”
“Well, I called to tell you that the coroner has finished his report and the police wrapped up the investigation. I’m afraid your client is in deep shit. All the evidence is pointing in his direction.”
Ted recalled his meeting with Elliot the day before to discuss what he had gathered so far about the case. He wanted to find out all he could about the exact nature of Elliot’s relationship with Lindsey, and about the physical evidence found in Lindsey’s apartment. Elliot held his position as before, denying any wrongdoing.
When George’s discovery package arrived, Ted looked at it for a long time. Finally he gathered the courage to open it. He quickly scanned the two reports, that of the first officer on the scene and that of the detective assigned to take over the investigation.
When he got to the photographs, he felt his stomach turn upside-down. Seeing Lindsey’s dead body on the couch sent spasms through his body and produced a sharp pain in his chest.
The events of that dreadful night flashed vividly through his mind. Ted had called Lindsey’s gallery on the morning of her death.
“Lindsey I want to tell you something very important. I’m free tonight and I’m going to come over around 8:30 P.M.” Ted had been excited to share his surprise with her.
“Why aren’t you asking me if it’s a good time for me too?”Lindsey asked.
Ted was taken aback. “I’m sorry, my beauty. Just too excited with my news. May I …?”
“Okay, okay but what is all this surprise?”
“I want to keep the surprise until I see you tonight,” Ted said, trying to retain his charming voice. “Can you make one of your gourmet dinners for us?”
“I won’t be able to; I’ll be busy throughout the day.”
Ted tried to contain his disappointment. He wanted to create a special event when telling her what he had been thinking about for the last few weeks. “Never mind. I’ll pick up Thai food,” Ted said, not letting any obstacles ruin his plan.
“I got to go, I’ll see you around 8:30,” Lindsey said.
Ted rubbed her the wrong way sometimes, but he excited her. In many ways she liked his aggression, but also felt repulsed by his obsessive need to control. Elliot was gentle and soft-spoken. In some ways he lacked the spice that stimulated her, yet she found security in his solid and orderly nature. Would that they were both one man. But I can settle for both and get what I need.
With Ted, Lindsey enjoyed going out on the town and letting the mood dictate the night, without censor. With Elliot, she liked going to dinner and having long conversations on stimulating subjects. Lindsey enjoyed the sustained, passionate sex with Elliot and the wild, uncontrollable sex with Ted. With Elliot she fulfilled the need of being with someone that gave her what her father had not provided, and with Ted she felt she was allowed to be a child again.
Ted left his apartment that night, not feeling any need to tell Heather where he was going. He knew they would not remain together much longer. He’d spent the last few months rearranging his financial accounts to disguise his real wealth, knowing he could not hide all his money, but managing to conceal much of it.
After stopping to pick up flowers and the Thai food, Ted drove down Broadway into SoHo; he finally found an illegal parking spot between two buildings next to a garbage dump, not caring if he got a parking ticket. Ted showed up exactly on time at Lindsey’s door.
He rang the bell a few times and waited apprehensively. Lindsey answered, wearing a bathrobe.
“What beautiful flowers,” she said. “Give me just a minute or two to get dressed. You can put the flowers in the vase on the counter for me.” Disappearing up the staircase, she said over her shoulder,“Will you open a bottle of white wine? You know where it is.”
Ted set the flowers in the vase, poured the wine and pressed the C.D. button. Then he sat back and closed his eyes, delighted with the mellow jazz trumpet of Miles Davis. Perfect, he thought rubbing his hands together. Just the right mood.
To Ted’s disappointment, Lindsey came down casually dressed, wearing no shoes and no makeup.
“I love the flowers,” she said. “But one of these days I need to teach you how they should be set.” She moved the vase back to the way it had been. “It must be placed in harmony with the rest of the surroundings. Flowers should be arranged with more care.” She took a long moment to attentively observe the variety, and then with skillful hands arranged the flowers, stepping back and forth until she felt the arrangement was just right. “Now they are perfect. Thanks for the flowers.”
Ted usually liked to be in control of any situation and hated when Lindsey tried to teach him, but chose not to respond. Tonight he had different ideas in mind.
“Come sit next to me,” Ted said. He held her hand and looked directly into her eyes. “I’ve waited all day for this moment.” He pulled a velvet box out of his pocket and gave it to Lindsey.
Lindsey opened the box, astonished. “What a beautiful bracelet! What is the occasion?”
“Do you like it?”
“It’s beautiful, the jade is gorgeous.”
Ted looked in Lindsey eyes, as her placed the bracelet on her wrist and chose his words carefully. “I have been carrying it with me for a week. This is only part of the surprise.”
Lindsey gave Ted a passionate kiss. “I love it. It’s really beautiful.”
Ted looked at Lindsey with satisfaction. “Listen Lindsey, we have been seeing each other for the last six months. I’ve fallen in love with you.”
Lindsey laughed lightly. “You are a married man, Ted.”
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot. You are the most fun and amazing woman I have ever met. This is what I wanted to surprise you about. I’m planning to divorce Heather.”
Lindsey was indeed surprised. She got up to pour another glass of wine. “Ted… I’m flattered … but you should know me by now. I am not interested in an exclusive relationship.”
“What are you saying? I’m willing to get divorced and be only with you. I thought you would love the idea.”
“Love the idea? I did not say or do anything to make you believe that.”
Ted was agitated. His plan had fallen flat. “Isn’t it every woman’s dream to find herself with one man?”
Lindsey giggled. “You are really silly. I have no such dream, never have. I own myself. I don’t want to be limited to a monogamous relationship.”
“What are you saying?”
“Look, Ted, I have a relationship with another man.”
“Another man! Why didn’t you tell me?” Ted shouted.
“I don’t owe you reports! Some aspects of my life I don’t feel like sharing.”
“What do you call what we have together?” Ted’s face turned red.
She tried to calm him. “What we have is exclusive to us. The rest of my life is mine. What do we have? Passionate quickies, good fucks, good dinners, lots of fun and great times. I hope I’m speaking for both of us.”
“Who is he? Are you fucking him?” Ted was furious, but he needed to hear what she had to say.
“I don’t think that’s any of your business,” she snapped back, moving farther away from him. “But if you must know, he’s a nice doctor who is married just like you. We have the same understanding. He’s been taking care of my mother at the Cancer Center Hospital.”
“Cancer Center, I know people from there. Who is he?”
“Dr. Elliot Barrett. That shouldn’t mean anything to you.”
Lindsey disclosed Elliot’s name in the heat of the moment and immediately realized her mistake. She always regretted being dragged into this kind of discussion. “Listen, Ted. That’s all you get from me. I’m not on trial and you are not cross-examining me.”
Ted jumped up as if he had been bitten by a snake. He couldn’t control his anger. Elliot, I cannot believe that bastard, he thought. Elliot, that son of a bitch always has everything fall into his lap.
Years of stored jealousy rose to the surface of his mind. He grabbed Lindsey’s hands tightly. “What is this? Some kind of mind game? You cannot play with people like this.”
Lindsey got up, trying to detach her hands from Ted’s grip. “Let go of my hands,” she yelled, furiously trying to release herself. “Let me go, let go of my hands!” Her rage grew as she desperately tried to pull away. “Who do you think you are? What about you? This is your second divorce,” she screamed. “You’re thinking of making me your third wife. What do you call that…?”
Ted’s anger turned to rage. “You are some kind of heartless bitch. I don’t need you.”
He suddenly released his grip. Lindsey, eyes wide with surprise, lost her sense of balance and tripped, falling backwards, hitting a chair. She fell to the side and hit the back of her head on the corner of the wooden couch. She lost her breath and consciousness.
Ted was horrified and tried desperately to move forward to catch her, but the chair was in his way. He heard the hollow sound of her skull hitting the wood. Ted rushed toward Lindsey, almost tripping over the broken chair. When he saw that she was not breathing, he panicked.
“I killed her!” he said frantically. “I killed her!”
His first instinct was to run toward the door but he got hold of himself. He took the bottle of wine, the food he brought and wiped all the places his fingers might have left their prints. Then, looking around to see if he left any evidence, he remembered the bracelet. Ted removed the bracelet from Lindsey’s wrist. Remembering the flowers, he stuffed them in a paper bag. Arms full, he carefully closed the door and disappeared into the dark alley, not seeing the pair of eyes watching from inside a big cardboard box.
Join us Friday, August 10th 6-8PM at Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore for a launch party with David Pinto, New York Times bestselling author Susan Shapiro (releasing her new book THE BYLINE BIBLE), and special guests. NEMESIS and THE BYLINE BIBLE will be available for purchase and author signings! Tell us #WhosYourNemesis on social media to keep up with the fun.
*This excerpt has been condensed and edited from the original*
David Pinto is an architect and writer based in Austin, Texas. NEMESIS is his first novel.