Coming December 10, 2024

Darby Kane, author of the #1 international bestseller Pretty Little Wife, returns with another twisty domestic thriller about a wife wondering who tried to kill her husband twice before finally succeeding… because that was supposed to be her job.

Dr. Richmond Dougherty is a renowned pediatric surgeon, an infamous tragedy survivor, and a national hero. He’s also very dead—thanks to a fall down the stairs. His neighbors angrily point a finger at the newest Ms. Dougherty, Addison. The sudden marriage to the mysterious young woman only lasted ninety-seven days, and he’d had two suspicious “accidents” during that time. Now Addison is a very rich widow.

As law enforcement starts to circle in on Addison and people in town become increasingly hostile, sides are chosen with Kathryn, Richmond’s high school sweetheart, wife number one, and the mother of his children, leading the fray. Despite rising tensions, Addison is even more driven to forge ahead on the path she charted years ago…

Determined at all costs to unravel Richmond’s legacy, she soon becomes a target—with a shocking note left on her bedroom wall: You will pay. But it will take a lot more than faceless threats to stop Addison. Her plan to marry Richmond then ruin him may have been derailed by his unexpected death, but she’s not done with him yet.

What the Wife Knew

HelenKay writing as Darby Kane
Thriller & Suspense
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Present Day

I’d never attended a funeral before, but I needed to be in the room for this one, mostly to make sure the jackass in the casket stayed dead.

I now understood why people dreaded these things. The weeping. The somber music. The recounting of stories no one cared about. The pregame week of casseroles.

Richmond Dougherty. Make that Dr. Richmond Dougherty. Renowned pediatric surgeon. Childhood hero. Infamous tragedy survivor. He deserved to be in a box. He should have been in a box decades ago, but some things took time.

The dramatic music swelled and the minister, or whatever his official title was, finished what felt like the twentieth prayer of the hourlong service. When everyone stood, I turned, ready to bolt outside for some fresh air. Then the line started.

The audience queued in the center aisle, headed toward the casket. With a low rumble of uncomfortable conversation, the mourners and gawkers filed up, one by one, and paid homage to the now-boxed Richmond. Some people peeked inside before moving on. Others stopped. A few talked to the dead body.

My stomach growled, making me regret leaving half a bagel on the kitchen counter before this shindig started.

Minutes dragged by, slow enough for the prolonged genuflecting to turn comical. Finally, Kathryn Dougherty, high school sweetheart and mother to Richmond’s two perfectly educated, perfectly dressed children, wandered up to take her turn. With unsteady steps, she passed the cascade of blue and yellow bouquets, colors said to be Richmond’s favorites. She plunged headfirst into the drama with teary nods to a few people on her right and the reach of a consoling hand toward someone in the pews to her left, fingers never quite touching.

An expert level display of grief and ego. The woman was on fire.

Her son, Wyatt, twenty and doing an admirable job of hiding his panic because Daddy’s death touched off a tectonic shift in the handling of family assets, slipped in beside his mother and half dragged, half carried the wilting woman to the front of the room. Neither paid much attention to fifteen-year-old Portia, who tagged along. She walked with hesitant steps, sniffling in her flowing black dress, likely wishing she were back in the safe arms of her swanky boarding school.

The organist marked the somber family death march by pounding out chords in such an exaggerated manner that more than one person winced at the harsh melody. The scene was quite the mesmerizing display. Just as Kathryn intended.

I fought the urge to glance at my cellphone as Kathryn finally arrived at the casket.

A heart-wrenching sob echoed throughout the church before she flung her body over Richmond’s. Her arms disappeared inside the casket. Her hair somehow didn’t move, but kudos to her for playing the role to the very end. That kind of commitment deserved a round of applause to accompany the stunned gasps floating through the room.

“This can’t be happening.” Kathryn choked out the words through a new bout of uncontrolled crying. “I can’t lose you.”

Too late.

Wyatt rushed to fish his mother out of the casket and knocked against the flower spray resting on top, sending loose petals spilling onto Kathryn and whatever else was in the box.

“Noooo.” Kathryn broke into a full-throated wail this time.

Shouting yes! seemed like too much, so I refrained.

“Mom. It’s okay. Come on.” Wyatt hovered over Kathryn’s convulsing body, trying to lift her off his dead father. Stark whispers bounced around the back of the room. I ignored them, transfixed by the acting master class in front of me.

Portia didn’t appear as impressed. She walked away from her mother in a gloomy cloud of teenage despair just as the minister swooped in to assist Wyatt. Kathryn’s legs barely held her as they pulled her out and dropped her sobbing form into a nearby pew.

This bitch knew how to work a room.

With a deep inhale, the minister dragged his attention away from all the weeping and waved his hand in my direction. “Mrs. Dougherty?”

Oh, shit. Right. Me. Mrs. Addison Dougherty. Dear dead Richmond’s much younger second wife. A recent addition to this dysfunctional family. Town pariah. The person most people blamed for Richmond being in that box.

They weren’t totally wrong. I wanted to kill him.

Someone beat me to it.

End of Excerpt

What the Wife Knew

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Dec 10, 2024


Dec 10, 2024

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