Our Little Secret

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson puts a sexy, twisty, gender-reversed spin on Fatal Attraction in this addictive tale of escalating obsession, betrayal, and violent delights for readers of Peter Swanson, Allison Brennan, Carola Lovering and Stacy Willingham.

He swore he’d never let her go. She should have believed him.

Brooke Hastings is ready to end her six-week affair. Gideon Ross is charming and sexy, but he’s not worth throwing away her marriage and family for. So she breaks it off, hoping Gideon will understand.

He doesn’t. Gideon insists that he and Brooke are meant to be together. Finally, he backs off, but not before issuing a promise: he’ll never let her go.

Six years later, Brooke wants to believe it’s all behind her. Her family has survived intact. Gideon has vanished.

But the fear hasn’t disappeared. Brooke can’t tell how much of it is paranoia, and how much is justified, but she’s worried. And maybe she’s right to be.

Because Gideon is a man who keeps his promises . . .



Publish Date

June 25, 2024



Piper Island, Oregon

I didn’t think it would end this way.

It’s not what I planned.

But here I am, lugging the dead-weight of a body into the cold sea.

It’s heavier than I’d imagined as I haul it into the icy surf.

I’ve left footprints on the sand, but they will disappear when the tide turns. Hopefully before anyone sees them.

I shift the awkward weight as the frigid water splashes over my ankles, the surf roaring in my ears. I suck in my breath, trudge on, and note how thick the fog is on this stretch of beach. A perfect cover.

Come on, come on, I tell myself as I drag the wretched corpse farther into the ocean, icy spray on my face, salt touching my lips, the sand beneath my feet moving outward in a rush, my feet sinking as the tide is going out, taking with it sand, debris, and hopefully, this damned corpse.

I struggle, my body numbing as I’m hip deep. Finally I feel the shelf beneath me give way to deeper waters, the drop-off lurking deep beneath the surface.


I stop.

Let go.

On cue, the tide surges, snatching the body away from me, pulling the rolling corpse out to sea to disappear into the wide, dark Pacific.

Yesss! Finally!

The sooner it’s gone, the better.

I stand on the ledge, bracing myself against the strength of the ocean.

A final wave approaches, curling with white foam, rushing to the land, the body bobbing closer for a second, close enough that I can see its eyes and for a second they seem to stare at me, straight into my soul.


Don’t be ridiculous.

Dead is dead.

I stare back.

Oh, shit, did it blink?

Open its mouth?

No, no, no!

Horrified, I take a step back as it’s carried away. “Go!” I yell. “Get the hell away from me!” For a second it’s lost again in the undulating water.

Then the sea turns again, the icy water receding swiftly, dragging the corpse close enough that I think I hear it speak–hiss my name over the thunder of the ocean. But that’s crazy, right?

In a second, it’s swept out to sea again, farther this time, the torso sinking into a froth of wild foam to be dragged to the open waters and disappear into the fog forever.

I lose sight of it.

Thank God.

I let out the breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding and feel a bit of elation, a little buzz.

It’s over.

After all these years.

I breathe deeply, the briny air filling my lungs, my cramped muscle relaxing. I need to get back. Quickly I glance back at the barely visible shoreline, the smudge of lights winking through the mist. Still, I linger, numb to my waist as I brace against the pull of the ocean and stare once more toward the west where the water melds into the fog.

Squinting, trying to peer through the curtain and slowly let out my breath. The body has finally vanished.

That part of my life–of our lives–is finally and thankfully over.

I close my eyes for a second. Wipe my face with the back of my nearly-numb and send up a quick prayer. As I open my eyes again, I start to turn, but stop. There, not thirty feet away, I catch sight of the body riding on the swiftly moving surface.I tell myself not to worry.

This was bound to happen.

It takes a while for–

A hand shoots upward.



My heart clutches.


“No.” I shake my head. Disbelieving. Blinking against the salty spray. “No . . . no, no, no!” It can’t be! But my heart is thundering, pounding against my rib cage.

Desperately I try to focus, to dislodge my worst fears as the surf thunders, crashing against the rocky outcrop to the north. I stare in disbelief and tell myself that it’s all in my head, that I’ve conjured up my worst fear. I mean, I’ve done it before so many times that it could be just a horrid figment of my imagination, of my guilt–

“Oh, fuck!”

And there it is again.

I can hardly breathe, the tide dragging at my buckling legs, the sand shifting beneath my feet. Bracing myself, horrified, I focus hard as a massive wave rolls. Above it, before it crests, a hand rises, arm stretching from the swells, stark and white, fingers twitching.


Daring me.

“God damn it!” I start to follow, then think better than to step off that sandy shelf. Instead, I whirl and plow through the icy water to the shore. Most of the feeling has draining away from my legs as I slosh ever faster toward the strand, the tide splaying against my ankles as I reach the beach where, beside the still-visible drag marks, I find a long piece of driftwood, just about the length of a baseball bat. Snatching it up, hefting it, checking its weight, I feel my fingers clench more tightly around the sodden wood.


Without thinking twice, my jaw set, I turn again, and with a new determination, I march steadfastly into the frigid surf. The wind slaps me the face, the salt spray sticks to my skin as my eyes narrow on the faint ghost of a hand still visible in the dark roiling water.

I can do this.

I must do this.

And so I will.

Chapter 1

Seattle, Washington


Five Years Earlier

“Come on, buddy! Can’t you drive faster than ten?” Brooke muttered, glancing at her speedometer before glaring at the rear-end of the huge car in front of her. She was late and getting nowhere fast as she tried to negotiate her way through the clogged streets of Seattle.

She took a glimpse at her watch, felt the drip of nervous sweat collecting on her spine. She wasn’t going to make it. Her daughter’s school would be out in less than ten minutes and she was, at this rate, fifteen minutes–maybe twenty–out.

“Damn it all to hell.” Nerves strung tight, fingers holding the steering wheel in a death grip, she managed to cut around the old Pontiac with its even older driver, then avoided the downtown area with its steep hills and skyscrapers knifing into the sky. Instead, she skimmed the western edge of the city, closer to the waterfront, her mind racing even if the cars and trucks and vans around her were not. Frustrated, aware of time ticking by, she glanced to the west at the sun sinking low in the horizon to the west, golden rays visible behind the craggy Olympic Mountains on the far side of Puget Sound. “Come on, come on,” she muttered, her frustration matched by most of the other drivers as two lanes funneled into one as they inched around three workmen in orange vests surrounding a manhole where barricades filled one full lane. She checked her the dashboard digital clock. Already late.


But Marilee would wait for her.

Unfortunately Brooke was known for being chronically late, a character flaw that she vowed each New Year to correct which, of course, was crazy and never lasted
more than two weeks.

Now, minutes ticked by, making her ever later, her fingers beginning to sweat on the steering wheel.

She’d stayed too long. Again.

And now she was late.

And now she had to pump up her alibi. Keep her lies going for just a little longer. God, she was a fool.

Why couldn’t she just end it? Like–now. Call Gideon or send him a text from her burner phone? Even the thought that she had one of those cheap cell phones caused a bloom of heat to rush up her neck. She never, never should have gotten involved with him.

“What’s done is done,” she reminded herself as his image came easily to mind. She couldn’t seem to forget their recent lovemaking, his hard body in a tangle of sheets in the small bed of the cabin in his sailboat, nor his silhouette as he stood in the tiny bathroom, his muscles cast in relief with light from a small porthole.

“Stop it!”

She hit the button to lower the window, feeling the warmth of Indian summer invade the interior, hearing the hum of traffic while and smelling the just the hint of salt tinging air already heavy with exhaust from a diesel truck chugging up the hill the next lane over.


She had already solidified her alibi, proof in the half-drunk iced latte that she’s grabbed on the fly through a drive-through Starbuck’s and the dry cleaning that she’d picked up earlier hung over the back seat near her gym bag half full of sweat-soaked clothes.

It wouldn’t explain all of the hours–especially if anyone checked the cameras at the gym, but, for now, it would have to do and it was the last time.

She checked the GPS to see if she could find a route where traffic wasn’t blocked and swore under her breath as she missed a light for the third time due to road construction. Nervously she glanced at the clock again and tapped her fingers on steering wheel in the snarl of vehicles as workers with shovels laid down a patch of pavement, steam rising, the scent of the hot asphalt permeating the air already tainted with exhaust from yet another idling truck.

She was officially late.

Marilee’s school was now officially over for the day.


Come on, come on! Move it!

She texted Marilee that she was on her way, just as the flagger turned her sign from STOP to SLOW, and the driver of a yellow Porsche had the nerve to cut in front of her. The top of the sports car was down, a baseball cap turned backward on the driver’s head, and she caught a glimpse of mirrored sunglasses as the guy swung his head to look at her as he’d sped into the gap.

“Jerk-wad,” she muttered, slowing even further.

She took another swallow of her watery drink, the ice long melted. Her cell phone buzzed.

Not the burner, but the one she had registered to her name. She glanced at the screen. No caller ID.

Don’t bother picking up. It’s probably a telemarketer.

But she did. “Hello?” she said as the light turned green. The Porsche shot forward.

A hesitation. Then a click, like the clucking of a tongue. “He’s not who he says he is,” a flat voice whispered. Raspy. Almost indistinct.

“What? Who is this? What are you–?”

But she knew who the caller was referring to.


Who else?

Someone knew about them?

Someone who had her unregistered phone number?

Her head buzzed, her pulse jumped. What the hell?

“Be careful . . .