She attracted attention now in the form of the head of the History Department, Dr. Julian Symons, who hurried across the quad to catch up with her before she reached the door that led up to her second floor office. Symons was an aging, would-be rake who delighted in his dubious reputation as a ladies’ man and who gave Kate the creeps, not least because she suspected that he started the rumors about his amorous adventures himself. He was a short man and rather stout, given to wearing pink bow ties and silk shirts with his tweed suits, and just looking at him generally made Kate want to laugh aloud. Not that she ever would; the funny little man really seemed to believe that he was a born lady-killer, and although she could never like him she hadn’t the heart to disabuse him of his delusions.
‘Katherine, my dear,’ he began in his high, nasal voice, offering her a wide, patronising smile, ‘How delightful to see you! For a change. You’re becoming something of a recluse around here. Why, I go days sometimes without spotting your pretty face. Not the way to win friends and influence people, my dear. To say nothing of winning tenure.’
Kate’s lips tightened and she pulled her jacket closed; he did appear delighted to see her, but she didn’t much care for the parts he was so pleased to see. She nodded and, wishing that he would raise his gaze to eye-level just once in their conversations, said in a neutral tone, ‘Julian.’
He did eventually look up from her breasts, which were in fact quite small and hardly demanded such close attention, and smiled at her slyly before saying, ‘I’m having a little soiree tonight and I was hoping you might grace it with your presence. Badinage aside, we really don’t see enough of you, you know.’ His gaze dropped again and he said suggestively, ‘And I really would like to see more of you, my dear.’
‘The feeling is far from mutual,’ replied Kate dryly, partly irritated and partly amused by his elephantine attempt at flirtation; he was like a reject from an old Carry-on movie, and impossible to take seriously. In fact, so labored was his act that she occasionally wondered if he were secretly gay. ‘College social life leaves me cold, I’m afraid, and although I’m new to teaching I’ve been here long enough for the idea of tenure to fill me with horror.’
Symons raised his brows and cocked his head to one side, reminding her irresistibly of a sparrow looking for breadcrumbs, and looked at her in a pitying fashion. College life –and particularly tenure- loomed so large in his own mind, in his own life, that he clearly didn’t believe her. Couldn’t believe her; the college was the center of his universe. His artificial and rather yellow smile never wavered as he said, ‘Well, come or not, just as you please. Don’t let my importance on the faculty board influence you at all.’
‘I won’t,’ said Kate even more dryly, and with complete honesty; she wouldn’t, though many would. She flashed him a brief, perfunctory farewell smile and turned to go, whereupon he said archly, ‘Well, play hard to get if you must. But remember; the faster the quarry runs, the harder the pursuers chase.’
Why has a beautiful young woman been committed to an insane asylum? What is the truth behind a shadowy past containing drug use, promiscuity and murder? What secrets does she hold that others will kill to keep HIDDEN? These are questions that psychologist Kate Bennett must answer if she is to save her patient’s sanity…and both their lives. But Kate has secrets of her own, and a dark past of her own that will come back to haunt her.
HIDDEN is a thriller, set in Dublin, but it is also a voyage of self-discovery for Kate, as she uncovers not just the truth about her patient but some truths about herself.
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Genre - Mystery, Thriller
Rating – PG-18
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