Thursday, June 1, 2023

Excerpt: You Look Beautiful Tonight by L.R. Jones

A secret admirer’s devotion turns deadly in a twisting novel of psychological suspense.

Mia Anderson is an invisible woman. An unremarkable thirty-two-year-old Tennessee librarian, she’s accustomed to disappearing in a crowd, unseen and unheard. Then she receives an anonymous note: You look beautiful today.

It doesn’t stop there. The attentive stranger—a secret admirer named Adam—has plans for Mia. With each new text comes a suggestion for her hair, clothes, or attitude, and for the first time in memory, Mia feels noticed. Slowly, she develops a confidence in herself she’s never had. But Adam has a surprise coming…and Mia finally sees him for who he is and what he’s prepared to do for her. Even kill.

Fearing she could be implicated in the murder, Mia’s forced to turn to the stranger in the shadows watching her every move. Adam’s game of cat and mouse begins with Mia as the prey. In order to survive, she must also become the predator.

Kindle Edition, 347 pages
Expected publication
June 1, 2023 by Thomas & Mercer


Blood seeps through the cream-colored carpet, fading into the thick fibers, and a river of life runneth over and under until death do us part. The same carpet that now absorbs one life and yet hugs my feet and cushions my body. Seconds tick by, eternal seconds, a clock ticking somewhere—loud, heavy, eternal. I try to draw in air, but I can’t catch my breath. My throat is raw, my chest tight.

 Run, I tell myself.

Run, before it’s too late to run.

 I rotate and immediately hit a hard surface—a piece of furniture, I think—banging my leg, pain radiating from my kneecap and down my shin. The room is spinning. The smell of death permeates the air, a scent no one can understand without experiencing it, living it while another person dies inside the horrific stench of it. Death has an energy, too, as contrary as that may sound, almost as if you can feel the grim reaper doing his work with a heavy pull that suffocates you in its existence.

I don’t even know what is happening right now, how I got here, how this became a moment in my uneventful, unremarkable life. I blink the room—an office, a familiar office that once felt safe—into view and round the desk in my path. My heart is thundering in my ears, my breathing now raspy and loud as I make my way across the room and yank the door open. Freedom calls to me, and I stumble into the hallway before me, leaving the door open, sucking in fresh air. Looking left and then right toward the emergency door, I hear it promising safety and an escape from death and all the blood. So much blood.

I run in that direction, pain radiating in my head that I don’t understand, but I push through it, my legs burning with the speed at which I travel, until I reach that blessed door, my hand closing on the long silver handle. The urge to look back behind me is strong, but I resist. Run. Run now. Run hard and fast. Shoving open the door, I burst into the corridor, and the hard steel slams shut behind me. I take one more step and halt with the realization that the smell of blood and death has followed me.

 I look down and lift my hands to find the stains on my skin, gasping with the realization that I’m holding a long, silver letter opener stained with the same shades of red. Memories illuminate the darkness that is my shock. Oh my God. I can’t run away from the killer.

 I am the killer.

 I drop the weapon—and it is a weapon—and a scream rips from my lungs, permeating the air as death had done—then I crumple to the ground and collapse.


Releasing today, You Look Beautiful is available in print, digital and audio.

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