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The Pact

Cover of The Pact

The Pact

A Love Story

From Jodi Picoult, one of the most powerful writers in contemporary fiction, comes a riveting, timely, heartbreaking, and terrifying novel of families in anguish -- and friendships ripped apart by inconceivable violence. Until the phone calls came at 3:00 A.M. on a November morning, the Golds and their neighbors, the Hartes, had been inseparable. It was no surprise to anyone when their teenage children, Chris and Emily, began showing signs that their relationship was moving beyond that of lifelong friends. But now seventeen-year-old Emily has been shot to death by her beloved and devoted Chris as part of an apparent suicide pact -- leaving two devastated families stranded in the dark and dense predawn, desperate for answers about an unthinkable act and the children they never really knew.

From Jodi Picoult, one of the most powerful writers in contemporary fiction, comes a riveting, timely, heartbreaking, and terrifying novel of families in anguish -- and friendships ripped apart by inconceivable violence. Until the phone calls came at 3:00 A.M. on a November morning, the Golds and their neighbors, the Hartes, had been inseparable. It was no surprise to anyone when their teenage children, Chris and Emily, began showing signs that their relationship was moving beyond that of lifelong friends. But now seventeen-year-old Emily has been shot to death by her beloved and devoted Chris as part of an apparent suicide pact -- leaving two devastated families stranded in the dark and dense predawn, desperate for answers about an unthinkable act and the children they never really knew.

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    9 - 12

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Now

    November 1997

    There was nothing left to say.

    He covered her body with his, and as she put her arms around him she could picture him in all his incarnations: age five, and still blond; age eleven, sprouting; age thirteen, with the hands of a man. The moon rolled, sloe-eyed in the night sky; and she breathed in the scent of his skin. "I love you," she said.

    He kissed her so gently she wondered if she had imagined it. She pulled back slightly, to look into his eyes.

    And then there was a shot.

    Although there had never been a standing reservation made, the rear corner table of the Happy Family Chinese restaurant was always saved on Friday nights for the Hartes and the Golds, who had been coming there for as long as anyone could remember. Years ago, they had brought the children, littering the crowded nook with high chairs and diaper bags until it was nearly impossible for the waiters to maneuver the steaming platters of food onto the table. Now, it was just the four of them, blustering in one by one at six o'clock and gravitating close as if, together, they exerted some kind of magnetic pull.

    James Harte had been first to arrive. He'd been operating that afternoon and had finished surprisingly early. He picked up the chopsticks in front of him, slipped them from their paper packet, and cradled them between his fingers like surgical instruments.

    "Hi," Melanie Gold said, suddenly across from him. "I guess I'm early."

    "No," James answered. "Everyone else is late."

    "Really?" She shrugged out of her coat and balled it up beside her. "I was hoping I was early. I don't think I've ever been early."

    "You know," James said, considering, "I don't think you ever have."

    They were linked by the one thing they had in common—Augusta Harte—but Gus had not yet arrived. So they sat in the companionable awkwardness caused by knowing extremely private things about each other that had never been directly confided, but rather blurted by Gus Harte to her husband in bed or to Melanie over a cup of coffee. James cleared his throat and flipped the chopsticks around his fingers with dexterity. "What do you think?" he asked, smiling at Melanie. "Should I give it all up? Become a drummer?"

    Melanie flushed, as she always did when she was put on the spot. After years of sitting with a reference desk wrapped around her waist like a hoop skirt, concrete answers came easily to her; nonchalance didn't. If James had asked, "What is the current population of Addis Ababa?" or "Can you tell me the actual chemicals in a photographic fixing bath?" she'd never have blushed, because the answers would never have offended him. But this drummer question? What exactly was he looking for?

    "You'd hate it," Melanie said, trying to sound flippant. "You'd have to grow your hair long and get a nipple ring or something like that."

    "Do I want to know why you're talking about nipple rings?" Michael Gold said, approaching the table. He leaned down and touched his wife's shoulder, which passed for an embrace after so many years of marriage.

    "Don't get your hopes up," Melanie said. "James wants one, not me."

    Michael laughed. "I think that's automatic grounds for losing your board certification."

    "Why?" James frowned. "Remember that Nobel laureate we met on the cruise to Alaska last summer? He had a hoop through his eyebrow."

    "Exactly," Michael said. "You don't have to have board certification to create a poem entirely out of curse words." He shook out his napkin and settled it in his lap. "Where's Gus?"

    James checked his watch. He lived by it; Gus didn't wear one at all. It drove him crazy. "I think she was taking Kate to a friend's for a sleepover."

    "Did you order yet?" Michael asked.

    "Gus orders..."

About the Author-
  • Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-two novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister's Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

Reviews-
  • Kathleen V. Hurley and Theodore E. Dobson, coauthors of My Best Self: Using the Enneagram to Free the Soul With wit, charm, and refreshing simplicity...Baron and Wagele creatively provide a nonthreatening way to understand the basic concepts of the Enneagram.
  • Susan Page, author of If I'm So Wonderful, Why am I Still Single? and Now That I'm Married, Why Isn't Everything Perfect. To create a thriving love relationship, two people must understand and accept each other's basic personality traits. Now Baron and Wagele have made this crucial task supremely enjoyable. Every couple who laugh their way through The Enneagram Made Easy will be the richer for it.
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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