The First Shot: A Prequel to The Last Mrs. Parrish
Genre: domestic thriller, psychological thriller, suspense, women's fiction
Buy the Book: AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, AUDIBLE
In this gripping prequel to the one million copy seller and Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick The Last Mrs. Parrish, readers will discover exactly how Amber Patterson transformed from small-town girl to master manipulator - after all, practice makes perfect.
Amber Patterson has many secrets. This much is clear when she sneaks out of her home in the dead of night and hitchhikes across state lines to meet up with a man she hasn’t seen or spoken to since high school graduation. So begins her desperate attempt to leave her old life behind, and she’ll use everything and everyone at her disposal, from social media stalking to the kindness of unsuspecting strangers, to get where she needs to go. It’s not long before she’s ready for the main event: armed with a new identity and a new purpose, she heads to Gunnison, Colorado, preparing herself to meet her future husband among the wealthy vacationers.
Even the smallest misstep could derail this carefully-laid plan, and in the end, can you ever truly outrun your past? The First Shot is an absorbing, binge-able thriller that shows just how far some will go to build the lives they want.
“Hold on tight! The First Shot is a deep dive into the emotionally twisted world of a woman who wants it all and will stop at nothing to take it. Find out how the notorious Amber from The Last Mrs. Parrish got her start in this fiendish prequel by the incomparable Liv Constantine!"
—Wendy Walker, USA Today bestselling author
“The First Shot is the origin story of Amber Patterson, it’s just as shocking—and dark—as The Last Mrs. Parrish. Liv Constantine has created one of the most memorable characters in recent years and this prequel is a fascinating peek at what came before."
—Samantha Downing, internationally bestselling author
"Sneaky and deliciously sinister, THE FIRST SHOT is the perfect prequel to THE LAST MRS. PARRISH. Don't miss this first dose of Amber's twisted antics"
—Hannah Mary McKinnon, internationally bestselling author
"The First Shot is a fabulous introduction to Amber Patterson, one of the most delightfully diabolical characters ever. A fast, fun, jaw-dropping read.”
—Kaira Rouda,USA Today bestselling author
At three a.m., Lana Crump quietly got out of bed, fully dressed, and slid the suitcase she’d packed earlier that night out from under it. The sound ofsoft breathing filled the room, and she tiptoed to the crib for a last look at her son, who was sleeping peacefully. She exited the room without a sound. As her feet carried her down the steps and away from the house she’d grown up in, she felt lighter and lighter, thoughts of a better future somewhere far away from this dead-end town filling her head and giving her new purpose.
She’d debated briefly whether or not to leave a note but decided against it. They knew why she had to leave—that she’d never be allowed to raise her son no matter what she did. Taking a final look around, she whispered a quiet goodbye and closed the door behind her.
She’d planned her escape carefully, thinking through every contingency. In her backpack was the emergency cash her mother had kept hidden in the back of the pantry in an old flour canister. A thousand dollars wouldn’t get her far, but it was enough for now. She’d already purchased a prepaid cell phone, and she’d be sure to get rid of her real one, sending the police scurrying in the wrong direction. Lastly, she’d packed her copies of Anna Karenina and Persuasion. She wished she didn’t have to leave all of her other books, but there was no other option. Now all she needed to do was hitch a ride to Lexington, Nebraska, where phase two of her plan could begin.
It was close to four a.m. when she reached the bus station and bought a ticket to Little Rock. She hated to squander the $75, but it was the only way. At six fifteen, she handed the driver her ticket and found a seat in the back. She sat down and tucked her phone between the seat cushions, then got back up. As the bus began to fill, she squeezed to the side of an oncoming passenger and snuck off. When they tracked her phone they’d be looking for her in the opposite direction—that would buy her some time. Step one, complete. The sun was coming up as she reached the truck stop and went inside in search of her real ride.
One hour and two cups of coffee later, she was in the passenger seat of an eighteen-wheeler with a trucker named Mac. He was going to Cheyenne but was willing to go a little out of his way to drop her off in Lexington, where she told him she was going to visit her sick aunt. She’d chosen him carefully, after staking out the truck stop all morning to try to get a read on who would be the safest. He had on a wedding band, the first good sign. She’d heard him on the phone talking sweetly to his wife and then his daughter. But the thing that clinched it for her was when he bowed his head before eating to say a silent prayer. It wasn’t like she believed all religious people were good, but she had a feeling she’d be safe with Mac.
“How long you planning on staying in Lexington?” he asked as they pulled out.
Lana tried to make herself look sad. “My aunt’s pretty sick, so I’ll stay as long she needs me.”
“Awful kind of you. Young folks today are usually all about themselves. It’s refreshing to see a young woman like you put someone else’s needs first.”
Lana tried her best not to roll her eyes. Was this do- gooder going to talk the whole way? There was no way she could endure close to five hours of this. She feigned a yawn. “I haven’t gotten any sleep since my uncle called to tell me she’d taken a turn for the worse. Would you mind if I just rested for a bit?”
“Of course, of course.” He reached behind the seat and pulled a blanket out, handing it to her. “Here you go, try and sleep.”
She mumbled a thanks and closed her eyes. Not that she’d really sleep. No matter how nice he seemed, Lana didn’t really know him, and she wasn’t about to wake up locked in some basement. But as long as she kept her eyes closed, he’d keep his mouth closed. Her old pal Martin Cummings had booked her a room at the Astro Motel for $55 a night—she’d be there behind a locked door soon enough. She had the money for at least a month, but he’d also promised to help her get a job at a local restaurant once they’d squared away her new identity.
Martin hadn’t been too thrilled to hear from Lana at first—after all, she was the only one from Blue Springs, Missouri, who knew what he’d done and where he’d gone. Two years ago, she’d been his alibi. He’d been hanging out with the wrong crowd and happened to be in the car with them when they robbed a convenience store in a neighboring town, fatally injuring the clerk. Martin hadn’t known what was going to go down, but he’d already had his share of trouble with the law and had begged Lana to cover for him. Just like with her, the cards had always been stacked against Martin, and she was happy to cut him a break. So Lana had been his alibi and told the police he’d been with her that night. Soon after he’d moved away and started a new life. Now he was an integral part of her plan to escape. He was working in Eustis, Nebraska, in the vital records department. Thanks to him, she’d have an entirely new identity in no time.