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         Part #11 of Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben  
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  You tell me what the price should be.

  I also confess that perhaps I'm being sexist. If Nancy Moore had been a man--if Hunter Moore had found the body that day and thrown a six-year-old away like so much refuse, ruining lives, destroying my cousin, her husband, her young child, would I think twice about making him pay?

  One wonders.

  Brooke and I are alike. We share a bond. Perhaps that bond is not always a good thing. Did Brooke act in a moment of understandable maternal fury? Would Brooke do it again if she had time to reconsider?

  I don't know.

  But I wonder about Nancy Moore's decisions too as a mother. Was Nancy Moore initially afraid to go to the police because she would be charged with a crime or because her son would be forever scarred or because Chick had some dubious business associates who might do her harm?

  Or did Nancy understand that the most dangerous rage might come from a mother who lost her child?

  But now I watch Myron step on the glass. The crowd stands and roars its approval. Myron Bolitar, married man, runs down the aisle with his loving bride.

  I will spare you the tears and hugs and congratulations.

  I will skip instead to the opening song. It is, well, gag worthy, though typical of Myron. The DJ calls Myron and his mother, Ellen, for the mother-son dance. Ellen Bolitar is shaking from Parkinson's, but Myron takes his mother's hand and leads her to the dance floor.

  No one moves.

  The music starts. The song Ellen chose is by Bruce Springsteen. I listen as the Boss aptly croons: "If I should fall behind,

  Wait for me."

  We all watch them dance. I glance across the room and see the faces. Big Cyndi is crying hysterically. She does not hold back her plaintive wails. It is lovely. Myron's sister has flown in from Seattle. His brother, Brad, and Brad's wife, Kitty, are back. They stand next to Mickey and Ema. Mickey and Ema are holding hands. I try not to stare.

  The DJ says, "Will everyone please join Myron and his mother, Ellen, on the dance floor?"

  Myron's dad, Al, escorts Terese to the dance floor. Young Mickey takes over for Myron and dances with his grandmother as only an awkward teenager can. Esperanza finds Myron. These two, my dearest friends, share the dance.

  Others join in, filling the floor. I am content to watch.

  This, my friends, is life.

  Hey, I'm not above a gag-worthy sentiment now and again.

  I feel her standing next to me before she speaks.

  "You're Win, right?"

  I turn to Ema.

  "I am."

  "My mom told me to say hello."

  I manage a nod. "Tell Angelica I say hello back."

  She looks at me a long second. Then she says, "Do you want to dance?"

  She has no idea what this means to me. Or maybe she does? I thought that her mother would never tell her. Did she? Or could it be that Ema is incredibly perceptive and intuitive?

  That could be in her genes.

  It is hard for me to find my voice. "That would be lovely," I manage to say.

  We move to the dance floor. We face each other. She puts one hand on my shoulder and the other hand in mine. We start to dance. At some point Ema moves closer. She rests her head on my shoulder.

  I barely move. I barely breathe.

  I just want this moment to last.


  The author (who every once in a while likes to refer to himself in the third person) would like to thank the following in no particular order: Michelle Singer, Andy Morgan, Rick Kronberg, Linda Fairstein, Ian Rankin (the beer was his selection), Bill Friedman, Rick Friedman (the two Friedmans are not related--at least, I don't think they are), Selina Walker, Ben Sevier, Christine Ball, Jamie Knapp, Carrie Swetonic, Stephanie Kelly, Lisa Erbach Vance, Diane Discepolo, Craig Coben, and Anne Armstrong-Coben, MD.

  The stories of Mickey Bolitar and his friends Ema and Spoon can be found in the trilogy of young adult novels Shelter, Seconds Away, and Found. I think you adults will like them too. Myron appears in that series too, because turnabout is fair play.

  The author also wants to acknowledge Joe Corless, Rob Dixon, Neil Huber, Alyse Mervosh, Denise Nussbaum, Jesse and Mindy Rogers, Chris Alan Weeks, and Daniel Yiannikos. These people (or their loved ones) made generous contributions to charities of my choosing in return for having their names appear in the novel. If you would like to participate in the future, visit www.HarlanCoben.com or email giving@harlancoben.com for details.


  Harlan Coben is the internationally bestselling author of more than twenty previous novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Fool Me Once, The Stranger, Missing You, Six Years, Stay Close, Live Wire, Caught, Long Lost, and Hold Tight, as well as the Myron Bolitar series and, more recently, a series aimed at young adults featuring Myron's nephew, Mickey Bolitar. The winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards, he lives in New Jersey.

  Looking for more?

  Visit Penguin.com for more about this author and a complete list of their books.

  Discover your next great read!



  Harlan Coben, Home

  (Series: Myron Bolitar # 11)




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