Excerpt from The Prophet by Michael Koryta, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Prophet

By Michael Koryta

The Prophet
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  • Hardcover: Aug 2012,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2013,
    432 pages.

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Jason (Dad)

Adam read through it and handed it back to her. He didn't say what he wanted to—Let it breathe, don't force contact because it will likely bring you nothing but pain— because that argument had already been shot down with gusto. The landlord's name made it cake, anyhow. Ruzich? There wouldn't be many.

"I just want to write him a short note," April repeated. "Tell him that I'm wishing him well and that he doesn't need to be worried about my expectations."

Definitely beer, Adam thought. Definitely skip the coffee and go right to beer.

"Can you get me an address?" she asked.

"Probably. I bill for my time, nothing more, nothing less. The results of the situation aren't my responsibility. All I guarantee is my time."

She nodded, reached into her purse. "I'm prepared to pay two hundred dollars."

"Give me a hundred. I charge fifty an hour. If it takes me more than two hours, I'll let you know."

He charged one hundred an hour, but this would likely take him all of twenty minutes and it was good to seem generous.

"All right." She counted out five twenty-dollar bills and pushed them across the desk. "One other thing—you have a policy of being confidential, don't you? Like a lawyer?"

"I'm not a lawyer."

She looked dismayed.

"But I also am not a talker," Adam said. "My business is my own, and yours is your own. I won't talk about it unless a police officer walks in this door and tells me to."

"That won't happen."

She had no idea how often that did happen with Adam's clients.

"I just wanted to be sure… it's private, you know," she said. "It's a private thing."

"I'm not putting out any press releases."

"Right. But you won't even say anything to, um, to your brother? I mean, don't get me wrong, I really respect Coach Austin, but… it's private."

"Kent and I don't do a whole lot of talking," Adam said. "What I will do is find some potential addresses and pass them along to you. The rest is between you and your dad."

She nodded, grateful.

"How do I get in touch with you?" he said.

She gave him a cell phone number, which he wrote down on a legal pad. Beside it he wrote April and then looked up.

"Last name?"

She frowned, and he knew why she didn't want to give it. If she still carried her father's name, and he was betting that she did, then she was afraid Adam would look into what the man had done to land in prison.

"Harper," she said. "But remember, this is—"

"Private. Yes, Miss Harper. I understand that. I deal with it every day."

She thanked him, shook his hand. She smelled of cocoa, and he thought about that and her dark skin and figured she'd just left a tanning bed. October in northern Ohio. All the pretty girls were fighting the gathering cold and darkness. Trying to carry summer into the winter.

"I'll be in touch," he said, and he waited long enough to hear the engine of her car start in the parking lot before he locked the office and went to get his beer.

2

KENT KNEW WHAT THEY were hearing and what they were reading: this was their season, the stuff of destiny, and they were too good to lose.

It was his job to make them forget that.

This week, that would be a little more difficult. They'd played a good team on Friday, a ranked team, and handled them easily, 34–14, to complete the first perfect regular season in school history. They'd won every statistical battle, and while Kent didn't believe in paying much attention to statistics, he knew that his boys watched them carefully, and he was happy to use that tendency against them. In four short days they'd play again, the first playoff game, and there would be pep rallies and television cameras and T-shirts announcing their unbeaten season.

Excerpted from The Prophet by Michael Koryta. Copyright © 2012 by Michael Koryta. Excerpted by permission of Little Brown & Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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