Tell on You is a psychological suspense novel that best fits within the Gone Girl-inspired niche genre of “grip lit.” Jeremy Barrett’s obsessive love equals that of Jay Gatsby for Daisy Buchanan, as life imitates art in his private school English class. But his angst-driven infatuation brings dire consequences as he is drawn into the machinations of his disturbed 16-year-old student Nikki Jordan, whose bad intentions rival those of her teacher. A fast-paced, drama-filled tale, Tell on You reminds readers about the wildness and trauma of adolescence—and the self-defeating behaviors to which adults resort in times of stress. From gaslighting to vicious bullying, poisonous family privilege to the loss of a parent—Freda Hansburg draws on her experience as a clinical psychologist to explore the depths of each dark situation in Tell on You.
“OWW!!” EIGHT-YEAR OLD Brandon Jordan screeched as his sister Nikki twisted his arm in an Indian burn. “Nikki, stop!”
His cries brought Mom crashing into Nikki’s room. “Nikki, I won’t have you bullying your brother again. Let him go this instant.”
“But I caught him in here messing with my stuff!” Nikki gave Brandon’s arm a final wrench before releasing him. Pouting, he scurried from her room.
“I don’t care what he did. I told you, keep your hands to yourself.” Her mother turned away, judgment delivered.
Probably in a hurry to get back to her vodka and reality TV. “At least when Dad was here, somebody stuck up for me,” Nikki called after her.
Mom’s angry face reappeared. “Stuck up for you?” A bitter laugh. “Stuck it to you, and all of us, is more like it.”
“Wasn’t me he left,” Nikki said.
“Really? When’s the last time he even phoned you?” Her mother walked off with that parting shot.
“Like you’d know, bitch.” Nikki said it under her breath, but not under enough.
“Who do you think you’re talking to?” Mom stormed back into the room, got right up in Nikki’s face, breath boozy. “You’re grounded for the next three days, kiddo. Give me your car keys, right now.”
“Maa!” Nikki protested. “How will I get to school?”
Her mother held out her hand for the keys. “Get up an hour early and I’ll drop you on the way to work.”
“No way!” Nikki fished the keys from her bag and dropped them into her mother’s open palm.
“Then walk.” Her mom headed out of the room, turning back for one last jab. “Or call your father.”
This time Nikki closed the bedroom door before cursing her out. Walking to school sucked, and tomorrow’s weather forecast called for cold. Call your father. Very funny. Dad lived in Austin now. But it gave her an idea.
Nikki picked up her phone to make the call, rehearsing the pitch in her mind. I’m so lonely, Mr. B. I’m taking care of my brother again because my mom went out. And she forgot we were supposed to take my car in for a new battery. And I was wishing…I know I shouldn’t ask you…but if you met me and gave me a ride to school tomorrow, I’d get to see you. You wouldn’t have to take me right to school, just drop me nearby.
She’d sell it to him. And after that, she’d see about getting even with her mother and
brother. Maybe steal Brandon’s Game Boy batteries and hide them. And see how much
distilled white vinegar she could add to Mom’s vodka bottle before the bitch actually
noticed. Nobody, but nobody, got to score the winning point against Nikki Jordan.
About the Author
Freda Hansburg is a psychologist and Tell On You is her debut trade thriller. She self-published the suspense novel Shrink Rapt and co-authored two self-help books, PeopleSmart – a best-seller translated into ten languages – and Working PeopleSmart. Freda lives in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where she is working on her next novel and her Pickleball game.
Her latest book is the thriller, Tell On You.