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Freida McFadden is Back With Another Spine-Tingling Thriller — See the Cover Here! (Exclusive)

Check out the cover and read an excerpt of The Boyfriend,' a new thriller from the author of 'The Coworker' and 'Never Lie'

<p>Mira Whiting Photography; Poisoned Pen Press</p> Freida McFadden and her book

Mira Whiting Photography; Poisoned Pen Press

Freida McFadden and her book 'The Boyfriend'

Freida McFadden is back with another mind-bending thriller, and this time, you'll never see the twist coming. Get ready to swipe right on The Boyfriend, coming October 1 from Poisoned Pen Press.

For the uninitiated, McFadden is the international bestselling author of The Housemaid and New York Times bestselling author of The Coworker and Never Lie.

The Boyfriend follows Sydney Shaw who, like just about every eligible bachelorette in New York, has terrible dating luck. So when she finds the perfect boyfriend, she can finally breathe easy. That is, until a woman turns up dead and the police suspect a mystery man is stalking and murdering women he meets on dates. Sydney has started to have her suspicions about Mr. Perfect. And there's someone watching her.

Is she safe? Will she be sorry? Read on for an exclusive excerpt to get a taste of what Sydney (and readers) are in for.

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<p>Poisoned Pen Press</p> 'The Boyfriend' by Freida McFadden

Poisoned Pen Press

'The Boyfriend' by Freida McFadden

Before: Tom

I am desperately, painfully, completely, and stupidly in love.

Her name is Daisy. We met when we were four years old. I’ve been in love with the girl since age four—­that’s how pathetic I am. I saw her at the playground feeding bits of her sandwich to the hungry squirrels, and all I could think was that I had never met any living creature as beautiful or as kind as Daisy Driscoll. And I was gone.

For a long time, I didn’t tell her how I felt. I couldn’t. It seemed impossible that this angel with golden hair and pale blue eyes and skin like the porcelain of our bathroom sink could ever feel a tenth of what I felt for her, so there was no point in trying.

But lately, that’s changed.

Lately, Daisy has been letting me walk her home from school. If I’m lucky, she lets me hold her hand, and she gives me that secret little smile on her cherry-­red lips that makes my knees weak. I’m starting to think she might want me to kiss her.

But I’m scared. I’m scared that if I tried to kiss her, she would slap me across the face. I’m scared that if I told her how I really feel, she would look at me in sympathy and tell me she doesn’t feel the same way. I’m scared she might never let me walk her home again.

But that’s not what I’m most scared of.

What I am most scared of is that if I lean in to kiss Daisy, she will let me do it. I’m scared that she will agree to be my girlfriend. I’m scared that she will allow me into her bedroom when her parents aren’t home so that we can finally be alone together.

And I’m terrified that the moment I get her alone, I will wrap my fingers around her pretty, white neck and squeeze the life out of her.

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Present Day: Sydney

Who is this man, and what has he done with my date?

I’m supposed to be meeting a man named Kevin for dinner tonight at eight o’clock. Well, it was supposed to be drinks at six o’clock—­drinks are easier to escape from—­but Kevin messaged me through the Cynch dating app that he was running late at work and could we push it to dinner at eight?

Against my better judgment, I said yes.

But Kevin seemed really nice when we were texting. And in his photos, he was cute. Really cute. He had this boyish smile with a twinkle in his eye, and his light-­brown hair was adorably messy as it fell over his forehead. He looked like a young Matt Damon. I’ve been on a lot of bad dates through Cynch, but I was cautiously optimistic about this one. I even arrived early at the restaurant, and I have spent the last 10 minutes eagerly waiting at the bar for him to arrive.

“Sydney?” the man standing before me asks.

“Yes?”

I stare at the man, waiting for him to tell me that Kevin was killed in a tragic taxi accident on the way to our date, because this guy is definitely not Kevin. But instead, he sticks out his hand.

“I’m Kevin,” he says.

I don’t budge from my barstool. “You are?”

Okay, let’s be real here—­nobody looks as good in real life as their dating app photos. I mean, if you’re looking to score a date, you’re not going to snap a photo of yourself when you’re rolling out of bed with a hangover. You’re going to doll yourself up, take about 50 different shots from every conceivable angle and with a dozen lighting options, and you’re going to pick the very best one. That’s just good sense.

And hey, maybe that one perfect photo was taken 10 years ago. I don’t agree with this logic, but I understand why people do it.

But this guy…

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There’s no way he is the same man as in his Cynch profile. Not 10 years ago—­not ever. I just don’t believe it.

Even though it’s an obnoxious move, I grab my phone from my purse and bring up the app right in front of him. I compare the boyishly handsome man in the photo to the man standing in front of me. Yeah—­nope.

My date for the evening is at least 10 years older than the guy in the photo and bone thin, bordering on gaunt. I think his eye color is different too. His blond hair is badly receding, but what’s left of it is long and pulled back into an unkempt ponytail.

This is not the same man as in the photo. I’m even more sure of that than I am of the fact that I enjoy long walks through Central Park and bingeing Netflix.

“Yes, that’s me,” Fake Kevin assures me. (Although really, the guy in the photo is Fake Kevin. Maybe the photo really is of Matt Damon. I’m starting to think it might be).

I begin to protest that he doesn’t look anything like the photo, but the words sound so superficial in my head. Okay, yes, Kevin looks vastly different from his profile photo. But does that really matter? We have been texting through Cynch, and he seems like a nice enough guy. I should give him a chance.

And if it’s not going well, my friend Gretchen will be calling me in 20 minutes with a manufactured excuse to get me the hell out of here. I never, ever go on a date without a planned rescue call.

“It’s really great to meet you in real life,” the real Kevin says. “You look exactly like your photo.”

Does he expect me to say it back? Is this some kind of test? “Um,” I say.

“Come on,” he says. “Let’s get a seat.”

We snag a booth in the corner of the bar. As we’re walking over there, I can’t help but notice the way Kevin towers over me. I tend to like tall men, but he badly needs a little meat on his bones. It feels like I’m walking next to a broomstick.

“I’m so glad we are finally doing this,” Kevin tells me as he slides into the seat across from me. Why is his ponytail so messy? Couldn’t he have at least combed it before our date?

“Me too,” I say, which is only slightly a lie.

He rakes his gaze over me, an approving expression on his gaunt face. “I have to tell you, Sydney, now that we’re actually meeting in person, I genuinely feel like you are the perfect woman.”

“Oh?”

“Absolutely.” He beams at me. “If I closed my eyes and imagined the perfect girl, it would be you.”

Wow. That’s…sweet. Possibly one of the nicest compliments I have received on a date. Thank you, Real Kevin. I’m starting to feel glad that I stayed. And like I said, I do like tall men, so even though he looks vastly different from his profile, I get a tiny tug of attraction. “Thank you.”

“Well,” he adds, “except for your arms.”

“My arms?”

“They’re kind of flabby.” He wrinkles his nose. “But other than that, wow. Like I said, you’re the perfect woman.”

Wait. My arms are too flabby? Did he really just say that to me?

Worse, now I am straining to surreptitiously examine my bare arms. And why did I wear a sleeveless dress tonight? I have only two sleeveless dresses in my closet. I could have worn something with sleeves that would have concealed my apparently hideous arms, but no, I chose this.

“Can I get you two something to drink?”

A waitress is standing over us, her eyebrows raised. I pry my gaze away from my monstrous arms and look up at her. “I…I’ll have a Diet Coke.”

“A Diet Coke?” Kevin seems affronted. “That’s boring. Get a real drink.”

I never drink alcohol when I’m on a first date with a man I’ve met on Cynch. I don’t want to impair my judgment in any way. “Diet Coke is a real drink.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Well, it’s a liquid.” I glare at him across the sticky wooden table. “So I would call it a drink.”

Kevin rolls his eyes at the waitress. “Fine, I will have a Corona, and she will have a Diet Coke.” Then he winks at the waitress and mouths the word Sorry.

I glance over at my purse next to me. When is Gretchen going to call? I need an escape route.

But maybe I’m not being fair. I’ve only known Real Kevin for five minutes. I should give him more of a chance. That’s why I told Gretchen to call 20 minutes into the date after all. Five minutes is a snap judgment. If I can’t give a guy more than five minutes, I’m going to be having first dates for the next 20 years. And now that I’m 34 years old, I don’t have that luxury.

“Hot damn,” Kevin remarks, following the path of the waitress with his eyes as she goes to get our drinks. “She has really nice arms.”

Gretchen, where are you?

Excerpt from The Boyfriend by Freida McFadden, published by Poisoned Pen Press, an imprint of Sourcebooks. Copyright © 2024 by Freida McFadden.

The Boyfriend is available now for preorders, wherever books are sold.

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