Zibby Mag

The Webby Award-winning literary lifestyle destination.

First Look: Buried Deception by Amanda McKinney

Monday, September 19, 2022

This excerpt is part of our First Look column where you’ll find exclusive sneak peeks into upcoming books across all genres!

Set in East Texas, Amanda McKinney’s new romantic thriller Buried Deception follows psychologist Dr. Mia Frost and ex-marine Easton Crew as they try to stop the Black Cat Stalker before they attack another victim. Fans of Colleen Hoover and true crime will love this new release, filled with twists, drama, and passion, out tomorrow!

Pre-order your copy here.

Chapter One

There’s this quote, “Don’t let your struggle become your identity,” from author unknown.

I suspect the author is unknown because he or she knows that the statement is total bullshit.

This pithy little quote was likely coined by someone who grew up with a silver spoon in their mouth and, in a desperate attempt to fit in with today’s self-loathing youth, felt the need to pretend that he or she understood the trials and tribulations of those less fortunate. Those ill-fated individuals who have had the unique misfortune of experiencing multiple traumatic events in their lifetime.

To be clear—by traumatic events, I’m not referring to a momentary break in your Wi-Fi connection, or having to settle on a chai latte because the local juice bar no longer sells your organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, non-irradiated kosher green juice.

Traumatic events, or TEs, are slightly more dramatic, such as threatened death, serious injury, loss of a loved one, or sexual violence.

If Author Unknown had spent more than five minutes researching, he or she would have learned that there are indeed physiological changes our bodies undergo after such events.

You’ve likely experienced it yourself at some point in your life—dilated pupils, flushed skin, pounding heartbeat, shallow breathing, and trembling. For me personally, this happens every time I stand in front of a crowd. Whether I’m speaking to five people or a hundred, my body responds as if it were day one of the apocalypse.

This automatic response serves as a survival function by preparing the body to either fight or run—hence the term fight or flight. After the event, the body returns to its normal state.

Most of the time.

Why am I a therapist? Because I’m broken. Plain and simple. It’s true—those who can’t do, teach.

The issue becomes when the effects of this trauma don’t go away on their own. Slowly metastasizing like an incurable disease, the trauma takes over our bodies—literally. It becomes us, more often than not leading to chronic mental illness, such as PTSD.

This is my specialty.

These are my people.

Author Unknown had no right to advise these people not to allow their struggle to become their identity, because for them, it’s clinically proven to literally become that.

This quote is quite possibly the single reason I became a psychologist. Because I know, all too well, the power that such events can have on the human psyche.

I became first interested in psychology in my teens, devouring self-help books like most self-absorbed teens devour diet pills or social media. I did this because I was, well, fucked up, and wanted to understand why. Why my brain seemed to operate on its own, uncontrollably, as if a separate entity from my body.

It was this obsession that laid my path.

You see, I could lie and say I became a psychologist to help others, but the true reason lay far deeper—or shallower, you might say.

Why am I a therapist?

Because I’m broken. Plain and simple. It’s true—those who can’t do, teach.

In a way, you could say that somewhere along the line I accepted my fate, the exact opposite path I suggest my patients travel. This was done subconsciously, of course, brick by brick, one by one, stacked around me over the course of many years, solidifying that so-called armor that most of us wear. Us being the weak ones unable to address and move on from the inevitable vicissitude that is life.

It’s a dangerous way to live; I know that now. And as much as I wish I could say that it were my strength, and all my infinite wisdom, that finally released me from the binds of the past, I’d be lying. My salvation, my savior, came in the form of a man they called Chief.

This is my story, my fall from grace, my unwilling surrender.

My capture.