~Blog Tour Q&A~ Nemesister by Sophie Jonas-Hill

Hi all,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Nemesister by Sophie Jonas-Hill and I get to share a Q&A with the author today!

About the book:

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An American Gothic thriller of deception and obsession, slicked in sweat and set in the swamps of Louisiana.

It’s a psychological mystery where the female protagonist stumbles into a deserted shack with no memory but a gun in her hand. There she meets an apparent stranger, Red, and the two find themselves isolated and under attack from unseen assailants.

Barricaded inside for a sweltering night, cabin fever sets in and brings her flashes of insight which might be memory or vision as the swamp sighs and moans around her.

Exploring in the dark she finds hidden keys that seem to reveal her identity and that of her mysterious host, but which are the more dangerous – the lies he’s told her, or the ones she’s told herself?

Published by Urbane Publications, Nemesister is out now and you can get your copy by clicking HERE!

About the author (Bio from Urbane’s website):

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I’ve always written and told stories, for as long as I can remember. My first self published work at the age of seven, fully illustrated in felt pen and crayon. I continued with a series of insightful ‘When I grow up I want to be an author’, essays, and an attempt at a ‘Bonk-buster’ series of supernatural thrillers written from a position of utter ignorance on all topics, until I was distracted by Art college. A never ending, or never finished, fantasy epic kept me going through my twenties, but it was motherhood in my thirties which concentrated my mind enough to actually finish a novel. It’s amazing what a bit of life experience and the sudden curtailing of your free time can do to concentrate the mind.

After that I began giving myself permission to take my writing seriously enough to spend time on it and actually listen to critiques. The writing festival in York proved invaluable, and time and disappointment got me to the point of producing something readable, which I was lucky enough to have read by Urbane publications.

If you make or write anything, the number one question you get asked is ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ In answer to that question, it’s an easy process which combines working on your craft every hour you can for as long as possible – hard graft – reading as much as you can of everyone else’s work – stealing – and inspiration, which is just one of those things that just happens. The inspiration for ‘Nemesister’ comes from a dark episode of family history, and a moment from a dream; an image of a man standing in the doorway of what I knew was an abandoned shack, which was gone as soon as it came and yet lingered, the way some dreams do.


 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

Ok, I’m an artist/crafts person most of the time, and lead workshops with Kent Adult Education, when I’m not looking after my lovely family. of all the things I’ve done, writing, burlesque,blacksmithing, dressmaking and corsetry, the one thing that impresses the most people is that I was once awarded hand knitter of the year – go figure!

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

 

Oh yes, I was writing books when I was five or six, admittedly quite small ones, but books never the less. I was torn between art and English at University, but my annoying ability to draw got in the way of writing and so I did the Art thing, but it was 50-50.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

I rip off all the good ideas everyone else has, which is both true and and not true – all good artists beg, borrow and steal, but in doing so they change what they started off with into something new and exciting. After all, Jean Rhys (whom I would never compare myself too by the way) would never have written the amazing ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ without ‘Jane Eyre,’ which is what I mean. Of course, most of this stealing happens without malice of forethought – you just find an idea someone else once had playing on your mind until you’ve made it yours, have a weird dream about it and then start wondering what if, and before you know it, there’s an idea for a book.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

There’s always a mystery, something which is impacting the present, and someone both trying to unpick it and cover it up at the same time. They’re like puzzle boxes with a sense of humour.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Yes, of course, getting the word out person to person is the only way for an Indie author to get out there, and social media gives us the chance to get round the big publishing houses with all their money – it’s empowering for the little guys like us, and it’s a way real book lovers can find something which goes against the publishing grain.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Can I say writing? That’s too trite – I guess it’s actually being read, that’s the best thing – for good or for ill, just the idea that someone might be enjoying my words and getting the same goosebumps I did when writing it, is what it’s all about.

 

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

 

I guess it’s actually being read, that’s the worst thing – just the idea that someone might not be enjoying my words and not getting the same goosebumps I did when writing it, that’s the fear which keeps me up at night.

 

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

I hope to just be writing and publishing and getting more readers. If I ever make it to a radio four program about books, either in person or printed form, then I will have reached my own personal zenith!

 

What’s next for you?

 

I’ll be working on the sequel to Nemesister, which is written but will no doubt need a good polish and rewrite, and I’ve three or four others on the go too. That and a workshop on how to up-cycle desk drawers.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

 

I do read, but as I have a baby and work with my hands all the time, I am addicted to audio books. I don’t drive, so everyday I walk round the town to do my job, search for materials in charity shops, walk the dog and get buses and trains to work, so I always have my head phones on and a book playing.

 

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

I never remember them all, but just in my last years worth of read I loved The Power by Naomi Alderman, and Leon by Kit De Waal, and I enjoyed Dark Place by Gillian Flynn, which I preferred to Gone Girl.   

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

 

Totally Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh, the most stunning book and an incredible Grand Guignol main character, who you love but would not like to be in a lift with.

 

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I make stuff all the time, it’s almost a compulsion – needle felting, pom-pom crafts, embroidery, painting, decoupage and collecting weird stuff to put in bottles. I bake and cook a lot, and I love my garden, and very, very occasionally still go clubbing with my friends!

 

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

I suppose all of them are, as books are my sort of job, but I guess see the question above!

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

I dream of one day going to Japan in the spring to see the gardens in full blossom, and then all the street fashions in Tokyo, as I love clothes and creating outfits.

 

Favourite food?

Asparagus, cheese, olives and bread and butter.

 

Favourite drink?

Tea, tea and especially Chai Tea!

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

Luck, both good and bad.


Huge thanks to Sophie for taking the time to answer my questions, and to Abby for having me on the blog tour!

Make sure to check out the tour:

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~ Mini Review~ Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

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*Many thanks to the publisher for my Netgalley review copy!*
About the book:
WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW
In 1998, Maryanne Doyle disappeared and Dad knew something about it?
Maryanne Doyle was never seen again.

 

WHAT I ACTUALLY KNOW
In 1998, Dad lied about knowing Maryanne Doyle.
Alice Lapaine has been found strangled near Dad’s pub.
Dad was in the local area for both Maryanne Doyle’s disappearance and Alice Lapaine’s murder – FACT
Connection?

Trust cuts both ways . . . what do you do when it’s gone?

My thoughts:
I had heard good things about Sweet Little Lies so of course I had to check it out to see what it was like.
Sweet Little Lies is the winner of the Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller competition and I can see how it won. Packed with unreliable narrators, twisty and with plenty of diffferent themes and avenues explored it definitely follows the psych thriller rules in that sense!
Caz Frear has a great writing style, and a knack for creating characters that the reader will love to hate I think. One thing that made me smile was reading about my hometown and a nightclub from the 1990’s. I love feeling a connection like that when I’m reading, and its not often that Galway gets a mention!
Sweet Little Lies is an interesting tale. It has good plot and divisive characters and it deals well in showing how relationships and secrets can destroy lives.
Recommended!
Check out Caz Frear’s guest post from the recent blog tour:

~Blog Tour Review~ Two Sisters by Kerry Wilkinson

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Two Sisters by Kerry Wilkinson and I get to share my review with you all. First though, here is all of the bookish information that you need to know!

About the book:

Kerry

They told us he had been missing for nearly two days, that he probably drowned. They told us a lie.

Megan was ten years old when her older brother, Zac, went missing among the cliffs, caves and beaches that surround the small seaside town of Whitecliff.

A decade later and a car crash has claimed the lives of her parents.

Megan and her younger sister Chloe return to Whitecliff one summer for the first time since their brother’s disappearance. Megan says it’s to get her parents’ affairs in order. There are boxes to pack, junk to clear, a rundown cottage to sell. But that’s not the real reason.

Megan has come to confront her family’s past after receiving a postcard on the day of her parents’ funeral. It had a photograph of Whitecliff on the front and a single letter on the back.

‘Z’ is all it read.

Z for Zac.

A totally gripping psychological thriller that will have fans of Louise Jensen, The Girl on the Train and The Silent Child absolutely hooked.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author:

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Kerry Wilkinson is from the English county of Somerset but has spent far too long living in the north. It’s there that he’s picked up possibly made-up regional words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’. He pretends to know what they mean.

He’s also been busy since turning thirty: his Jessica Daniel crime series has sold more than a million copies in the UK; he has written a fantasy-adventure trilogy for young adults; a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter and the standalone thriller, Down Among The Dead Men.

My thoughts:

I haven’t read anything by Kerry Wilkinson (apart from a short story or two) so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading Two Sisters. I certainly wasn’t expecting to have it read so quickly, but his writing is so pacy and addictive. Two Sisters follows Megan and Chloe in the aftermath of their parents death in a car crash. Ten years ago their brother went missing and his body was never recovered, so they have experienced a double tragedy in their lives.
When they return to Whitecliff, where their brother disappeared, they are there to tidy up their parents affairs. However, trouble follows them almost immediately and the story goes in a direction I didn’t anticipate. I found myself engaged in the story and I just had to keep reading to see what was going to happen.
Two Sisters is billed as a psychological thriller, but to be honest, there is a more YA-themed story going on there too. I think because the two main characters are relatively young that it felt more juvenile in terms of reactions and so on. I don’t mean that in a negative way either, it just didn’t have the adult-y feel to it!
I thoroughly enjoyed Two Sisters. It was an engrossing and twisty read.
Highly recommended!

Follow the blog tour:

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~Blog Tour~ Liar by K. L. Slater Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for Liar by K. L. Slater, published by Bookouture and available now. Ellen is sharing her review with you all, but first, here’s all the bookish information that you need to know!

About the book:

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How far would you go to protect your family?

Single dad Ben is doing his best to raise his children, with the help of his devoted mother Judi. And then Ben meets Amber. Everyone thinks this is a perfect match for Ben but Judi isn’t so sure…

There’s just something about Amber that doesn’t add up. Ben can’t see why his mother dislikes his new girlfriend. And Amber doesn’t want Judi anywhere near her new family. Amber just wants Ben and the children.

The further Judi delves into Amber’s personal life, the closer she gets to shocking secrets that could change everything. And Judi must make a decision that could lead to the most disastrous consequences.

Click HERE to get your copy!

 

About the author:

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Kim is the bestselling author of psychological crime thrillers ‘Safe With Me,’ ‘Blink’ and ‘Liar.’

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected a stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents and a book deal which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.

She also writes award-winning YA fiction for Macmillan Children’s Books, writing as Kim Slater.

Author website: http://www.KLSlaterAuthor.com
Twitter: @KimLSlater
Facebook: KL Slater Author

Ellen’s review:

Where to begin with this book as the end is the beginning is the end, and yes I’ve gone all Smashing Pumpkins on you! Anyway, enough of my random song choices and on with the review. Liar really does hook you in from page one as we have a murderer and a victim but no names and are then slowly introduced to the main players Amber and Judi. I was pretty sure I’d got each character sussed early days; one was obviously out for revenge for some reason and the other was a fiercely protective (some would say overbearing) mother and grandmother. How wrong I was. While Amber was bitter, twisted, manipulative and out to emotionally ruin those around her, Judi had her own vindictive and paranoid streak and was difficult to warm to.
The relationship with a mother-in-law can be an interesting one and Judi is the perfect example of a nightmare edition. Her son Ben and his dead wife Louise are obviously put on a pedestal and she absolutely dotes on her grandchildren Noah and Josh. None of them can do any wrong in her eyes so when Amber comes along and “takes over” it obviously goes down like a lead balloon. The fact that Judi is experiencing the whole gamut of side effects of the menopause adds a whole new level to the hell she is experiencing. To those around her it appears as if she is being irrationally anxious and short-tempered. I have to admit I didn’t particularly like either Amber or Judi as a person; I was only sure of what I wanted the outcome at the end to be.
 
I really enjoyed this book and could not put it down, it’s one of those where you NEED to know what’s going to happen and what all the secrets are – and there are a lot of secrets as well as lies! What happened to Ben’s brother? Where does Judi’s husband disappear to on his overnight trips? Can we believe anything that Amber says? This story is full of surprises and I was taken aback on several occasions when I thought I had guessed where particular plot lines were heading.
A cracking five stars from me.

Follow the blog tour:

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

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*Many thanks to the publisher for my Netgalley review copy*

About the book:

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.

Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

My thoughts:

Laurel’s daughter Ellie goes missing at fifteen, but Laurel has never given up hoping that she will find her. Laurel meets Floyd in a cafe, who ends up asking her out. Floyd has a 9 year old daughter called Poppy. Upon meeting Poppy, Laurel is surprised to see she is very similar to Ellie when she was young. This becomes a constant reminder to Laurel that her daughter is gone.

Then She Was Gone is told mainly from Laurel’s point of view, but we also get glimpses into Ellie’s life before she disappeared. We also see the impact her disappearance has on the rest of the family and how they dealt with the aftermath.

Then She Was Gone is quite a fast-paced and gripping read It hooks the reader early on and steadily builds a level of tension and discomfort throughout. In the interest of honesty, I have to say I figured out some stuff early on, which meant I wasn’t shocked or surprised with the way the book went.

It is definitely a good story and there is real emotion in the characters. If you like psychological thrillers with hints of domestic noir, then this is definitely a book to add to your list.

Recommended.

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

 

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*Many thanks to Orenda Books for my review copy!*

About the book:

Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops … Or does it?

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

My thoughts:

Exquisite is a long-awaited domestic noir thriller published by Orenda Books. In it, we meet Bo Luxton and Alice Dark, both of whom share a common interest in writing. Bo is a bestselling author, and Alice has aspirations to write a book. Meeting eachother at a writers retreat ends up with some interesting consequences. 

I had been really looking forward to reading Exquisite. It ticks all the boxes in terms of the kinds of things I enjoy in books. Dark, unreliable narrator, secrets and lies, so I was eager to get stuck into it when I picked it up last month. 

It’s very hard to discuss Exquisite without giving away anything in terms of the plot. There is no denying Sarah Stovell is a superb writer. The prose and cadence in Exquisite is beautiful. Even the mundane is made exceptional, and that’s all down to how well the author writes. 

If you enjoy clever domestic noir, then Exquisite is the book for you. Compelling, menacing and fraught with tension, definitely one to add to your list!

Recommended! 

~Blog Tour Extract~ The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

Hi everyone,

Today I’m one of two stops on the blog tour for Barbara Copperthwaite’s The Darkest Lies and I’ve got an extract to share with you all. And don’t forget to pop over to Emma at damppebbles.com, my blog tour buddy to catch her post too!

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About the book:

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

About The Author:

The people behind the crime, from the perpetrator to the victim and beyond, are what intrigue Barbara Copperthwaite.

She was raised by the sea and in the countryside, where she became a lover of both nature and the written word – the latter leading to a successful career as a journalist. For over twenty years people have kindly and bravely shared with her their real experiences of being victims of crime. Now, through fiction, Barbara continues to explore the emotional repercussions.

 

An extract from The Darkest Lies…

 

PROLOGUE

The cry for help is ragged and desperate, the voice hitching. There is no one to hear it.

A moon hangs so fat it oozes an aura into the sky that almost blots out the stars surrounding it. It looks down on land as flat as an open palm, and as unforgiving as a clenched fist, and gives no answer to the screams of fear and rage that float up to it.

This is the wind’s playground. It races across the North Sea and hits the land full force. There is nothing to slow it; no hills, few trees or hedges here on land reclaimed from the water to create the marshes and fertile flats of Lincolnshire. It screams ecstatically, punching the handful of houses it comes across, revelling in its unfettered freedom as it rattles windows. On its journey it picks up the entreaties for help that are echoing into the sky. Hurls them across the landscape, as gleeful as a toddler with a toy.

‘Help me! Please! Help!’

There is no one to catch the words.

No one, except a lone figure, turning, walking away towards lights in the far-off distance.

CHAPTER ONE

BETH

FRIDAY 22 JANUARY

Beth chewed at her thumbnail as she stared at the clothes that were carefully folded in the bottom of the rucksack. Was she doing the right thing? Yes; there’d be no harm done, and no one need ever find out. This was not a big deal. Still she gnawed, worrying at the nail.

The thirteen-year-old suddenly yanked her thumb from her mouth. She must remember not to chew it tonight; it looked as if she was sucking it, like a baby. Tonight, she needed to show that she was grown-up, no longer a little girl.

Right, had she remembered everything? Yep, it looked like it.

It had taken ages to choose both her outfits. One for her parents; one for her secret. She slipped a jumper on and smoothed down the Minnie Mouse picture on the front. It was a firm favourite of her mum’s so it was the obvious choice, even though she didn’t like the childish top herself any more. Everything was perfect for tonight – and her parents would never guess in a million years.

A huge grin on her face, Beth glugged a glass of milk and set it down on her dressing table. Then called out: ‘Mu-um. You ready to go?’

A laugh floated up from downstairs. ‘Isn’t it normally me asking you that?’

Beth hurried downstairs with her rucksack, her dad making the usual joke about ‘a herd of elephants’. She gave him a peck on the cheek and a big hug, which he returned, but peered around her at the television.

‘Ooh, offside,’ he groaned.

‘See you tomorrow.’

‘Have a nice night, Beans.’ He grinned as he used her nickname, but continued watching the football, casting her only a sidelong glance.

Minutes later, Beth and her mum were wrapped in their hats and coats, and striding along with Wiggins by their side. The russet cocker spaniel held his nose high, tail swishing casually from side to side, catching various scents on the cold January air.

‘Hey, wouldn’t it be amazing if we could smell things the way Wiggins does? We could follow scent trails!’ Beth said.

She linked arms with her mum as they took the left-hand lane from the village crossroads on which they lived, towards the home of Beth’s best friend, Chloe.

‘Like a superhero? You could be called Dog Girl,’ her mum joked.

Beth wrinkled her nose. ‘Yeah, on second thoughts… The name’s not great, is it?’

‘What other superpowers would Dog Girl have?’

‘Well, okay, she could take all sorts of things from nature. Like, she could have echo-location, like a bat, so she could find her way in the dark. That’d be handy now!’

They giggled.

‘What are you up to with Chloe tonight, anyway? Pamper night? Watching a film?’

‘Yeah, we’ll probably watch a film. Not sure about the pampering – Chloe might not have any face packs.’

‘We could nip back and get some. There’s a couple in the bathroom cabinet.’

‘No. It’s fine. We’ll probably watch a film and eat a lot of chocolate.’

‘Want some money for a pizza? It’s a Friday night, you might as well treat yourselves.’

‘Ooh, great!’

Her mum stopped abruptly, waving the tenner at the sky before handing it over. ‘Look how big the moon is tonight.’

‘Is it a supermoon?’ Beth asked, gazing upward too. There had been one a few months earlier, and her dad had told her about how it was special, being closer to the earth and bringing bigger tides. That had been really cool.

‘Don’t think so, but it’s beautiful, isn’t it?’

She nodded. ‘I can see the man in the moon ever so clearly.’

Given that they had stopped, it seemed as good a time as any to try…

‘So, I might as well walk the rest of the way alone.’

‘No, I’ll walk you to the door. It’s dark, Beth.’

She gave her mum her very best puppy dog eyes look. If the plan were to work, her mum couldn’t take her to Chloe’s house. Despite her parents thinking she’d be spending the night there, she had no intention of setting foot inside the place.

‘I’m a teenager. I’m not a baby. Pur-lease, Mum!’

After a second or two, there came a reluctant nod. ‘Be careful.’

‘I will!’

‘I love you to bits and whole again,’ Mum added.

Beth felt her nose prickle with guilty tears. They had been saying that to each other since she was about four. She remembered it vividly, being cuddled on her mum’s lap; her feet tucked under Dad’s legs to keep them extra toasty warm. One hand twirling a piece of hair round and round and round her fingers as Dad read to them. She’d loved to hear the sound of his voice, but no matter how hard she’d fought, her eyelids had grown heavier and heavier and…

The sensation of weightlessness had woken her, as Dad carried her upstairs. When he’d tucked her in, he had stroked her face and kissed her forehead.

‘Sleep tight, Beans. I love you to the moon and back,’ he had murmured.

Beth had stirred sleepily. ‘To the moon? That’s a really, really, really long way.’

‘It is, but I love you so much that it would easily stretch all the way there and back again – and more.’

The next day her mum had walked her across the road to school, holding her hand. As Beth slipped from her grasp, her mum had pulled her back, into a bear hug.

‘Love you to bits,’ she’d whispered.

Beth had paused in her squirming. ‘To bits and back?’ she’d checked.

Her mum had laughed. ‘Er, yes, I suppose. To bits and whole again.’

Ever since, that saying had stuck. Hearing her mum use it now, Beth wanted to call a halt to her plan. To throw her arms around her and confess everything. She wanted to go home. She wanted to curl up and watch telly with Mum and Dad, while Wiggins did sneaky trumps that they all tried to blame on each other, laughing, even though they knew it was the dog. She wanted to tell her mum she’d love her forever and ever and ever, to bits and whole again.

Instead, she grinned cheekily, turned and skipped away like a little girl. Taking the mickey was easier than trying to articulate all of those feelings.

The wind plucked at her ponytail as she flew from sparse light pool to light pool between lamp posts until they ran out completely. The darkness swallowed her. Ahead she could feel her fate waiting for her and she rushed towards it eagerly. Tonight was going to be a big night.


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