So, yes, I have a confession!
Hidden Secrets went on preorder a couple of weeks ago, ready for publication on May 27th. When I started to write it, I had words banked up from a psychological thriller that I then changed to a procedural. The beginning was, I thought, the one that would go through the book, so I published a little of it in the back of Broken Promises.
Now the story has changed, the first chapter is no longer the same. So that's my apology! Sorry about that. Luckily, it was only short and I may use it someday, but below is the right chapter of Hidden Secrets.
I am really enjoying writing these books again. It's so much easier to write in a series, keeping in the same world with the same characters. Hidden Secrets leads on a little from Broken Promises with a subplot that will be resolved in book 6. Yes, I'm starting on book 6 soon! As in next week...
In terms of story, chapter one starts with Kit who tells you every secret of his before... well, you'll have to read it to see. Do let me know what you think...
Kit Harper staggered down the path, his hands in his pockets an unwise idea. He pulled them out to steady himself, inadvertently swaying to the left.
No amount of drink would make him stop thinking of the mess he was in. It was all going to fall down around him soon.
Saturday night with the lads hadn’t gone to plan. First, he’d had words with Scott who’d stormed out, and then Ben had turned on him, too, following shortly afterwards.
Within seconds, Aaron was giving him a lecture on what he should and shouldn’t have been doing. Kit had told him in no uncertain terms to leave, too, which he had. And then he’d nursed a couple more pints sitting alone.
What was it with people nowadays? All he’d wanted was a fun night out. Yet, whenever Ben was with them, he always spoiled things. It wasn’t as if anyone really liked him that much. He was just someone who tagged along because he was seeing Gemma, Aaron’s ex-wife.
He wasn’t welcome at their night outs, and well he knew it, but he always insisted on joining them. None of them had the heart to say no either. They tolerated him, because of Gemma. So, Ben turning up had put a dampener on the evening straightaway, no matter how much Aaron tried to laugh it off. Aaron wasn’t over their breakup despite being with Tasha now.
Kit passed a house that had lights blaring from every window, all open, and music blasting out. He chuckled, spotting a police car turning into the road. The neighbours had obviously had enough, and who could blame them with the choice of music. Not everyone was an Elvis Presley fan.
His mood dropped once the music dimmed, and he scowled as he recalled some of the things that had been said earlier. Ben could be such a dick. It was as if he took real pleasure in winding them up. One minute he was as friendly as anything, the next he could turn on you in an instant.
Kit had seen that first-hand tonight. Since he’d started working with Scott, Ben had shown his face even more. Kit couldn’t understand why. He, Scott, and Aaron had known each other since junior school. Now they were in their mid-thirties, he trusted them with his life. They had a history together. Sure, they all had hidden secrets, but they’d been there for each other through thick and thin.
The heat of the day was still hanging in the night air. Even so, it was surprisingly quiet once he’d passed the party. He checked his watch: couldn’t read the time despite drawing it close to his face. It was way past midnight, that was for sure. He hoped Nicky hadn’t fallen asleep on the sofa waiting for him.
He was in no fit state to do anything but pass out when he reached his bed. He didn’t have the energy to argue with her again. He and Nicky had been married for two years, and already he knew it had been the wrong thing to do – something else he was constantly thinking about.
What a mess. Scott had turned on him, Aaron hated what he was doing, Ben wanted to cause trouble, and he and Nicky were practically over before they’d started. Maybe he’d be better getting out of Stoke-on-Trent, packing a bag, and leaving everything behind.
He laughed. Beer talk. There was nowhere for him to go in any case, nor had he enough money. That was the problem he’d been trying to solve, which had got him into this mess.
He turned into the cut-through by the school playing fields. The branches of a tree on one side of the path rustled, a warm breeze washing over him. He lifted his face to it, relishing it on his skin. It was so hot. God, he was wasted and couldn’t wait to get home now.
He stomped ahead, the light in the lamppost thankfully working, showing the way ahead without him having to watch where he was going too much.
He’d lived in Stoke all his life, grown up with its people through work and play. How many times had he walked this path during the years? It had been on his way home from school, then a shortcut from the pub to where he’d lived with Brooke, and now with Nicky. It must be pushing into the tens of thousands, the area so familiar to him.
A noise had him turning suddenly, his eyes widening as he tried to focus.
‘Who’s there?’ He stared but could see nothing.
A shadow fell across the path. Something hard caught him on his temple, and he went down like a ton of bricks. The back of his head slammed onto the concrete path, taking the full brunt of the force and making the most awful of noises.
It didn’t matter, though.
He was dead before he hit the ground.