This week, I've mainly been planning the next book in the DI Marsha Clay Series. I'm about to start writing it now, as I feel I have enough of it sorted out.
I've also been proofreading Missing Girls. I read it several times after it comes back from my copyeditor and proofreader. As the weather is nice for a change, it's a good excuse to locate my office to the garden...
With only two weeks to go until the launch of MISSING GIRLS, I thought I'd share the prologue with you.
*** (sorry, I can't set it out like a book as I can't indent the paragraphs on here.)
One month ago
He awoke on the settee with a start, his shoulders and back complaining immediately. It hadn’t helped that he’d downed almost a full bottle of whisky yesterday. Anything to ease the anger.
He checked his watch: half past eight. He’d been asleep for almost twelve hours, so be it fitfully.
Moving his legs round to the floor, he sat up, waiting for the dull ache behind his eyes to subside. The TV was on low, a news channel showing today’s headlines. He wondered how long it would be before his face was plastered all over it.
He stood too quickly, swaying a little, and he held on to the furniture as he made his way to the door.
In the bathroom upstairs, his head throbbed. He stared at himself in the mirror over the sink. There was a hole in the right-hand corner, the cracks coming out from it like a spider’s web. He’d done that with his fist just last month. Remembering why wouldn’t help him now.
Not bothering to shower, he staggered down the stairs and into the kitchen. The place was a tip even before he’d arrived. Threadbare carpets, curtains that had seen better days. The settee had been covered in a throw to hide its grubbiness. Walls and ceilings were yellow through neglect and smoke damage. But it was the only thing he’d been able to rent without references and a huge deposit.
He shouldn’t have come back.
It was raking everything up again. Away from the town and its memories, he could keep everything under control. But now, the darkness was swirling around in his brain, ready to burst out of him. He couldn’t stop it. Wouldn’t stop it.
While he made black coffee, he stared out of the window. If he closed his eyes, he could picture his sister on the swing, her blonde hair flailing out behind her when she kicked her legs under and then out. She’d be about six, and he would have been twelve. Her laughter filled his ears as if it were yesterday, as he pushed her higher at her insistence.
The whole family had been lost from the minute she was gone. There had been no one to help them get through their grief. It had been all accusations, dirty looks, fights defending their honour. It had left him in meltdown, and he’d had no choice but to get away.
Yet the pain, the hurt, the unfairness of it all had festered inside him.
He wasn’t in the mood for food just yet, so he opened the Leek News and spread the paper out on the kitchen table. He turned the pages, reading about families and businesses, accidents, and the deceased. On page nine, he spotted a photo and leaned in closer to view it. His blood ran cold at the sight of the man’s face.
It had been twenty years since he’d seen him. He was shaking the hand of a woman in police uniform, both of them smiling at the camera. She was presenting him with a framed certificate.
He scanned the article. Detective Inspector Marsha Clay was handing out the Business of the Year award for the second year in a row to local garage owner, John Prophet.
He stood up so quickly the chair screeched across the floor. Anger burned inside him again, and he paced the tiny kitchen. How could that be possible? After all this time, Prophet was still getting on with his life, while his sister rotted in a grave. Taken away too soon, robbing her of a future. Ruining his life.
His thoughts became darker still as the hours passed. By the end of the day, he’d made a plan. He was going to do something about the situation himself, finally. It was the only way, and if he played it out quickly, he could be gone before anyone suspected him.
He had to do something. The law had protected the Prophet family for far too long.
Enough was enough.
What do you think? I'm so looking forward to finding out.