Morning and welcome today as I share an excerpt from the book The Perfect Widow by A.M.Castle.
What is the book about?The Perfect Widow by A.M. Castle, Alice Castle
Published by HQ Digital on November 15, 2019
Buy on Amazon UK
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Louise Bridges has the perfect life.
A loving husband, Patrick. Two adorable children. A comfortable home.
So when PC Becca Holt arrives to break the news that Patrick has been killed in an accident, she thinks Louise’s perfect world is about to collapse around her.
But Louise doesn’t react in the way Becca would expect her to on hearing of her husband’s death. And there are only three plates set out for dinner as if Louise already knew Patrick wouldn’t be home that night…
The more Becca digs, the more secrets she uncovers in the Bridges’ marriage – and the more she wonders just how far Louise would go to get what she wants…
Is Louise a loving wife – or a cold-hearted killer?
✮ Excerpt ✮
I thought nothing of it, the first time the doorbell rang.
Parcel delivery guy – bound to be. It was that time of the evening. School run done, supper running late. They just want to catch you at home, don’t they? Don’t care if the timing’s terrible, up to your elbows in kids and cooking. Not their problem.
I did a quick mental scan through my recent purchases. Hmm. A few. Well, I had to keep up appearances. And it was hard to get it right just now. A strange September, sweltering by day, then plunging straight to frost when night fell. I wanted to get everyone twittering in the playground when I appeared in something shiny and new. For a second, I was excited. Was it that red handbag? Bit pricey, but I hadn’t been able to resist. But no, it was bound to be those boots I’d ordered last week on sale. Helping Giles was more important.
I looked over at him. Dark head down over the exercise book. Bless. That maths. I could see the line of jagged numbers. He was snagged, like a lamb on a barbed wire fence. But would he ask for help? Ha. I stayed put. Boys. If I didn’t nurse him through it, he’d go off the boil, drift. I’d lose him to that new game, the one he’d been hankering after. He’d be skulking in his bedroom for hours. That would be that. So I called to Emmy – well, yelled. It’s a big house.
‘Love? Can you get that?’
I cocked an ear. No reply, no movement. I sighed inwardly. Girls were no easier. Emmy was 11 going on 17 when it came to attitude. Especially towards her mother. The 2 more love and encouragement I lavished on her, the more elaborate the eye-rolls at everything I said or did. I envied her the freedom to rebel. Did I begrudge it? Most days, no. Today, I was feeling a bit antsy already. I couldn’t face more shouting. That last yell up the stairs had done my head in. It had been a busy day. Very busy.
I was about to give in and get up, but then Giles turned to me. ‘Don’t go, Mum. I can’t do this.’ The voice was all over the place, now he was 13 – Barry White one minute, Sam Smith the next. That pushed-out bottom lip, though, was the same as when he’d been 4, trying to ride his new bike without any help from us, and coming a cropper. I smiled, love filling me like light pouring through a window. Who could resist?
The bell shrilled again. I couldn’t break off, not now Giles was finally concentrating, but I certainly didn’t want to be schlepping to the post office tomorrow to pick up those boots. Outside, the guy would be scribbling the usual hieroglyphs on his card, ready to drop and run. I was torn. But, just in time, there was Emmy, scampering down the stairs, two at a time. Miracle. Bless her. That was the only little-girl thing about her, the bouncy gait.
She never did it again, after that afternoon.
I turned back to Giles. ‘Now, you take this number…’ But I still had half an ear out for Em. Heavy click as the door opened. Murmurs. The sharp slap of cold air. Distant street sounds. More talking. Too much.
I thought for a beat, then two. Why would she chat to the delivery guy? And was that two adult voices I could hear? A man and a woman?
Something was off. But it couldn’t be… could it? Not yet. Surely not.
Then her stifled gasp.
I breathed in, hard. But I was still reluctant to leave Giles, the books and pens at the table. If I didn’t move, everything would stay the same. The cluttered table, the peaceful room, the pristine house. My house, that I’d fought so hard for. I was paralysed.
Now there was no mistaking the bleat of fear in Emmy’s voice. But I sang out, ‘No need to yell, love,’ as though she was just being a pain as per usual. I pushed myself up, felt a twinge. It had been a long day, my muscles ached. That morning pilates class. And the rest. I even remembered to give the spag bol a quick stir as I passed the stove.
‘Mum!’ came the shout again, desperate now.
But as soon as I got out into the hall, there was no more escaping it. The door was flung wide open. Cold air, gusting in, knifing us after the sizzling day. Normally, I would have told Emmy off, letting the heat out, letting too many curious neighbours peer in, but my eyes flew straight past her to the two figures in the doorway, silhouettes bulky against the cold blue lights pulsing from their car.
This was real. It was actually happening. I felt sick, but my voice stayed steady.
‘Patrick,’ I said, looking from one granite face to the other, automatically reaching for Emmy. She burrowed her head into my side. I heard the maths book thud heavily from Giles’s hand, his chair scrape back. He ran out into the hall. And then we were three.
Until next time xxx
Thanks to Jessica from HQ for the tour invite and the author for an excerpt from book in return for my honest and unbiased review