Oooh, so this is the latest book in Mandy’s repertoire. It is also an excerpt from the book that you can also win as part of the giveaway. Just remember that throughout the week I have been posting random facts about Mandy and all you have to do is comment on tomorrow’s post at least one of these fun facts!
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. .Dark Deception by Amanda James
Published by Bloodhound Books on November 13 2019
Buy on Amazon UK
Add to Goodreads
Also by this author: Rip Current, The Cornish Retribution, Another Mother, The Feud, A Stitch in Time, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Dancing in the Rain, Cross Stitch, Summer in Tintagel, Behind the Lie, Another Mother, The Calico Cat, Deep Water, The Cornish Retribution, The Feud, Dark Deception, The Cornish Connection
Who can you trust when the past won't let you go?
Kerensa and Leo are a happily married young couple who live in Cornwall. Leo works part-time in London as an investment advisor to wealthy businessman, Paul Donaldson. The couple hope to start a family soon and life couldn’t be better.
But Leo has been stealing from Paul and Paul isn’t the sort of man you steal from.
When Leo realises that Paul knows what he’s done, he has no choice but to resort to drastic measures.
Meanwhile, after discovering she is pregnant, Kerensa can’t wait for her husband to return home so she can share her news. But she soon discovers he’s gone missing.
After receiving a threatening phone call from Paul, Kerensa realises how much trouble her family are in.
Just how far is Paul prepared to go to get revenge? And will Kerensa ever be happy or safe again?
Amanda James is also the bestselling author of novels including Another Mother and The Cornish Retribution. Dark Deception is a twisty and suspenseful psychological thriller which will appeal to fans of authors like C.L. Taylor, Claire McGowan and Louise Jensen.
So without further ado, check out the first chapter of Dark Deception
✮ Excerpt ✮
Five Years Ago
Billy Simpson can’t remember how long he’s been tied to the chair. It feels like a week, but he’s guessing by the changing patterns of light filtering through the broken pane of the grimy window, it’s probably only a few days. He appears to be in a disused workshop – there’s a lingering smell of oil and a discarded car door leaning against the wall. His captors come now and then and beat him some more, force water down his throat, but they haven’t fed him.
A growl from his stomach reminds him of how hungry he is, and he strains against the ties round his chest and wrists. A waste of time. He doesn’t want to end up on the floor again either. The first day he’d toppled the chair over and had to lay on his side on the concrete floor for hours. Cold and wet from his own urine. The humiliation hurts nearly as much as his wounds. He’s a grown man reduced to pissing in his pants. The stink of him turns his stomach.
The constant drip, drip, drip of water on the concrete floor leaked from somewhere above in the rusty girders is driving him crazy. He’s not sure how much he can take. Billy’s heart hopes they’ll release him. Yes, obviously he’ll be sacked, and warned if he did anything like this again, he’d be dead. But he’d be free. His head is more realistic. Billy’s seen the men’s faces. They are two of the five or six thugs his boss keeps, and Billy’s noticed them around. They’re bodyguards when the boss is out and about, and apparently deal with problems arising from the seedier side of the business. So why would these men reveal themselves to him if they were thinking of release? Surely they’d worry that Billy would tip off the police somehow, once he’d got far away from them and the clutches of the boss. Did this mean Billy would die here? They’d kill him? He’d heard rumours…
Billy looks at a shaft of sunlight angling in through the broken pain and longs to be free. Tears run down his face, soak into the gag stuffed into his mouth secured with tape, and he thinks of people walking past in the spring sunshine, oblivious to his plight. His girlfriend Lucy must be out of her mind with worry by now, but he knows he’ll never be found. These men are clever, sly. Billy can take no more. Next time the thugs arrive he’ll come clean. So far, he’s denied the accusations levelled at him, but if he confesses, they might be lenient. Playing dumb has got him precisely nowhere. Besides, what choice does he have?
The sound of a bolt sliding open and keys jingling stop his pondering, and every inch of his body tenses. A bare bulb flickers into life overhead. Fear blooms in his chest and he tries to calm himself – regulate his breathing. Because of the gag, when he panics, he has a struggle to get air in. Square Head, as Billy thinks of him, draws a chair up, scraping the wooden legs over the hard floor, and sits astride it. Squashed Nose hovers near the door – seems nervous and fiddles with something inside his coat.
‘How’s Billy today?’ Square Head asks, flashing a shark grin. ‘Not looking so great.’ He turns his bottom lip down in mock sympathy. ‘You stink like a urinal.’ He tips his head toward the side wall. ‘There’s a hosepipe back there somewhere. Shall I wash you down?’ The shark grin again. Billy shakes his head. ‘You ready to confess?… Silly me you can’t answer, can you?’
Billy flinches and groans as the gag is ripped from his mouth. It feels as if his mouth has changed shape and he can hardly close it because it’s been stretched open for so long. Square Head is waiting for an answer, Billy realises. ‘If I confess, will you go easy on me?’ Because of his numb mouth, his voice sounds as if he’s borrowed it from a drunk.
Square Heads’ eyes light up. ‘Oh we will… but first we want your admission of fleecing the gaffer, and who was in on it with you. Because there had to be someone, Billy. We know that much.’
Billy thinks for a while. It’s one thing admitting his own guilt, but dropping Gary in it too…
‘Changed your mind?’ Square Head balls the gag up and moves towards Billy.
‘No. No…okay.’ His voice is a croak now and he tries to lick his dry lips, but there’s no spit. Square Head pulls a drinking bottle out of his bag and squirts water down Billy’s throat. Luckily he’s so thirsty he manages to swallow it instead of choking as he has before.
‘Right, start talking, or I’ll start snipping off those elegant fingers you have.’ Square Head puts the bottle back in his bag and pulls out some cruel bladed electrical pliers. He opens and closes the blades, watching Billy’s face intently.
Billy’s stomach turns and he blurts, ‘Yes I took a bit of cash when I collected the takings from Tropicana Nights, but I didn’t fleece Paul. I just needed a bit extra, as I’m planning on getting married this—’
‘Nobody cares about that. And it’s not, Paul, it’s Mr Donaldson. You stole from him, Billy, and he won’t allow it. He won’t allow betrayal from his staff.’ Square Head’s eyes narrow and he puts the pliers back in his bag. ‘Who else was in on it?’
Billy sighs. ‘Gary Meadows… he doctored the accounts so P…Mr Donaldson wouldn’t notice the missing cash.’
Square Head folds his arms. ‘For a cut?’ Billy nods. ‘Hm. We thought as much. He’s been under surveillance for some time. Accountants are always letting themselves down. All that money they deal with every day does something to their heads. Seems they think they’re cleverer than everyone else too, just because they can do sums.’
‘Will you do the same to him as what you’ve done to me?’ Billy feels terrible, but he has to get out of this place.
‘Oh yes. We’ll pick him up after we’ve killed you.’ Square Head stands, picks up his bag and brushes down his coat.
Billy’s bowels turn to water. ‘What! You said you would go easy on me if I confessed!’
‘And we are. Before we killed you today, I intended to remove all your fingers with that little gadget I showed you just now…toes as well.’ A wink. ‘And perhaps any other appendage I might have found.’ Square Head shrugs and walks over to where Squashed Nose is still standing by the door. ‘Spoilt my fun really, you confessing. But I always keep my word.’ He turns and gives Billy a little smile. ‘See you then, Billy. Safe journey.’ Then he opens the door and walks through it.
Billy wants to scream but he’s frozen. Fear’s encased his vital organs in ice. Squashed Nose walks towards him and pulls a gun out of his coat. He still looks nervous, but Billy can see he’s determined to go ahead. His eyes are wide. Fixed. Billy finds his voice. ‘No…NO! PLEASE! You don’t have to do this!’
Squashed Nose says, ‘Sorry but I do. If I don’t, I’ll end up like you.’ The man raises the gun, presses the cold metal barrel against Billy’s right temple and whispers, ‘Nothing personal.’ He pulls the trigger.
Has this done enough to entice you read on? If not, read some of these reviews…
Me and My Books says:- This is such a brilliant read and I think the author has definitely created a fabulous psychological thriller. The story lines are wonderfully interwoven with the characters involved. Even when I thought I had a handle on the story the author deftly sidestepped me and had me avidly turning pages to discover what was going to happen next.
Goodreads reviewer says:- What an electrical first chapter! That was it then, no way was I going to put this book down as I was pulled in immediately. A dark and fascinating read, the book title is spot on!
Grace J Reviewerlady says:- This is an interesting psychological read from an author I’ve followed for some time, and she always delivers an exciting read. Dark Deception is no exception, being full of twists and turns right up until the final page. Cleverly written and well paced, this is a book which provides the reader with plenty of food for thought.
Goodreads reviewer says:- I was transfixed by this taut, twisting tale with a heart-stopping ending. The novel opens with a horrific scene of violent punishment, showing what a ruthless character Paul Donaldson is so when we’re told Kerensa’s husband Leo has been stealing from him it’s clear the couple’s perfect life is threatened. With the addition of new characters the mystery surrounding Leo’s death deepens. Loved the dialogue and the narrator’s wry asides. I guessed Patrick’s secret but had no idea how the story would end – and what an ending it was!
Fun fact number 5 – I can hold a tune
Until next time xxx