Her life may not be perfect but she’s happy. Until she makes a terrible decision – and learns the hard way that home is not a place of refuge.
Not while Simon lurks in every shadow.
He groomed her as a teen: terrorised her into fleeing, leaving her baby behind. Now the man who destroyed her childhood has become the perfect father to her teenage daughter. And her return threatens his future.
A desperate man is a dangerous one.
Simon says she must leave or suffer the consequences. She refuses.
Now it’s his move. Because it’s not enough to face your demons.
Sometimes, you must destroy them.
Ade’s thick fingers rested on the settee arm. He didn’t notice me staring at them. His attention was on the TV and the wagon that billowed a cloud of dust as it raced across the desert, followed by a dozen or more horses ridden by men in blue with flapping yellow scarves. One of the riders yelled something to his companion and Ade leant forward, frowning. Thick lines crinkled his forehead, ending where his hair line once would have been, but now there was just shiny smoothness against which the light from the TV reflected. He needed a cowboy hat. That way only the horseshoe of hair which hung over his ears would be seen and no one could tell he was bald.
He went to pick up the remote control and caught my eye. Did he know I’d been staring at him? I looked down at my hands. They gripped my knees so tightly, my knuckles jutted like the Rockies.
Ade took a drag of his fag and pointed the remote control at the TV. Music crashed into the room, the beat of a drum, the dah dah dahhh of a trumpet as two Red Indians popped up from behind a rock. Talk about old-fashioned.
“I can’t hear,” he said.
I nodded and turned away. What was I doing here with a bunch of old men? There must be somewhere better to hang out tonight. Even Mrs. Hamilton’s. Or with the goths at the precinct, although they hadn’t been there when I’d walked past earlier. Hannah Curtis had become a goth and she reckoned they weren’t as scary as they looked and much nicer than the chavs who laughed at me for being a swot. It wasn’t my fault I was in the top set. Thank goodness I hadn’t gone to Grammar or else they might pick on me like they did the other kids who got off that bus. They left Troy alone, but only because Issie Saunders fancied him. I’d seen the way she pushed her cronies to one side so she could flutter her eyelashes when he walked past.
I’d try the precinct again. Hopefully, Hannah would be there. As I stood up to leave, Ade turned to me.
“Not leaving already?” He grinned. “I have this effect on women.”
SIMON SAYS isn’t my first thriller. Several unpublished novels went before it, but there was something about this story that made me come back to it time-and-time again. Although it was written in 2015, recently a few author friends encouraged me to publish it as they remembered reading it years before.
I used to work in an office where the wider team comprised people working with drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and general community safety. I wrote SIMON SAYS during this period and my team provided information and advice. Also, the Red Watch team at the local fire station read my first chapter during their tea break and advised on a couple of points to make it more accurate (I thought it would be one person, not the whole team reading it!).
Currently, I am completing a novel in another genre, but I really enjoy writing thrillers, so I am planning my next one.