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Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie is a Shake Off Winter Doldrums pick #romanticsuspense #bookish
Title: Someone Close to Home
Author: Alex Craige
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Thriller
Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon. But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her. Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home. And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people. Just how far will Annie go?
It’s mid-afternoon and we are walking hand-in-hand down Dunstan Main Street when we notice a woman wheeling about, clearly drunk. Her green skirt has a dark stain down the front and her hair is a tangled mess. It’s only when we draw nearer and can see the lined and grubby face that I realised it’s Jenny Willing. I tug on Gideon’s hand and try to pull him back up the hill.
“What’s the matter?”
“I just want to go back to the house.” I try to sound bright and casual but fail on both counts.
Gideon peers more closely at the woman slowly meandering her way towards us.
“Isn’t that Jenny?” He sounds as surprised as me. “Look at the state of the poor soul!”
I tug on his hand again. “Please, I don’t want to see her.”
He stops and looks down at me before giving my hand a squeeze and saying, “All right. Let’s go back to the house.”
We walk in silence. I am too disturbed by Jenny’s ravaged face to make conversation. She has aged terribly since I last saw her and her unkempt and dirty appearance bring home to me how badly my father’s death has affected her. I find myself wondering what it would be like if someone took Gideon away from me and I’m hit by a wave of guilt and sympathy so powerful I let out a groan.
“Megan? Are you all right?” I can’t even bring myself to look at him yet. “Megan? What’s wrong? Speak to me.” In his agitation he isn’t aware that he’s shaking my arm.
“I’m fine.” I manage a faint smile and he catches me to him and holds me tightly.
“You’ve gone quite pale,” he mumbles into my hair. “Is it Jenny?”
He draws back and studies me closely.
“I’m okay. Really. Let’s go inside and sit down for a bit.”
He leads me to his house, sits me down on the sofa and makes two cups of tea. He places mine in front of me and instructs me to drink up. I take a sip and grimace as some of the horror fades.
“There’s enough sugar in here for a jam factory.”
“It’s supposed to be good for shock.”
I take another sip. I don’t know what to say.
“I know she stole some stuff from your house but the police dropped the charges, didn’t they?”
I don’t respond. There’s a Pandora’s box full of guilty secrets in my head and I’m afraid to open it even a crack in case they all begin to tumble out.
He comes and sits down next to me and takes my hand in his. His voice is soft.
“Megan, just before the whole Jenny thing kicked-off you were withdrawn and upset but when I pressed you about it you became angry and sent me packing.” He raises my hand and kisses it. “Can you tell me about it now?”
I say nothing whilst my brain rapidly spins through the possible permutations. I could tell him everything, but he might never speak to me again. I could deny everything but he would know I was lying. I could offer him some crumbs in the hope that it would all go away again. But what crumbs can I give him? I make my decision.
“I’m so sorry, Gideon. I should have told you. I just didn’t know how.”
“Is it to do with Jenny?”
“Yes.” The quiet word hangs between us waiting for an explanation. “I haven’t told anyone else about this.” My mother saw it for herself, I add silently. “The day I had my teeth done I saw Jenny and my father, together.”
I can feel my lower lip trembling and I try desperately to hold back the threatening tears.
“You mean together as in romantically?”
“ I’m so sorry, Megan.” He holds me close again, talking into my hair. “I knew your parents weren’t getting on too well. Did your mother know?”
I shake my head. It might not be a verbal lie, but it’s a lie all the same and it’s there between us; a wedge.
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What’s your favorite activity to shake off the winter doldrums?
Snuggling down with a good book, a doting dog and a big, big bar of chocolate.
Why is your featured book a cure for the winter blues?
The fear and betrayal will make your pulse beat faster whilst the love will thaw the stoniest of hearts.
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Runs March 1 – 31, 2021.
Drawing will be held on April 1, 2021.
Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.
Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.
When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.
Trish has had two books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. Both books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the NHS at its heart.
Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.
Book lovers are welcome to contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
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