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My 11th book, One Must Die, is available now to download for 99p or 99c.
Here is the prologue:
Ten years earlier.
Neil Parkes stood on the landing holding the gun that would soon kill his entire family. The weapon, a semi-automatic Browning his grandfather had brought back from active service in World War Two, had been locked in a cabinet at his mother’s house for decades until Neil had stolen it six days ago along with several rounds of ammunition.
The door to the master bedroom was ajar, allowing the landing light to filter into the room. Dear sweet Melissa didn’t like the dark; not since she thought she saw the ghost of a tall man standing at the foot of her bed when she was nine.
Neil loved his wife. No question. She was kind, beautiful and pragmatic, and he frequently questioned why she’d even bother to be with a scrawny specimen such as himself. Not that he didn’t possess his own innate qualities. He was driven to succeed and blessed with a natural gift for painting and poetry, the latter of which had managed to capture Melissa’s heart and drag it all the way up the aisle.
Married for over twenty years, they’d survived the heartache of losing a stillborn child, a car accident that had left him with three broken ribs and Melissa with whiplash, two job losses, and a whole host of other niggles and worries that would be classed as the normal ups and downs of life.
Devastated by the loss of their first child, Melissa had finally given birth to a nine-pound-seven-ounce baby boy fifteen years ago. Luke was the final piece of the jigsaw in their marriage. Healthy, happy, and content, the boy had been a gift sent directly from Heaven.
As Luke had entered his teenage years, it was clear he wasn’t academically gifted. An average student at best, the lad had excelled in other areas, including rugby, rock climbing, and kayaking. Luke was a doer rather than a thinker, and the older he became, the more he reminded Neil of his own father.
What’s the use of all that book learning if you can’t build a wall? Tom Parkes would say, when Neil had occasionally made the mistake of talking to his mother about poetry at the kitchen table. All you need is common sense to get by in this world, not airy-fairy words.
Neil had long since accepted that his son would never follow in his own academic footsteps, and that was fine by him. Unlike his father, Neil was a great believer in letting destiny take its own course, and interference was about as useful as holding up a hand to stop the wind.
Melissa moaned in her sleep. Soft and seductive. She rolled onto her back, the duvet slipping away from her slender body to reveal the silhouetted form of her breasts. Neil held his breath as she mumbled something incomprehensible in her sleep. Perhaps his name.
‘The moon, the stars, and the sun truly shine, when you lay your body next to mine,’ he whispered. These were the first words he’d ever spoken to her in a vaguely poetic manner a few months after they’d first met at university. Although from the heart, pretty clichéd nonsense compared to the words of his all-time hero, Shelley.
She’d smiled and told him it was the most beautiful thing anyone had ever said to her. This had inspired a spate of self-penned stanzas that made him cringe looking back, but Melissa had taken them right to her heart and kept them locked up safe for the rainy days ahead.
He stepped into the bedroom, raised the gun, and aimed it at Melissa’s head.
Don’t do it. Give her time, a voice whispered in his head. She’s just angry with you.
Neil hesitated. The gun quivered in his hands. Maybe the voice was right. But she’d barely spoken to him for three months, other than to demand that he leave the house and get the fuck out of her life. No amount of fanciful words, bunches of flowers, or boxes of chocolates could ever soften the blow he’d unintentionally dealt her.
Heart thudding, he took a step closer to the bed, curled his finger around the trigger, and applied pressure.
Melissa’s left arm rose from beneath the duvet and folded itself across her eyes as if to protect her face from the coming blast.
He fired. She bucked as the bullet passed through her left eye, tore a ragged hole in her brain, and exited out the back of her skull.
He lowered the gun, tears blurring his vision, bile rising in his throat. ‘I’m sorry, Mel. I’m so sorry,’ he whispered.
He wanted to go to the bed and piece his darling wife back together. Kiss her sweet lips one more time. Feel her warm breath on his face and hold her body close to his.
Luke’s voice startled him. He turned around and pointed the weapon at his son.
Luke gawped at the gun. ‘What the…?’
For the briefest moment, Neil considered dropping the gun and rushing to his son. Holding him tight as he’d done many times during Luke’s early years when he’d had a nightmare. Promising him the bogeyman wasn’t real and there were no monsters hiding under his bed.
Luke put his hands in the air. Stepped back. ‘Dad? What’re you doing?’
Neil stifled a sob. Tears streamed down his face. ‘I love you, son.’
‘Please forgive me.’ Neil squeezed the trigger.
The bullet hit Luke above his right eye. Luke screamed and fell to his knees. He gawped at his father for a few seconds, slumped forward, and lay face down on the floor.
Neil stood over his son. Asked the angels to take care of his soul. Melissa’s, too. He walked downstairs, sat at the kitchen table, and recorded a message on his phone for his mother.
‘By the time you listen to this message, Mother, I will be gone. Condemned to Hell for all the terrible things I’ve done. If I could’ve found a way to make Melissa change her mind, I would’ve, but there was no other way. I’m sorry for all the hurt and pain this tragedy will undoubtedly cause you, but I want you to know that I love you, and I’m sorry it had to end this way. Please see that Melissa and Luke are buried together. As for myself, put me in a bin liner and throw me in the ocean. It’s no more than I deserve.’
He dropped the phone on the table and took one final look around the kitchen that had hosted so many good times and special occasions. Then he put the barrel of the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
No more anger. No more sorrow. No more pain.
You can find the book on Goodreads, where it’s getting some fantastic ARC reviews.
I’m very pleased to let you know that I have two boxsets available. One is supernatural, and the other thriller. They are cheaper than buying the books individually, and are also available to read through Kindle Unlimited. If you’d like a copy either (or both,) just click the images below! Each set is £3.99 or $4.99.