We’re delighted to welcome Rachel Abbott to Novel Kicks. She is the author of three novels, Only The Innocent, The Back Road and Sleep Tight. Her fourth novel, Stranger Child has just been released on e-book. Today, we will chat to Rachel about her book but first, she has shared an extract Stranger Child. Enjoy!
Emma glanced out at the dismal day. The black clouds heavy with rain were creating such gloom that the kitchen lights were a necessity even this early in the afternoon.
For a moment, she was in a trance, staring at nothing because in her head she could see summer days when the garden was finished, the beds bursting with newly planted flowers. She could almost smell the lavender she would grow in the borders.
She wasn’t sure of the moment that it happened. It wasn’t an instant in time, it was more of a gradual awareness, but as she stared blindly at the black window, dreaming of the happy months ahead, something moved at the edge of her peripheral vision. Her eyes refocused from the garden to the surface of the glass, the bright lights of the kitchen against the dark sky beyond creating a perfect mirror.
Every nerve ending in her body prickled, and she gasped as her brain finally acknowledged what she was looking at.
It was a pair of eyes. A pair of eyes that were behind her, watching.
Close behind her. In her kitchen.
A beam of sunlight burst through the black clouds, hitting the kitchen window and obliterating the reflection as if it had never been there. Emma’s fingers gripped the edge of the sink. Had she imagined it? But as quickly as the sun had come out, it was chased away by the squally clouds and the mirror image returned.
Locking eyes with the ghostly reflection that ebbed and flowed as the light outside adjusted from black to grey, Emma groped along the draining board, searching with her fingers for a weapon. Reaching up to the cutlery holder, she felt a sharp pain and a rush of liquid warmth as her fingers grasped the blade of a sharp boning knife, and she followed the steel down to grip the handle with damp, sticky fingers.
Scared of breaking the fragile eye contact for even a second in case the person moved – moved closer to her or to Ollie, moved out of her line of vision or into the hall, where she would be forced to follow – Emma took a deep breath and spun round, leaning heavily back on the sink for support as her legs suddenly weakened.
Her heart thumping and her throat too tight with tension to scream, she stared at the person in front of her as adrenaline pumped through her body, preparing it for fight or flight.
It was a girl, little more than a child.
‘What are you doing in my kitchen?’ Emma asked. ‘Get out now, before I call the police.’
The girl didn’t move. She just stared back, her eyes never leaving Emma’s face.
To view the book on Amazon UK, click here.
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