This vacation is about to turn deadly…
Cora’s on the island vacation of her dreams: a private beach in paradise, a romantic proposal, and an eight-figure cheque following the sale of her new fiancé’s business.
When their island turns out to be not so private after all, Cora tries to make the best of a bad situation by inviting their strangely friendly neighbours to celebrate with them.
But it doesn’t take long for her once-in-a-lifetime holiday to take a very sinister turn…
P.R. Black and Aria have shared an extract today.
***** beginning of extract*****
Once the call was over, Jonathan dropped the phone onto the sand. He grinned, slipping on a pair of shorts he’d discarded by the side of the beach chair the night before. ‘Now you believe me?’
‘I’m not sure I do… This is incredible. What happens now?’
‘How about everything you’ve ever wanted?’
‘The amount of money… it’s a dream, but my God. The responsibility.’ She drew a hand through her tight black curls. ‘It’s a great thing. But a terrible thing.’
‘Yeah, I know. With absolute power, comes great, whatever. Spider-Man. Uncle Ben. Loved that movie. The Tobey Maguire one, I mean. Real Spider-Man.’
‘I’m serious. And what if we get kidnapped?’
‘Kidnapped!’ Jonathan spluttered. ‘Bit presumptuous. The money’s only just gone in the bank!’
‘It happens – you hear about it all the time. It happens to millionaires, it’s common. They get targeted. For cars, or ransom demands. They capture their kids, their wives. We’ll need security guards… and cameras… or a really big dog.’
‘How about a tyrannosaur? We could afford one of those. We’ll need a really big doghouse. Come to think of it, we’ll need a big house of our own. You always wanted a swimming pool, right?’
She giggled. ‘Is this actually happening?’
He nodded and bit his lip. ‘Are you pleased? Tell me you’re pleased.’
She paused. ‘We have to do something good with it.’
‘Of course. You know how I work, darlin’. I’ll start some kind of foundation. I’m thinking a bursary scheme for start-ups, focusing on poor areas. Something like that. That aside, I’ll put some of it into bricks and mortar – a good chunk, anyway. A Forever House. One you always dreamed of. I’ll set something else up for later – we can still have an income, on top of the interest. Geek Goggles will pay consultancy fees. I can do something else in VR, too. I’ve got ideas rolling around, and I’ve got cash to gamble. I’m thinking on-demand delivery, gourmet food. But with a hipster twist. Targeting the young, metropolitan, idle rich… Like us! Seaweed crackers, rhubarb and ginger sandwich fillers, gourmet potted crabmeat… Even sushi, damn it! Foods that’ll get people foaming at the mouth in the comments sections online. They’ll rip it apart on below-the-line comments in The Guardian… and all the while, they’ll be promoting our brand. Just wait and see.’
Jonathan grew twitchy as he sketched his new ideas out. This could be quite alarming to those who didn’t know him; a hair-trigger quality that could put people on edge. Cora had once sat with him as they watched David Byrne’s jerky dance moves in the video for Talking Heads’ ‘Once in a Lifetime’.
‘How does it feel to see your life’s story condensed into three minutes?’ she had asked, and he hadn’t laughed. This startled-rabbit behaviour was born of pure adrenaline and a child-like excitement he had never lost.
‘Before you do all that – how about we take a moment, here?’ Cora was still sat in the sand. ‘How about you help me stand up, in fact?’
Instead, he sat down beside her. ‘I told you this was going to be a holiday to remember.’
‘I don’t think I’ll survive it. Is this what a heart attack feels like?’
He smiled. ‘Can you see a tunnel of light?’
***** end of extract*****
Author and journalist PR Black lives in Yorkshire, although he was born and brought up in Glasgow.
When he’s not driving his wife and two children to distraction with all the typing, he enjoys hillwalking, fresh air and the natural world, and can often be found asking the way to the nearest pub in the Lake District.
His short stories have been published in several books including the Daily Telegraph’s Ghost Stories and the Northern Crime One anthology.
His Glasgow detective, Inspector Lomond, is appearing in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.
He took the runner-up spot in the 2014 Bloody Scotland crime-writing competition with “Ghostie Men”. His work has also been performed on stage in London by Liars’ League.
He has also been shortlisted for the Red Cross International Prize, the William Hazlitt essay prize and the Bridport Prize.
Visit Aria’s website: www.ariafiction.com