Today I will be sharing an extract for my spot on the blog tour for Missing in Wales by Jenny O’Brien.
**If you are in the UK, there is an awesome giveaway going on!**
Missing in Wales, the first in an exciting new Welsh-set crime series by Jenny O’Brien, author of The Stepsister. The next in series, Stabbed in Wales, will be available soon.
Alys is fine – don’t try to find us
Izzy Grant is haunted by the abduction of her newborn daughter five-years ago. When a postcard arrives from her missing partner, the man she believes is responsible, saying they’re fine and asking her not to try to find them, she knows she can’t give up hoping. Then she sees a face from her past. Grace Madden. Just where did she disappear to all those years ago? And is there a connection between her disappearance and that of her child?
DC Gabriella Darin, recently transferred from Swansea, is brash, bolshie and dedicated. Something doesn’t fit with the case and she’s determined to find out just what happened all those years ago.
Chapter 1: Izzy, woken from her sleep, discovers that both her baby and boyfriend are missing.
The fire had died back to nothing, the embers just a pale glow in the grate. She turned her head to glance out of the window, her hand instinctively pulling the woollen blanket around her shoulders, a shiver snaking its way across her spine. The last time she’d looked out, the sun had been streaming in through the pane but all that was visible now was the dense grey of twilight. The phone rang, slicing through her sudden fear. She struggled to sit, her neck stiff from the arm of the sofa. A million excuses chased through her mind.
They’ve been delayed, a puncture or, knowing Charlie, he’s run out of petrol.
Her hand lifted the receiver to her ear before gently replacing it. She’d learnt the best way to treat cold callers was by doing exactly that. No comment. No words. Nothing.
She pulled the throw tighter over her shoulders, her eyes now on the clock on the mantelpiece, her mind in a tangle.
Two hours? How the hell could she have slept for so long? Quickly followed by the worst thought of all – he must have had an accident. Even now he’s in some anonymous hospital bed and as for Alys…
Her stomach clenched when there was no need – she’d just ring his mobile. Reaching out a hand, she quickly tapped in the well-remembered number.
The person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. Please leave a message after the tone.
She was scared now, really scared. He never left his phone switched off even if it was only to check on the football scores. They’d been gone hours. She had no idea where the hell he could have taken her. Alys would need a feed and a nappy change. There was nowhere he’d go, not with a newborn.
She heaved a sigh at her foolishness and, for one long moment, relished the feel of wool against skin as she tried to laugh her fears off. She wasn’t his keeper. They’d got held up. Something had happened, something silly that she couldn’t guess at and, in a minute, she’d hear the creak of the gate and the turn of the key.
The moment passed. The minutes continued ticking and her sliver of calm disintegrated.
In a sudden burst of movement, she leapt from the chair and ran up the stairs.
That’s it. They came in earlier, hours earlier and even now they’re both curled up in their beds, not wanting to wake me.
But her cot was empty, apart from the pale-yellow blanket folded neatly over the end, just the way she’d left it that morning. Their bed was empty too; the duvet flung back any old how, the sheets cold, wrinkled, uninviting.
Outside. Maybe he’d pulled up and decided to close his eyes. Maybe it was like the last time when he forgot his keys and, if Alys had fallen asleep in the car, he might have decided not to wake me.
She remembered the last time. His sheepish grin when she shook him back into the land of the living, which developed into their first big row and ended in a swift coupling against the back of the sofa.
There was post on the mat but she just stepped over it. She wasn’t in the mood for bills and flyers. She just needed to know that Alys was safe.
The air was cold, wiping the smile from her face. There was barely a glimmer of light as twilight switched to dusk. They were far enough away from everyone for darkness, when it hit, to mean exactly that. There wasn’t even a visible moon or any stars to light the way. She took a second to drag air into her lungs, the smell from the winter-flowering jasmine around the door filling her senses, but there was no joy to be had from the scent. Her eyes adjusted enough to see the outline of the gate and the telegraph pole next to it. There was no car, no indication that he’d returned. There was nothing apart from the empty track leading up to the house.
She stayed awhile, a scream building in the back of her throat. Something was wrong, dreadfully wrong – something that she had no way of putting right.
She finally wandered back into the hall, leaving the front door open, the throw trailing in her wake. She was cold down to the bone, but it wasn’t the type of cold that the warmth from wool was going to solve. Her hand stretched towards the phone for a third time, her arm brushing against her breasts, now heavy with milk. She hesitated, her gaze resting on the first nine. Was she overreacting? Was this the paranoid response of a new mum? Maybe. Probably. Hopefully.
About the Author:
Jenny O’Brien was abandoned in Dublin at the tender age of 17 by her parents when they decided to move to Wales. It was only on the completion of her studies that she was finally able to join them.
She’s an avid reader and book blogger in addition to being a RoNA book judge.
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so.
In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer.
Jenny currently resides on the island of Guernsey with her husband, children and cats. She works as a nurse and writes in her spare time.
Readers can find out more about Jenny from her blog: https://jennyobrienwriter.wordpress.com
Win a signed copy of Missing In Wales and the chance to be a character in the next book STABBED IN WALES.
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