Will enigmatic artist Lucas ever recover from the death of his wife eighteen years earlier?
What happened to troubled Justine’s mother, who disappeared around the same time?
Why is charismatic local MP Sebastian being so friendly to Eve?
Is Eve’s involvement with the villagers a way of avoiding facing up t her own family tragedies?
And did Eve really bring Black Shuck, the legendary dog whose appearance predicts death, to the village?
Katrina has started a Kindle Scout campaign to publish the book. There’s more to read by clicking the link but in the meantime, enjoy the excerpt.
‘And so this is Christmas and what have you done?’ John Lennon sings.
‘Actually, John, I just walked out on my cheating scumbag husband,’ I say. ‘And now I’m talking to the radio. It’s not a good sign.’
I focus my attention on the road, while sleet splatters the windscreen, desperate to get as far away as possible from the place I used to think of as home. Where am I going? What the hell am I doing? The events of the day toss around inside my head like the socks I left in the tumble dryer.
Earlier that day
Once Adrian and Michael have left for golf, the postman arrives with an armful of parcels. After the traditional pang of guilt – every Christmas I resolve to buy all my presents from local independent stores but always end up panic buying on Amazon – I get stuck into a mammoth wrapping session. I’m determined that this year, Christmas is going to be a good one. I’ve put on a CD of festive hits and am getting so intoxicated on goodwill I don’t even skip over Cliff Richard. Once, I’ve finished, I take the stepstool and reach to the top shelf of the wardrobe, my favourite hiding place.
After I’ve pulled out the box, my attention wanders to Adrian’s box of ‘items used only occasionally’. The New Year’s Eve bash at the golf club is a black tie event; I ought to check that his bow tie and cummerbund don’t need dry cleaning. And then I see something else tucked behind it. Huh, what’s this? I pull out a small, gift-wrapped box and read the label. At first, I only take in the two names.
Fi? Fiona? My little girl? The name squeezes the air from my lungs. Is this some sort of delayed grief reaction? Has Adrian been buying her presents? For the last three years? Then clarity strikes, cold and hard against my flesh. Only her friends called her Fi. Besides, why would he sign it Adrian, not Dad? I read the rest of the message.
Santa tells me you’ve been a good girl this year, but we both know that’s not true.
I stare at the words, trying to shape them into another form, to concoct a different explanation.
Then I rush to the bathroom and vomit.
I retch long after my stomach has voided its contents; I just can’t stop. Eventually I lean back, wipe my mouth, and try to make sense of it. But the nausea rises again. No … he wouldn’t. I stagger outside; I need air. I drink it in, great big lungfuls of it. While I lean against the front gate, still numb with shock, my neighbour Gill collars me.
‘Eve, how are you?’
Could there be a worse person to meet? Last time Gill invited herself for coffee, I realised that all the rooms were too untidy to pass her scrutiny, so hurried her through to the conservatory where she plucked dead leaves off the houseplants.
My inner voice yells: I feel like I’ve been kicked in the guts. I want to curl up into a ball and die. But my outer voice chants the words that she expects to hear.
‘Fine thanks. You?’
Katrina was born in Leeds. After a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Food Science, she started work as a civil service scientist. Since then, she’s had a varied career. Her philosophy of life is that we only regret the things we don’t try, and she’s been a homeopath, forensic science researcher and currently works as a freelance medical writer. After spending many years in exile in the South-East, she has now returned to her beloved Yorkshire and lives in York with her husband and two dogs. When she hit forty, she decided it was time to fulfil her childhood dream of writing a novel. Ten years later, Future Perfect, her first novel, was published by Elsewhen Press, a small independent publisher of speculative fiction. Future Perfect is the first of the Blueprint trilogy; part 2, Forbidden Alliance, was released in 2015 and the conclusion, Freedom’s Prisoners in 2016. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music festivals, walking with her dogs, travel, and curling up with a book and a glass of wine.