I’m very happy to welcome Rachel Sargeant today with an extract from her book, The Good Teacher.
A big thank you to Cathy for hosting me. I’m delighted to be here to share an extract from the opening chapter of The Good Teacher.
You’re very welcome, Rachel. Before we get to the extract, here’s a little about the book which was published in digital format by HarperCollins Killer Reads on 14th December….
Even the good have to die. A beloved teacher is murdered and left in a ditch beside a country lane. His wife is found beaten and gagged in their suburban home.
Even the best schools have secrets. New detective Pippa Adams learns that the teacher ran a homework club for vulnerable pupils. But what did he really teach them?
Even the perfect family has something to hide. When Pippa scratches the surface of the school community, she meets families who’ve learned a shattering lesson. And finally uncovers the good teacher’s darkest secrets…
Reg chains his bike to the railings and walks briskly into the Little Chef. Why should he feel guilty?
Doreen’s fault. She shouldn’t have withdrawn her services. A grown man has his needs.
The chain digs into her ribcage whenever she arches her back, forcing her to slump into the seat. The carriage clock ticks behind her. Oh for a clock that chimes. At least she’d be able to count off the hours. She daren’t rock round to face the mantelpiece. If she topples over, she’ll bang her already-raw face into the hard floor. And it isn’t just herself to think about. She has to keep pain to a minimum; she might have to wait all day.
To deaden the ache in her neck, she rests her heavy arms on the chair and moves her knees apart, easing the pressure on the handcuffs around her ankles. But now it’s even harder to hold her bladder, so she squeezes her legs together again. If she wants to avoid wetting herself, she’ll have to accept the intermittent burning sensation up her calves.
Reg swings his leg over the saddle and sets off home replete. He deserved his cooked breakfast. That puny porridge Doreen serves up since he retired wouldn’t keep a toddler fed.
He gets off his bike again. The hill’s getting steeper. He used to be able to cycle up it. Better not tell Doreen. She’ll say he’s past it. Men of his age can’t expect to do so much. Stupid woman.
“It’s just gone five past eight on Mids FM and on the line now is Carole in Briggham. Hi, Carole,” a radio shouts, polluting Reg’s country air. That bloody car in the lay-by is still there. No driver or passenger about. What on earth are they playing at? A crude thought creeps into Reg’s mind and he smiles. He pushes the bike across the road, quickening his pace.
He peers through the open passenger door. Well, there’s no one at it on the back seat. Hardly surprising. That shrieking radio would put anyone off. Reg lays his bike in the long grass. They must be in the ditch or the field beyond. You’ve got to admire their stamina. They’ve been down there longer than it’s taken him to ravish his Olympic Breakfast with extra mushrooms. With the stealth of a marine commando, he moves towards the ditch. Perhaps he’ll share this one with Doreen. It might put her in the mood for some how’s your fath—
“Father God in Heaven,”he gasps and stands stock-still, the taste of bile mounting in his mouth. His eyes fix on the glint of metal and the shiny patch of red seeping through the grass. In the next instant, stomach heaving, he’s back on his bike, tackling the rest of the hill from the saddle.
Rachel Sargeant is the author of Kindle Top Ten bestseller The Perfect Neighbours. She is a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been placed or shortlisted in various competitions, including the Bristol Short Story Prize. Her stories have appeared in My Weekly and the Accent Press Saucy Shorts series. Rachel grew up in Lincolnshire, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children.