11 Missed Calls by Elizabeth Carpenter | Blog Tour Extract

 

Published by Avon (26 July 2018)

Available in ebook and paperback

384 pages



 

|   About the Book   |

 

Here are two things I know about my mother:
1. She had dark hair, like mine.
2. She wasn’t very happy at the end.

Anna has always believed that her mother, Debbie, died 30 years ago on the night she disappeared.

But when her father gets a strange note, she realises that she’s never been told the full story of what happened that night on the cliff.

Confused and upset, Anna turns to her husband Jack – but when she finds a love letter from another woman in his wallet, she realises there’s no-one left to help her, least of all her family.

And then a body is found…

 

EXTRACT

 

The waiting room is beige, and the paintings on the wall are beige. I’d expected Francesca King’s office to be more modern, minimalist. There’s a television in the corner that’s switched off. I could do with a distraction.

In the quiet, the conversation with Monica this afternoon at their house runs through my mind.

‘What about Debbie and Nathan?’ I had asked. ‘What happened between them?’

‘I can’t talk to you before I’ve spoken to Peter,’ she said. ‘You might say something to him. I can’t have your dad thinking I’m going behind his back. He didn’t want you kids to know.’

‘Don’t you know me? I’d never do that.’

She placed the back of her hand on her forehead.

‘I can’t see properly,’ she said. ‘I think I’m getting a migraine. I can only see half of your face. I need to lie down in the dark.’

And that was the end of the conversation. That’s what it has always been like – I only get part of the story.

There is another man in the waiting room. Divorce, I imagine. He keeps sniffing and wiping his face with a stringy tissue that’s already soaked. I try not to stare; he doesn’t notice me anyway.

The door opens. Before Francesca has a chance to come out, the snivelling man leaps from his seat and almost sprints towards her.

What am I even doing here? I don’t think Jack believed there was an emergency at the shop.

‘At a closed charity bookshop?’ he’d said. ‘At seven o’clock at night?’

‘I think I left the heater on,’ I said, putting on my coat. ‘If those books catch fire … there are flats above it … I wouldn’t be able to sleep for thinking about it.’

He was smiling at me as I walked into the hallway. I hadn’t told him I’d rung in sick that day. Every time I looked at him, I pictured him with Francesca; stroking her hair, her legs, her face. I was almost sick.

But now I’m here, I don’t know what I am going to say to her. Is this normal, what I’m doing? Most people would confront their other half, not sneak around visiting his mistress’s place of work.

I get up to leave, but her door opens again. Have I been sitting here that long?

The man is still holding the tissue, but his eyes are no longer red.

‘She’s good, she is,’ he says, pointing to Francesca. ‘I can’t let that bitch of an ex near my children. She’s dangerous.’

‘Oh, I see,’ I say. ‘Very good.’ My hands tremble as they cling to my handbag in front of me.

Francesca waits until the man has gone, before she says, ‘Sorry to keep you waiting. Come on through.’ She says it so nicely, I have no choice but to follow her.

 

My thanks to Sabah and Avon for the blog tour invitation.

 

 

 

 

|   Author Bio   |

 

Elisabeth Carpenter lives in Preston with her family. She completed a BA in English Literature and Language with the Open University in 2008.

Elisabeth was awarded a Northern Writers’ New Fiction award, and was longlisted for Yeovil Literary Prize (2015 and 2016) and the MsLexia Women’s Novel award (2015). She loves living in the north of England and sets most of her stories in the area, including the novel she is writing at the moment. She currently works as a book keeper.

 

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