It’s publication day for my new thriller, THE MOTHER IN LAW, so I’m taking over the blog today to tell you a little about it. It’s my third thriller for Bookouture, and I just love the cover. What do you think?
Here’s the blurb
Today is my wedding day. And I don’t know if I’ll make it out alive…
As I put my beautiful white wedding dress on, I try not to ignore my fears. I look in the mirror and feel more beautiful than I ever have before. I know marrying Sam is the right choice. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
I reach for my bright yellow roses, and I force myself to be as cheerful and sunny as those flowers. I won’t dwell on everything that’s happened recently – ever since we agreed to stay with his parents for the weeks ahead of the wedding.
Glancing down at my sparkling engagement ring, I pretend to myself I can forget about the ‘accidents’ I keep having, that I can’t believe are coincidental. Or about his mother’s barbed comments, and the dark looks she gives me.
And, just for today, while I walk down the aisle towards the man of my dreams, while I say ‘I do’, I’ll try to put the secret I know about the family I am marrying into right out of my mind.
Even though that’s one secret that – if I was my soon-to-be mother-in-law – I might just kill to keep…
An absolutely thrilling and gripping psychological suspense novel, perfect for fans of Shalini Boland, Shari Lapena, and The Woman in the Window.
Here’s a sneak peek from the first chapter
The bridal car pulls up outside the church. I pause outside, wondering if Sam has arrived. Two ushers, friends of Sam’s family, are waiting by the huge wooden doors. ‘Is Sam here?’ I whisper.
‘He’s been here ten minutes,’ one of them tells me and I feel faint with relief.
The ushers turn to open the doors for us to walk through. I take a deep breath to still my nerves and hold my head high. This is my moment, and I don’t want to ruin my entrance.
I walk slowly in to the sound of ‘Here Comes the Bride’, Lynne following me, holding her bouquet. Sam, standing at the altar beside Nathan, his best man, has his back to me. I fix my eyes on his dark hair as I make my way up the aisle between the rows of guests, my heart churning. Then my eyes rest on a familiar dark bob, a white fascinator perched jauntily on top of it, sitting next to my future in-laws, Evelyn and Harold, right at the front, as if she is family. Tamara. Her parents are on the other side of her. As I get nearer, I can see that she’s wearing a white dress – typical; she always has to try and steal the limelight. I take a deep breath. It’s only a dress. I’m not going to let anything ruin today.
Sam looks over his shoulder, his eyes meet mine and he smiles. My heart melts, as it always does when he smiles at me. Tamara doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. Today, I’m marrying Sam, the love of my life, and nothing is going to spoil that. When I reach him and stand by his side, Sam takes my hand in his, his eyes resting on my face. ‘You look beautiful. I love you,’ he whispers.
‘I love you too.’ And I do. So very, very much.
It’s a wonderful ceremony. When the vicar asks if anyone knows of any lawful impediment why we can’t marry, I hold my breath. This is her last chance to spoil things, but there is nothing she can say. I know that. Finally, the vicar says the magic words, ‘I now declare you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.’ Sam wraps his arms around me and kisses me, and I have to fight back the tears of happiness. We’ve made it. We are married. Nothing can come between us now.
Evelyn and Harold step forward and both give me a kiss on the cheek, welcoming me into the family. Followed by Tamara. And now I can see that her dress is not only white, it’s long, almost reaching the ground. I know she’s done it on purpose to upstage me, because I wouldn’t agree to her being a bridesmaid, but I don’t care. It’s just a dress, I tell myself, as I return her kiss on the cheek.
‘Look at her, anyone would think she was the one getting married!’ Lynne hisses.
‘Ignore her,’ I whisper back. Tamara has made it clear that she doesn’t think I’m good enough for Sam, but I’m not going to let her upset me today. Nothing is going to spoil today.
‘Come on, Mrs Corbett, I want to introduce my wife to my colleagues before we have the photos taken,’ Sam says, taking my hand and whisking me off.
‘My wife.’ I repeat his words in my mind and I smile.
After the photos outside the church, we all go back to the manor for the reception. The day goes by so quickly. The photos, wedding speeches – Nathan, the best man, gives a hilarious speech about Sam and some of the things they both got up to at university. I laugh but find it difficult to imagine Sam young and irresponsible; he is always so considerate and sensible. Evelyn purses her lips and frowns in displeasure, but everyone else chuckles. The marquee looks stunning. Lemon table runners on snow-white tablecloths, lemon bows on snow-white chair covers, lemon and white candles in silver holders. And in the middle of the top table is a divine three-tiered white wedding cake, decorated with piped lemon icing around each tier and lemon fondant roses. It’s perfect.
‘Let’s have a photograph of you cutting the cake,’ says the photographer. Sam has his arm still linked in mine and leads me over to the table and we stand in front of the cake. He picks up the knife. ‘Ready?’ he asks.
I nod. With one arm around my waist and the other arm holding the sharp cake knife, Sam places it on the bottom tier. I hold my hand over his as he cuts into the cake. The photographer snaps photo after photo and everyone claps as the knife slides into the icing, cutting through it. Tiny chunks of succulent, rich fruit cake fall out. Sam picks up a few crumbs and puts a bit in my mouth, then in his. The instant it touches my lips, I feel my tongue and lips start to swell and my chest tighten. I cough and my throat closes. Fear seizes me in its grip. I know instantly what has happened. I look around wildly for my bag where I keep my EpiPen, then remember that I left it on my seat. As I struggle to breathe, my hand clutching at my throat, I can hear Sam calling me, see people starting to panic around me. ‘Get her some water!’ someone shouts.
‘Dana, where’s your EpiPen?’ Sam yells.
‘My bag… my seat,’ I gasp.
‘I’ve got it!’
I recognise Lynne’s voice, but my throat has almost closed and I can’t speak, I can’t breathe. A vice is tightening around my chest and I know I’m going to die. The wedding cake was supposed to be nut-free, but I now realise that it wasn’t. I should have checked. I shouldn’t have trusted her. She’s done this on purpose. She wanted me out of the way. Dead. So she can have Sam all to herself. I look wildly across the room for her, my eyes seeking her out as my hand clutches my throat. Her eyes meet mine and although her face is a mask of concern, I can see the light of triumph in her eyes. She’s won, after all. I underestimated her. My throat is closing up, my lungs are gasping for air, my heart is racing. I’m dying, I realise in horror. I’m dying on my wedding day. I close my eyes as I feel a jab in my thigh. Lynne had found my EpiPen but she’s too late, I think, as darkness sweeps over me.
Here’s some nice reviews:
‘Wow this book had me short of breath and my pulse palpitating… One of those books I cannot recommend highly enough. It’s gripping and emotional and leaves you wanting more… Fantastic.’ @rubie_reads
‘Will have you reading until the early hours of the morning (trust me, I’m speaking from experience)… Without a shadow of doubt, this is one of the best storylines I’ve read in a very long time… Phenomenal.’ @onmybookshelf, 5 stars
‘Addictive… Kept me hooked from the very first page. I read and finished it in 24 hours as shocking bombshells kept being dropped… I couldn’t put the book down.’ @fireheartscourt
If you fancy reading it you can grab a copy here. It’s available as an ebook, paperback or audio book.
LISTEN HERE: http://ow.ly/vR6V50K59UJ