‘I’m so very sorry. But your son is dead.’
As I hear the words every mother dreads my pulse races and I go cold. But even as my world turns upside down I know the things I’m being told just don’t add up. I have to find out what really happened the night my beautiful boy died…
The police tell me it was a tragedy no one could have prevented. But then they reveal the terrible things Tom was keeping from me. The person they describe is nothing like the decent, honest man I raised. Newly qualified as a doctor, Tom had such a bright future ahead of him.
A mother knows her own child. And I’m determined to prove my son’s innocence.
It’s the last thing I will ever be able to do for him. So I have come to the city where he lived and moved into his empty flat under a different name.
When I discover his diary, it becomes clear his death wasn’t an accident.
And as I get to know Tom’s friends and neighbours I realise they’re all keeping secrets.
But as I get closer to the truth, I realise my life is in danger too…
Unbelievably addictive and totally gripping with a twist you won’t see coming, The Silent Mother is a book you won’t be able to put down. Fans of The Perfect Couple, B A Paris and JP Delaney will be absolutely hooked from the very first page.
Readers are gripped by Liz Lawler:
‘Wow… I want more!!! Draws you in like no other… Psychological thriller at its best.’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Impossible to put down! Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop and had to find out what happened next! Twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat!’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Oh my goodness what a rollercoaster of a read! I had absolutely no idea how this book was going to end. I’m actually speechless.’ Little Miss Book Lover 87, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Wow! This book has blown me away… Completely loved getting lost in this dark thriller which has some mind-blowing twists.’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘I could not put it down!… Twists and turns that I never saw coming… Kept me wanting more!’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘I could not put this book down and read the whole thing in one day! Absolutely gripping and everything a good thriller should be!’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Cracking read again from Liz Lawler!… Terrifying… and had me suspecting just about everyone…
Release date: October 8, 2021
Print pages: 350
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
The Silent Mother
‘Mum, sorry to do this to you without warning, but I’m in a bit of bind to be honest and could do with your moral support. Don’t be shocked, but I had to go before a magistrates’ court. Try not to worry. I haven’t murdered anyone. But I’m now up before a judge tomorrow at Bournemouth Crown Court. Don’t call. Please. We’ll talk tomorrow. And wear your no-nonsense suit. You look a warrior in it. My barrister is named Jacob Cadell. He seems good. So, fingers crossed. Okay, hope to see you there… and love you.’
Her stomach dipped at hearing the false bravado again. Thomas was not easily unnerved. She couldn’t remember him ever being afraid. Despite telling her not to worry, she was worried. Very worried.
She studied her appearance in the mirror on the wall in the elevator. The black tailored jacket and trousers suited her long lean body perfectly. The pretty pink brooch on the lapel saved the plain white shirt and black-laced brogues from looking too masculine. It was her Christmas gift from him last year, worn for good luck. The hairs on her arms and on the back of her neck stood up as she shivered. Would he need good luck? A stray blonde hair fell across her face and she tucked it behind her ear irritably. Flyaway hair was not the image she wanted to present today. Her son needed a warrior at his side.
As ready as she could be to face this barrister before proceedings began, she stepped out of the lift. There was no need for her to check out of the hotel as she had already paid, and no need for her to move her car from the car park, as Bournemouth Crown Court was right next door. She’d got her bearings last night while she sat outside the hotel having a coffee and saw it was only a short walk along a pavement. She’d found herself thinking about the location of the hotel, as the family next to her shared they were visiting a very sick relative in Bournemouth Hospital, directly across the road. While a young couple, further away at another table, shared with anyone with reasonable hearing, they were flying to Zante in the morning. She wondered at the number of people who came through its doors for the purpose of being near the hospital, the courthouse, the airport. Afraid, anxious or happy. The building had no doubt given respite to a lot of troubled souls; hers being one of them.
She hoped that Jacob Cadell, the barrister, was good. She had googled him. His picture showed a man in his sixties with grey hair, and she was shocked that the majority of cases he defended were for serious violence, serious sexual offences, weapons and fraud and armed robbery, and hoped Thomas just plucked his name off the internet and hadn’t chosen him for any of these reasons. She straightened her shoulders as she began the short walk. If Thomas’s crime could not be dealt with at a magistrates’ court it had to be more serious than a motoring offence or minor assault. What had he done to require a barrister? She breathed in sharply. She would soon find out.
The entrance to the court was daunting with a semi rotunda front, set in a wall of green glass. Though only just opening, people were already milling outside and Ruth picked up on the anxiety showing in some faces, in their raised voices and rapid pacing. A young woman was clinging to a young lad, crying. Another lad stood out from the group he was with as the only one wearing a jacket and tie. He was laughing too loudly and smoking his cigarette too fast.
Moving past them she entered the building and without being asked took off her jacket and placed it with her phone, car keys and handbag in a plastic tray before stepping through the body scanner. She asked the security officer where she might find Jacob Cadell and was directed to a reception desk where she told the woman behind the glass screen she was Thomas De Luca’s mother.
Ruth’s heart sank as a woman approached her wearing a court robe and tatty unpolished shoes. Her hair had the tell-tale residue of dry shampoo and could have done with a good brush. She hoped this woman wasn’t standing in for Jacob Cadell; if she paid so little attention to her appearance, what attention did she give clients?
‘Christine Pelham,’ she said, introducing herself without offering her hand. ‘I’m Thomas’s solicitor. I represented him at Poole Magistrates’ Court. Mr Cadell and I are just reading through the pre-sentence report, but Thomas will have had his appointment with probation and so will be aware at least in general terms of the recommendation.’ The solicitor gave a brief polite smile. ‘We’re just waiting for your son to arrive.’
Ruth wondered if she’d turned white. Pre-sentence report. Thomas was to be sentenced. What happened to the trial?
The woman looked at her watch. ‘I’ll show you where you can sit while we wait.’
Dazed, but with legs still working, Ruth followed her up a flight of stairs to the first floor where she was shown to rows of seats in a long corridor. Closed doors led to the courtrooms. Before she could ask anything further the woman hurried away leaving Ruth shell-shocked. With a trembling hand she got her phone out and rang her son. ‘Where are you, Thomas?’ she whispered urgently when he failed to pick up.
She recognised the man walking towards her. Jacob Cadell was shorter than she’d imagined him to be from his photograph. His shoulders looked too broad for a man of his height and would have suited a rugby player. He was dressed in wig and gown and brought with him a sense of solemnity, which was softened by his kind smile.
‘Mrs De Luca?’
She shook her head. ‘No. Thomas has his father’s surname. I’m Ruth Bennett, Thomas’s mother.’
He nodded congenially and sat down beside her. ‘Well, he’s only a little late so not time to worry yet. His case is being held in Court Three and I’m hoping he’ll be either first or second on the list. Have you heard from him?’
‘No,’ she answered a little breathlessly. ‘We haven’t spoken at all. Thomas only let me know yesterday about being in court. I’m afraid I don’t even know what the charge is.’
The barrister frowned. ‘Oh dear, then this has come as a shock to you.’ He settled a bundle of manila folders onto his lap. ‘Thomas was arrested for assault, then further charges were brought against him later. He appeared before a magistrate in Poole back in May, where the case was then passed to the crown court for sentencing, which was when he engaged my services.’
Her stomach somersaulted. Thomas had been dealing with this since May? It was August. For over three months he hadn’t breathed a word. ‘So when was his trial?’
He slowly shook his head. ‘There wasn’t one. He pleaded guilty.’
She recoiled from him in shock, pushing hard back into her seat. ‘For what?’ she cried in a raised voice, drawing the eyes of those around her.
The barrister kept his own voice low. ‘Common assault and… theft of hospital medicines. Given that Thomas has no previous criminal record I’m hoping to get him a community sentence.’
Ruth knew for sure she had gone white. Her blood pressure had fallen to her boots, the oxygen sucked from her lungs. She put her head in her hands, leaned forward and breathed in deeply. When she felt able to sit up again, she raised her head slowly. ‘You said hoping.’
His slight nod didn’t give her confidence, nor his words. ‘The prosecution will suggest that the variety of drugs and the quantities may indicate sale rather than consumption. But there is little evidence to support that. His early guilty plea will be taken into account. Unfortunately, midazolam was found in his system, which he has not given an explanation for. I believe the taking of this drug impaired his good judgement. Having gained his full registration as a doctor at the age of twenty-five, and completing his first year of practise, he is clearly a man who briefly steered down the wrong pathway after being on the right path all his life. This is a man who deserves leniency.’
Ruth wondered if he was practising his summation. If so, it wasn’t working on her. This was her son he was talking about. She knew how hard Thomas had worked all these years. Her mind was racing. Palms sweating. He made it sound like Thomas was a drug addict. ‘This sounds like a trial.’
‘It isn’t,’ he replied. ‘It’s a hearing. The prosecution’s role is to summarise the case against the defendant to the judge, to assist with sentencing guidelines, but there is no jury in the sentencing process. The judge makes the final decision.’
‘Midazolam,’ she said in a leaden voice.
He nodded. ‘Yes, it’s—’
‘I know what it is,’ she interrupted. ‘I’m a doctor too. What I don’t know or understand is why it was in my son’s system. This isn’t a case of a mother not knowing her son. It’s the very opposite. Thomas has never taken drugs in his life and nor would he. Why would he plead guilty and lose the benefit of a trial? That’s what I’m finding hard to fathom. I guarantee, one hundred per cent, he is innocent of these charges.’
He looked at her frankly. ‘I’m afraid you’ll have to ask Thomas that question. I wasn’t there from the beginning to counsel on his plea.’
‘What quantity are we talking about?’ she asked.
‘Hundreds,’ he quietly replied.
In a daze she whispered, ‘Hundreds of tablets.’
‘Yes. Painkillers, antibiotics, sedatives. Tablets you can’t buy over the counter.’
Leaving Ruth with her heart clamouring, the barrister said he’d drop back shortly. She felt sick, her stomach churning, an emptiness in her gullet waiting to be filled. She saw people coming up the wide stairs and walked over to stand at the top so she could watch them coming through the body scanner, gathering up their bags and loose items to put back on shoulders or in pockets. She didn’t see the dark hair of her son. What was he playing at, being late for court? Didn’t he know he could be arrested? Nerves were pressing her bladder, but she didn’t want to leave her spot in case she missed his arrival. She needed to ask him why he didn’t want a trial. Christ, she hadn’t expected something like this to happen today. She’d ended her speculation at imagining him trimming hedges or cleaning walls wearing a high visibility tabard as community service. She hadn’t imagined him going to prison.
A few minutes later, she spotted the barrister walking along the corridor, his expression, thank God, calm. He led her away from the top of the stairs, back to the row of seats, probably so as not to cause congestion by standing in the way of people coming up them. He sat down beside her again.
‘Any word?’ he asked.
‘No, not yet,’ she answered with a bright hopefulness in her eyes, but worrying the man might declare Thomas a no-show. ‘When he does arrive, do we just wait here to be called?’
He pointed to a door. ‘No. You’ll go through that door to the courtroom. Thomas enters by another door to a semi-partitioned area known as the dock. The view is a little restricted, I’m afraid, but you’ll be right beside him and able to see him in profile.’
Ruth quivered. This was all real. Happening right now. Her son might be going to prison today.
As if on cue, Christine Pelham appeared. Ruth scrutinised her. Was she the reason her son pleaded guilty? Was she too busy that day to do her job? Ruth wanted to tear into the woman and ask her what the hell happened, but stopped herself at the worry she saw on Christine Pelham’s face.
‘Jacob, I need an urgent moment of your time,’ she said in a hushed voice.
The barrister immediately stood up and walked a few feet away so the woman could converse with him in private. She was speaking rapidly, but quietly, so Ruth wouldn’t hear. Ruth also stood, waiting for them to finish and tell her what was going on. Her son had pleaded guilty to a serious crime and this woman hadn’t even come to court dressed respectably. Ruth was having a hard time holding onto her temper. She was having visions of Thomas being arrested for not showing up at court and being given the sternest sentence as a result. Time was ticking on, she realised. It was now time to worry.
She tried phoning Thomas again. She needed to get to the bottom of the situation fast and undo some of the damage. What possessed him to plead guilty? Had his solicitor advised him to do this? He had to have had a reason. Or did he see no hope? Why hadn’t he spoken to her at the beginning? She knew people and would have hired him the very best solicitor in the land. Why had he not come to her for her immediate support? They were close and didn’t keep problems or secrets from one another. She was his confidante and was good at finding solutions. She would have wanted to help, she was his mother, and when needed, his warrior.
From the corner of her eye she saw Jacob Cadell turn towards her. She knew from the moment he slid his wig from his head. From the moment Christine Pelham backed away, the slow movement so telling. She knew why Thomas wasn’t answering his phone.
A feeling, felt only once before in another lifetime, pressed hard against her ribcage. She needed to avoid hearing this man’s words and block out what he was about to say. She felt the touch of his hand against hers and wanted to snatch it away. How had he got this close without her realising? She had to restrain herself from clamping her hand over his mouth. She was only seconds away from hearing something that would change her life forever. The long stretch of corridor behind and before her seemed to have disappeared. She could see nowhere to run.
‘Please shut up,’ she said. Even though he had yet to say a word. ‘Please don’t speak.’
His eyes locked on hers and she saw his deep regret at what he was about to do. ‘I’m so terribly sorry to have to tell you, but we’ve had word as to why Thomas hasn’t arrived. Local police have entered his flat and found him. I’m so very sorry, but it appears your son has taken his own life.’
Ruth stood perfectly still. She had once had a patient say to her they could feel their body shutting down as they got ready to die. She wanted it to happen, rather than embrace what was to come. She was not brave enough to feel that type of pain. It wasn’t supposed to happen. She’d taken his being alive as a given, never thinking that his life could end. It couldn’t have happened, that Thomas was no longer breathing, that his breath had stopped. That he was no longer her beautiful breathing boy.
The pain caught her by surprise. Around the throat. It stopped her from escaping anywhere in her mind. It ripped deep into her belly, then sharply across her chest. The pain found a way in to let her know it was real. Her beloved boy no longer breathed. He was dead.
New Year’s Eve and Bournemouth town was busy with shoppers. Ruth avoided some well-wishers calling out Happy New Year by crossing to the other side of the road and keeping her head down. She was not up to facing such happiness with her heart this heavy, and was liable to cry if she said it back.
She’d been walking the streets of the seaside town since early morning and it seemed different from her memories of twenty years ago when she holidayed there with Thomas. It had been vibrant then, with baking sunshine. Now it was cold, the shop she was passing empty, collecting dust on its windows while the doorway collected the homeless. She couldn’t help noticing them. Compelled by the eyes staring at her she went into a supermarket a few shops along and returned a short time later with two carrier bags of food, which emptied fast. She hadn’t seen the town in August as she only visited the courthouse, and then, of course, the mortuary.
Feeling guilty, knowing she would be staying warm tonight while people huddled in the cold, she wished she could do more than just give them a little food, but it would take a miracle to break the cycle of homelessness.
She headed away from the shop doorway towards the stone steps that would take her down to Lower Gardens, a public park of leafy green space that was lit up like a fairyland, the trees covered in white and pink Christmas lights. She’d had a picnic on the grass there once, sitting under one of the trees while Thomas ran back and forth for crusts off their sandwiches to feed to the ducks.
She crossed the gardens and exited at Pier Approach. The beachfront promenade welcomed early revellers, the bars and cafés busy, a live band and a funfair keeping everyone entertained. The excited squeals of children’s voices could be heard from the Big Wheel. Standing more than a hundred feet tall, the structure was lit up like a perfect white spider web hanging in the sky. Ruth walked away from the noise, heading for the pier. Post sunset, the sea was a shade of purple and the golden sand had changed to a reddish brown. The beach stretched for as far as the eye could see and she could understand why Thomas wanted to live here. He’d loved surfing and living by the sea. Just as his father had. She said that in his eulogy. And more.
The funeral was a small private gathering. Her sister Pauline and brother-in-law Nigel, along with Thomas’s grandparents, Nonna and Nonno De Luca, and his uncle Marco, were the only ones there. She hadn’t wanted to invite anyone else for fear of them harbouring unkind thoughts if they were aware of what Thomas was accused of. Mercifully, there’d been little reported on the event of his death. As there was no trial, most people were unaware of what he was facing the day he died. In Bath, none of her colleagues were aware. They knew her son took his own life, but not the circumstances surrounding his death. But then Thomas had been living away from Bath for seven years. He’d formed new friendships over the years and had lived far enough away for him to be off the radar. She doubted the same could be said of Bournemouth. Everyone he worked with would know what he was arrested for. Gossip was rife in a hospital. His friends would know. His colleagues, too. Perhaps even his patients.
Heaviness pressed her throat. Proving Thomas innocent was going to be a colossal undertaking, when she had only her own belief to go on, and an anonymous letter posted to her more than a month ago that sat at the bottom of her bag. Was it madness to have come here? The anonymous letter gave her so little direction. Barely even a letter, but a small sheet of paper with a scraggly edge at the top where it had been torn from a spiral notebook. The person had written just a few words.
To the mother of Thomas De Luca. Please come to Bournemouth and uncover the truth. Please come and undo the damage that has been done.
Someone wanted her to do what she had already planned to do – clear her son’s name. She needed no urging, especially from someone anonymous.
She had closed up her home and given up a GP partnership in order to carry out this duty for her son. She had taken a new job as a locum GP, was starting it in two days’ time in a place where she knew no one. She would be a stand-in for a doctor taking maternity leave. She’d been a partner for ten years and knew all of her patients by their first names and had given it up for a job that wasn’t even permanent. She did not need urging. She had to do this for her son’s memory, the last thing she would do for him.
She prised out of Jacob Cadell the name of the person who called the police. Maybe the person was irrelevant – it could have been anybody on the ward who was concerned about Thomas’s behaviour, so the name was only important in so much as it was a starting point. The woman might not know anything, but until Ruth spoke to her she was an important witness.
Ruth had used this information to start her mission. She had used her position as a doctor to get her to the right place. It had taken a fair few calls to find out which GP practice had this woman as a patient.
Where Ruth was going to work might be the worst place on earth, but to her it was a gift that a temporary vacancy had become available. Not that she was attributing it as a miracle or seeing it as mystical, as on UK Indeed, and a half dozen more job sites, locum doctors were in high demand. She was taking this drastic step, taking actions she never would have considered she would have to do in her old life, even to the point of compromising her professional ethics. She needed no damn urging. No reminding of her duty as a mother.
She could think of nowhere else to be that was more important than where Thomas had lived. This place had been his home and it was stamped forever with some of his history. He had died here. She was there to find out why.
She didn’t believe for a second that he was guilty, despite evidence to suggest otherwise. At his inquest she’d heard some of it, but not the details. It was not a trial. It was to find out the circumstances of his death, his state of mind. She knew only the bare bones that she persuaded Jacob Cadell to tell her over the phone the day after her son’s death: Police were called to a hospital ward. Thomas was causing serious disruption. He’d assaulted a security guard. While at the police station, hospital personnel searched his locker and found stolen medicines. The inspector authorised a search of Thomas’s flat in the reasonable belief that the premises may contain evidence. A large quantity of drugs was found under his bed. It raised the question of him selling prescription drugs.
Outside the coroner’s office speculation was added to her limited knowledge by a reporter trying to waylay her departure. Is it true Dr De Luca tampered with medication, refilled broken ampoules with water? Thankfully, he’d been unaware who she was, as revealed in his parting shot: Did you work with him? Ruth refused to believe any of it. The Thomas she knew was admirable. It was not just a mother’s conviction that her son would do no wrong. Thomas wouldn’t break the law. His ethics and morals had been far too strong for him to do something like that. It was not in him to go off the rails and throw away all the goodness of who he had been. A young man who had been decent and kind and only ever wanting to be a doctor to help others.
The post-mortem found alcohol and diazepam in his system. The urine toxicology reported infrequent use of diazepam. A frequent user has an identifiable diazepam pattern and will show the presence of certain metabolites. Chemical analysis showed a negative result for other substances. For someone purportedly taking drugs, no one seemed to find that fact in the least interesting – his body showed no evidence of a habitual user. He had taken his life with only enough sedation and alcohol to make it easier to do what he did. He could have taken so much more and ended his life that way. Thomas was not a drug taker, despite them being in his system when he was arrested.
Was she mad to be doing this? She was leaving herself wide open to be hurt even more, if that was at all possible. Grief was delivering physical pain to her body every day. In her wrists and her feet. Along the blades of her shoulders. Excruciating aches had appeared overnight in places she had never felt pain before. At forty-four she’d been blessed until that day in August with feeling no different to when she was in her twenties. Now it hurt to swing her legs out of bed in the mornings or hold a kettle while it filled with water.
Her one comfort was in knowing she was finally here. She hadn’t dropped everything immediately after his death because her ingrained sense of responsibility wouldn’t allow her to do that. Perhaps the nature of her job or bringing up a child alone hadn’t afforded her the right to just walk away. She’d always been aware of her duties. She could take comfort in that being the reason for why she had not come sooner.
She shook her head. She couldn’t fool herself. She knew her reasons for not coming sooner went far deeper than an obligation. She had been scared to come. While she stayed away the reality of what happened could be shelved until she came to terms with his death. His death was only one part of this story. Why it happened was the part she was terrified to face. She didn’t want to find out she couldn’t prove him innocent. That he was guilty. That she had a son she had never really known.
Her appointment at the police station earlier chilled her to the bone. While waiting to collect Thomas’s possessions she had gazed around reception. She’d been surprised to see doors to interview rooms made mainly of glass. Each room was small, then made smaller by a glass wall partition – one side for customers, the other side for police. It made her uncomfortable when she noticed one of them was occupied, like she was watching something that should be private. Then her eyes clocked the grey door in the very far corner – Custody Suite – she sat then for the rest of the time imagining Thomas being brought in there.
She tried focusing on a poster. Tips to help with an anxiety attack. Look around for five things to see. Four things to feel. Three things to hear. Two things to smell. One thing to taste.
It hadn’t helped. The only thing she could focus on was the grey door. There were no glass panels to peek through like with the interview rooms. She could only imagine the cells behind it, seeing Thomas inside one and him seeing the other side of this locked grey door. Not knowing when it might open again and set him free. But perhaps hopeful, at that point, of nothing worse to happen, unaware his freedom had already gone.
The flat was on the first floor of a large Victorian house with two flats above and another below on the ground floor. Thomas had lived there for over a year but she never got around to seeing it, as every couple of months he had visited her instead.
On autopilot when the landlord contacted her to close the lease on the flat, she paid for the next month’s rent, and when that month passed she paid up front for a whole year, asking him to throw away perishables but to leave everything else as it was. She also asked him not to reveal her identity or her relationship to Thomas to the other tenants. She hadn’t even met the man. He’d posted her the keys with an almost indecent haste; possibly relieved he was able to carry on renting it so soon after what had happened. If he thought it odd that she would choose to live there he wasn’t saying anything, and, in any case, she didn’t care. She was not afraid to be in the place where her son had died. It was the last place he’d breathed. And she wanted to feel close to him.
Ruth let herself in the main front door and climbed the carpeted staircase. She used a second key to open the door to the flat and saw her suitcases where she’d left them that morning on the tiny hall floor. She hadn’t gone further inside as she would have found it difficult to leave again after seeing her son’s things for the first time since his death. She entered the sitting room and switched on the main light, preparing herself.
The first thing she noticed was the shape of the room, long and narrow with an opening at one end for a galley kitchen that at one time would have been a cupboard. The electric hob was largely redundant by the look of things, as a microwave and kettle sat on top of it. A tiny sink tucked into one corner butted against a square countertop, beneath which, thankfully, was a fridge. In the sitting room a well-stuffed armchair faced the only window with a small table and a lamp next to it, books piled on the floor beneath it. He loved reading as much as her, and like her he never seemed to find time to read all the books he wanted. A large bookcase took up most of one wall and was crammed on every shelf with medical textbooks and a dozen or so box files, most likely containing his work from his medical student days. A narrow desk was squeezed into the remaining space. Her eyes fell on the object placed on top of it. A soft blue woollen scarf, neatly folded.
She pulled out Thomas’s belongings from her shoulder bag, still in police evidence bags: his laptop, iPad, mobile and diary, and placed them down on the desk. The police officer she dealt with had eyed her curiously, perhaps thinking she had taken her time in coming to get them.
She stepped back into the small hall, an open door revealing his bedroom, big enough to accommodate a double bed and wardrobe. The other door was closed. She placed her hand against it, waiting a few seconds before opening it. The shower curtain was pulled across, hiding the bath. Unhurried, she pulled it
We hope you are enjoying the book so far. To continue reading...