Welcome today to Maureen Gregory, author of Beware the Seventh Wave! You can read about Maureen and her new book below; be sure to check out the excerpt, too!
I would like to thank Margo for kindly hosting me on her blog today.
A bit about me
Having previously combined writing short stories with a career in psychiatric and community nursing, I now write full time. Beware The Seventh Wave is my debut novel. When I am not writing I can usually be found riding one of my horses. I live in the Peak District with my husband and a friendly assortment of creatures great and small.
About Beware the Seventh Wave
In the novel, deceit, obsessive love, betrayal and murder are threaded alongside the fabric of normal life.
Emma is convinced she has found the man of her dreams, until she suspects her lover may have a darker side.
Was he a cold, calculated killer or a victim in someone else’s deadly game?
Emma believes she will uncover the truth, but are some lies better left undiscovered?
A note about the video.
I had a firm image in my mind of what the books cover should look like. In keeping with the books title I wanted a picture of the sea, and as a missing black stallion plays a pivotal part of a murder plot, the horse on the cover is perfect. When I saw the finished cover, the idea of a video just came to mind.
I was looking out of my window, the weather was wild, windy and stormy. Jazzmin, my horse, came galloping down the field with the wind in her tail, her lovely long mane flowing like waves. I grabbed my camera and ran outside. I wanted a close up of her eye, in contrast to some of the characters in my novel, a horse can not lie.
My friend and I put the footage together and made the 62 second trailer, I hope you like it.
Your comments and feedback are always welcome. I can be contacted via my website: http://www.maureengregorybooks.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MGwriteonow/532082136861989
Beware the Seventh Wave is available on Amazon:
Thank you everyone for your time, and a special thank you to Margo.
The Long Day
‘Go home, stay away, go back now’
Persistent whisperings inside her head flung conflicting commands across the thin net of reason holding her together.
Their endless chatter ceased abruptly as Emma performed a rapid last minute left turn.
For a heart-stopping moment she thought she had taken the wrong route altogether, until the grey slate roof of the old church came into view. Changing to a lower gear, slowing her speed, she glanced down at the funeral bouquet wilting on the passenger seat. Jostling for space amongst a sea of discarded tissues, pink and lilac petals tumbled to the ground like dying butterflies.
“Should have bought a wreath, had it sent on” she muttered.
A cloying perfume permeated the car’s stuffy interior, as though the scent had bled from each battered and bruised flower.
Vapors of antistress essence, seeping out from a dangling car freshener failed miserably to live up to its promise.
She saw the gateway looming in front of her, seemingly diminishing in size as she edged the vehicle closer toward it.
Numerous options presented themselves in rapid succession.
‘Turn around, – carry on, go home – drive on – stop’
Her mind went blank, the way it often did when faced with overload.
In a moment of sheer panic, she considered jumping ship, abandoning the car as though it was a trolley in the screaming aisles of a supermarket.
Against a whirlwind of indecision, she made her choice in a split second, challenging the wisdom behind it even as she executed the movement. Crouching low, she headed for the opening between the gateposts. Holding her breath, she hunched over the wheel, pulling her stomach in, as if shrinking her body would somehow reduce the size of the car. Grimacing at the shrill sound of metal scrapping against concrete, she drove through the gateway toward the church, mumbling a stream of expletives between gritted teeth. Her fingers curled around the steering wheel, forcing it to hold its line. With grim determination, she maneuvered the vehicle onto a concrete walkway running alongside the Church. It lurched to a stop directly below the grotesque pitted face of a stone gargoyle. In response to the crude and abruptly executed halt the rear tyres emitted an eerie screeching sound, reminiscent of an animal in pain. The alien noises produced by her undignified arrival rudely disturbed the tranquility of the church grounds.
With the flick of a key, the engine spluttered and died, amplifying the deathly silence that followed. Her stiff fingers struggled to disengage the seat belt. Tugging roughly against the buckle, she grappled in angry frustration before releasing the mechanism. Liberated from the strap’s constraints the tension slowly loosened its clawing grip, allowing aching shoulder muscles to readjust. Resting her head against the smooth circumference of the steering wheel she inhaled deeply.
An image of two small boys running across a park played silently behind closed eyelids. The red leash trailing like blood on frozen grass remained as vivid as it had been back then, making it easy for her to pinpoint the exact moment the panic attacks had started.
She felt bone tired, mentally drained, unable to think clearly.
Brooding on the reason for her journey, she glanced anxiously through the window.
Lack of space in the designated car park offered a lame excuse for her unconventional parking. Satisfied that the risk of being wheel clamped was miniscule she decided to leave the vehicle where it was. Angling the rear view mirror toward her face, she shuddered at the unflattering image reflected on its smooth surface.
Appalled at her disheveled appearance she flipped open the catch on her handbag.
Hurried fingers delved into the cavernous interior of the bag. Familiar with its multiple pockets they quickly fished out a comb. The effort of dragging it through layers of bedraggled hair made little difference to her overall appearance. A quick look at her watch confirmed that she was way behind schedule. Unzipping a tightly crammed make up bag, she pulled out a lipstick, deftly swiveling the stick to full capacity. As she pressed the soft tip into her upper lip it broke away. A flash of pink tumbled to the floor. It lay like a fat slug in the middle of the decapitated flower heads.
‘An omen, a bad omen’
‘Shut up’ she chided herself. Her voice sounded hollow, as though it belonged to someone else.
Ignoring the temptation to reapply fresh make up she scrambled out of the car. A spray of dirty water made unwelcome contact with her skirt as she stepped heavily into a muddy puddle. Large drops of rainwater fell from the open mouth of the gargoyle, scoring a direct hit on her uncovered head.
“Oh my God!” Her face crumpled in dismay as she turned to lock the car. Several long jagged scratches framed a large dent on the near side door. Their testimony to her erratic driving elicited a grudging relief that she was in her own vehicle and not Phil’s. Mumbling a range of ungodly curses she headed in the direction of the graveyard.
The chatter in her head began in earnest.
‘Why come, why here, why now. Go Home’
The words beat their own rhythm.
The rhythm grew louder as blood pounded in her ears.
‘Why come, why here, why now. Go Home’
Shielded from view by a high stone wall she ran down the pathway toward the cemetery. Turning the corner brought her within sight of the funeral party. To save time she took a short cut across the grass, walking as quickly as dignity would allow, keeping her eyes downcast until she reached the large circle of mourners.
In an effort to become as inconspicuous as possible she stood at the back of the gathering. Despite her attempt to remain unobtrusive, she was acutely aware that her late arrival had been noted. To her embarrassment, several of the mourners looked disapprovingly in her direction. Turning away from their reproachful glances, she dropped her gaze to stare at the dove grey boots worn by the person standing directly in front. The sharp tip of the woman’s pointed heels appeared to be sinking into the wet, spongy ground.
Several minutes passed before she was able to summon up sufficient confidence to raise her eyes and scan the group. Diverting her attention from the boots, she strained her neck to look over the wearer’s shoulder, searching for familiar faces. Almost immediately, she found herself looking directly into the eyes of her ex lover.
“Emma” he mouthed her name silently.
His gaze, penetrating and unwavering locked with hers. While part of her brain registered its disapproval, the remainder dissolved into a throbbing obsessive need. An insatiable desire to be with him answered the one question she had been afraid to explore. With absolute certainty and clarity, she realized she was still in love with Mark.
Seconds passed, time melted into fragmented moments. In a heartbeat and to the exclusion of all else he became, as he always had, the centre of her being.
Memories from the past clung to her like a living membrane. Breathing substance into the ashes of half-buried dreams, she could almost feel the touch of his skin against her own. Her hand itched to smooth away his thick dark hair as it flopped endearingly over one eyebrow, like the wing of a raven.
Shrouded by the past, she reveled in its exquisite bitter sweetness.
A movement, deliberate and unhurried brought her awareness sharply back to the present. The woman standing next to Mark slowly lifted her head. Black gloved hands swept back a fine laced veil, exposing pale flawless beauty etched with arrogance and cruelty. Her gaze, as chill and unwelcoming as the grave swept over Emma like a dawn mist, freezing, penetrating and menacing.
A bitterly cold wind swept down from the moorland, Emma shivered.
Taking a small step backwards she turned her face away from the silently threatening gaze directed upon her by her adversary; half believing that Alicia could read her mind, picking out secrets one by one.
Lowering her eyes, she stared unseeing at the grey boots.
The brief moment of tenderness and intimacy between herself and Mark faded away without a fight. As transient as ripples on a lake, it lacked the substance to survive. Treasured memories collapsed like a house of cards, replaced by uncompromising reality.
Time had not diminished the bitterness, hatred and anger Emma harboured toward Mark’s wife.
Her reaction on seeing Mark forced Emma to examine her motives for attending Brian’s funeral.
Denied the comfort of self-delusion the truth hit her with force. Closing her eyes in shame, she acknowledged the facts as they were. Brian’s death offered a convenient excuse to see Mark again. Despite her marriage, regardless of a new life painstakingly created, she had wasted precious time hoping for a tender reunion. Her lies lay exposed like a gaping wound, raw and painfully obvious.