Hello lovelies and happy Sunday! Today I have an exclusive extract from Keep My Secrets by Elena Wilkes as part of the blog tour organised by Sarah at Books On The Bright Side Publicity. First a little about the book:
Title: Keep My Secrets by Elena Wilkes
Publisher: Hera Books
Date Published: 28th April 2021
Genre: Psychological Thriller
A life built on lies – now the truth could destroy her
Frankie Turner knows what it’s like to be unwanted; she was brought up in care. Now as a social worker to kids in the same system, she’s someone who understands … But Frankie is hiding an unthinkable secret: one that may have its roots in the murder of a young, beautiful woman fifteen years ago.
Yet the past is out there. Someone knows what Frankie is hiding – and now they’re back to shatter her perfectly constructed life, terrorising her with menacing letters and silent calls to the house she shares with husband Alex.
She may have reinvented herself, but Frankie’s past is back to haunt her – and now, there’s nowhere to run.
A gripping psychological thriller that will have you hooked. Fans of Lisa Jewell and Erin Kelly won’t be able to put this one down.
Frankie walks quickly towards her car from the children’s care home. It’s still raining hard and the wind is getting up. The only sounds are the echo of her footsteps on the black tarmac; it’s so dark she can’t see her own feet moving.
Over in the distance, the bulky outline of Caer Caradoc and the trail of the Long Mynd hills sit blackly against the darkening skyline of the Welsh border. Tucking her chin closer into her jacket, she blips the immobiliser. It flashes a reassuring orange into the ghost outline of the hedges as she drops her case into the back.
There are no streetlamps this far out of town. Slipping into the driver’s seat, she fumbles a little for the ignition as the engine turns over. The squeal of the wipers startles her and sets her heart racing. She finds her hands are shaking.
I’m not scared, she tells herself. It’s just the adrenaline from all that earlier bravado.
You’ve done good today, Frankie. She presses her lips together in determination. Concentrate on that.
Taking a deep breath, she begins to pull away. The road is quiet as her car picks up speed.
Come on, get a grip, Frankie. Thirty minutes and you’ll be home.
It’s Friday, well after going home time and the road is eerily dark. Her car headlights leap awkwardly, illuminating only a small stretch of the black tunnel ahead.
Letting the air slowly out of her lungs, she tries to relax her shoulders from up around her ears and she glances warily into the rear-view mirror. No one would believe this was the same woman who’d been trying to talk a teenager from a roof just half an hour ago. She wavers a smile at the memory. She doesn’t think that getting up on a line of ridge tiles in the pouring rain is high priority on her regional manager’s job description, but that’s precisely what she did.
She closes her eyes briefly. See? Think about the good stuff and block everything else out.
The radio fizzes and floats in and out of its station and her eyes sweep again and again into the shadows in the hedgerows. She concentrates hard on the shining road in front of her. But her eyes keep flitting back.
This isn’t working.
There’s something about being in the car at night: that feeling of not really being alone. She keeps thinking that there’s something else in here with her—
Her eyes flick up to the mirror.
That back headrest is just a headrest. She’s fully aware of that. It’s not a man sitting with his head bowed. Don’t be ridiculous Frankie Turner, you’re thirty-three years old, not three.
But her three-year-old self knows that if she keeps watching she’ll glimpse a movement, a darkness that will slowly detach itself, and if she keeps listening she’ll detect the quiet draw and pull of someone breathing.
There’s no one there. You know there’s not. She chews her lip. You know this because you deliberately checked the back seat.
The rain is beginning to slant in fine shards through the beam of headlights, the skeins twisting down the windscreen, forcing the wipers to dash pointlessly back and forth. She grimaces, screwing up her eyes, trying to peer through the pouring streams.
Home soon, home soon, home soon…
What’s with all this front, Frankie? her head says. Who are you trying to kid? Just look at you – Look at you in your fancy Range Rover, desperate to get back to your nice upmarket husband and your upmarket country cottage. You’re such a fraud, you know that? Drive as fast as you like Frankie-girl, the past is coming up right behind you.
She swallows and stares hard into the lashing water. All she has to do right now is stay in control and not get spooked. It’s not difficult; she’s been doing it long enough. All she needs to do is stay in control of the car… Of herself… Of her life.
About The Author:
Elena Wilkes grew up in Walsall in the West Midlands and then worked for eighteen years in H.M Prison Service. The people she met there provided the basis for all her novels.
Many of the prisoners there came across as very ordinary people who had committed the most appalling crimes but would, one day, walk straight back on the streets.
This begged the question: how much do we know about anyone, really? The people who live amongst us may seem no different from us at all, but when you scratch a little deeper, you realise they hold some very dark secrets.