It’s my stop on the blog tour for Louise Mullins’ Beautiful Liar today and I am delighted to bring you this extract . . .
Bloodhound Books (January 3, 2017)
Joel kneels down in front of the car, ensuring the jack is in place. He tests the strength of its position, and slides it beneath the engine, head-first, with a small torque in his hand.
From here, he cannot see me standing behind the door, watching him through the gap. I wait until three-quarters of his body are beneath the car, before I silently creep up to the left wheel arch. I bend down, and slowly begin to loosen the jack, with sleeve-covered fingers. Each nut unwinds, until the jack is loose enough. If I apply my entire weight to the top wheel arch, the jack will lose its grip—collapsing beneath the weight of the car.
I take one long deep breath to reassure myself this is the best thing to do. Once the job is complete, I will never have to set eyes on him again.
I stall when he shifts his legs slowly out from under the car, and rearranges his position, without glancing to where I am standing.
My legs feel as if they are going to give way. I’m not sure what he’s doing now, and have convinced myself he can sense me here, waiting. I pause, until he scoots his body back beneath the car.
I almost talk myself out of it. There must be another way; another option I haven’t yet thought of, but I’ve been constantly mulling over everything for the past week. I’ve run out of options. He isn’t going to leave, and there’s not going to be any walking away from him. I have Lily to think of. Her innocent little face zooms in front of my eyelids, and I push the image away. This is for her.
He’s concentrating hard on what he’s doing, oblivious to my presence. Now is my chance.
I raise myself up on tiptoes to glance down at his feet, ensuring enough of him is beneath the car so when it falls, it will most certainly crush him.
My hands are shaking, and I force myself to still them, as I lean forward and compress my full body weight against the bonnet of the car, with my foot pressed onto the top of the jack.
I hear a snap and a crunch, as the car slams down onto him. He makes a strange sound, like an injured animal; his body rocking from side-to-side in quick movements, fighting for his life. His feet swipe the tool box on the ground beside him, and I have to jump aside to stop the spray can from rolling into my foot.
No matter what, I don’t want him to know I’m the one who killed him. I can’t risk leaving any trace of myself in the garage. If this is to look like a convincing accident, then I cannot ever have been in here.
I stand back and watch, as his limbs still. It takes longer than I thought it would for him to die. I stand there waiting, for several minutes. It’s only when I’m sure he’s ceased breathing do I walk around to the front of the vehicle. That’s when I see the slowly forming puddle of blood seeping from the wound, where I assume the torque has entered his flesh.
Of course, I can’t be sure what killed him. It may have been the sudden, blunt force of the car crushing his chest, or the torque may have pierced his face, as he held it above him, with his eyes on the lower body of the car. I don’t stay there long enough to find out. I don’t even check his pulse. I know he’s dead, and that’s all that matters.
As I enter our Bristol home, careful to leave my shoes on the mat, I glance around the house in search of Joel. I had no intention of killing my husband. But, now, he is dead.
I am staring at his body lying beneath the car; the pool of blood spilt across the concrete floor. I prise my fingers away from the doorframe, unable to believe the sight lingering in front of my eyes, even as I leave the garage. I tread the staircase, and enter the bedroom, closing the door behind me, and listening out for the tell-tale click, as the latch falls into place, locking me inside. I’ve deliberately left the key to the room downstairs, where it always hangs on the hook behind the front door.
I know our neighbours are at work, so I’ve already prepared myself for a long day, left alone in the bedroom, with nothing to eat or drink. It will appear more realistic then. When the police come, I will be genuinely hungry, thirsty, cold, and tired.
At 5:30pm, when our neighbours return, I will begin to pound the walls and scream at the top of my lungs. I will cry, and beg to be let free. I will do everything I can to find a way out of here; this house.
I won’t be questioned, until someone finds me. That gives me plenty of time to construct my story. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll tell them this house has been my prison for the past four years, or if that will make me appear more suspicious; make the police think it was self-defence. I could tell them what a good husband he is, and how distraught I am the day I accidentally locked myself upstairs is the day Joel tragically died whilst working on his car. But, there is plenty of time to figure something out. I have hours yet.
My mind goes back to the first day I met him, when I first set eyes on the handsome man I fell in love with.
I wonder when the cracks began to show, or even if I was aware of them at all. Had I chosen to ignore them? Some part of me must have known our marriage was only a fabrication. We weren’t right for each other. We brought each other down. Just like anything, a marriage must be built on strong foundations. It takes work. Trust is everything. Without it, you are just two people living together, breathing the same air, and trapped by each other’s shortcomings.
Joel was a gentleman. I was attracted to the sophisticated air he wound around anyone he came into contact with. He was well-mannered, well-spoken, and charming. He was everything I wanted him to be.
I still love him, you see. Despite what I have done, I still don’t know if I can cope without him. Without the regularity of our routines and the typicality of the days I spend in this house. Out there, beyond the confines of these walls, without him, I am lost.
I lie down on the bed with my arms out wide, freeing myself of the tenseness in my muscles and the pounding in my chest, as well as the throbbing uncertainty in my temples. I try to think back to happier times; when my future was still unknown, and when everything carried the hint of pleasurable uncertainty. Something I’ve almost forgotten.
I close my eyes, and try to remember what it felt like to be twenty-four years old and in love, but it’s difficult. Not least because I’ve realised in the half-hour since locking myself in the bedroom no matter what, I will never be able to turn the clock back. My actions have sealed the end to our union forever.
About the author . . .
Louise Mullins is the Amazon best-selling author of ‘Scream Quietly’ her debut psychological crime thriller which has now been optioned for film rights. The film adaptation is due for release in 2017.
Louise has also authored ‘Damaged’, ‘Why She Left’, ‘The Perfect Wife’, ‘One Night Only’, and ‘The Woman in the Woods.’
Her latest title ‘What I Never Told You’ is available to pre-order now!
‘Beautiful Liar’, her second title published by Bloodhound Books is due for release in January 2017.
Louise Mullins writes part-time alongside a career in Psychological Therapy whilst training as a Clinical Forensic Psychologist, working with serious crimes.
Louise admits to a serious book addiction and spends a lot of her spare time reading (all for research purposes of course). She enjoys psychological thrillers, historical fiction, and autobiographies.
She lives in Bristol with her husband and three children.
Louise is currently working on her ninth thriller ‘Lucky’.
Contact Louise Mullins via her website, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to keep updated with her latest releases.