I’m delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for Because I was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell. Because I Was Lonely will be published by Red Door Publishing on 2nd March 2017 and is available for pre-order here.
Today I have a gripping extract from Because I Was Lonely for you to read.
Because I Was Lonely
Meet Rachel. She is caught in a spiral of endless crying, dirty nappies, and sleepless nights. She fears for her sanity and the safety of her children.
Meet Adam. Suffering from the pain and trauma of a terrible accident that he blames himself for, he stays at home, unable to bring himself to leave the house.
So when Rachel and Adam rekindle their long lost friendship online, what starts as a little harmless flirtation, soon becomes an unhealthy obsession, and slowly the threads of their lives unravel before them.
Four lonely people . Two unhappy marriages . One dangerous, but inevitable climax.
An Extract From Because I Was Lonely
David avoided looking at her. ‘I did my best, Rach. I’ll take those drinks to the kids,’ he said, grabbing the small plastic cups so quickly that juice slopped over the sides. Rachel watched him through the kitchen window as he hurried down the garden. He couldn’t get away from her fast enough, as if standing too close for too long would make him catch the misery. She felt diseased, and the fog hung above her like low cloud.
Rachel had isolated everybody. Unable to deal with the everyday problems of the rest of the world, she couldn’t cope with the deterioration of her dad’s mental health as well as her own. With David unable to even stay in the same room as her, she had never felt so alone. The kids still adored her, though, and her response was to love them more than she thought possible. Their behaviour was deteriorating; she spoiled them all the time with small surprise presents and failed to check their appalling behaviour. Maisie was turning into a complete brat and more than one letter about her behaviour at school had already been sent home. Rachel burnt them in the fire, didn’t respond, and didn’t tell David. Jamie’s constant crying had given way to tantrums, and to keep him quiet Rachel just gave him whatever he wanted. The dark suppressed anger, the panic and the confusion had left, but they had been replaced by complete listlessness. There seemed no point in anything any more. Rachel just wanted to disappear into her virtual world and leave her own reality behind.
The nights were the loneliest. Although sleep had returned to a degree, Rachel still slept alone. Sometimes she would reach out to the cold pillow beside her and bring it close, her arms around it, holding it in the same way that she hung on to a vague memory of hope from the past. The pillow smelt of washing powder, not of the warmth of a person. The room was dark, a blackout blind at the window to block out the warm orange glow of the nearby streetlight. Sometimes in the night Rachel would roll up the blind and sit and stare at the world outside; the occasional late-night reveller or early-morning shift worker would walk by, and she would watch them until they disappeared round the corner. At other times, she thought about shouting ‘help me’ out of the window, just to see if anyone would. When she climbed back into the cold sheets, what she missed most of all was the warmth of someone there. If someone had been there to touch, it might have stopped her never-ending circle of confusion. There was no one to reach out to. No one who would make a soundless whisper in their sleep: ‘Hang on, it won’t always be this tough.’ Rachel missed being in love. When she couldn’t sleep she wished she had an old-fashioned clock so she could count the ticking beat until morning.
By August things were a little better than they had been, on and off; the heat sometimes dissipated the fog of misery. Days no longer seemed eternal; the house was not much cleaner or tidier, but the shopping got done, clothes laundered if not ironed. The kids were OK, but they had suffered. Rachel now found it easier to hug, and they responded by clinging to her; she felt it was just in case she let go of them again.
The voyeurism of Facebook continued, less intense now but she still checked her news feed several times a day. She had started to make occasional comments on Facebook to people she knew well. In September, she made what she hoped was a humorous comment on a ‘public’ post made by a boy, now a man, whom she had once had a bit of a crush on. Well, actually a lot of a crush on. The boy, now a man, was called Adam, and at the time he had been a close friend. They used to talk and there had been an obvious connection between them, but Rachel had had a boyfriend, who later dumped her and for a brief time had broken her heart. Adam had had a girlfriend whom he said he would one day marry if she stuck around long enough or if he could get her drunk enough to accept his proposal. There were a few distant and blurry photos of the grown-up Adam on his timeline, some kids in the distance and an attractive woman who could have been the college girlfriend, even at a distance though she looked too young – maybe she was Adam’s daughter, but time had made it hard to tell and Rachel couldn’t for the life of her remember her name.
Rachel posted a photo of herself and the kids, and liked it so much that she decided to make it her profile picture. An hour later, he sent her a friend request, and from that day life became a little more interesting.
About Hayley Mitchell
Hayley Mitchell spends most of the time writing books in her head and was finally able to put finger to keyboard and capture some of the words in the form of her debut novel Because I was lonely. A law graduate, she has spent most of her life working with people and much of her career as an advice worker for charities. Always fascinated by people and their relationships, she began to write fiction. She is very lucky to live in Wiltshire with her husband whose support has been invaluable and their two children who amuse, inspire and exhaust her everyday. She now divides her time between her family and writing her second novel.
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