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Devious Intention: Intention series, #3

Devious Intention: Intention series, #3

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Devious Intention: Intention series, #3

Length:
246 pages
6 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 24, 2016
ISBN:
9781540185952
Format:
Book

Description

The stakes are high when a holiday turns tragic…

Some accidents are deemed worse than others. Some turn out to be far mysterious than they first appear.

Unexplained incidences can mess with a person's head.

People whispering behind a person's back… implying that they're crazy!

PI Ellen Brazil and her partner are taking a well-earned rest in Cornwall, when they stumble across a confused young woman whose desperate cries for help are being ignored by the community.

Why? Everything she says seems logical to Ellen. Why are people willing to ignore her pleas for help?

Can Ellen and Brian figure out a way of helping the woman come to terms with a grave loss? Or will they regret their decision to put their holiday aside to seek out the truth troubling the woman?

A fast-paced thriller not to be missed, grab your copy today.

From M A Comley NY Times bestselling author of the Justice series.

Publisher:
Released:
Nov 24, 2016
ISBN:
9781540185952
Format:
Book

About the author

I am a British author. I moved to France around ten years ago, and that's when I turned my hobby into a career. I'm fortunate to be represented by New York agent Richard Curtis. I share my home with two crazy dogs that like nothing better than to drag their masterful leader (that's me) around the village. I hope you enjoy reading my books, especially the Justice series, Cruel Justice, Impeding Justice,Final Justice,Foul Justice and the newest addition, Guaranteed Justice. Ultimate Justice is due out in Feb 2013. If you'd like to keep up to date with new releases you can find me on facebook by following this link http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mel-Comley/264745836884860 If you fancy a lighter read, why not try one of my romances: A Time to Heal, and A Time for Change--Based on a TRUE story. I also have a selection of short stories and novelettes available which I know you'll enjoy. You can find out more about me at the following blogs. http://melcomley.blogspot.com http://melcomleyromances.blogspot.com  

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Devious Intention - M.A. Comley

M A comley

PROLOGUE

Their holiday had finally arrived. A mixture of excitement and trepidation had filled Louise since she’d woken to the birds singing their dawn chorus that morning. This would be their first break away together in three years. Louise’s stomach was tied up in knots as they loaded the car. Doubts about whether she was doing the right thing by going away with Matthew had played on her mind for weeks. He settled their four-year-old daughter, Sophie, into the child seat in the rear of the car, closed the door, and beamed at Louise across the roof of their luxury BMW. One look into his deep-blue eyes calmed her. The anxiety she’d been feeling all morning subsided, but for how long, she had no idea. I’m being daft! I’m going to make this the best holiday ever, for their sakes.

Since suffering a miscarriage a few months ago, Louise openly admitted she was an emotional wreck, wallowing in frequent bouts of grief and self-pity for most of the day. She had pushed Matthew away, trying her hardest to deal with her loss in her own way. The thought of him touching her in bed repulsed her to the point of making her wonder if other women who had miscarried went through similar rides on an emotional rollercoaster, or if she was some kind of oddity. The insecurities multiplied when she started having grave doubts about her ability to care for their daughter, something she’d never had cause to do before the loss of her baby. She knew how irrational her thinking had become—the doctors had warned her that her hormones would be out of kilter for a few months—but struggling with the loss had torn her once-contented life to shreds.

Matthew had been there for her. He’d shown complete understanding and joined her in mourning the loss of the baby boy they’d both desperately wanted. However, she couldn’t help thinking that the distance between them had grown in recent weeks. Tears pricked her eyes. Where are you, Mum, when I need you most? She sent out a silent plea for her mother’s guidance from up above. The loss of her baby had also intensified her grief over losing her mother. Now that her mother was no longer alive, she had no one she could truly confide in. Shelley Lancaster had died of breast cancer almost two years ago, but the pain surrounding Louise’s heart was still raw and at times unbearable, especially when she spent time alone with Sophie. The girl was the spitting image of Louise’s mother. When they’d first realised that fact, it had been a blessing, but since her mother’s passing, she knew she was guilty of treating her daughter differently than she had when her mother was alive. Why, she didn’t know. Sophie hadn’t changed, only she had. Does grief do that to people? Change the way they treat their loved ones? She shook her head, trying to concentrate on happier times and the two weeks that lay ahead of them. Two whole weeks!

Are you ready? Matthew asked, loading the final heavy suitcase into the boot of the car.

A smile stretched Louise’s lips apart. As I’ll ever be. Look out, Cornwall. Here we come.

Matthew swiped his hands together a few times then pointed ahead of him. Onwards, fair lady. Get in; your chariot awaits.

As soon as he started the car, Matthew inserted his latest CD in the slot. Adele’s voice filled the car seconds later. Louise cringed—in spite of the singer’s popularity, she really couldn’t say she was a fan of the singer’s so-called haunting voice. Louise had been brought up on the Motown music her parents had loved so much. She and Matthew had such different interests that Louise often found herself wondering why they had been so attracted to each other in the first place.

Their journey began, and before long, Sophie was playing contentedly with her dolls in her car seat, chattering away, asking questions and answering herself in a high-pitched pretend doll’s voice. Louise leaned her head back against the leather headrest and drifted off to sleep, as she had always had a tendency to do on the motorway. She could hear the music in the distance as memories of her beloved mother filled her dream. Louise soon found herself transported back to her own childhood, to the age of four, when she and her mother had travelled to Cornwall after her father’s death in a road traffic accident. Louise hadn’t really known her father that well; from what she could remember, he worked away from home all week in his job as a travelling salesman for a cigarette company.

She remembered the days she spent on the vast expanse of sandy beach at Polperro. Plastered in sun cream, with a straw hat settled on her head to ward off the sun’s harsh rays, she would build dozens of sandcastles then link them all together and surrounding them with a seawater moat. Louise recalled her mother’s warm laughter as Louise fetched bucket upon bucket of water from the sea to fill the moat. Even her meat paste sandwiches had become covered in sand, but it had never stopped her from eating them. She’d been having far too much fun for that.

Suddenly, the day they lost her father penetrated her dream. The memory was so clear. She remembered playing with her Lego bricks on the living room carpet, while her mother was taking a well-earned rest from her housework to read just another chapter of one of her soppy Mills and Boon novels. They looked at each other when the doorbell rang. They weren’t expecting anyone, and her mother rarely interacted with the other mothers in the neighbourhood. That had suited Louise because all she needed was her mother’s company to feel content.

Louise hid behind her mother’s legs when she saw the two uniformed police officers standing on the doorstep, their helmets tucked under their arms.

Hello. Can I help? her mother asked, her voice quaking a little.

Mrs. Lancaster? the female officer asked.

Yes, that’s right.

May we come in?

Without saying another word, her mother guided her back into the living room as the two police officers followed. What is it? Has something happened to Bob?

The female officer smiled briefly and cleared her throat. I’m sorry to have to tell you that your husband was…

Louise couldn’t hear anything more because her mother swiftly covered her ears. She could still see the police officer’s lips moving, and her mother’s hands began to tremble. The next thing Louise knew, her mother was settling her down to play with her Legos again while she sat on the sofa and stared up at the police officers, with tears streaming from her eyes.

The memory drifted as it always did. It was replaced by yet another sad day in her young life. On the day of her fifth birthday, it suddenly dawned on her that she would never see her father again. She was riddled with sadness at a time when she should have been running around and playing with other children at her party. Though she envied the way the other children played without a care in the world, Louise hadn’t wanted the party. Her mother had found her sitting by herself in the corner sulking while the others played party games…

Sophie’s screams interrupted her dream, and her eyes flew open. Though her eyes were slow to adjust, Louise had no difficulty making out the car heading straight at them. She turned to face Matthew.

His eyes were wide as he stared at the oncoming car, and his knuckles had turned white as he gripped the steering wheel. Hold on, Louise. This guy is nuts. He’s put his foot down. Shit, he’s going to hit us!

Do something. Brake or turn away from him. Do it, Matthew! Please, for Sophie’s sake don’t let him hit us!

He was so distracted by the car that he didn’t respond.

Louise closed her eyes and clutched the seat, preparing herself for impact. The crunching of metal and her head hitting the windscreen were the last terrifying things she remembered.

CHAPTER ONE

Mum, Dad? What are you doing here? Louise asked, confused, her voice barely more than a whisper.

Her parents looked happy, holding each other’s hands and smiling down at her. It’s not time yet, Louise. As much as we love you, you must return to live your life. You have many years ahead of you to enjoy. Go back with our blessing, knowing that we are always watching over you, her mother said. The more Louise stared at her parents, the stronger the bright-yellow ethereal light intensified around them. She blinked several times. This can’t be happening.

But you’re both gone. Dead.

She felt someone gently touching her arm. It’s all right, miss. You’re safe now.

Louise’s eyes flickered open to find a paramedic looking down at her. She carefully moved her head to see what was going on around her. Several uniformed people were standing within a few feet. She strained an ear and heard one man say, She must’ve been driving too fast to hit the barrier head on like that.

Barrier? Is he talking about me? Did I hit a barrier? Matthew? Is my husband okay? Her throat felt raw as the words slipped out of her mouth.

What’s that, love? The paramedic placed his ear close to her mouth.

My husband and my daughter, are they okay?

The man withdrew and looked down at her, a puzzled expression pulling at his brow. There was no one else here when we arrived, love. Are you saying your husband and daughter were travelling with you in the car?

Yes, no, I don’t know… my head hurts. Her shaking hand touched her forehead. She felt the tight bandage around her head. When she attempted to sit up, dizziness took over, and she collapsed against the stretcher once more.

It would be better if you didn’t move. You have a concussion. Everything will seem a little fuzzy right now. We’re going to put you in the back of the ambulance and drive you to hospital.

But my family. What about my family? she cried desperately.

Another man appeared beside her. He was clean shaven, unlike the paramedic. Hello there. Nice to have you back in the land of the living. I’m Detective Sergeant Steve Bould. Are you up to telling us how the accident occurred?

Her concussion is making her seem confused, the paramedic stated.

Louise shook her head and regretted the action immediately. I’m not confused. I was with my husband and daughter… I’m… sure I was.

She watched the two men look at each other and shrug before the detective spoke again. There’s no one but you here. Were you distracted when you were driving? Did something run out in front of you, perhaps? Is that why you struck the barrier?

No! I wasn’t driving. What are you talking about? My husband was driving, and we hit a car head-on.

Sorry, love. You’re mistaken about that. I’ll tell you what… we’ll let them check you over at the hospital, and I’ll come in and see you tomorrow after you’ve had a chance to recover. How’s that? the policeman said.

No! she screamed, startling the two men standing beside her. "My husband and daughter were with me. I need to find them. Where are they? What’s happened to them if you’re saying they’re not here? I don’t see how that’s possible, and I wasn’t driving the damn car. My husband was. Give me strength!"

Take it easy. Don’t get yourself worked up. This is a natural reaction for some people when suffering from concussion. Go with the flow for now, and allow your body and mind to recover, the paramedic assured her, patting the back of her hand.

Louise’s eyes flickered shut, and she inhaled a large steadying breath. Why? Why won’t they just believe me? Hearing footsteps, she turned her head to see the policeman walking away. She felt the paramedic fussing over her, securing her to the stretcher before he and another paramedic lifted the stretcher into the back of the ambulance. The movement made her feel giddy. Once they’d positioned the stretcher along the side of the ambulance Louise pleaded with the man to help her. Please, she whispered. "Please, you have to believe me."

I do, love. We all do. Let’s leave it to DS Bould to figure out what’s going on, eh? You just concentrate on getting yourself better for now.

Where are you taking me? What hospital?

Falmouth Hospital. They’ll take care of you well there.

I hope so. Do you think they’ll be there?

Who’s that, love?

My husband and my daughter. Maybe another ambulance has already taken them, she said, her hopes rising.

The paramedic’s smile was a sympathetic one, and she could tell he didn’t really believe her. Then her eyelids became heavy, and she drifted off to sleep. There, she was reunited with her wonderful husband and her beautiful daughter. They had continued on their journey and arrived at the cottage by the coast. Sophie opened the back door to the house and ran out into the garden, aiming for the wooden swing hanging by a thick rope from an old tree near the rear of the large garden.

This is idyllic, Louise said as Matt’s arms encircled her waist and pulled her against him.

He tenderly covered her neck with tiny kisses from his hot mouth. She moaned and woke herself up. The door to the ambulance flew open, and the paramedic appeared once again. Did you have a nice doze?

Not really. I dreamt about my husband and daughter—are you sure there were no signs of them at the crash?

Definitely, love. Have you got a mobile? Maybe you can ring him to see where he is.

A quick look around the ambulance told her that her handbag was missing. My bag, where is it?

The paramedic looked awkward. I’m sorry, I didn’t think to search for it at the scene. My priority was to get you to hospital ASAP.

She sobbed. What chance do I have of anyone believing me if my handbag is missing?

Have a word with the policeman when he comes to take a statement from you. Maybe he picked your handbag up at the scene. Don’t worry too much about it, love.

All kinds of bizarre questions floated through the fuzziness clouding her mind. Why would the policeman pick up her handbag and not give it to her before she left the scene? Could Matt have taken her handbag with him for some reason when he wandered off? Perhaps he was concussed too? Where was Sophie? Her heart pounded harder as the tears began to flow.

Now then, don’t go upsetting yourself. As my old mum used to say, ‘Everything will come good in the wash.’

"Will it? Louise snapped back. I’m sorry, you didn’t deserve that. Surely you can understand how I feel? It’s the not knowing that’s eating me up. I need to know where my family is."

The paramedic nodded while he and another man wheeled the stretcher out the back door of the ambulance. "Leave it to the police to come up with the answers, love. Let them conduct their investigation, and stop worrying."

She stared at him as if he’d spoken in a foreign language. How could she stop worrying when her family was out there, in dire trouble, for all she knew? What if they’ve been abducted by aliens! She’d seen several reported cases along those lines over the years, mostly in America, where things seemed to be blown all out of proportion. Don’t be absurd! No one has abducted them. There must be a simple explanation. I just need to find out what it is.

The paramedics wheeled Louise through to the Accident and Emergency area, where the duty doctor checked her over within a few minutes of her arrival. His prognosis was that she did indeed have concussion and that she should remain in hospital for the next few days so they could monitor her. Not exactly the news Louise wanted to hear when she was eager to get out there and start searching for her family.

When she was deposited on the women’s ward, she asked for a private room, but the ward sister told her that they were all occupied. For the rest of that day, the drugs caused her to endure bouts of sleepiness and sickness. Every time she closed her eyes, images of Matt and Sophie appeared. Several times, the excitement of seeing them again made her bolt upright in her bed, but each time, the dizziness overpowered her, forcing her back under the sheet again. On one occasion, she opened her eyes to find DS Bould sitting beside her bed. He was making notes in his notepad and smiled at her when she turned his way. She sat up gingerly, puffed up the pillows behind her, and winced as her head throbbed rhythmically.

How are you feeling? Bould asked.

Like I’ve been hit by a car in a head-on collision, which is exactly what happened to me.

Well, judging by the evidence I surveyed at the scene, I’m sorry to have to inform you that isn’t what occurred at all.

She opened her mouth to object, but nothing came out. How many bloody times can I deny it? Why should I?

Why don’t you tell me a little about your background? Let’s see if we can throw together a suitable scenario for you being in that crash today.

Suitable scenario? You really do think I’m making this all up, don’t you? she asked, mortified.

Not at all. You’re actually putting words in my mouth there. What’s your name? Is your mind clear enough for you to share that information with me?

His patronising words enraged her. Jesus… it’s Louise Gillespie, and I’ve been married to Matthew Gillespie for the past eight years. You remember him—he’s the one I reported missing at the crash, along with my bloody daughter, Sophie, who is four years old.

There’s no need to snap my head off, miss. I’m merely doing my duty.

"It’s not a miss—I’m a married woman." She tried hard, but failed, to suppress her anger.

"I apologise. Okay, let’s start again and try and sort this out without the added friction this time.

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