Maggie by Netta Newbound #BlogTour

I am delighted to be kicking off Maggie by Netta Newbound Blog Tour on Publication Day with an exclusive extract which I do hope tickles your taste buds……I cannot wait to get stuck into this one.

The Book
When sixteen-year-old Maggie Simms’ mum loses her battle with cancer, the only family she has left is her abusive stepfather, Kenny.
Horrified to discover he intends to continue his nightly abuse, Maggie is driven to put a stop to him once and for all.
However, she finds her troubles are only just beginning when several of her closest allies are killed.
Although nothing seems to be linking the deaths, Maggie believes she is jinxed.
Why are the people she cares about being targeted?
And who is really behind the murders?
Sometimes the truth is closer than you think.

Maggie by Netta Newbound

Bloodhound Books Blog Tour Extract

Chapter 1

The sounds of ‘Jerusalem,’ my mother’s favourite hymn, reverberated off the four walls of the quaint village chapel.
I couldn’t sing. I could barely perform the most basic of functions as I stared at the casket that held her fragile and wasted body.
Breast cancer had been responsible for taking the best mother a girl could have wished for. She’d found it too late, and the specialists had told her no amount of treatment would make any difference. So, she’d made the call not to even try.
I couldn’t believe how brave she’d been. And now, just four months after finding that first bastard lump, she was gone.
I’d helped look after her as much as I could, but towards the end, the palliative care team had taken over. Then, last week, even the night times had been covered by a Marie Curie nurse. But still, I had insisted on helping.
Mum seemed to be aware, and I could tell by the look in her eyes, she was grateful.
My stepdad, Kenny, wasn’t much help. In fact, he’d been a total waste of space. It seemed as though he thought if he ignored what was happening, then it wouldn’t actually be true. He made me sick. They’d been married since I was eight, half my life, yet they’d never had any more children. I got the impression it had been his decision, not hers. Mum had enough love for a houseful of kids, but not him.
I glanced at him, standing beside me crying, his mouth wide as he bawled unashamedly. For a handsome man, he was certainly an ugly crier. But I envied his tears. I hadn’t shed any since my mum took her final, rasping breath.
Kenny, or Kenneth Edmond Simms as he was known professionally, was the village accountant. He was well liked and looked up to by everyone he had any dealings with. But I’d noticed the way some of the local women had been looking at him when news of my mother’s terminal illness had been made public.
I figured it wouldn’t be long before he was parading his fancy women on his arm, without a thought for my poor mum. Even though I wasn’t seventeen yet, I wasn’t behind the door when it came to the psychology of men. As long as their meals were being made, their laundry done, and their egos stroked, they were almost anybody’s.
“You okay, Maggie?” Claudia, our next-door neighbour, asked.
I nodded, suddenly back in the room, and I realised everybody was up on their feet as heavy, gold curtains closed around the casket. Panic gripped me, and my body shuddered.
As the congregation headed to the door, I turned and allowed myself to be caught up in the crowd. For that brief moment, I was anonymous. Nobody looked at me with pity and sadness. But when outside, the crowd dispersed, and I was left feeling utterly alone and vulnerable.
“Maggie? Maggie!”
I turned, disorientated, and I couldn’t tell where the voice was coming from. Then, Claudia stepped from the sea of people and pulled me into her arms.
“Oh, my poor darling. Come, let me find you a seat – you look done in.”
She ferried me back towards the doors just as Kenny emerged surrounded by well-wishers, mostly female.
Claudia barged amongst them. “Your daughter needs some attention, Kenneth. She’s not looking too good. Maybe it’s her asthma.”
Kenny made a display of pulling me into his arms and sobbing. His tears soaked into my plain, grey dress. I didn’t like dresses, but I’d decided I needed to make an effort for Mum.
Lots of comments and murmurs followed.
Aw, how sweet. They will need each other now…
Emily was their rock…
So, so sad…
I shut my ears to them – what the hell did they know? It was always the same; people saw one thing and would make their minds up about something they knew nothing about.
“Is everything set up at the house?” Kenny asked when we were alone in the back of the funeral car.
I nodded. The neighbours had all pulled together, led by Claudia, and helped prepare a buffet fit for a queen’s send off.
“We’ll get through it, you know. At least she’s not suffering anymore. I couldn’t bear seeing her like that.”
I wanted to remind him he’d not seen much of her suffering anyway. He’d hardly been by her side during the final stages. But I didn’t reply. My mother had taught me if I couldn’t say anything nice, to keep my mouth shut.
Back at our modest home, I was surprised by how many people had actually followed us. I didn’t think we’d get them all inside, let alone feed them. But it didn’t matter. They were there to pay their respects to my beautiful and funny mother. Nobody would care if they couldn’t find a seat.
The sound of their voices clamouring together in our dinky, middle of the row, terraced house, made my head throb. After a few minutes, I slid away to the comfort of my room and curled up on the bed.
But Kenny soon clicked I wasn’t around and came bursting in, demanding I make an appearance. I had a job to do, and people needed looking after.
Reluctantly, I followed him back downstairs.
When everybody had gone, Kenny brought in several glasses from the front doorstep and placed them on the kitchen worktop. “That was a decent send off,” he said, with a smile.
I nodded and continued loading the dishwasher.
“Look, Mags. You and I are all that’s left. We need to support each other.”
“I know.” My words were no more than a whisper.
“We’ve never been very close, probably down to me, but I’m willing to make an effort, if you are?”
I shrugged and turned my back on him.
When I went through to the lounge later, I found him lying on the sofa.
“Go and get in bed, Mags. It’s been a long day.”
I noticed how pale and tired he looked and realised maybe he was missing Mum after all. “Can I get you anything before I go up?”
“I couldn’t face another thing, but thanks anyway.” He smiled sadly. “I’ll probably get an early night myself.”
I heard him trudge up the stairs while I was in the bathroom. His bedroom door was already closed when I came out. Mum had been sleeping in the front room, and so he was used to having the bed to himself.
The past few days, since Mum died, I’d felt out of place. Without her, where did I belong? Mum didn’t have any family, I was her only living relative, and she mine – unless you counted my birth father who’d run out on us when I was barely six months old.
Without Mum, Kenny wouldn’t want me hanging about, cramping his style.
I could get a job. I was old enough to legally leave school, although I had planned to stay on for sixth form and then, the following year, go to college to take my A levels. But, if need be, I could leave now.
We lived in a village called Harley on the outskirts of Manchester, and at a push, I could travel into the city by bus. But if I left school, there would be no reason to stay in the village. I would just look for a bedsit close to wherever the job was.
It was thoughts of my future that had got me through the rest of the afternoon. Mum would have been mortified if she’d known my plans, since she’d had big dreams for me, but as far as I could see, I had no choice.
In my room, I curled up on the bed and checked my phone, not really expecting any messages. Then, I stalked a couple of the popular girls from school to see how their day had been. This was the extent of my social media activity. However, stalking wasn’t really social at all.
The few friends I did have had stopped bothering with me when Mum had become sick. I was clearly no longer any fun. Mum always told me you soon discover who your true friends are in a crisis, and she was right.
Although summer, it was unusually hot for July in the north of England, and the duvet I usually had was in the airing cupboard. I stripped off my clothes and slid between the cool sheets. So that was that. The day we buried my mother had been and gone, and I still hadn’t shed one tear. I couldn’t believe it had really happened. It was like some kind of awful nightmare I couldn’t wake up from.
Restless, I decided to go back downstairs and empty the dishwasher. I pulled on my lime-green satin pyjamas and padded down on bare feet. Bending over the dishwasher, I didn’t hear Kenny enter the kitchen. I almost had a heart attack when I stood up and saw him beside the sink filling a glass with water. I squealed and clutched my chest.
“Sorry,” he said. “Couldn’t you sleep either?”
I shook my head.
He sat at the kitchen table, sipping his water.
When all the dishes were put away, I went back up to my room and lay on top of the sheets. The silence of the house freaked me out, being used to the nurses coming and going, and Mum’s random, fretful cries. Now, there was just the two of us, Kenny and I, politely sidestepping each other – creeping about as though trying to avoid waking the dead.
I flicked through Facebook again. Rachel Mendoza, my ex-best friend, had posted several photos from her holiday in Ibiza, off the coast of Spain. That hurt. Surely she could have waited to post images of her and her family smiling happily for the camera. Didn’t she know how heartless that was? Today of all days.
At last, silent tears ran down my cheeks as I flicked through page after page of Rachel’s happy images. She used to be my closest friend, and yet, I hadn’t received one message from her. Knowing how close I was to my mum, it broke my heart that Rachel hadn’t thought to drop me a text or email. Or even a sad emoji on social media. Did she even know Mum had died?
A fierce tightness gripped my gut, forcing all the air from my lungs. The tears flowed now, and I gripped my pillow and cried – deep, racking sobs.
“You okay, Mags?” Kenny asked from behind the door.
I sat up and wiped my tears away with my hands, gulping for breath.
The handle turned down and rattled a couple of times. But I’d pulled the new bolt in place.
“Maggie? Are you alright?”
I rolled over on the bed and placed my feet on the floor, wiping my wet hands on the satin pyjama bottoms.
“Mags. Open the door. I’m worried about you. Come on. Open the door or else I’ll kick it in.”
“I… I’m okay. I’m just sad, that’s all.”
“I know how that feels. You shouldn’t be on your own right now. Neither of us should.”
“Please, Kenny. Just leave me alone.”
A loud thud and crack of wood splintering had me on my feet, my hands clasped to my mouth, stifling a silent scream.

Want to read more?!  You can grab your copy right now at Amazon for only 99p
About the Author
My name’s Netta Newbound. I write thrillers in many different styles — some grittier than others. The Cold Case Files have a lighter tone and are full of fun. I also write a series set in London, which features one of my favourite characters, Detective Adam Stanley. These books are a little grittier. My standalone books, The Watcher and An Impossible Dilemma, are not for the faint hearted, and it seems you either love them or hate them—I’d love to know what you think.

Originally from Manchester, England, I have travelled extensively and have lived and worked in a variety of exciting places. I now live in New Zealand with my husband. We have three grown up children and four grandchildren.

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