Thrilled to be sharing an extract from Claudia Carroll’s latest release, ‘Our Little Secret’, as part of the blog tour organised by Avon. Thank you to Avon for the blog tour invite!
A sparkling story about what happens when you let someone into your life… but they turn out to want more than you’d bargained for!
Sarah Dee has the perfect life. A high-flying job in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and a house to die for. So how does she find herself looking in through the kitchen window while another woman enjoys it all?
When Sarah takes pity on a struggling young graduate who can’t get a job, she thinks she’s doing the right thing. She’s being kind, generous and helpful to others, as she always is. But as Sarah allows the younger woman into her home, her law firm and even her family, is there more to this pretty youngster than meets the eye? And could this be a good deed that goes further than expected?
Claudia Carroll does it again with a sparkling new novel about what happens when your life becomes up for grabs…
I rarely, if ever, went into the Sloan Curtis offices, in fact I made it a rule not to. But that afternoon was an exception. It was a perfectly normal day on the Mummy-run as I call it; I’d just collected the boys from school and taken the pair of them home, so I could start the daily grind of a) trying to bully them into doing their homework, and b) subsequently cajoling them to get their heads away from the XBox long enough for me to shovel a few chicken nuggets down their gullets.
But then that’s parenting for you: forty per cent nagging, twenty per cent cajoling, thirty per cent worrying and ten per cent picking socks up of the floor.
Then out of nowhere, Rosie, my super-studious, never-put-a-foot-wrong sixteen-year-old phoned me in a blind panic.
‘Mum, I need help!’ she said, sounding so anxious it alarmed me, but then Rosie never panicked, ever. In our house she was always the cool, rational voice of reason, who kept her head when all around her lost theirs.
‘Are you home now?’
‘Of course love, what’s up?’ I said, just as the boys started to bicker over whose go it was to have the remote control.
‘I actually can’t believe I was stupid enough to do this,’ she said breathlessly, ‘but you know my economics project on Brexit?’
Of course I did. This was a huge deal for Rosie; something like twenty per cent of her overall marks for economics were awarded based on this project. She’d slaved over it, working day and night; the girl had even voluntarily suspended all her own Netflix privileges purely to get her project finished.
‘What’s up, love? What do you need?’ I asked, waving threateningly at the boys to keep it down.
‘The biggest favour ever, please, I’m begging you!’
Now Rosie was one of those kids who never asked for anything. It’s like she was born utterly self-sufficient, almost like a human version of a self-cleaning oven. So whatever she needed from me, the answer was an automatic yes.
‘I was working on it at home last night,’ she said, ‘because my teacher wants to see a rough draft later this afternoon. But my laptop just crashed on me and I don’t know what to do.’
‘OK, love,’ I said, thinking two steps ahead. ‘I’m sure you’ve got it safely backed up somewhere. Do you have a USB stick somewhere in the house that I can get to you?’
‘Well, that’s the thing,’ Rosie said a bit hesitantly. ‘No. No, I don’t.’
‘Oh, honey, you mean you didn’t back up?’
‘Don’t give out to me!’ she half wailed down the phone. Bear in mind this was a kid who never put a single foot wrong, ever. In fact the only other time I think Rosie messed up was when she was aged five and forgot the words to ‘Twinkle, Twinkle. Little Star’ while onstage during her end-of-term school concert. Rosie was as close to a perfect human being as either her dad or I had ever seen. So what was the point in me giving out to her?
‘OK, just stay nice and calm,’ I said firmly. ‘Tell me how I can help and between us, we’ll fix this.’
‘Well, I was working on Dad’s laptop all last night,’ she said, sounding like she needed to breathe into a paper bag by then. ‘And the most up-to-date version of the project should still be there, saved as a Word document. So if you could just get to his laptop at the Sloan Curtis office, print it off, then get it to me here in school, all would be well. I know it’s a big ask, but I’m begging here … my back really is to the wall.’