OTHER TITLES BY LOUISE VOSS AND MARK EDWARDS
Catch Your Death
All Fall Down
From the Cradle
OTHER TITLES BY MARK EDWARDS
What You Wish For
Because She Loves Me
Follow You Home
OTHER TITLES BY LOUISE VOSS
To Be Someone
Are You My Mother?
Games People Play
The Venus Trap
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organisations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Text copyright © 2015 Louise Voss & Mark Edwards
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Published by Thomas & Mercer, Seattle
Amazon, the Amazon logo, and Thomas & Mercer are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc., or its affiliates.
Cover design by bürosüdo Munich, www.buerosued.de
This one is for Louise’s fiancé, Nick Laughland, and for Mark’s wife, Sara Edwards.
Letter from the Authors
About the Authors
Download a Free Short Story by Voss & Edwards
Rose looked up at the hotel, wishing she’d been allowed to save the image on her phone, that it wasn’t against the rules. This was definitely the place – although, as with everything in her life, she retained a niggle of doubt. She was surprised that he would stay in a Travel Inn. That was the kind of lame place her dad stayed in when he went away on business. But she guessed that was the point. He was being clever. He had arranged the rendezvous – the word sending a little frisson of excitement through her insides – here because it was exactly the kind of crap-hole where nobody would expect him to hang out.
She was wearing her new pants – pink with the word ‘LUCKY’ stamped across the front. She’d flushed the same shade of pink as the knickers when she’d put them on the counter in Primark, though the woman who served her didn’t even smile as she stuffed them in the paper bag. If only that woman knew who Rose was meeting, she would be sick with jealousy, and she would see – like everyone would see, soon enough, when the whole world found out about their love – that she, Rose Emily Sharp, was special.
Not different, as Dad said, thinking it was a compliment. Not weird, like the girls at school sneered.
The first photo had been of this hotel, taken from this very spot, with the caption ‘11 p.m.’. She stood and fiddled with her phone, drizzle spotting its shiny surface. There was hardly anyone about, probably because of the weather, and the streetlamps struggled to cut through the gloom. A couple of young blokes in hoodies strolled past. Her whole body clenched, but they ignored her, not even bothering to give her the once-over. Not that she cared, anymore, if boys noticed her.
It was 10.59, and as the time on her phone rolled over to eleven o’clock, she received another photo, dead on time. She stared at it, her heart pounding, knowing that she only had ten seconds before it would disappear. The picture showed a pair of grey doors, with one of those big wheelie bins in front. She looked up at the hotel, confused for a moment, then got it.
He wanted her to go round to the back entrance. Of course. This was a secret rendezvous. He didn’t want anyone at the front desk to see her or, worse, try to stop her. He wanted to make sure that nothing stood in their way.
She smiled. He was so thoughtful, even more so than she’d gathered from his interviews and tweets.
Rose waited for the green man and crossed the road on shaky legs. She felt as she had that time when she’d been sent to see the head teacher after screaming at that slut Bethany Douglas in class, who had spread a rumour that Rose had wet the bed on the school trip. Bethany also said that OnTarget were a band for tweenies and toddlers, and had made up her own lyrics to their biggest hit, ‘Forever Together’, replacing ‘together’ with ‘bed-wetter’. The head teacher, Mrs Morpurgo, had sighed and said, ‘What are we going to do with you, eh, Rose?’
Rose ground her teeth together at the memory. Mrs Morpurgo would regret it when Rose was famous and spent some of her millions on buying the school and firing the head teacher. She hadn’t yet worked out what she would do to Bethany, but it would involve public humiliation and Bethany sobbing an apology that Rose would gracefully accept.
It was dark behind the hotel, the rain coming down more heavily now, and Rose swore to herself. She’d spent ages doing her hair. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she thought she saw a figure move in the trees around the edge of the staff car park, but when she looked again there was nobody there.