Delighted to share an extract from Netta Newbound’s new book, The Watcher with you today as part of my stop on the blog tour.
Life couldn’t get much better for Hannah. She accepts her dream job in Manchester, and easily makes friends with her new neighbours.
When she becomes romantically involved with her boss, she can’t believe her luck. But things are about to take a grisly turn.
As her colleagues and neighbours are killed off one by one, Hannah’s idyllic life starts to fall apart. But when her mother becomes the next victim, the connection to Hannah is all too real.
Who is watching her every move?
Will the police discover the real killer in time?
Hannah is about to learn that appearances can be deceptive.
By Netta Newbound
Germany – 17 years ago
Donald stepped out of the darkness and tensed as his eyes darted across the crowd of drunken revelers. It took a moment for him to spot his target. When he did, he breathed deeply and struggled to calm his pulse.
Pulling himself together, he forced himself forward, keeping the woman’s bright red jacket in his sights at all times. All his senses were on high alert, yet on the surface he fought to appear nonchalant.
He stood behind her in the queue leading to the nightclub and inhaled her scent. Fruity conditioner was the overriding smell coming from her luscious red curls, but he’d watched her dab Dune, her favourite Christian Dior perfume, behind her ears before she left the bathroom less than an hour ago.
The line shuffled forwards and he bumped into her.
“I beg your pardon.” He smiled, running his fingers through his short, prematurely gray hair.
Clair nodded, but several people spluttered with laughter followed by a tirade of German piss-taking.
Donald gritted his teeth as the fingers on his other hand found, gripped, and slowly lifted the phone from Clair’s jacket pocket.
Once inside the club, he kept his distance, watching as Clair spotted her friend at the bar. They hugged and squealed at each other for several minutes. He could pick out the odd word here and there, but he hadn’t been interested in learning the lingo—he never intended being in the country this long.
They took a seat, and he slid into the vacant booth backing onto theirs, and waited.
Within moments, more squealing followed the start of a popular song, and the girls dashed onto the dance floor.
Donald didn’t waste any time. He opened the small paper square, leaned over the table, and slipped the crushed sleeping tablet into Clair’s glass. Then, once he was sure he hadn’t been spotted, he returned to his seat to begin his wait.
An hour later, Clair made a move towards the exit. Her voice couldn’t be heard above the music, so she hand-signaled that she would call her extremely irritated friend soon.
Donald scooted around her and left the building first. He was already leaning against the outer wall by the time Clair appeared looking flustered as she rummaged in her jacket pocket.
“Are you okay?” he asked, knowing she could speak good English.
“Somebody stole my phone.”
“Bloody scoundrels. Do you want one of these?” He offered her a pack of the cigarettes he knew she’d been struggling to give up all week.
She hesitated before taking one.
He lit a match, and, after lighting his own cigarette, he leaned in to light hers.
“You’re welcome. I’m sorry I don’t have a phone to lend you. I left it at home otherwise my sister would be calling me every two minutes.”
“Your sister?” A smirk played at the corners of her mouth.
Donald shrugged. “My wife died recently. I’m staying with my sister, but she keeps thinking I’m going to top myself.”
“You know?” He made a shape of a gun with his fingers and popped it into his mouth. “Pow! Top myself.”
“Ah, kill yourself?”
He smiled sadly. “But I won’t.”
“How did your wife die?”
Clair nodded. “My mother also.”
“That’s shit. Hey, can I give you a lift home? My heart isn’t in this place, after all.”
“I should call my man. He will come for me.”
Donald shrugged one shoulder and smiled. “You don’t have a phone, remember?”
She grinned and nodded.
“No skin off my nose. I can have you home in ten minutes.”
“You do not know my address.” She leaned against the wall and her beautiful green eyes appeared heavy.
Donald could’ve kicked himself. “Can’t be too far if your man was going to come over.”
“True. Okay.” She nodded. “I will accept. Thank you.”
They walked through the passageway to the backstreet.
He’d parked his scruffy white van less than five minutes’ walk away, but Clair couldn’t make the last few steps without his support.
“That drink has affected my legs,” she chuckled.
He opened the passenger door of the van and carefully placed her inside before running around to the driver’s seat.
He turned the key and drove out of town.
Clair was snoring softly and he smiled, thrilled with himself for pulling it off. He knew his meek and mild appearance fooled everyone. It always had, but playing the cancer card was a stroke of genius.
Her phone rang from his pocket.
Startled, he reached for it, but he wasn’t fast enough.
Clair sat upright and stared at him questioningly.
He glanced at her, and then back at the road ahead, his thoughts in a whirr.
“Let me out!” she said, her voice high-pitched.
“Shhh, Clair. Calm down.”
“Let me out. Fucking let me out,” she screamed.
With one fluid movement, Donald smashed his fist into the side of her head. “Less of the language,” he growled as the woman slumped unconscious into her seat.
About the Author:
Netta Newbound is the author of several best-selling psychological thrillers including An Impossible Dilemma and the Adam Stanley Thriller Series. Originally from Manchester, England, she now lives in New Zealand with her husband Paul and their boxer dog Alfie. She has three grown-up children and three delicious grandchildren.
As a child, Netta was plagued by a wild imagination, often getting in trouble for making up weird and wonderful stories. Yet she didn’t turn her attention to writing until after her children had grown and left home.