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Authors: Amy Bird

Hide and Seek

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Nobody’s life is ever perfect. Families tell lies. People keep secrets. But the life which Will and Ellie Spears have built together is as perfect as it’s possible to be.

Until, one day, something is let slip. A discovery is made. And all of a sudden Ellie and Will’s life falls down, as acceptance gives way to an obsessive search for answers.

Families tell lies. People keep secrets. But sometimes the truth is much more dangerous.

Hide and Seek
is the addictive new psychological suspense novel from Amy Bird, perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, SJ Watson and Liane Moriarty. Is finding the truth worth losing everything?

Also by Amy Bird

Yours is Mine

Three Steps Behind You

Praise for Amy Bird

‘This novel contains many shocks and turns, it’s filled with emotion and makes for an addicting and fast read’ –
Uncorked Thoughts
on
Yours is Mine

‘There were moments that goosebumps spread across my arms…the last chapter left me a little breathless.’ –
Katlyn Duncan
, author of
The Life After Trilogy
on
Yours is Mine

‘… there are twists and turns in here that you will never see coming.’ –
Emma Kerry
, Emma Kerry’s Notebook on
Yours is Mine

‘I honestly cannot recommend this book enough! It is fast paced and thrilling, and will have you gripped from beginning to end.’ –
Amy Nightingale, Compelling Reads
on
Three Steps Behind You

‘As a psychological thriller this works extremely well…it is perfectly paced with some real heartstopping moments and a terrific exciting finale. I enjoyed it very much, it appealed to my darker nature and I will definitely be looking out for more from this author.’ –
Liz Loves Books
on
Three Steps Behind You

‘For those of us who love a dark read, this is just perfect.’ –
Christine Marson, Northerncrime
on
Three Steps Behind You

‘I couldn’t put this book down.’ –
Kelly White, Waterstones bookseller
on
Three Steps Behind You

‘A novel full of twists and turns. Readers will be surprised who they end up cheering on. Highly recommended.’ –
Rosemary Smith,
Cayocosta72 Book Reviews
on
Three Steps Behind You

Hide and Seek

Amy Bird

www.CarinaUK.com

AMY BIRD

Amy Bird lives in London, where she divides her time between writing and working as a solicitor.
Hide and Seek
is her third psychological thriller for Carina UK. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London, and is also an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course, which she studied under Richard Skinner. As well as novels, Amy has written a number of plays, including
The Jobseeker
which was runner-up in the Shaw Society’s 2013 T.F. Evans Award. She is a member of the Crime Writers’Association. Her husband, Michael, writes too and one of their favourite pastimes is to ‘fantasy cast’ films of their novels while cooking up new concoctions in the kitchen. For updates on her writing follow her on Twitter,
@London_Writer
.

The following must be thanked for the creation of
Hide and Seek
: Messrs Alkan, Beethoven, Grieg and Tchaikovsky for the concerti that helped me imagine the music at the heart of this novel; my talented editor Clio Cornish for helping me find that heart’s true beat; the rest of the Carina UK team for their passion in bringing the book to readers; my fellow Carina UK authors who have spurred me on, both on-line and in person; my legal colleagues, who have indulged my authorial leanings; the friends, family and enthusiastic readers who championed
Three Steps Behind You
while I was working on
Hide and Seek
. And finally, love, gratitude and joy to my husband Michael. You are with me in all creations.

Contents

Cover

Blurb

Book List

Praise for

Title Page

Author Bio

Acknowledgements

Part One: Exposition

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Part Two: Development

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Part Three: Recapitulation

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Extract

Endpages

Copyright

Concerto: A composition for a solo instrument or instruments accompanied by an orchestra. Often constructed in three parts: exposition; development; and recapitulation. Sometimes drives people to murder.

PART ONE
EXPOSITION

Chapter One

-Will-

You know those days when everything is so right, so perfect, that you think something must go wrong? That something must smash through your happiness like a hammer, sending it splintering into tiny little pieces that you can never gather together again? Today is one of those days.

Because it’s an archetypal moment, isn’t it, getting the twenty-week scan? You can stop crossing your fingers a little bit as you look at that small creature that you and your wife – or your girlfriend, whatever works for you – have made. You have confirmation that the foetus is healthy, no weird abnormalities. Everything’s on track. Plus you get to find out its gender. And you can share it around, the news of the family line continued, and everyone is so proud and pleased and gives you champagne. If you’re the dad, that is. If you’re the mum you have to make do with apple juice.

And it actually looks like a human being, now, your little creation. Not like at the twelve-week scan, when it was just a shadow creature, inside your wife’s wonderful, magical belly. OK, right, sorry. You expect medical academics to be technical. Inside her perfectly ordinary womb where the foetus will gestate along the lines of the normal processes for homo sapiens. Actually, sod that. As I was saying, in Ellie’s
magical
belly, it didn’t look like much. But now it does. And doesn’t Ellie know it! At every red traffic light on the drive home from the hospital she is holding the scan image up to my face.

“He totally has your nose,” she shouts over the music we have blaring out of the CD drive. Ellie’s stuck on our latest favourite CD, a rousing piano concerto by some guy called Max Reigate. I guess she hopes that by playing it so loudly the baby will hear and give her a friendly kick, or something.

I twist my head slightly to see the scan photo, eyes off the road for a moment.

“Um, Ellie, I’m not sure that’s a nose.”

“OK, then, he totally has your p—”

“Ellie!” I warn her. “That is so wrong. There are some comparisons you shouldn’t make.”

She shrugs. “OK, fair one. But he looks like you.”

And even though I know she is wrong, and there is no way she can tell yet whether it looks like me, I don’t mind. Because I’m going to be a dad. Finally, after all those months of Ellie dragging me into the bedroom, ovulation stick in hand shouting ‘Now, now, now!’ (a real romantic, Ellie) I’m, touch wood, going to have a son. I would have been happy with a daughter too, of course. But, you know how it is – I’m a boy, I want another boy. Not in
that
way. In a proud, paternal, ‘this is my share of a football team’-type way.

So there’ll be all sorts of celebrations later, when Mum and Dad come round. I texted them from the hospital to say all was well and to tell them it’s a boy. I can’t wait to show them this latest picture. They’ve been on the whole journey with us, my parents. They knew, of course, that we were trying. There’s only so many times you can offer Ellie champagne and shellfish before she cracks and fesses up to the real reason she’s turning them down. Better that than have people think you are dull, in Ellie’s philosophy. Then when we kept cancelling brunches because Ellie wasn’t feeling too well, they twigged. Mum drew me to one side and asked me, point blank, if we were pregnant. I just gave her holding statements initially – it was mine and Ellie’s secret, at first. But then, after the twelve-week scan, I gave her the news. ‘It’s early days, yet,’ I said, ‘but all being well, you’re going to be a grandmother.’ She looked a bit funny at that, kind of a false smile, but I reckon it’s because she still thinks of herself as being about eighteen, and the G-word scared her.

First, though, we’re doing the crib, me and Ellie. We promised ourselves that. Now that we know there are no anomalies, we can actually start building a life for our new little baby. Our new little boy. For when he arrives. So when we get back, we head up to the room that will over the coming months transform from ‘spare’ to nursery. Ellie settles herself down in the nursing chair, and I lay out the instructions on the floor in front of her.

“I think I know what we have to do now,” I tell her. Capable and efficient, that’s the kind of father I’ll be.

“What’s that, darling?” she asks.

I point at the diagrams in the instructions for the crib.

“Look, it’s simple: quick nail here, quick screw there – ”

“Oh darling,” Ellie says, putting a hand over her brow in a mock faint. “All this DIY porn’s enough to make a girl weak at the knees.”

“Behave!” I tell her. But obviously I’m pleased. Because we went through a phase, for a few months, when she just could not do innuendo or sex or anything else apart from curl up on the sofa feeling tired and nauseous. So I give her a little kiss on the belly and continue with the theme.

“Now, I seem to have lost my hammer – will you dig it out for me?” I growl, in what is maybe a porn star accent, if they all come from the Deep South.

“Sure thing, mister,” Ellie trills. She starts to heave herself up from the nursing chair. I think about the toolbox Mum and Dad gave us – the toolbox to end all toolboxes, as they put it. It’s downstairs, heavy, and as yet unexplored. Bit gittish to make my pregnant wife go fetch.

I gesture to Ellie to sit down.

“It’s all right, I’ll get it,” I say. “You stay here and grow our child.” No objection from Ellie. I troop off downstairs and open the hall cupboard. Toolbox. Toolbox. Ah, there we go – the edge of it peeking out from under a stash of Sainsbury’s bags that I keep meaning to organise. I drag it out of the cupboard and open it up. It really is the toolbox to end all toolboxes – two layers, the first one full to the brim with nails and screws and Allen keys and lots of other things that probably have names but damned if I know what they are. No hammer in the top layer though, so I lift the plastic out and look in the bottom section. Screwdrivers, a wrench, a spirit level… But no hammer. Odd. I would have thought that was a pretty basic ingredient. I look at the outside of the box for a contents list. Yes, there we are: easy-grip claw-hammer. Should be here, but it isn’t.

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