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191 pages

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‘A beautifully written edge-of-your-seat thriller that had me guessing right until the end.’ Dreda Say Mitchell
A dark secret and a deadly score to settle...

In 1997 teenager Sophie White and her three girlfriends decide they want to lose their innocence before summer is over.
Roping in her childhood buddy Gareth and his mates, Sophie holds a party to get 'the deed' over and done with, but the night doesn’t end as planned.

Twenty years later, the group are brought back together when Gareth is killed in a car accident and Sophie begins receiving threatening messages. It seems the party wasn’t as innocent as everyone thought and now someone wants payback.

A gripping, highly addictive game of cat and mouse where the past comes back with vengeance. Perfect for the fans of Kimberley Chambers, Emma Tallon and Jessie Keane.Praise for Gemma Rogers:
'A brilliant thriller from an exciting new voice. Stalker had me on the edge of my seat' Kerry Barnes

'An atmospheric, taut thriller which keeps you hooked from the first page. An exceptional debut.' Jacqui Rose What readers are saying about Payback:'An excellent novel, full of believable characters and an entertaining plot'

'Superbly written, very pacy and just the right length'

'A well written gritty thriller from Gemma Rogers that races along at a good speed and with a surprise ending this really is'

'Another 5 star winner from Gemma Rogers.'

'It had drama, suspense, friendships, sadness and a whole lot of mystery.'

'This book had me hooked from the outset'

'Twisting and turning with thrill after chilling thrill'

'Gave me massive feelings of nostalgia with the flashbacks to 1997 and genuinely struggled to put it down. Please read this book!'

'Storyline draws you right in and I couldn’t stop reading. Needed to know how it ended but at the same time didn’t want it to end.'



Publié par
Date de parution 09 janvier 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781838890131
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0250€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.



Gemma Rogers
For Dean
The best sidekick a girl could have

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47


A note from Gemma Rogers

About the Author

About Boldwood Books
September 2018

I didn’t see the note when the post was delivered. I was later than usual and in a rush to open the agency. I’d thrown the collection of brightly coloured junk mail, leaflets and envelopes on to my desk to sort later.
Frank arrived as I took off my blazer, the office already impossibly hot, and I hugged him as I did every morning. Enjoying the woody aroma that transferred onto my shoulder. He smelt like home and I squeezed him tight, ignoring the pang in my chest as I was reminded our days together were numbered.
‘Morning, poppet,’ he said, wrapping his arm around me.
Frank joined the estate agency when my dad started the business in 1989. Around the time I was knee-high and playing with Barbies under the desks, hidden from the customers. Dad had a keen eye for business and when we moved to the small village of Copthorne in West Sussex from South London, there was one estate agency who held the lion’s share of the local market. Seizing the opportunity, he built the business from scratch with our family name over the door and learnt the trade. Creating an independent agency to rival theirs and within a year Whites had been established as the premium place to market your home.
Dad was a charmer, but he never cut corners and it was his integrity that became the building blocks of the business, with customer service always his number one priority. Now, I took care of it, since Dad had signed ownership over to me when he retired last year. He and Mum moved out of the two-storey flat above the agency and I’d moved in, as expected. It was strange moving back to the home I’d grown up in, but the memories were ingrained into the plaster. There was comfort, eating dinner in the same kitchen I’d watched Mum bake my birthday cakes in. She and Dad had downsized to a two-bedroom bungalow. At the grand age of sixty-two, she’d already had a hip and knee replacement courtesy of the NHS and Dad wanted to be around more to look after her. They talked about going on a cruise and Mum wanted to buy a beach hut at Lancing for day trips.
I had big plans to expand the business and open another office in a neighbouring village, but even though he no longer technically owned Whites, Dad had never fully let go. It quickly became clear that he still considered himself chairman of the board and even though I’d worked in the family business for almost ten years, I had neither the knowledge nor experience to match his.
My ambitions were put on hold, until Dad took more of a step back or he decided I could be trusted to fully take the reins. So, whilst I owned Whites, Frank managed the day-to-day running of the office. He was in his late fifties and would be retiring soon, leaving a massive hole not only in my heart but also in the Whites empire; which was the reason I had two new starters arriving that morning.
Gary was an experienced estate agent who worked for a competitor. A career-focused, thirty-year-old, unmarried man who had his sales patter locked down. He fancied himself as a bit of a Cillian Murphy look-a-like, never without his Peaky Blinders flat cap. I suspected it was because he was going prematurely bald, but I couldn’t be sure. I’d had my eye on him for a while. I’d heard customers liked him, he was smooth and easy to warm to. He modelled sharp suits in bold colours and came across a bit flash, but his sales performance at Osbornes spoke for itself.
There were now three estate agents in the village all vying for a piece of the pie. The initial independent rival was long gone and had been replaced by an established chain. Osbornes followed around five years ago as the small village expanded. Whites managed to hold on to the top position due to our excellent local reputation. Something that Dad constantly reminded me I mustn’t let slip.
I’d managed to entice Gary with the pull of an excellent starting salary and the prospect of taking over from Frank in a few months. Often, basic salaries were unimpressive in the property business; if you wanted to earn, you had to sell. However, I learnt that paying peanuts often bought monkeys and with a little extra incentive and a good working environment I was able to retain my staff easily.
My small team were loyal, they worked hard and in return were treated as extended family. There was a small Christmas and summer get-together every year, profit-related bonuses every quarter and the only stipulation was honesty and integrity. All sales were above board and there was no underhand dealing. My dad had run the estate agency the same way and I was carrying on the mantel.
The other addition to the team was Hope, a junior sales assistant. She’d previously worked in telesales fresh out of college and had no property experience. At twenty, she was a blank canvas, ready for training and wowed at interview. Confident and no-nonsense, she seemed much older than her years.
The bell jangled announcing Gary and Hope, who’d arrived together, just before nine. I greeted them with a welcoming smile and firm handshake.
‘Welcome officially to Whites Estate Agents.’
‘Thanks Sophie.’ Hope slipped off her beige mac and hung it next to mine on the coat stand. She was immaculately presented in navy-blue tailored trousers and matching waistcoat over a crisp white shirt. Her almost black hair elegantly tied into a chignon.
I looked away, smoothing down my red shift dress. Hope looked effortless, her make-up was expertly applied, skin flawless with perfectly sculpted eyebrows and a slick of peach-coloured lip gloss. Looking fabulous in your twenties was much easier than in your thirties and she had youth on her side. Gary took off his trademark cap, hanging it beside Hope’s coat and flattened down his thinning hair. Oversized garish cufflinks catching the light as he moved.
Frank shook Gary and Hope’s hands in turn and showed them to their desks.
‘I’ll leave you in Frank’s capable hands today, but I’ll be around to sit with you both later and run through a few personnel details. Pension forms, formal identification, next of kin and that kind of thing.’
‘No problem,’ Gary replied, already digging his passport out of his satchel.
‘Can I get either of you a tea or coffee?’ I asked, and once I had their preferences, I headed to the kitchenette at the back. I was always the first one to make the tea in the morning, not believing a hierarchy in the office was conducive to a pleasant working environment. Everyone was treated the same, from the manager to the cleaner.
The bell clanged again, followed by voices, muffled in the kitchenette, but I knew it would be Beth, the office junior, and Lucy, another sales assistant. I chewed on my nail whilst I waited for the kettle to boil, I hoped Gary and Hope would fit in. It was imperative to have a team that gelled, one that would push the business forward.
‘Here you go.’ I put down the tray and handed out steaming hot mugs of caffeine to fuel the team. Everyone chimed their thanks and I took my cue, retreating to my office to check emails and get the latest property chain updates.
Waiting for Microsoft Office to jolt to life, I fingered through the pile of post. Pizza delivery, window cleaners, a signed contract allowing Whites to market Mr and Mrs Green’s bungalow on Tindle Road and, lastly, a plain white envelope addressed to ‘The Owner’. Likely a charity letter, asking for direct debit details to support a child in Botswana or sponsor a snow leopard. But what stood out was the handwritten scrawl. Normally those kinds of letters had printed labels, mass-produced with no personal details at all.
Interest piqued, I stuck my index finger into the tiny gap, tearing open the fold. Inside was a sheet of white paper, with a lone sentence in the middle of the page, written in the same hand as the envelope.

Who was your first?
My first what? First sale? First car? First boyfriend?
Without hesitation, I ripped the sheet in half and tossed it into the waste bin, dismissing the note as nothing more than the marketing ploy of a local business to generate intrigue. A second later my email came to life and I turned my attention to everything I needed to

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