The Bridesmaid
159 pages
English

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159 pages
English

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Description

A dark and unsettling psychological thriller about toxic friendship, misplaced loyalty and secrets from the past finally being revealed. A gripping new story from international bestseller Nina Manning.

Your best friend or your worst nightmare...?

From the moment they met as children, Sasha knew that beautiful, wealthy, and confident Caitlin would always be her absolute best friend. Sasha would do anything to make Caitlin happy.

Even keep her darkest secrets…

The years have passed, but their friendship remains. And when Caitlin announces she’s getting married there is only one choice for the role of bridesmaid. Sasha will make sure Caitlin’s wedding is as beautiful and perfect as she is. Won’t she?

But as the big day approaches, cracks begin to appear. Because no matter what Sasha does, she never seems to make Caitlin happy.

And the secrets that once bound these two friends, now threaten to rip them apart for good...

Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Lisa Gardner and Freida McFadden.
What everyone's saying about The Bridesmaid:'Mind blowing...It's a must read' ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️'A wickedly twisted book... Amazing from start to finish' ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️'LOVED this thriller!Nina Manning has most definitely earned a spot on my top list of authors' ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

'A stunningly clever psychological thriller... 5 stars!' ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

'I seriously did not want this book to end... I LOVED IT' ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

'I was practically clenching my jaw and holding my breath from start to finish... I read the novel in one sitting, ignoring everything else' ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

'A page-turning pulse stopping mystery... I absolutely loved it! and couldn't wait to find out what happened' ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Praise for Nina Manning:

'Heart-stopping, pacy and tension filled. Highly recommended.' Claire Allan, USA Today Bestseller

'Compelling and claustrophobic, Nina is an exciting new voice and definitely one to watch' Phoebe Morgan, author of The Babysitter

'Chilling and creepy. An atmospheric and addictive debut.' Diane Jeffrey, author of The Guilty Mother

'Totally addictive. I couldn't put it down!' Darren O'Sullivan, author of Closer Than You Think

'A claustrophobic, nail-biting thriller that draws you in and doesn't let go.' Naomi Joy, author of The Liars

‘Clever, emotionally draining and totally gripping. I absolutely loved this book!’ D E White, author of The Forgotten Child


Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 27 mai 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781801621977
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0150€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

The Bridesmaid


Nina Manning
For Hannah, the right friend at the right time.
Contents



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


Acknowledgments

Book Club Questions

More from Nina Manning

About the Author

About Boldwood Books
1
Saxby House, Dorset, Now

The sultry heat is unusual for the British summer, even more so on the south-western coast where one would expect a cool Dorset sea breeze to offer some respite. She hasn’t felt the oppression of a long, hot summer since she herself was a child. Lying in the vast, airless master suite, she can feel it penetrating the room in the day and swaddling her like a thick blanket during the night, delivering sleep easily but bringing with it dreams of psychedelic colours, enigmatic images and voices echoing from the past. She finds she will often drift off in the middle of the day, trying to decipher who is whom from the cacophony of yelps and screams she hears coming through the prodigious bay window she keeps wide open day and night. The children seem to be thriving, running barefoot across the smouldering, cracked dusty tracks that lead up to the house, clinging to the elastic branches of the redwood, or exploring the growing wildflower meadow under the strict authority of Renata, their au pair, not to disturb the butterflies. She can often hear Renata immersing herself in the games to the point where she reverts back to a child herself, grunting and braying and spurring the children into such a hullabaloo she was never sure who was getting the most pleasure. But no matter how far she opens the great window, it makes little difference to the air, which remains stagnant and dense.
It has been a particularly bad day for her, and so she continues the habit of dragging up painful memories, clutching the letter to her chest.
She is sat up in bed, the thin cotton sheet twisted and snakelike at her feet, the pillows plump and thick behind her back and neck when the small familiar knock comes. She swiftly pushes the letter under her pillow. ‘Come, darling.’ Her voice is hollow and craggy.
The door opens an inch, and a small nose appears. She pats the sheets next to her and seven-year-old Lauren tentatively comes forward and climbs onto the bed. She takes Lauren’s small hand in hers and examines the dirt amongst the grooves of her palm and under her nails. ‘Make sure you give these a good scrub before lunch.’ Lauren nods. She keeps hold of the little girl’s hand and lets her head fall back against the pillow again, her long greying locks cascade over her shoulders and across her chest; she feels too weak to pin them up. She had always kept her hair so short and never with a speck of grey. ‘And ask Renata to help if you struggle.’ She closes her eyes, but she can sense the nod that follows, then a tight squeeze of her hand, forcing her to jolt her eyes open. Lauren is smiling back up at her as she looks down, and she takes a moment to drink the little girl in: her sunshine-strawberry-blonde hair, tussled from a morning’s play; a few new freckles have arrived on the bridge of her nose from the last few days spent outdoors. She often allows her mind to toy with the prospect of ‘what if’; a highly torturous game and one she only indulges in when she is feeling particularly lonesome or sorry for herself. Which was what she had been feeling all morning. Somehow, she needs to find a way to push it all away. She should feel more gratitude towards her situation, she knows, because, of course, from an outsider’s perspective, it all appears a perfect dream. The idyllic setting of the grand country estate, the children’s au pair and Ameel, the cook, downstairs with a name so apt it amuses the children every time they see him. Yet no matter how much space there is, how many rare and beautiful plants there are to discover and marvel over, and no matter how much confectionery and sweet delicacies are available to distract the children, it doesn’t take away the sheer panic that stays high in her chest night and day. For some things, as much as they are in the past, still haven’t been laid to rest. She knows what she needs to do, she just needs to summon the strength to do it. Lauren leans over, disturbing her memories, and gives her a kiss on her cheek. As she watches her leave the room, she can feel the cold tingle on her skin from where Lauren’s lips have just been. She allows a few moments to pass. Once she is sure she won’t be disturbed again, she pulls out the letter from under her pillow. It is yellowing around the edges and the fine writing paper is almost translucent. But she doesn’t need to re-read it to know the words that are on there. She knows them verbatim; they have been haunting her for over a decade. She knows it is time.
2
Saxby House, Dorset, August 1990

I arrived back at the cottage, my heart thumping in my mouth. The brown shoe box was clutched to my chest and I looked up at the cloudless inky blanket of sky, an infinite scattering of stars in every direction. An owl hooted loudly behind me. I was used to the sounds of the wild now, but tonight I jumped like a little girl, no longer feeling like the tenacious teenager I was.
I would soon be missed, my parents no doubt on the prowl, looking for me. Already indistinct voices approached from the main house: it was them. I needed to get back before my parents saw me. What must I look like? I touched my hair – it was matted and damp. No doubt my clothes would be covered in leaves and debris. It was hard to see in the dark, but I gave myself a quick brush down with my free hand. It was a pointless act, as I would somehow need to sneak my clothes into the washing machine anyway.
The weight of the box in my hand was suddenly more apparent. I clutched it tighter to my chest. It was too late; the voices were closer now. If I stood nearer the shadows, they might not see me, but the crunch of my wellies on the pebbled driveway gave me away.
Mum called out. Beyond her, I could just make out the face of another, scowling, as though she already knew what I had done.
I made my excuses and made a run for it. Inside the house, I raced to the top floor, into my bedroom and shut the door. I knew I only had a few minutes. I pulled down the old suitcase on the top of my wardrobe, which was already half full of old Jackie magazines. I buried the box beneath them, zipped the suitcase back up and carefully placed it back on top of the wardrobe. I was shaking and could feel something pressing against my body in my back pocket. I pulled it out and held it in my hand. I had forgotten it was there. A key on an ivory-skull keyring. I shuddered at the presence of it here in my bedroom, but it was too late to return it now. I stuffed it into the bottom of my old dressing-up box that had been neglected for over a year now.
I sat back down on my bed.
Four words on repeat in my mind.
What have I done?
3
Tsilivi, Greece, May 2009



Four months until the wedding
The warm water laps at my ankles as my feet sink into the sand. I look across towards the horizon where the sky is alight with fiery golds and reds as the sun begins its descent. A pleasant wave of goosebumps tickles over my arms, and I pull my light shawl tighter across my shoulders. The sultry beat from the DJ is getting louder, nudging me to go back to the party, to join my friends. I turn and walk a few feet back up the shore, scooping up my sandals from the sand, the hem of my cotton skirt clinging to my damp, salty skin. A loud laugh explodes from the terrace, and I look up at the beach bar and watch my best friend from afar, from the sidelines where I feel, perhaps, I’ve always been: a spectator to her life, never wholly integrated.
Tonight, she is the life and soul of the party, which isn’t unusual for Caitlin Anderton. She oozes a confidence that I have been trying to develop for decades. Caitlin is the type of person that men and women flock to. Tonight, she looks particularly dazzling in a long, white strappy dress that hangs across her shapely tanned body. Her hair, which she now wears rusty-coloured and short, is swept back off her face and held with some sort of product. Freckles have erupted across the bridge of her nose and her cheeks; I know she hates the look of them, but they are what makes her perfectly unique to me. A small group has gathered around her. Some are the handful of girls that have come away with us, others we met this evening.
It’s the final night of the break to Tsilivi, Greece. The hen week. The hen week that isn’t a hen week. As soon as she became engaged to Chuck a month ago in April, Caitlin demanded a holiday. But even though it was the prelude to the wedding, the few girls who had been selected to come away with Caitlin had been told in no uncertain ter

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