The House Mate
190 pages
English

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190 pages
English

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Description

The perfect life? ...Or the perfect lie?
When Regi moves into her new house share, she's ready for a clean slate. A new home. A new routine. A new identity...

Desperate to escape the shadow of her past that follows her everywhere she goes, Regi finds the ideal distraction in the perfect lives of others on social media.

But as innocent scrolling turns into an unhealthy obsession, Regi will soon learn that seeking perfection comes at a price...

A gripping psychological suspense from the international bestselling author of The Daughter In Law. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, K L Slater and Jackie Kabler.
What readers are saying about The House Mate:
'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 15 octobre 2020
Nombre de lectures 10
EAN13 9781838891510
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0100€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

The House Mate


Nina Manning
For My Mum, Lee Taylor.
Contents



Prologue

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

Epilogue


Acknowledgments

Book Club Questions

More from Nina Manning

About the Author

About Boldwood Books
Prologue

I crouch under the table and desperately try to control my ragged breathing. How the hell did I end up here? Curiosity or just pure bloody-mindedness? I think back to the simplicity of my life, before all this. I was on a path to recovery; things had become a little easier. I had my routines; life had a structure. Now all of my senses are working on overdrive. I am thrust back to my cognitive behavioural therapy classes, and so I begin to think outside of myself to distract from the fear and panic. The ‘5-4-3-2-1’ technique. Right, let’s do this. Okay, five things I can see: a chair leg; a table leg; a length of brown-and-orange tablecloth, matted and greasy at the corner; a dent in the wooden floor, where something heavy had been dropped; a small handmade wooden bear the size of my hand, wearing a hessian jacket.
Four things I can touch. Stay calm, stay calm. The hard floor beneath my knees, sweat on my forehead, a sticky patch next to my knee where someone has dropped some jam or something similar, a cut on my right leg.
Three things I can hear: a clock ticking, a fan oven cooling… footsteps. I hear footsteps.
Two things I smell: the putrid stench of vomit mixed with a cleaning product.
One thing I can taste: There is blood in my mouth. I can taste blood.





Instagram post: 25th April 2019
Wow, guys, I cannot believe a whole year has passed and I’m still here. I started this Instagram account because I enjoy cleaning and showcasing the results to other people and you guys have shown me such great support, I feel grateful.
One year in and I can hardly believe I have one million followers. And I love every single one of you – even though I can’t see you in person, I feel all your love and support for what I do.
I hope I can keep offering you great cleaning advice and that you will continue on this journey with me.
Keep up the cleaning, guys.
Mrs C x
#cleaning #cleanstagrammer #anniversary #mrsclean
76,378 likes
1
Now

I piled four coins on top of one another on the mantlepiece in my bedroom, turning each one a fraction so the tiny indentations on the side of each coin were in perfect alignment. Then I took two steps to the left and turned my attention to the locks on the window. I pulled each latch back and forth six times until it was back on lock again. I headed to the bedroom door, let myself out and shut it behind me. Once on the other side, I locked and unlocked the bedroom door six times, then I left it locked and put the key in my back pocket. I walked down the stairs, silently counting each step as I descended. An even ten every time. I arrived in the hallway and stole a brief look at myself in the oval mirror on the wall.
Once upon a time I would have relished showing off my taut cheekbones, delighted in the looks of intrigue people would give when they saw the greenness of my eyes against my pale skin and thank the hairdressers who would reliably inform me my shoulder-length black hair was the sleekest they had ever styled. I used to take time over my appearance, but these days I simply slipped my purple fabric tie-dye scarf around my neck and pulled on my boho slouch hat with a peak so I could shade my eyes and hide my face from the world. I pulled on my denim jacket over my slight frame, aware that I no longer worried about dieting; any excess weight had fallen off years ago and had made no attempt to creep back on.
I slid into my black Doc Martens and hit the concrete outside. I refrained from opening and reopening the front door due to the imposition on my house mates, even though it pained me not to do so; instead I closed it with one click. The act brought little satisfaction. So I compensated by walking only inside the lines of the pavement stones for a gratifying ten steps.
Today was one of my worst days. Usually I could get away with performing only one or two compulsions, but today I carried out my full repertoire of compulsions to ease the fear. To balance out the scales so nothing bad would happen.
These compulsions, behaviours, are a force that come on quickly and sometimes from nowhere. It’s a monster I must feed. I don’t consider myself ill. It doesn’t bring any inconvenience to my life. So long as I can just do some or all these small acts each day, everything will be okay. Nothing bad will happen. At least not again.
This morning I had woken with a weight on my chest I couldn’t shift. Today was the anniversary. Three years had passed. Yet still here I was, a mere shell of the woman I once was.
I looked back at the five-bed, three-storey Victorian house I had been living in with three strangers for the last few weeks and looked up at a cloudless blue sky and the tall imposing buildings that cocooned me, protected me. People say they are drawn to the ocean to heal; the gentle lap of the waves are melodic and can repair your soul. But moving to a town like Richmond was the only option. Here, there were no spaces wide enough to expose my true fears. When I heard the roar of an ocean wave, I would always hear the screams carried by the wind. Here, all I needed to do was close my eyes and remind myself that I was safe and that everything was going to be okay.
The sounds of the streets can be imposing; sometimes I feel as though they are about to crush my skull. I have learned how to block things out. I choose to focus on one sound at a time, and hear only that until it is no more, then my mind weaves itself around another sound, and so it continues until I reach my destination. Of course blocking out everything but one sound can often be mistaken for rudeness, nonchalant. Snidey even.
But sometimes you have no choice. When you have been screamed at enough times, are forced to hear it, that’s when it’s the hardest; when I am reminded of the past.
Some sounds are supposed to be so beautiful, like the gentle tone of a child’s voice, innocent and pure. Yet they can fill my every fibre with terror.
Walking is a sort of therapy. ‘Anxiety struggles to hit a moving object,’ I was told during one of my Steps2Wellbeing seminars; just one of the forms of therapy I have had over the years so I can carry on existing in the world. But is it worth it when it’s only yourself you have to keep alive? We aren’t meant to be solitary creatures despite my desire to keep hiding away from the world, and the person I can no longer bring myself to think about.
I now share a house with three other girls, all students like me, but over a decade younger. I have to do as much as I can each day to keep face; to show my house mates that all is well in the mind of Regina Kelly. Referring to myself as a student feels strange. It’s been a long time since I last studied. This short introductory course will see me through to the end of the summer term, then I begin my degree in September.
I know my house mates watch me, that they see me repeat basic actions. A simple chore becomes a maddening act, repeated over and over until my mind is temporarily satisfied. But they stay quiet. Offer me a cup of tea as though everything is exactly as it should be and there isn’t a thirty-five-year-old woman standing in our shared kitchen turning the oven knob on and off an even amount of times.
I am thankful for their ignorance, for turning a blind eye, especially on the harder days when the images fly through my mind like a freight train and I feel the impenetrable dark clouds gather around me, as though I’m walking through a black fog.
I had developed a routine already in just a few weeks since I moved to Richmond upon Thames and had quickly embraced the leafy borough with its parks and wide tree-lined avenues. I was so confined for so long, it was a relief to be able to walk to the local mews.
I entered the café and was hit by tantalising caramel and nutty aromas. Each day there was a slightly different scent in the air but always the same member of staff was waiting for me and that made me feel as though the world wasn’t about to implode. The door made a loud sucking noise as it opened.
My eyes scanned the room. It was busier than usual. I tried to spot Heather, the confident young girl who had been serving me the last few weeks, when someone pushed past me quite abruptly.
I froze. Terror spiked through me

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