HER GREATEST MISTAKE • SARAH SIMPSON
Publication Date: 1st April 2018 • Price £2.99
DO WE EVER KNOW WHAT GOES ON BEHIND CLOSED DOORS?
Eve and Gregg were the perfect couple, with the perfect marriage... which has become the perfect lie. Gone is the charming, attentive Gregg - instead Eve wakes up each morning beside a manipulative and sinister man who controls his wife's every move.
So Eve flees her immaculate marital home to keep herself, and young son Jack safe. Yet no matter how careful she has been, she knows Gregg will be relentless in his pursuit of his missing family. And that one day, when she's least expecting it, he will find them...
What was Eve's greatest mistake?
Marrying Gregg? Leaving him? Or leaving him alive...?
Her Greatest Mistake is the gripping debut which will keep you guessing until the very last page. B.A. Paris meets Liane Moriarty in this electrifying thriller.
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A little over three years ago we escaped to Cornwall. We simply packed our
belongings, discarding the contaminated, and closed the weighted door firmly behind
us. I bequeathed our dirty possessions to appreciative good causes. Soiled by life; lies
and debauchery. It was all far too easy to do. Sometimes, the most difficult deeds are
also the easiest to embrace. We both yearned for new beginnings. To cast away from
the dark waters that nearly consumed us. Jack was just ten, but had witnessed and
heard things to choke his conscience for the rest of his life. Like a polluted smog.
My son Jack; how unfair he was born into this. He’s fourteen now; it’s been almost
ten years since he was in your grip. The white-collar psychopath, clever, manipulating
and sinister. My ex-husband. Jack’s father. You embezzled years from us both. You
took me in, chewed me up and tried to swallow the mangled remains. Until I hit you
where it hurt the most, and you spat me out. Before vanishing. So many years,
looking over our shoulders, waiting, wondering. You didn’t return.
Are you dead? I truly hope so. And so does Jack; he told me so. I hope you died a
slow and painful death. I suspect I’m not the only one who lives in hope.
It wasn’t always this way. I only want to look after you, you told me. I believed
you, believed you loved me. Chosen and special. Only now, I understand there was
always something not quite right about you. Initially, I found you to be sweet and
protective. Unaware it, I, was all part of your game, mistaking your rule for care, your
lies for truths. I was nothing more than a tool; you needed a wife. In actuality, you
were not capable of loving anyone but yourself. Eventually, Jack became your tool
too, to keep me even further under your jurisdiction. Imprisoning me for further years.
Deluded, I stood.
By the time I opened my eyes, it was too late.
We followed the conventional path of dating, to marriage. The trodden path of
Hansel and Gretel, with no obvious way back. You laid the way, I stupidly followed.
Though the birds didn’t eat the crumb trail; I cleared it myself. Blinded by the charm,
flattered by the engineered care and hoodwinked by my virtue. You’re mine now, you’
d tell me softly, and I will take care of everything.
You have everything, you’re so lucky, friends would say from their observation
point. Friends, whom I later betrayed; let go of. Because I was nothing more than a
prisoner in a figurative cell, with no key. I couldn’t accept visitors; I was too
ashamed, too lost. The worst I have to live with is knowing it was me who locked
myself in. Now, it makes me shiver, my skin crawl. How could I have been so
pathetically stupid? I truly hate hindsight.
We were married in less than a year. Fraudulent vows disguised by context. The
perfect couple, weren’t we? Two professionals in their twenties, everything ahead of
us. Wasted dreams and fruitless hopes fell at the mercy of power. Greed. Ego. It only
took a year to tread the path to my cell. Then, soon after, the arrival of Jack opened
my heart but firmly locked the door. Trapped. If you could only learn to behave
yourself, Eve, you wouldn’t need to be punished, you’d kindly advise me. You know,
you only have yourself to blame, if only you would do as you’re told. Be less pig-
headed. Argumentative. I still wonder – how can an apparently intelligent person find
herself as ensnared as I did? This still bites at my scars. But things aren’t always what
they seem: we don’t always tell the truth; we don’t always see the truth. Even when
we’re honest, the truth deceives.
Easier to lie. Often to ourselves, but especially to others.
Everything turned black; this was the last time we saw you. That night in the car,
etched into my mind. Not the only scar but one of the deepest. The screeching brakes,
the cracking of my skull, then you were gone. I can’t remember anything after the
impact; until the bright fluorescent lights, only subdued by the high-pitched bleeping.
The harsh smell of disinfectant. Fear smacked me across the face and woke me: where
is Jack? To this day, I’m not sure how much Jack has buried away in his
subconscious I don’t think he realises either. Time will tell.
Time isn’t always a healer; it can be an incubator too.
You disappeared after this. Though you made one final visit to our house.
Sometime between the disinfectant and us returning, or at least someone did. The
house was ransacked. I knew what the perpetrator was looking for. They never would
have found it; it was submerged deep in the dirt. A little like me: deep in the dirt. I didn’t call the police; it was too soon. Why would I hand over my most valuable
weapon? You were not the only one with something to hide.
Sarah Simpson has a first-class honours degree in Psychology and has worked in a
neuro-psychology department at a Brain Rehabilitation Hospital. When she first
graduated she formed a mental health consultancy and worked as a psychologist
within the family court system of Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. Three years ago she
moved to Cornwall with her husband and three children, and runs her own practice
in Truro. Her Greatest Mistake is her first novel, and she is currently working on the