Author: Cristina Slough
Title: Nelumbo Nucifera
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: Jan 24, 2017
On the surface, Gaby Parker has it all; however, behind closed doors, is a woman who lives in constant fear of the man who was supposed to love her: her husband, Kyle. Beaten, desperate, and broken, Gaby realizes the only way to escape from her violent husband is to kill herself — on paper. Gaby is dead, and Riley Locklin is born, residing in the tranquil coastal town of Chesswick Bay Montauk where she hopes to start over and meets a man who shows her bruises aren’t kisses.
Meanwhile, back home, Kyle is doing everything in his power to prove Gaby isn’t dead.
But…police find her burnt-out car and remains?
Kyle isn’t buying it; he knows she’s still alive. He launches his own full investigation to find his wife — and he’ll stop at nothing to claim her back. A female Detective assigned to his wife’s case doesn’t like him very much after discovering a domestic violence report – scorned by the history of her mother’s domestic abuse, she’s determined to send Kyle down for his wife’s murder.
And then he finds her. Will Gaby finally take a stand?
This book contains themes that some readers may find disturbing. Contains possible triggers.
For every copy of this book sold 10p will be donated to The Katie Piper Foundation.
Excerpt (Please choose one):
Excerpt 1 –
Yellow tape still concealed Burbank Woods. The fresh woodland had been engulfed in a misty grey fog, the road stained in thick black soot with fractured pieces of glass that glistened in the early morning sunlight on the morning the car was found. Even days later the smell of burnt rubber and plastic hung in the air. The debris remaining of the mangled wreck made it tough to identify a possible victim—until one of the police officers discovered a licence plate, crumpled like a scrunched up piece of paper, but not too damaged that the numbers and letters couldn’t be read. After a simple enquiry, it was discovered that the car was registered to Mrs. Gabriela Parker, a woman who had been reported missing by her husband just a few short hours before. This wasn’t just an accident. Isla could feel it, taste it, smell it; there was so much more to this. From across the room, Isla saw him—the man she was sure was responsible for his wife’s disappearance. She knew that there was much more to this than what the sonofabitch was letting on. His arrogance infuriated her. He had a certain swagger in his walk, making a statement with every step.
“What the fuck is he doing here already?”
“Parker’s lawyer got the conference moved forward. They want optimum viewing time. People want to hear a statement from the husband,” Hardy answered, lifting a steaming polystyrene cup to his lips, gently blowing the steam before he took a loud sip.
“Of course they do. It just proves he’s even more of a slick sonofabitch. I wonder what kind of cock and bull sob story he is going to invent. This should be good.” Isla grabbed a notebook and a pen and headed across to the growing crowd. Kyle was surrounded by hungry journalists. She pushed her slender body through the sea of people.
“It’s almost time,” a PR woman shouted.
“It’s not a bad turn-out,” Hardy said to Isla.
“Middle-class white woman, wife to a powerful investment banker goes missing, a body that we can’t identify, yet. Of course it was going to be a good turn-out. These scum suckers live for the drama, don’t they?” Isla had a love/hate relationship with the press. It annoyed her how involved they became. They acted as if they, themselves, were cops. But, they also had their uses too.
Kyle’s dark hair was slicked back. He was dressed in business casual blues; he walked into the conference room. Isla could see the awaiting journalists perk up when he came in, nudging one another, pointing. Isla could lip read Marsha Henley’s lips. “That’s him.” Marsha Henley was a pit bull of a journalist. If there was blood, she could smell it for miles off. Over the years she and Isla had locked horns, but now they had reached a level of respect for one another—two women in a man’s world, fighting for truth and justice. The PR woman came into view again; she placed a cardboard poster of Gaby Parker on an easel. The blown up picture of Mrs Gabriela Parker showed a beautiful woman with flawless skin, full lips and dark chocolate eyes. She had a thick main of perfectly groomed crimson red hair that framed her stunning features. In the picture she was smiling. But it was a smile that Isla knew wasn’t real. She called it the “Stepford smile.” It was forced—nothing but a show. Behind that smile was a woman that was dying inside. The old cliché was true: Eyes are the windows to the soul.
“Lips may do the talkin’ but eyes do the tellin’.” That is what Isla’s mother had always said, and it was a truth that Isla had lived by. Even before she became a cop.
As soon as Kyle climbed onto the platform and took a seat on an aluminium chair, the room started to illuminate with cameras as they flashed repetitively. The scuffle of feet scraping against the floor and the constant clicking sound filled the room. Isla folded her arms across her body and kept her gaze on Kyle.
Let the world see what a great showman you really are.
Excerpt 2 –
When Kyle went to his car, the club was aglow with flashing blue and red lights. The wail of sirens assaulted his ears. Two ambulances were parked outside.
He caught a glimpse of a woman being carried out on a stretcher. Police had concealed the club with yellow tape. The last thing that he needed was to get pulled into this shit. To his relief, as the gate opened, he was able to get straight on the road. The timing couldn’t have been worse. Right now he needed Randy, but now he was embroiled with the night’s events. Kyle pulled out into the interstate. He pushed his foot down heavy on the accelerator; his pulse was beating hard in his chest. He tried to think back: Had there been any clues? He debated the pros and cons of going after her. If he found her, he knew that his rage would win and he wouldn’t be in control anymore. He imagined her, out there somewhere, laughing at him, thinking that she had gotten away with it. Meanwhile, he was under the microscope with the cops—especially with Detective Isla Bitch Morany. Even thinking about that woman made him want to punch something; he would love to wipe her smug know it all look off her face. But her badge protected her; it acted as a shield, because if she was working a normal job, there was no way she wouldn’t have had a fist or two to knock her back in line.
Kyle thought about the money he had parted with since this all began; he was satisfied that the bulk of his funds were off shore; Morany may have uncovered his dirty dealings, and they were enough to get him in hot water, but his reserves would be enough to save him, probably. He drove past a parade of billboards advertising the Love of God:
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
It felt as if that sign had been placed there especially for him. Things between him and Gaby had never been smooth, but he thought he had things in a structured order, and he was desperate to claw it back. He decided that he was going to do just as God had instructed: “Be wise as a serpent.”
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in primary school. At parents evening my teacher told my mum I would be wasting my life if I didn’t become an author. It made sense, I always loved reading and writing…
How long does it take you to write a book?
It really depends. With my first, it was around three months. With my current title I started it with a first couple of chapters, and then took a six month break. But when I went back to it, I couldn’t stop and had 80,000 words completed in under three weeks. It was crazy. I would work into the night, go to bed, look after my three year old, go to my day job…and start all over again!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I hang out with my husband and my son…they are my world! I also work at a hospital which I love. I enjoy reading and watching movies, seeing my friends, and travelling. Travel is something that I have always loved and want to do more of!
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written two books: Till Death Us Do Part was my debut, and Nelumbo Nucifera is my new release. I am currently working on my third. Till Death will always have a special place in my heart, because it was my first. But, Nelumbo Nucifera is my favorite, I feel like my writing was taken to another level. I also love the fact that I am able to donate to some really amazing causes with this novel.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Always write about a story that you believe in. Market trends come and go, but writing from your heart is timeless. For the practical side, use the eye of a professional editor, and ask as many honest people to critique your work as possible. The bottom line is: never stop writing.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
When I was really young. An astronaut and a vet. But from aged 10, a novelist!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Take the opportunity to go and see the world. Freedom to come and go as you please is rare. Adventure nurtures the soul!
Novelist, movie addict, and animal lover, Cristina Slough is the author of:
Nelumbo Nucifera and Till Death Us Do Part.
Cristina has always been a bookworm, rarely seen without a pen and paper in her hand, she loves delving into a literacy fictional world of her own.
Although Cristina loves pink and fluffy, her writing isn’t. She loves to focus on raw human emotion and gritty story lines; she’s very fond of messing with her readers heads by weaving twists into her books.
Cristina is married to Adam, who runs a successful business; together they share their Bedfordshire home with their son, and several spoiled pets. As a family, they love to travel frequently, the United States being a firm favorite.
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