The Room Mates by Rachel Sargeant – Extract – BlogTour.

About The Book

THEY LIVE IN YOUR HOUSE
University is supposed to be the best time of your life. But Imo’s first week is quickly going from bad to worse.

YOU SHARE EVERYTHING
A stalker is watching her flat, following her every move, and Imo suspects that her new roommates are hiding dark secrets…

BUT DO YOU TRUST THEM?
When one of them suddenly disappears, the trauma of Imo’s recent past comes hurtling back to haunt her. And she begins to realise just how little she knows about the people she lives with…

Extract

Prologue

Three Years Ago

A car horn blares and instinct makes her jump back. Male driver, early thirties. Mouth open in an oath as he speeds past, skidding on the bridge’s frosty tarmac. She can’t be bothered to gesture after him. Defiance gone.

Clutching her elbows for warmth, she makes it to the opposite side. Her jacket’s not much of a coat these days. Zip bust from straining. The barrier along the side of the bridge is tall – nearly her height – but she peers between its vertical railings. The river below looks benign. No boats are out in mid-winter to ruffle its grey-green surface. A few dog walkers and cyclists on the promenade. The café’s open but the air’s too bitter even for smokers to sit outside.

Wind picks up, making her stumble. For a moment she longs for the warmth of the bonfire under the bridge where the others will be. A few cans and a bit of weed. Where’s the harm? But she can’t go there because of Danno. Can’t bear to see her betrayal reflected in his eyes. To see how her lies have destroyed him.

With her back against the barrier, sheltering from the worst of the weather, she squats and watches the traffic. When a passing lorry causes the bridge to judder, a change of plan flits through her mind. It might be quicker, more certain. But she can’t do that to a driver. She’s damaged enough people. People she loves. Her eyes smart. She stands up.

Searching for places to climb, she walks close to the barrier and spots possible toeholds – welded joints on some of the metal posts that are fixed into the ground at regular intervals. There’s a lull in the traffic and she hears her heartbeat. Loud. A shiver passes through her. Can she do this? What else is there? No one wants her, can’t blame Mum and Jade.

In one swift movement, she grips two railings, wedges the side of her foot on a bolt and hauls herself up. An icy blast hits her head and neck. When she looks down, the river looms in and out of focus. Her head spins so much, she’s sure she’ll overbalance. Determination deserts her and the dizziness makes her afraid. Her hands clench the top rail and she ignores how much the cold metal burns.

As she stares down at the water, Leo’s face flashes across her mind. This isn’t because of Danno – or Mum or Jade. Most of all she’s failed Leo. Her breathing slows and the unsteadiness fades. Her doubts begin to disappear. She levers herself higher.

No more pain, no more loss, no more hurting those who care – used to care. The burden lifts. Limbs and belly light for the first time in months. All over. She smiles. Places a knee on the top of the barrier. One final breath.

“Amber!” A voice shrieks along the bridge before the wind swallows it whole.

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