Read an excerpt between the covers of Liz Harris' new book, The Best Friend @lizharrisauthor
Publication Date: 10th June, 2021
Publisher: Heywood Press
Page Length: 361 Pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Confident that the woman with whom Robert, her husband of nine years, has run off, wouldn’t be one of the three girls who’d been her closest friends since they first started sharing a place in Camden Town eleven years earlier, Caroline walks up to the door of the house where, she’s discovered, Robert is living with the unknown woman, and rings the bell.
Reeling from shock when she hears the voice of the woman inside the house, her mind sweeps back to Camden Town eleven years ago, and the reader follows the story of trainee barrister, Emily, of would-be actress Terri Lee, of PA Louise, and of Caroline herself.
The final chapter returns to the present, when the reader learns which of the three girls has stolen Caroline’s husband.
Sunday, 18th June, 1989
The dull roar of an engine broke into the silence of the early afternoon.
Caroline ducked in her seat.
A moment later, she heard a powerful engine sweep past the car, she’d hired and then slow down. Raising her head to look through the window, she saw it turn on to the brick driveway at the side of a mock Georgian house on the opposite side of the road.
The blood drained from her face.
It’s him, she thought, her heart pounding fast. And she was sure there was someone next to the cheating bastard. Probably the bitch who’d persuaded him into walking away from nine years of marriage to a woman who adored him and who’d given him two lovely children.
Tears sprang to her eyes. Impatiently, she brushed them away—she’d cried enough. She seemed to have been crying since the moment she’d found the note he’d so cruelly left her at the beginning of the week, and she must stop. If only till she’d confronted the woman he was with. She mustn’t let the woman see her cry.
Wiping her tear-stained face, she focused her gaze on the gleaming white doors of the double garage at the bottom of the drive. They began to open. The car inched into the gloom of the garage, and stopped. The driver’s door swung open, and a man got out.
Swallowing hard, she blinked her tears away, leaned forward. And stared hard at the passenger side of the car, waiting to see the woman he was with.
The garage door began to close and she felt a surge of panic.
She absolutely had to see the woman. She knew she wouldn’t recognise her—it had to be someone he’d met through work. None of her three closest friends would’ve betrayed her in such a way, and nor would any other of her friends. Nor would anyone on the PTA, nor any of those who helped with the Rotary Club activities. They weren’t like that.
But nevertheless, she just had to know what the woman looked like.
The passenger door opened. She caught her breath and grasped the handle of the car door.
The garage door clicked shut.
The blank white face of the garage door stared back at her.
She inwardly swore.
They might not go out again that day, or at least not for a while. It meant that she could go home. After all, she now knew where they were living. It was only an hour or so away, so she could easily come back another time if she wanted.
But she didn’t want.
She couldn’t leave. Not till she’d seen the woman.
When she’d seen her, the woman would be real to her and her husband would be truly gone in a way that he wasn’t yet. She’d stop going to bed in tears, and opening her eyes in the night, hoping to find him next to her, hoping that this had all been a horrible dream. And she’d be able to think more clearly about what to do next.
She took a deep breath. There was no alternative—she was going to have to go up to the house and knock at the door.
Before her resolve could weaken, she opened the car door, and got out.
Her heart beating fast, she tucked her auburn hair behind her ears, and walked as steadily as she could across the road and down the path to the front door. When she reached the two white pillars that flanked the door, her steps faltered. She took a step back, and stopped.
No, she could do this, she told herself. She had to do it.
She took a small step forward, and then another, and then the door was inches from her. She raised her hand to the bell, hesitated a moment, and then pressed it firmly.
‘Get that, will you, darling? My hands are full,’ she heard her husband call from somewhere inside the house.
‘Will do. I’m right by the door, anyway,’ came a voice she knew very well—a voice she’d first heard eleven years earlier, on the day that she and the three girls who’d become her closest friends had met each other in the Camden Town house they were going to be sharing.
Her stomach gave a violent lurch.
Her face ashen, she shook her head. It can’t be, she thought.
Born in London, Liz Harris graduated from university with a Law degree, and then moved to California, where she led a varied life, from waitressing on Sunset Strip to working as secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company.
A few years later, she returned to London and completed a degree in English, after which she taught secondary school pupils, first in Berkshire, and then in Cheshire.
In addition to the nine novels she’s had published, she’s had several short stories in anthologies and magazines.
Liz now lives in Oxfordshire. An active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Historical Novel Society, her interests are travel, the theatre, cinema, reading and cryptic crosswords. To find out more about Liz, visit her website at: http://www.lizharrisauthor.com