The Dead Wife a Lake District Romantic Suspense from Sue Fortin

Ooh, it’s publication day for me today! THE DEAD WIFE is out in ebook, with paperback to follow in September. I’m really excited and was thinking recently about why I enjoyed writing this book so much and whilst I can’t put my finger on any one thing in particular, I did come up with a few reasons.

  • Setting – many years ago me and my husband went on a touring holiday of the Lake District on a motorbike. It was a great week despite it raining quite a bit as I remember. However, this didn’t dampen our spirits and we were both stunned by the beautiful scenery. Writing about my fictitious lake, Conmere, brought back lots of happy memories.
  • Genre – I like to read and write both contemporary romance and suspense/thrillers and over the past six years of being published have gone from contemporary romance to romantic suspense to suspense to thrillers and now I find myself back at the romantic suspense. It is my favourite genre to read and write and although The Dead Wife didn’t initially set out to be a romantic suspense, it did very quickly develop into one.
  • Theme – My books, whatever the genre, all seem to have the theme of family. It hasn’t been a conscious decision but the dynamics of families, the relationships between generations and siblings have always fascinated me. Coming from a big family and having my own children and now grandchildren, it’s very much an integral part of who I am, so I suppose it’s natural to find family and family relationships at the heart of my books.

So, with it being publication day, I’ll leave you with an excerpt of what to expect from THE DEAD WIFE. This particular part is taken from where Harry Sinclair returns back to the family home for the reopening of Conmere Resort Centre and is greeted by his older brother Dominic and their mother Pru.

Thank God you’re here. Mum was just about to send out a search party.’ Harry’s older brother, Dominic, rose from the armchair he was occupying and greeted his brother with a handshake and slap on the back.

‘He’s exaggerating. Take no notice,’ said Pru. ‘Now, I’ll make us all a coffee. Are you hungry? I can make a sandwich or get something sent through from the cafe.’

‘Coffee will do fine, thanks, Mum. I stopped on the way for something to eat,’ said Harry over the noise of the dogs, who were building themselves up into a frenzy of whining and yapping.

‘Oh, the girls are so pleased to see you,’ laughed Pru as she headed out of the room.

Harry exchanged a look with his brother. A sadistic smile spread across Dominic’s face. He looked down at the dogs and gave a swift kick to one of them, catching her bottom. The dog yelped. ‘Now clear off,’ said Dominic, holding his arm outstretched. He hustled the dogs out through the patio doors. ‘Jesus, they get on my nerves. They must be the most pampered pooches in the county.’

‘I forgot what a compassionate soul you were,’ said Harry. ‘You’d better not let Mum see you do that.’

Dominic gave a shrug. ‘Anyway, I’m glad you’re here,’ he said, walking over to the drinks tray on the walnut sideboard. ‘I wasn’t sure if we’d actually see you.’

‘Really? Why’s that?’ Harry settled himself in the wing-backed armchair by the fireplace, a favourite spot of his late father’s. Max Sinclair had always sat in that seat and woe betide anyone who had dared occupy it. Harry rested his hands on the arms and mentally gave his father a two-fingered salute. He hoped the old bastard could see him now and thathe was turning in his grave.

Dominic paused with a bottle of gin in his hand and turned to give his brother a reproachful look. ‘You really need me to spell it out? How many times have you been back to the estate since Elizabeth’s accident?’

‘I’ve been busy in France,’ said Harry, noting the uneasy roll his stomach gave.

Dominic made a scoffing noise as he returned to mixing himself a G&T. He gestured with the bottle to Harry, who shook his head. Dominic sat down on the sofa with his drink. ‘I’ll tell you how many times…three. Christmas two years ago and twice for Mum’s birthday.’

‘I’m a dutiful son,’ said Harry. ‘Like I said, I’ve been busy. Anyway, I’m here now for the grand reopening. What’s the problem?’

Harry knew what the problem was but acting ignorant somehow gave him an excuse, if only to himself. Of course, everyone knew what the real reason was for his absence but for the most part they skirted around it. Dominic, however, appeared to want to buck the trend. Harry eyed his older brother as he rested his forearms on his knees, his hands clasped around the crystal-cut tumbler.

‘Mum misses you,’ began Dominic. ‘She worries about you.’

‘She doesn’t need to,’ said Harry. ‘I’m a grown man in my thirties; I don’t need my mother clucking round me. In fact, I don’t need anyone worrying about me.’

‘Bit of a selfish attitude,’ said Dominic, swigging the G&T down.

‘She worries unnecessarily. It’s suffocating. Why do you think I moved to France?’

Dominic sat back in his seat. ‘OK, I’ll level with you.’ He gave a furtive glance towards the door. ‘This is strictly between us.’ He took a deep breath and Harry knew he wasn’t going to like what he was about to hear. He steeled himself as his brother continued.

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