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She stirred, her hand seeking her husband’s reassuring touch. Cold sheets. Panic fluttered in her chest and then died. She remembered now. What had happened to them that they could no longer talk? Her splayed fingers caressed the empty space next to her, as if searching for some imprint of the man she’d married, the father of her two children. What or who had come between them?

From downstairs, she heard a thud, followed by what sounded like a muffled grunt. She gritted her teeth. He daren’t wake the kids. It had taken all her wiles and half the night to convince little Oliver there were no three-eyed, boy-eating monsters living under his bed. Kayla hadn’t been much better, getting up at least once every hour to ask for a glass of water and a cuddle. Damn Warren. Didn’t he know by now children picked up on every vibe?

Another thud. Closer this time. She held her breath, listening. Footsteps. She rolled over, feigning sleep when she sensed his presence in the doorway. Her breathing didn’t falter.

A slight movement of air brushed across her face. She inhaled. Her breath caught, the sharp smell registering in the same instant the cold metal kissed her temple.


Dervla Johns ran her tongue around her teeth, checking for any lurking toast crumbs, and opened the door. Much earlier and Emmet would have caught her still playing tag with the alarm clock’s snooze button.

What sort of time—” Her throat closed.

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