Sam Sweet is terrified of giving birth.
Only, she doesn’t dare tell anyone. Especially her grandchild-obsessed mother, or her fiancé, Simon – top surgeon by day, mind-game expert by night.
Repressed by the expectations of others, Sam feels trapped. All she ever wanted was a career and a crack at independence, but as a catastrophically failed psychiatric nurse who now injects fillers into the crinkled faces of unhappy women, a career is proving tricky. There’s something wrong with the product and now clients are suing.
Nasty work colleagues stir up scandalous gossip, and soon Sam hits rock bottom, consoling herself with button-popping chocolate binges and terrifying spending sprees.
Sam is going to have to find her voice if she ever wants to be herself, fall in love, and follow her dreams.
Alas, the wedding date is set…
The Excerpt ~
I have a needle stuck in Mrs. Devine’s face.
“Is it working, Sam?” she asks.
“Oh, um, definitely. Yes.”
Truthfully? Nothing is coming out of the syringe, and the harder I press the plunger the more my hand shakes and the needle bends. This is what is going to happen next—the needle snaps off before speeding along the venous highway like a tiny dart toward Mrs. Devine’s heart. Either that, or the whole thing suddenly gives way, and I rip a hole through her head. Sweat surfaces all over my body. I must have the flu or a nasty virus. Might even faint while still holding a syringe with a client attached to it.
Damn. Cellafiller is supposed to be the best thing since Collagen, but really, it’s nearly impossible to squeeze this stuff out, let alone artfully sculpt it beneath tissue-thin skin. I don’t remember it being so difficult during training, but now I’m on my own, well . . . let’s just say it isn’t a happy situation being in a back-street beauty salon with a bunch of women expecting great things.
Mrs. Devine, my model, and something big in local amateur dramatics, is lying on the clinic couch in full make-up, coral lips stretched into her performance smile as I try in vain to fill the ravine between her eyebrows. She doesn’t have a frown line through her glabella muscle so much as a grand canyon.
The small crowd of potential customers straining for a glimpse of this miraculous demonstration is visibly shrinking back. You can almost hear the hissing recoil. I don’t need to glance up to see the sharp downturn of glossed lips and the widening of black-rimmed eyes. Mrs. Devine’s grand canyon is oozing fresh blood. I’ve got the needle fully inserted now, retracting the syringe oh-so-slowly the way I’ve been taught, while my furiously vibrating thumb tries in vain to inject treacle-thick product. Should have taken minutes, and then ta-da! But the harder the plunger is depressed, the more blood oozes out, lying darkly now in a swelling puddle of glistening, ruby red.
Hot nausea tides over me. I feel terrible, by the way, just in case you’re wondering; this poor woman had a long, squiggly frown line, and now she’s got what looks like a botched lobotomy. All eyes focus on my trembling hands as I withdraw the syringe, mop up the debris, and declare the job done. I’ve seen less blood-soaked gauze following open-heart surgery.
“There we are,” I trill, as lightly as if I just served up a plate of lasagna. “And in a couple of days, the line will be gone.”
Ignoring the horrified faces, particularly mine in the mirror opposite—so white against my red hair I look like Elizabeth the First after a nasty shock—I snap off my latex gloves, and return to its box the still full syringe with its severely weakened, bent needle. I cannot look at Mrs. Devine as she hops off the couch with blood pouring from her head. To be honest, I could cry. Mrs. Devine owns the clinic and had it gone well, there would have been a list of new clients for our new product. Instead, it’s a major screw-up. Another one. In time, she will have a scar, and that will no doubt take her mind off the ravine. But long before that, there will be that call—the one about having spoken to her lawyer.
My name is Sam Sweet, and I’m in total control; just because every decision I have never made was made by someone else does not mean I am not in control of my life now. Of course I am. Oh, God. Look, I’m doing my best. What else could I have done back there? Oh, God.
About Sarah EnglAND
Sarah originally trained as a nurse in Sheffield (UK) and then went on to work as a medical representative for nearly 20 years, specialising in mental health.
She had always wanted to write fiction, but did not begin until around 8 years ago, prompted by a house move and relocation to the South coast. Since then she has had around 140 short stories published, mostly in national magazines and various anthologies; and most recently a 3 part detective serial in Woman’s Weekly.
3 am and Wide Awake was released in May 2013 by Alife Dog Fiction – a collection of 25 thrillers, many supernatural or medically based – two of her predominant themes.
Expected is Sarah’s first novel – a comedy launched by Crooked Cat Publishing on 28th June, 2013. She lives in Dorset with her husband, Don, and spaniel, Harry.
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