Read an excerpt from The Dare – the new electrifying novel of suspense by bestselling author Lesley Kara
More about the book!
Penguin Random House SA has shared an excerpt from The Dare, the new novel from Lesley Kara, the bestselling author of The Rumour!
‘Lesley Kara has done it again. The Dare is a gripping tale of secrets, betrayal and love’s power to corrupt and redeem. Brilliantly plotted, The Dare keeps you guessing to the very end, and like Lizzie, the reader never knows who to trust. Destined for the bestseller charts and deservedly so.’ ― Adam Hamdy, author of Pendulum
‘Instantly immersive, then intriguing, then insanely suspenseful, then … the truth. Believe me, Lesley Kara knows what she’s doing.’ – Lee Child
About the book
As a child, it was just a game. As an adult, it was a living nightmare.
‘This time it’s different. She’s gone too far now. She really has.’
When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive.
Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death.
Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find long-buried memories suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?
Twelve years is a long time to wait, when you’re planning the perfect revenge …
Read the excerpt:
Thursday, 19 July 2007
There are two reasons to celebrate today. First, it’s not raining. It’s been raining for weeks and though Mum says that rain is God’s blessing and we should be grateful for every single drop, even she’s getting fed up with it now. I heard her tell Dad yesterday that God’s blessed us quite enough lately, thank you very much.
The second reason to celebrate is that it’s the first day of the summer holidays, which means six long weeks of NO SCHOOL.
I open my bedroom window and sniff the air. Alice and I have just got to go on ‘The Walk’. It’s our favourite route and one we’ve done so many times we know each and every landmark: the kissing gate, the gap in the hedge, the little stream with the rickety footbridge, the field with the scarecrow that looks like a dead man on a stick, the line of poplars, the six stiles, and finally, the railway line, where we always wait till we hear the tracks sing, and count the seconds till the train hurtles by.
That’s the best bit, in my opinion. I think it’s Alice’s best bit too, although we’ve never admitted that. We tell each other that it’s our favourite walk because if we don’t dawdle and we don’t rush, it takes us two hours from my front door and back again. Just the right amount of time to discuss everything that needs to be discussed before our legs start to ache and our stomachs to grumble. But deep down, I think we both know that it’s our favourite walk because of the railway line and the thrill of the open crossing.
I go downstairs and dial Alice’s number on the phone in the kitchen. I’ve only got a bit of credit left on my crappy old mobile. Alice’s sister, Catherine, answers. She doesn’t even say hello, just shouts for Alice in that snotty way she has. She’s a whole nine years older than us so she really should know better. Alice says she’s got ‘issues’. She’s got something, that’s for sure. Once, she even slapped Alice round the face in front of me. All Alice had done was spray a tiny bit of her sister’s perfume on to my wrist.
Anyway, I’m not going to let Catherine Dawson’s rudeness affect me today. I’m going to put on my Teflon coat, as Mum calls it, the same one I put on at school when Melissa Davenport and the others start having a go.
‘Shall we go on The Walk?’ Alice says.
‘Dur! Why do you think I’m phoning?’
‘I’ll get the bus to yours,’ she says. ‘See you soon.’
The fifth stile is different from all the others. Higher. My foot slides clumsily on the second step and its sharp edge jabs into my calf muscle. Alice pretends not to notice. She never makes fun of me. Not ever. I’m there for Alice when her mum takes to her bed with depression. I’m there for her when she can’t do her French homework or when she has an argument with her sister. And Alice is there for me when I have a seizure, or when Melissa Davenport and Co. fall about, twitching their limbs and rolling their eyes behind my back.
But just as I’m straightening up out of the clumsy squat in which I’ve landed, I see the flicker of a smile on Alice’s lips. A strange little smile that seems to say, ‘I know something you don’t.’ She’s been doing it on and off ever since we set off this morning. She opens her mouth to say something, then bites her bottom lip and looks all worried.
‘What? What were you going to say?’
‘Oh, nothing really,’ she says. Then, after a long pause: ‘It was just something someone said.’
She blushes, and I can guess straightaway who this someone is. Dave Farley. He must have asked her out. I don’t think I’ll be able to bear it if he has.
‘You can’t not tell me.’
Alice presses her lips together.
My heart drums in my throat and neck. ‘Why are you being so mean? Why won’t you tell me?’
‘Because I can’t. I just can’t.’
Something horrible happens to my insides when she says that. Best friends shouldn’t have secrets. At least, not from each other. Best friends tell each other everything. Like we always have.
Suddenly, I hate Alice Dawson. I hate her because she isn’t telling me something. I hate her because she’s pretty and doesn’t wear glasses or have frizzy red hair or epilepsy. I hate her so much I can barely breathe.
I accuse her of being two-faced – the ultimate insult – and we start screaming at each other. Alice marches off towards the next stile and it’s as much as I can do to keep up with her. We’re arguing the whole time: me hurling insults at Alice’s back, Alice stopping every so often to glare at me over her shoulder and lobbing them straight back. By the time we reach the crossing, we’re running out of horrible things to say to each other.
We’ve had rows before, where one or other of us has stormed off – usually me, to be honest – but we’ve always made up in the end. Even after the really bad one we had last month. This time seems different. More final.
And that’s when everything goes fuzzy. When the clear blue of the sky and the vivid greens of the grass and trees collide in a messy blur and the only sound in my ears is the vibration of the track. The crescendo of that long metallic note filling my head with unbearable noise.
The next thing I know, I’m sitting in a puddle of wee by the side of the track and a train has stopped. But trains never stop here. It’s the middle of a field.
I’m feeling all groggy. Where’s Alice? What’s happened?
Then I see one of the sleeves of her denim jacket, caught up in the branches of a bush. Only … only it’s not just a sleeve.
Hot bile rushes out of my mouth and everything goes black.