I am delighted to welcome you along to my stop on the blog tour for Jennifer Gilmour’s “Isolation Junction” and share an extract with you from her moving debut novel. There’s also a giveaway running this week so be sure to click on the link for your chance to win a signed paperback copy and ebook copy of Isolation Junction.
Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’.
She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business.
It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.
After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t, will she be able to do it?
Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?
You can buy a copy of Isolation Junction here.
For your chance to win a signed paperback copy and an ebook copy of “Isolation Junction” just click on this link to enter the giveaway
Extract: Chapter One
The local cinema was a weekly visit for my two close university friends Lyndsey and Helen. Together we laughed and giggled, had those stupidly drunk nights out and shared a lot of secrets that wouldn’t be told to anyone outside of our triangle. Lyndsey and Helen managed to scrape some time out of me even though I had that inescapable new relationship.
Lyndsey was blonde and ditzy and couldn’t be without a friend by her side; Helen was a brunette and seemed to have more fun than Lyndsey (Lyndsey seemed to always end up with her heart broken).
The three of us had just seen a comedy film. We couldn’t deal with sad films and horror films were written off completely as Lyndsey would scream and scare the audience as well as get us thrown out. Laughter had over-taken all emotions and we looked like three giddy teenaged girls which was often the case when we got together! I was meant to meet Darren at the end of the film to walk back to the girls’ newly rented home. However, Darren hadn’t turned up; there was a text message on my phone: ‘gone home’ which seemed a little odd to me but I didn’t think anything more of it. Lyndsey had offered to give me a lift home and so I enjoyed some more giggles with them for those last five minutes. I arrived home and was laughing on the way in; our terraced house was a small two-bed with the bathroom on the bottom floor but it was close to the centre of town and ideal for now. Darren and I both lived with housemates before moving in together and it was rushed into a frenzy when his housemates said they were moving out in a couple of weeks as they had gained jobs abroad. Darren had no one to move in with and I had come to the end of my tenancy so we were forced into a situation.
As I stepped through the small front door, it was like there was a sudden floodlight on me; the air felt cold and the room was dimly lit. Darren was sat in the armchair in the corner, slowly taking drags from his cigarette; he looked over at me like I was something stuck to the bottom of his shoe. As I always did, I began to tell Darren about how much fun I had and wondered where he had gotten to; I was looking forward to ending the evening with him which seemed like a perfect conclusion. As I talked, Darren sniggered and it took me a little while before the penny dropped.
Darren spoke in an unfriendly tone, “Seems like you’ve had a lot of fun without me.” I was lost for words and couldn’t tell where this conversation was going and why Darren was glaring at me.
“I erm, well, I always have fun with Lyndsey and Helen, it was good to catch up with them, but of course it’s good to see you now.” I sent a cheeky smile to him which he knew to be that special signal and I thought this might just cut through the ice but for some reason I was becoming nervous. Darren didn’t look impressed and I wasn’t really sure what was going on and my nerves started to show in my voice as I spoke again, “Anyway I’m tired so I’m going to get to bed.”
I remember everything like it was yesterday and I wish it wasn’t so clear. I walked up the stairs and ripped off my clothes and got into my pyjamas super-fast as it was the winter and I didn’t want to get too cold; I had mastered this as I am anaemic and often have to jump out and into clothes in seconds. I fell to sleep rather fast as I had had a long day.
A couple of hours had gone by when I woke up in shock to Darren shaking me, “Rose, Rose, we have to sort this out!”
At first I thought there was an emergency and my heart was racing from the adrenalin. “What do we need to sort out? What’s happened?” I was disorientated and panicky.
“Well, the fact that you think you can go out whenever you want and be with whoever you want,” Darren said as if I had had an affair or something.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m tired and it’s the middle of the night.” I tried to turn over and closed my eyes tightly. Darren was persistent and kept rocking me. I am one of those deep sleepers who has vivid dreams and sleep talks and walks so didn’t take calmly to someone disrupting my beauty sleep at all. Darren just wouldn’t leave me alone and after half an hour I was wide awake and stormed off (I often had those teenage moments). Even then he wouldn’t leave me alone and persisted by following me down the stairs and I could only catch parts of what he was saying as I was focused on getting out.
“Well, that’s immature . . . aren’t you going to talk . . .? I can’t wait until the morning to sort this out…for fuck sake won’t you just say something!”
The anger had been building in me and that was it, I got my coat on and I slipped on my trainers and walked out of the house slamming the door behind me. I remember thinking at the time what the hell was I doing and why had I let him get to me like this. It was a winter’s night, cold and bitter and it had been raining and the only sound you could hear was my feet on the road with light thuds; my long hair flew behind me like a piece of fabric. It slapped me in the face reminding me of my situation. I thought a walk would clear my mind, but I heard someone following behind. ‘Why can’t he just leave me alone’? I was gaining more and more anger and paced faster but Darren was also doing the same and wouldn’t let it lie.
I saw a cut-through some cottage houses and slipped through thinking I could get to the end and hide around the corner until he passed. No luck; I was thinking why on earth was this turning into a horror movie scene with Darren being some sort of villain. Eventually, I became out of breath with my asthma and knew I had pushed my limits when the wheezing started. I had gone around in circles around the cottages and shopping estate and finally he caught up with me.
Darren pinned me to the wall by grabbing my wrists and shouting, “WHY won’t you just listen to me?”
I was terrified inside but tried my best to hold it together, holding back the tears and trying not to breathe too fast and give the game away. Darren continued, “Now you’ve made me look like I’m the one in the wrong when it was you. I just wanted you to listen but you wouldn’t, you were stubborn. If you’d listened, then you would see that I’m just doing this because I love you so much and want to spend time with you.”
I had figured out how to calm Darren down and it was to give up (feed him what he wanted) but I needed to look convincing so I had to believe that I was in the wrong; tears filled my eyes as I spoke apologetically and slowly, “I’m sorry, I know it was me but I was so tired and I wasn’t thinking straight.”
It was like a light switch flicked over in Darren, “See, I knew you knew it was you; don’t worry I will forget about this, let’s just get out of this rain and get home.” We both headed home, drenched from head to toe and Darren held my hand lovingly. I held his back like a good girl.
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour!