Read Last Kiss Online

Authors: Louise Phillips

Tags: #FIC050000, #FIC031000

Last Kiss

PRAISE FOR LOUISE PHILLIPS

‘A gripping, suspenseful story peopled with well-drawn characters’

Irish Independent
on
The Doll’s House

‘A real page turner … Phillips’ book is laced with tension and gradually builds to a thrilling finale’

The Irish Post
on
The Doll’s House

‘A great read told at breakneck speed … cue sitting on the edge of your seat for 400 pages’

BBC Radio Ulster on
The Doll’s House

‘Chilling, mesmerising. Gets under your skin and stays with you’

Niamh O’Connor on
The Doll’s House

‘Every bit as good as her debut,
Red Ribbons
, this time with much more of a slant towards a psychological thriller which fans of Sophie Hannah and S.J. Watson will devour’

Writing.ie on
The Doll’s House

‘If you enjoy the psychological thrillers of writers in the same vein as Sophie Hannah, Erin Kelly et al, [this book] sits very comfortably. I will definitely be seeking out Phillips’ first novel
Red Ribbons
on the strength of this one’

Raven Crime Reads on
The Doll’s House

‘Phillips doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of Dublin city … Her characters are well-crafted, the plot interesting and well-executed and, at the risk of sounding cliché, a page turner. It’s gritty and it’s dark, but at the same time hopeful … A brilliant read. I devoured it’

Emu Ink on
The Doll’s House

‘A cracker of a novel, highly recommended, a phenomenal debut’

Arlene Hunt on
Red Ribbons

‘An absolutely brilliant book … spine-tingling with loads of twists and turns. A debut novel from a great writer who will soon be up there with the likes of Patricia Cornwell’

Stafford FM on
Red Ribbons

‘Dark, spooky but believable’

Irish Examiner
on
Red Ribbons


Red Ribbons
has been getting rave reviews, especially for the insight it offers into the emotions of a mother who has lost her child’

Irish Mail on Sunday
on
Red Ribbons

‘The pace of this book is spot on, revealing information from the killer’s past bit by bit to keep the reader turning the pages’

Novelicious on
Red Ribbons

Red Ribbons
, the bestselling debut novel by Dublin-born crime author Louise Phillips, was nominated for the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Book of the Year Award at the BGE Irish Book Awards in 2012. Louise won the award in 2013 for her second novel
The Doll’s House
.

Louise returned to writing in 2006, after raising her family. In addition to her novels, Louise’s work has been published as part of various anthologies and literary journals. She has won the Jonathan Swift Award, was a winner in the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice platform and her writing has also been short-listed for the Molly Keane Memorial Award and Bridport UK.

Last Kiss
is her third novel.

Also by Louise Phillips

Red Ribbons

The Doll’s House

Copyright

First published in 2014 by Hachette Books Ireland

Copyright © Louise Phillips 2014

The right of Louise Phillips to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

All characters and places in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious. All events and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to real life or real persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library

ISBN 978 1444 789 362

Hachette Books Ireland

8 Castlecourt Centre

Castleknock

Dublin 15, Ireland

A division of Hachette UK Ltd

338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH

www.hachette.ie

Contents

Praise for Louise Phillips

About the Author

Also by Louise Phillips

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Prologue: 1982

Part 1

I

Christchurch, Dublin

I

The Earlbrook Hotel

Harcourt Street Police Station, Special Detective Unit

I

Mervin Road, Rathmines

Part 2

Sandra

Ocean House, The Quays

I

Reginald Street, The Liberties

Sandra

I

Harcourt Street Station, Special Detective Unit

Sandra

Harcourt Street Station, Special Detective Unit

Edgar

Mervin Road, Rathmines

I

Sandra

Edgar

Sandra

Incident Room, Harcourt Street Station, Special Detective Unit

Sandra

Harcourt Street Station, Special Detective Unit

Sandra

I

Sandra

Dublin Airport

I

Sandra

Flight from Dublin to Charles De Gaulle Airport

I

Hôtel Saint Christophe, Paris

Pont Des Arts, River Seine, Paris

Beaux-Arts De Paris, Rue Bonaparte

Beaux-Arts De Paris, Rue Bonaparte, Studio Nine

Sandra

Beaux-Arts De Paris, Rue Bonaparte

Grey Door Club, South Great George’s Street, Dublin

El Picaflor Restaurant, 9 Rue LacéPède, Paris

I

Leonardo Da Vinci Airport, Rome

Sandra

Part 3

Mervin Road, Rathmines

Sandra

I

The Birches, Blackrock, County Dublin

Harcourt Street Station, Special Detective Unit

Sandra

Ocean House, The Quays

Sandra

Christchurch, Dublin

Sandra

Mervin Road, Rathmines

Sandra

I

Harcourt Street Station, Special Detective Unit

Sandra

Elliot Forest, County Wicklow

Leach, County Wicklow

I

Leach, County Wicklow

Meagher’s Pub, Leach, County Wicklow

I

Rathin Road, Leach, County Wicklow

I

Elliot Forest, County Wicklow

Harcourt Street Station, Special Detective Unit

I

Elliot Forest, County Wicklow

I

Kate

Elliot Forest, County Wicklow

I

Elliot Forest, County Wicklow

Kate

Leach, County Wicklow

Acknowledgements

For Caitríona and Carrig

PROLOGUE: 1982

The young girl walked towards the forest dressed in an oversized grey coat and black wellington boots that belonged to her father. Her head was bent beneath a raised collar and her long black hair shrouded her strained face. To a stranger, Ellen could have been taken for someone older than her fifteen years, hunched over like an aged soul.

As she reached the outskirts of the woodland, the ground underfoot became slimy, laden with fallen twigs and leaves. Early light sprinkled between the overhead branches, but she didn’t look up, not once. When the first droplet slid down her inner thigh, it touched her kneecap with the gentleness of a moth. She had felt the back pains a few hours earlier, and even though they had eased, she knew it was her time.

Amid the creaking and rustling of the trees, she heard something
move in the undergrowth. For a brief moment she stood still, a cold chill spreading through her body as another bead of the amniotic fluid reached her swollen ankle. She swallowed hard, looking all around her, knowing she needed to find somewhere safe, and that the life she had hidden inside her for so long would soon have to leave. Placing a hand beneath her coat, she held the underside of her engorged belly. A sharp breeze from the valley tossed her hair rebelliously in the wind, as if it was the only part of her still free to choose.

She had left the house when all inside were sleeping, sneaking around, no longer feeling she was part of it. The village, too, looked strange with its empty streets, and the moon still visible, hanging low in the early-morning sky. When she passed her old school, she imagined the sound of young voices in the yard, and felt utterly alone.

Now deeper into the forest, again she heard something move behind her, but when she turned, she saw nothing. A surge of amniotic fluid flooded between her legs, drenching her undergarments, the veil of liquid glistening in the flickering sunlight, before it soaked into the earth.

A sharp pain, like an iron rod, shot through her. She held her belly, more fearful than she had ever been. She wanted to cry out, but stopped herself. With her wet garments stuck to her skin, she continued walking once the pain had passed, faster than before, like a scared animal scurrying further into the dark.

The next contraction grabbed her insides like a twisted fist, shooting through her lower abdomen, before ramming her spine with the might of an iron bar. She placed both arms around her swollen belly, her stomach heaving, her dry retches fighting hard against the nothingness inside. For months she had barely eaten, needing to keep her secret safe, but now she knew that the child inside, briefly quiet, would not remain so for long.

It was with her back to a fallen tree trunk that she laboured alone for hours, before the pain became so strong that the urge to push defied everything else. Her screams came back at her through the forest walls, long piercing wails, until finally she heard the cries of another. She stared at the baby girl lying between her legs, covered with blood and mucus, relieved that that part at least was over.

Other books

Falling Angels by Barbara Gowdy
Play Me Hot by Tracy Wolff
The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie
Best Food Writing 2013 by Holly Hughes
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
The Time Regulation Institute by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar
Lover's Leap by Martin Armstrong